All posts by Michael Rogers

This week in Literature and Arts

March 12, 1922: Jack Kerouac is born in the second floor bedroom at 9 Lupine Road in Lowell, MA. His folks were French-Canadian imports who spoke French at home (Jack, baptized Jean-Louis, didn’t learn to speak English until attending grammar school).

Jack’ now been dead longer than he was alive. The short unhappy life…, but how many little boys grow up to write books that launch a literary movement?

A decade ago, I covered the opening of a sterling Kerouac exhibit at the New York Public Library that included the “On the Road” manuscript on a roll of teletype paper. Amazing to see it.

Happy 95th birthday, Jack.


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This week in Literature and Arts

Happy 101st birthday to Lou Costello, born Louis Francis Cristillo, March 6, 1906, in Patterson, NJ. He’s a hard guy to get a grip on; so funny yet the legend is that off screen he was quite a nasty customer. Also, despite his 5’5″ stature, Lou apparently was a gifted athlete who excelled at basketball!

Unlike Laurel and Hardy, Lou and Bud Abbott barely tolerated each other, and their relationship eventually decayed to where they never spoke off screen. Lou was a fan of Curly Howard and “borrowed” Stooges shtick for his own screen persona, and Bud, the bullying straight-man slapping around funny fat-man Lou is straight Stoogery!

Ironically, like Curly, Lou’s health was poor, and he died shortly before his 53rd birthday.

He’s pictured here with Bela in every monster-kid’s favorite comedy, A&C Meet Frankenstein.


March 7, 1923: High school lit classes are forever changes as The New Republic debuts Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.”


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This week in Literature and Arts

Happy 85th birthday to Johnny Cash, born into a farming family in Kingsland, Arkansas, February 26, 1932.

Before finding success, Cash held a variety of mundane jobs including a stint as an appliance salesman. A few years later you can picture some guy sitting in his living room with his wife’s meatloaf and mashed sitting in his stomach like an anchor watching Cash on the TV, scratching his head thinking, “Didn’t we buy the washing machine from that guy?”


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This week in Literature and Arts

Happy birthday to Lee Marvin, born February 19, 1924, in New York City. He was named Lee after Robert E. Lee, a distant cousin (shockeroo, eh!).

After getting expelled from a handful of schools, Marvin enlisted in the marines in WWII and was twice wounded fighting in the Pacific. Post war he was working as a plumber’s assistant in a theater, and when one of the actors took ill, he filled in and the rest is our good fortune.

After portraying a plethora of gritty cowboys, soldiers, and crooks, Marvin, ironically, snagged his lone Oscar for a comedy (Cat Ballou).

The eyes of a killer.

Lee Marvin collage


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This week in Literature and Arts

February 13, 2000: The last original Peanuts strip is published hours after creator Charles Schulz succumbs to colon cancer at 77.

Schulz’s contract with United Features prevented another artist from taking over Peanuts after his passing. Recycled strips continue to run in more than 2000 daily newspapers.

Seems impossible that it was 17 years ago.

CHarlie Brown Goodbye


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