Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Cantinieres of the Sapeurs Pompiers

Sapeurs Pompiers, French firefighters.

Cantinieres attached to French fire fighting companies appear in photos and artwork. The early companies were organized more on military lines with members carrying weapons on parade. I don't know if  these cantinieres were just for parades or served during fires. One below was noted as being on duty during the Franco-Prussian War.

This lady,Marie BEHEN, served during the Siege of Paris.

Here she is again in an earlier photo.

A surviving Cantiniere uniform and canteen...

more later.................

Monday, August 30, 2010

More Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines.

"L'Aviazione dalle origini al 1914"
 Looks like the artist that did TinTin did this collection.

 See the rest here. No Sarah Miles.


Victorian and Edwardian Women and Bicycles

I really like those movies made in 1960s based on H. G. Wells and Jules Verne stories. The series of "Great Race" type films that included Those Magnificent men In Their Flying Machines had elements of old fashioned manners meets new inventions. Fun stuff but written by modern writers spoofing old ways. The bike gag that happens in Those Magnificent men In Their Flying Machines to Sarah Mile's character was a device to have her character meet the American. Her skirt is caught in her bicycle chain and the American "helps" her.

Strange that Sarah's character was already established as riding a motorcycle and liking machines.
Maybe the gag was borrowed from a similar gag with the unpleasant Judy Garland character in "The Good Old Summertime"....

Woman (in general) had been riding bicycles from the late 1880s, long enough for the sport be to popular and "normal" by the times these movies were set with a base of knowledge that women riders could look back on. There were also pants for women riders and bicycles built for skirt wearers. The truth was and is that women look really great doing something this fun and healthy and made good subjects for art.
Going back until at least the late 90s, photographers and illustrators had fun with women bike riders starting with the wind element.

The non-lethal fall. Movie makers didn't do this gag as it involved  hiring stunt people I guess.

The "in underwear for no apparent reason" other that it's sexy. There are nude variations.

In the department of Victorian war game figures there is this 25mm figure....

It was hard to translate the caption on this one below but it's something like the woman telling the policeman that she's not breaking the morals, she's trying to cover where she wasn't given a "fig leaf". She's repairing her torn bicycle pants.

Last there's this strange card of an Indian on a bike carrying off a woman in her chemise. You tell me.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Long Skirt Gags

I thought that the skirt gags in history movies were just that, gags written by modern writers about a time they didn't live in. Take The Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines. Sarah Miles' annoying character loses her skirt twice in the story. Once to a bicycle (for a future entry on bike jokes).......

...and the stepping on gag.

Doing Rev-War and Civil War reenacting, I would get nervous around women reenactors' dresses, especially at period balls and dances. There was good reason to be cautious as illustrations of the skirt gag, based on possibly REAL accidents goes back to at least 1800. I'm pretty sure Tolstoy and Zola mentioned it happening in print.

It continued into the early 1900s....

By the early 1900s the gag started to include exposure of the victim...

A comic strip from La Vie En Culotte Rouge, a french military humor magazine had this series of cartoons involving wearing spurs to a dance.

Post card studios hired actors for the gag.

I haven't seen a period "woman on woman" example. The period jokes usually imply that men are pretty stupid and the women are the victims. The  TV show F Troop tried the "woman on woman" skirt gag. The act was deliberate....

Somehow at the end of the action, the men got the blame with 3 women walking out on Captain Parmenter.