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1953 Mochet CM-125 Grand Luxe


Georges Mochet began to produce cycle-cars at his, now-demolished, premises at 68, Rue Roque-de-Fillol at Puteaux in approximately 1946 and by about 1952 had progressed to more modern looking two seater micro-cars and powered two-wheelers. In 1958, with approximately 3,000 vehicles manufactured, production ended.


Georges had inherited the business from his father, Charles Mochet (1880–1934) under whose leadership it had, after the First World War, produced children’s’ pedal cars and, between 1924 and 1934, the ‘Vélocar’ lightweight, pedal-powered, cycle-car. In 1934, the firm’s revolutionary, record-breaking ‘Vélo-Vélocar’ recumbent bicycles were banned from cycling competitions by theInternational Cycling Union. Charles Mochet died soon after.

The continuation of recumbent cycle production and of the cycle-cars, popular in occupied, no-petrol France, and the subsequent switch to micro-cars under Georges after the Second World War was therefore a direct evolution from the pre-war business built up by his father.


Under Georges Mochet the cars were powered by small single cylinder two stroke Ydral engines initially of 100 cc installed at the back and driving the rear wheels. By the time manufacturing ended, the engine size had increased to 175 cc. During this time the body work also evolved, with improved weather protection a welcome aspect of later models.

There is a Mochet three-wheeler cycle car in a museum dating from 1947, described by one commentator as “very rustic”, but regular production dates from approximately 1950 which some sources take as marking the birth of the Mochet autobusiness. 1949 or 1950 saw the arrival of the “Type K” cycle-car with its 100 cc engine. This was replaced in 1952 by the “Type CM Luxe”, the engine size now increased to 125 cc. The “Type CM Grand luxe” for 1953 retained the 125 cc and added a new “ponton” format body, with headlights set into the front wings. The Mochet now looked like a normal car, but smaller, at just 2550 mm long and 1130 mm wide, recalling the pedal cars produced under the patron’s father before the First World War. Despite the modern body-work the 1953 “CM Grand Luxe” retained the same 1700 mm wheelbase and 980 mm front-track of the original “Type K” cycle-car.


In October 1953, at the Paris Motor Show, Mochet exhibited a modern looking small cabriolet bodied car closer in size to a (small) normal car. The car was powered by a twin cylinder 748cc unit providing a claimed 40 hp of output. The unit was based on the engines used by the BMW motor bikes used by the police. However, this Mochet 750 never progressed beyond the prototype stage.

Text from wikipedia 

Sometimes adding an optimistic Grand Luxe just don’t cut it – Ted ;-)

Filed under: Automobiles, Retro technology, The fifties Tagged: 1953, Micro cars, mini cars, Mochet CM-125 Grand Luxe

Shop Fronts

The Kurér Portable Radio



I got hold of one at flea market a couple of years ago, but my youngest daughter got hold of it ;-)

Originally posted on ThorNews:

Radionette Combi turkis

Kurér Combi from 1960 (Photo: Northern Norwegian Radio Museum)

Kurér was a portable radio that became very popular in Norway in the 50’s and 60’s. The first model was launched 24 April 1950.and was produced by the Norwegian radio producer Radionette. 

It had four vacuum tubes and a speaker with a permanent magnet and four wavebands: Longwave, medium wave, fisheries wave and shortwave. It was designed to be a portable radio that also could be used at home. The power source was either normal electricity or batteries, which was quite innovative at the time. The total weight was 16.8 lb.

The ftop photo is showing a Kurér Combi from 1960, a variation of the Kurér with in-built record player that did cost 103 dollars. Today, the price would be about 1193 dollars which meant that families had to save money to get hold of a quality portable radio.

Radionette Kurer Transi rødKurér Transi from…

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Filed under: Retro

Comments & Memories On Soft Drinks & Sodas


The sharpest among you may have noticed that at the bottom of the “This Week’s Soft drink” posts there is encouragement for my visitors to share memories connected to soft drinks posted. I must admit that this rarely happens so when it does, and with such well written and interesting memories as it did to day I didn’t have the heart to just post it at the comment page which I suspect very few read. So here is Katrin-Ingrid at Art-coloured Glasses’ comments on Green River – Ted

a1030_green river_01As far as I can tell, Green River is now distributed nationwide, in groceries and sweet shops across the US, again, and it tastes pretty much as I remember it from the 1960s. My first memories of Green River were not of a bottled pop, but of a true soda-fountain phosphate (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phosphate_soda) that was hand-mixed and served by the soda jerks. It tasted pretty much like the bottled stuff but had the extra allure of the handmade alchemy practiced at the fountain, so that was a special treat when I was a kid. There is a wonderful, a1030_green river_02popular ice cream parlour where I live in Denton, Texas, that makes a wide variety of fantastic homemade ice cream flavours and other soda fountain classics; though one can order a Green River phosphate there, I suspect that nowadays it’s merely a combination of Green River syrup and plain sparkling water, not much different from the so-called Italian Sodas sold practically everywhere in the US but still slightly nostalgic to me because of the mere Green River name.

The name also carries a less savoury memory for me, a1030_green river_06as I grew up in Washington state, in the area where an actual Green River (though more brown and muddy most of the time, in practice if not in name) became the notorious dumping-ground for the prolific serial killer Gary Ridgway, who is still better known as the Green River Killer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Ridgway). I don’t know what, if any, effect that horrible case and the publicity surrounding it ever had on the company producing what was a completely unrelated and sugary-sweet soda pop, but I imagine there are others like me who lived there at the time and found a1030_green river_05the name a bit unsettling for a while. It’s long enough ago that the sensationalism of the crime and reportage are far beyond the reach of any young people, the target audience of consumers who have done as much as we nostalgic “oldsters” have done to create the contemporary craze for ‘retro’ sodas that has helped the good old lime pop revisit its glory days.

Bottoms up!

Filed under: Facts, Soft drinks and sodas Tagged: Green River Killer, Green River soda, Green River soft drink

Round The World By Steam – 1912 White Star line


white star line_01

white star line_09The Oceanic Steam Navigation Company or White Star Line of Boston Packets, more commonly known as just White Star Line, was a prominent British shipping company, today most famous for their ground-breaking vessel Oceanic of 1870, their ill-fated vessel RMS Titanic, and the World War I loss of Titanic‘s sister ship Britannic.

In 1934 White Star merged with its chief rival, Cunard Line, which operated as Cunard-White Star Line until 1950. Cunard Line then operated as a separate entity until 2005 and is now part of Carnival Corporation & plc. As a lasting reminder of the White Star Line, modern Cunard ships use the term White Star Service to describe the level of customer care expected of the company.

Early history

white star line_11The first company bearing the name White Star Line was founded in Liverpool, England, by John Pilkington and Henry Wilson in 1845. It focused on the UK–Australia trade, which increased following the discovery of gold in Australia. The fleet initially consisted of the chartered sailing ships RMS Tayleur, Blue Jacket, White Star, Red Jacket, Ellen, Ben Nevis, Emma, Mermaid and Iowa. Tayleur, the largest ship of its day, wrecked on its maiden voyage to Australia at Lambay Island, near Ireland, a disaster that haunted the company for years.

In 1863, the company acquired its first steamship, the Royal Standard.

The original White Star Line merged with two other small lines, The Black Ball Line and The Eagle Line, to form a conglomerate, the Liverpool, Melbourne and Oriental Steam Navigation Company Limited. This did not prosper and White Star broke away. White Star concentrated on Liverpool to New York services. Heavy investment in new ships was financed by borrowing, but the company’s bank, the Royal Bank of Liverpool, failed in October 1867. White Star was left with an incredible debt of £527,000, (£40,715,117 as of 2014), and was forced into bankruptcy.

white star line_07

The Oceanic Steam Navigation Company

On 18 January 1868, Thomas Ismay, a director of the National Line, purchased the house flag, trade name and goodwill of the bankrupt company for £1,000, (£78,505 as of 2014), with the intention of operating large ships on the North Atlantic service. Ismay established the company’s headquarters at Albion House, Liverpool.

white star line_05Ismay was approached by Gustav Christian Schwabe, a prominent Liverpool merchant, and his nephew, shipbuilder Gustav Wilhelm Wolff, during a game of billiards. Schwabe offered to finance the new line if Ismay had his ships built by Wolff’s company, Harland and Wolff. Ismay agreed, and a partnership with Harland and Wolff was established. The shipbuilders received their first orders on 30 July 1869. The agreement was that Harland and Wolff would build the ships at cost plus a fixed percentage and would not build any vessels for the White Star’s rivals. In 1870 William Imrie joined the managing company. As the first ship was being commissioned, Ismay formed the Oceanic Steam Navigation Company to operate the steamers under construction.

White Star began with six ships of the Oceanic class: Oceanic (I), Atlantic, Baltic, and Republic, followed by the slightly larger Celtic and Adriatic. White Star began operating again in 1871 between New York and Liverpool (with a call at Queenstown).

white star line_04It has long been customary for many shipping lines to have a common theme for the names of their ships. White Star gave their ships names ending in -ic, such as Titanic. The line also adopted a buff-coloured funnel with a black top as a distinguishing feature for their ships, as well as a distinctive house flag, a red broad pennant with two tails, bearing a white five-pointed star.

The first substantial loss for the company came only four years after its founding, occurring in 1873 with the sinking of the SSAtlantic and the loss of 535 lives near Halifax, Nova Scotia. While en route to New York from Liverpool amidst a vicious storm, the Atlantic attempted to make port at Halifax when a concern arose that the ship would run out of coal before reaching New York. white star line_10However, when attempting to enter Halifax, she ran aground on the rocks and sank in shallow waters. Despite being so close to shore, a majority of the victims of the disaster drowned. The crew were blamed for serious navigational errors by the Canadian Inquiry, although a British Board of Trade investigation cleared the company of all extreme wrongdoing.

During the late nineteenth century, White Star operated many famous ships, such as Britannic (I), Germanic, Teutonic, and Majestic (I). Several of these ships took the Blue Riband, awarded to the fastest ship to make the Atlantic crossing.

In 1899 Thomas Ismay commissioned one of the most beautiful steam ships constructed during the nineteenth century, the Oceanic (II). She was the first ship to exceed the Great Eastern in length (although not tonnage). The building of this ship marked White Star Line’s departure from competition in speed with its rivals. Thereafter White Star concentrated on comfort and economy of operation instead.

In the late nineteenth century, shipbuilders had discovered that when speed through water increased above about 20 knots (23 mph; 37 km/h), the required additional engine power increased in logarithmic proportion: that is, each additional increment of speed required a larger increase in engine power and fuel consumption. With the coal-fired reciprocating steam engines of the time, exceeding about 24 knots (28 mph; 44 km/h) required very high power and fuel consumption.

white star line_06For this reason, the White Star Line committed to comfort and reliability rather than to speed. For example, White Star’s Celtic cruised at 16 knots (18 mph; 30 km/h) with 14,000 horsepower, while Cunard’s Mauretania made 24 knots (28 mph; 44 km/h) with 68,000 horsepower.

Between 1901 and 1907, White Star brought "The Big Four" (all around 24,000 tons) into service: Celtic, Cedric, Baltic, and Adriatic. These ships carried massive numbers of passengers: 400 passengers in First and Second Class, and over 2,000 in Third Class. In addition, they had extremely large cargo capacities, up to 17,000 tons of general cargo.

In 1902 White Star Line was absorbed into the International Mercantile Marine Co. (IMM), a large American shipping conglomerate. Bruce Ismay ceded control to IMM in the face of intense pressure from shareholders and J. P. Morgan, who threatened a rate war. IMM was dissolved in 1932.

In 1933 White Star and Cunard were both in serious financial difficulties because of the Great Depression, falling passenger numbers and the advanced age of their fleets. Work was halted on Cunard’s new giant, Hull 534 (later the Queen Mary) in 1931 to save money. In 1933 the British government agreed to provide assistance to the two competitors on the condition that they merge their North Atlantic operations. The agreement was completed on 30 December 1933.

Cunard merger

white star line_02The merger took place on 10 May 1934, creating Cunard-White Star Limited. White Star contributed ten ships to the new company while Cunard contributed 15 ships. Because of this, and since Hull 534 was Cunard’s ship, 62% of the company was owned by Cunard’s shareholders and 38% of the company was owned for the benefit of White Star’s creditors. White Star’s Australia and New Zealand services were not involved in the merger, but were separately disposed of to Shaw, Savill & Albion later in 1934. A year after this merger, Olympic, the last of her class, was removed from service. She was scrapped in 1937.

In 1947 Cunard acquired the 38% of Cunard White Star they did not already own, and on 31 December 1949 they acquired Cunard White Star’s assets and operations, and reverted to using the name "Cunard" on January 1, 1950. From the time of the 1934 merger, the house flags of both lines had been flown on all their ships, with each ship flying the flag of its original owner above the other, but from 1950, even Georgic and Britannic, the last surviving White Star liners, flew the Cunard house flag above the White Star burgee until they were each withdrawn from service, in 1956 and 1961 respectively. Just as the retiring of Cunard Line’s RMS Aquitania in 1949 marked the end of an era, so the retirement of the Britannic and therefore the last vestiges of the famous White Star Line was similarly noted world-wide. All other ships flew the Cunard flag over the White Star flag until 1968.

The Ship on the poster

white star line_17

RMS Olympic was a transatlantic ocean liner, the lead ship of the White Star Line‘s trio of Olympic-class liners. Unlike her younger sister ships, the Olympic enjoyed a long and illustrious career, spanning 24 years from 1911 to 1935. This included service as a troopship during World War I, which gained her the nickname "Old Reliable". Olympic returned to civilian service after the war and served successfully as an ocean liner throughout the 1920s and into the first half of the 1930s, although increased competition, and the slump in trade during the Great Depression after 1930, made her operation increasingly unprofitable.

white star line_13

She was the largest ocean liner in the world for two periods during 1911–13, interrupted only by the brief tenure of the slightly larger Titanic (which had the same dimensions but higher gross tonnage due to revised interior configurations), and then outsized by the SS Imperator. Olympic also retained the title of the largest British-built liner until the RMS Queen Mary was launched in 1934, interrupted only by the short careers of her slightly larger sister ships.

By contrast with Olympic, the other ships in the class, Titanic and Britannic, did not have long service lives. On the night of 14/15 April 1912, Titanic collided with an iceberg in the North Atlantic and sank, claiming 1,500 lives; Britannic struck a mine and sank in the Kea Channel in the Mediterranean on 21 November 1916, killing 30 people.


white star line_14The Olympic was designed as a luxury ship; her passenger facilities, fittings, deck plans and technical facilities were largely identical to those of her more famous sister Titanic, although with some small variations. The first-class passengers enjoyed luxurious cabins, and some were equipped with private bathrooms. First-class passengers could have meals in the ship’s large and luxurious dining room or in the more intimate A La Carte Restaurant. There was a lavish Grand Staircase, built only for the Olympic-class ships, along with three white star line_15elevators that ran behind the staircase down to E deck, a Georgian-style smoking room, a Veranda Café decorated with palm trees, a swimming pool, Turkish bath, gymnasium, and several other places for meals and entertainment.

The second-class facilities included a smoking room, a library, a spacious dining room, and an elevator.

Finally, the third-class passengers enjoyed reasonable accommodation compared to other ships, if not up to the second and first classes. Instead of white star line_18large dormitories offered by most ships of the time, the third-class passengers of the Olympic travelled in cabins containing two to ten bunks. Facilities for the third class included a smoking room, a common area, and a dining room.

Olympic had a cleaner, sleeker look than other ships of the day: rather than fitting her with bulky exterior air vents, Harland and Wolff used smaller air vents with electric fans, with a "dummy" fourth funnel used for additional ventilation. white star line_12For the power plant Harland and Wolff employed a combination of reciprocating engines with a centre low-pressure turbine, as opposed to the steam turbines used on Cunard’s Lusitania and Mauretania. White Star had successfully tested this engine set up on an earlier liner SS Laurentic, where it was found to be more economical than expansion engines or turbines alone. Olympic consumed 650 tons of coal per 24 hours with an average speed of 21.7 knots on her maiden voyage, compared to 1000 tons of coal per 24 hours for both the Lusitania and Mauretania.

white star line_16Although Olympic and Titanic were nearly identical, and were based on the same design, a few alterations were made to Titanic (and later on Britannic) based on experience gained from Olympic‘s first year in service. The most noticeable of these was that the forward half of the Titanic‘s A Deck promenade was enclosed by a steel screen with sliding windows, to provide additional shelter, whereas the Olympic‘s promenade deck remained open along its whole length. Also the promenades on the Titanic‘s B Deck were reduced in size, and the space used for additional cabins and public rooms, including two luxury suites with private promenades. A number of other variations existed between the two ships layouts and fittings. These differences meant that Titanic had a slightly higher gross tonnage of 46,328 tons, compared to Olympic‘s 45,324 tons.

Text from Wikipedia

Filed under: Article, Ephemera, Holidays, Maritime history, Posters, Transportation, Traveling Tagged: Cunard White Star, RMS Olympic, RMS Titanic, Steam line posters, White Star Line

London Anno 1959 – Part 8



A PAVEMENT ARTIST – The pavement artist is one of the familiar features of the London scene. Your genuine artist draws with coloured chalks direct onto the flagstones, but there are others, less talented or more idle, who merely prop a few sketches or paintings against a convenient railing. The artist in this photograph has given titles to three of his pictures – ‘A Norfolk Road’, ‘Amsterdam, Holland’ and ‘Wessex’. His work is exhibited against some railings in Waterloo Place, on the opposite side from the Athenaeum, which is seen in the previous picture. Perhaps he does not come into the category of ‘artists of eminence in any class of the Fine Arts’, but nobody can deny him the honourable title of ‘artist’.

From “Country Life Picture Book of London” with photos by G F Allen

Filed under: British invasion, Facts, Holidays, The fifties, Traveling Tagged: 1959, London, Pavement artists

Just See What Happens….

Cheers to Jokke!



All I can say is, let’s all take a few beers for Jokke today, he is sorely missed – Ted

Originally posted on ThorNews:

Joachim Nielsen, 1989Today, Joachim “Jokke” Nielsen, Norway’s biggest rock poet, would have turned 50 years old. Commentator in newspaper Aftenposten, Joacim Lund, has written a most honest tribute to one of Norway’s most unconventional and unpredictable poets and musicians. Happy birthday, Jokke!

AftenpostenFinally, Jokke got on stage. It was him we were waiting for. I do not remember the other bands who played, only the fiery political appeals between their songs. Seething anger against politicians, moneymakers and apparently a completely outrageous culture budget. Rock against the Budget, I think the posters said. It might have been in 1989. Spikersuppa [in Oslo] was the place.

Jokke took the microphone.

- I should probably say something smart about the budget, he said.

- But I won’t. What I can say is that we’ve got a case of beer for playing here. One-two-three-four!

And then it started. He sang about beer and…

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Filed under: Retro

This Week’s Softdrink – Virginia Dare


a1033_virginia dare_08

In 1587, an expedition organized by Sir Walter Raleigh established an English colony of 117 people on the island of Roanoke, off the coast of present-day North Carolina. On August 18th of that year, and just fifteen days after the colonists had arrived, the first English child was born on American soil.

The child’s mother was Governor John White’s daughter, Eleanor, and her father, Ananias Dare, served as one of the Governor’s assistants. Her baptism on the Sunday following her birth  was the second recorded Christian sacrament administered in North America. The first baptism had been administered a few days earlier to Manteo, an Indian chief who was rewarded for his service by being christened and named "Lord".

Before long, Governor White was forced to leave for England to secure much-needed supplies. Virginia was less than one year old and little did he know that he would never see her, or any of the other colonists who remained behind, again.

a1033_virginia dare_06When he arrived in England, he found the country to be at war, threatened by the Spanish Armada. In need of his expertise, Queen Elizabeth extended his stay and it was not until 1590, three years to the month later, that he was again able to set sail for Roanoke with supplies for the little colony.

When he arrived in 1591, he found that the settlement had vanished… and it came to be known in history as Sir Walter Raleigh’s "Lost Colony."

A secret code had been worked out that should the colony have to leave Roanoke Island for any reason, they were to carve their new location on a tree. If the move was due to an attack, they were to carve over the letters, or name, with the form of a Maltese cross as a distress signal. Instead of the expected sign of distress, he returned to find the word "Croatoan" carved on the tree. To this day, no one is certain where the lost colony went, or what happened to them.

a1033_virginia dare_07Many tall tales have evolved from the misty curtain drawn about the Lost Colony. Virginia Dare is the subject of many variations. According to the legend, there was an attack by hostile Indians on the Roanoke colonists. Chief Manteo, returning from a fishing expedition, saw the raid in progress. By using a secret tunnel, he was able to lead all the inhabitants safely to nearby canoes. An all-night trip down the Pamlico brought the group to Manteo’s village at Hatteras. There, the colonists were accepted into the tribe as brothers and sisters.

The fair, blond Virginia Dare was from the beginning a wonder to the Indians. As she grew in stature and years, many braves paid court for her hand in marriage. The fair girl loved all the people, both Indians and white, but was not yet ready to choose a mate.

a1033_virginia dare_05Chico, the tribal medicine man, was one who was greatly smitten by the maiden’s charms. Though Virginia was kind to him, it was clear that Chico’s ardor was not being returned. Finally, in a fit of passion, Chico vowed that if she would not marry him, she would have no man. Calling upon the power of the sea nymphs, Chico lured Virginia to Roanoke Island. Stepping ashore, she assumed the form of a snow-white deer.

Soon, it was whispered that a white doe was the leader of all the deer of Roanoke Island. Wherever the remarkable creature went, all others followed. Many great hunters tried to slay the mystical creature, but no arrow seemed to find a mark. As time went by, the white doe became a legend as well as a great challenge.

Finally, a great hunt was organized, and all the young braves of noble blood vowed their efforts. Many prizes and honors were to be awarded the victor. Young Wanchese, son of Chief Wanchese, who had traveled to England, had in his possession a silver-tipped arrow presented by Queen Elizabeth to his father. He believed it had magical powers and would bring him the quarry he sought.

a1033_virginia dare_01As fate would have it, Wanchese did indeed sight the snow-white doe and, taking careful aim, loosed his deadly missile. The silver tip succeeded where all others had failed, and the deer fell to the ground. The young brave rushed forward to claim his prize, but all joy fled and was replaced by dismay as he heard the deer whisper with her last breath, faint but clear, "Virginia Dare”.

The name Virginia Dare came to symbolize wholesomeness and purity, and when Garrett & Company was founded in the region in 1835, the name was adopted as a brand for its wine, produced from the native Scuppernong grape.

With the institution of Prohibition in 1919, Garrett & Company was required to reduce the alcohol content of its wine. It was then that they decided to utilize their uncommonly fine alcohol in the manufacture of flavoring extracts of the best possible quality.

Dr. Bernard H. Smith, a noted flavor chemist, was charged with establishing this line of flavors that would carry the name Virginia Dare. With time, the company’s flavoring extract business flourished, and in 1923 the Virginia Dare Extract Company was incorporated.

a1033_virginia dare_03In 1923, Bernard H. Smith started an independent enterprise in Brooklyn, New York, manufacturing flavors for industry and home use. Smith ran this company until his death in 1952, when Lloyd E. Smith took over as head of the company with factory, offices and laboratory facilities in Bush Terminal, Brooklyn, NY. It was Lloyd who decided to broaden the scope of the Virginia Dare Company.

The first flavor developed seventy-eight years ago was Virginia Dare Vanilla. The company added, flavor by flavor, a reputation for exceptional quality and excellent service.

Virginia Dare’s first major effort in the fast growing franchised bottlers field was a product known as "Korker", which became a successful clear lemon-lime product and was followed by a full line  of Virginia Dare bottled flavors, some of which carried interesting names such as "South Seas" or "Vin-Vie".

Pictured  is a 7oz green ACL Korker bottle "Bottled under the auth VIrginia Dare Extract Co, Brooklyn NY" by the Pepsi Cola Bottling Co in Fayetteville NC. It claims it is "A Corking Good Drink".

a1033_virginia dare_04

The name Virginia Dare now includes a wide assortment of vanilla, tea, coffee and cocoa concentrates as well as its fruit, nut, sweet, dairy, chocolate, herbal, spice and tropical flavors. Still located in Brooklyn, on Third Avenue, they also manufacture a line of masking agents for use in fortified smoothies, beverages and yogurt.

The quality of Virginia Dare products is as consistent as when it first started producing wine in 1835. And the same spirit of adventure and discovery that led development of a thriving business remains.

If you look in the right places, there are many vintage collectibles of this legendary flavor around today, although comments are that it is not popular among collectors. The Virginia Dare items in my personal collection are among my favorites, as much for the interesting history behind its name as anything else.

Text from SodaTraderz

Filed under: Food & drinks, Soft drinks and sodas Tagged: Virginia Dare sodas, Virginia Dare soft drinks

Great American Cars Of The Forties – 1948 Tucker



Though not nearly so controversial anymore, the predictive, short-lived Tucker” 48″ remains one of the most fascinating chapters in automotive history. In a sense, it’s a great car of the Forties that never really was.

The story begins with Preston Thomas Tucker, one-time assembly line worker, sales executive, and police officer, who had helped the famed Harry Miller built front-drive Indianapolis racers in the Thirties. Optimistically inclined but often unpredictable in temper, Tucker had dreams of building his own automobile, and what he had in mind was truly different.


By the time World War II was underway, he envisioned a radically styled two-door fastback. with a Miller-designed, air-cooled flat six mounted at the rear, plus all independent torsion-bar suspension, disc brakes at each wheel, a windshield that would pop out harmlessly on impact, and doors cut up into the roof. The really way-out items were classic cycle-type freestanding front fenders and a central “Cyclops eye” auxiliary headlight, both of which would turn with the front wheels. Miller died in 1943, so Tucker asked Ben Parsons to finalize the engine for production. In December 1945, Tucker announced that his “car of the future” would go on sale in 1948. The race was on.


Taking advantage of the government’s willingness to back new post-war ventures, Tucker agreed to float a $15 million stock issue to lease the SOD-acre Chicago complex where Dodge had built B-29 bomber engines during the war. Next he was approached by free-thinking stylist Alex Tremulis, who translated his original concept into a producible car in only five days. A running prototype, dubbed “Tin Goose,” was ready by spring 1947, but its Miller engine was soon deemed impractical. Tucker found a ready-made substitute at Air-cooled Motors in Syracuse, New York, a water-cooled version of the 335inch flat six from the wartime Bell helicopter, rated at 166 horsepower.


What emerged from all this was a full-size four-door fastback with startling looks and performance to match. Built on a 128-inch wheelbase, the production Tucker stood just 60 inches high, measured 219 inches long, spread 79 inches img_02wide, and weighed 4200 pounds, The missile-like overall shape suggested the “Torpedo” name briefly used in ads, and Tremulis estimated its drag coefficient at 0.30, excellent even now. Drum brakes and more conventional suspension components were substituted to hold down costs. A dropped floor pann, a benefit of the rear-engine layout, lowered the center of gravity, and combined with unusually wide tracks for exceptional handling. It also made for a very spacious interior. Preston’s insistence on occupant safety brought recessed driver controls and a novel “Safety Chamber,” promoted as a refuge for front seat occupants “to drop into, in a split second, in case of impending collision.” Retained were the planned “cyclops eye” and pop out windshield. With the best power-to-weight ratio of any u.s. car to date, the Tucker was capable of 0-60 mph in 10 seconds and at least 120 mph flat out.


With all its advanced features, the Tucker caused quite a stir. It probably would have sold well, but it never had a chance. The War Assets Administration blocked company bids on two key steel-making facilities, and Preston alienated several of his own associates, some of whom started rumours to undermine him. His takeover of the Chicago plant raised eyebrows at the Securities and Exchange Commission, which launched a fraud investigation in June 1948 amid a rising tide of bad publicity. The Tucker factory was forced to close that August after building just 37 cars. Another 13 were later hand-built by volunteers from leftover parts. Then, a confidential SEC report Was deliberately leaked to the press in early 1949 by commissioner Harry McDonald, a political appointee of Michigan senator Homer Ferguson. As Tucker said later, it “marked the beginning of the end.” After a four month trial, he was acquitted of all charges in January 1950, but, by then his dreams had evaporated.


Tucker insisted that his car was “too good,” a victim of the Detroit establishment. History as proved him correct. Ironically, he was working on yet another car when he died in late 1956.


Filed under: Article, Automobiles, Transportation, Traveling Tagged: 1948 Tucker, American cars, Tucker

Yes….I Think It Is Time For Some More……


….Jayne Mansfield


Click to view slideshow.

Jayne was born Vera Jayne Palmer on April 19, 1933 in Pennsylvania and she is to day, more than 30 years after her death. one of the shining stars of the middle of the last century. Poor Jayne is to day where she always wanted to be, out of Monroe’s shadow.

Most of her fame was build on her relentless, shameless self promotion, she only had two really successful movies and one Broadway hit. Jayne loved Hollywood and every experience it had to offer. Few starlets climbing to the top of stardom embraced the effect that stardom brought as fiercely as Mansfield did. Most stars are complaining earnestly or in pretence the burden fame brings. Jayne never considered it a burden, she wallowed in it. She is one of the most remembered icons of the 50’ies to day. And Jayne deserves it, lets give her that.

I have always had a deep respect for people without pretence, people who does not surrender to the numbness of conformity that most of us do.

Thanks for everything Jayne
There has never been many like you around – Ted

Filed under: Actresses, Image Gallery, Models & starlets Tagged: Jayne Mansfield

Round Britain By Railway Posters – Robin Hood’s Bay



Robin Hood’s Bay is a small fishing village and a bay located within the North York Moors National Park, five miles south of Whitby and 15 miles north of Scarborough on the coast of North Yorkshire, England. Bay Town, its local name, is in the ancient chapelry of Fylingdales in the wapentake of Whitby Strand.

Early history

a1035_rhb_03By about 1000 the neighbouring hamlet of Raw and village of Thorpe (Fylingthorpe) in Fylingdales had been settled byNorwegians and Danes. After the Norman Conquest in 1069 much land in the North of England, including Fylingdales, was laid waste. William the Conqueror gave Fylingdales to Tancred the Fleming who later sold it to the Abbot of Whitby. The earliest settlements were about a mile inland at Raw but by about 1500 a settlement had grown up on the coast. "Robin Hoode Baye" was first mentioned by Leland in 1536 who described it as,

In the 16th century Robin Hood’s Bay was a more important port than Whitby, it is described by a tiny picture of tall a1035_rhb_04houses and an anchor on old North Sea charts published by Waghenaer in 1586 and now in Rotterdam‘s Maritime Museum. After the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1540, Whitby Abbey and its lands became the property of King Henry VIII with King Street and King’s Beck dating from this time.


a1035_rhb_01The town, which consists of a maze of tiny streets, has a tradition of smuggling, and there is reputed to be a network of subterranean passageways linking the houses. During the late 18th century smuggling was rife on the Yorkshire coast. Vessels from the continent brought contraband which was distributed by contacts on land and the operations were financed by syndicates who made profits without the risks taken by the seamen and the villagers. Tea, gin, rum, brandy and tobacco were among the contraband smuggled into Yorkshire from the Netherlands and France to avoid the duty.

In 1773 two excise cutters, the Mermaid and the Eagle, were outgunned and chased out of the bay by three smuggling vessels, a schooner and two shallops. A pitched battle between smugglers and excise men took place in the dock over 200 casks of brandy and geneva (gin) and 15 bags of tea in 1779.

Fishing and lifeboats

a1035_rhb_02Fishing and farming were the original occupations followed by generations of Bay folk. Fishing reached its peak in the mid 19th century, fishermen used the coble for line fishing in winter and a larger boat for herring fishing. Fish was loaded into panniers and men and women walked or rode over the moorland tracks to Pickering or York.Many houses in the village were built between 1650 and 1750 and whole families were involved in the fishing industry. Many families owned or part owned cobles. Later some owned ocean going craft.

A plaque in the town records that a brig named "Visitor" ran aground in Robin Hood’s Bay on 18 January 1881 during a violent storm. In order to save the crew, the lifeboat from Whitby was pulled 6 miles overland by 18 horses, with the 7 feet deep snowdrifts present at the time cleared by 200 men. The road down to the sea through Robin Hood’s Bay village was narrow and had awkward bends, and men had to go ahead demolishing garden walls and uprooting bushes to make a way for the lifeboat carriage. It was launched two hours after leaving Whitby, with the crew of the Visitor rescued on the second attempt.


The main legitimate activity had always been fishing, but this started to decline in the late 19th century. These days most of its income comes from tourism.

Robin Hood’s Bay is also famous for the large number of fossils which may be found on its beach.

In 1912 Professor Walter Garstang of Leeds University, in cooperation with Professor Albert Denny of the University of Sheffield, established the Robin Hood’s Bay Marine Laboratory, which continued on the site for the next 70 years.

Text from Wikipedia 

Should you be travelling along the Yorkshire coast, don’t pass Robin Hood’s Bay by. It is a little of the beaten track, but man, is it worth the detour – Ted

Filed under: British, Ephemera, Holidays, Traveling Tagged: British Railways, Robin Hood's Bay

The Life & Times Of Aunt Mabel – Part 13



Aunt Mabel’s forth (or was it the third, it’s hard to keep track) husband Conrad, was German and a do-it-yourself rocket scientist of sorts (he was a distant relative of  Werner von Braun). One day he was tired of Mabel’s constant drinking and foul language he constructed a triple action rocket he managed to strap to Mabel when she was bombed out on homemade gin. Luckily the fuse was to damp to light.

Luckily for aunt Mabel I mean, poor Conrad stood soaked to the skin in the pouring rain the next day with his rockets and the rest of his belongings at his feet watching a lock-smith change the locks on Mable’s front door. And there and then he faded out of the continuing saga of aunt Mabel.

Filed under: Humour, People, Photography, Retro technology Tagged: Aunt Mabel, Rockets, Werner von Braun

Mensch Ärgre Dich Nicht – Man, Don’t Get Annoyed



A board game played by German soldiers in the trenches of World War One is giving modern computer games a run for their money – how has it managed to stay so popular for so long?

There is, we know, a very big centenary under way. In Germany 100 years ago there was a momentous development, and the revolution that ensued is being marked with great fervour in village halls up and down the land.

People sit down around tables. There is discussion and there are moments of reflection, punctuated with loud altercation.

I refer, of course, to the invention of the board game Mensch Aergere Dich Nicht. It was devised a century ago and became popular among German troops in the trenches.

Families back home ordered games from the manufacturer, who would then despatch them straight to the frontline.


The game was invented by Josef Friedrich Schmidt, an employee of the city of Munich who had three bored children to entertain at home. He devised the game with dice and counters and played it happily with an ever-widening circle, including his neighbours’ children.

After a couple of years of this amateur fun, he decided to put it on the market. It only took off during World War One.

Schmidt had the very bright idea of making hundreds of copies of the game and giving them to hospitals used by the war-wounded. Sales haven’t slowed down in the succeeding century.

There is, I think, something very German about the stubborn refusal of its citizens to move with the times. Of course, Germans embrace lots of aspects of modernity – "Vorsprung durch Technik" (Progress through technology) – but one of the charms of the place is that old habits die hard.


I shake hands with my colleague every morning and evening. There is a bakery on every street. We eat a proper lunch – a beef stew in the canteen, with sprouts.

They cook seasonally too – goose with red cabbage on the menu in restaurants at Christmas, cured herring in June, Pfifferlinge – a type of fine mushroom – in late August, pumpkin or Kuerbis in October.

There is a heart-warming eschewing of newness for the sake of it.

In the finance ministry the lifts are ancient. They are those open lifts which continually move in a belt and which you step onto with some trepidation, I find. Old-fashioned but effective – a fitting symbol for a finance ministry.

The German way: Improve what works but keep what pleases people – like a board game.

It comforted shell-shocked lads 100 years ago and it is giving computer games a run for their money today. How comforting.

Text and images from BBC NEWS magazine

Take a good look at the picture above of the family playing the game. Dad looks like a little kid enjoying himself and the rest of the family looks bored way into the soporific. But in Germany dads are still the boss, if he wants to play, they play – Ted

Filed under: Article, Entertainment, Games, Retro technology, Toys, WW I Tagged: Board Games, Don't Get Annoyed, Man, Mensch Ärgre Dich Nicht

Is This How….

A Little 1920’s Typewriter Erotica

The 1934 Tatra 77


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Fans of the Dakar Rally (formerly the Paris-Dakar Rally) will likely recognize Tatra as a manufacturer of heavy-duty trucks, which posted an impressive six wins and five additional podium finishes in the grueling event from 1988 to 2001 at the hands of driver Karl Loprais. Long before the company was constructing race-winning trucks, however, it was producing some of the world’s most innovative automobiles, including the very first serially produced streamlined car equipped with an air-cooled and rear-mounted engine, the Tatra 77.

Introduced in March of 1934, the Tatra 77 followed the aerodynamic design ethos of the 1933 Tatra V 570 prototype, but stretched its proportions to include seating for six. It was positioned atop Tatra’s model range, far better appointed than the V 570 would have been, and the decision to produce the larger model sealed the fate of the V 570; it would remain a prototype only, though it would also influence the design of the Tatra 97.

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The significantly larger Tatra 77 sported a body designed by Paul Jaray, under the watch of Tatra’s chief designer Hans Ledwinka. Jaray’s background included time with German airship manufacturer Luftschiffbau Zeppelin (LZ), so the designer was well aware of the importance of aerodynamics; producing a shape slippery to the wind would yield an automobile with superior performance, fuel economy and even reduced cabin noise. Calling on relationships established during his LZ days, Jaray was able to test his automotive designs in the airship manufacturer’s wind tunnel, and as a result the Tatra T77′s body boasted a drag coefficient of just 0.21, at least when tested in 1/5 scale.

Its body was hardly the only thing revolutionary about the T77. Using an engine mounted in the rear gave passengers a surprising amount of legroom, as the traditional center tunnel needed to accommodate a transmission and driveshaft could be eliminated. Passengers also sat low in the T77, dropping the car’s center of gravity to improve handling, at least compared to more conventional automotive designs of the day. As with the McLaren F1 supercar, introduced in 1992, early Tatra 77 models positioned the driver in the center of the car, which improved both outward visibility and weight distribution. Later T77 models were constructed in right-hand-drive, as Czechoslovakians drove on the left-hand side of the road at the time. The later T87 would become the first variant to offer both right-hand and left-hand drive.

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Power for the T77 originally came from a 59hp air-cooled 2,968cc V-8 engine, which gave the large sedan a top speed of 87 MPH. Just 105 examples of the T77 were constructed before the automaker moved on to the T77a in 1935, which bumped displacement of the air-cooled V-8 to 3,377cc and output to 75 horsepower. That produced a new top speed of 93 MPH, but the T77a’s twitchy handling (the result of a long wheelbase and an extreme rear weight bias) likely scared off potential buyers. Visually, the most notable difference between the T77 and the T77a was the latter model’s central headlight, which could be ordered to turn with steering wheel, allowing drivers to see deeper into a corner.

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Underneath, both the T77 and the T77a featured a four-wheel independent suspension, using swing axles in the rear and a transverse leaf spring setup in the front. While the T77 was a large car, with a wheelbase of 124 inches and an overall length of nearly 213 inches (in T77a configuration), steps were taken to reduce weight wherever possible. A magnesium alloy called Elektron was used for the engine’s crank case, as well as for the transmission casing, and the overall weight of the T77 came in at under 1,800 kilograms (3,960 pounds).

In 1936, Tatra debuted a new variant of the T77a, this time called the T87. Like its predecessor, the T87 sported an aerodynamic skin (though with a higher drag coefficient of 0.244, when tested in an identical fashion to the T77) and carried on the earlier cars’ tradition of mounting an air-cooled V-8 engine behind the rear axle.  To save weight and improve the car’s handling, some 12 inches were removed from the T87′s wheelbase and its V-8 engine was cast from a lightweight alloy. As a result, the T87 tipped the scales 400 kilograms (880 pounds) lighter than its predecessor, which quickly gave the car a reputation for superior speed and handling.

a1040_tatra 77_06

The T87′s air-cooled V-8 now featured an overhead-camshaft design, and though displacement was cut back to the original 2,968cc, output remained at 75 horsepower. As a result, the T87 now achieved a top speed of 100 MPH, making it among the fastest cars in its class despite its diminutive V-8 engine. Production of the T87 would continue until 1950, remarkably including the years clouded by World War II. Favored by German officers for its composed ride and handling, Tatra was allowed to produce the T87 throughout the war years, officially for “civilian” consumption, though such transactions would likely have been rare occurrences.

Text from Hemmings

Filed under: Article, Automobiles, The thirties Tagged: 1930s cars, Hans Ledwinka, Paul Jaray, Streamlined cars, Tatra 77, Tatra 78

This Week’s Favourite Female Singer – Abbie Gardner


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Best known as one-third of the female harmony Americana trio Red Molly, Abbie has listened to the sweet sound of high lonesome harmonies since her first bluegrass festival at three years old. Her father, Herb Gardner, is a swing jazz and stride pianist and dixieland trombonist. He introduced Abbie to one of her favorite vocalists, Billie Holiday, and continues to be a big influence on a1042_abbie gardner_03the musician she is and strives to be.

Abbie studied classical flute growing up, but once she started playing Dobro in 2004 she found her main instrument. She traveled to Lyons, CO and Nashville, TN to study with Rob Ickes and Sally Van Meter. Left to her own devices, without many Dobro influences near NYC, Abbie continues to develop her style by listening to other instrumentalists, such as David Rawlings, Ry Cooder and Bonnie Raitt. Always keen on following the vocal part and trying to find the one really perfect note, instead of a dozen okay ones, Abbie is quickly compiling an extensive discography of recording credits.

She recorded three full-length albums and one EP with Red Molly, the last of which spent several weeks in the Top 10 on the Radio & Records Americana Chart (Spring 2010).   In 2008, She released Bad Nights/Better Days a duo record of original material with Anthony da Costa. The album was featured on WFUV’s top 2008 album lists and has been described as a work of staggering emotional power. (Acoustic Live! in NYC, 2008)


Abbie’s first full-length recording, My Craziest Dream is an album of jazz standards featuring her father on piano. It earned her an entry in the 2009 Hal Leonard book The Jazz Singers: The Ultimate Guide and she continues to perform with her father, whenever possible.

Abbie has a strong throaty voice that’s reminiscent of Wesla Whitfield’s… she uses it to render evergreens from the 1920s and 1930s with a crew of guys who play like they were around when this music was the cat’s pajamas.  (Cadence Magazine, June 2004)

Her 2006 release Honey on My Grave was her first independently released CD of mostly original music spanning varied genres with consistently strong Dobro, guitar, and vocal performances.  (Chronogram, 2006)

Abbie has been recognized as an award-winning songwriter, as well, with such accolades as; 2008 Lennon Award Winner (folk) for “The Mind of a Soldier” and 2008 American Songwriter Magazine Grand Prize Lyric Winner for “I’d Rather Be”. Her song “Honey on My Grave” was also published in Sing Out! Magazine in 2008.

Abbie continues to tour with Red Molly, currently promoting their third full-length CD James.   Her latest solo CD “Hope” will be released in April 2011.  It features 8 new original songs, 3 covers and three different types of slide!  See the shows page for updates on the CD release tour with Craig Akin on upright bass and Abbie on dobro & National Steel guitar.

In Context

Red Molly is a folk trio consisting of Laurie MacAllister (vocals, guitar, banjo), Abbie Gardner (vocals, guitar, Dobro, lap steel guitar), and Molly Venter (vocals, guitar). They perform original works composed by each of the group members, as well as covers of other songwriters including Hank Williams, Gillian Welch, Mark Erelli, and Ryan Adams. Their fans are known as “Redheads.

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Red Molly was formed late one night at the 2004 Falcon Ridge Folk Festival. MacAllister, Gardner, and Carolann Solebello, three solo singer-songwriters, were the last ones left at a song circle. They liked the way they sounded together and decided to form a band. The name Red Molly is taken from a character in the Richard Thompsonsong “1952 Vincent Black Lightning.”

Their career started to take off in 2006. They were the top vote getters in the 2006 Falcon Ridge Folk FestivalEmerging Artist Showcase. WUMB in Boston named them Top New Artist of the Year and picked their AlbumNever Been to Vegas as one of their Top Albums of 2006. They have appeared in John Platt’s Under the Radar series in New York, a showcase for up and coming musicians.

In 2007 they toured with Pat Wictor and Ellis, the other winners of the Falcon Ridge Emerging Artist showcase, on the Falcon Ridge Preview tour and performed with them in the Most Wanted Song Swap at the Festival itself.

Their album Love and Other Tragedies reached number 15 on the Americana Charts on June 30, 2008. James reached number 4 on the same chart in May 2010. Light In The Sky was released on October 4, 2011.

On June 15, 2010 Red Molly announced that Carolann Solebello would be leaving the group and replaced by Molly Venter. On July 24 Solebello announced to the crowd at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival it was her last show with the band and concluded: “I know about 75% of you by face, and I wanted my last show to be with my friends here at Falcon Ridge, not at some small club in some country I didn’t know anybody.” Solebello continues to perform as a solo artist and released her third solo album “Threshold”, in June 2011.

Molly Venter’s debut with the trio was on August 6, 2010 at the Lunenburg Folk Festival.

Text from abbiegardner.com & Wikipedia

Filed under: Article, Blues, Folkrock, Roots music Tagged: Abbie Gardner, Red Molly

Car Interiors of Chicago and Alton Railroad, ca. 1900



Images found on VintageEveryday

Man, I love riding trains. I’ve been riding trains all over the place. All over England, in Switzerland, In Poland, in Hungary in old Czechoslovakia, in Africa, in India, on Sri Lanka and of course in Norway.

A train ride is a kind of a time out of time. You enter the train one place and get off at another and the time in between is pure adventure. It’s a parallel universe where strange and wondrous things can happen and no one needs to know.

You meet people you’ve never seen before and probably wont ever see again. Where it leads depends on who you encounter. You may be playing cards all night, or sit exchanging stories till morning comes and you may even end up having a little amorous adventure. Anything may happen as the train glides into the twilight. The southing sound of iron wheels on rails do something to us all.

I know plane rides are both faster and safer, but give me a long train raid in foreign land any day – Ted

Filed under: Holidays, Transportation, Traveling Tagged: Adventures, Parallel universe, Strangers, Time out of time, Train rides

The Forgotten Ones – Mariangela Melato


forgotten ones

Mariangela Melato born in Milan was an Italian cinema and theater actress. She began her stage career in the sixties and entered the film industry with her debut film Thomas e gli a10448_Mariangela Melato_04indemoniati directed by Pupi Avati. She had done so many memorable films in the seventies which was considered as her golden age. She received much praise for her roles in films like Between Miracles (1971), The Seduction of Mimi (1972), Love and Anarchy (1973), Nada (1974), Todo modo(1976) and Il gatto (1978). Melato also starred on several American productions as well.

Biography and career

Early years

Born in Milan, the daughter of a traffic policeman and a seamstress, Melato from a young age studied painting at theAcademy of Brera, drawing posters and working as a window dresser at La Rinascente to pay for her acting lessons a10448_Mariangela Melato_06with Esperia Sperani. A striking, blonde actress, she began her stage career in 1960, entering the stage company of Fantasio Piccoli and debuting as an actress in the play Binario cieco.

From 1963 to 1965 she worked with Dario Fo in Settimo: ruba un po’ meno and La colpa è sempre del diavolo, then in 1967 she worked with Luchino Visconti in The Nun of Monza. In 1968, her final theater breakthrough with Orlando furioso by Luca Ronconi.

She made her film debut in 1969 with Pupi Avati‘s Thomas e gli indemoniati.


Seventies were the golden decade for Melato, that starred memorable film roles including the school teacher in Nino Manfredi‘s commedia all’italiana Between Miracles(1971) and the female leads in Elio Petri‘s The Working Class Goes to Heaven (1971) and Vittorio De Sica‘s Lo chiameremo Andrea (We’ll Call Him Andrew, 1972).

a10448_Mariangela Melato_08Then Melato received much praise for her role as Giancarlo Giannini‘s Milanese mistress in The Seduction of Mimi (1972), directed by Lina Wertmüller. This was to be the start of a very successful working relationship between Wertmüller, Melato and Giannini that continued with Love and Anarchy (1973), in which Melato played an anarchic prostitute, and finally with Swept Away by an Unusual Destiny in the Blue Sea of August (1974). Melato’s critically acclaimed comedic performance in this film as a spoiled, unsympathetic aristocrat is one of her most internationally known roles.

For the remainder of the 1970s, Melato worked with some Europe’s most renowned directors, including Claude Chabrol in Nada (1974), Elio Petri in Todo modo (1976) and Luigi Comencini in Il gatto (1978). She also worked on television; playing the role of Princess Bithiah, in the miniseries Moses the Lawgiver (1974), which was also released in a theatrical version.

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Text from Wikipedia

Filed under: Actresses, Models & starlets, The seventies, The sixties Tagged: Italian actresses, Mariangela Melato