Switzerland | 28-29 July 1928

Switzerland_1928_postcardDATE July 28th
PLACE Lucern & Interloken
We had the morning free & then after lunch we started on the Gran Alpine tour. Going around Lake Lucern we started a general ascent through the wonderful Alps. We arrived at Interlaken in the mid afternoon & saw the Jungfrau in all its glory. Then that night we walked about the town.

Interlaken_jungfrau_postcard_1928ON THIS DAY
The Opening Ceremony of the 1928 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the IX Olympiad, was held in Amsterdam. When Queen Wilhemenia refused to attend, His His Royal Highness Prince Hendrik opened the Games instead. You can read more here.

montreux_postcard_1928DATE July 29th
PLACE Montreux, Switzerland
Leaving Interlaken early we started on a short voyage over the alps. We saw many beautiful views & then to climax it we saw Montreux on the shores of Lake Geneva. We went to the Chateau d’Oex for lunch & then to Montreux then we went to the Chateau of Cantells [1] & saw that. It is the most beautiful Castle we have seen yet.

Walt Disney’s Steamboat Willie, the first cartoon with synchronized sound, had its first test screening while only partially finished. The film would be officially released at Universal’s Colony Theatre in New York on 18 November. You can watch it in full here.

Vincent Price Travel Journal 1928 (reproduced courtesy of Peter Fuller)

Vincent Price Travel Journal 1928 (reproduced courtesy of Peter Fuller)

Chateaux du Chillon postcard 1928[1] Vincent is more likely referring to Chillon Castle, an island castle that was home to the Counts of Savoy in the 12th-century located on the shore of Lake Geneva in the commune of Veytaux, at the eastern end of the lake, 3 km from Montreux, Switzerland. The castle was made famous by Lord Byron, who wrote the poem The Prisoner Of Chillon (1816) – his signature can be found inscribed on a stone wall in the dungeon – and is one of the settings in Henry James‘s novella Daisy Miller (1878).

[sic] Although Vincent misspells words in his journal, we have kept them as he wrote them.

Switzerland | 26-27 July 1928

Rheinfall_Schweiz_1928DATE 26th
PLACE Switzerland
We arose early & after breakfast we went by bus through the Black forest which is in Germany. We saw a great part of it & it was very stupendous. Had lunch on the Rhine Falls & I have never eaten which such a gorgeous view before me before. Going through Zurich & past the Lake Zug we arrived at Lucerne in time for me to have a swim. we went to see the Lion of Lucern by light & it is far more beautiful than I expected.

Lion of Lucerne DATE July 27th
PLACE Lucerne, Switzerland
We had the whole day free & I went to get some movies with my camera. Went swimming & enjoyed it ever so much. Our hotel the Palace was one of the 3 best in the city. Tonight we went to a real Swiss Theatre where there was much yoodiling [1] & singing it was fine. Never saw such beautiful shops in my life.


Vincent Price Journal 1928 (reproduced courtesy of Peter Fuller)

Vincent Price Journal 1928 (reproduced courtesy of Peter Fuller)

[1] One of the longest-running traditional yodeling groups in Switzerland is the New Glarus Jodlerklub, which made its first appearance in August 1928 at Volksfest, a celebration of the country’s independence which is still held in the first weekend of August. The club’s counterpart was the New Glarus Maennerchor which was started in 1912 and sang four-part harmony of Swiss and German hymns and folksongs. For more information on the group, check out their official website (here).

Watch the New Glarus Jodleklub performing at the World Diary Expo in 2012

[sic] Although Vincent misspells words in his journal, we have kept them as he wrote them.

Vincent Price on Flanders Field, Nuremberg and Dürer’s Praying Hands

I Like What I Know (1959)In 1959, Vincent Price recounted his life-long passion for the art world in I Like What I Know. Here are some extracts from Price’s visual autobiography, in which the 48-year-old actor looks back at his visit to Belgium and Germany in July 1928…

‘We drove to Belgium in a bus. We saw the trenches and the rows of crosses in Flanders fields, so peaceful now. But I could sense the anguish in the people, still – and two of our Tour 22 requested that we visit at the graveyard of their son – at least, they thought it was the graveyard – I was brought up short by the individuality of war. I had been too young to remember much of World War I, except the flags, food restrictions, saving tin foil, and the gaiety of the armistice. But these two people, standing at the gateway to the graves with heads bowed, their secret silent in themselves, I wouldn’t forget. In Brussels we were burdened with only one work of art: a famous statue of a little boy. Everyone knows the feeling, but why make a monument to it?’

‘Three weeks of intense sightseeing had passed, and the next two countries were considered sport: Germany and Switzerland. While this book is to be mostly a visual experience, I must honestly say that we ate more than we saw in these two countries.’

‘Cologne was impressive, and its cathedral made me realize how minutely we Americans had achieved Gothic opulence in our assimilation of that great architectural tradition. We’ve never been able to make such forests of stone, and the nave in Cologne seems as if it could contain the Woolworth Building. Those opening vaults, reaching the roof and branching away to a solid interlacing of foliage, expand the mind to think of their conception. The fact that this cathedral was in the process of being built for a thousand years (and was only completed in the last century) tempts us to accept its vastness almost as though it had a mind of its own and knew the world would increase in population, if not in faith, and could put its enormity to good use. It stands there, symbolic of the unaccepted open-armedness of faith.’

‘We didn’t go to Berlin. Very few Americans did then, because the Berliners apparently were having a rather vulgar recovery from the ravages of war. But we did go to Nuremberg, thank God. If I had never seen this city, or could only see it later – pastures of rubble – I would have missed the realization of the German Renaissance and the fact that it’s from that Renaissance that we inherit so many moments of our modern life. Dürer, above all… and Luther, Cranach, our love of etchings, the invention of the printed book… a hundred things. The city itself is pure romance – the walls, towers, lovely churches, houses that have changed nothing but the inhabitants – and Dürer’s house where, as far as I’m concerned, he lives still.

For me, Dürer is one of the few supreme artists, not only because of his incomparable skill, but because of his aliveness. As Rembrandt was alive to men, Dürer was alive to nature. He is an exciting painter, though not the greatest. He is the master engraver, not the most profound. But when he looks at nature, when he draws from nature, no man extracts the essence more.

You can fall in love with Dürer and his art more readily and more completely than with most, but if the sheer beauty of ‘The Praying Hands’ seems enough to most people, it is when you know what they are praying for that you really understand his genius. These hands are in supplication, that you may see him through to the complete communion he achieved with nature and natural life. See how he parts the grasses to explore the roots, and parts the roots to probe the sod, then discovers in the sod the roots of life itself.



Germany to Switzerland | 24-25 July 1928

DATE July 24th 1928
PLACE Up the Rhine Germany
Left this morning to go up the Rhine to Wiesbaden [1]. We had a very good day & what we saw was almost indiscribable it was very historic & Beautiful. We saw all the famous Castles & the Lorelei rock [2]. On arriving at Wiesbaden we went to the Hotel Metropole a very nice place (I fell in love with a sweet girl from Georgia. Lucy) Ole Sweetness.

weisbaden_1928DATE July 25th 1928
PLACE Wiesbaden Germany to Basel Switzerland
We had an uneventful trip from Wiesbaden, Germany to Basel, Switzerland going thru a part of the Black forest except that Marie Duval was knocked on the head by a few suit cases. Arrived at Basel staying at the Hotel Hofer.


Vincent Price Travel Journal 1928 (reproduced courtesy of Peter Fuller)

Vincent Price Travel Journal 1928 (reproduced courtesy of Peter Fuller)

[1] After World War I, Wiesbaden fell under the Allied occupation of the Rhineland and was occupied by the French army in 1918. In 1921, the Wiesbaden Agreement on German reparations to France was signed in the city. In 1925, Wiesbaden became the headquarters of the British Rhine Army until the withdrawal of occupying forces from the Rhineland in 1930.
PS Rheinland in 1950[2] Steam boats have been cruising past the iconic Lorelei rock on the Rhine since 1826, with the earliest trials dating back to 1816. From 1927, Dutch and German services began operating in co-operation. But in World War II, many of the boats were destroyed. Three large ships survived: Goethe (1913), Rheinland (1926-1981) – pictured here – and Mainz (1929-1980), and continued operating after being rebuilt in the 1950s. For more about Paddle Steamers past and present, check out: paddlesteamers.info.

[sic] Although Vincent misspells words in his journal, we have kept them as he wrote them.

The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany | 22-23 July 1928

DATE July 22nd 1928
PLACE Holland, Belgium
Today we awoke at 5AM to leave for Belgium & so we road to La Hague & then left for Brussells on the train. We went thru Antwerp & then to Brussells. Took a tour of the city & went out that night with Lucy & R. we were very disgusted with our hotel the Ermitage but got on all right.

Brussels Postcard 1928koln_postcard_1928


This engraving of Cologne Cathedral comes from the Sears-Roebuck Vincent Price Collection of Fine Art (1962-1971). Thanks to Gejo Pohl for allowing me to display this treasured piece from his personal collection. It’s a wonderful link from past to present.

DATE July 23 1928
PLACE Germany
Today we reached Köln, Cologne in the morning & had lunch at the Kölnerhof [1] then went shopping and then to the Cathedral. It is the most gorgeous thing I have ever seen. The knaves are so beautiful that they semm like a dream. I like Germany more than I ever dreamed of it is so beautiful. We caught the train at Cologne & went then thru the Rhine Valley to Koblenze where we stayed at the Reisen Fürstenhof a very good hotel on the Rhine near to Moselle. I had a swell time.


Vincent Price Travel Journal 1928 (reproduced courtesy of Peter Fuller)

Vincent Price Travel Journal 1928 (reproduced courtesy of Peter Fuller)

[1] This may refer to the Hotel Coellner or the Colner Hofbrau Fruh, which still exists.
[2] At the time of its completion in 1880, Köln Cathedral remained the tallest building in the world for a decade. Read more about its history here.
[3] On October 24 1938, German general Erich von Manstein would use the fashionable Hotel RiesenFürstenhof as the headquarters of the 34th Division German army.

[sic] Although Vincent misspells words in his journal, we have kept them as he wrote them.

Vincent Price on Holland, Rembrandt and scoring with a toothsome blonde

I Like What I Know (1959)In 1959, Vincent Price recounted his life-long passion for the art world in I Like What I Know. Here are some extracts from Price’s visual autobiography, in which a 48-year-old Vincent reflects back on his time in The Netherlands in July 1928…

‘Holland was so damned quaint my feet began to hurt. The thought of wearing wooden shoes, even through fields of daffodils, gave me such psychosomatic corns I could hardly walk. And walk we had to… through endless villages and towns… seeing the sights. I understand the sea is a constant threat to Holland, but there were moments, then, when I wished that boy pulled his finger out of the dike.’

‘Amsterdam, however, was another thing. A city of canals and homey houses, clean and lean, lined up like neat children to admire their reflection in the polished streams. And there was Rembrandt. He was the first artist I had ever known personally – being the private owner of one of his etchings in its first state – so when we visited the Rijksmuseum, I lost myself from the rest of the tour to wander, stunned by these magnificently dramatic visions of mankind.’

‘There is in any collection of an artist’s work the sense that the painter himself is there, giving you a personally conducted tour of his pictures. But with Rembrandt he is really there in those superb self-portraits. I think the truth of the greatest proverb: ‘To know yourself’ must have appealed to Rembrandt more than to any other artist. There is absolute truth in Rembrandt’s approach to each of his sitters.’

‘In Apollo, the ‘Night Watch’ is the size of a special-delivery stamp; the ‘Anatomy Lesson’ is an airmail and the ‘Syndics’ has more people in it than a commemoration stamp. So, when I came upon these masterpieces in actuality, it was the size which brought me to a halt – the fact that people were life sized and lifelike, at the same time, was almost too much to take.’

‘And here in the Rijksmuseum I entered for the first time the serenity of Dutch interiors, helped by the hands of Vermeer, de Hooch, and Terborch. I never did get to see a real Dutch interior, but I didn’t need to. Through these masters I was let inside, in the sunlight, in the gleaming miracle of light they alone could achieve. I touched the surfaces and smelled the flowers in these monuments to realities. I shared a dewdrop with the thirsty flies Jan van Huysum populates his flower bouquets with. I was startled for a moment by a daring dead-blue Christ of Hugo van der Goes but overcome by Rembrandt and Vermeer. I had no room to taste these Flemish masters of the early Renaissance, but I caught a glimpse of those red-eyed virgins, weeping at the spectacle of mankind crucified, that haunts me to this day.’

‘Rubens remained an enigma. Those massive, livid mansions of crude flesh were too high a protein diet for my forming appetite. And even Hals, for all his virtuosity, his happy nature, and his presto style, escaped me then.’

‘I took on a toothsome blonde, the only contemporary appetizer on Tour 22, and determine to explore, firsthand, what Rubens had reveled in: the flesh! This girl, with a lovely, semi-southern accent, was the only one of the ten assorted ladies on our tour anywhere near my age, yet there was a decent difference in her favor and, I felt, in mine, for I hoped she’d lead me to the garden of delights and crown my young years with conquest. I tried hard, God knows, and she almost complied, but it would have to be a night in Nice, some weeks later, before my quest was satisfied. After all, a love of art is a fine thing for a young boy, but art is long – and life can be pretty damned long too, without our just desserts!’

The Netherlands | 21 July 1928

DATE Saturday July 21 1928
PLACE Holland
Today we went to the isle of Marken & I liked it very much it is a very quaint isle were all the people were native costumes, but I enjoyed the village of Vollendam much more. I never realising how the people over here enjoyed jipping us, just because we have money. We returned to Zandvoort + went to a very nice dance at the Kushaus and had a swell time. I introduced the Saint Louis Stomp [1] in Holland.

Vollendam Postcard 1928Marken Postcard 1928DID YOU KNOW?
Summer Olympics 1928From 28 July to 12 August, The 1928 Summer Olympics were held in Amsterdam, where women’s athletics and gymnastics made their debut and discus thrower Halina Konopacka of Poland became the first female Olympic gold medal winner for a track or field event. It was also significant as Coca Cola entered Europe as the sponsor of the Games. So while Vincent’s tour was visiting the Netherlands, they must have seen a lot of promotion around. Read more about the 1928 Olympics here. You can also see highlights in a nicely edited YouTube video. Click here to watch it.

Vincent Price Travel Journal 1928 (reproduced courtesy of Peter Fuller)

Vincent Price Travel Journal 1928 (reproduced courtesy of Peter Fuller)

[1] Vincent may have been referring to the St Louis Shag. Throughout the 1920s and up to the 1950s, every city in the US claimed its own swing dance routine. You can check out the moves in this YouTube video.

[sic] Although Vincent misspells words in his journal, we have kept them as he wrote them.

United Kingdom to The Netherlands | 19-20 July 1928

London Mansion House 1928DATE July 19th 1928
PLACE London Eng
Today is our free day & ‘K’ and I went shopping together. First we went to the Abbey & enjoyed it for the 3rd time. Then to Buckingham Palace where we saw the changing of the guards and it was very colorful. We went over on Cheap Side where I bought 2 prints & then we came back to the hotel for lunch. After lunch we went to Dunhills [1] & all around then after an early dinner we caught the train to the boat. On the ‘St George’ we crossed the channel to the Hook of Holland.

Hook of Holland 1928DATE July 20th
PLACE Holland
We landed in Holland at 7.15 and went in buses to Le Hague and first saw the peace palace it is very beautiful and is furnished by the gifts of different nations of the world. We then went to the palace in the wood and saw the residence of Queen Wilimena. One room the Rubens Room was exceptionally beautiful. We had lunch at the ‘Terminus Hotel’ and then went thru the City of Amsterdam and took a sightseeing bus all around. Saw the National Gallery where Rembrants Night Watch hangs with his Syndics and Anatomy. This is the most beautiful exhibition of art we have seen yet. We then proceeded to the Grand Hotel [2] which is on the north sea & had dinner there & spent the night. It is a beautiful spot & very fashionable.

The Nightwatch by Rembrandt was one of Vincent's favourite works of art.

De Nachtwacht (1641) by Rembrandt was one of Vincent’s favourite works of art.

Vincent Price Travel Journal 1928 (reproduced courtesy of Peter Fuller)

Vincent Price Travel Journal 1928 (reproduced courtesy of Peter Fuller)

1928 Dunhill Lighter Ad[1] In 1927, Alfred Dunhill launched the Unique lighter, the first to be operated using just one hand. And, in 1928, Dunhill began distributing the Namiki pen company’s maki-e lacquered pens. At the time of Vincent’s visit, Dunhill was located at 30 Duke Street, St James’s SW1. The store was bombed in 1941 and renovated in the 1950s.

Grand Hotel Huis Ter Duin[2] Vincent’s tour group most probably stayed at the Grand Hotel Huis Ter Duin, today a 5-star luxury hotel, on the Noordwijk beach, located 40km from the city of Amsterday, which has also been much favoured by the Dutch royal family. The hotel also houses the one star Michelin restaurant, Latour.

[sic] Although Vincent misspells words in his journal, we have kept them as he wrote them.


Vincent Price on London, the British Museum and the Elgin Marbles

I Like What I Know (1959)In 1959, Vincent Price recounted his life-long passion for the art world in I Like What I Know. Here now are some extracts from Price’s visual autobiography, in which a 48-year-old Price reflects back on his stay in London in July 1928…

‘London, the life of England. It is impressive that this little land contains the world’s greatest city, and it is equally impressive that its citizens have brought so much beauty into the welter of their poverty of space.’

‘I took London on like the biggest hick ever to hit a big city. Much as I wanted to see everything on our schedule, I decided one day, with permission, to forego another Christopher Wren church and head straight for my ultimate London goal on my own.’

‘There is really only one mysterious museum in the world: the British Museum. Nothing can touch it for clutter, for atmosphere, for gravity of purpose, that purpose being to collect civilization complete, under one roof. The past pops up around you as though it had sought refuge from the present. Secretively, crouching in every corner, treasures await discovery.

‘If the British didn’t succeed in colonizing the world, they succeeded in preserving it here. And if it is true that they are the most civilized people on the face of the earth, their source of inspiration – the sun from which they take their shine and polish – orbits here. It is the home of discovery, the Rosetta Stone, that key to conversation; the doors, lintels, pylons, caryatids, architraves, tympana, all the supports of our ultimate necessity – the roof over our heads. Here they all are.’

Vincent at the British Museum

Now and Then: Vincent Price at the British Museum

‘If the ravages of British conquests, such as Benin, sometimes shock us, the spoils as gathered here can only delight us, for what sensitive souls who feel the Elgin Marbles would be better off in Athens should remember those centuries of neglect of the Parthenon, when it was a powderhouse and all the samplers of the past picked its anatomy apart so that heads, hands, and bodies are irretrievably separated.’

‘With Mademoiselle snapping at our heels to “to get on with it”, my hurried opinion of that other masterpiece in the British Museum, the Portland Vase, was that it looked like a reproduction by Wedgewood. And its importance escaped me to the point almost of condoning the maniac who, years before had hurled a brick at it.’

‘When you are doing seven capitals in seven weeks, you don’t see very much of everything, and being with a group, you do as they do. So the British Museum was the only museum considered a ‘must’ in our three days. The National Gallery, which I lived in later on (on another trip), I’d have to wait to see then. We had to eat, sleep, see the zoo, the Square, and Piccadilly. So all we could assume, jumping from one bus to another and walking endless miles of London streets, was that London was certainly the biggest city, that the British were intolerantly tolerant of American tourists, and that I, for one, wanted to come back.’

London, England | 17-18 July 1928

Windsor CastleDATE July 17th 1928
PLACE London & environs
Today we went to Hampton Court & never in my life have I seen more beautiful gardens. They were perfect of the reign of Henry VIII.

Then we went to Windsor which is the most beautiful castle in the world. The paintings are exquisite one room of Rubens & one of Van Dyke The environs are beautiful too. We ate at the Kings Head Lunch room which was built in 1525 and is known as the haunted room. Visited Stokes Poges where Gray’s elegy was written.

Warwick Castle

DATE July 18th 1928
PLACE Shakespeare Country
Today to Shakespeare country and all the place near by. We saw Shakespeares birth place Anne Hathaway’s cottage & His final resting place. There were all very full of historic interest. Went to Warwick castle which is surrealy situated on a hill with long walls leading to it. Paintings are beautiful & very well chosen. This castle was built in the 14th century.

José de León Toral assassinated Álvaro Obregón, president of Mexico.

Vincent Price Travel Journal 1928

Vincent Price Travel Journal 1928 – 17-18 July (reproduced courtesy of Peter Fuller)

Here’s a recital of Thomas Gray’s poem from Robert Nichol Audio Productions.

[sic] Although Vincent misspells words in his journal, we have kept them as he wrote them.