No Photos Allowed

Real Estate Agent with Preferred Properties Key West


 Long time readers of my real estate blog know how much I value photos to help add meaning to my posts. I confess I watch repeat episodes of The Three Stooges. I watched the shows as a kid and as an adult. Some are funny. Some are hysterical. And the short entitled Dutiful But Dumb (1941) are prophetic so much so that I stopped eating dinner on Saturday to pen this piece.


The episode was described this way in The Three Stooges Online Filmography:


Three dimwitted photographers are sent to Vulgaria to take pictures of a new death ray machine. Unknown to the stooges, the penalty for snapping pictures in this country is death. The stooges manage to escape a firing squad and the chase begins as they hide from the Vulgarian army.


As I watched the stooges get into trouble with the police for simply taking photos of them, my mind snapped back to 1963 when I was riding a train through East Germany. I was on a school trip with 18 high school students and two sponsors. We spent two or three days in West Berlin. We toured East Berlin which I blogged about a few years ago. I got to see President Kennedy on his way from the Free University of Berlin where he also spoke that day. 

We left Berlin and took the train south to Italy. Berlin was actually located inside East Germany at that time. We got to experience East German law just like The Three Stooges Vularian law. Our train stopped in a small East German village. East German troops guarded the station. They had machine guns on their shoulders. I never saw anything like that in America. (That happens a lot now. But not then.)

Nina M. was one of my classmates. I could write a book about Nina. But I won't. I will say she was a sweet and very innocent girl who never did a bad thing in her life until she went to Europe. I don't think she had ever cut her hair. It reached to her behind. She wore the dullest clothes that hid her femininity. The other girls got her to cut her hair to the length of the early 1960s. She was still helpless but she had shorter hair. And she was still the simple girl from Colorado. 


Nina had a 35mm camera which she raised to photograph the soldiers. There were signs posted stating NO PHOTOS. Within a minute or so the soldiers had boarded our train car and moved right to Nina where one soldier grabbed her camera and took out the film which he exposed to all of us. She shrieked. We all gasped. The soldier shouted something out about not taking photos of them as if what they did was beyond reproach.


The Three Stooges and my recollection of Nina's encounter with the East German soldiers reminded me of so many news clips on television and videos on Twitter where the police have been photographed doing things that on first instance look bad or in actuality were very bad. Of course the Vulgarians and the East Germans did not want photos of their soldiers, their police, their conduct. Nobody wants proof of misdeeds. Such photos only confuse the public order.



Comments (6)

Paddy Deighan MBA JD PhD - Vail, CO
Paddy Deighan J.D. Ph.D

the Three Stooges...few knew that it was Larry Shemp & Curly that were the brothers and a lot of familial sad that Curly died at a young age....Vulgaria LOL

Oct 23, 2021 05:01 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Having been stationed in West Germany in the US Army, I took the Duty Train to West Berlin.... clearly a post to be written  about, but not on this platform... yes I was in Uniform and crossed at Checkpoint Charlie to East Berlin where  JFK gave his speech.... indeed no photos and lots of East German Secret Police followed me while I was in East Berlin for the day....Endre

Oct 23, 2021 10:37 PM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Gary - your post tells me there is more to share about Nina. . .  

Oct 24, 2021 04:02 AM
Raymond Henson, eXp Realty
eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277) - Elk Grove, CA

It must have been very scary for your friend Nina.  I can remember going to Mexico the first time as a college student.  Two police officers from Mexico stepped onto the bus with machine guns.  That was scary enough to make my friend and I practically catatonic.  All they wanted to know was our destination.  Neither of us could answer.  I think I finally said, "Mexico."  He finally broke into a smile, shook his head and walked off the bus. 

Oct 24, 2021 12:05 PM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker, eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Now that was quite the memory! Some signs must be obeyed!!

Oct 24, 2021 03:38 PM
Ed Silva
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

The repressions that have taken place in the past were ugly for sure,  I recall landing at the airport in Rome in 1974 and was shocked to see soldiers with machine guns all over the airport

Oct 24, 2021 05:25 PM