Mar. 15th, 2017

lb_lee: A pencil sketch of me drawing/writing in my sketchpad. (art)

Okay, those of you who’ve known me a while know that I really like golem legends, specifically the Golem of Prague. (I actually have a wee tiny clay golem from Prague who sits atop a compass and watches me work at my desk.  I call him Yossele.)

One thing that really bugged me, though, was that a lot of the pop culture images of the Golem of Prague (including my teeny Yossele) show cracks across his chest, held together with rivets, like so.  And I couldn’t figure out where that design quirk came from!

It’s not in any of the legends. (And I’ve read a LOT of renditions of the Golem of Prague legends, I have FOUR books with him in it.) It’s not in the 1915-1920 silent movie series. (There, the Golem looks like this.) It was driving me crazy!

Well, today I found out where the golem’s rivets come from.  It’s from a 1951 movie, totally unheard of in the states, called The Emperor’s Baker. (Well, it’s two short movies shown together, the Emperor’s Baker and the Baker’s Emperor.) It’s a freaking comedy, of all things. It’s mostly about an emperor and a baker switching places, but the golem has a minor role in it, and there, he looks like this.  The cracks, the rivets, the only vaguely humanoid shape, it’s all there!

The Emperor’s Baker was a total nonentity in the states, but it was a BIG hit in its native Czechoslovakia--where, of course, the legend originated.  That movie seems to be pretty much singlehandedly responsible for how every person in Prague envisioned the golem forever after... and of course, they were the ones making most golem memorabilia, including mine.

So yeah, this random movie I’d never heard of (but now want to see) is responsible for the golem’s design forever after!  That’s so cool!

And I’m so glad to finally know where it comes from.  Drove me crazy!

--Rogan
 

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