Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Great Farini

As I was driving along the highway, a billboard in a field caught my attention. It wasn't the billboard itself, but the notion that the art of advertising by picture and artistic postings has pretty much died.

It was a way of life when I was a kid. Pictures of people such as Laurel and Hardy, Clark Gable and Humphry Bogart peered out at me from behind glass in front of the local movie theatre. They were jammed full of exciting glimpses of the forthcoming drama which could be viewed within.

Not just that but posters were nailed to telephone poles in town, or put in store windows, advertising the arrival of travelling musicians or shows.

The picture of the Great Farini, above, which I found in a Google search was typical of this kind of illustrative art.

For those unfamiliar with the story of William Hunt, I would suggest that you click the links below.

Hunt was a formidable personality in the 19th century. He was equal to Blondin in his tight rope walking across the Niagara Gorge. And, he has quite a list of personal accomplishments. He was the first to be shot from a cannon in a circus event, and the next time you go to a performance in a theatre, and you slide into your seat, thank 'The Great Farini' for inventing the folding theatre seat that made your passage to your seat easier.

Shane Peacock's book, on the life of the Great Farini, reports that late in his life, he was the owner of an art gallery in Toronto, and that he advertised himself as an artist.

Click here to see the Farini article in Wikipedia.
Also, this Wikipedia link.

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