Wednesday, November 14, 2012
A typing elephant?
Reader M. C. sent me this photograph today, which she'd apparently received via e-mail. She asked whether it was real, and whether I knew anything about it.
I didn't, and the text on the typewritten page shown in the copy she sent me was too small to read. I therefore searched for matching images on the Internet, and came across an article at Retronaut showing several pictures of a gigantic Underwood typewriter made for the 1939-40 New York World's Fair. Here's one of them.
The article also included a larger version of the picture she'd sent me, which showed the typewritten text more clearly. Using it to look for more information, I found that the elephant had been brought to the World's Fair by one Frank Buck, an animal collector with a flair for florid publicity. He set up 'Frank Buck's Jungleland' for the duration of the Fair. Here's a souvenir program cover, courtesy of Wikipedia.
I don't know who thought of pairing a giant animal with a giant typewriter for publicity purposes, but they did. So there you are, M. C. - mystery solved!