The most famous (and infamous) of the French music-halls began delivering “Dancing, Entertainment, Variety!” on Sunday, Oct. 6, 1889. The Sunday debut was fitting for the “temple dedicated to music and dancing.” Once inside, the well-heeled flock would cast off the chains of bourgeois society and revel in bohemian and risqué entertainment, while the red windmill (the Moulin Rouge) twinkled down on Paris from the butte of Montmartre.
The invitation to a garden of earthly delights began in the windows of the windmill itself. The two figures leaning from the upper windows (in the image above) were mechanical manikins of the miller and his wife. As the mill’s blades slowly revolved, the miller and his wife would turn to each other and exchange gestures of affection.
To the left of the windmill is the backside of a giant elephant with windows in its hind end and a glass cupola on its back.
Inside the elephant was a performance space where the Moulin Rouge’s most scandalous entertainment took place.
It is also where the twin protagonists of Blowback ’94, Iris and Arky Jongler-Jinks, arrive and begin their time-travel journey to Paris in 1894.
Coming Soon – More on the Elephant in the Garden!