In re the Grand Guignol

I just finished reading Cecil’s column on the Grand Guignol, and learned to my chagrin that it was not a puppet theater, as I had always thought (the puppet theater is the plain ol’ Guignol, apparently).

However that may be, I was moved to read the French Wikipedia article on the subject, and most amusing it was, too. But I’m saddened to report that it gives the lie to Cecil on two points: 1) the Grand Guignol closed in 1963, not 1962 per Cecil; and 2) the theatre contained 347 seats, not “about 285.”

So I ask: who are we to believe, Cecil or the French Wikipedia?

Um…duh. Anybody in the world can edit (and mess up) Wikipedia; there are only eleven people who write under the name Cecil Adams. Who you gonna believe? :wink:

Egad! So that was Grand Guignol. I finally understand why the phrase was linked so securely to Alice Cooper. Alice, for you youngsters, always filled his concerts with madness and graphic mayhem. He may have been hanged onstage more times than any other performer. :eek: What? You thought Marilyn Manson was a brash original? :smiley: I’m sure Marilyn brought lots of his own goodies to the party, but he works in the Alice Cooper mold. Alice himself didn’t start from scratch, either.

From the history of Grand Guignol comes an appreciation of the actress Paula Maxa who, it would appear, not only died on stage by methods too wonderful to keep quiet about:

but also decomposed on it 200 times on the spin:

Incidentally, the above website is the source of the mugs given to moderators on accession to the job.

Two brothers and two prostitutes is not an orgy. Not by French standards. Probably not even by Swiss standards. :dubious:

Yeah, but the prostitutes were just there to watch


Has the Academie Francaise ever set the minimum number of participants before it’s officially designated an orgy?

If they did, they surely ruled that all the speaking, moaning, and screaming shall be in French, and no other language. :wink:

On the English wiki page it says:

The things onstage were impossible? In their play section, it mentions things like a nanny strangling the kids, two insane asylum inmates blinding a fellow inmate and a doctor taking revenge on his wife’s lover. These things don’t happen often, but there are sick people out there. Maybe it didn’t seem as accessible to them until WWII, since they didn’t have the Internets to tell them everytime some sicko volunteered to have himself eaten or everytime someone tries to destroy her husband’s penis?

And how clever of them to vandalize the oft-visited Grand Guignol page by changing the year of closure and the seating capacity. (Did you notice that the seating was off by exactly 62? The real year the doors closed? Doo-dee-do-do Doo-dee-do-do…)

When Cecil wrote that “Grand Guignole” should be pronounced “Gron Geen-yole”, I have to disagree with the first part of it (Gron).

I’m a French speaker (first language) and “grand” (mute “d”) seems much closer to genuine French pronunciation than “Gron” …well, maybe with a thick parisian accent “Gron” would be closer, but as for international French I guess it would be somewhere between the two.

How would the average non-french speaking person of an English speaking persuasion pronounce “grand” (mute “d”), if told that was how to pronounce a word? I’m neither English speaking, nor fluent in French, but I think that advice would produce a vowel further from the intended than “gron”.

From the hosts of that site, Thrillpeddlers-

Jack Chick is everywhere!

For people in America, “Gron” would be pronounced with a very open, flat sound, much like a European long-“a”. If he had tried to use any version of an American “a”, it’s a guarantee that the sound would be wrong, and that’s without even worrying about places like Boston. :stuck_out_tongue:

Of course, given that an American would be pronouncing it, it’s a given it would sound quite grating regardless. :o

If you say so!