I know, I know: I ended Monday’s Bleat with your humble narrator (or YGH if you prefer) stuck in an elevator. Am I still there? No; I don’t have a FTP program on my phone. Can’t upload prewritten Bleats from the elevator. What happened, if you recall, was that the elevator shuddered and stopped and the display went to X, which indicated it was traveling from 12 to the lobby. But it didn’t move. So I pressed the 11 button, and it dropped a bit, and then continued on down to the lobby. Longest ride ever. Didn’t feel like we were moving.
There’s always that moment when the elevator has acted up in some way, destroying all trust and expectations, and you think “as long as it slows.” You know they have brakes, automatic devices that keep it from smashing to bits at the bottom of the shaft. But once it does something odd, all bets are off.
It stopped. I went to the front desk and said I’d just an elevator incident. As I was describing the event a young couple came up and handed the desk guy their phone and said “could you please take a picture of us?” and he said sure, and I wanted to say what am I, chopped liver? But that would be stupid, because obviously that’s what I was, chopped liver. You have no problem interrupting chopped liver because you don’t even think it’s doing anything.
I don’t even know why I think about one’s worth in terms of sliced organs. It can only be liver, by the way. “What am I, cubed kidneys?” doesn’t work. “What am I, minced lung? Pureed pancreas? Am I any of these things? No?” Part me of wanted to Ratzo the moment, slam the counter and say “I’m tawkin’ heah!” but that reference is probably lost, too.
Or maybe not.
Anyway. When I began the deathless story about getting stuck in the elevator for 10 seconds after I had been to the library - a dynamite scenario, it's a wonder I'm not working for the movies - - I mentioned I was at the Library to get some old pictures for a piece I was doing. It’s the Repository of Papers.
That's not it. But it's right next door. Gives you a sense of the architecture of the West Bank; it has a consistent color profile, I'll give it that.
On the wall was a collection of old Gopher annuals, yearbooks for the school. They stopped doing them in the early 80s, because no one cared, I guess; the last one was pathetic. Thin, poorly laid-out, ugly pictures, the whole post-60s yearbook style we grew up with. The earlier ones are spectacular. The 30s books have the new graphic design styles of the era, crisp and sophisticated.
The 20s have the archaic once-upon-a-time style, romanticizing the past, putting the student in the context of the long progress of humanity.
Paintings of the U’s beloved old buildings - which weren’t more than ten years old, to be honest. But they looked old.
This one, Burton Hall, is older.
From inside a Gopher annual: Hello Ladies
Hairstyles: making subsequent generations find you unrelatable for over 1000 years
The reason I started looking through the volumes in the first place had to do with the class of 1937. Sure enough, there she was:
Peg Lynch. Snapped it and sent it to Astrid in England, who promptly texted back from a late-night party in London: she’d never seen it before.
So I felt as if I’d accomplished something. But there was more.
Okay. So. There was this in the Monday Bleat about going to the library.
Got in my car, drove out of the lot, paused, looked up: there was the massive Brutalist concrete tower the hip people lived in, for a while. Flashback: Dick and Kristi lived there. Speech-and-debate, Fargo North - seniors when I was a soph. The glamour couple who left Fargo and moved to The Cities. I went to see them at this tower when I got the U in '76. They seemed impossibly sophisticated and older and sort-of half-married.
Yesterday I got the release form to give the paper permission to run the illustrations. Signed it, and sent it back - but before I hit SEND I noticed a name at the bottom of the page, the person who would approve the request.
First name Kris; second name, Dick’s last name.
Oh, come on.
That can’t be.
It was. So I called her and said “didn’t we know each other 40 years ago?” and she laughed and said yes, probably longer than that. I told her I had just thought about them the other day as I looked up at the Riverview, and now she’s the head of the very library where I’d just been.
(Images from University Archives, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities.)
From a 1920s movie magazine, a recollection of the early days of movies.
This is fascinating. A movie show had an another attraction: a guy singing about still images. Another job that fell by the wayside.
We have the song:
Another sign of bygone times: flicker vernacular.
The Nickle Shows. I wonder why that was the slang, and not Movies - or something that connoted motion, that being the innovation.
This one's top-notch. So far.
What have we this week?
Bruce's lesser-known brother is on the case:
If you recall, Dr. Satan had a huge electrocution device in his office to punish bad henchmen, and we just saw the Copperhead - that would be Bob Wayne - back into it as he held everyone at gunpoint. Dr. Satan flipped the switch and there was a blinding flash. Remember? No? Let's replay it:
Turns out it happened a little differently:
Dr. Satan discovers that the Copperhead ruined the last Control Cell:
It’s like he realizes he’s the worst serial villain ever. Certainly the least successful. What was he thinking, going into this line of work? Dr. Satan - really, that was a good idea for a nom de villainy?
Well, the Copperhead / Bob Wayne gets away, but Dr. S sends out his fences to find him. They drive to the “warehouse:”
Seems rather big. Seems like an office building. Well, they’re unaware that the Copperhead is actually in the trunk. I got to hand it to the guy: he’s decisive.
He climbs up the side of the building, drawing on a previously unknown skill set, and goes into the warehouse at the 12th floor, leaving the audience to wonder: this is called “Underwater Tomb,” right?
Then Dr. Satan realizes that the other Control Tube was lost when the ship blew up in the first episode. If they got some diving equipment, they could find it! But then they discover the Copperhead in the building, and itchy chase him across the roof. There’s a day-for-night / hats-on fisticuffs, abruptly transitioning to studio night:
He escapes by riding a greased elevator cable down, because he is THE COPPERHEAD, then - in his real identity as Bob Wayne, The Guy Who’s On the Case For Some Reason, he goes down in a diving bell with Spunky Doctor-Daughter Gal. They plant a bomb to destroy the tube, if it’s in the wreckage. You get a look at the FX budget:
Of course, Dr. Satan’s gang shows up, and it’s henches vs. swabbies, while the bomb ticks away and the diving bell remains in the area where the bomb’s about to go off. And so:
Crap crap crap crap Let’s use our clothes to plug the leak