Shangri-la pigeon bell
September 22, 2009 at 2:56 am #11289
I have obtained, from a very nice lady, a collection of bells. One of which, in particular, apparently has an interesting history. I would be interested if anyone could either corroborate the story and/or fill in some details for me.
It’s a small light weight, non ferric bell, brass in color, about 7/8″ diameter and 3/4″ high.
The story is that it’s a souvenir taken from a movie set “Shangri-la” by a stunt man in Hollywood in the 1950’s by the name of Clem Marks. Apparently this is one of many bells for ‘hundreds of pigeons’ on the set of that movie.
Unfortunately I can not seem to find anything on Mr. Marks nor can I find a movie by that name in the 1940’s or 1950’s.
Any ideas where to look next?
September 23, 2009 at 2:05 am #15010hjlong3Participant
These were commonly attached to a molded pressed bird seed feeder that was sold by Hartz Mountain for parakeets and canaries. When the bird ate the seed, it would move the block of seed and ring the bell. I don’t know if they are still sold with bird feeders, but it made for a nice trinket that the birds enjoyed. I remember my grandmother’s pet canaries ringing these bells, and my pet parakeet doing so in the late 1950s. I’m sure that these small pressed brass bells were used for other items as well. Perhaps someone will note another use.
Harry Long, MD
September 23, 2009 at 12:33 pm #15011
Absolutely! and I recognized that use too.
But the seller was pretty emphatic on where it came from – it was the only one she ‘absolutely’ knew about from her mom and they apparently knew the fellow. It makes sense that they would use some readily obtainable bells like this – why re-invent the wheel?
That said, it is indicative that I can’t find the movie either. So something seems off kilter. I don’t believe they would delay the release as a movie not in the theaters just costs money – it doesn’t make any. The question becomes then, why don’t we see it released back then?
October 3, 2009 at 3:29 pm #15009Kallie Bell GalParticipant
I read with interest your story of the “bird” bell. I also had a canary that loved to ring a bell–almost to the point of madness. I also took note of your mention of the “Shangri-La” movie. I thought I recalled one by that name, too. I was surprised that you could not find it; so, I tried. I found a movie named “Lost Horizon” (1937) that was also marketed under the title “Lost Horizon of Shangri-La” I hope this adds some substance to your history of your bell.
My uncle used to raise and race pigeons. When he used a bell on a bird, it was a closed one. That probably means that he swiped a few bells from some Christmas decoration my aunt had around the house.
October 4, 2009 at 2:26 am #15008
Excellent news! I hadn’t considered that it was marketed under the name ‘lost horizon’ I only looked for the Shangri-La name. Unfortunately my searches turned up nothing. So you have given me a great lead!
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