Happy birthday to Ray Bradbury, born August 22, 1920, in Waukegan, Illinois. As a writer he could do everything, and he understood the power of libraries and was a good guy to boot.
August 7, 1934: The U.S. Court of Appeals upholds the lower court’s ruling that James Joyce’s novel Ulysses is art, not pornography, and eligible for sale in the United States.
August 8, 1969: At roughly 11:30 a.m. as a constable held traffic, photographer Iain Macmillan climbed a stepladder, focused his Hasselbad camera’s 50 mm lens closed down the aperture to f22 for great depth, and firing the shutter at 1/500th of a second shot six pictures of The Beatles walking away from EMI Studios crossing Abbey Road. The fifth exposure became the album cover.
Linda McCartney on the sidelines shot her own pix of the event.
June 26, 1997: Bloomsbury releases Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in the UK. Game changer for sure.
Happy 20th anniversary, Harry. Bravo, Jo Rowling
Happy 158th birthday to the great Arthur Conan Doyle, doctor, author, spiritualist, and inadvertent father of forensic science, born in Edinburgh, Scotland, May 22, 1859.
Most readers have introduced themselves to Holmes and Watson, but if you’re unfamiliar with his adventure stories, try them. The Lost World and other Professor Challenger stories are great fun. Stay away from his romances though, just awful.
Arthur, old son, I love you with my heart and soul.
Happy birthday to Henry Fonda, born in Grand Island, Nebraska, May 16, 1905. His mother, Elma, was friends with Dorothy Brando, mother of you know who and director of a local theater group, who suggested the shy Henry take an interest in theater (thank you, Mrs. Brando!).
He pursued a journalism degree at the University of Minnesota, but dropped out at headed east for theater work, starting in New England before landing Broadway jobs. In New York he roomed with Jimmy Stewart, who he already knew from back home.
Fonda was top shelf in so many films, but my favorites are his collaborations with John Ford: My Darling Clementine, Fort Apache, and, especially, The Grapes of Wrath. The studio pushed for Tyrone Power to play Tom Joad, but Ford knew that Fonda was born to be Tom (thank you, Mr. Ford!).
Off-topic, but my fellow monster kids join me in wishing a happy birthday to Darren McGavin, born in Spokane, WA, May 7, 1922. The Night Stalker is one of my favorite vampire films. Kolchak, baby!
Happy birthday to Ward Bond, born in Benkelman, Nebraska, April 9, 1903. One of the great character actors and a pillar of John Ford’s ensemble, Ward spent most of his career (more than 200 films) portraying cops and cowboys. He played football at USC with teammate John Wayne (still Marion Morrison then)—what are the odds?
For most, he’s probably best known as Bert the cop in Frank Capra’s holiday crowd-pleaser It’s a Wonderful Life. He also had small roles in Gone With the Wind, The Grapes of Wrath, Dead End, and Bringing up Baby.”
My favorites are the Ford films (he did 25 of them), and he’s solid as Tom Polhaus in The Maltese Falcon.
Bond in the “chew” shot from the creme de la creme, The Searchers.
Continue reading This week in Literature and Arts
Birthday greetings to Sir Alec Guinness, born in London’s Paddington vicinity, April 2, 1914. I like him best in the David Lean films, and he brought a touch of class as Kenobi, and, of course, the man was born to play Smiley.
Guinness wrote a few memoirs, very charming and worth breezing through.
March 19, 1962: With the release of his eponymously named first album, the world meets Bob Dylan.
Happy 48th anniversary to John and Yoko, married March 20, 1969, by registrar Cecil Wheeler in a ten-minute ceremony at the British Consulate Office in Gibraltar (near Spain).