The Ghost Girls

I have been watching Mysteries at the Museum since it first came on, first because I love history and finding out about history that I have never heard of at all is exciting to me.  And second, I do have to admit I have always loved Don Wildman, the host of the show.

This week one of the segments started off with a watch from WW1, because of my fascination of the 1920’s, I have become more and more fascinated by WW1. The effect of that war and how it created the modern era is just unbelievably profound. Every segment begins with a piece found in a museum from around the world.  This one started with a watch that was made in WW1 for the servicemen to use in the trenches.

Then it flashes forward to the early 1920’s and young woman named Grace Fryer, who is a bank teller and a modern young women with a lot of passion for life in her.  She begins to feel pains in her joints of her ankles, feet, hands and jaw.  Her teeth hurt.  And the pain becomes worse and is disabling her.  Her jaw becomes so inflamed and extended by swelling and extra cartilage that she begins to lose her teeth.  She went to several doctors who had no idea what was wrong with her.

She saw an article about a local dentist from her hometown in New Jersey, that had several women patients with same health issues as she did, and it turned out that had Radium poisoning.  Radium at that time was used in rat poison.  None of the women knew at first where they could have come into contact with it, though they lived in NYC they were not near where there was a rodent problem.

Turns out, they all worked for a company called; US Radium Corporation; they created Undark, a high-tech paint which allowed America’s infantrymen to read their wristwatches in the trenches.  US Radium assured the public and their workers that their paint used the radioactive element in “such minute quantities that it is absolutely harmless.”  They had hundred’s of women working for them in Orange, New Jersey, where Grace Fryer was born and lived with her family and she was one of the women who worked in that plant, it was interesting work for high pay and she had no idea what was to come from it.

The employers encouraged the women to use their lips and tongue to keep the paint brush pointed, so they could delicately paint the dial and the numbers on the watches. (This is where I sat up, my eyes widened and I said out loud, much to the annoyance of my brother, “That is right out of an episode of Miss Fisher!” My brother was annoyed because I talked over the broadcast and he had re-run our DVR so we could hear what they had just said. My mind started to whirl with memories of that episode as watched the segment.)

Apparently, the owners and scientists at US Radium knew that Undark’s key ingredient was approximately one million times more active than uranium. And they warned the other corporate executives not to go near the stuff, but not to let the women know that it was dangerous. The girls thinking it was harmless, would entertain themselves by painting their fingernails and teeth with it so they would glow in the dark, they were jokingly called the Ghost Girls. How this came back to haunt them is truly tragic.

So as all the women got sicker and sicker, there was a campaign from the corporation to say that they were suffering from venereal diseases, to make it seem like they were the cause of their own sickness not the poison that was willingly covered up by owners and allies of US Radium.

It took Grace Fryer two years to find an attorney willing to take on this company and sue them for Grace and four other co-workers.  All of them dying from Radium poisoning.  They sued the company for $250,000 each. It took a long slow time and word reached the famous scientist who discovered uranium;  Marie Curie in Paris. “I would be only too happy to give any aid that I could,” she said, adding, “there is absolutely no means of destroying the substance once it enters the human body.” Though she took every correct precaution she would die from her discovery in 1934, so these unprotected innocent women had no chance.

They tried to delay the trial to end of the fall but all the women were dying, the press published angry reports about the cruel and calculating delaying tactics of the corporation and the Judge,  because of this bad press, the judge pushed it forward to June; each woman received $10,000— equivalent to about $100,000 today— and have all of their medical and legal expenses paid. They would also receive a $600 per year annuity for as long as they lived. Unsurprisingly, few of the annuity payments were collected. This resulted into new regulations for working conditions with hazardous material, all because Grace Fryer was so brave and pushed through all the red tape.  Grace died in 1933.

Okay, now I am going to give away the ending of this Miss Fisher episode; “Death Do Us Part”, if you never saw it and want to keep spoiler free I would stop here.

After I watched that I could not stop thinking of the Season Three episode of Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries called “Death Do Us Part”, in it the killer who was the head of the science institute; Logan Wren had to watch his poor wife Agnes, die of Radium poisoning, so he came up with his revenge which was to kill his wife killer in the same painful way.

I sent an email to Deb Cox and she confirmed that it was indeed the research from this incident that led to the adaption of “Death Do Us Part”.  So a real life tragedy in the US becomes a fictional tragedy of revenge in Australia.  I felt deep compassion for Agnes when I watched the show, but now reading all that she and her co-workers suffered because of lies and corporate greed I have even more compassion for Agnes and a new understanding of why quiet, nice and respectable Logan Wren did it. What that poor man suffered watching the agony of his beloved wife.  Tragic.

 

 

Advertisements

Sometimes a movie can change your life.

As I look back there were many movies that influenced me but this one movie changed my life.  From the title and what the movie was about you wouldn’t think it could possibly do that.  It was “Julie and Julia” written and directed by Nora Ephron.  I always loved her movies, my favorite up to that point was “When Harry Met Sally”. The reason why you wouldn’t think Julie and Julia would change my life was I don’t cook.  I love to eat andI was brought up with great food both from my Mom and Grandma, I also went out to eat a lot. Our parents took us out to the best restaurants in the world so we were spoiled. Even so I would not call myself a foodie.  But I love good stories, I loved the all the actors in it and I love Nora’s sense of humor.  So I was flipping through cable and decided to watch, I was home sick from work and I wanted something that would take my mind off my stuffed head and fever.

When I was a little girl in the sixties maybe 5 or 6 an early memory was watching Julia Child on PBS with my family,  I didn’t really understand much about it except I thought she talked funny, and that she acted funny too, so I laughed. She made me smile.  (I was a child, so I was allowed to think that way, besides other than smiling and giggling, I don’t think anyone knew what was going through my little 5-year-old mind.) And though I found that part of the story fun and fascinating and even romantic, it was not the part that changed my life. No, the part that changed everything for me, what made a light bulb go on in my head was when Julie Powell’s husband Eric helped her to start her blog.  How easy it was.  Julie was a writer who had not been published.  Even if she was published she had no platform or followers, just like me.  Other than an occasional short story in an anthology, and an article in newsletters no one knew me at all.  I had written a poem that was published in a book of poems and I published my novel but after the initial flurry, mostly from my readers in fan fiction, my sales stopped dead in their tracks. And here in a movie was a women who had not even been published, who created a blog and became famous.  Wow!

Now, I didn’t become famous, not even a little bit, but it gave me a platform that changed my life.  My first blogs were about trying to get over the writer’s block from the loss of my beloved father. I wrote about movies and TV shows.  I wrote about fan fiction.  Pretty much what ever was happening to me and slowly, people started to respond.  But what I didn’t expect was that I would develop a platform that would let me explore things that I thought was dormant inside me. (Actually not dormant, dead really.)

I wrote a second book (finally, after my Mom and brother said my Dad would be pissed that I would stop just because he passed away,) and I did things I never even tried before.  I went after signings and panels and speaking engagements.  I mean, I am actually shy, but I did it.  It was from a spurt of confidence from my slowly building group of followers.  And that added more followers and more.  Then I tried to go on some radio shows to promote my second book, block, I tried to get on Blogtalk shows, no answers.  I sat there and thought why is this such a brick wall?  I kept doing it and I finally got an interview. The girl I was interviewed by, was actually not a great interviewer.  Then I was supposed to go on a web-interview, and she flaked.  And I thought, well this sucks I could do better than they do and at least I have a background from my days as an actress.

So I went to Blogtalk and started to interview people I knew from book groups and fandom.  And boom, I had an even bigger following.  Not just for my shows but for my writing and blogs and books…Wow!  Then I had entered a contest for a play I had written a long time ago and won, the prize was a bit of money (needed of course,) and professional actors reading my play in library. And I said to myself, “Self, I can do this for other people as well as my own work and I already have a platform, Blogtalk.”  And Sherri’s Playhouse was born. And from that, I have had opportunities to write plays and see them produced, Wow!

Why am I telling you all this now?  Well I guess because I was watching a documentary by Jacob Bernstein about his mom, Nora Ephron called;”Everything Is Copy” .  And as I watched it I realized that she was such an influence though I have never met her or was able to talk to her.  She inspired me to do what I am now doing.  I am so grateful.  Thank you Nora, and thank you Jacob for reminding me.

Fans get to help Miss Fisher movie get launched!

This is not the first Kickstarter Program for a movie, and it is not the first time fans helped with a launch in this way.  There are many instances of such group efforts even before mass media came around.

But this is an example of how a group of really enthusiastic fans got to bring about their dream.  It is not a secret that I am a fan of Miss Fisher and the stars of the show.  I have had the privilege of interviewing three members of the cast; Nathan Page, Anthony Sharpe and Travis McMahon!  Nathan has been on my show twice and his second show was the first one of all my shows after 5 years to reach over a million downloads so quickly, so no one has to tell me that he is a popular fellow.

So those very clever people at Every Cloud Productions, (the producers; Deb Cox and Fiona Eagger) asked Mr. Page to put out a video appeal to the fans to help with the Kickstarter Campaign; https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/468758721/miss-fisher-the-movie/description.  It’s rather adorable isn’t it? It’s special guest star (the star of the show) Essie Davis helps out with a special appearance and of course that part is just what we fans want too.  We want Jack and Phryne to finally come together.  Not just a kiss but maybe a chat about it? We also love the whole family so the more that we get this around to everyone and help out, the better the chances that the whole cast will be able to be a part of it.

Anyway this my pitch to help out, as you can see by the counter the campaign is doing very well but some fans that are not on Tumblr, Facebook or Instagram and might not have seen it.  Also some fans may not be following groups, Phryne is an individualist and so are many of her fans.  So if you have not heard about it and can afford to, please help out.  https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/468758721/miss-fisher-the-movie/description.

Talented actor Nathan Page answered our fan questions!

 

0 beautiful nathan

 

This amazingly gorgeous photo of Nathan Page is by the talented  © Sam McAdam-Cooper.

I am so proud to have taken part in this interview with the talented and diverse Nathan Page. I am so excited to finally get to see his answers to my questions and now I finally get to read everyone else’s questions as well as his answers to those great questions too. I am so excited!!!!

Here is a sneak peak, below is just my questions and answers you can read the rest here at his fantastic site;  https://nathanpagetheactor.com/2016/08/01/nathan-answers-your-questions/

From @Rithebard:

From your posts on Instagram, you love to read. What literary character would you like to bring to life from any time or genres?
There are so many wonderful novels being written that it’s hard to choose. In that sense I don’t feel obliged to classics or the past. I do love a thriller though and the Bourne series would’ve been my recent choice (Damon does it brilliantly).

If you could have any job in the world what would you like to do, and what job would you hate to do?
I’ve always had a quiet place in my heart for understanding and observing nature. And I love the remoteness so in that sense gardening on some level works for me. Form has always sparked my interest and I love looking at buildings of all sorts including interiors so there’s that architectural element. I always, since a young boy, wanted to be a sniper but Bradley Cooper nailed that character so perfectly. Worst job….Definitely ambulance. There’s a reason the suicide rate in ambo’s is 4x higher than any other profession. They see what you shouldn’t see and there’s no coming back from that.

 

 

Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries vs Partners In Crime

Nice and tidy.

The true loss of a great talent, Alan Rickman.

Alan-Rickman-alan-rickman-13116364-2560-1684

 

When I read of Alan Rickman’s passing my first feeling was shock.  No, he is too young.  He has too many parts still to play.  It’s not fair.  I always hoped I would get to see him on stage.  I would have loved to see him doing Shakespeare, from all that I know of him he would have been magnificent as King Lear.

The first time I saw him I really did not see his features under the make up or the horrid fright wig he wore in Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves, it was his voice that stayed with me.  It was such a unique voice and though he was a bad guy, it was a wonderful, sexy voice.  It stayed with me.

Then four years later, my Mother and I wanted to do something anti-Superbowl, and I had just become obsessed with Jane Austen.  I fell in love with her writing from the TV mini series of Pride and Prejudice so when I heard that Emma Thompson, (who I admire a lot) had written and starred in Sense and Sensibility. I thought it would be a perfect balance to my thDad and brother taking over living room with the Superbowl. All through the movie the voice of Colonel Brandon drove me mad, I knew it and I had no idea from where.  As we drove home I realized who he played and in the middle of conversation on the drive home said, Robin Hood,  The Sheriff Nottingham, that is where I know him from.  I think I shocked my Mom a bit, but I always remember a voice.  And his was special.  I tried to watch everything he was in that I could.

 

The next film I saw was Galaxy Quest, he was hilarious as the egotistical actor playing an Alien in a Sci Fi show.  Then Love Actually, again like Sense and Sensibility he played the leading man type, you could see what he looked like.  Though his character had some issues he seemed to turn it around in the end.

I came late to Harry Potter, I did not start watching it till the third movie came out.  I started to read the books that year and fell in love with them.  Alan was perfect as Professor alan rickmanSnape. I saw the first two movies on video tapes, so I didn’t get the full effect of the Professor till third movie.  He was amazing as old Snape,  you just loved to hate him.  It was nice that you saw why he did it in the end, again the bad guy was shown as a good guy and redeemed at the end.

 

 

Outside of Harry Potter the last show I saw him on was The Song Of Lunch on PBS with Emma Thompson. It was a lyrical show very much the cycle of love.

There were a lot more movies of course but those are the ones that stood out.  He was a talented man, who was very diverse and special.  He was very well-loved and he will be so very missed by all of his fans.

I raise my wand for you Professor…

We would like to see more of Mr. Nathan Page, Please!

tumblr_nqk6616CuO1u8f3rro1_12801ccbbbdea36e91c86d25630e497e7b6bHere in the states we are coming to the end of the delightful series Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries.  And we all enjoy Essie Davis and Nathan Pages and their wonderful talent in bringing the characters to life.  But there is something I have noticed since I have become a fan.

Nathan Page is such a talented and diverse actor and he has done a lot of work that we really don’t get to see it in the states.  There are a lot of Nathan Page fans here in the US thanks to MFMM and we would love to see his other work.  I have to confess I have been able to see some of the shows through Itunes and YouTube but it is a mystery to me why they don’t show more Australian Shows here inHenry Stokes the US.

Nathan Page is in two shows that are excellent but we don’t get to see them here; one is Underbelly: Squizzy; it is about the life and career of notorious Melbourne gangster, Squizzy Taylor, and is set between 1915 and 1927.   Nathan plays the delectable bad guy; Henry Stokes. Henry is a club owner, smuggler and a bad guy yet he is really funny and adores his wife.  It is a very well written and acted series so why is it not shown here?  Why? 

Nathan is also in the really well done drama Hiding, where he plays the brother-in-law and bad guy, Kosta “Koz” Krilich.  It follows a family in the witness protection program who must build a HIDING.Nathan-Page.Playmakernew life in a strange city, Sydney. Koz is a very complex villain who loves his family but is caught up in some really bad stuff.  He has to deal with his sister and best friend who know what he did.  Nathan gives a wonderful performance but they are not showing here in the states.

Come on powers that be, give us some more viewing pleasure of this talented and diverse actor!