This week in Literature and Arts

“…and the things that were to come are too fantastic not to tell.”

Happy 60th anniversary to Kerouac’s On the Road, released by Viking Press September 5, 1957. A singular moment in America’s literary history.

Happy birthday to character actor Roscoe Karns, born September 7, 1891, in San Bernardino, CA.

Roscoe is one of those guys you’ve seen again and again—he appeared in more than 150 films and later in TV shows—without knowing his name. He’s probably best remembered as Oscar Shapely, the bus passenger annoying the hell out of Claudette Colbert, in It Happened One Night.

His dialog with her is priceless.

“You know, there’s nothing I like better than to meet a high-class mama that can snap ’em back at ya. ‘Cause the colder they are, the hotter they get. That’s what I always say. Yes, sir, when a cold mama gets hot, boy, how she sizzles.”

Silly as hell, but he makes it sing.

Remembering Warren Zevon, who died of cancer on this day in 2003. He was 56. Younger than I am now.

[Yikes, has anyone seen that commercial with a father and daughter sitting on a dock fishing and they share a bowl of some brand of cereal and the music playing is the piano intro to “Werewolves of London.” Some asshole got paid good money to match cereal with a goofy song about a werewolf. They couldn’t be more unrelated.]


September 8, 1966: The crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise boldly goes for the first time as Star Trek debuts on NBC at 8:30. More than half a century later there’s still no stopping it. Remarkable.

September 9, 1904: James Joyce moves into Martello Tower in Sandycove with Oliver Gogarty. The Big U is coming! [I wonder who got stuck sleeping in the hammock? Anyone know?]

September 10, 1966: “Here we come…” Colgems Records releases “Last Train to Clarksville” by the made-for-TV band, The Monkees. The single becomes number one on Billboard‘s Top 100, and the group’s debut album following roughly a month later sells five million copies!

If you were a kid at the time, these guys were a HUGE deal, and considering the band was put together with four disparate musicians/actors, their records were decent. Don Kirshner was working for CBS at the time and used the musicians and songwriters he had under contract to generate material for the recordings.

A lot of it is disposable sixties bubblegum music, but a small handful of The Monkees releases hold up nicely and still are fun to hear on oldies radio.

Michael Rogers ( is a Jesse H. Neal Gold Award-winning freelance writer, editor, reviewer, and photographer. He is also former Media Editor and audiobook reviewer at Library Journal.