Thursday, November 9, 2023

Swiss Family Manhattan, by Christopher the Hum Exterminator

This is crazy. Thanks to Wandering Gondola for the tip:

I had linked The Swiss Family Robinson to the Empire State Building in a rather roundabout way: A trailer for a movie about Jackie Robinson begins with a shot of the Empire State Building while playing the intro to "Run Boy Run" -- the video of which begins with a shot of the Swiss Temple.

When WG left a comment mentioning the existence of Swiss Family Manhattan, I assumed it must be an insurance company or something, but no, it's a 1932 novel directly referencing Swiss Family Robinson and featuring the Empire State Building. Here's the summary on Amazon:

More than once, Morley used the device of depicting society from the standpoint of a naive outsider. Here a "Swiss family," travelling by dirigible, crash lands in the middle of the night on the Empire State Building, which they at first take for a giant tree, while the sounds of "carnivorous life" from far below suggest that they must have come down in a jungle. Then they begin to notice the local anthropoids...

The picture I found for this post -- I wanted one with the ESB on the cover -- is from Andre Strong Bookseller -- cf. Arnold Strong, Schwarzenegger's stage name in Hercules in New York, a movie in which Hercules ascends to Olympus from the Empire State Building.

Also notice the author's name: Christopher Morley. The surname Morley was recently featured in William Wright's October 30 post "'Deadly Head Droned' and the Morley Hum Exterminator." Besides being the name of a "hum exterminator" company, Morley is a name from Mormon history. Mr. Wright writes:

Morley is the maiden name of what I think is my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother (I forget how many greats...).  Her name is Diantha Morley, and the farm she lived on and her brother, Isaac, figure prominently in Mormon history.  They and their families became converts to Campbellism under Sidney Rigdon in Ohio.  When Parley Pratt came along and introduced the Book of Mormon to Rigdon and the Morleys, the were baptized.  Diantha's husband, Titus Billings, was said to be the first person baptized after Sidney Rigdon when this occurred.

The interesting thing about the Morley Farm is that they practiced communal living during those years before they became Mormons, and were called "The Family".  When the Joseph Smith and other Mormons relocated out to Ohio, Isaac Morley invited many of them to live on his land.  He even built a house for Joseph and Emma there on his farm.

Later, Titus Billings would later sell the Morley Farm in 1832 as he was told to do in a revelation that is now D&C 63 (it is an interesting revelation if anyone wants to look into it... not completely unrelated to events now).

He mentions the year 1832 -- Swiss Family Manhattan was published in 1932 -- and that in Mormon history Morley was synonymous with Family. Mr. Wright goes on to say that the product name Morley Hum Exterminator "has now morphed into the 'Family Sleep Exterminator' now for me. Crazy, right?"

This word exterminator, by the way, is also pretty close to the name of Schwarzenegger's most iconic role.

1 comment:

WanderingGondola said...

Cor. I don't always find things that hit, but when they do...!

They are the Eggmen

In connection with my recent posts about Eleanor Cameron's Mushroom Planet  novels, both Wandering Gondola and William Wright have drawn...