"Dying is Easy, Comedy is Hard"
Edmund Keane, 1834
Part One: Double Trouble
by Dennis E. Power
The many faces of Ollu and Buzsla
Ollu and Buzsla stayed with the Rom for decades and it was almost forgotten that they were foreigners.(13)
1400-1420 Bohemian Girl (1936) Laurel and Hardy feature film
In the film Ollie's wife is blatantly unfaithful with a man named Devil'shoof. Ollie is sufficiently modern to overlook such matters. Stan and Ollie operate as bogus fortune tellers as they band travels through
. Devilshoof is apprehended in the Bohemia . He is lashed and the gypsies are ordered from Arnheim's land. Mrs. Hardy nurses her wounded lover and curses the Count. She steals the Count's infant daughter Arline and passes her off to Ollie as a hitherto undisclosed offspring. Devilshoof leaves the Rom band taking Ollie's wife with him. She takes Ollie's jewels and leaves a not saying that the little girl is not their child. Castleof Count Arnheim
Twelve years pass and Arline is now a young woman. They once again visit the lands of Count Arnheim. Arline is drawn to the castle. Arline is imprisoned for supposed theft. Stan had been bottling wine but much had it had gone down his throat. Ollie and Stan rescued Arline but were caught in the act
The Captain of the Guard drags the girl to the lashing post only to find that it is Stan who goes on a drunken rampage with the whip. Arline is caught but saved when a locket reveals her true identity. Stan and Ollie are in the torture chamber. Arline pleases for their release. The boys exit as the Captain observes the mutilated pair. Stan is squashed into a midget and Ollie is stretched out like a giant.
The Bohemian Girl was based on the opera The Bohemian Girl, First performance:
- London Drury Lane- November 27, 1843. music by Michael William Falfe, libretto by Alfred Bunn which was in turn based upon a short story by Cervantes, titled "La Gitanilla". A quick comparison between the libretto and the novella by Cervantes demonstrates however that the only real similarity is that the gypsy child turned out to be the kidnapped child of a noble family. Neither tale of course had the presence of our pair of friendly immortals, which was unique to this version.
It is interesting to note that the Rom because of their strict code of cleanliness and their general lack of interaction with the populations of towns and villages were virtually untouched by the Black Plague that swept through
Europeduring this period.
According the original film script Devilshoof left the band not out of boredom but rather because he was banished by the Queen of the Gypsies out of jealousy. However the tragic death of Thelma Todd during the course of film lead to the role of the Queen of Gypsies being greatly reduced.
The actual reason that Devilshoof and Ollu's wife left the band was because they had been declared marimé, unclean because of their adulterous affair and also because Ollu's wife had brought shame upon the tribe by stealing a gadje child and bringing it into the tribe. They had compounded their crime by stealing from Ollu as they left. Their marimé was probably declared a permanent one.
It is unlikely that Ollu and Buzsla were fortunetellers as portrayed in the film, since it was primarily a woman's occupation. They were most likely craftsmen working in metal or leather. They may have dabbled in fortune telling on the side and were able to get away with it because of unique status among the tribe.
The Rom are usually led by a male tribal chieftain whose title may or may not be hereditary. The closest equivalent to a Queen among the gypsies is the phuri dai which is usually an older woman. The Phuri Dai is an adviser at large to the Tribe with her degree of influence being the only real authority she has.
The freak ending of the film with Ollu being stretched out and Buzsla being squashed was a sort of inside joke. Firstly it symbolized their immortal status, that despite great injury and torture they still came out alive if not unharmed. It was also a funny reversal of their mutt and jeff physical appearance.
After Arline was restored to her rightful family, Ollu and Buzsla left the Rom band, tiring of the many restrictions and taboos that they had been living under for many years. They probably left the area of Bohemia since it was soon engulfed in the Hussite religious wars.
Longing for civilization, they headed for Constantinople. They lived there until the siege of Constantinople and its aftermath when it became a Muslim city.
1455 One Night in the Tropics (1940) Abbott and Costello feature film
Steve Harper's upcoming marriage to Cynthia Merrick is jeopardized by his tenacious former girlfriend, Mickey Fitzgerald and Cynthia's disapproving Aunt Kitty. So Steve's best man an innovative insurance man named Jim Moore, issue a love insurance policy that will pay Steve, 1,000, 000 if the wedding does not come off. Half o the policy is underwritten by a nightclub operator named Roscoe, who warns Jim to protect his investment or else. Roscoe also assigns two of his boys Abbott and Costello to oversee Jim.
Cynthia, Aunt Kitty and Jim set sail for the Caribbean island of San Marcos where the wedding is to take place, but Mickey prevents Steve from making the boat. Roscoe manages to rescue Steve and ship him off to the island. He orders Abbott and Costello to escort Mickey to Kansas City but she easily dupes the boys in taking her to San Marcos. Steve arrives on the island and makes an uncomfortable threesome since Jim and Cynthia seem to be falling in love. But when Mickey shows Cynthia the love insurance policy, Cynthia call off her wedding to Steve and his furious with Jim. Roscoe arrives in time to coerce the Mayor, Senor Escobar into performing the wedding at gunpoint. Jim disarms Roscoe and Mickey grabs the gun forcing Escobar to marry her to Steve. Steve decides the Mickey is indeed the girl for him. Jim announces that Steve's marriage has made the insurance policy void and Cynthia agrees to marry Jim.
Although this has the distinction of being the first Abbott and Costello film, it was not originally an Abbott and Costello project but rather a star vehicle for Allan Jones. The main story line was based on a musical called Love Insurance. According to some sources Abbott and Costello were not even put into the film until it was finished. The cast was brought back to film some bridging scenes between the scenes with Abbott and Costello. Much of the story line between the main four characters is fictional as regards to having any relationship between the history of Ollu and Buzsla.
However the main gist of the film does seem to be related to an episode in the lives of the Ollu and Buzsla. As they were traveling through the Balkans to Italy, they were hired by a minor nobleman to escort his daughter to the province of Monte Carlo, where she was to marry one of the Grimaldis. The young lady was willful and in love with a Knight who had gone to fight against the Turks in Constantinople. Long thought dead, her father had arranged for her to marry into the Grimaldi family when word was received that the knight she loved was alive and wished her to join him.
Her father was not about to let her run off and marry some landless Knight when a profitable, political match could be made.
The young woman tricked Ollu and Buzsla into taking her to the village where her wounded knight was staying. The village priest refused to marry the girl and the knight without her father's consent. Ollu and Buzsla persuaded him to change his mind by aiming a crossbow at him.
Ollu and Buzsla arrived in Florence and became tradesmen, Buzsla a tailor and doublet maker and Ollu a silver and goldsmith. During the course of their work, they became acquainted with Andrea del Verrocchio, a painter and sculptor of great repute. One of Verrochio's students had an insatiable curiosity about everything. They became very good friends with him. His name was Leonardo from the village of Vinci.
Bartolomeo (Ollu), Baccino (Buzsla), Leonardo de Tornabuoni and Leonardo da Vinci were accused of sodomy by an anonymous accusation. The charges were investigated by the Officers of the Night and each of the four accused was acquitted. Yet the stigmata held to their names for years. The charges were probably politically motivated and aimed at Lionardo de Tornabuoni because of his close ties with the Medici family. The Medici family, to all intents and purposes, controlled Florence in this period. Lorenzo de Medici's mother had been a Tornabuoni.
Assassins attempted to kill the Medici brothers while they attended mass. Lorenzo was saved by his friends but Giuliano was killed. The assassins were hunted down and killed by the Florentine people. A few days later Leonardo, Bartolomeo and Baccino were in a drinking establishment when, Leonardo spotted a man he was certain had followed him from the Medici Palazzo. Buzsla was certain that he recognized the man from somewhere as well. While inebriated Leonardo decided to confront the man.
The end result of this confrontation was unfortunate. The man seemed to know Leonardo or knew of him. He goaded him into a sword fight. Leonardo was stabbed through the heart and died. The man stood over his body and waited. When Ollu and Buzsla attacked him, he quickly out fought them and knocked them unconscious. Buzsla awoke to see Leonardo standing hale and heart and engaged in a sword fight with the mystery man. Leonard was decapitated with an explosion of heat, light and lightning. All this energy surrounded the mysterious man who fell to his knees as it filled him.
The man screamed and pounded his sword against the pavement twisting and breaking it. Turning to the skies he asked what he had done.
The pounding of the sword against the pavement made Buzsla realized where he had seen this man before, he was his descendent through "Bam-Bam" He was also one of those nutty immortals that went about cutting each other's heads. (14)
Ollu and Buzsla ran to get help. When they returned they found the mysterious man gone and Leonardo's body gone. Their friends thought they had imagined it all in drunken haze.
Leonardo was alive just very sick for a few days. When he recovered from his bout of drunkenness, Leonardo swore to be temperate from then on. He seemed oddly different to Ollu and Buzsla as he focused more on learning and studying than ever before.
After Leonardo left for Milan in 1482, Ollu and Buzsla also decided that they had had enough of Italy with its constant vendettas and internecine wars.
They went to work as tradesmen in Spain they became aware that the crazy man Colombo actually did find a route to the Indies. They resolved to go there one day, since that was one of the places they had never been.
In 1497 they joined the voyage of Amerigo Vespucci as able-bodied sailors and craftsmen. They accompanied Vespucci all of his first four voyages. On these voyages they met a young Portuguese man named Raphael Hythloday.
On the fourth trip to the New World, Hythloday, Ollu and Buzsla and twenty one others remained behind to explore New Castile, or the South American continent.
After some travail they found themselves on the large island of Utopia. Ollu, Buzsla and the rest stayed on Utopia after Hythloday returned to Europe.
1504-30 A toll K also known as Utopia Laurel and Hardy feature film
In the film, which is set in modern times, Ollie and Stan inherit an island. Chartering a boat, They travel with a stateless refugee as a chef and one man crew. The disappearance of food points to another passenger. They attempt to fix the engine and ruin it. Adrift the boat is sunk during a storm but the passengers landed on a deserted island. The next visitors are officials who discover uranium. They declare that the nationality of the island would belong to the first person that landed on it. This was the stateless refugee. They declare the land a lawless, tax free Utopia. Word spreads and soon the island is jammed with new arrivals, all people who wish to enjoy life without laws. Ollie's attempt to have the troublemakers deported leads to death sentences for him and the other castaways. The castaways are saved from the gallows by another storm that washed away the island. Ollie and Stan eventually are restored to their own private island only to have it confiscated for back taxes.
This incident from the life of Ollu and Buzsla does not take place in the modern day but rather in the Renaissance on the true Island of Utopia. As noted earlier when Hythloday returned to Europe, Ollu and Buzsla stayed on the island. They were quite glad to have found a place of peace and prosperity after so long a time of living among war, greed and political instability.
Shortly after Hythloday arrived there came to Utopia a large, giant of a man who called himself Gargantua. He was of French birth and claimed to be hundred of years old. Buzsla and Ollu were immediately intrigued but quickly discovered that this fellow told stories as tall as his close to eight feet tall. When asked about his origins he would spin fantastic tales but never answered the question directly. He married the daughter of the current leader of Utopia about the time that Buzsla and Ollu decided to stay. Gargantua's wife died in childbirth giving birth to a large baby named Pantagruel. The child exhibited amazing feats to strength although nothing like what was later reported.
When Pantagruel was about ten years of age, the leader of the Utopians died. Gargantua launched into a campaign of politicking which the Utopian had never seen the like before. He was selected leader of the Utopians for life. He began to exert greater influence on the states around Utopia, on the mainland to forcibly make them into client states in which the Utopian way of life could be extended. His policies led to dissension among the Utopians, which led to more Utopians becoming slaves. Utopian slaves were convicted criminals.
Into this mixture sailed five ships from a lost Spanish treasure fleet. Their ships were damaged and they asked to be allowed to land and repair their ships. The Spanish became very interested in the gold and silver stores that the Utopians possessed. The area where the Spanish ships landed became an enclave upon Utopia from which the Spanish soldiers began to lay the seeds for conquest.
The Spanish brought about a full fledged civil war by inflaming resentments against the rule of Gargantua. They stirred up the passions of native born Utopians, who felt that being a foreigner he was not fit to rule. He stirred the resentment of those political dissidents he had made into slaves, by several of those states upon which the Utopians had forced their rule. The Spanish also bought off the bloodthirsty brigands called the Venalians who the Utopians used as mercenaries. Ollu and Buzsla used all the influence and diplomacy that they could muster to prevent the civil war. For this both sides saw them as traitors. The civil war raged on for years. It still continued after the death of Gargantua. A group of the Utopian's client states banded to together under the banner of the Dipsodes and invaded Utopia.
The civil war, the modern weapons of the Spanish and the disease they brought with them decimated the population of Utopia. Although he was only 17, Pantagruel lead a Utopian army to victory and expelled the Dipsode invaders. Ollu and Buzsla were captured by the Spanish and were to be hung as traitors. A massive series of earthquakes struck the island of Utopia. Old volcanic vents erupted and pockets of gas and fumes ignited causing a chain of explosions that ripped the island apart. If this was not enough a hurricane struck at the same time turned Utopia in a series of Atolls. Some of the Island population survived and intermingled with the natives of South America. Pantagruel is recorded to have led a colonial expedition to Dipsodes. Actually he led a band of refugees from Utopia. The island of Utopia for all intents and purposes sank beneath the ocean as recorded by Philip Jose Farmer in Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life.
Ollu and Buzsla were saved from drowning but ended up on a small deserted island, which was all that remained of the Spanish enclave.
1532 "Two on the Isle" Abbott and Costello animated series
This episode is a Robinson Crusoe take off in which Abbott and Costello end up on a desert island, with Costello taking the part of Friday. His assignment is to hunt for food among the wildlife but each attempt ends with Abbott getting clobbered. The Boys escape the island when a piece of it breaks off and Costello improvises oars and oarlocks,
Ollu and Buzsla survived the destruction of Utopia by being fortunate enough to be upon one of those fragments of the Island that did not immediately sink. Although food sources were scant as symbolized in Costello's inability to hunt food they did find enough not to starve. Because of their knowledge of how to work stones into tools, they were able to fashion axes, knives, chisels etc. Using these tools they managed to fashion a raft with some paddles. They worked their way up the coast into the more trafficked areas of the Caribbean until they were rescued by a passing group of French pirates. These pirates had mutinied and then had raided a Spanish treasure ship. They were however a couple of men short in running the ship. Most of the crew wished to return to France and retire with their earnings. Ollu and Buzsla decided that was a good a destination as any, not that they had any choice.
1533 "Pearl Diving Peril" Abbott and Costello Animated Series episode
Abbott and Costello out fishing are captured by the notorious pirate Greenbeard and are forced to dive for a sea chest filled with giant black pearls. After numerous undersea misadventures Bud and Lou come up with the sea chest and drive Greenbeard off of the ship with cannon fire. They think they are millionaires until Lou reveals that he had used the pearls as cannonballs.
After passing through the strait of Gibraltar, heading towards France the pirate ship of French mutineers was attacked and boarded by Barbary Pirates of the coast of Tunis. Realizing that they were loosing and would probably be killed anyway some of the pirates begin dumping chests of booty into the ocean. One of the Barbary Pirate ship's Captains was Khayrad'din Barbarossa. Upon hearing that one of the chests contained a rare necklace composed of black pearls, Khayrad'din Barbarossa made an offer to the condemned men, whichever man retrieves some of the booty will be allowed to live.
Those French mutineers who refused to play this sadistic game were shot or cut down where they stood. Others were sent down in pairs and usually ended up either drowning or returning to the surface without any booty. Although the ship was not too far off shore it was too deep to dive without equipment that did yet not exist. When Ollu and Buzsla were shoved off as a pair, they experienced a few moments of pain as their oxygen ran out. Through great effort they were able to maintain consciousness and their bodies adapted to the lesser oxygen intake. They pulledup two chests. Khayrad'din Barbarossa allowed them to lay down on a part of the deck covered with sheets while they catch their breaths. They gasped like fish out of water as their bodies once again adapted to a higher oxygen intake.
The other French pirates inspired by Ollu and Buzsla's success attempted the retrieval with some enthusiasm. They all perished by drowning or shooting. When the last of them had drowned Khayrad'din Barbarossa walked over and ran Ollu through the chest and threw him over board. When Buzsla protested in Arabic, Khayrad'din Barbarossa paused for a second and said he never told them how long they would be allowed to live. With that he ran Buzsla through and pushed him into the drink.
Recovering from their wounds, Buzsla and Ollu decided to get revenge on Khayrad'din Barbarossa. They swam after his ship catching up with it a few days later in port. Sneaking aboard the docked French ship, Ollu and Buzsla carried what they could of the jewels and gold in a pair of sacks and torched the powder magazine, intending to blow up both ships. Although Khayrad'din Barbarossa's ship was damaged it was not destroyed. In his haste to exit the ship before it exploded Ollu dropped the necklace of black pearls.
They made their way to shore and were able to avoid being sold as slaves using what gold they had carried off. In 1535, Spain reconquered Tunis and occupied it. Ollu and Buzsla took one of the Spanish ships to France and informed some of the families of the mutineers that they had befriended of their fates.
13. Although like most cultures on Earth there are varieties of differences even in groups which share similar cultures and traditions. Generally the Rom or Dom do not marry outside their ethnic group nor do they fully accept those rare individuals who do marry into the clan. Outsiders are considered to be unclean and taboo. However due to Ollu and Buzsla's obvious good natures and their gifts of not aging, they were considered more supernatural than gadje or non-Rom.
14 This descendent of Flint the Immortal appeared in Star Trek the Original series in the episode Requiem for a Methuselah, he claimed to have been Solomon, Lazarus, Alexander, Merlin, Leonard Da Vinci, Johannes Brahms, Reginald Pollack and Sten of Marcus II. His claim to some of these identities may in fact be exaggerations.
Lazarus and Merlin are sufficiently clouded in legend so that it is possible that Flint may have been these persons However, Alexander's antecedents are well known as is his childhood tutelage by Aristotle. Flint was in all probability a Highlander type (See my Aliens Among Us for the Secret History of the WNU's take on these Highlander type Immortals.
For a short look at the career of Flint please visit, Eternal Shard of Time, Flint the Immortal.
© 2002 Dennis Power
Ashley, Chip The Dino-Boy FAQ.
Bramly, Sege. Leonardo: Discovering the Life of Leonardo Da Vinci, Harper Collins 1991
Brucker, Gene Renaissance Florence, Wiley and Son 1969
Burroughs, Edgar Rice The Outlaw of Torn, Ace 1978
Brown, Mark Prehistoric Survivors in the South Pacific
Burton, Richard Francis The City of the Saints and Across the Rocky Mountains to California
Cervantes, Miguel de "La Gitanella".
Clark, Jerome The Encyclopedia of Strange and Uexplained Phenonomena, Gale Research, 1999
Clebert, Jean-Paul The Gypsies, Penguin, 1963
Costain, Thomas The Three Edwards, Popular Library 1964
Cox, Stephen and Lofflin, John Abott and Costello Story, Cumberland House, 1997
David, Peter Being Human, Pocket Books 2001
Don Markstein's Toonpedia
Eckert, Win The Original Wold Newton Crossover Chronology
Farmer, Philip Jose Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life, Bantam 1973
Farmer, Philip Jose The Mad Goblin, Ace
Farmer, Philip Jose Tarzan Alive,
Farmer, Philip Jose Time's Last Gift
Island of Lost Souls, Universal Pictures, 1933.
Johnson, Charles Captain A General Historie of the robberies and murders of the most notorious Pirates,
Lai RickThe chronology of Shadows.
Manguel, Alberto and Guadlupi, Gianni The Dictionary of Imaginary Places, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1987
Mandeville, John Adventures.
McClanahan, Michael D. The Story of Damon Runyon, 1999
McLoughlin, Dennis Wild and Wooly: An Encyclopedia of the Old West, Barnes and Noble 1995
Mitchell, Glenn, The Laurel and Hardy Encyclopedia, Batsford, 1995
More, Thomas, Utopia,
Okuda, Michael and Okuda, Denise, Star Trek Chronology, Pocket Books, 1996
Paul, Lee Henry Plummer: Man of Mystery
Phantom Empire, Mascot Pictures,
Rackham, John Beanstalk, Daw Books, 1973
Rabelais, Francois Five Books of the Lives, Heroic Deeds and Sayings of Gargantua and Pantagruel
Rogozinski, Jan Pirates: An A-Z Encyclopedia , Da Capo 1996
Rogozinski, Jan Honor Among Thieves: Captain Kidd, Henry Every and the Pirate Democracy in the Indian Ocean, Stackpole Books, 2000
Rovin, Jeff Return of the Wolfman,
Rovin, Jeff Encyclopedia of Monsters
Scarre, Chris Exploring Prehistoric Europe, Oxford University Press, 1998
Sherman, Steven Legendary Aviators and Aircraft of World War One, August 1999
Silva, Joseph Island of Dr. Moreau Ace, 1977 (film novelization)
Smmons, James The Hatfields and the McCoys
Time line of Romanai History
Twain, Mark, Life on the Mississippi
United States Navy Official Site Battleships: The List, Updated: 18 April 2001
Waller, Altina L. The Hatfield and McCoy Feud
Wells, H. G. The Island of Dr. Moreau
Wolff, John U.S. relations with Brazil During World War Two