Monday, December 27, 2010


[Marc Bennett (William Lundigan) tries to get through.]

The blinking sign caught my eye, near the end of The House on Telegraph Hill (dir. Robert Wise, 1951). Indestructo was the work of the National Veneer Products Co. of Mishawaka, Indiana. A Google search turns up several magazine advertisements for Indestructo from the early twentieth century. A sample:
With its still greater improvements for 1911, the Indestructo Trunk offers by far the greatest trunk value on the market. Made in a variety of styles, including Men’s, Women’s, Steamer Trunks, Hat Trunks, Trousseau Trunks, etc.
Among the materials then used in making Indestructo products: “Government Bronze” (“the same as specified by the U.S. Government”), red cedar, and walrus and seal skins. By 1951, Indestructo must have been a venerable — or was it dated? — name. Both Indestructo and the A. & J. Levin shop are now gone.

The House on Telegraph Hill is a good film (now misleadingly packaged as film noir), with strong performances from Richard Basehart, Fay Baker, Valentina Cortese, and William Lundigan. The story begins in a concentration camp and ends in a posh San Francisco residence. Along the way: a false identity, a love triangle, some murderous plotting, an off-the-hook phone, and an angry ancestor whose portrait looks down on it all.

A related post
Scriptos in Times Square (More signage in the background)

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