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The Dongle of Donald Trefusis

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Facts and research concerning The Dongle of Donald Trefusis

Added: July 05, 2009 17:37:45

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The Dongle of Donald Trefusis

The Dongle of Donald Trefusis
1 Episode 3 - Birds of a Feather
1.1 This episode: "Birds and Flying so much a part of it"
1.2 Long riff on cinemas, smoking and social transformations of cinema on rural Britain
1.3 Reference to Auden's "Low dishonest decade" aka 1930s
1.4 Bette Davis, "bet" or "betty", Balzac novel
1.5 Film A
1.5.1 Saw it when he was 17
1.5.2 Leonard the "Chicken Chaser"
1.5.2.1 Nickname derrives from Chicken Chaser
1.5.3 Ice Cream and selling of codebook
1.5.4 Julius, Arthur in it
1.5.4.1 Leonard, Milton and Julius were Jews
1.5.5 One letter from "larks"
1.5.6 Dance
1.5.7 Fry born 30 years after big event
1.5.8 Dancer, uncredited, who was she?
1.5.8.1 Was a great woman, nominated for an Oscar in 1950s
1.5.8.2 First of her kind to be nominated
1.5.8.3 Life ended in swindling, abuse and overdose
1.5.8.4 Another lady who won an Oscar dedicated her Oscar to this woman
1.5.8.5 "First first, the lady who was the first first. Is it possible that the first first and her family once owned the ancestors of this woman"
1.5.8.6 The first first's name leads us to the answer to this puzzle
1.5.8.7 "Who was the great statesman known for turning his back on his power Rome"
1.5.8.7.1 has a city named after him
1.5.8.7.2 city had a death in 1911
1.5.8.7.3 one who died, same name as first first
1.5.9 Hero, "achieved an extraordinary feat when I was six"
1.5.10 "Thirty years after that, Stephen, you were born."
1.5.11 Producer was Last Tycoon, aka Boy Wonder
1.5.11.1 Last film was Film A
1.5.11.2 Model for Monroe Stahr in The Love of the Last Tycoon, A Western
1.5.11.3 Had a weak heart, died at 37
1.5.11.4 Most respected film producer of them all
1.6 Film B
1.6.1 Made in the year of Fry's birth, 1957
1.6.2 Hero played by Air Force Colonel nicknamed "Lone Eagle"
1.6.3 Hero's life "tinged with tragedy and disaster"
1.6.4 Hero also had nickname "Lucky"
1.6.5 Bertold Brecht wrote a musical play about his achievement
1.6.6 "Crime of the century" associated with hero
1.6.7 Hero invented parts of heart lung machine
1.6.8 Hero was conservationist ahead of his time
1.7 Research results
1.7.1 Dance must be the "Lindy"
1.7.2 Hero must be Lindbergh
1.7.2.1 Flew the Atlantic in 1927
1.7.3 Timeline:
1.7.3.1 "I was 17 when I ... stopped at a cinema" and saw film A
1.7.3.2 If Lindberg's crossing was in 1927, then Trefusis born in 1921
1.7.3.3 if Trefusis born in 1921, the he saw Film A in 1938
1.7.3.4 If Trefusis saw film in 1938, it must have been made 1935-1937 or so
1.7.4 Film B: The Spirit of St Louis, 1957
1.7.4.1 Article about film: http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title.jsp?stid=91081&category=Notes
1.7.4.2 Airforce Colonel: James Stewart
1.7.5 Film A: A Day at the Races, 1937
1.7.5.1 Dancer: Dorothy Dandridge
1.7.5.1.1 Video of dance scene: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzpVeJodMSo
1.7.5.1.2 Roman Statesman: Cincinnatus
1.7.5.1.3 US city: Cincinnati, OH
1.7.5.1.4 First First Lady: Martha Dandridge Custis Washington
1.7.5.1.4.1 Source: http://factsnstuff.blogspot.com/2009/06/clues-for-stephen-frys-dongle-of.html
1.7.5.1.4.2 Wikipedia: Her younger illegitimate half-sister ... was a slave, Ann Dandridge Costin
1.7.5.1.4.3 Commenter notes: Boswell was present at the meeting of the Committee for the Abolition of the Slave Trade in May 1787
1.7.5.1.4.4 Commenter notes: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Violet_Trefusis
1.7.5.1.4.5 Commenter: Slavery may be recurring theme of series
1.7.5.2 Leonard is Chico Marx, aka "chicken chaser" or ladies' man
1.7.5.3 Julius is Groucho Marx
1.7.5.4 Arthur is Harpo Marx
1.7.5.5 Boy Wonder: Irving Thalberg
2 Episode 2
2.1 Trefusis speaks from "beyond the grave", "I am dead, quite dead"
2.2 Painting 1
2.2.1 Alexander died in a house called "Balmutto"
2.2.1.1 Barony in Scotland owned by Boswell family
2.2.2 "Walter Scott was invited to inspect it in 1829"
2.2.3 "To whom had it belonged?"
2.2.4 "Scott told the duke of Buccleuch it was kind of painting that would appeal more to an artist than a nobleman."
2.2.5 Trefusis saw the painting as a child when taken by aunt Violet
2.2.6 Trefusis saw the scene in the painting when landed on the coast during WWII
2.2.7 When he first saw it he was ready to be impassioned by art
2.2.8 "40 3/4 inch by 55 1/2 oil landscape on canvas"
2.2.9 Research results
2.2.9.1 Source: http://trefusissolution.blogspot.com/2009/06/dongle-of-donald-trefusis-start-of.html
2.2.9.2 Source: http://factsnstuff.blogspot.com/2009/06/preliminary-thoughts-about-frys-dongle.html
2.2.9.3 Name: The Avenue at Middelharnis
2.2.9.4 by: Meindert Hobbema
2.2.9.4.1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meindert_Hobbema
2.2.9.5 Bought by Sir Robert Peel in 1822, the year Alexander Boswell died
2.2.9.6 Murdoch, J.D.W., "Scott, Pictures and Painters", The Modern Language Review Vol. 61, No. 1, Jan. 1962.
2.2.9.7 Provenance via Nat'l Gallery:
2.2.9.7.1 http://www.getty.edu/research/conducting_research/provenance_index/
2.2.9.7.2 - 1782-1822, Town Hall at Middelharnis
2.2.9.7.3 - 1824, van der Pott
2.2.9.7.4 - 1826, Charles Galli
2.2.9.7.5 - 1829, James Stuart, Dunearn
2.2.9.7.6 - 1834, Robert Peel
2.2.9.7.7 - 1871, National Gallery
2.3 People associated with the paintings
2.3.1 Stuart of Dunearn
2.3.2 Sir Alexander Boswell
2.3.2.1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Boswell_(songwriter)
2.3.2.2 9 October 1775 – 27 March 1822
2.3.2.3 Songwriter and antiquary
2.3.2.4 Wrote songs: Jenny's Bawbee, Jenny dang the Weaver
2.3.2.5 Deliberately fired into the air at duel
2.3.2.6 Mother was Margaret Montgomerie, his father's cousin
2.3.3 James Boswell
2.3.3.1 lawyer, diarist and author
2.3.3.2 Born 29 October 1740
2.3.3.3 Met Dr Johnson on May 16, 1763
2.3.4 Dr Johnson
2.3.4.1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Johnson
2.3.4.2 18 September 1709 - 13 December 1784
2.3.4.3 Famous for dictionary
2.4 Painting 2
2.4.1 "Quill pen betokens a writer"
2.4.2 Hangs around the corner from painting 1 in gallery
2.4.3 "How is the life of this man [in the painting] conected to the provenance of that landscape?"
2.4.4 "'The heights above the torrent' can be found some miles to the west of Kirkcaldy"
2.4.5 Trefusis will communicate via Twitter
2.4.6 Research results
2.4.6.1 Painting of Dr Johnson by Joshua Reynolds
2.4.6.2 "Heights above the torrent" - Auchertool
2.4.6.2.1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auchtertool
3 Mind map by Rob Hafernik
3.1 realrob@hafernik.com
3.2 Please email with changes, omissions and corrections!
4 Tweet from Trefusis: If you've made the connection, hug it to yourself for now. Meanwhile, be splendid. More to come. Met Immanuel Kant yesterday. Charming man.
A1 General Information
A1.1 Podcast series by Stephen Fry
A1.2 Fiction
A1.3 Main Character
A1.3.1 Name: Donald Trefusis
A1.3.2 Stephen's former professor and mentor
A1.3.3 Regis Professor of Philology at Cambridge
A1.3.3.1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philology
A1.3.4 Might have been a spy for UK or Russia
A1.4 Law Firm: Hodgeman, Hodgeman, Hodgeman and Hodgeman