Leaning boards ( also called Slant boards) were invented for Hollywood players to relax between takes. Frequently, the costumes were cut on the bias, and tailored so snugly that the actor could not sit down without bursting a ladder of seams. In fact, most of the time, there were no zippers or buttons on the costumes. Actors were sewn into their garments.
So, when you see Jean Harlow in Dinner at Eight, and marvel at the impeccable fit of the famous white silk gown, be aware that Harlow’s mobility was severely limited. In fact, just breathing was something of a chore.
These days, leaning boards are still in use, but they are the exception rather than the rule.
The automobile represents freedom.
You climb into a car and go, go, go, whenever and wherever you want. The car is modern man’s path to liberty.
Contrast cars with trains.
Railroads are an expression of the collective. Individual identity is erased. You are at the mercy of a government-controlled system that turns citizens into passive cogs, at the mercy of by-the-book bureaucrats.
That’s why democrats/progressives/liberals/ (what are they calling themselves this week?) are obsessed with high-speed rail. The freedom of the road is repellent to big government fanatics. The ruling elite seek to regulate and control tobacco, food, calories, soda, education, light bulbs, toilets, health care, reproduction, cow flatulence, oxygen — every cell of your body.
In short: liberty is constricted by any and all means.
And all in the name of an amorphous, pre-adolescent concept: Fairness.
And you better believe that the chattering elite are the ones who get to define what’s fair and what’s unfair. Funny how that always works out in their favor.
Nazis just adored trains. And hey, the Italian fascists boasted that Mussolini made the trains run on time. Though Italian trains were about as effective and efficient as the Italian army. Which is to say: Not.
At a certain point, one must acknowledge the convergent philosophies of post-modern liberals and iron-fist fascists. Both ideologies assert the power of the state as the final arbiter of human affairs. Hence, the government replaces G-d and family as the center of man’s universe. It’s no surprise that the formal title of the Nazi party was “The National Socialist German Workers’ Party.”
Today, Hollywood celebrities make sure to be seen driving a Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf, or any of the dopey but politically correct green cars. It is something of an open secret here among my Hollywood colleagues that the garage is fully stocked with BMW, Mercedes, Bentley, and for sure, a few Jags—for real driving.
But once upon a time Hollywood produced great stars who proudly posed with their autos, symbols of glamor, affluence, and freedom.