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The Campden Wonder – The strange ‘murder’ of William Harrison

Today’s Tale begins on the night of 16th August 1660 in the town of Campden, Gloustershire. William Harrison – the 70 year old steward of Viscountess Campden – has left on a two mile walk to the town of Charringworth, but never returned. Sent to collect the rents for his ladyship, a job Harrison had […]

The Strange Life, and Death of William Desmond Taylor

This third instalment in our pre-code, silent era Hollywood drama begins February 1st 1922. The setting? A posh bungalow at 404 B South Alvarado Street, Los Angeles – now a parking lot for a men’s clothing store,  but back then an enclave of Hollywood wealth and privilege. Around 7pm, the occupant – the acclaimed film […]

Update: Sisyphus pushes them rocks…

Hey all just a quick update. Sorry I’ve been a little sketchy on the release dates of late. I think owing to feeling more than a little like Sisyphus pushing that rock up the same hill, day in day out for weeks now – I’ve been feeling more worn out than usual of late. This’ll […]

What goes up…. The Ballad of Franz Reichelt

Warning! This week’s tale deals with death by misadventure, which some readers may find disturbing. Today’s tale is set on a freezing cold morning, 57 metres above the ground, in Paris, France. The date February 4th 1912. Our subject, one unfortunate soul we’ll come to in a few minutes. Before I even begin this tale, […]

Who Put Bella in the Wych Elm?

Hey all let’s finish off the Hollywood Trilogy next week. For this week I was planning something more in keeping with Halloween.  When I try to imagine the lives of Robert Hart, Thomas Willets, Bob Farmer and Fred Payne on, or around April 18th 1943, I get a picture in my mind’s eye of a […]

Spring Heeled Jack: The Terror of London

One: Backward and Forward He Switched His Long Tail…. Over the hills and over the dale, And he went over the plain, And backward and forward he switched his long tail, As a gentleman switches his cane. Samuel Taylor Coleridge “The Devil’s Thoughts” “Murderers are not monsters, they’re men. And that’s the most frightening thing […]

’Fatty’ Arbuckle

Hey all this is our 2nd instalment on the scandals of Hollywood’s silent era. It stands alone, but if you want to, the prelude and part one (on Olive Thomas) can be found via the respective links.  And yeah, this one gets pretty adult. I don’t say this often, but probably NSFW…  The weeks leading […]

Update: Under Construction…

Hey all just a quick update. This week’s blog post (on the Roscoe ’Fatty’ Arbuckle, Virginia Rappe case) is running a little behind schedule. The architect (me) drew up the blueprint, only for massive amounts of scope creep to sneak into the build… The minutiae around the case was more than the project manager (also […]

Spencer Perceval

Hey all, as I’m dropping The Max Headroom Incident as the podcast episode – I’m yet again at a loose end for a blog post for the week. I broke ground on this post 28th September (New Zealand time) – the day it was announced John Hinckley, the man who attempted to kill Ronald Reagan, […]

The Max Headroom Incident

This week’s tale is set in the Windy City – Chicago, Illinois. The time, a very specific 9.14pm on 22nd November 1987. The city’s sports fans are tuned into WGN TV’s Nine O’clock News as Dan Roen discuses the latest round in the Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions rivalry – (I’m told the two American Football […]

Olive Thomas – the poisoned chalice

This week’s Tale is part one of a four-part series on scandals of Hollywood’s Silent film era. It’s due to run on the non-podcast weeks. When I think of Olive Thomas and her sojourn in Paris, a tiny part of me wonders how she found the ‘City of Light’? Did she and hubby Jack Pickford, […]

The Enfundu

Hey all, as I’ve got a podcast episode for the perennial ’Willie The Wimp (and his Cadillac Coffin) dropping this week, I’d intended to write a new post to go out alongside it. Truth is I’m a little burnt out. I’m also a little behind on schedule for the Patreon episode (recorded, both music and […]

Willie the Wimp (and his Cadillac coffin)

Inspiration can come at you from so many ways. For me it sometimes comes in the form of a digression in a book that sticks in my head – I wonder why no-one has told THAT story, till I go chase down the rest of the tale. Sometimes something comes from a conversation you’ve had […]

Update: Moving Pictures…

Hey all, just a quick update.  Tales of History and Imagination have a YouTube channel – we have for a while, but I’ve held off on advertising it as it previously was a mess.  The podcast episodes Podbean loads to YouTube have always sounded tinny to my ears, possibly due to a low bit-rate? I […]

Prelude: Scandals of Hollywood’s Silent Era

Hey everyone, on in-between weeks (i.e. weeks I don’t publish a podcast episode) I’m resuming blog only posts. The plan will be to run several series on those weeks.  The on-weeks will be completely unlinked to the series. The weeks I drop a podcast episode, the subject could be anything; maybe the time Kazakhstan imprisoned […]

Mussolini’s Hat, and the Rise of the Mob

There’s a popular myth that states the 35th President of the United States, John F Kennedy killed the hat. Now there is a tiny kernel of truth to this. A quick glimpse of his inauguration, Jan 20th 1961, it’s noticeable he is – besides Vice President Lyndon Johnson and the man he beat for the […]

Update: This Lime Tree Bower My Prison…

Hey everyone, just a quick update today.  As you may know, I’m based in Auckland, New Zealand – the land (one of several) who beat COVID. As some may know, the Rona is back over here for a sequel – and we’re all in lockdown again.  If anyone is wondering, seeing I held up the […]

Giovanni Batista Belzoni – Tomb Raider

Hi all welcome to this month’s YouChoose topic. Raiders of the Lost Ark, the first of the Indiana Jones films had just turned 40 the day I was scrambling for a topic – the film released June 12 1981. Influenced by the serial films of his youth – boys-own adventures with cliffhanger endings which played […]

The ‘New Atlantis’?

Hey all, my voice is still very strained, very gravelly – unable to hold together while projecting for more than four words in a row. Were we talking ‘husky’ I’d just hit record, but we’re not… On the upside, I had NO VOICE at all a week ago, so I’m on the mend.  I’ll get […]

Update: The Dreaded Lurgy…

Hi everyone just a quick note, I should’ve really posted here first as most of Tales traffic comes directly here – sorry little fluey and not thinking clearly.  On that count, apologies – this week’s content is going to be a little late. I’ve caught a nasty cold and can barely speak outside of my […]

Ungern’s Army

Warning! Today we talk of a monster, doing monstrous things amidst a crumbling empire.    Today’s tale begins in the Mongolian city of Urga – 1st February 1921. The city, home to Mongolia’s spiritual leader, the Bogd Khan; around 60,000 locals, traders, diplomats – and a private army of Chinese invaders from a little over […]

Update: Back July 28th

Hey all just a quick update – I hope everyone’s well out there. I’m back with some new content on July 28th. First up is a podcast/blog episode on the guy I dropped a few months back – Baron Roman von Ungern-Sternberg.  In the first script – the one I binned – I played the […]

eden ahbez – Nature Boy (revisited).

Hey all I’m doing something a little different this episode. In the early days of the blog I wrote a piece on the Altamont Free Concert, December 6th 1969, where basically anything which could go wrong did go wrong. The show culminated with the killing of a young man named Meredith Hunter. This was one […]

Nellie Bly: 10 Days in a Madhouse

“I would like the expert physicians who are condemning me for my action, which has proven their ability, to take a perfectly sane and healthy woman, shut her up and make her sit from 6 A. M. until 8 P. M. on straight-back benches, do not allow her to talk or move during these hours, […]

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