Fame, the fleeting nature thereof

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ed
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Fame, the fleeting nature thereof

Post by ed »

For some odd reason, I feel in a discursive mood. This is the sort of mood that causes my kids to suddenly feel very VERY tired. But this is a topic that I wanted to bring up here for some time.

First: a pop quiz.

No cheating now!

Ready?

Who is Arthur Guy Empey?

Don't lie. You have no fuggin' idea, do you.

Sit back, I'm going to tell you a story.

When I was a kid we went out to Long Island on summer vacation. A treat were the book sales. Mom and I (I don't have vivid memories of Dad being there) would go off and find treasures. Well, I found a volume entitled "First Call: Guideposts to Berlin" by Arthur Guy Empey on one of those trips. I bought it for 10 cents and read it, with increasing horror ... disbelief .. enjoyment .. in short order.

I won't bore you with the details, suffice it to say that Arthur Guy wrote a classic of Kraut Hating WWI propaganda. It was ... to use the vernacular of the time "swell".

He had turns of phrase like "... those baby killing gas bags they call Zeppelins". You get the idea.

"Juicy" I think Bertie Wooster would have called it.

Anyway, Arthur Guy was there in the back of my mind for ages and then Al Gore invented the Interwhoosie.

A boon for geeks-at-heart like moi. Nothing was too arcane for exploration ...

Now, I actually knew a bit. I had gone to the 42St Public Library to investigate Arthur Guy and there I found out a bit. First that he was dead by the time I dragged my sorry ass to check into things. He was born in 1888 and died in 1964. He wrote stuff and made a movie.

Well, that was not exactly a fair representation. As it turns out he wrote a number of screen plays, directed and starred in a couple of flicks, directed and wrote a few more. He wrote 4 or 5 books, the first two of which were super big sellers. He wrote songs. The first was (and do not laugh)

"Your Lips are No Man's Land But Mine"
http://i10.ebayimg.com/07/i/000/c1/de/42ed_1_sbl.JPG

"Our Country's In It Now, We Have to Win It Now"

Heady stuff.

I started collecting Empeyania. I got all of his books, the sheet music for his songs, some PR stills from his movies, his business card. Tons of autographs.

My mountainous collection had one rule: nothing over $5. The whole thing (largest on the planet) cost <$75.

Arthur Guy was also a principle in the Hollywood Hussars, a paramilitary organization in Hollywood.

Come about 1925, his star set. That was it. No movies, no recording contracts, no more books.

He was a big guy, I like to think sorta comparable to a Truman Capote (not talent, awareness). From this to zero, virtually. It gets me thinking about fame and fleeting and stuff. Very sobering. "Deep waters" Bertie might observe.

In any event, I am trying to get hold of his daughter to just touch base. She was an actress of sorts. She was a model for Playboy and went by the names Diane Webber/Marguerite Empey. She taught Belly Dancing in California and I am trying to contact her thru the company she founded.

He went from owning the world to writing pulp stories. He had an honorary commission removed by presidential order(!). He wanted to invade Germany before WWII. I mean HE wanted to, with like his own army.

Calls out for a film.
Bruce
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Post by Bruce »

:Yawn: :zzz:
ed
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Post by ed »

Bruce wrote::Yawn: :zzz:
Really? That bad? Does that mean no scans of critical collection stuff?

Nothing?

really?
Doctor X
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Post by Doctor X »

He thought it was "Arthur Gay Empey."

--J.D.
ed
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Post by ed »

I guess there is some consolation in the fact that if one bombs, one ought to bomb profoundly, as I think this thread will.

I really thought that some would be riveted by a serious discussion on this topic and, maybe, even oooooh and aaaaaaahh at my collection.

The hopes of youth, shattered like so many words in a bad song title.

<sigh>
sparks
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Post by sparks »

Not to worry ed, people look at my threads and are so underwhelmed that they don't respond at all.

Then again, my threads contain no redeeming value whatever.

Connection? You be the judge.... :)
Nigel
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Post by Nigel »

At least this guy was a Was. Most people are Never-Will-Bes.
specious_reasons
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Post by specious_reasons »

Any reasons behind why this guy's career crashed? I'm assuming it wasn't retirement. I doubt guys like this retire.

Political climate? He was a bit too racist for the times?
ed
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Post by ed »

specious_reasons wrote:Any reasons behind why this guy's career crashed? I'm assuming it wasn't retirement. I doubt guys like this retire.

Political climate? He was a bit too racist for the times?
Dunno. He had these dreams of doing a trilogy, he hired an actress and gave her a contract. The first film was the only one that was made and she sued him. Very convoluted. And that weird thing of having his honorary commission rescinded ...

odd.


There's more there, I think.
Luke T.
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Post by Luke T. »

Which President revoked his honorary commission?

I would be interested in any scans you have of his stuff. I am the person you have been waiting for. :)
Nyarlathotep
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Post by Nyarlathotep »

Luke T. wrote:Which President revoked his honorary commission?
Wilson

And you can find scans of his stuff on Google Books. :D
Luke T.
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Post by Luke T. »

Nyarlathotep wrote:
Luke T. wrote:Which President revoked his honorary commission?
Wilson
Scandal! He must have absconded with the soldiers' tobacco funds.

Or perhaps there is more to the story.
There were two possible reasons for his discharge, Empey said. First, when he joined the Canadian forces and swore allegiance to the King of Great Britain he automatically renounced his American citizenship, and he had not as yet be repatriated. This, however, is merely a technicality. Second, he is under weight, as regards American army standards.
None of this would explain it. His commission was honorary, not an actual posting.
specious_reasons
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Post by specious_reasons »

Luke T. wrote:I am the person you have been waiting for.
I'd have a more morbid interest in his downfall. I have to admit that the fact that the news of his decommission made it to the NYT, it must have been a big deal, and it piqued my interest.
Nyarlathotep
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Post by Nyarlathotep »

Luke T. wrote:
Nyarlathotep wrote:
Luke T. wrote:Which President revoked his honorary commission?
Wilson
Scandal! He must have absconded with the soldiers' tobacco funds.

Or perhaps there is more to the story.
There were two possible reasons for his discharge, Empey said. First, when he joined the Canadian forces and swore allegiance to the King of Great Britain he automatically renounced his American citizenship, and he had not as yet be repatriated. This, however, is merely a technicality. Second, he is under weight, as regards American army standards.
None of this would explain it. His commission was honorary, not an actual posting.
The citizenship thing would, I think. It might not look right to have a non-citizen as even an honorary officer.

The 'wanted to invade Germany with his own army' thing that Ed mentioned makes me think he was a bit...eccentric. Perhaps Wilson realized just how eccentric right after giving him the commission, and figured that the guys odd habits might reflect badly on the Army. I'm not stating that as anything more than a possiblity, mind you.
Luke T.
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Post by Luke T. »

Tales From A Dugout
ed
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Post by ed »

Luke T. wrote:Which President revoked his honorary commission?

I would be interested in any scans you have of his stuff. I am the person you have been waiting for. :)
Whoa!!!

You got it.
ed
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Post by ed »

A sampling of his autographs ...

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v62/I ... graphs.jpg
ed
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Post by ed »

"Here's to you, Betty"

...

Nawwwww, couldn't be. :D
ed
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Post by ed »

We come to his magnum opus ... Over the Top ...

Here is a newspaper ad ca. 1918

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v62/I ... turead.jpg

Here is a shot of the Guy with his Mom and Sis. Sis evidentially played a nurse (haven't gotten around to fixing the IMDB yet).

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v62/I ... theset.jpg

Here is a very rare still from the flick. Note the swords. Both are American civil war, unless I miss my guess. Also note Guy's table manners.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v62/I ... tstill.jpg
ed
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Post by ed »

Guy looking pretty smug ...
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v62/I ... theman.jpg

A pensive look ...

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v62/I ... heguy2.jpg

These are both by the same photographer and taken at the same session. They increased the contrast in one so you can see that his suit is a pin stripe.

Guy liked to sign things, evidentially.
En folkefiende
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Post by En folkefiende »

Ed Wood should make a movie about this guy.
ed
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Post by ed »

Penultimely ... his music.

I posted an image of "Lips", know that the sheet music is in multiple states. That is that it was pronted and reprinted with various changes. I think that I have like 5 or 6 different ones.

These are the only other songs that I am aware he was involved with. "Liberty Statue is Looking Right at You" and the "In it" song.

I got the "Lips" song on a 78 a couple of years ago. Unfortunately the idiot that sold it stuck it in an envelope with no protection and it got shattered.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v62/I ... tmusic.jpg
ed
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Post by ed »

There were various "homages" to Guy. These mainly consisted of other Vets with marginal musical talent "dedicating their effort to the immortal Guy.

Amazing that nothing has changed. I will not try your collective patience with examoles of these.

I will, though, share this final image

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v62/I ... tdoors.jpg

Guy was ppresident of the Great Outdoors Corporation. Presumably a public corporation capitolized to the tune of $1,000,000.

The offices were in NYC and I have no idea what they did. The certificate that I have is good. I have to see if my broker guys can figure it out.

Sounds like a scam. I think that Guy was reaching a bit and that that did him in.
ed
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Post by ed »

The last thing to mull over ...

In 1920 Guy was The Man.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v62/I ... ycover.jpg

The back cover of the same rag makes some pretty bold promises ...

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v62/I ... kcover.jpg

Not the least of which is that a chickadee is the "Leading Woman" of Guy Empey Productions and that there is going to be a trilogy.

Well, time and tide and suchlike...

Here we have a cover story 2 years later...

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v62/I ... uysued.jpg

Interesting.
Luke T.
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Post by Luke T. »

So whattya think, ed. Was Guy a rogue? Were his war stories fabricated? Was he actually wounded?

Or was he an enlisted man who tried to elbow his way into a seat at the big table and got pushed down?
NightG1
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Post by NightG1 »

I have two "theories"

1. Wilson et. al. saw his exploits as little more than self-promotion
or
2. Wilson et. al. saw an easy mark to use as a recruitment tool and then the stupid war ended (or its conclusion was seen as inevitable and soon) and Empey lost his propaganda value. In short, he was jettisoned as last year's news.

Neither is probably correct but I find the timing kinda political or handled in a political way.
ed
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Post by ed »

Luke T. wrote:So whattya think, ed. Was Guy a rogue? Were his war stories fabricated? Was he actually wounded?

Or was he an enlisted man who tried to elbow his way into a seat at the big table and got pushed down?
Not a rogue but he had the potential.

Did he get wounded? There is an article from the hospital he was in. Seemed real but not as bad as initially made out to be. The guy was a self promoter.

I think he was at a medium table and then his raison d'etre failed (ie. he ceased to be a money maker) and he was given the polite boot.
ed
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Post by ed »

NightG1 wrote:I have two "theories"

1. Wilson et. al. saw his exploits as little more than self-promotion
or
2. Wilson et. al. saw an easy mark to use as a recruitment tool and then the stupid war ended (or its conclusion was seen as inevitable and soon) and Empey lost his propaganda value. In short, he was jettisoned as last year's news.

Neither is probably correct but I find the timing kinda political or handled in a political way.
I think that his politics were not exactly what would fly in a League of Nations environment. I suspect that his wartime patriotism was a bit much.
NightG1
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Post by NightG1 »

Marguerite Empey

http://pages.sbcglobal.net/nightg1/mempey.jpg

Just in case you were wondering. Circa 1955-ish.
Bruce
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Post by Bruce »

ed wrote:
Bruce wrote::Yawn: :zzz:
Really? That bad? Does that mean no scans of critical collection stuff?

Nothing?

really?
starrover
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Re: Fame, the fleeting nature thereof

Post by starrover »

I have a copy of Over the Top, 1917 - second impression, inscribed as follows:

To Mr Randolph Perkins
Best Wishes,
AG Empty
June, 1917

It compares very well with other signatures I've seen online. Condition is good. The cover has faded to brown - you can detect
what remains of the red more on the back cover. The spine and front cover lettering are quite faded but legible.
Top and bottom of spine are a bit frayed - worse on bottom. Shelf wear on bottom edge, some bumping to corners.
A sticker over the name Empey on the spine was removed and there is some residue over the name. A small hole (1/8 "?)
on the hinge near the spine. Hinges have separated from the print block but the latter is still attached to the boards.
All pages and photos are present and clean. Tissue-protected photo of the author in front (a few small brown spots
on tissue).

The closest to a first edition that I have found online is fourth impression. Randolph Perkins was a NJ politician that
died in 1936. No way to prove this, I guess.

What do you think it's worth?

David
starrover
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Re: Fame, the fleeting nature thereof

Post by starrover »

In my post above about the book Over the Top, the name came out as "Empty," instead of "Empey." Spelling correction software drives me crazy!
Witness
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Re: Fame, the fleeting nature thereof

Post by Witness »

Abdul Alhazred wrote:A N00B who is also a thread necromancer.

If I see a second post, I'll do the official greeting routine. :)
Abdul to the front desk! (Thieved from the Master of Ceremonies.)
Doctor X
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Re: Fame, the fleeting nature thereof

Post by Doctor X »

I fear he is too busy licking Tinkerbell's sore hindquarters.

"Not a gentleman!"

However, it is customary for Gentlemen to welcome a new poster with the reminder that there is a "two drink minimum."

--J.D.
Bruce
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Re: Fame, the fleeting nature thereof

Post by Bruce »

I really need to check the dates before reading.

I was about to reply when I noticed that I had already replied 8 years ago.

Funny, but my intended reply to the OP was going to be the exact same reply that I already made 8 years ago. Guess I haven't changed all that much. :P

Are we sure that the Noob isn't just a new Robin sock?
ed
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Re: Fame, the fleeting nature thereof

Post by ed »

Bump because I was thinking about AGE just now.

The Hollywood Hussars!!!!

Look at this
https://baseballhistorydaily.com/tag/guy-empey/

He also had a baseball team!!

https://baseballhistorydaily.files.word ... =490&h=292
ed
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Re: Fame, the fleeting nature thereof

Post by ed »

If you wait long enough everything appears on the interwebs

Your Lips are No Man's Land But Mine


Our Country's In It Now, We have To Win It Now!


Anyone want to dance?
ed
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Re: Fame, the fleeting nature thereof

Post by ed »

https://ia802300.us.archive.org/BookRea ... 8&rotate=0

Huzza!!
ed
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Re: Fame, the fleeting nature thereof

Post by ed »

BTW, his film, Over the Top, seems to be well and truly lost. It was a biggie in 1918.
Anaxagoras
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Re: Fame, the fleeting nature thereof

Post by Anaxagoras »