Saturday, July 22, 2017


Our S(h)ipping Reporter  turns up   so many strange , dog-eared pieces of  ephemera    and  odd   items which appear to have been scavenged  from  municipal tips  late at  night   that  we  may have to  regularly steam clean  the  Little Darwin office  to prevent  an outbreak  of   scurvy  and  yellow journalism , the  latter spreading  like  mad  in  syndicated  columns and  in  shockjocks  . 
It  has been suggested that  he was secretly , officially  appointed  Receiver of Wreck in  North  Australian  waters   so  anything  unusual washed  ashore  or vessels   aground  on  the Great  Barrier  Reef  should  be  handed  over  to  him .
 Smelling like a codfish, he waltzed   into the  office rejoicing over his  latest  find-the above  vintage  piece of sheet  music, My Song of the Nile ,  its spine reinforced by a  piece of  floral material  applied  by a sewing  machine , bearing the  penned name of  Page  and  the  date  17/2/1931.
It was the theme song  from the 1929  First National Vitaphone Picture   Drag ,    now described as a "lost silent  film ", supposedly   sung  by  heart-throb  Richard  Barthelmess ,  which  reached  number  17  for one week on the US Billboard chart that year . It seems  Richard  could make the damsels melt  as  the  shot below  of  him    from  the 1930  movie Weary River shows.  

 My Song of the Nile lyrics , with instructions for ukulele players ,  tell of  a pyramid of dreams  where the Star of Allah  brightly beams . Hopefully, desert  stars  will  guide his love to his arms on a couch of  moonbeams on the sand. (Sand could  cause  a major problem , you  would  think ) . This  Cleopatra  like  beauty is  urged  to stop dreaming ! Love, love , love while you may , too  soon  youth  fades  away , so  join in  the   song . 
It  sounds like the seductive words of  the great lover of the 1920s, The   Shiek, Italian-American actor   Rudolph Valentino , not  Dick Barthelmess. 

The Drag movie appears  to have   had a  run in Melbourne in 1929, causing   the hearts of  many colonial women   dressed  in  fur coats  to  flutter ... as the savage  Depression set in .