The Ghosts of My Friends

The Ghosts of My Friends is a kind of autograph book that was published around the turn of the 20th century. The directions inside it state: ‘Sign your name along the fold of the paper with a full pen of ink, and then double the page over without using blotting paper.’ The resultant smuges sometimes looked like ghostly or supernatural figures. My copy of The Ghosts of My Friends originally belonged to Lysle Davey of ‘Cullen House’ Bendigo. Following are the signatures of two of his friends, Ethel Kick and Fred H. Milvain.


Collins Architects and Builders Diary 1961


Whenever I come across a used autograph book, diary or journal going cheap, I usually buy it. This Collins Architects and Builders Diary of 1961 appears to have belonged to a delivery van driver, whose run took in the NSW towns of Auburn, Blacktown, Blackheath, Blaxland, Camellia, Concord, Chullora, Faulconbridge, Homebush, Katoomba, Mascot, Medlow Bath, Penrith, Pyrmont, Revesby, Rosehill, Rozelle, St Marys, Sidcombe, Springwood, Sydney, Villawood, and Woodford. On some days he’d drive delivery van FYT 084 and on others FYM 479.

S.H. Courtier

sh-courtier.jpg‘Here’s a problem you might work out in your spare time. It is something I want to use in a story that is buzzing in my mind and I can’t get on with it until I solve the problem. The hero wants to hide a small cylinder somewhere in a car. The cylinder holds important documents—secret documents. Now where and how could he hide the cylinder in a car so that even expert mechanics fail to spot it? In the story, when it is shown where the cylinder was hidden, the searchers will say, “Heavens, I should have thought of that myself.” And I want the readers of the story to say that too. I’d be awfully grateful for your help.’ (From a letter by Courtier to his brother-in-law, Alan George, 3/3/73.)

The Happy Show’s Sylvester the Sock and Ian Williams

Does anyone know what happened to Ian Williams? I’d love to track him down. This is another offering from Faye Marsden’s autograph book.

save0100.jpgSOCK PUPPET
A sock puppet is a puppet made from a sock (or similar garment) which is placed over the hand of a puppeteer. When a sock puppeteer fits their hand into the closed end of the sock, the sock puppet can be made to ‘talk’ with the opening and closing of the hand. The puppet’s mouth is formed by the region between the heel and the toe, with the thumb forming a jaw. At a minimum the shape of the hand will instantly form the shape of a mouth, but sometimes the mouth is padded by putting in a fairly hard piece of felt (often with a tongue glued inside). Sometimes the region between the toe and heel is cut open with scissors to form a mouth. The sock is stretched out fully so that it is long enough to cover the puppeteer’s wrist. Often, but not always, the puppeteer will hide behind a stand and raise up his or her hand above the stand so that only the puppet is visible. Many sock puppeteers, however, stand in full view along with their puppets and will hold conversations with their own sock puppets, using ventriloquism. (Wikipedia)

The Tarax Show’s Joffa Boy

Joff Ellen (20/5/15 – 30/12/99) was an Australian entertainer, actor and comedian. He was most famous for his appearances on the television show ‘In Melbourne Tonight’ from 1958 to 1962 employing a variety mix of song-and-dance, comedy sketches and other vaudevillean skills. He was also famous for appearing in various children’s television shows as the character ‘Joffa Boy’. His only known film role was in Nightclub (1952), one of only a handful of films made in Melbourne in that decade, where he appeared with the artist and actor Valma Howell who he had briefly married and later divorced. He retired in 1976 and lived in Warragul and lived with his second wife Bernadette of 54 years. (Wikipedia, plus my own corrections)