Casanova Escapes from Prison

Italian Casanova

This portrait of an Italian Casanova thanks to Photo Pin.  Here continues the story of how Casanova escaped from his Venice Prison in the Doges Palace when no one had done so in the early 1700’s.

It gives us an idea of who the REAL Casanova really was, not my story’s version of a Casanova cowboy, the book available late this April.

In one of the seven cells in The Leads,  it is dark, with little ventilation in the heat of a Venetian summer with millions of fleas.  During one of his walks in the prison garret, he finds a piece of black marble and an iron bar which he smuggles back to hide in the folds of his arm chair and waits for the chance to sharpen the bar on the stone in between cell mates.

He starts gorging through the floor under his pallet bed directly over the Inquisitor’s Chamber.  He plans to leave during a festival, a time when no one would be in the Chamber.  Just days before the festival, guards come to move him to a larger, more lighted cell with a view in response to his to a friend’s plea that he have a larger cell with a view and better food.

He protests, saying, “But I’m perfectly happy here,” but persuades the guards to bring his armchair to the new cell.  He’s stunned and feeling low.  The only thing he can do is not to think of the future. Hope returns when he hatches another plan upon meeting a priest in the cell next door.  He talks a guard into carrying the bar to the priest under a big bowl of pasta, who then makes a hole and climbs across to Casanova’s cell.

The priest is so afraid of the consequences of being caught, he’ll help Casanova to escape but he’ll stay behind.  The two pry through the roof’s lead plates and make it onto the sloping roof of the Palace where Casanova opens a grate over a dormer window.  They break the window and with a ladder they find on the roof and a bed-sheet rope,  they go down 25 feet below into the room below and rest until morning.

They find a change of clothing, break a small lock on an exit door, sneak through galleries and chambers and go down the stairs where they convince a guard that they have inadvertently been locked inside the Palace after an official function.  Casanova takes off at 6 a.m. in a gondola heading for Paris.

Later, he writes in, The Story of My Life, –Thus did God provide me with what I needed for an escape  which was a wonder if not a miracle.  I admit that I am proud of it; but my pride does not come from my having succeeded, for luck had a good deal to do with that; it comes from my having concluded that the thing could be done and having the courage to  undertake it. 

This is a good premise to remember as you face your world today.




The Man from Atlanta


When I was doing the research necessary for my WWII fiction, I followed many threads of history.  The most amazing was how a man from an Atlanta advertising agency went to Germany in l929 to fight an up-hill battle to change their beer-drinking desires to Coke.

At that time, Ray Rivington, an ad man, 6′ 6″, went to Essen, Germany, in the industrial region to set up shop.  He found a worker and together they filled the first bottles and peddled them to laborers.  In his Southern accent, he’d shout, “Drinken Coc-Cola, kostlich und erfrescht.”

He made up pamphlets, “Was ist Coca-Cola?” and gave them out at sporting events, put these out on tables at restaurants.   As fast as restaurant owners tossed them out, he had his men replace them.

Soon more and more retailers carried the product but stashed it under cases of beer.  With Ray’s hard work, and his vigorous targeting of industrial workers with the slogan to “Mach doch mal Pause” (come on take a break) apparently derived from its U.S. slogan “the Pause that Refreshes,” German sales rose from zero to 111,000 cases in four years.

During WWII, Coca-Cola never mentioned it’s U.S. roots and successfully established itself as a German brand in the mind of the drinking public.  When German prisoners of war debarked in new Jersey in early 1945, they saw a Coca-Cola sign.  When they were asked why they were so excited, they exclaimed,  “You got Coca-Cola here, too?”

Although Coke was an outright collaboration with the Nazis, so was Standard Oil who sold AV fuel to the German war effort, or other American companies who worked with the German company, F.G. Farber chemical.

Coke’s commercial success was tied to a public image created thru mass market ads  It convinced Americans after Dec. l941, both on the war and home fronts that drinking coke was somehow synonymous with fighting against the enemies of democracy.

And, those were the days before the Internet and Facebook.  It might have proved easier in 1929 for the giant from Atlanta to introduce Coca Cola.

(Photo courtesy of PhotoPin)