SKYWATCH FRIDAY - Puffy Clouds and a Salute to Stan Midgley
Those of you who could bring in Detroit TV in the 50’s may remember George Pierrot’s “World Adventure Series.” The show was broadcast to the TV audience, and live in the theater of the Detroit Institute of Arts downtown. We always watched the early travel/lecture films Pierrot brought in, and if the presenter was Stan Midgley, the funny man with a bike, a jeep, my dad would take us downtown to be in the audience. Stan’s winning combination of breathtaking scenery and hilarious slapstick sight gags were wonderful and entertaining family events.
The butt of Stan’s gags was always himself, using a tag team of cameras and timers (he always traveled alone). My favorite moment was when Stan stopped along Montana’s Going To The Sun highway to film a particularly dramatic view. He pointed out how the puffy clouds looked just like cotton balls floating in the sky. Then a second camera he had on a tripod zoomed out to reveal Stan, finished with the shot with a hand-held camera, picking off real cotton balls he’d stuck on the side window of the jeep: he’d been shooting the cloudless sky through the driver’s side window with cotton ball "clouds" stuck on the glass! Then Stan acted befuddled and embarrassed at being “caught in the act” as he always did when his gags were revealed, while the audience roared.
Yesterday I went out with my camera to look at the sky, and saw these puffy clouds over my roof, looking like they were waiting for Stan to pick them up and stick them on his jeep window again. Later, when I was searching for DVDs of Stan's landmark films (sadly, there doesn’t appear to be any available), I discovered that Stan passed away in 2000. He’s probably up there arranging cotton balls from the other side.
To view more skies from all around our beautiful planet, or to join in, visit SKYWATCH. Live links after 2:30 p.m. EST time or 19:30 GMT
The Cloud Messenger (Meghadūta) is a lyric poem by the respected Indian poet, Kālidāsa. The poem centers around a yaksa in exile. Longing for his beloved, waiting for him on a Himalayan mountain, he asks a cloud to take a message to her. The sights he tells the cloud it will see on its way make up most of the poem.
The idea of recording observations appeals to me. I thought The Cloud Messenger was the perfect title for a blog about the journey that we all make as we move through our days.
I'm a baby boomer who grew up dancing in the streets of Detroit during the classic Motown years, lived beside the Rocky Mountains for many years, now retired and living (and writing full time) in S. Ontario. I have one blog for rock 'n' roll oldies, and one for nature, poetry and life along the Lake.