Posts Tagged ‘Boston’

What Lurks In Your Walls Or Some People Have All The Luck

October 20, 2010

As I have stated many times before, I love the Antiques Roadshow[1].  I especially love hearing the stories of how people happened to find their treasures. Usually people find things at yard sales, estate sales, tucked away in an attic, a basement, a closet or even curbside. Well, not too long ago there were two people who found treasures in their home that would astound the appraisers at the Antiques Roadshow.

First there’s Blair Pitre of Lacombe, Alberta, Canada. He bought a turn of the century bungalow and started work on renovating it.  As he was tearing down the walls, he found movie posters from the late 1920’s/early 1930’s featuring actors such as Greta Garbo, Charlie Chaplin and Joan Crawford. This is an important period in the history of motion pictures because the industry was transitioning from silent to talkies. The previous owner, an 80-year-old woman who died in 2009, was the granddaughter of an early twentieth century movie theater owner in Pitre’s town. As to why the posters were in the wall, most likely she used them as insulation and never thought that they would be worth anything. Pitre had the posters auctioned off to help pay for renovation of his house. One poster, Bulldog Drummond, a drama from 1929 sold for $9,000. Pitre hopes to find more posters in his home. In particular, he is hoping to find Metropolis, since that poster is worth a million dollars.

Next there’s retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Martin Kober. For as long as he could remember, a painting of the Virgin Mary crying over the crucified Jesus has been in his family.  Family lore said that the painting was a Michelangelo. The item hung over the sofa of his parents home, until the day when the younger Kober threw a tennis ball and knocked it off the wall. His parents then wrapped it up and kept it behind the sofa. When Kober retired in 2003, he decided to research the history of this painting. One expert, Antonio Forcellino says that the painting is a actual Michelangelo painting, another expert, William Wallace says that it isn’t. Forcellino bases his claims on his expertise as a restorer, as well as the painting’s similarity to a drawing Michelangelo did that is now at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Wallace states that while the piece is impressive, it was not done by Michelangelo. So, who’s right? Time and more examination by experts will tell.

Still, what I want to know is why are Pitre and Kober so lucky? How come their treasures were right under their noses and all that’s in my walls is insulation and all that is behind my sofa are dust bunnies? This inquiring mind wants to know.


[1] Antiques Roadshow is the American version of the BBC television show of the same name that airs on PBS. This show has people bringing their antique and collectible items to appraisers and the appraisers tell them if their items are worth anything. Sometimes the items are worth something and sometimes they aren’t.



Movies You Won’t See

April 9, 2010

Good movies make you suspend your disbelief. So, no one is surprised that at the end of a mainstream Hollywood movie, the guy gets the girl or the villain goes to jail. If for some reason the ending can’t be happy, then it has to be hopeful. Still, just for the heck of it, what would happen if…

The Bad Guy Gets Away
It was the perfect crime, with a foolproof plan, executed by master criminal and—it works!  The criminal robs the biggest bank in town and gets away from the cops without so much as a paper cut. The criminal takes the money and settles in some Caribbean island. The island’s authorities know who this person is but the criminal worked out a deal that in exchange for not alerting American authorities, the criminal convinces casinos to set up shop on the island. The island gets income. The criminal lives in a penthouse suite at one of the casinos and has unlimited comps. Life is good.

They Live Happily Ever After—Just Not With Each Other
Boy and Girl meet. Girl has fight with Boy. Boy leaves Girl to practice law in Boston. Girl finds Boy and they both realize that this relationship will never work. She’s a vegan. He loves a good steak. So, they agree to disagree and part on good terms. She finds a job with PETA and he becomes partner in one of the largest law firms in Boston. They are both very happy because they following the beat of their own, not someone else’s, drummer.

They Leave
It started out as a dream house or a quiet weekend camping trip. Then came the homicidal maniac or evil spirit. Since the people involved are mild mannered citizens, they get out of the house or flag down a park ranger and get as far, far away as they can from the malevolent entity. After all, fighting a homicidal maniac or evil spirit and expecting to win is just plain crazy.

So there it is, movies that won’t be playing at the local multiplex. By the way, if the any of the powers that be in Hollywood happen to be reading this and are interested in making a movie based on my ideas, for the right price, I’ll do the screenplay.