Wednesday 21 December 2022

The Defenders of Santa Claus

The following charmed illustration appeared in the December 8, 1898 edition of Life Magazine and speaks for itself. Merry Christmas and a Happy Holidays to you all!

Wednesday 7 December 2022

Life Magazine, Dec. 10, 1914: The Retrofuturism Issue

Something must have been in the water at the offices of Charles Dana Gibson's original Life Magazine in December of 1914, because their Dec. 10th issue is crammed full of predictive vignettes of life in 1950. These written and illustrative prognostications are much as one would expect from a humour magazine of the period, with various burlesques on politics, the war, gender issues, and so forth. Some are pure curmudgeonly fantasy while others have seemed to come true in one form or another. Click on each image for a larger, more legible version.


Wednesday 9 November 2022

Voiturette "La Mouche"

This charming advertisement from 1900 is for "La Mouche," the first model of automobile produced by Teste et Moret, a French manufacturer. "La Mouche" had a single-cylinder built-in engine and was available in two- and four-seater models. Some 300 of the cars were built, with only seven known to exist.

Wednesday 26 October 2022

Universal's Old Dark House Mysteries

Universal Studios were most famous for their moody tales of midnight monsters, supernatural ghouls, and science gone awry: Dracula, the Frankenstein Monster and his Bride, the Wolf Man, Creature from the Black Lagoon, the Mummy, and the Invisible Man. A large number of Universal's classic monster films, however, did not involve a monster at all... At least not a supernatural one. Some of their most celebrated were based very loosely on the works of Edgar Allan Poe, including Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932) and The Black Cat (1934). There were also the Inner Sanctum Mysteries of the 1940's: a series of six murder mysteries starring Lon Chaney Jr. based on the eponymous radio show. Another informal sub-genre within the non-supernatural mysteries developed, known by its most famous entry, the "Old Dark House" movie.  

Wednesday 12 October 2022

The Ghost-Extinguisher by Gelett Burgess

The following tale of ghost-extinguishing may seem somewhat familiar. It appears that Gelett Burgess figured out the business of removing unwanted spectres long before Mickey Mouse or Dan Akroyd. 

The Ghost-Extinguisher appears here as it did in the April, 1905 edition of Cosmopolitan Magazine.

Saturday 3 September 2022

Taking a Break

In the interests of preserving my own sanity and enjoying a trip to Glacier National Park in Montana (now that international travel is a thing again!), we're going to be going on hiatus through the month of September. 

Join us back here on October 12 for our Halloween season! 

Wednesday 31 August 2022

Un Monstre à Paris

In January of 1910, flooding struck the city of Paris. Water saturated the earth and flooded through storm drains, pipes, catacombs, and the Metro, inundating the city for several weeks. Citizens of Paris were forced to travel by boat or build wooden walkways too and fro, while hundreds struck out for refugee camps on the hills like Montmartre, where the famed Basilique du Sacré Cœur was nearing completion. And, in the cinematic world created by Bibo Bergeron, a monsterous man-sized flea won the hearts of Parisians through song.

French trailer for Un Monstre à Paris.

Wednesday 17 August 2022

Aviation in the Year 2000

The following series of humourous postcards were sold in France around the turn of the century, imagining the foibles of flight in the decades to come. 

Differing from the others in the series, this one purports to show hunting in the year 1915.

Wednesday 3 August 2022

Master of the Octopus by Edward Olin Weeks

The inventive genius of the 19th century must, of course, contend with the rapacious interests of 19th century robber-barons. In The Master of the Octopus, published in the October 1899 Pearson's Magazine,  Edward Olin Weeks describes the tragic encounter between the two over a perpetual light machine. Click on the pages for a larger version.