Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Weekly Update For Sunday, October 12th, 2014 - Post #250: The Lost Library Of Firu ba Yeker

Great fun - heroes, heroines, comic sidekicks, and really evil villians;
what's not to like?

If you ever needed to know what your player-character is carrying and what it looks like,
it's in this catalog. Someplace.

Not much to report, this week; painting continues, but the big news is that The Missus starts her radiation treatments on Wednesday. That's what I'm focusing on, right now...

***

It's hard to imagine, but back in the early days of the RPG hobby the Internet hadn't been invented; neither, for that matter, had the personal computer. One didn't click on Google and Wiki for information; one had to look around, and use other forms of information media to get information and ideas for games. It was all quite primitive, really, but we did the best we could with what we had.

Motion pictures, which we had to see in theaters or on the three (!) commercial television networks, were a really fun and useful way to collect information. One of our favorites, back in the day, was the Soviet propaganda film "Alexander Nevski"; it's based on the historical Prince of Russia, who spent a lot of his time clobbering people who invaded the place.

The movie sent us into shivers of excitement, back in the day; yes, it's very heavy-handed propaganda, but all of the armor worn by the heroic Russians is the real thing - this film was made with the full backing of Stalin, and the historical collections of the Kremlin Armoury were ransacked to supply armour and weapons for the film. So, one gets to see an entire amy of guys - and girls, who wield a mean sword! - in mail going at it.

Great fun, and well worth a look!

Our other source of information was the library - a place full of fascinating books, full of equally fascinating information. One of the oddest, and most fascinating, was the "Bannerman Catalog of Military Goods" - the mail order catalog of one of the first 'army-navy surplus' stores in the United States, and quite possibly one of the oddest. Francis Bannerman VI bought and sold literally everything you could imagine, and was quite capable of arming a small country - just send him a telegram, and he'd get you everything you needed withing a week of your check clearing the bank.

And we're not just talking weapons, either; yes, Bannerman's could sell you everything from modern pistols to medieval bombards (no warranty, sorry; everything sold 'as is'), but could also outfit you with uniforms, tents, cooking gear, field desks, medical supplies, wagons, and even a ship or two. We used to sit around at Phil's and loom through this catalog before our adventures, and we'd specify what we'd take along as we marched off to Sunraya or some equally miserable place; we'd be careful to fully equip ourselves, otherwise we'd be out of luck - and food! - someplace in the Desert of Sighs or the Dry Bay Of S'sum.

A check os the Internet this morning reveals that the catalog is still in print, along with both earlier and later editions. I'd suggest having a look - you might get some ideas from your 'window shopping'!


14 comments:

  1. The film was designed to inspire and mobilize people to fight a terrible enemy. Still works today.

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    Replies
    1. It does indeed! I still enjoy seeing it, even though I know how it all turns out in the last reel.

      - chirine

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  2. Bannerman's Catalog of Military Goods video review:
    http://youtu.be/h1PVkaHaa4o

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  3. Replies
    1. Thank you - I'll pass that along to The Missus!

      - chirine

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  4. ... Alexander Nevsky also comes with a great soundtrack by Prokofiev.

    (i.e., that "Peter and the Wolf composer-guy")

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very true, and thank you for pointing it out! I should have said something myself, but that's what posting while half-asleep will do to you... :)

      - chirine

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  5. Looks like there is no dvd for sale of the film, but it seems to be out on youtube
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mr3S6ItLMTo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Really? Oh, dear! That's not good! I'll have to see who did my DVD - I suspect it was a limited run SoveKinoEx (or what ever agency it was) edition. Thank you for the link, though - very thoughtful and useful!

      - chirine

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  6. Fun film despite all the political chicanery. Bannerman's is kindly and fondly remembered where I work. No surprise really as we make firearms!

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    Replies
    1. Agreed - the battle scenes are amazing! :)

      - chirine

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  7. We will be thinking of you two on Wednesday.

    Speaking of movies, for the benefit of those who can not make it there to watch with you, Netflix has the 1924 “The Thief of Bagdad“ available for subscribers. I have watched it partway and as advertised, it is enjoyable.

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    1. Thank you! I'll tell her you wrote - she'll appreciate it!

      Thank you for the Netflix shout-out, too! Wait until you get to the big battle scenes at the end of the movie, where the Mongols get tossed out of Baghdad!!! :) Pass the popcorn, please! :)

      - chirine

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