Thursday, July 9, 2009

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

23 comments:

Lin said...

interesting history lesson, sounds like a fun guy

Sylvia K said...

Fun story to go with your lovely cotton balls! Have a great weekend, Deborah!

Cloudia said...

A lovely pic & post, Dear!

Aloha-

Comfort Spiral

Carletta said...

What a terrific post! I loved how you tied your photo into a remembrance.
Love the perspective of your shot.
Puffy clouds are my favorite and I suspect I'll be thinking of this tribute each time I see them. :)

My post is here: Carletta’s Captures.

Shellmo said...

What a nice story - wish I had seen that show!!

JOE TODD said...

Head in the clouds Feet on the ground

fourwindsphotojournal said...

He must be. I see cotton ball skies quite often. What is that tower?

Deborah Godin said...

The tower is an old TV antenna, which is probably as old as Stan Midgley's films! There's no cable on this semi-rural lake road, so most people have a sat dish, even if they have one of these. It would be too costly to take it down, so there it stands.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Cute story, Deb... Isn't it neat to have such great childhood memories?

Are you sure you didn't just 'add' those cotton balls to your sky picture????? ha ha ha

Great shot!
Hugs,
Betsy

bobbie said...

I never knew Stan nor his work, but he obviously meant a great deal to you. I'm glad that you discovered his cotton ball clouds again. they certainly do look like that!

Alexander said...

Haha... Nicely done. :)

Have a great weekend.

Alexander
Alex's World! - http://www.kakinan.com/alex

magiceye said...

a very poignant tale and a fabulous photograph!

Greyscale Territory said...

What a fascinating sory to complement a delightful photo! Enjoyed this!

Dee said...

Love the little history story and the puffy cotton ball clouds! Have a great friday!

Arija said...

I really like the added colour with the red brick chimney leaning into the picture.

Dewdrop said...

I didn't know him.

Beautiful skies you've got there. Love your puffy whites.

Indrani said...

Very interesting read, Deborah.

Sue said...

Those look just like little puffs of white smoke coming out of that chimney!

Karen said...

Interesting post. I had never heard of Stan Midgley ... but then again, I grew up in New Zealand :-)

Love those cotton balls :-)

SandyCarlson said...

I love that sky, Deb. You describe 50s TV the way my folks do. Something to feel affection for.

Wren said...

I didn't grow up in the Detroit area, so I didn't get to see his show. Still, I love the cotton ball story. I bet it was a big hit with all the kids, and some of the parents.

Melusine said...

Nice shot!

william said...

Stan was one of my favorites also along with Don Cooper. Don Coopers films are available on DVD at www.doncooperfilms.com I also would be very interested in Stan Midgleys films if available. Saw them both many times at the Detroit Institute of Arts.