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Today is the anniversary of the birth, in 1720, of Karl Friedrich Hieronymus, Freiherr von Münchhausen, traveler, soldier and legendary teller of tall tales.

I have, somewhere in my library, an ancient and undated copy of The Surprising Adventures of Baron Munchausen by Rudolph Erich Raspe, written in 1895.  It is an amusink little tome.  Further, the frontispiece features Doré’s caricature of the Baron, a caricature that somebody was obviously paying attention to when fitting out John Neville for the part in Terry Gilliam’s movie version.

This, by the bye, is one of my very favorite moovies of all time (apart from the extremely tedious Robin Williams), and I’ve never understood why it wasn’t better received by both critics and the publick.

Indeed, I still recall the first time I saw the film.  It was at a theatre in Texas, to which I had gone accompanied by a young lady with whom I was walking out at the time.   Not that I am in any way trying to boast of my very modest person, but said young lady was not particularly interested in the film one way or the other, instead making clear in no uncertain terms that she had other things on her mind.  I, on the other hand, was positively enchanted with the film from the opening credits and kept brushing the young lady off in order to concentrate on it.

Upon reflection, I suppose this was really rayther rude of me.  All I can say is that I was young and not so galant as I ought to have been.  I’ve no doubt that were I presented with the same situation today, especially armed with the comfortable knowledge that I have the DVD tucked away at home available for viewing whenever I want, why, I certainly would not hesitate to allow my attention to be attracted away from the screen.


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May 2011