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Saturday, 4 February 2012

Our Typewriting Girl Shirl Once Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Shirley Abicair with her Hermes 2000 portable typewriter
Australian typist and zither player Shirley Abicair once really let her hair down and joined Ken Kesey and his band of bohemian writers and musicians at a commune of “young beards, old respectables and Hell's Angels” in Oregon.
She didn’t exactly forsake worldly goods for the bohemian life, however, and was often seen driving her gold Cadillac down America’s West Coast.
Not sure what a zither is? Think the Harry Lime Theme from The Third Man, as played by Anton Karas. That’s the unmistakable sound of a zither.
Anton Karas - Harry Lime Theme

Abicair moved to the US in 1971, became close friends with Merry Prankster Kesey, and appeared in a series of college concerts with him.
In June that same year she even contributed to the Whole Earth Catalog, with an article on the American psychic Edgar Cayce (above, 1877-1945), written from Virginia Beach. Cayce, who allegedly had the ability to answer questions on healing or Atlantis while in a hypnotic trance, was someone Abicair had found in her search for Karma and to stop smoking.
Shirley Abicair was born in Melbourne on October 26, 1930, and educated in Sydney. She is known as a singer, musician (who worked very often with Beatles producer George Martin), TV personality, actress and author.
Abicair arrived in London in 1953 and was pictured by a newspaper photographer looking for pretty faces while disembarking at the airport. Her photo was spotted by a radio producer in the newspaper and within weeks this led to her appearing on BBC television. Such is life...
I suspect a zither player would be quite handy on a typewriter keyboard.

1 comment:

Richard P said...

Cute and quirky! You're right, that zither theme from The Third Man is unmistakable and reminds me of many scenes from that great film.