Monthly Archives: March 2013

Ewan McGregor 3.31.13 Thought of the Day

“I’m fiercely proud to be Scottish.”– Ewan McGregor

[Image courtesy: Ewan McGregor.Tumbler.com]
[Image courtesy: Ewan McGregor.Tumbler.com]

Ewan Gordon McGregor was born on this day in Perth, Scotland, United Kingdom in 1971. He is 42.

His parents are both educators. His mother, Carole, was a teacher and school administrator, and his father, Jim, was  a phys. ed teacher. McGregor has an older brother, Colin, who is in the Royal Air Force.

At age 16, he left Crieff and Morrison Academy to join the Perth Repertory Theatre. His parents encouraged him to leave school and pursue his acting goals rather than be unhappy. McGregor studied drama for a year at Kirkcaldly in Fife, then enrolled at London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama for a three-year course. [IMDb]

He left Guildhall School early to take a major role in Lipstick on Your Collar (1993).

He got international attention in 1996. as Mark Renton, the heroin addicted anti-hero in Danny Boyle’s Transpotting. He won a BAFTA Scotland award for Best Actor for his performance. He took on two sharply different roles the same year. He was charming, rich, glib, and not (as far as I know) a drug addict as Frank Churchill  in an adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma opposite Gwyneth Paltrow.  And he played the romantic lead in Brassed Off. [Put both Emma and Brassed Off in your queue. Both are terrific. Transpotting was too gritty for me. As big of a fan as I am of McGregor, Kevin McKidd, Robert Carlyle, and Kelly Macdonald, I can’t say that I like the movie. It did, however, teach me that I categorically do NOT want to EVER try heroin– so there’s that, I guess.]

Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wa...

McGregor was  Obi-Wan Kenobi — a role originated by Sir Alec Guinness — in the first of the Star Wars prequels, Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace , in 1999. (He reprised the role twice in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and  Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith) It was a real labor of love for McGregor who adored the Star Wars films growing up. He watched countless Guinness films in preparation for the role so he could get the screen legend’s pacing and accent down. And when it came time to film the light saber scenes …”he kept imitating the noise … during his fights. George Lucas explained many times that this would be added in by the special effects people later on. Ewan said “I keep getting carried away.”.” [IMDb]

Still from Mulan Rouge with Nicolle Kidman [http://ewan-mcgregor.tumblr.com/]
Still from Moulin Rouge with Nicolle Kiddman [Image courtesy: Ewan McGregor.Tumbler.com]] I wasn’t really sure if I was going to like this odd movie, but then Ewan opened his mouth to sing and I was hooked.

2001 was another big year for McGregor with two major motion pictures, the fantasy musical Moulin Rouge and gripping war story Black Hawk Down coming in short order.

He was terrific in Big Fish as the young protagonist, Edward Bloom.

I also liked him in The Island, Miss Potter, The Men Who Stare at Goats, Beginners, and especially Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. 

But with 60+ movies and TV appearances I’ve only scratched the surface of Mr. McGregor’s film garden. I’ll need to do more research.

In 2004 he and best mate Charley Boorman travelled through Europe, Asia and North America on motorcycles in the TV documentary Long Way Round. The 19,000 trek helped bring attention to UNICEF projects around the world. In 2006 They did a similar trip/ documentary called Long Way Down, this time traveling from Scotland to Cape Town, South Africa.

New to DVD release (it was in limited theatrical release late last year) is The Impossible, a drama about the 2004 tsunami.

 

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Secondary Character: Alan Rickman; Alexander Dane — Galaxy Quest

[Image Courtesy: Outcast Studios.com]

[Image Courtesy: Outcast Studios.com]

Who: Alexander Dane / Dr. Lazarus

From: Galaxy Quest

Alexander Dane was a stage actor famous for his portrayal of Richard III, for which he received five curtain calls. He then took a job portraying Dr. Lazarus on the ’80s TV show “Galaxy Quest,” a space-travel story about an intrepid crew and their travels across the universe. The TV show was cancelled and the GQ actors have been reduced to living off their fame by attending sci-fi conventions, presiding at the opening of new stores, and allowing rabid fans to film interviews in their garages and basements… [IMDb]

By: David Howard

Produced: 1999

[Image courtesy: Outcast Studios]

[Image courtesy: Outcast Studios]

Pros: Dedicated to his craft. Has a cool catch phrase –“By Grabthar’s hammer, by the suns of Warvan, you shall be avenged!” Shakespearian trained actor. Awesome latex headpiece.

Cons: Jealous of his co-star, Jason Nesmith, who played the Cmdr. Peter Quincy, the captain of the Protector on the show.  Hates his cool catch phrase. Generally wallows in misery and self-pity.  Full of himself.

Most Shining Moment: Loosing his ego and embracing his character in order to comfort dying Quellek, an alien who idolizes his character Dr. Lazarus.

[Image courtesy: Outcast Studios.]

[Image courtesy: Outcast Studios.]

Why Rickman is so good in this movie: Rickman is deliciously snarky and sarcastic in this movie. It is one of his best comic roles and he gives it 100%. [For another dark comedic Rickman role, you should also see him in Dogma, but his role there is much smaller there… more of a Tertiary Thursday Character than a Secondary Saturday Character.) As much as Alexander Dane, the actor, has a certain snobbishness towards his role of Dr. Lazzrus, you can see that Rickman is having a ton of fun throwing himself at his role as the actor-playing-an-alien — especially when his prosthetic rubber headpiece starts to fall apart.

Why I Picked Galaxy Quest: As you may have guessed from this week’s bioBLOGS on Leonard Niimoy  (Mr. Spock of Star Trek) and  Nathan Fillion (Captain Mal Reynolds of Firefly) I rather enjoy my Science Fiction, and Galaxy Quest is a terrific send up on the sometimes too serious take on the medium. (Although Firefly/Serenity never took itself too seriously, Star Trek — especially the Star Trek movies — could get a bit big for its britches.) So A) I like the movie. B) Rickman is hilarious in it. And C) it was requested by one of my most loyal readers.

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Well, I guess that’s about it for our month of Alan Rickman Secondary Character studies. I hope this little salute has inspired you to put one or two Rickman movies in your queue. Cheers, Rita

Alan Rickman, The Awesome

Alan Rickman, The Awesome (Photo credit: ManaMalipeddi)


John Tyler 3.29.13 Thought of the Day

“Popularity, I have always thought, may aptly be compared to a coquette – the more you woo her, the more apt is she to elude your embrace.”–John Tyler

 

English: A portrait of John Tyler located insi...

English: A portrait of John Tyler located inside the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

John Tyler was born on this day near Charles City County, Virginia, USA in 1790. Today is the 223rd anniversary of his birth.

 

Born to a wealthy family on his father’s Greenway plantation. His family had been members of Virginia’s elite since the 17th century. His father, John Tyler, Sr. was a judge who was friends with Thomas Jefferson, served in the Virginia House of Delegates, was Speaker for that House, and was the 15th Governor of Virginia (when John junior was 18.) His mother Mary Armistead Tyler died when he was 7.  The younger John Tyler was the sixth of eight children.

 

Tyler attended William and Mary College in Williamsburg, Virginia. He

 

studied law under private tutors. He began his political career in 1811, when he was elected to the Virginia legislature at age 21. [History.com]

 

He served in the legislature until 1816 when he was elected to the US House of Representatives. He was a strict Constitutionalist and a strong proponent of States Rights. He voted against “nationalist legislation and opposed the Missouri compromise” [WhiteHouse.gov] He didn’t run again in 1820, returning to his private law practice instead.  But by 1823 he was back in the Virginia House of Delegates.

 

 

 

English: An engraving (c. 1826, authorship unk...

 

 

 

In 1825 he was appointed as Governor of Virginia (as Governor he gave the eulogy at Thomas Jefferson’s funeral.) He served as Governor for two terms.

He won a slim majority to US Senate in 1827 as a Democrat, but  his support for President Andrew Jackson was rocky at best. By 1835 he was aligned with Henry Clay’s Whig Party.

 

The Whigs nominated Tyler for Vice President in 1840, hoping for support from southern states’-righters who could not stomach Jacksonian Democracy. The slogan “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too” implied flagwaving nationalism plus a dash of southern sectionalism. [WhiteHouse.gov]

 

The “Tippecanoe”  in the campaign slogan was William Henry Harrison who fought in the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811. The Harrison/Tyler ticket won the election with 53% of popular vote and an electoral vote of 234-60. The Whigs also won control of both the House and Senate. Tyler took the oath of the Vice Presidency, presided over the confirmations of Harrison’s cabinet appointments (as President of the Senate) and after a few days went home to Williamsburg. But then Harrison caught pneumonia and died (the first sitting president to do so) and “Tyler Too” became, suddenly, the 10th President of the United States.

 

The U.S. Constitution was unclear on the matter of presidential succession; however, Tyler moved into the White House and was sworn into office on April 6. At 51 years old, the man dubbed “His Accidency,” was younger than any previous president. (The ambiguity surrounding the order of succession issue was officially clarified with the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, which was ratified in 1967 and states that if the president dies or resigns, the vice president becomes president.) [History.com]

 

John Tyler, tenth President of the United States

John Tyler, tenth President of the United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

“His four year term was a shambles…” [Findagrave.com] Unable to follow both his conscience and the Whig’s political agenda he was kicked out of the part. All but one member of his (well, Harrison’s) cabinet resigned. And members of the House tried to have him impeached for misuse of veto power.

 

His Presidency however produced some historic events: The annexation of Texas, a reorganized Navy, The ending of the Seminole war and the signing of a treaty with China. [Findagrave.com]

 

He did not make a bid for a second term in the White House.

He retired to his plantation, Sherwood Forest near Richmond. When the Civil War broke out “Tyler led a compromise movement; failing, he worked to create the Southern Confederacy.” [WhiteHouse.gov] He  was elected to the House of Representatives of the Confederate Congress in 1862.  “With the war raging, he was giving a speech in front of the Exchange Hotel when he suffered a stroke and was taken to a room where he died at the age of 71.” [Findagrave.com]

 

Picture of President John Tyler's grave in the...

Picture of President John Tyler’s grave in the Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, VA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 


St. Teresa of Avila March 28 Thought of the Day

“What a great favor God does to those He places in the company of good people!”–St. Teresa of Avila

Teresa of Ávila, Ulm, Germany

Teresa of Ávila, Ulm, Germany (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Teresa de Cepeda y Ahumada was born on this day in Gotarrendura, Ávila, Spain in 1515. Today is the 498th anniversary of her birth.

Teresa’s grandfather converted to Christianity to avoid persecution from the Spanish Inquisitors. It didn’t quite work. Although his son, Teresa’s father, Alonso Sánchez de Cepeda, became a prominent member of Catholic Avila society, her grandfather was later condemned for allegedly returning to his Jewish roots. Alonso was a strict and pious man and Teresa grew up fascinated with the mysteries of the faith and the lives of the Saints.

At seven she tried to run away with her brother. The plan was to find some Moors and convince the “barbarians” to chop of their heads so they could become martyrs. Fortunately their uncle found the children before they could get too far.

She was 15 when her mother, Beatriz, died, and Teresa was sent to live with the Augustinian nuns. She soon decided to enter religious life

In 1535, she joined the Carmelite Order. She spent a number of relatively average years in the convent, punctuated by a severe illness that left her legs paralyzed for three years, but then experienced a vision of “the sorely wounded Christ” that changed her life forever. [CCEL.org]

When she was ill she claimed to have experienced a number of religious ecstasies and visions. At about age 41 some of her friends thought these visions might be the work of the devil, but her confessor assured her that they were  of Christ’s doing.

From this point forward, Teresa moved into a period of increasingly ecstatic experiences in which she came to focus more and more sharply on Christ’s passion. With these visions as her impetus, she set herself to the reformation of her order, beginning with her attempt to master herself and her adherence to the rule. Gathering a group of supporters, Teresa endeavored to create a more primitive type of Carmelite. [CCEL.org]

She had opposition from her original order, the local church and the town. At some point she was threatened with the Inquisition, but she pushed on.

In 1567, she met St. John of the Cross, who she enlisted to extend her reform into the male side of the Carmelite Order. [CCEL.org]

She died while on a journey from Alba de Tormes in 1582. Forty years later she was canonized a saint by Pope Gregory XV.

"It is love alone that gives worth to all...

“It is love alone that gives worth to all things.” – St. Teresa of Avila (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Nathan Fillion 3.27.13 Thought of the Day

Nathan Fillion at the 2005 Serenity premiere.

“What could be better than captain of a space ship? I get to ride horses, shoot guns, have adventures …” —Nathan Fillion

Nathan Christopher Fillion was born on this day in Alberta, Canada in 1971. He is 42 years old.

Nathan is the second son born to Cookie and Bob Fillion, of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He attended Holy Trinity Catholic High School then went to Concordia University College of Alberta and the University of Alberta. His parents and brother Jeff are all teachers, and Nathan was on the path to becoming one as well, but just before graduation he was offered a role on ABC’s One Life To Live.

He proved very popular as the show’s character Joey Buchanan and was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award, as well as a Soap Opera Digest Award, for “Outstanding Young Actor” in 1996. [Nathan Fillion.org]

As Joey Buchannon on One Life to Live [Image courtesy: Sop Opera Weekly]
As Joey Buchannon on One Life to Live [Image courtesy: Soap Opera Weekly]

His first film role was as the “Minnesota” Ryan in Steven Spielberg’s  Saving Private Ryan.

In 1998 he turned a recurring guest appearance as Johnny Donnelly  into a permanent role on To Guys, a Girl and  Pizza Place. The series ran for three more years.

Fillion as Caleb in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. [Image courtesy: Wikipedia]
Fillion as Caleb in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. [Image courtesy: Wikipedia]

A character arch as Caleb, a defrocked priest, serial killer and really, really bad guy on Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer helped bring the series to its dramatic finale.

Fillion worked with Whedon again in 2002 on the science fiction series Firefly. He played Captain Malcolm Reynolds,

Once a sergeant in the losing war for independence, Mal captains a team of misfits in smuggling operations on the edge of the galaxy. His main goal in life is to be left alone and avoid the Alliance government—until he discovers (in the movie Serenity), their heavy-handed plan to fix (i.e., medicate and subdue) the world, at which point he aims to misbehave. He’s broken, bitter and faithless. He’s also damn funny and the one person his crew can count on without reservation. [ PasteMagazine.com]

An example of the Wild West influenced clothin...
He aims to misbehave. …An example of the Wild West influenced clothing and weaponry in Firefly and Serenity. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fox rather famously (and stupidly imho) cancelled the series 11 episodes in, but loyal Browncoats kept the faith. The creative team and cast came together again for the motion picture  Serenity in 2005.

He played the “hapless, frustrated hero, Police Chief Bill Pardy” [Nathan Fillion.org] in the campy horror film Slither in 2006.  Then went more romantic as an understanding gynecologist in 2007’s Waitress with Keri Russell.

He joined forces again with Whedon  (this time with Neil Patrick Harris and Felicia Day) for the three-part musical Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.

You can currently catch Fillion as the mystery novelist turned detective Rick Castle on ABC’s Castle. The series is in its fifth season.


Leonard Nimoy 3.26.13 Thought of the Day

“The miracle is this: the more we share the more we have”–Leonard Nimoy

“Logic is the beginning of wisdom, not the end” — Nimoy as Spock

Nimoy as Spock [Image courtesy: Fanpop]

Nimoy as Spock [Image courtesy: Fanpop]

Leonard Simon Nimoy was born on this day in Boston, Massachusetts, USA in 1931.  He is 82 years old.

He is the youngest son of Max and Dora Nimoy. His parents and grandparents were Yiddish speaking Orthodox Jews who fled from the Ukrainian region of Stalinist Russia and settled in the West End neighborhood of Boston. Max owned a barbershop and was a neighborhood fixture. Leonard and his older brother Melvin sold newspapers in Boston Commons. His parents wanted him to go to college or at least take up the accordion so he’d have a  reliable means to make a living, but Leonard was set on being an actor. It was his Grandfather who stood up for him and encouraged him to pursue his dream.

Nimoy started to act in neighborhood theater when he was eight. He continued to act while at Boston’s English High School.

…After his graduation in 1949, he attended Boston College. While playing the role of Ralphie in a collegiate production of Clifford OdetsAwake and Sing, Nimoy noticed that another Odets play was making a professional, pre-Broadway debut in Boston. After seeking career advice from one of the play’s established cast members, Nimoy submitted an application to California’s Pasadena Playhouse. He made his way out to the West Coast using money he earned by selling vacuum cleaners. [Biography.com]

He landed a few guest spots on tv before getting his first starring role as a boxer in Kid Monk Baroni.

He served in the United States Army and reached the rank of Sergeant before being honorably discharged in November of 1955. He went back to acting, taking small parts in film and television and larger roles on stage.

After carving out a niche with day-player roles on the likes of Dragnet, The Rough Riders, Sea Hunt, Bonanza, The Twilight Zone, Dr. Kildaire and Perry Mason, Nimoy’s featured role on a 1965 episode of The Lieutenant earned the attention of producer and writer Gene Roddenberry. [Biography.com]

Roddenberry was developing a science fiction series, Star Trek,  and he needed a tall, thin, logical, intelligent science officer. Nimoy got the role of Mr. Spock.

Half-Vulcan and half-human, Spock is largely emotionless and operates on a level of pure logic, serving as a counterpart to Shatner’s more combustible Captain James T. Kirk. It was Nimoy himself who came up with the concept of the Vulcan Nerve Pinch, since he believed it would be out of character for Spock to punch or chop an enemy combatant. [Daily Press.com]

He also introduced the Vulcan hand salute in the episode “Amok Time.” It is a derivation of a Jewish blessing. The show ran from 1966 to 1969. Nimoy earned three Emmy nominations for the iconic role of Mr. Spock.

Looking very logical in a publicity still from Star Trek. (Image courtesy: Collider.com)

Looking very logical in a publicity still from Star Trek. (Image courtesy: Collider.com)

Nimoy was almost immediately picked up by Mission: Impossible where he played master of disguise The Great Paris.

…He was one of the world’s greatest magicians (billed as ‘The Great Paris’)…after Rollin Hand quit his position with the Impossible Missions Force …Paris was recruited … as the team’s master of disguise. … Paris has played everything from a Japanese kabuki actor to a mobster … [IMDb]

Still from Mission Impossible with Nimoy in disguise. [Image Courtesy : Ribbonrain]

Still from Mission Impossible with Nimoy in disguise. [Image Courtesy : Ribbonrain]

After Star Trek and Mission Impossible he went back to the stage, notably as Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, as Vincent Van Gogh in his one man show Vincent, and in Sherlock Homes and  Equus.

Back on TV he was the narrator for paranormal series In Search Of... and he picked up another Emmy nomination for his role as Golda Meir’s husband in 1982’s  A Woman Called Golda.

His post Star Trek time also included directing, photography and writing (poetry and autobiography.)

Fanpop.com

[Image courtesy: Fanpop.com]

Back on the big screen he starred alongside Donal Sutherland in the remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers in 1978 before putting the pointy ears on once again.

Buoyed by the success of George Lucas’ 1977 Star Wars, Roddenberry and crew brought the Star Trek franchise back to life with a big budget for the big screen.

The film, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, was released in 1979. It was a box-office smash, and was nominated for three Oscars. Nimoy returned for 1982’s sequel, Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, and even directed the third and fourth installments in the series — 1984’s Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and 1986’s Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. [IMDb]

The movie series limped on with two more releases (Final Frontier and Undiscovered Country) and Nimoy played Spock in guest spots on Star Trek: The Next Generation, and voiced the character for video games and on-line. He was Spock “Prime” for the J.J. Abrams reboot of the series in 2009 and got to meet his Spock doppelgänger (actor Zachary Quinto) in the final scenes of the movie.

In between he’s done lots of made-for-television movies, while “honing his directing chops, voicing animated projects, and appearing in the occasional acting role.” [Ibid]

A 2003 photo from The Jewish Journal.com [Image courtesy: Jewish Journal.com]

A 2003 photo from The Jewish Journal.com [Image courtesy: Jewish Journal.com]


Muffin Monday! Vegan Chocolate Zucchini Almond Muffins

 

Welcome to the second edition of MUFFIN MONDAY on ritaLOVEStoWRITE! I got a lot of good feed back on last week’s blog so it looks like this muffin thing might be a go. See my disclaimer on last week’s Muffin Monday blog.

 

Here’s my vegan (I think) recipe for Chocolate Zucchini Almond Muffins.  Let me know what you think…

 

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Chocolate Zucchini Almond Muffins

 

IMG_4585

 

Ingredients:

 

  • 2 Cups of Flour

 

IMG_4565

 

  • 1/2 cup of Truvia (or 1 cup of sugar)

 

IMG_4567

 

  • 2 Teaspoons of Baking SODA

 

IMG_4569

 

  • 4 Tablespoons of Vegetable Oil

 

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  • 8 Tablespoons of Cocoa

 

IMG_4570

 

  • 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla

 

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  • 1 Teaspoon of Almond Extract

 

[Image courtesy: SmellLikeFoodInHere.com]

[Image courtesy: SmellsLikeFoodInHere.com]

 

 

  • 4 Teaspoons of Vinegar

 

IMG_4574

 

  • 2 Cups of Water

h20

 

 

 

  • 1  Zucchini, grated

 

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  • 1/2 cup of Sliced Almonds

 

IMG_4582

 

Directions:

 

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

 

Step One: Put the flour, Truvia/sugar, baking soda, vegetable oil, cocoa, vanilla and almond extract and mix. The interaction between the vinegar and the baking soda is what makes these muffins rise — it’s muffin magic!

 

IMG_4576

 

Step Two: Add the water and the zucchini, and mix. The batter will be on the liquid-y side.

 

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Step Three: Prepare the muffin cups (this recipe will make 18 muffins.) Put “muffin pants” into the tin and spray lightly with cooking spray.

 

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Divide the batter evenly into the muffin cups. They should be almost full.

 

Step Four: Sprinkle the sliced almonds on top the muffins.

 

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Place into hot oven and bake for 25 -30 minutes until a tooth pick stuck into the center of the muffin comes out clean. These are VERY moist muffins. It couldn’t hurt to bake them an extra 5 minutes.

 

Let cool and enjoy.

 

IMG_4586

 

My expert college muffin testers agree, these muffins are well worth the effort. They give them two thumbs up. Ms. Lehmann says : “They are delicious and the most fluffy things I have ever eaten.” While Ms. Schmidt simply replied “Yummmmmmmmmy!” ..and was curious when I might be sending more. Ahhh girls– there’s always next week. 🙂

 

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Question to my Vegan friends… did I do it? Do these qualify as Vegan Friendly? No diary or animal  by-product. I think I’m safe, but I need a bona fide Vegan to give me the blessing.

 

If you’ve got a recipe you’d like to share (with me and with the followers of this blog) please send me an email at ritaLOVEStoWRITE@gmail.com.

 


Fatty Arbuckle 3.24.13 Thought of the Day

“I don’t weigh a pound over one hundred and eighty and, what’s more, I never did.”–Fatty Arbuckle

Fatty (Roscoe) Arbuckle -

Fatty (Roscoe) Arbuckle – (Photo credit: Movie-Fan)

Roscoe Conkling Arbuckle was born on this day in Smith Center, Kansas, USA in 1887. Today is the 126th anniversary of his birth.

He was the youngest of nine children born to Mollie and William Goodrich Arbuckle. He was a big baby (some sources say 13 pounds, some say 16 pounds) too big, apparently. His father thought the baby wasn’t his.

Roscoe never lost his baby fat and soon earned the nickname “Fatty.” When he was a year old the family moved to California. With his mother’s encouragement, Fatty, who had a good singing voice, started singing and doing comedy on stage when he was eight years old. He worked in vaudeville until 1899 when his mother died. At that point his father, who never accepted Fatty and would often beat the child, turned him out of the house. Fatty supported himself by doing odd jobs at a hotel. Luckily for him he soon won a talent contest and was back on stage…

performing as an acrobat, clown and singer. His first real professional engagement was in 1904, singing illustrated songs for Sid Grauman at the Unique Theater in San Jose, CA, at $17.50 a week. He later worked in the Morosco Burbank stock company and traveled through China and Japan with Ferris Hartman. His last appearance on the stage was with Hartman in Yokahama, Japan, in 1913, where he played the Mikado. [IMDB]

By 1909 he was working in films. He started at the Keystone Film Company as an extra — making a whopping $3 a day — but his star soon rose. He was featured in several Keystone Cop adventures. He also starred with Mabel Norman in a number of movie shorts called “Fatty and Mabel.” He invented the thrown-pie-in-the-face gag for his film “A Noise from the Deep“.  He started his own company, Comique, but sold his interest to friend Buster Keaton  before signing with Paramount Pictures for an unheard of $3 million for 3 years.

Arbuckle's photo on the cover of the UK based ...

Arbuckle’s photo on the cover of the UK based Pictures motion picture magazine of the July 23, 1921 issue (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Arbuckle helped Buster Keaton get started in the film industry. He also mentored Charlie Chaplin and Bob Hope.

His weight plagued him all his life. He was 185 pounds when he was 12, and “It was written in his contract that his weight remain above 250 pounds and that he would be given a healthy yearly bonus if he exceeded that by 50 to 100 pounds. During his career he kept it well over 300.” [IMDB]  He also had substance abuse issues with both alcohol and morphine.

[Image courtesy: The Hairpin.com]

[Image courtesy: The Hairpin.com]

Scandal put a halt to Arbuckle’s career in 1921. He attended a three-day Labor day weekend bash held by his friend Fred Hibbard at the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco. There was…

“a jazz band, catered food, and ample illegal alcoholic beverages. It was by all accounts a weekend of debauchery, and the party gave Arbuckle more lasting fame than any of his films.” [NNDB]

Fatty was getting ready to leave and went into one of the bedrooms to change when he found his friend Virginia Rappe “weak, sick, and vomiting in the bathroom. He helped her onto the bed.” [Ibid]  Rappe suffered from cystitis, a condition that was aggravated when she drank heavily. It caused her so much pain that she would rip off her clothing to try to get some relief. That’s what she did at the party. As Fatty and another guest, Maude Delmont,  tried to comfort her, but she complained she couldn’t breath and began to rip off her clothes. Delmount put ice on her stomach and thighs, Fatty called hotel doctor and manager. The hotel doctor told them that Rappe was just drunk, and, with the situation under control, Fatty left the party as planned. However, “Rappe died of a ruptured bladder several days later, and as soon as Arbuckle heard of her death, he returned from Los Angeles to San Francisco. He was arrested on 11 September 1921, and tried for manslaughter.” [Ibid]

The newspapers, led by William Randolph Hearst‘s group, made this incident Hollywood’s first truly major scandal. Roscoe was tried not once but three times for the criminal charges; the trials began in November 1921 and lasted until April 1922; the first two ended with hung juries … [IMDB]

Delmont claimed that Fatty had raped Rappe, but it later came out that she tried to extort money from Arbuckle and only went to the police with the claim after he refused to pay. Rappe’s manager Al Semnacker said Fatty, who’s obesity made him impotent,  used a piece of ice to rape the actress (the object morphed into a Coca-Cola or champagne bottle in later newspaper retellings of the story.) The more lurid the story grew, the more newspapers it sold.

Matthew Brady, the San Francisco District Attorney who acted as prosecutor for the trial pressured witnesses into making false statements against Arbuckle.

At his third and final trial in April of 1922, the jury not only returned a “not guilty” verdict but excoriated the prosecution for pursuing what they said was a flimsy case with no evidence of Arbuckle having committed any crime; several jury members walked to Arbuckle after the verdict was read and hugged him and shook his hand. [IMDB]

But the damage to his career was done. Paramount cancelled his contract and the new Hayes Commission banned his movies. He sunk into alcoholism. He got some work through his friend Buster Keaton. He was able to direct under the name of “William Goodrich.” And in 1932 he appeared before the cameras again, this time in a short talkie, “Hey, Pop!” for Warner Brothers.

With the success of the shorts Warner Brothers signed Roscoe to a feature film contract, but he died in his sleep on June 29, 1933 , at age 46, the night after he signed the contract. [NNDB]

Roscoe Arbuckle

Roscoe Arbuckle (Photo credit: Luke McKernan)


Secondary Character Saturday: Alan Rickman: Jamie (Truly Madly Deeply)

[Image courtesy MGM]

[Image courtesy MGM]

Who: Jamie Howe

 

From: Truly Madly Deeply

 

Once upon a time there were two people in love, their names were Nina and Jamie. They were even happy enough to be able to live happily ever after, (not often the case) and then Jamie died. Nina is left with a house full of rats and handymen, a job teaching foreigners English and an ache that fills the night sky. [IMDb]

 

You’ll have to wait until the 25 mark before he enters the movie properly, but it is worth the wait.

 

Stevenson and Rickman as Nina and Jamie in Truly Madly Deeply [Image courtesy: MGM]

Stevenson and Rickman as Nina and Jamie in Truly Madly Deeply [Image courtesy: MGM]

Written and Directed by: Anthony Minghella

 

Produced: 1990

 

Cover of "Truly Madly Deeply"

 

Pros: unconditional love, plays a mean cello, comes back from the dead to comfort his soul mate, handsome, fun.

 

Cons: annoying, cold (literally), selfish

 

Most Shining Moment: Since I think about 5 other people on the planet have seen this gem I wont spoil it. But I will say the real shining moment comes at the end. My favorite moment (probably my favorite Rickman moment of all film) is when he plucks at the cello and sings The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Any More.

 

Sing it, Jamie baby. [Image courtesy: MGM]

Sing it, Jamie baby. [Image courtesy: MGM]

Least Shining Moment: Letting his dead mates invade the flat so they can watch videos.

 

Warning: Juliette Stevenson brings some really raw emotion to this movie and the sound is uneven. So when she wails (or sings) it can be really loud and bit annoying. But, God bless her, she gives her performance 1000 %.

 

Why Rickman is so good: This is one of the few Alan Rickman roles where he’s playing an “everyday guy” (albeit a dead one). His performance is incredibly natural and believable and it is fun to watch him be so at ease with his co-star Juliette Stevenson. It’s nice to see him be happy too. Jamie is not a perfect boyfriend by any means (even when you take out the ghost thing), and Rickman hits all the varied notes of a real person in a real relationship with his nuanced performance.

 

[Image courtesy: MGM]

[Image courtesy: MGM]

I’m not sure why this movie isn’t more readily (or cheaply) available. It did very well with the critics and has a strong 72% Tomatorating / 82% Audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes. But I challenge you to find it at your local library (hint: not going to happen.) Amazon has it, but it’s $72! But, dear readers, fear not… I found it for you on Youtube …

 

 

Now once you watch it I’m sure you will all raise your voices and demand they re-release it at a reasonable price and buy the DVD so the proper parties get paid for their efforts. Yes?

 

[Image courtesy: MGM]

[Image courtesy: MGM]

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So we’ve got ONE MORE Saturday in March, that means one more chance to celebrate Alan Rickman. Which movie role shall we feature? Get back to me and let me know which Rickman YOU think I should write about.

 

  • Comic Rickman?

 

  • Galaxy Quest

    Galaxy Quest

  • Villian Rickman?
  • hans_tal

    Die Hard

  • Robin Hood Prince of Theives

    Robin Hood Prince of Theives

  • Sensitive Rickman?
  • snow-cake
  • An Awfully Big Adventure

    An Awfully Big Adventure

 

 


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