In the north east Asian countries of Japan and South Korea, the carrying of an umbrella is a vital tool come rain or shine. Either to keep the rain off, or the sun from beating down on you, umbrellas are carried everywhere. So the idea of reminding people to take their umbrellas isn't such a strange thing. Despite the message that these posters give off. Looking into them more deeply, explains that maybe Japanese culture isn't quite as weird as it may appear on the surface. For example, the random Marilyn Monroe poster, is a play on words. The text in the top right corner "Kaerazaru kasa" (umbrella of no return) is a play on "Kaerazaru Kawa," the Japanese title for "River of No Return," the 1954 movie starring Monroe. The Jesus image, reads at the top "Wishing to God again and again". The poster makes a play on the words "kasa" (umbrella) and "kasane-gasane" (again and again). A little bit of insight into graphic design choices and public information posters? Do you really care?
More likely what would be served up was ale (possibly stale), a few roasted crab apples for flavour, some sugar a few spices (mask the sourness of the putrid ale and crab apples). Then often a beaten egg and even milk or cream was chucked in. And all topped off with slices of toasted bread. (Again the bread likely toasted to mask the fact it was stale.) Now that's a true traditional drink of wassail. Sound good? No? Probably not to the starving peasants either, but when you're battling through a winter foraging for whatever food you can find, because the strip of land you farm doesn't belong to you. And the the lord of the manor house takes most of what you produce in rent and taxes, a bowl of wassail would have seemed like a bit of a treat. Yay, for the English feudal system, and all the wonderful Christmas traditions that developed during it. *Does little jig around the house, while flogging a servant or two* Merry Christmas, and a wassail!!! Wassail!!! To you all.
Over the years the Gävle Goat has been subject to vandalism, and arson. As well as in being hit by a car in 1976, it has been even kicked to pieces on a couple of occasions. The fate of the Goat, has become something that people even started gambling on in 1988, via British bookmakers. On 27 November 2004 the Gävle Goat's homepage was hacked into and one of the two official webcams changed to display Brinn Bockjävel (translation: "Burn, fucking goat") in the left corner of its live feed.
Weird Retro Fact: Read about other strange and dark European Christmas traditions, in the article The Dark Side Of European Christmas Traditions.
The original 1966 footage was filmed at Gracie Mansion, the official residence of the Mayor of New York. However during the filming, a spark from the fire damaged an antique fireplace rug, causing $4000 worth of damage. Only 17 seconds of footage was recorded on 16mm film, which looked a bit jerky and artificial. So in 1970, it was decided to re-record the footage. However, due to the damage caused during the original filming, the Mayor of New York wouldn't let them use the Gracie Mansion fireplace. A very similar fireplace was found in California, and a 6 minute loop was recorded on 35mm film in the height of the summer, on a roasting hot August day.
There is a full version playlist, with original music of the WPIX Yule Log from Christmas 1983, that can be viewed in all its glory on YouTube here.
My little lad and I spent this evening working on our Nativity scene, which is now finally finished. My son made the stable, amazing what a three year old can do with an old shoe box, lolly-sticks, poster paints and glitter. I added the figures. The Bruce Lee shepherds, the three wise gargoyles, Darth Vader and a stormtrooper as Joseph and Mary. A cyberman as the archangel Gabriel, and of course wind-up Jesus as little baby Jesus. Note: The star of Bethlehem is a flaming neon crucifix I've had for years, finally found a use for.