Colin Timothy Gagnon (sacredspud) wrote,
Colin Timothy Gagnon

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As Emperor of America, I demand more low-budget horror films.

You've just realized that the budget of the lousy, 70's-vintage, British horror film you're making can't handle the cost of lousy, 70's-vintage, British special effects. Do you:

A) Make Peter Cushing, David Warner and other semi-distinguished, almost-celebrities look stupid, thereby detracting from the lousy, 70's-vintage, Britishness of the film
B) Rewrite the script so that all the demons are invisible.
C) Skip the breathtaking visuals and wow your audience with the aftermath instead (he raises the knife and... CUT TO CU of the mound where he's just finished burying the body!).
D) Accidentally make a comedy.

If you chose any of these (or if you realized that choice D is basically redundant), then you could probably appreciate From Beyond The Grave which I've just finished watching. One has to wonder what people actually thought of movies like this when they came out, because these days they produce one of two reactions: boredom and ridicule. I'll have to go with the second in this case. The film stars Peter Cushing as a creepy antique shop owner, and we get to see the horrible things that happen to the customers who cheat him out of an honest sale. At least, that's what I assume the movie is about -- we never actually see a truly honest sale occur, so either the aftermath of those sales isn't worth our time, or the shop is in a really bad part of London. Either way, I'm glad I don't handle his merchant disputes ("The MIRROR was not as described in that IT CAUSED DAVID WARNER TO MURDER SEVERAL TOOTHY PROSTITUTES."). It's a good thing that this crap isn't out on DVD, because it would be proudly displayed next to my Ed Wood box set.

Anyway, this is kinda cool because I actually know who Joshua Abraham Norton was:

Which Historical Lunatic Are You?
From the fecund loins of Rum and Monkey.

You are Joshua Abraham Norton, first and only Emperor of the United States of America!

Born in England sometime in the second decade of the nineteenth century, you carved a notable business career, in South Africa and later San Francisco, until an entry into the rice market wiped out your fortune in 1854. After this, you became quite different. The first sign of this came on September 17, 1859, when you expressed your dissatisfaction with the political situation in America by declaring yourself Norton I, Emperor of the USA. You remained as such, unchallenged, for twenty-one years.

Within a month you had decreed the dissolution of Congress. When this was largely ignored, you summoned all interested parties to discuss the matter in a music hall, and then summoned the army to quell the rebellious leaders in Washington. This did not work. Magnanimously, you decreed (eventually) that Congress could remain for the time being. However, you disbanded both major political parties in 1869, as well as instituting a fine of $25 for using the abominable nickname "Frisco" for your home city.

Your days consisted of parading around your domain - the San Francisco streets - in a uniform of royal blue with gold epaulettes. This was set off by a beaver hat and umbrella. You dispensed philosophy and inspected the state of sidewalks and the police with equal aplomb. You were a great ally of the maligned Chinese of the city, and once dispersed a riot by standing between the Chinese and their would-be assailants and reciting the Lord's Prayer quietly, head bowed.

Once arrested, you were swiftly pardoned by the Police Chief with all apologies, after which all policemen were ordered to salute you on the street. Your renown grew. Proprietors of respectable establishments fixed brass plaques to their walls proclaiming your patronage; musical and theatrical performances invariably reserved seats for you and your two dogs. (As an aside, you were a good friend of Mark Twain, who wrote an epitaph for one of your faithful hounds, Bummer.) The Census of 1870 listed your occupation as "Emperor".

The Board of Supervisors of San Francisco, upon noticing the slightly delapidated state of your attire, replaced it at their own expense. You responded graciously by granting a patent of nobility to each member. Your death, collapsing on the street on January 8, 1880, made front page news under the headline "Le Roi est Mort". Aside from what you had on your person, your possessions amounted to a single sovereign, a collection of walking sticks, an old sabre, your correspondence with Queen Victoria and 1,098,235 shares of stock in a worthless gold mine. Your funeral cortege was of 30,000 people and over two miles long.

The burial was marked by a total eclipse of the sun.
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