Shall we go together & look for her?

In April of 1948, having recently watched and been mesmerised by Open City and its sequel, Paisà, Oscar-winning actress Ingrid Bergman wrote a fan letter to the filmmaker responsible, Roberto Rossellini, and offered her acting services. That note can be read below, as can three passionate replies from Rossellini — the first an excited telegram sent in

I am desperate to have some real fun

In January 1960, 9 years and 250 episodes after first being introduced to a baffled but delighted audience, The Goon Show’s final installment was broadcast on BBC radio, much to the dismay of its many fans. Written chiefly by Spike Milligan, the show’s 10 series had been a surreal mixture of sketches, music and general

Hitchcock for Bond?

In September of 1959, as he began to assemble a cast and crew for the first James Bond movie, Ian Fleming sent the following telegram to fellow novelist Eric Ambler, and asked him to find out whether his friend, Alfred Hitchcock, would like to direct. Hitchcock, who had recently wowed audiences with his action-packed thriller,

The Heroes of Our Time

June, 1964. Marlon Brando sends a telegram to Martin Luther King and declines an offer to assist in a forthcoming demonstration due to ill-health and legal troubles. Brando was an active supporter of the Civil Rights Movement, both vocally and financially, and in fact had been standing just “a few steps behind Dr. King when

Herbs is his Majesty’s

On January 16th of 1980, Japanese customs officials found 7.7 ounces of cannabis in Paul McCartney‘s luggage as he entered the country, resulting in a 10-day stay in a Tokyo prison and the cancellation of the Wings tour of Japan. After being released, he was told never to return.  The highlight of the whole ordeal came five days

YOUR ANONYMOUS GODARD

Mid-1968, the British Film Institute invited acclaimed filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard to open a series of lectures at the National Film Theatre in London. A fee was agreed, the invite accepted, and flights booked. In the days prior to the event, the BFI received two telegrams from Godard. The first can be seen below. The second

HAVE SECURED CONTRACT FOR BEATLES

On May 9th of 1962, after many weeks of trying, Brian Epstein met with the A & R man at Parlophone — George Martin — for a second time, and played him some more material by The Beatles. Martin wasn’t overly impressed with the songs, but provisionally signed the act on the strength of their manager’s enthusiasm, and on

HOPE THEY KEEP YOU

On July 15th of 1971, U. S. President Richard Nixon shocked the nation by announcing his intention to visit the People’s Republic of China and meet with Chairman Mao. Understandably public reaction was mixed, as illustrated by the following: Two of many messages sent to the White House in response — the first from a

COME AT ONCE HANK IS DEAD

Millions of hearts broke in 1953 when, on January 1st, the news of the death of 29-year-old Hiram Williams began to circulate. Hiram was better known to most by his stage name, Hank Williams; a talented young man who recorded hit after hit during his short but illustrious country music career. Sadly, addictions to alcohol and

The Beatles was too much

On February 28th of 1977, the manager of the Sex Pistols, Malcolm McLaren, sent the following telegram to the NME. In it, he confirmed the sacking of Glen Matlock from the band as a result of his constant talk of Paul McCartney and The Beatles, and then officially announced the introduction of Sid Vicious to the

ENERGY EQUALS MASS TIMES THE SPEED OF LIGHT SQUARED STOP

Back in 1936, renowned sculptor Isamu Noguchi was in Mexico working on a 72-ft-long public mural when he hit a snag: for some reason, he couldn’t precisely recall the famous formula, E=mc². Rather than risk a mistake, he decided to seek advice and wired his good friend, Buckminster Fuller — a famed architect and great admirer of Einstein — for clarification.

I NEED TO TELL YOU MY EMOTION

From one master to another. A telegram received in 1968 by Stanley Kubrick shortly after the release of his cinematic tour de force, 2001: A Space Odyssey—sent to him by fellow filmmaker, Federico Fellini. Transcript follows. (Source: The Stanley Kubrick Archives.) Transcript SERCEIVED 4.9.68 DISTRIBUTION MR KUBRICK METROBRIT BORWO ERE STALBANS TELEGRAMS ONE MSGE FOR YOU720 1.55 LONDON

Long may the Grand Master live

The following birthday message was sent by telegram in 1885 to Victor Hugo, the French writer responsible for, most notably, Les Misérables and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. It was penned on the day of Hugo’s 83rd birthday by the father of both dynamite and the Nobel Prizes, Alfred Nobel. Short, but sweet. Transcript and translation follow.

I can’t look you in the voice

The late, great Dorothy Parker had many strings to her bow. She wrote hundreds of poems and short stories, many of which were published in magazines and books; she was a biting and much-loved book critic for The New Yorker in the late 1920s; in the 1930s, she moved to Hollywood to try her hand

Success

Above: The Wright brothers’ 4th flight, Dec. 17, 1903; Image: LoC On this day in 1903, following an unsuccessful attempt three days previous, the Wright brothers once again took their newly-built Wright Flyer to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, and proceeded to make history by claiming “the first sustained and controlled heavier-than-air powered flight.” In fact, they

Speaks through his nose and cannot pronounce the letter S

Sent in December of 1899 by Boer police, the following telegram marked the beginning of a hunt for an escaped prisoner of The Boer War. The young man – a British war correspondent who walked with ‘a slight stoop’, had an ‘almost invisible’ moustache and was ‘unable to pronounce the letter S’ – happened to

The best reappraisals are born in the worst crisis

On February 11th of 1961, just a week after her final movie was released to disappointing reviews, a depressed, exhausted and frequently ill Marilyn Monroe admitted herself for psychiatric treatment in New York. Whilst there, Marlon Brando sent the following note of support. Tragically, just over a year later Monroe passed away. The note sold

Try not to make an ass of yourself

On the evening of July 6th, 1984, The Jacksons reunited and embarked on a 55-date tour of the U.S. and Canada. Prior to the Victory Tour‘s first show, the following “Good Luck” telegram was sent to Michael Jackson by his friend, Marlon Brando. Transcript follows. (Source: Heritage Auctions; Image of Brando & Jackson, via.) Transcript

We are sinking fast

Two telegrams, both sent within hours of each other and both painting an entirely different picture of the same tragic situation. The first, received by S. S. Birma at approximately 01:40hrs on April 15th, 1912, is the last complete distress call to have left the radio room of RMS Titanic, the passenger steamship which –

FOR HEAVENS SAKE STOP IT

October, 1918: Trapped behind enemy lines in Charlevaux, France, and surrounded by hundreds of German troops, the few hundred surviving members of the Lost Battalion soon had another problem to deal with in the form of friendly fire. His men rapidly succumbing to the onslaught and with two birds already shot down, Major Charles Whittlesay

Send cask arsenic exterminate aborigines

This 1907 telegram was sent by a Charles Morgan to Henry Prinsep, a man seemingly based 2200km away in Perth who at the time was Chief Protector of Aborigines for Western Australia. Following the arrival of British settlers in the 18th century, Australia’s indigenous population were slowly faced with disease, loss of land, stolen generations and general

What hath God wrought?

The United States’ first publicly demonstrated telegram was dispatched on May 24th, 1844, by the system’s developer, Samuel Morse. The telegram’s message – What hath God wrought? – was chosen from the bible by the daughter of Morse’s friend, Henry Ellsworth, and successfully travelled from Washington, D.C. to Baltimore, Maryland, instantly stunning the general public.

THIS IS NO DRILL

At 07:58am on December 7th, 1941, Commander Logan C. Ramsey ordered the following telegram to be sent to all ships in the Hawaiian area after watching a low-flying plane drop a bomb on Ford Island. Ramsey had in fact just witnessed the very beginning of a coordinated attack on Pearl Harbor in which the Japanese, over the

The KKK will receive a taste of its own medicine

May, 1964: The world looks on as peaceful, non-violent protests against racial segregation turn sour in St. Augustine, Florida. During the coming weeks many protesters will receive verbal and physical abuse from local segregationists, most notably Klansmen. The SCLC, founded by Martin Luther King, lends support to the protests. June 30th, 1964: Controversial activist Malcolm

Prepare For Contact

Here’s a 1924 telegram from then Chief of U.S. Naval Operations, Edward W. Eberle, instructing all Naval stations to monitor the airwaves for any unusual transmissions due to anticipated contact from Martians. August 22nd of that year was witness to the closest Mars opposition since 1804 (a mere 55,777,566 km), and as such provided desirable

17214 6491 11310 18147

Two years into World War I, on January 16th of 1917, the following coded telegram was sent by German Foreign Secretary Arthur Zimmermann (via the German Ambassador in Washington) to the German Ambassador in Mexico, Heinrich von Eckardt. In it, Zimmermann told Eckardt to approach the President of Mexico with a view to forming a