Sunday, February 7, 2016

Colourised Historic Photographs, Part 2

Continuing the series "Colorized Historic Photographs", further comments added by myself.

Lou Gehrig, July 4, 1939. Photo taken right after his famous retirement speech. He would pass away just two years later from ALS. 

  • Henry Louis "Lou" or "Buster" Gehrig (1903 - 1941) was an American baseball first baseman who played 17 seasons in Major League Baseball for the New York Yankees, from 1923 through 1939. Gehrig was renowned for his prowess as a hitter and for his durability, a trait which earned him his nickname "The Iron Horse". He was an All-Star seven consecutive times, a Triple Crown winner once, an American League Most Valuable Player twice, and a member of six World Series champion teams. He had a career .340 batting average, .632 slugging average, and a .447 on base average. He hit 493 home runs and had 1,995 runs batted in. In 1939, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame and was the first MLB player to have his uniform number retired.
  • in 1939 after he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a disorder now commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease in North America. The disease forced him to retire at age 36 and was the cause of his death two years later. The pathos of his farewell from baseball was capped off by his iconic "Luckiest Man on the Face of the Earth" speech at the original Yankee Stadium.
  • This is the text of that speech:
"Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about the bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth. I have been in ballparks for seventeen years and have never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you fans.
"Look at these grand men. Which of you wouldn't consider it the highlight of his career just to associate with them for even one day? Sure, I'm lucky. Who wouldn't consider it an honor to have known Jacob Ruppert? Also, the builder of baseball's greatest empire, Ed Barrow? To have spent six years with that wonderful little fellow, Miller Huggins? Then to have spent the next nine years with that outstanding leader, that smart student of psychology, the best manager in baseball today, Joe McCarthy? Sure, I'm lucky. 
"When the New York Giants, a team you would give your right arm to beat, and vice versa, sends you a gift - that's something. When everybody down to the groundskeepers and those boys in white coats remember you with trophies - that's something. When you have a wonderful mother-in-law who takes sides with you in squabbles with her own daughter - that's something. When you have a father and a mother who work all their lives so you can have an education and build your body - it's a blessing. When you have a wife who has been a tower of strength and shown more courage than you dreamed existed - that's the finest I know. 
"So I close in saying that I may have had a tough break, but I have an awful lot to live for."


Times Square, 1947 

  • The photograph shows the members of the River Boat Jazz Band on the back of a horse drawn wagon promoting their cancer benefit show in New York long before AC/DC did the same with their video for ‘It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ’n’ Roll) in Melbourne.
  • Pepsi Cola still exists but the whisky brand Kinsey went out of business in the mid-1980’s. Four Roses bourbon is still in operation, being made by Japanese beverage manufacturer Kirin. Ruppert Beer is out of business, folding in 1965.
  • The Warner Bros Strand theatre was knocked down in 1987 and is now the site of the Morgan Stanley building.
  • The front film poster is for the film Possessed, a story of an unstable woman's obsession with her ex-lover. Star Joan Crawford and director Curtis Bernhardt spent time in real psychiatric wards in Santa Monica, Santa Barbara and Pasadena, observing mental patients as research for the film. On one of these visits, Crawford and Bernhardt witnessed, without asking permission, a woman undergoing electro convulsive shock therapy. Warner Bros. was later forced to pay substantial damages to the woman, who claimed their presence was an invasion of privacy. 
  • The other poster, further back after the Strand sign, is for the film The Outlaw, a film made in 1943 but not released for general exhibition until 1946 due to censorship issues about the prominence of Jane Russell’s bust. In 1941, while filming The Outlaw, Hughes felt that the camera did not do justice to Jane Russell's large bust. He employed his engineering skills to design a new cantilevered underwire bra to emphasise her assets. The design allowed for a larger amount of bosom to be freely exposed. Contrary to many media reports afterward, Russell did not wear the bra during filming. According to her 1988 autobiography, she said the bra was so uncomfortable that she secretly discarded it. She wrote that the "ridiculous" contraption hurt so much that she wore it only a few minutes. She instead wore her own bra, padded the cups with tissue, tightened the shoulder straps, and returned to the set. She later said, "I never wore it in The Outlaw, and he never knew. He wasn’t going to take my clothes off to check if I had it on. I just told him I did." The famed bra ended up in a Hollywood museum—a false witness to the push-up myth.
Poster for The Outlaw

Publicity still for the film

Lee Harvey Oswald, 1963, being transported to questioning before his murder trial for the assassination of President John F. Kennedy 


. . . if you put the murdered President of the United States on one side of a scale and that wretched waif Oswald on the other side, it doesn't balance. You want to add something weightier to Oswald. It would invest the President's death with meaning, endowing him with martyrdom. He would have died for something. . . . A conspiracy would, of course, do the job nicely. 
William Manchester

". . . [I]t is the most bizarre conspiracy in the history of the world. It'll come out at a future date." 
— Jack Ruby

"The committee believes, on the basis of the evidence available to it, that President John F. Kennedy was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy. The committee is unable to identify the other gunman or the extent of the conspiracy." 
— Final Report, House Select Committee of Assassinations (HSCA), 1979

"I didn't shoot anybody, no sir . . . I'm just a patsy." 
— Lee Harvey Oswald

Helen Keller meeting comedian Charlie Chaplin in 1918 


A woman famous for living in silence found a friend in a man who made silent films, but the two also shared a strong passion for their social and political beliefs.  
They met at Chaplin Studios on the set of his film Sunnyside in 1919, and luckily someone was smart enough to take pictures. She talked to Charlie by reading his lips with her hands, and watched two of his films with the help of her long-time teacher Anne Sullivan – who described the scenes with sign language in the palm of her hand.  
Helen led the group in laughter didn’t miss a single moment of comedy.  
Chaplin used his films to express his opinions, and he received plenty of scrutiny for it. J. Edgar Hoover became suspicious of him and used the FBI to influence negative media coverage against him.  
Helen was criticized for being a socialist, pacifist, suffragist, and supporter of birth control. After expressing her socialist views, newspaper columnists started calling attention to her disabilities.  
While both endured years of disapproval, they had gained great respect by the end of their lives. In the years before her death, President Lyndon B. Johnson awarded Helen the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame. Charlie Chaplin was banned from the U.S. and moved to Switzerland, but returned 20 years later to receive an honorary Academy Award. He was given a 12 minute standing ovation.


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