A blog devoted to all things Weimar Republic.
Serving double duty as inspiration & research for a novel, so don't be alarmed by the occasional character-based post. It won't happen a lot, but you can Tumblr Saviour the tag "characters" and you shouldn't even see them.
Filmbooklet für den UFA Tonfilm “Der Kongreß tanzt” mit Willy Fritsch, Lilian Harvey, Paul Hörbiger und Conrad Veidt
“Ich hab’ dich lieb, braune Madonna”
Marek Weber and his orchestra, singer: Leo Monosson
Alfred Döblin, author of Berlin Alexanderplatz, at home with radio paraphernalia, and at the opening of the Berlin Secession.
Marlene Dietrich and Margo Lion, “Wenn die Beste Freundin” from Es Liegt in der Luft (cabaret revue, 1928; this recording was probably made later).
‘The title song of It’s in the Air proclaimed: “there’s something objective in the air, there’s something prickly in the air”. The song’s catchword derived from the current wave of Neue Sachlichkeit, the “New Objectivity” or “New Matter-of-Factness” in the arts that had replaced the Expressionism and the utopianism of the early Weimar years. The revue maintained that this “objectivity” had invaded all attitudes and relations. No longer was there room for tradition, nostalgia, or old-fashioned sentiments, as individuals reassessed their personal needs and inclinations.
‘That attitude was expressed in a duet sung by Margo Lion and Marlene Dietrich, in her first major stage role. Entitled “When My Best Girl Friend” (Wenn die beste freundin), it ostensibly described two women on a shopping expedition. It made clear, however, that they were dissatisfied with their husbands and had a very intimate relationship with each other. The song became an unofficial anthem for German lesbians in the late twenties.’
Peter Jelavich, Berlin Cabaret
View from Alexanderplatz to the Alexanderstrasse tram stop in the direction of Münzstraße, between Keibel and Prenzlauer streets. To the left the Tietz department store.
Alexanderplatz area, 1930. left: Tietz department store; bottom center: Berolinahaus under construction, right of it: Alexanderplatz, right bottom: Wertheim department store, in the middle: Aschinger (formerly Königstädter Theater) middle right: Police Headquarters, top left: George Church
Occupying an entire city block, Haus Vaterland radiated modernism. Like a still from Metropolis, the domed roof of Vaterland was crowned with a Futuristic ring of neon bands. Inside, its five floors were twelve restaurant-“environments” and a separate variety house. The Vaterland issued its own magazine, The Berolina, and could accommodate 6,000 patrons at any given hour.
The twelve dining areas were devoted to international and provincial cultures— mostly fabricated— and appropriate culinary spreads. One could select from Turkish, Bavarian, Spanish, Viennese, Baden, Rheinish, Japanese, North German, Italian, Hungarian, Prussian, or American cuisines. And the amusements were site-specific too. The glittering motto of the Vaterland illuminated the Potsdamer Platz entrance, “Every Nation Under One Roof!”
The theatricalization in Haus Vaterland was extreme. For instance, in the Rhineland Wine Terrace, an artificial river flowed at the edge of a 70-foot panorama of the Rheinish countryside and a castle ruins. Stationed inside the mock fortification stood a student a cappella group, the “Cologne Boys.” For 55 minutes of each hour, the Terrace was bathed in sweet synthetic sunshine; suddenly, on the hour, the music stopped and “the Storm on the Rhine,” a five-minute environmental “event,” started up. First, an ominous cloud-cover darkened the entire room— so dark that partygoers couldn’t even locate the sauerkraut on their plates. Charges of simulated lightning and a huge clap of thunder resounded. Then a mechanically operated rain shower swept across the entire vine-garlanded enclosure. The “Storm” concluded with a blinding sunburst from a battery of electric apparatuses and a cheery rainbow. These five minutes were said to be the best theatre in Berlin.
Mel Gordon, Voluptuous Panic
German radios, late Weimar era. Possibly using vacuum tubes.
Gloria Lumpophon, 1930; rare Telefunken catshead model, 1931/2