Friday, December 19, 2014

Simple Gifts - Part III

The next two gifts are again studies in contrast from the early years of the 20th century.

The Great 1914-1919 War was to define the century and the aftermath resounds to this day.  One of the events of the first year of that conflict, never mentioned in the history books when I was in school, was what became known as the Christmas Truce of 1914.  It is only in recent years that it has become an iconic moment in that war to end wars.  The first time I heard about it was in Joan Littlewood's Oh What A Lovely War when it was staged in Toronto in the 1960s.  Her musical entertainment was based on a radio series by Charles Chilton which was the catalyst for a more critical view of that monumental waste of a generation - a bitter lesson in hindsight at its finest.

Now that spontaneous fraternization of the two sides along the front on December 24-26, 2014 has been marked in stories, songs, a movie, an opera and just this year a highly controversial ad campaign in Great Britain.

James McMullen illustrated this first hand account, from a letter to his mother by Captain Sir Edward Hulse, of one of the remarkable truce in his signature "high focus" style.

Equally recognizable is the style of Fontaine Fox in this tribute to his Toonerville Folks - a regular feature in the Funnies from 1908 until 1955.   Toonerville was the quintessential American hinterland between the urban and the rural that existed until urban sprawl became the norm.    Fox captured the everyday adventures of Skipper and his Trolly that met all the trains with an loving if slightly satirical eye.  And in this little vignette he captures the hustle and bustle of the seasons perfectly.

A left click on the Gift Tag will open the last gift:

December 19 - 1924: The last Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost is sold in London, England.

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