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Exploring Africa with Martin and Osa Johnson.

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Here we go then:

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Museum Title: Guasho Nyero River, Turkana Men, with Bell & Howell Camera

 

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Museum Title: Baby Gerenuk

 

We also saw our first gerenuk, a grotesque little animal with a giraffe-like long neck and long thin legs, which lives in waterless country and, so far as I was able to find out, has never been seen to drink.

Osa Johnson, I Married Adventure, 1940


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Museum Title: Bud Cottar, John Walsh and Osa, Isiolo, 1921

 

Isiolo is a quarantine station for the control of the many cattle diseases which, if not checked, play havoc with both the domestic and wild animals of Africa. Dr. Macdonough was the veterinarian in charge, and we notified him by runner that we were coming and asked his permission to store our extra supplies in his care. This he cordially granted us.

Osa Johnson, I Married Adventure, 1940

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Isn't it funny how times change. Who now would even think to describe the beautiful, elegant gerenuk as grotesque?

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Re: Last photo in post #41 (and caption beneath):

 

... not what I would call a huge buffalo, by any stretch of the imagination!! Poor little bugger was probably lost!

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One has to remember that Osa was of a diminutive size, hence her description of the buffalo being huge...

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Museum Title: Safari Group, Osa, Daddy Johnson and Bud Cottar 1921

 

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Museum Title: Isiolo Plains, Camp Site

 

 

The day after Christmas, Major Pedler, head of transportation of the East African Army, came to Isiolo on a tour of inspection, and we decided to go with him on a lion hunt. Father Johnson was beside himself. At last he was going to see a lion, but all day long, astride government mules, we followed various trails and saw no sign of one. We had gone farther than we thought and had to make the last half of our homeward journey in total darkness.

Osa Johnson, I Married Adventure, 1940


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Museum Title: Isiolo, Rattray, Old Camp

 

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Museum Title: Osa Johnson and Porters with Rhino Trophy, Guasho Nyero River

 

Dr. Macdonough’s gun-bearer stirred up a rhino that was taking a nap in a thicket. It charged straith towards us and we all dashed behind trees. The big, horned beast stood there and seemed to consider a moment… Suddenly I saw Father Johnson craning his neck for a better view of the big fellow. Some brush screened his vision and apparently he decided on a better vantage point, a tree some thirty feet distant. He sprinted for it. The rhino saw him and was off in pursuit. Dad and the rhion got to the tree about the same time. Dad skinned around it, the rhino after him.... I was terrified.... Then I watched Major Pedler raise his gun and take careful aim. I closed my eyes and didn't open them until after the shot was fired, but the rhino was down.

Osa Johnson, I Married Adventure, 1940

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Museum Title: Osa with Zebra/Mule Team, Rattray's Farm

 

Mr. Rattray, a man of squarish build and firm expression and perhaps fifty years of age, turned out to be one of those people who do strange things in the out-of-the-way places of the world. His hobby was breaking Grevy zebra to harness. They were immune to the tetse fly, he said, and the feeding problem was simple, because they could live on the dry, sparse vegetation of the plains. The sight of them pulling a plow seemed to fascinate Father Johnson.

Osa Johnson, I Married Adventure, 1940


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Museum Title: Osa on Zebra at Rattray's Farm

 

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Museum Title: Zebra in Corral, Rattray

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See, now I'm just a beast of burden. <_<

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Museum Title: Martin Johnson with Cameras, Isiolo

 

Today the Johnson films would fall into the category of documentaries, but their films contained a highly personalized human element that went far beyond mere instructive documentation. They ingeniously combined their genuine but covertly indicated romance with the danger that, because of primitive equipment of the times, wildlife photography demanded.

Kenhelm W. Stott, Jr, Exploring with Martin and Osa Johnson, 1978

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Museum Title: Isiolo, Osa Johnson Scouting, Binoculars

 

With binoculars we would search the countryside for game…On one of these forays, I climbed over a rock and there was a huge bull elephant just below me. He saw me at once and went into a rage. He charged, and unable to get up to me, became more furious. He trumpeted and screamed and I clambered about while Martin caught the action in the camera. When the bull subsided, I slid down toward him and when he charged I scurried up again. Martin was convulsed with laughter - he said I looked exactly like a baboon - but he was elated over the rare elephant show he was getting.

 

Osa Johnson, Four Years in Paradise, 1941

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Museum Title: Osa with Leopard (Trophy), dog, Rattray

 

When Rattray of Isiolo was attacked by a leopard, he killed it with his bare hands, but not without injury to him and his dog. Martin took this photograph shortly thereafter.

Osa Johnson, I Married Adventure, 1940

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Museum Title: Northern Frontier, Martin Johnson Photographing Samburu Natives

 

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Museum Title: Samburu Man With Spears

 

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Museum Title: Meru, Northern Frontier, Young Dandy's

 

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Museum Title: Kikuyu (Meru) native Warriors in Full Regalia

 

Toward noon of the next day we ran into a powwow. Some three hundred warriors were seated in a wide circle by the side of the road holding what seemed to be a serious executive session. They wore headdresses of ostrich plumes that were at once fierce, handsome and enormous, and they carried six foot metal spears topped with a ball of ostrich feathers. This ball, we learned, signified that at the moment the warriors were at peace with the world. Their bodies, crudely decorated with red clay, glistened and smelled of castor oil. Martin, delighted with this as picture material, stopped his car, set up his camera, and started to grind out some shots of the group.

Osa Johnson, I Married Adventure, 1940

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See, now I'm just a beast of burden. :rolleyes:

 

 

Twaffle, this is how I always think of you, but as the rider, Osa.

 

 

Jan

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See, now I'm just a beast of burden. :rolleyes:

 

 

Twaffle, this is how I always think of you, but as the rider, Osa.

 

 

Jan

 

 

Jan, that is so nice … thank you! Maybe I'm just a grevy centaur. :huh:

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Museum Title: Fort Hall, Kikuyu Belle

 

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Museum Title: Fort Hall, Kenya, Osa and Daddy Johnson with Natives by Car

 

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Museum Title: Northern Frontier, Meru Natives in Sham Battle, 1921

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' Maybe I'm just a grevy centaur. biggrin.gif

No, Twaffle , Osa is how I see you, until I'm shown otherwise.

 

 

Jan

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G.W., I'm still waiting for the book! Just teasing! I know you'll let us know whenit's ready.

 

Jan

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I missed these additions because I was 'in country' :D

 

These photos always make me smell and feel Africa and I can't wait for the book either. But seeing how long it takes to finish one measly short trip report I can understand why it could take a while for GW to get it all together.

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Museum Title: Two Kikuyu Men by Hut with Bows, Gourds and Skin

 

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Museum Title: Northern Frontier, Kikuyu

 

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Museum Title: Two Kikuyu Women

 

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Museum Title: Turkana Woman, Pegs and Ring in Ear

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It was a fantastic surprise to see this post about the Johnson's here. Many inedit pictures that I never have seen before. I'm a Johnson's fan since I read "I Married Adventure" some 40 years ago. Since 1987 I have made many trips to East Africa, and fortunatelly have the chance to be in many places where they have been. To arrive at Lake Paradise, Marsabit in january 1988 was a elixir to my eyes, what a big emotion I feel when I saw the lake below from the ridge! I have been in the footsteps of the Johnson's since then and even visited what I think was their house in Nairobi at Mutundu Rd (old Lucania Rd). I would love to see old pictures of their old camp at Lake Paradise. I tried hard to locate the remains of their old camp there in two ocasions but unfortunately I found only some stone foundations of what look like their old houses. Thanks for share and to help to perpetuate the spirit of the Johnson's.

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Sounds interesting Serengetiman, would love to see some of your photos as well.

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Continuing with the adventure, and my apologies for the tardy update in this article: the Johnsons approach Lake Paradise...

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Museum Title: Osa with Employee and Men, Camera

 

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Museum Title: Martin Johnson Photographing Kaisoot Desert

 

From the lower slopes of Mount Marsabit, Martin films the foreboding Kaisoot Desert which the Johnsons had recently crossed for the first time, using game and camel trails and a government track wherever it existed. In years to come, they were to traverse it regularly with no more concern than a trip to the corner grocery might involve.

Kenhelm W. Stott, Jr, Exploring with Martin and Osa Johnson, 1978


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Museum Title: Osa and Boculy

 

At Marsabit post, on the northern edge of the mountain, the Johnsons inquired about the whereabouts of the "lost lake." The Johnsons were able to hire, however, an excellent elephant tracker Martin called Boguni in his first African book, Camera Trails in Africa, the same “brother to the elephants” that Martin designated in later books as Boculy. So many names of the early part of the century had never been written down and, when the time came to do so, were recorded phonetically. Boculy professed never to have heard of the lake, but he proved an excellent tracker enabling the Johnsons to obtain first rate footage of the enormous elephants that have inhabited the Marsabit region for centuries.

Kenhelm W. Stott, Jr, Exploring with Martin and Osa Johnson, 1978

 

 

I had picked up the book, and I’m sure my eyes were bulging at what I saw. “Why, it says here that an animal called a camelopard was seen at the lake, and a two-horned unicorn!”
Blayney smiled. “I think that refers to the giraffe and oryx,” he said.

 

Osa Johnson, I Married Adventure, 1940

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At last! I've finally done what I should have done ages ago, I went on Amazon and ordered Osa Johnson's

 

book, 'I Married Adventure,' the 1997 edition. I can't wait to get started tonight, she'll be my bedtime

 

reading. I first came across her in Bartle Bull's brilliant book,'Safari A chronicle of adventure' at least

 

fifteen years ago. I've already told Twaffle that I always picture her as Osa as I don't know how she looks--

 

I still don't! I'd advise anyone to go out to find the book yourself. I'll let you know what I think when I've

 

finished.

 

In anticipation,

 

Jan

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Pleeeze mr nice Game Warden, will you continue our favourite thread before it rusts! :):P:D:P;)

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I was just thinking about uploading more images tonight...

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Pleeeze mr nice Game Warden, will you continue our favourite thread before it rusts! :):P:D:P;)

 

 

G.W., I second twaffle's request!

 

 

Jan

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All images and letters are provided courtesy of the Martin and Osa Johnson Safari Museum - www.safarimuseum.com.

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Museum Title:Osa and Boculy, Lake Paradise

 

He shook his head. “I’m positive,” he said, “that the lake must be almost inaccessible. Otherwise, hunters, natives, someone since this man,” he laid his hand on the book, “would have run across it.” He was thoughtful for a moment, looking at me. “There’s no question in my mind that it’s going to be a very hard trip, even a hazardous one.”

Osa Johnson, I Married Adventure, 1940


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Museum Title: Lake Paradise.

 

Blaney came one night carrying a thin, worn book... "Martin,” he said abruptly, “I’m going to take you three into my confidence on something that I’d-” he gave a short laugh. "Well, with the exception of telling Carl Akeley about it, I'd sworn I'd never confide it to another living soul" He pushed the thin book into Martin’s hands. “It’s all in there.” he said.
I looked at the book over Martin’s shoulder. The paper, as well as being yellow with age, was stained, and the old fashioned type made it difficult reading.
“You can study it later,” Blaney said. “Point is that the old Scotchman who wrote that book back in the early part of the nineteenth century described a crater lake which is on no map ever made of this country.”
Martin stared at him. “You mean there’s a lake around here nobody knew about?”
“Nobody, and you can be certain I’ve kept my ears open.”
“A lake” Martin said with mounting excitement. “Why, animals must go there by the thousands!”
Blayney nodded. “Yes, and probably from hundreds of miles in every direction - a sort of sanctuary, undisturbed by the white man and his gun. That’s why I’m telling you about it Martin. I’d like to see you go there some day with your camera and come back with a record of what animals are really like in their natural, undisturbed state.”

Osa Johnson, I Married Adventure, 1940


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Museum Title: Lake Paradise.

 

About three o'clock we broke through the forest and there was Lake Paradise in front of us…Osa cried because she was so happy. It was the biggest day of our lives it seemed we had bucked every known obstacle to reach the lake again but here we were and our caravan not far behind.

Martin Johnson, Letter to Daniel Pomeroy, April 13, 1924

 

On one trek, however, he (Boculy) finally led them up the mountain through the dense forest and suddenly, there at their feet, lay a cobalt lake deep in a sheer sided crater. “Oh, Martin,” Osa exclaimed, “It’s paradise.” To this day, these maps which use its English name refer to it as Lake Paradise or Paradise Lake.

Kenhelm W. Stott, Jr, Exploring with Martin and Osa Johnson, 1978


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Museum Title: (No title) However, what appears to be an outstanding exposure of Lake Paradise.

 

Blayney Percival came to say good-bye and wish us Godspeed. After four weeks of preparation we were ready to start on the long safari that would take us north across the Kaisoot Desert and into the unknown lands along the Abyssinian border. We were standing in the driveway beside our safari Fords.
“Don’t take any unnecessary risks to find that blasted lake, will you?” Blayney urged. “I don’t know what possessed me to tell you about it until I could go with you, I swear I don’t!”
“We’ll not only find your ‘phantom’ lake, Blayney,” he (Martin) said, “we’ll bring back pictures to prove we found it.!”

Osa Johnson, I Married Adventure, 1940


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Museum Title: N'Dorobo men at Lake Paradise

 

For three months, the Johnsons camped on the western ridge of the crater, taking frequent trips down a rugged track to the broad game trail that led to the lake from the south. It was during this three months that the Johnsons decided to return one day for an extended stay at Lake Paradise but now dwindling finances indicated it was time to head for the States. Martin wrote his book, Camera Trails in Africa, and edited the Metro film, Trailing African Wild Animals.

While the game footage was outstanding, it was only towards the end of the film that a rough story line evolved. The trip to Lake Paradise offered an example of the narrative device that Martin developed so effectively in years to come. Earlier parts of the film, which were devoted to “Elephants,” or “Rhinos,” or “Giraffes,” were fragmentary and lacking in continuity. It was only during the first Lake Paradise safari that a running account appeared, the two principle characters being Martin and Osa Johnson.

Kenhelm W. Stott, Jr, Exploring with Martin and Osa Johnson, 1978

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Thank you. ;)

 

I need to re-read the whole thread in case I missed the reference, but is there anywhere to see the original movies or have they been lost?

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No, the very early films were lost, but others are available: see here. Though if purchasing them please contact the museum prior to paying to ensure you receive the correct region DVDs. Matt.

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