Carl Reiner included an entire, albeit short, chapter (16 – not a very funny number) on the story, including some of the runner-up numbers, in his book I Remember Me. And here’s a fascinating portrait of Sid Caesar originally published in the Saturday Evening Post in 1953.
After writing about Lee’s Union-Alls the other day, my thoughts naturally turned to Carhartt’s coveralls, the archaeologist’s cold-weather friend.
The Carhartt company, coincidentally, was founded the same year as the H.D. Lee Company, 1889, when Hamilton Carhartt started selling bib overalls in Detroit, Michigan. Carhartt’s coveralls appeared by the World War II era, and likely earlier, but Lee’s claim to be first seems valid.
Like the original H.D. Lee company, the Carhartt company proudly proclaimed their support of Union workers. The modern Carhartt company, unlike Lee, is still a family-owned business, and about half of their workers are Union members.
With Halloween approaching, here’s a shoutout to an early mummy movie. Mercy, the Mummy Mumbled, is an all-black silent film from 1918. Several silent movies featured mummies as plot devices; The Egyptian Mummy, for example, was released in 1914 but Mercy is likely the only one made by African-American filmmakers for African-American audiences.
The plots of the two films are very similar: a mad scientist is willing to pay big bucks for a mummy to experiment on; a young man needs money to marry his girlfriend; a fake mummy is created. Mercy adds two Egyptian secret agents tracking down their country’s stolen artifacts to the story, all within an 11 minute run time.
Mercy, the Mummy Mumbled was released by the short-lived Ebony Film Corporation of Chicago and is included in Pioneers of African-American Cinema box set (but Mercy is only on the Blu-ray collection, not on the DVD collection) by Kino Lorber. The five discs include movies from as early as 1915 and as late as 1946. See the New York Times review for more details: Black Filmmaking Aborning. Much of the film can also be viewed on YouTube, and stills from Mercy can be seen at the DAARAC site. The Egyptian Mummy, released by the much larger Vitagraph company, can be streamed on Amazon Prime.
Members Only, the makers of the now-classic 1980s racer jacket, encouraged Americans to vote in the 1988 elections using imagery that probably seemed overly dramatic at the time. The U.S. Constitution, the narrator intoned, “suggested a very simple way to keep fools like these out of our government.” The fools? Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini. The remedy? Voting. Some commercials are timeless.