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The Castafiore Emerald: An earlier "Paris Flash"...?

#1 · Posted: 24 May 2023 13:55
As we know, around the end of 1961, and the start of 1962, Hergé was producing The Castafiore Emerald, which was being published in Tintin magazine.

In it, he introduced celebrity journalist Jean-Loup de la Batellerie (Christopher Willoughby-Drupe in English), and photographer to the stars Walter Rizotto (Marco Rizotto) - who were based on the real-life models of journalist Philippe de Baleine (1921-2018) and photographer Willy Rizzo (1928-2013), whom Hergé met at his country retreat at Céroux-Mousty in 1958.

According to Rizzo's website, the name "Walter" was for his colleague, photographer Walter Carone (1920–1982).

The encounter led to an article in long-running news and lifestyle magazine, Paris Match, which - in spite of the magazine having asked for, and recieved, such details as the exact dimensions and specifications of the now-famous sign of Tintin and Snowy which sits on top of the Lombard Building in Brussels - was riddled with errors and mis-attributions, much to Hergé's amusement.

Hergé filed this incident away, and then called it up to exact humorous "revenge", by creating "Paris Flash" magazine for Castafiore Emerald; the article produced by de la Batellerie and Rizotto is peppered with factual errors, spelling mistakes, and a general lack of attention to detail.

As Hergé was to put it in his interview with Numa Sadoul, "I was thinking of a famous weekly that was accustomed to errors, to the point of my believing that there was, within their editorial staff, a member especially paid to introduce mistakes!" He believed that "Paris Match" had a sense of humour, and had taken the ribbing in good part.

Rizzo's visit may also have had another, more fundamental influence on the development of The Castafiore Emerald, as it has been said - again on the Rizzo website - that it was his story of a jewel theft from opera singer Maria Callas that lit the spark for the tale of the disappearing jewels of the Milanese Nightingale!

Up until now I had thought that the Paris Match/ Paris Flash name change was simply a happy choice - they sound fairly similar, the right number of letters, "flash" might have overtones of news photography, and it generally has an air of plausibility about it - and that Hergé had simply pulled it out of the air.

However, I have discovered that there was a short animated cartoon made in 1958 that used that title.

Les Films Pierre Rémont, a small production company that seems to have produced a small number of titles and adverts, was the company behind Paris Flash, which was directed by Albert Champeaux (1922-2005) and Pierre Watrin (1918-1990).

Possibly of greater interest to the Tintinologist (but possibly no more than coincidence) is that this film was written by Philippe Condroyer (1927-2017), with music by Antoine Duhamel (1925-2014) - both of whom went on to work on Tintin and the Blue Oranges, as director and composer, respectively.

Is this earlier Paris Flash common knowledge, and I have just missed it? Is it simply an interesting coincidence? Was "Paris Flash" already an expression, or joke, in circulation, and drawn on by both Condroyer and Hergé? Does anyone know?

And has anyone seen the cartoon, Paris Flash...?
#2 · Posted: 27 May 2023 17:50
If you search YouTube for

Paris Flash 1958

then you should be able to find this movie which is basically a short comedy cartoon about tourists visiting Paris. It is the sort of short cartoon that would be shown at cinemas before the main feature.

Herge enjoyed the cinema so it would not be impossible that he saw it at the time.

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