Sunday, November 16, 2014

Charlie Chaplin's "The Kid" (1921) Silent Hall of FameI

I have a viewer that has been getting into silent films and I came across this classic "The Kid" from 1921. It stars, was written, produced, directed and the music composed by Charlie Chaplin. I found it on here it was uploaded by the Silent Hall of Fame. Tom this ones for you.

"The Kid" is a moving social drama with a touch of comedy, created by and starring Charlie Chaplin and featuring Edna Purviance, a star of Silent Hall of Fame.
"The Kid" was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" in 2011.
The film is ranked number 23 in the list of The Top 100 Silent Era Films of the influential website Silent Era.

"The Kid" has an outstanding rating 8.4 in IMDB.

Directed by               Charlie Chaplin
Produced by             Charles Chaplin Productions
Scenario by               Charlie Chaplin         
Starring                     Charlie Chaplin, Edna Purviance, Jackie Coogan, Tom Wilson
Cinematography       Roland Totheroh
Distributed by           First National Pictures
Release date               February 6, 1921
Running time             52 min.
Country                      United States
Language                    Silent film, English intertitles

SilentHall of Fame is the only place where we actively work to bring back from oblivion the names and legacy of formerly illustrious silent movie stars, which have made a major contribution to the industry and the world but do not have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

We also fight for your right, the right of the public, to see silent masterpieces that have been kept in hidden vaults for far too long. Our website streams for free one such masterpiece that has not been seen in 85 years and is not available anywhere else.

Please visit our website to watch quality silent films absolutely free and to support the legacy of silent movie stars with your tax deductible contribution.

Please spread the word about Silent Hall of Fame and help your favorite silent star receive belated recognition and glory.

Silent Hall of Fame, a nonprofit organization
Preserving the legacy of silent movie stars

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Dropping Acid A Trip W/ Mr. LSD, The CIA and George Clinton

There we have been on kind of an acid trip lately, in a purely virtual sense. That is to say we have been exploring / posting some LSD films on ChiTownView and not using this illeagal substance. Here's the rundown of recent activity.

Published on Jan 11, 2013
I came across this, in some ways startling, film while going through the National Archives. The official title is "Schizophrenic Model Psychosis Induced by Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD). This film provides footage of University of California medical tests with LSD supervised by Nicholas A. Bercel MD. Dr. Bercel is the first American to ingest acid.

Tests that seems to have been sponsored by the CIA who had been sponsering research on LSD since 1951. It is a fascinating document showing three men seated in what looks like (from the looks of the wallpaper) someones dining room. The subject William Millarc, an artist, is given LSD 25 and then is interviewed as he's tripping. In 1957 he took his own life despondent over his lack of financial success.

LSD was first synthesized by Dr. Albert Hoffmann in 1938 and was produced by Sandoz labs. To learn more about this fascinating drug here is a link to it's history in comic form.

This clip was used in a recent post on Dangerous Minds. If you want to check it out click here.

Published on July 16, 2014  
"In this educational short "Mr.LSD" explains what horrible things he can do to the human mind.
LSD-25 is a goofier than average drug scare flick produced in 1967 for the San Mateo Union High School District in San Mateo, California. The entire film is narrated by a tab of LSD - a device that Bunuel would have admired.
This one has it all: over-the-top freakouts, groovy fashions, a Satanic mass, trippy visuals and little known factoids like LSD makes kids "paint themselves green." It also features an obscure Jonathan King tune called "Round Round."
Strap yourself in and "join the mind expanding world where colors and sounds and smells and tastes and people all take on new dimensions and qualities."

Published on Oct 28, 2014
A video mashup produced by Scott Calonico using 1960's film footage, including a clip of Sonny Bono. The narration includes historical information about the CIA experiments that came to light in the 1970's during the Ford administration. This is when the MK Ultra experiments and the death / murder of Frank Olson came to light.

Then to round up my trip after uploading this last clip I went to check out the days news at Huffington Post where I came across some words of wisdom from George Clinton a man who's had some non-clinical experience in the field of LSD research.

GeorgeClinton Details The Nasty Effects Of Eating Soul Food On Acid

"We were still ghetto kids eating soul food. You can't eat soul food and do acid," Clinton said with a laugh. "You really have to become vegetarian because it don't work on meat. Besides, tripping on the meat, looking at it while you're eating it, it comes out messed up. And like I said, we were pitiful with hemorrhoids."
Watch the rest of the clip above, and catch the full HuffPost Live conversation here

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Erotic Art (?), Joe DiMaggio and The Violent Alderman's War In Chicago's Taylor Street Area

Three new videos posted on ChiTownView.

The Taylor Street area on Chicago's near west side is a community of well maintained older buildings with new development mixed in. It's sandwiched between the University of Illinois & the Rush Medical area. Earlier this month we took you to Arrigo Park and showed some of it's public art. Today we showcase two more interesting spots in this community and shine a spotlight on what was the cities most violent struggles for political power.

Published on Oct 16, 2014

Well who knows what is and isn't art and erotic is a personal decision right? It's in a beautiful little space right along Roosevelt Rd. in Chicago's Taylor St. / University Village / Little Italy neighborhood. Part of St. Ignatius College Prep this little green spot is also a time capsule that contains architectural details of two long gone Chicago institutions.

The large flower pot that opens the video is part of the cornice from the old Chicago Stock Exchange. A building designed by Dankmar Adler & Louis Sullivan and demolished in 1972. The massive bas reliefs that may or may not be considered racy were part of the old Chicago Stadium. Home of Michael Jordan's championship run with the Chicago Bulls. The panels were a gift by Bill Wirtz owner of the Blackhawks.

For more background on this spot follow this link.

Published on Oct 16, 2014

Located across the street from the Italian American Sports Hall of Fame at 1431 W Taylor Chicago's University Village is a delightful little plaza with fountains and this handsome statue of Joltin' Joe DiMaggio himself.

The bucolic  quiet streets and noble purposes of the institutions are a far cry from what the area was like almost a hundred years ago. Then the area was a teeming slum known as the bloody 19th ward seething with gangsters and crooked politicians. And the scene of the Alderman's War a violent conflict for political control that earned the area it's nickname.

In this video we show the Taylor St. area or University Village as it's now called and what some of the key sites of the story look like today. We meet Johnny Powers and Antonio D'Andrea the two principals of our story and hear the tale. It's another chapter in Chicago's hidden history that we call “Chicago Crime Now & Then”. Produced by Mike Beyer & MindsiMedia and presented on ChiTownView. To see more videos in the series click here.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Gary Webb "Kill The Messenger" In His Own Words

One of the sadder more galling stories of the second half of the 20th century is getting a little more exposure in the past couple of weeks with the release of a couple of new films. The  story is about the drugs for guns program run by Nicaraguan rebels the with the assistance of the US government. On the one hand Nancy Reagan was telling us to “just say no” and her husband was enacting harsh penalties on people who used crack. At the same time Oliver North, George Bush and his cronies at the CIA were at the very least turning a blind eye towards drugs being imported into the country to finance covert warfare in Nicaragua.

How deep was the governments involvement? We'll never no because it's a story America's so called liberal media covered the story up and drove one man who tried to break the story to kill himself. That man was Gary Webb his story was called “The Dark Alliance” and he and his story are the subjects of the films.

There is a documentary, “Freeway: Crack in the System,” directed by Marc Levin, which tells the story of “Freeway” Rick Ross, crack kingpin in LA during the 1980s and one of the subjects of Webb’s “Dark Alliance” series of reports. Then just released Friday is “Kill The Messenger,” which focuses on Webb's tragic story and features Jeremy Renner in the role of Webb. You can read more about these films and see their trailers by clicking on this link to Huffington Post. One of the sadder more galling stories of the second half of the 20th century is getting a little more exposure in the past couple of weeks with the release of a couple of new films. The  story is about the drugs for guns program run by Nicaraguan rebels the with the assistance of the US government. On the one hand Nancy Reagan was telling us to “just say no” and her husband was enacting harsh penalties on people who used crack. At the same time Oliver North, George Bush and his cronies at the CIA were at the very least turning a blind eye towards drugs being imported into the country to finance covert warfare in Nicaragua.

There is a documentary, “Freeway: Crack in the System,” directed by Marc Levin, which tells the story of “Freeway” Rick Ross, crack kingpin in LA during the 1980s and one of the subjects of Webb’s “Dark Alliance” series of reports. Then just released Friday is “Kill The Messenger,” which focuses on Webb's tragic story and features Jeremy Renner in the role of Webb. You can read more about these films and see their trailers by clicking on this link to Huffington Post. 

We at MindsiMedia first reported on this story about seven years ago om our Mindsi2 YouTube station. Mindsi2 was a station that explored some of America's hidden history. Tracing the growth of the American empire from the Spanish American war onwards. While the stupid name hindered our growth we had a respectable viewership before YouTube terminated it last year. Why it was terminated I don't know it had no strikes one day and the next it was gone.

We have revived the spirit of Mindsi2 at MindsiMedia. On our ChiTownView YouTube station we are uploading videos and collecting them in a playlist we call the old news. Two new clips we have just uploaded deal with Gary Webb and the Contra Drug story. Both of them were part of the Mindsi2 library. “Gary Webb In His Own Words” is an interview that was recorded shortly before he committed suicide in 2002. CIA / Contra Drug Connection? is a clip that tells the wider story of possible CIA involvement in drug running.


Other places on MindsiMedia where you can explore stories that aren't part of the mainstream are on our web site on the Mindsi 2 / Hidden History page

If your on Pintrest there are several relevant boards on my page there.

We have also blogged here on this subject but to be honest our archives are in a bit of disarray. It's an issue were working on.

One of the first journalists to report on this story, even before Gary Webb was Robert Parry who has the online news magazine Consortium News check it out by following thelink. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Arrigo Park Public Art In A Chicago Green Spot

The Taylor street area now known as University Village is a residental neighborhood tuckedice between the University of Illinois campus and the Rush Medical complex. It was one of two original Italian communities in the city. Nowadays it is more cosmopolitan and upscale than a hundred years ago when it was a mobster controled slum. Among other things it is home to Arrigo Park a nice little patch of green in a fairly dense residential area.

It is also has a couple of works of public art that I recently post videos of on our ChiTownView You Tube station.

Published on Oct 5, 2014
This bronze statue of Italian explorer Christopher Columbus is one of the few surviving relics of Chicago's 1893 Columbia Exposition. It was created for the “white city” by noted sculptor Moses Ezekiel. After the exposition this masterpiece was housed in Columbus Memorial Building located in the loop at State & Washington. That was torn down in 1959 and the statue was stored in a lumber yard until the Chicago Tribune wrote a story about it's plight. A community group was organized by Victor Arrigo and the statue was rescued and in 1966 was installed in what was then known as Vernon Park. Since then the park has been renamed Arrigo Park to honor the man who not only rescued the statue but served the area as a state representative.

Published on Oct 4, 2014
A small veterans memorial located in the Taylor St areas Arrigo Park on Chicago's near west side. The monument is just behind the statue of Christopher Columbus at the Lomis St. entrance.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Ghosts Of Gangsters And Some Tasty Soda Pop A Dispatch From Forest Park Il.

As you may well or not know the world headquarters of MindsiMedia is located in Forest Park Il. A small town just west of downtown Chicago. It might not be a upscale bustling metropolis but it has it's quirky charm and a bit of history. Today we share some video snap shots from ChiTownView of both aspects with you.

Forest Park's “main street” is Madison Ave. and on it you will find Shaure's Hardware. Inside of it I recently came across some tasty beverages which led to a couple of videos.

Published on Sep 24, 2014
I found some Capone family soda pop at my local hardware store the other day and decided to give it a taste test. As I sipped the beverage I ruminated a couple of Al Capone related stories. Including one involving Chicago legend "Weird" Harold Rubin. Then to wind things up I recited a quote from “snorky” himself. The quote is included on the post card shown at the end of the clip. It can be found at the MindsiMedia shop at Zazzle.

Published on Oct 4, 2014
Last week we taste tested the green apple soda part of the line of Capone Family Secrets line of pops. Today we have a double header of small label soda pop samplers first up is a Soviet soda called Leninade and thena blast from the past called Kickapoo Joy Juice. All three of these fine beverages I found at my local hardware store. This would be; Shauer's Hardware 7449 W Madison, Forest Park, IL 60130, (708) 366 – 1100,
Kickapoo Joy Juice dates back to the 1950's and has it's own song.

While Forest Park itself wasn't home to any of Chicago's gangster elites a whole lot of them lived in neighboring Oak Park and River Forest. So they did do a lot of business here Sam Giancana aka “momo” held court at a nondiscript tavern on Roosevelt Rd.

Published on Nov 9, 2013
The south side of Roosevelt Rd. west of Harlem has been home to a racetrack, a golf course, a torpedo plant, a shopping mall and a church. The north side of the street is a nondescript collection of apartments and businesses including this restaurant. In the 1950's and 60's it was called the Armory Lounge and was the headquarters for Sam Giancana head of the Chicago outfit.
The powerful Mafia boss choose this location because it was out of the way and a two minute drive from his house. Not far enough out of the way though because the FBI stumbled onto the joint and ended up planting a wiretap here and another in a Michigan Ave. clothes store. Together they provided the first insights into the inner workings of the Chicago outfit. And began a series of legal problems that eventually forced Giancana leave the country for awhile.
This spot began its life, in a different building, during the 1920's as the Roosevelt Gardens. It has also been called The Lodge and the Torpedo Tap.

This clip is another in our series "Chicago Crime now & Then" check out our playlist.

For more looks at Forest Park check out our playlist of videos about the town.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Wire creator David Simon: why American politics no longer works

The Wire creator David Simon: why American

politics no longer works

The writer’s next show, Show Me a Hero, is the true story of a
battle over public housing that convulsed New York in the 80s. Here,
on location in Manhattan, he talks about how money corrupts US
politics, the erosion of the working class, why it’s a crime to be
poor in America – and why he likes to argue

“That’s the notion that the markets will solve everything. Leave me alone. I want maximum liberty, I want maximum freedom. Those words have such power in America. On the other hand ‘responsibility’ or ‘society’ or ‘community’ are words that are increasingly held in disfavour in the United States. And that’s a recipe for cooking up a second-rate society, one that does not engage with the notion of collective responsibility. We’re only as good a society as how we treat those who are most vulnerable and nobody’s more vulnerable than our poor. To be poor is not a crime, except in America.”  

Omar sums it all up in this classic scene from The Wire. 
Click there.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Totalitarianism, American Style From Alternet

From AlterNet

From remarks made by Chris Hedges on Saturday at a panel discussion in New York City titled “The Climate Crisis: Which Way Out?” The event occurred on the eve of the massive People’s Climate March in New York City. For a video of some of what the panelists said, click here.

"The old liberal class, the safety valve that addressed grievances and injustices in times of economic or political distress, has been neutered. There are self-identified liberals, including Barack Obama, who continue to speak in the old language of liberalism but serve corporate power. This has been true since the Clinton administration. Bill Clinton found that by doing corporate bidding he could get corporate money—thus NAFTA, the destruction of our welfare system, the explosion of mass incarceration under the [1994] omnibus bill, the deregulation of the FCC, turning the airwaves over to a half dozen corporations, and the revoking of FDR’s 1933Glass-Steagall reform that had protected our banking system from speculators. Clinton, in exchange for corporate money, transformed the Democratic Party into the Republican Party. This was diabolically brilliant. It forced the Republican Party to shift so far to the right it became insane."  

To read the entire post click here, Totalitarianism, American Style | Alternet

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Isis A History of This Terror Group And Where Their Money Comes From

It has been a mostly an off again year for us here at MindsiMedia but as summer turns to fall we look to become more on again. For sure there is enough going on in the world to take a look at and we have been doing a lot of work on our web site so lets get into it. First up we take a look at developments in the over decades long war on terror which by now should be called the war in error.

Isis our newest most deadly and dangerous enemy is like so many of our foes in this conflict that has come to define America in the 21st century is a product of blowback. They are an offshoot/mutation of a Sunni terrorist group called Jama’at al-Tawhid w’al-Jihad (the Party of Monotheism and Jihad) started by a Jordanian named Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. He arrived in Afghanistan in 1989 to fight the Soviets but was a little late for the party so he returned to his home country and bounced around the edges terror community for a decade.

He returned to Afghanistan in 1999 to set up his own terrorist training camp and while he met with Osama Bin Laden did not join al-Qeda. He fled Afghanistan in 2001 when the Taliban were ousted from power by the U.S.. Al-Zarqawi next turned up in Iraq where his presence was used as one of the pretexts for the American invasion. For the rest of the evolution of this group check out "ISIS:AShort History, The terrorist group's evolution from fervid fantasytodeath cult"

 from Atlantic magazine web site.

If you interested in a closer look at the overall development of radical Islam we have posted a three hour film called "The Power of Nightmares" on the Mindsi2 page of our web site. It is named after a now terminated YouTube station where looked at some of the hidden history of the development of the American empire..

But back to Isis knowing the history is one thing but where does the money trail lead? Who ponied up the money to start this group and how do they sustain themselves nowadays? For the answers to these questions we turn to a pair of articles I recently came across.

First from the excellent WhoWhatWhy site we have this story.

Saudi Connections to ISIS?

"Now that the U.S. is back at it in Iraq against a new foe, there’s suddenly renewed focus on evidence of Saudi involvement in 9/11.
More specifically, questions are now being asked about whether the U.S. government’s suppression of what it learned about Saudi Arabia during the 9/11 investigations contributed directly to the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria."
- See more at: 

But there is more than one revenue stream feeding this beast and today's Huffington Post provides this look at how Isis is being funded.

This Is How ISIS Makes $3 Million A Day

"U.S. intelligence officials revealed last week that they believe the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, is reaping as much as $3 million a day in revenue, making it one of the wealthiest terrorist groups in history.
The group desperately needs the money, for as one U.S. official recently told NBC: "Running a caliphate is not cheap." ISIS needs to pay, arm and feed its brigades. The group also rewards the families of killed militants with a pension, and it needs to cover the costs of governing the territory it has captured.
This is where the Islamic State is getting its money from:"

To read the rest click here.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Vintage Las Vegas; Memories, Post Cards, Tokens, Video and One Cool Web Site

As a aficionado of neon signs Las Vegas is like going to Mecca and it's a pilgrimage I've made a three times. Along the way I've accumulated a number of trinkets photos, post cards and a few gambling tokens. In my ongoing efforts to downsize my stuff I started putting some of my Vegas stuff up oneBay.

Today I am sharing a few of the items along with some memories and some odds and ends. First up is this Polaroid photo I call “Full Moon On Fremont St.” because there high over the Fremont unexperience and it's blazing neon you can see yellow orb in all it's glory. It was taken on my wedding night. My wife and I were married at midnight on Valentines Day in Las Vegas. Originally I wanted to be married by an Elvis impersonator which never happened but we did do the deed at the Silver Bells chapel. To put the icing on the cake that night we were watching Crime Story before the ceremony and got to see fellow Chicagoan Dennis Farina slap some hood around in the parking lot of the Bells.

Talk about a double omen well it lasted for nineteen years and produced two great kids but as that classic song “Wedding Vows In Vegas” sung by Frank Sinatra Jr goes they don't last forever.

Here's a little sample of some of the cards & tokens they will be available for the next few days.

Both the Boulder & Vegas Clubs can be seen in this short color film of Fremont St. from 1939. Which has got to be the oldest color footage out there.

This clip was in a post I did last year that also had some cool vintage footage from Reno. If you'd like to check that out click here.

Finally in my research into old Vegas I came across an extremly cool web site that is chock full of outstanding photos & video of vintage Las Vegas called In it's well worth a look.!

That's all for now oops I almost forgot the gallery of Vegas photos I've taken in my various trips to the promised land check them out here on the MindsiMedia web portal. Do it now!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Two Oldest Gangster Films?

This summer ChiTownView is working on longer more professionaly produced original productions. In the interim we are uploading some older clips from stations we are closing or have been closed. Kind of like a summer vacation complete with reruns.

We are also posting public domain clips we've come across that strike our fancy. Last week I was researching the Italian Black Hand gangs of the early 20th century in preperation for an extended clip about the Taylor street area and it's pivitol place in Chicago crime history. In this poking around I came across a couple of films that are the first two “gangster” movies ever produced. While neither are Chicago related we do have a soft spot for New York where they are centered so we have uploaded these two gems.

The Black Hand, The 1st Gangster Film (1906)

The Black Hand were unaffiliated gangs of Italian criminals who preyed upon other newly arrived countrymen. They extorted money from successful immigrants by the use of kidnapping, murder and other forms of violence. They operated from New York to San Francisco in just about any city with a large Italian community.
Their heyday was between 1900-1920 when they shook down ordinary folks as well as the famous and the powerful. Opera great Enrico Caruso was victimized several times until he finally went to the police. In Chicago they went after “Big Jim” Colosimo the cities most connected mobster. His response was to import Johnny Torrio from New York who quickly ended that threat with an infamous triple murder. A story we told in a previous clip here's a link to it.
This film, from 1906, is the worlds first gangster and was lensed by Billy Bitzer who went on their to work with D.W. Griffith silent films most renowned director. For those who want to read more about the history of the New York Black Hands should check out this link. I found this film on and repost their extensive description here:
“"The Black Hand", True Story of a Recent Occurrence in the Italian Quarter of New York, is a short crime drama featuring cinematographer Billy Bitzer, a star of Silent Hall of Fame.

A gang by the name of Black Hand demands a big amount of money from a local businessman.  If the demands are not met it threatens his daughter. Then the gang kidnaps the girl anyway and sends one of its members to collect the ransom.

Directed by Wallace McCutcheon
Cinematography by Billy Bitzer
Starring Robert Vignola, Anthony O’Sullivan (gangsters)
Distributed by the Biograph Company
Release date March 29, 1906

The Musketeers of Pig Alley, Early D.W. Griffith / Gangster Film
We continue our exploration of early gangster films with this classic movie. It is referred to in many places as the first gangster film even by the Silent Hall of Fame. Which is odd since they have also brought back a 1906 film called The Black Hand which were extortion gangs that preyed on Italian immigrants in the late 19th & early 20th centuries. Below is the decription from where I downloaded from.

"The Musketeers of Pig Alley" is a short crime drama directed by D. W. Griffith. This film illustrates the work of actor Robert Harron and cinematographer Billy Bitzer, stars of Silent Hall of Fame.
"The Musketeers of Pig Alley" is the first gangster film in history. It has some excellent acting by a very strong cast and a lot of suspense. The film is also a predecessor of what would become known a quarter of a century later as "the film noir".
Lillian Gish plays The Little Lady, whose husband is a musician and has to leave town for work.  In his absence she has to rebuff the advances of a cocky character by the nickname of Snapper Kid (Elmer Booth), the gang leader of the Musketeers.
When her sick mother dies The Little Lady becomes grief-stricken. One day she is visited by a friend who takes her to a dance party to raise her spirits. The Little Lady is invited for a drink by some fellow, who puts a drug in her glass, but she is saved by Snapper Kid. As it turns out, the other guy is the rival gang's leader. The two bosses square off, but decide to settle the dispute outside.
Suspense builds up as the two rival gangs chase each other around Pig Alley. Will there be a winner, or will all perish or go to jail?

Directed by D.W. Griffith
Produced by the Biograph Company
Cinematography Billy Bitzer
Starring Elmer Booth, Lillian Gish, Robert Harron
Release date October 31, 1912

Copyright information for both films.
Creative Commons license: Public Domain Mark 1.0

You can see a slideshow of stills from this both these films and other interesting stuff on the website The Silent Hall of Fame is the only place actively working to bring back from oblivion the names and legacy of formerly illustrious silent movie stars, which have made a major contribution to the industry and the world but do not have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

They also fight for your right, the right of the public, to see silent masterpieces that have been kept in hidden vaults for far too long. Our website streams for free one such masterpiece that has not been seen in 85 years and is not available anywhere else.

Please visit their website to watch quality silent films absolutely free and to support the legacy of silent movie stars with your tax deductible contribution.

Silent Hall of Fame has started an online campaign to begin raising funds for the nomination of our first star for the Hollywood Walk of Fame. All contributions are tax deductible. Here is the web page:
Please spread the word about the campaign and Silent Hall of Fame and help your favorite silent star receive belated recognition and glory.

Silent Hall of Fame, a nonprofit organization
Preserving the legacy of silent movie stars

Another ChiTownView presented by MindsiMedia.Visit our web portal at

Monday, August 18, 2014

Chicago In 1933; Century Of Progress Expo, A Man Makes Music w/ Hand Farts & More

Chicago in 1933 was a happening place. We have covered the splash made by burlesque dancer Sally Rand at the Century of Progress World's Fair. In today's post we take a closer look at the fair as well as some other notable or odd events that took place during that year.

Chicago's 1893 Columbia Exposition set a high standard for world's fairs. Forty years later in 1933 Chicago threw another party this time celebrating the city's centennial. The Century of Progress was another spectacular with exhibits from all over the world.Among the exhibits shown in this clip are the Skyride, Golden Pavilion of Jehol and the dinosaurs of the Sinclair Exhibit.

Farmer Plays "Yankee Doodle Dandy" With Hand Farts 

Cecil H. Dill is the name of this uniquely talented individual. Hailing from Traverse City, Mi. Here he travels to the windy city to demonstrate his ability to render popular melodies by pressing his hands together. Dill also modestly tells how he discovered his unusual skill.

Throngs Greet Italian Fascist Air Armada

This clip combines two Universal newsreels that track the progress and arrival of an Italian armada of 24 Savoia Marchetti S. 55 seaplanes as it flies from Italy to Chicago. The flight was a goodwill mission / publicity stunt and part of the 1933 Century of Progress Worlds Fair. It was a historic flight commanded by General Italo Balbo who was the number two man in  Mussolini's Fascist government.

To see more looks at Chicago in 1933 check out ChiTownView on YouTube.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

My Encounter With Sheila Mack The Bali Suitcase Murder Victim

On the front page of the Sun Times I saw the picture of a battered & bloodstained suitcase that contained the body of Shelia Mack. It was someone I’d met and done some work for not long ago. She was apparently murdered and stuffed in the bag by her daughter and daughter’s boyfriend. It was a tragic end for two people who on the surface lived the kind of life that most people would kill to have. But not one I was really surprised to hear about despite the briefness of our encounter.

They lived in a gorgeous old mansion on the north side of Oak Park IL. Just around the corner from a Frank Lloyd Wright designed home. It was a house originally built for a bank president and among its unique features was a vault in the basement. When I met her Shelia was in the process of cleaning out her house and moving into the city. Her husband had passed away, the house needed a lot of repair work, and she felt that her and her daughter needed a change of scene.

Johnny Mack had been a music arranger / producer / composer with a large collection of old classical records and books. These are two areas that I have some background in which is why I was called in to help by a friend of a friend who had been hired to do the house sale(s). Shelia also had some furniture she wanted to sell on eBay which is another thing that I do. It was while I was photographing these elaborately carved wooden swings and gathering background on them that I had my brief encounters these two people.

My impression was that this was at one time a home a family shared many years ago. Though still reflecting intelligence and good taste it was now just a house filled with tension that two people lived in. Shelia was distraught and fearful over the direction her daughter Heather’s life had taken, her boyfriend / accomplice in particular. I met though never conversed with Heather but she seemed like an adolescent antisocial misfit who radiated hostility. I was one myself once so I know the signs. Shelia was in a hurry to sell the house and complete the move and get her daughter out of town.

A good plan but in the end she didn’t move far enough away. After a couple of visits to the house my work was done and not long afterwards I heard that Sheila had sold the house and was living in Chicago. The boyfriend issue was just a symptom of a deeper problem that haunted these two people. Just a few weeks after Heather was caught partying with new boyfriend Tommy and friends at a luxury hotel on Sheila’s credit card the pair left on a luxury vacation. Even though friends warned not to take her with.

But the trouble just followed them to the St. Regis on the island paradise of Bali. Two days after mother and daughter arrived Tommy turned up. Apparently a fight erupted over who was going to pay for the additional hotel room. It was a fight that ended in murder. They stuffed the body into a suitcase then left it with a taxi driver. Ditched the driver and then checked into another hotel where they partied on the dead woman’s credit card.

For more on the gory details of this crime follow this link.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Chicago Neon Tour Continues w/ A Side Trip

The Chicago neon tour rolled through the near western suburbs last week. On a most pleasant evening we make stops in Hillside and Elmhurst. Our lens also made a detour to New York City that included a trip back in time. Here is the itinerary.

Q’s Pizza, Hillside:
Q's Pizzeria is an old school Italian eatery located somewhat off the beaten path in Hillside Il. This hidden gem has been satisfying appetites for more than a half century. You can find it on Butterfield Rd. just west of Wolf. I was glad to see this vintage sign still functioning on our recent trip out shoot it. Although I was sorry the insert sign just below “pizza” was gone. It said "Dinner" and underneath "Wine Draft Beer”.

The York Theater, Elmhurst:

The York Theater in downtown Elmhurst was built in 1924 opening on Labor Day of that year. It was designed by noted theatre architect Elmer Behrns and featuring a Spanish motif. In 1938 the theater underwent a major remodeling switching to it's current art deco look. The sign is not the original but still looks mighty nice. On the second floor you will find the museum and archives of the Theatre Historical Society of America.

The York is now part of a local chain of theaters called Classic Cinema's. You can find out more about them and the York by following the link above.

New York City

Some short clips of various vintage New York City neon signs. We have the Bonds / International Casino building with it's Wrigley Gum animated neon sign classic. Also from Times Square the Planters Peanut sign both these clips are from the 1930's. The Porgy & Bess sign dates from the 1940's. Finally the Newport / New York sign is from the 1980's.

The soundscape was constructed from elements downloaded from Their attributions are below.
inspiration-xc   Stand clear of the closing doors please3
MindsiMedia is my Chicago based Internet broadcasting service that has been up since 2007. We began as a web site to house some of my neon sign photographs. I think that the neon sign is one of mankind's most beautiful creations.

We have more neon videos and photos for your viewing enjoyment. On ChiTownView "The Chicago Neon Tour" playlist can be found here.
We also have a gallery of neon photography at this link..
And we have lots of neon photos posted on our Flickr photostream.
Produced for ChiTownView by MindsiMedia. Visit our web portal at

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Strippers Delight, Vintage Stag Films; Blaze Star, Bettie Page, Irving Klaw & More

MindsiMedia has been on You Tube for seven years and have had dozens of stations. Most of which are now defunkt. Among our collection we had our “sinema” SilkSpot which started as a project for a nightclub that didn't work out. The channel featured vintage skin flicks short clips of burlesque dancers, strippers and other women taking (most) of their clothes off. Sex gets peoples interest so even though the nightclub deal didn't work out the station has proved too popular to just kill. It was up for about three years before being terminated for repeated community standard violations.

On our web portal we have started  the “Too Hot For You Tube” page featuring many of the clips from this departed station. You will find that page here

 Relight My Fire

First we have  this clip of  burlesque queen Blaze Star. I didnt really like the soundtrack  so went to the InternetArchive to see find that would work better. There I came across the music of the Per Olund Band & MCVulcano and I found two songs that worked just fine. Then I had a little more music than video so what started out a vouyeristic view of Ms. Starrs bedtime routine turns into something more. The clip is long at seven minutes but those that don't stay for the last three minutes will be missing a climax that includes real atomic fireworks.
The Blaze Starr video is available here;
The music includes two tracks from Chaos - Per Olund Band & MCVulcano
The Pain Is Mine & Your Pain Is Mine
The Bomb blast from the FreeSoundProject by IFartInUrGeneralDirection (

Striphikers? 1940's Burlesque Film

Two comely young ladies are out for an afternoons ride out in the country when their car breaks down. They try to flag down a passing car at first by conventional methods. When that doesn't work they begin to peel off layers. STILL to no good effect.
Finally as the one wearing black removes her bra she manages to pull over a motorist. Only problem is it's a cop!
The soundtrack for this one I produced myself under the name Captain Zero & the Radioactive Lovers.

There's Bettie Page, Irving Klaw & more. So don’t forget to visit “Too Hot For YouTube” on the MindsiMedia web portal.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

ChiTownViews A New Series of Historic Chicago Postcards

ChiTownView is my YouTube station that offers little slices of Chicago history. ChiTownViews is the name of a new series of postcards that show and tell about events and people from the windy city’s colorful past. We have recently released the first collection of images on MindsiMedia which is our Zazzle store. The first group includes;

The Carter Harrison’s who were Chicago’s 1st father & son mayoral dynasties

See what Chicago looked like before the great fire on a previous blog post.
All that and more are found at MindsiMedia on Zazzle. Where in the next couple of months we will be expanding and offering hundreds of new items.

MindsiMedia is based in the Chicago area besides the new postcards and the afore mentioned YouTube video station. Our Flickr photostream and Shopify store 20th Century Retro are also places of interest to fans of the city on the shores of Lake Michigan. The best place to explore all that MindsiMedia has to offer is our web portal, stop by now.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Eisenhower & Patton Visit The Nazi Death Camps

I came across this film about the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps by the US at the end of the second world war. It was at once repulsive and fascinating an inyour face look at the ultimate horror. It is a view of the mechanized slaughter and the subsquent disposal of large numbers of innocent people. We see the large scale response as the American Army takes on the task of rescuing these people. Included is a clip of generals Eisenhower, Bradley and what looks like Patton along with others touring one of the camps. It is one of the most riveting hours of history that you will see. For more on this part of the story check out this post.

Anyway here it is an important film but not for those who are offended by the showing of graphic images. If you are DON'T WATCH!

Here is a breakdown of what's on the film.

 R.1: Army Lt. Col. George C. Stevens, Navy Lt. E. Ray Kellogg and U.S. Chief of Counsel Robert H. Jackson read exhibited affidavits which attest to authenticity of scenes in film. Map of Europe shows locations of concentration camps in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechoslovokia, Danzing, Denmark, France, Germany, Isle of Jersey, Latvia, Netherlands, Poland and Yugoslavia. At Leipsig Concentration Camp, there are piles of dead bodies, and many living Russian, Czechoslovakian, Polish and French prisoners. At Penig Concentration Camp, Hungarian women and others display wounds. Doctors treat patients and U.S. Red Cross workers move them to German Air Force hospital where their former captors are forced to care for them.
R.2: At Ohrdruf Concentration Camp, inspection team composed of Allied military leaders, members of U.S. Congress and local townspeople tours camp. Among them are Generals Dwight David Eisenhower, Supreme Headquaters Allied Expeditionary Forces commander; Omar Nelson Bradley; and George S. Patton. General Eisenhower speaks with Congressmen. They see bodies heaped on grill at crematorium and Polish, Czechoslovakian, Russian, Belgian, German Jews and German political prisoners. Col. Heyden Sears, Combat Command A, 4th Armored Division commander, forces local townspeople to tour camp. U.S. officers arrive at Hadamar Concentration Camp, where Polish, Russian and German political and religious dissidents were murdered. Maj. Herman Boelke of U.S. War Crimes Investigation Team (WCIT) examines survivors. Bodies are exhumed from mass graves for examination, identification and burial. Four-man panel interviews facility director Dr. Waldman and chief male nurse Karl Wille.
R.3:At Breendonck Concentration Camp, Belgium, methods of torture are demonstrated. At Harlan Concentration Camp near Hannover, U.S. Red Cross aides Polish survivors. Allied troops and able-bodied survivors bury dead. At Arnstadt Concentration Camp, German villagers are forced to exhume Polish and Russian bodies from mass graves.
R.4: At Nordhausen Concentration Camp, there are piles of bodies. Troops treat, feed and remove survivors who are mainly Polish, Russian and French. At Mauthausen Concentration Camp, Navy Lt. Jack H. Taylor stands with fellow survivors and describes his capture, imprisonment and conditions at Mauthausen. Volunteers bathe victims.
R.5: At Buchenwald Concentration Camp, Army trucks arrive with aid for survivors. Piles of dead, mutilated and emaciated bodies. Some survivors among dead. Huge ovens and piles of bone ash on floor of crematorium. Civilians from nearby Weimar are forced to tour camp. They see exhibits of lampshades made of human skin, and two shrunken heads. R.6: British commander of Royal Artillery describes conditions at Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp. German Army Schutzstaffel (SS) troops are forced to bury dead and aid survivors. Woman doctor, former prisoner, describes conditions in female section of camp. Belson commander Kramer is taken into custody. German guards bury dead. Bulldozer pushes piles of bodies into mass graves.