Tuesday, May 11, 2021




(Previously posted August 22, 2010)

The Scream:

In 1951 Gary Cooper made a movie called Distant Drums. The movie is set in the 1840’s during the Indian wars and concerns an army captain who leads an attack upon the Seminole Indians holding a fort and subsequently retreats into the Everglades.

The movie is seldom remembered today except for one thing: the legacy of the Wilhelm Scream.

There is a scene in the movie when the soldiers are wading through the Everglades and one of them is bitten and dragged under by an alligator. The scream sound effects were recorded later and dubbed in. For that purpose the studio recorded one of the actors screaming six times. Screams 4, 5 and 6 were used earlier in the movie to accompany three of the Indians getting shot during the raid on the fort. Scream 5 was used for the alligator scene.

In 1953 the scream was used again when a minor character, Private Wilhelm, dies in the movie The Charge at Feather River.

Motion picture sound designer Ben Burtt rediscovered the original recording on a reel labelled “Man being eaten by alligator” and used it in the movie he was working on, Star Wars IV: A New Hope.

The scream comes from a stormtrooper shot by Luke Skywalker.

According to Wikipedia:

Burtt began incorporating the effect in other films he worked on, including most projects involving George Lucas and/or Steven Spielberg. Other sound designers picked up on the effect, and inclusion of the sound in films became a tradition among the community of sound designers.

Some examples:
- the Star Wars movies
- the Indiana Jones movies
- Batman Returns
- Howard the Duck
- Toy Story
- Kill Bill
- Sin City

The scream has now been used in over 140 movies.


A history of the Wilhelm Scream:

A compilation of Wilhelm Scream scenes from movies:

A second compilation of Wilhelm Scream examples:

Whose scream?

Who here remembers the character Ben Miller in the 1952 flick High Noon? Ben Miller was one of the guys in town, waiting for his brother Frank Miller to arrive on the noon train.

Okay then, who remembers watching Rawhide (1959-1966)? Does anyone remember the scout in that show, Pete Nolan?

Okay, then let’s try another. Who remembers the 1958 hit Purple People Eater?

How about the Principal in the 1986 pic Hoosiers? (A really good film, by the way).

The actor who played those roles and sang Purple People Eater was Shelby “Sheb” Wooley, who died in 2003.

He is now also generally believed to be the person responsible for the Wilhelm Scream. His name was on the list found by Burtt of actors to come in and record screams and it is his voice which is closest to that on the sound effect. He had an uncredited role in Distant Drums and his widow is of the belief that his is the voice on the Wilhelm Scream.

If you’ve listened to the compilations above, no scream in a movie will ever be the same. You will no doubt be listening for a Wilhelm Scream, much like watching a Hitchcock movie and trying to find his appearance (Hitchcock always made a brief appearance in his movies, usually near the beginning, so that people could then get on with concentrating on his movies). God knows that I listen for it now.

Monday, May 10, 2021





Byter and friend Graham E sent me an email with stories and pics of abandoned places in Turkey.

Thanks, Graham.

Below is Graham’s email to me, with some further notes on abandoned places following.

More abandoned places in future.


Hi Mr O,

Yesterday I saw a story about an abandoned amusement park in Turkey, and then today a story about this village, what else is there........

Burj Al Babas is a residential development located near the Turkish town of Mudurnu. The homes in the development are designed to resemble miniature chateaux. The centre of the complex was to include a domed structure containing stores, a movie theatre, and other facilities open to residents.

Construction began in 2014. The development was originally successful, but sales eventually stalled, causing the developer to enter bankruptcy. Falling oil prices and instability in Turkey have been cited as reasons for the lack of sales. As of January 2019, 587 of the planned 732 homes were started but none were finished


Wonderland Eurasia, previously known as Ankapark, was an amusement park in Ankara, Turkey. Opened in 2019, the park has 17 roller coasters, the second-most worldwide. It was closed permanently in February 2020.


Ghost Village Of Kayakoy is a famous haunted village in Turkey. Located a short distance from the tourist’s resorts in Fethiye and Olu Deniz, the dark history of this village is the reason it has been declared and believed to be haunted. There was an earthquake year back which led to the deportation of many Christians from the village. It is a popular tourist destination but you will start to feel the thrill as soon as you enter the old and abandoned buildings and structures.


Mr G

And ‘smore . . .

Houtouwan is a Chinese former fishing village located about 40 miles from Shanghai. Once an active settlement, inhabited by around 2,000 fishermen and their families, it is today abandoned, nature having taken over in a beautiful way. In the early 1990s, when the small bay became increasingly unable to meet the growing fish industry’s needs, residents began migrating to the mainland in search of other employment and a better life, a pattern that was common in many small Chinese villages.

Slowly, nearly every house was abandoned, and only a handful of residents now remain. Some villagers who used to live in Houtouwan have found another form of income in tourism, showing visitors the landscape, and selling them water, the only item on offer on the island.

The Maunsell Forts are armed towers built in the Thames and Mersey estuaries during the Second World War to help defend the United Kingdom. They were operated as army and navy forts, and named after their designer, Guy Maunsell.

In the 7 tower arrangement, the control tower was at the centre of the grouping, with the towers fitted with guns in a protective semi-circle around the control tower, with a search light tower in the back of the grouping. In all, there were four forts built and their job was to deter and report German air raids or any attempts to lay mines in the waters of the Channel. The forts exceeded expectations, shooting down 22 planes and 30 flying bombs. In the years immediately following the war, the British government wanted more built, but none of the plans moved forward.

Army fort in active service

The forts were decommissioned in the late 1950s and later used for other activities including pirate radio broadcasting. One of the forts is managed by the unrecognised Principality of Sealand; boats visit the remaining forts occasionally, and a consortium called Project Redsands is planning to conserve the fort situated at Red Sands.


Sunday, May 9, 2021


When a man is determined, what can stop him?

Cripple him and you have a Sir Walter Scott. Put him in a prison cell and you have a John Bunyan. Bury him in the snows of Valley Forge and you have a George Washington.

Have him born in abject poverty and we have Lincoln. Put him in the grease pit of a locomotive roundhouse and you have a Walter Chrysler. Make him second fiddle in an obscure South African orchestra and you have a Toscanini.

The hardships of life are sent not by an unkind destiny to crush us, but to challenge.

- Sam E. Roberts





Colebee is a suburb of Sydney located 47 kilometres west of the Sydney central business district, in the local government area of the City of Blacktown.

Name origin:

Colebee was named after C. Colobee who is believed to have been the first indigenous Australian to have been granted land in the Blacktown area, at Plumpton Ridge.

Colebee, also known as Colebe, was one of two Aboriginals through whom Governor Arthur Phillip established peaceful relations with the tribesmen of Port Jackson and Botany Bay. He and Bennelong were captured at Manly Cove in 1789, after the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788, on the orders of Governor Phillip so that their language and customs could be learned. The other indigenous Australian who was captured was Bennelong, after whom Bennelong Point is named. Bennelong deferred to Colebee, who was senior.

Colebee, contemporary sketch. 
 His face was marred by small pox scars.


In 1790 Colebee and Bennelong concluded a peace agreement and received a metal hatchet.

Colebee is said to have often taken part in ritual revenge battles, in which he wounded many and killed several rivals. There are no written references to him between 1793 and January 1805, but in July 1805, Colebee and Bennelong, who were usually allies, fought a duel over Bennelong's wife Kurubarabulu.

Colebee probably died in a payback battle in 1806 or not long after, but his death was not officially recorded and he was not heard of again after 1806.

Another Colebee was a guide who assisted William Cox when he surveyed the road across the Blue Mountains. This Colebee, along with Nurragingy, tried to bring about a peaceful resolution to the years of conflict between white settlers and local Aboriginal people along the Hawkesbury, Nepean and Colo rivers, and in the South Creek area.

For this, Colebee and Narragingy received the first grant of land made by the British to an Aboriginal person. Governor Macquarie wrote in his diary on 25 May 1816:

On this occasion I invested Nurragingy, alias Creek Jemmy with my Order of Merit by presenting him with a handsome Brass Gorset or Breast Plate, having his name inscribed thereon in full – as chief of the South Creek Tribe. I also promised him and his friend Colebee a grant of 30 acres of land on the South Creek between them as an additional reward for their fidelity to Government and their recent good conduct.

This area became Blacktown in later years. In the 1820’s it was known as ‘The Blacks Town’, because it was home to a school for Aboriginal children, dubbed The Black Town Native Institute. Calls to change the name because of association with a racist past have been opposed by both residents and indigenous Australians. In 2016 Blacktown Council surveyed 3,133 residents, with over 80 percent voting against the changes. The survey cost the council $98,000.00.

(I grew up in Blacktown when it was nearly all bush. We fished and swam in the creeks and played in the bush. Those were the days, my friend . . . ).


Even though I grew up in Blacktown and lived there for 20 years until I left home (my parents living there for many, many years after), I have never heard of Colebee as a suburb before this post.

Apparently it is a brand new suburb, developed to allow more home sites to be created.

By the way:

The Nurragingy Nature Reserve is an Australian open urban park and forest, nature reserve and garden, it is a protected area owned by Western Sydney Parklands Trust and operated by Blacktown City Council that opened in 1981. The Nature Reserve is a site of state heritage significance because of its combination of historical, social and cultural values. The site was the first land grant ever given to Aboriginal people in Australia.

The landscaped park is complete with unique features including bridges, pavilions and waterfalls, a native wildlife park, Chinese garden, New Zealand Garden, BBQ and picnic area and large conference centre for business meetings, weddings and other varying functions, it is a popular tourist attraction located in Knox Rd, Doonside and Rooty Hill, New South Wales.

The name "Nurragingy" commemorates one of the two Aboriginal people of the Dharruk (Dharug, Daruk) tribe who received the first land grant to Aboriginal people from Governor of New South Wales, Lachlan Macquarie in 1819. The other title holder was Colebee, whose name has been given to the Centre within the Reserve.

The Colebee Centre at Nurragingy Reserve

Saturday, May 8, 2021





Hello Byters.

My apologies that Funny Friday did not go out yesterday, there was an internet outage in my area that prevented me posting it and thereby having the blog send it out to subscribers.  

Still, better late than not at all . . .



A cautionary warning that there is a fair bit of risqué content ahead, so venture forward at your own risk of being offended, dear readers . . .


Also, last week I told the story in Funny Friday of son Thomas being sent 2 lucky rabbit's feet in 2008 by a client (now deceased), one for Thomas himself and one for a friend, as it said in the letter which enclosed them.  They were in the mail box over the Christmas holidays whilst the office was closed, when temperatures are very high at that time of the year.

One problem: the rabbit's feet were real.

He was serious.

I posted the pic of the feet but overlooked including the pic of son Thomas, so here are both pics . . .



This one’s for Joe and Grace . . .

Three men walk into a bar. One works for Budweiser, one works for Corona, and one works for Guinness.

"What would you like?" the bartender asks the Budweiser worker.

"I'll have a Budweiser," says the Budweiser worker.

"And you?" the bartender asks the Corona worker.

"I'll have a Corona," responds the Corona worker.

"Let me guess," the bartender says to the Guinness worker, "you'd like a Guinness?"

"No thank you," comes the reply. "I'll just have some water."

"Water?" The bartender is taken aback. "Why not Guinness?"

"Because," says the Guinness worker, "if the other two aren't gonna have beer, I'm not gonna have it either."

A salesman rings the doorbell on a house and the door is opened by a 12 year old, holding a glass of cognac and smoking a cigar.

The salesman is a bit stunned but plows forward and asks, "Is your Dad home?"

The kid replies, "What the fuck do you think?"

Bill Gates sends Melinda an email after the divorce.

"Let’s get married again” he writes.

“What do you mean?” she replies on MSN. “We just got divorced! You said the marriage wasn’t working! Why would you want to start everything up again?”

“That’s always worked before” he says.

I walked by the house I grew up in and when an elderly couple answered my knock, I told them I grew up in this house and asked if I could have a look around for old time sake.

They told me to, 'Fuck off' and slammed the door in my face.”

My parents can be so rude.



Mildred, the church gossip and self-appointed monitor of the church's morals, kept sticking her nose into other people's business. Several members did not approve of her activities, but feared her enough to maintain their silence.

She made a mistake, however, when she accused Frank, a new member, of being an alcoholic after she saw his old pickup parked in front of the town's only bar one afternoon. She emphatically told Frank (and several others) that everyone seeing it there would know what he was doing!

Frank, a man of few words, stared at her for a moment and just turned and walked away. He didn't explain, defend, or deny. He said nothing.

Later that evening, Frank quietly parked his pickup in front of Mildred's house ... walked home ... and left it there all night.



There was a young lady of Michigan,
Who said, "Damn it! I've got the itch again."
Said her mother, "That's strange,
I'm surprised it ain't mange,
If you've slept with that son-of-a-bitch again."



Q: What is the difference between a lawyer and a rooster?

A: When a rooster wakes up in the morning, it wants to cluck defiance.





I was on a date with a girl who called me shallow.

I was like “Yeah, but only on the surface.”

When Beethoven passed away, he was buried in a churchyard.

A couple days later, the town drunk was walking through the cemetery and heard some strange noise coming from the area where Beethoven was buried. Terrified, the drunk ran and got the priest to come and listen to it. The priest bent close to the grave and heard some faint, unrecognizable music coming from the grave. Frightened, the priest ran and got the town magistrate.

When the magistrate arrived, he bent his ear to the grave, listened for a moment, and said, "Ah, yes, that's Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, being played backwards."

He listened a while longer, and said, "There's the Eighth Symphony, and it's backwards, too. Most puzzling." So the magistrate kept listening; "There's the Seventh... the Sixth... the Fifth..."

Suddenly the realization of what was happening dawned on the magistrate; he stood up and announced to the crowd that had gathered in the cemetery, "My fellow citizens, there's nothing to worry about. It's just Beethoven decomposing.”

Tonight we’re having Himalayan rabbit stew for dinner.

We found himalayan in the road.

A math teacher welcomed a new French exchange student into her class and then started teaching a lesson on fractions.

The French exchange student raised his hand and said, "Excuse me Madam, but I don't know how to say fractions. How do you say those?"

"Easy," said the teacher, "you just say the top number and then the bottom number is read as an ordinal number. For example, 2/3 is 'two-thirds', 3/4 is 'three-fourths', and 2/5 is 'two-fifths'."

"Thanks, I understand, "said the exchange student.

"Good," said the teacher, and then asked the student, "so how do you say 4/8?"

"Should I reduce?" asked the boy.

"That would be best," said the teacher.

"One-second," said the boy.

"Take as long as you need," said the teacher.

This one's for you, Noel . . .

Bad news: An undelivered letter in German sent 110 years ago has just been found.

Worse news: It was an acceptance letter by an art school in Vienna.


Wednesday, May 5, 2021



Brief Lives is a collection of short biographies written by John Aubrey (1626–1697) in the last decades of the 17th century. Aubrey was a modest man, a self-styled antiquarian and the man who invented modern biography. His 'lives' of the prominent figures of his generation and the Elizabethan era, including Shakespeare, Milton and Sir Walter Raleigh, have been plundered by historians for centuries for their frankness and fascinating detail.

John Aubrey

From John Aubrey's “Brief Lives”:

Queen Elizabeth 1

Edward de Veere, the Earl of Oxford


During the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, Liechtenstein sent an army of 80 strong to guard the Brenner Pass between Austria and Italy while a reserve of 20 men stayed behind. While the deployed force was there to defend the territory against any attack from the Prussian-allied Italians, according to War History Online, “there was really nothing to do but sit in the beautiful mountains, drink wine and beer, smoke a pipe and take it easy.”

In the main theatre of the war, the Battle of Königgrätz earned Prussia a victory, decisively ending the war.

The Battle of Königgrätz by Georg Bleibtreu

So the men of Liechtenstein marched home. When they returned, however, their numbers had grown to 81. According to The World at War, an Austrian liaison officer joined them. Other versions are that he was either an “Italian friend” or a defector.

Today Liechtenstein remains a thriving and successful country, one that still has no army.


Haydn and Mozart were friends who made a bet that they could write a piece of music that the other couldn't play. 

On the day of the competition, Mozart played Haydn's piece without incident. 

When it was Haydn's turn to play, he started strong but stopped halfway though and claimed that no one could play this piece of music because it called for middle C when one hand was on the lowest octave, and the other on the highest. 

Mozart said that he could do it. 

When the "impossible" part came, Mozart leaned in and repeatedly hit middle C with his nose, finishing the song and winning the bet. 

Haydn retorted “With a nose like yours it becomes easier.”




Mozart had an extreme dislike for the soprano Adriana Ferrarese del Bene, for whom the role of Fiordiligi on Cosi Fan Tutte was first created. She had a strange tendency to drop her chin whilst singing low notes and to throw back her head when singing high notes. 

Knowing this, Mozart filled her showpiece aria (“Come scoglio”) with constant harmonic leaps from low to high and back. He took great pleasure in watching her bob her head “like a chicken” on stage.

Adriana Ferrarese del Bene


In the Baltic town of Vilnius, through which Napoleon’s troops marched to their doom in the summer of 1812, there stood a simple monument bearing two plaques. 

On the side with its back to Moscow was written: “Napoleon Bonaparte passed this way in 1812 with 400,000 men.” 

On the other side were the words: “Napoleon Bonaparte passed this way in 1812 with 9,000 men.”

Apparently the monument no longer exists.