Thursday, May 13, 2010
Secret hobo code
When the William Wellman film, Beggars of Life, was released in 1928, some of the publicity materials focused on hobo culture. The film was based on a book of the same name by Jim Tully, which tells of his days as a hobo among the wandering down-and-out of America. In the film, Brooks plays a young women who dresses as a young man and goes on the run. And for a time, she hangs out in what was then termed a "hobo jungle."
Articles about the film at the time contained mini-dictionaries of hobo terms and slang. This publicity photo, which is currently for sale on eBay, depicts the actress in character holding a coded message - the snipe (or descriptive text) on the back of the picture states the sign notes the approaching town has a police force hostile towards vagrants.
Posted by thomas gladysz / Louise Brooks Society