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Film Noir: 1941

January 1941. "Foggy night in New Bedford, Massachusetts." Medium-format safety negative by Jack Delano. Office of War Information. View full size.

January 1941. "Foggy night in New Bedford, Massachusetts." Medium-format safety negative by Jack Delano. Office of War Information. View full size.


On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

Name's Tracer Bullet

I got eight slugs in me.
One's lead, the rest are bourbon.

Miles Archer?

I think it's Floyd Thursby....

No anchovies? You've got the wrong man

Jim, if you know for sure that Pat Novak was a parody let me know from where, we've argued about that in our house for years. All I know is that the first time I heard the show, all I could think of was "Gloryosky!! It's the lost adventures of Nick Danger"

Oh, you mean Nancy!

(Rocky and Nick in dialogue. As we turn up the microphone, Rocky begins...)

Rocky- That tarnished piece of tin is worthless!

Nick- Worthless?! Ha! Not to Melanie Haber!

Melanie Haber?

You may remember her as... Audrey Farber?

Audrey Farber?

Susan Underhill?

Susan Underhill?

How about... Betty Jo Bialowski!

(thinking) Betty Jo Bialowski! I hadn't heard that name since college. Everyone knew her as Nancy. Then it all came rushing back to me like the hot kiss at the end of a wet fist. It was Pig Night at the Oh Mony Padme Sigma House.

Firesign Theatre rocks.

You're going down for it sweetheart

I think I see Miles Archer's body lying on the sidewalk in the distance.

Good Night, Lover

Heck, "Pat Novak, For Hire" was a send-up of the hard-boiled genre. If only they'd been sponsored by a certain root-beer maker.

Don't touch that dial

I see you haven't lost you delicate sense of humor, Nancy! Brought to you by the makers of Loosener's Castor Oil Flakes and Fantastic Cigarettes. Loosener's for the smile of beauty; Fantastics for the smile of success! Tune in again next week -- same time, same station - when Nick Danger meets The Arab!

No!!! Put down that pickle!!!

I invite all Nick Danger fans to check out "Pat Novak, For Hire" - a short lived 1949 radio series starring Jack Webb, available in all the usual 'net places.

I'm convinced the Firesign boys listened to "Novak" while writing the Nick Danger script, it's a hilarious (intentionally or not) sendup of the hardboiled genre.


I came to slumped over in the front seat of my own car, lying in a pool of cheap rotgut. I had a head full of ideas that were driving me insane, and a mouthful of cotton candy ...

"Ya want some more cotton candy, Danger? It might sober you up!"

Third Eye

"It had been snowing ever since the top of the page, and I had to shake the cornstarch off my mukluks."

Nick Danger - I spell my name ...

[looks back at office door to check]

I Cover the Waterfront

Scene: Fleshy woman leaning against lamppost holding unlit cigarette.

Woman: Hi, Sailor.
Sailor: Hi, Mom.

If you lived here...'d be home now!

Depth of field

Exposure and depth of field are to perfection for the mood.

Oh George... George...

I'm shakin' the dust of this crummy little town off my feet and I'm gonna see the world. Italy, Greece, the Parthenon, the Colosseum. Then, I'm comin' back here to go to college and see what they know. And then I'm gonna build things. I'm gonna build airfields, I'm gonna build skyscrapers a hundred stories high, I'm gonna build bridges a mile long...

Could it be 1942?

The OWI was not created until June of 1942, some six months after the Pearl Harbor attack. If Delano worked for OWI when he took this terrific atmospheric photo, it would have to be in 1942 or later.

[It's 1941. The FSA and RA photos, upon the demise of the Farm Security and Resettlement administrations, were transferred to the Office of War Information, and are credited to the OWI by the Library of Congress. - Dave]

Cue Organ Music

Brought to you Loosener's Caster Oil Flakes.

Rocky Rococo

At Drucker and fourth, he turns right.
At Fourth and Drucker, he turns left.
He cuts across McArthur Park and walks into a big stone building.

(Ouch! my nose!)

Listen, Schweetheart

you and me, we're goin' places, see! Let me just light this cigarette, and then ...

Nick Danger

It ain't Los Angeles, but let's see how many Firesign Theatre fans are out there:

He walks again by night. Out of the fog, into the smog. Relentlessly ... ruthlessly ... (I wonder where Ruth is) doggedly ... (rowr rowr rar) toward his weekly meeting with ... the unknown.

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