This week in Literature and Arts

Star Wars geeks join me in 66th birthday greetings to Mark Hamill, born in Oakland, CA, September 25, 1951. Mark, I hope you have dialog in Ep. 8!

Here’s a bad pic from NYCC 2011.

Remembering Mary Astor, who died September 25, 1987, age 81. My son and I visited her grave last year in LA at Holy Cross Cemetery (not too, too far from John Ford). She was hard to find.

Forever Brigid O’Shaughnessy.

Remembering Zacherle, the Cool Ghoul, on what would have been his 99th birthday (born in Philly, September 26, 1918). He was so much fun to watch on TV as a kid, and a pleasure to meet years later at ChillerCon. A sweet, funny man.

At ChillerCon at the Meadowlands Hotel about a decade or so past, my brother, Bill Rogers, and I were chatting with Zac at his table inside the autograph tent in the hotel’s parking lot. Time came for his panel, so a bunch of us walked with him to the hotel. The admission line stretched across the parking lot and wrapped around the building. Zac asked what the line was for, and when we told him it was the line to get in he was appalled. He walked to the back of the line, grabbed the last two people, and brought them to the front telling the ladies selling the wristbands that they were his guests and to let them in. The Cool Ghoul indeed.

It might have been at that same show that Zac was given this award.

September 26, 1969: The Beatles release Abbey Road in the UK. It debuted October 1 in the U.S.

September 28, 1891: Herman Melville, 72, dies of heart failure in New York City where he’d been born. Forgotten as a writer, he’d worked for nearly two decades as a shipping inspector at South Street and other docking facilities in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn.

At the time of his death he lived at 104 E. 26th St in Manhattan, the location now is marked with a plaque, and the intersection of Park Ave S. and E. 26th is dubbed Herman Melville Square. He is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx.

October 1, 1962: Johnny Carson, 36, hosts his first Tonight Show, succeeding Jack Paar. Carson helmed the program until May 22, 1992.

Honk if you loved Carson.

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.