Originally published December 27, 2013 as Old friends in strange places.
Now that we have real internet connectivity, we have joined the rest of the country in finding more ways to waste time staring at various sizes of glowing screens. I was browsing Netflix looking for reruns of Law and Order or NCIS we might have missed when I saw that White Christmas (Paramount Pictures, 1954) was available. We watch this movie annually. I have come to believe that it is part of our marriage contract although, as often as I have reviewed our marriage license and vows, I cannot find it in writing.
Watching the movie reminded me of the below blog. It was one of my early ones and one that I was actually not ashamed of posting. Since many of you were not reading The Furniture Record back then, I thought I would repost it as a public service.
It’s just that good.
And here it is.
Old friends in strange places.
A few days back I was going my husbandly duty and watching Irving Berlin’s White Christmas for the nth time on the big screen TV with my wife. As you might know, the opening scene of White Christmas takes place in an undisclosed location in Europe at Christmas, 1944. The scene is an impromptu holiday concert for the battle weary, homesick GI’s staged by Danny Kaye and Bing Crosby. When the beloved General Waverly arrives, Danny Kaye moves a music box onto a familiar looking stool.
In the recent past there was an article in Popular Woodworking on the construction of the Moravian stool. Jim Campbell, the founder of the Hillsborough Orange Woodworkers, decided it would be an interesting project for our Monday night work sessions. My function was largely to supply a heated/air-conditioned shop (with bathroom and snacks) and to stand there and looked horrified at all the people using power tools, usually my power tools.
And we built a bunch.A few months later I was researching the Moravian chair, a Moravian stool with a back. (Little known fact, this is the only piece of furniture that can legally have a cut-out of a heart as part of the decoration.) I came across a few articles pertaining to the German barracks stool, a knock-down variant of the Moravian stool. It typically has a two-piece seat supported by dovetailed battens, press in legs and pegged together.
Back to the story
The stool on which the music box is placed is a German barracks stool. Only a bit too pretty.
The piano player had one, too.
Although the movie was made nine years after the end of WWII, the set decorator or scenic artist actually expended the effort to see the type of furniture that could be found in abundance around European battlefields. Not a big deal but a nice touch.
My wife thinks I’m a bit weird.
Roy Underhill has an article with plans on the Moravian chair in this 1996 book The Woodwright’s Apprentice.