Sunday, November 06, 2011

What I Learned

In today's New York Times, I learned that Laurel and Hardy remade some of their films in other languages, to be distributed in other countries. The shorts would be padded with extra material so they could be shown as feature attractions. One of them, and I quote, "contains a complete performance by the Egyptian vaudeville star Hadji Ali, whose specialty — swallowing water, gasoline and small objects and regurgitating them in spectacular fashion — has sadly gone out of style." I learned a lot just from that tiny excerpt. Read Dave Kehr's entire column by "clicking" here. I found out more about Hadji Ali in the "web" article where I discovered the illustration accompanying this "post." For example, "Ali was known to swallow two or three fishbowls of water, cup by cup, and eject a six foot arc into a small waiting basin." That's probably one of the least remarkable things in the article. You may also read about Ali's competitors in the field, Harry "The Human Hydrant" Morton and The Great Waldo. The author says that the act of the former was considered lowbrow because his primary medium was beer, "while Waldo’s incorporation of living mice and rats terrified onlookers." So they never became stars in the professional regurgitation world the way Hadji Ali did. IMPORTANT NOTE: The "blog" does not endorse the swallowing of gasoline (or living creatures!) for entertainment purposes! Or any other purposes! In fact, forget you read this.