Category Archives: Entertainment

Maggie Smith 12.28.12 Thought of the Day

“I like the ephemeral thing about theatre, every performance is like a ghost – it’s there and then it’s gone.”
Maggie Smith
Maggie Smith was author J. K. Rowling's person...

Maggie Smith was author J. K. Rowling’s personal choice for the role of McGonagall in the film series. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Margaret Natalie Smith was born on this day in Ilford, London, England in 1934. She is 78 years old.
The daughter of a secretary and a public health pathologist, she has twin older brothers. When Smith was 4 the family moved to Oxford where her father took a position at Oxford University.
Upon graduating from high school,
Smith attended the Oxford Playhouse School in 1951-53. She made her professional stage début in 1952, playing Viola in an Oxford University Dramatics Society production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. [Biography]
She worked on Broadway in a comedy review, New Faces of 1956. 1956 also saw her first film role, an uncredited part in Child in the House.  She did a number of guest spots on television shows  before she landed a larger role in 1959’s Nowhere to Go. (For which she won  the British Academy of Film and Television Arts “Most Promising Newcomer” award.)
Back home she worked with the National Theatre of Great Britain, and had her break out role as Desdemona opposite Laurence Olivier’s Othello in 1964. The duo “reprised their roles in a film version of Othello the following year.” [Ibid] The film earned Smith her first Oscar nomination
While at the National Theatre, she acted in classic dramas by major authors such as Henrik Ibsen and Anton Chekhov. [Ibid]
She played Beatrice to Robert Stephens’ Benedict in the 1967 television version of Much Ado About Nothing.
In June of 1967 Smith and Stephens married (’67 – ’74)  and had two sons, Chris Larken and Toby Stephens. Both of boys grew up to become actors.
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, the story of a headstrong Scottish school teacher, won her both an Oscar and a BAFTA award in 1969.  In 1978 she won her second Oscar, this time for Best Supporting Actress in California Suite.
By the mid ’80s  she was winning accolades (and awards) for more mature roles, like her turn as Charlotte Bartlett in A Room with a View, Mrs. Medlock in The Secret Garden, Lady Random inTea With Mussolini, and as the elitist Constance, Countess of Trentham in the wonderful Gosford Park.
In 1975 she married playwright and librettist Beverly Cross, who died 1998.
In 1990 she won a Tony Award for Best Lead Actress in Lettice and Lovage on Broadway.
While she donned a pointy hat and tartan accented witch robes for the role of Professor Minerva McGonagall in the Harry Potter series, she continued to perform in an eclectic mix of movies, television and stage shows in both England and the US.
She won an Emmy for My House in Umbria in 2003,   and two more as the Dowager Countess of Grantham, Cousin Violet Crawley in Downton Abbey.
On the big screen she recently won a Screen Actors Guild Award for her performance in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2012).  You can also see her  Quartet with Michael Gabon and Billy Connolly.

In 1990 Smith was made a Dame commander of the Order of the British Empire.


Rita Moreno 12.11.12 Thought of the Day

“Then there’s the story of ill-fated love. It’s universal.”
Rita Moreno

Caption for Rita Moreno

[Image courtesy: Berkeleyside]

Rosita Dolores Alverio was born on this day in Humacao, Puerto Rico in 1931. She is 81.

She moved to New York with her mother when she was six. Her first entertainment gig was doing Spanish voice overs to American films when she was 11. She made her Broadway debut in November of 1945 in Skydrift at the Belasco Theatre. Her name appeared in the program as Rita Moreno.

She appeared as Zelda Zanders in Singin’ in the Rain in 1952 and as Tuptim in The King and I in 1956. She also played a lot of  Latino “sexpot” roles, something she found degrading, but that she put up with.

Then came West Side Story…

Moreno (co-stars) as “Anita”, the Puerto Rican girlfriend of Sharks’ leader Bernardo, whose sister Maria is the piece’s Juliet. A seasoned singer and dancer, Moreno delivered a superb performance that completely overshadowed the Maria of the movie, the non-singer (and non-Hispanic) Natalie Wood, the only movie star in the ensemble cast. [IMDB Rita Moreno]

Watch her sing and dance up a storm with Geroge Chakiris and the Sharks (et al) in West Side Story…

But her performance went well beyond wise cracking, dancing and singing. She was…

…unforgettable in a harrowing scene where she had to deliver a message from Maria to the Romeo of the piece, the Jets’ member Tony, and is assaulted by his fellow gang-members. This is the real climax of the film.[Ibid]

She won an Oscar for her Anita.

Moreno is, in fact, the first person to win an Oscar, Emmy, Tony and Grammy — something only 12 other people have managed to achieve.. (She won Emmys for The Muppet Show and The Rockford Files; The Tony was for the musical The Ritz (’76), and the Grammy was for the soundtrack to the “Electric Company.”) In 2010 President Obama awarded Moreno a National Medal of  Arts.

Here she mets her match with the Muppet Show‘s Animal (or was it the other way around?)

From PBS kids shows like Where In the World is Carmen Sandiego to the hard-hitting HBO prison drama OZ (she won 3 American Latino Media Arts awards for her role as Sister Peter Marie Reimondo) Moreno always gives herself 100% to a project.

Here she is singing It’s An Art from the musical Working...

Moreno has over 130 credits listed in her TV and Movie database and has been working for over 6 decades. At 81 she still looks and sounds great, and shows little sign of slowing down.

Moreno in 2009. [Image courtesy NOVA Southeastern University.]

Moreno in 2009. [Image courtesy NOVA Southeastern University.]


Jon Stewart 11.28.12 Thought of the Day

“I always knew I shouldn’t have said that.”
— Jon Stewart

Host Jon Stewart in the studio of The Daily Sh...

Host Jon Stewart in the studio of The Daily Show in 2004 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz was born on this day in New York City, New York, USA in 1962. He is 50 years old today.

He grew up in Lawrenceville, New Jersey where he went to Lawrence High School. He went to William and Mary College in Williamsburg, Virginia where he majored in Chemistry before changing to Psychology. He graduated in 1984.

He worked in a number of jobs after graduation from contract administrator to bartender to puppeteer. He began stand up in 1987, adapting stage name Jon Stewart. He wrote for Caroline’s Comedy Hour on TV then co-hosted the Short Attention Span Theatre on Comedy Central. MTV’s Jon Stewart Show followed.

When Craig Killborn left The Daily Show Stewart took his place behind the big desk. He has won 16 Emmy Awards for his work on The Daily Show.

Stewart has written 3 best selling comedy books: Naked Pictures of Famous People; America (The Book) and Earth (The Book).

Jon Stewart (detail of original picture)


Charles M. Schultz 11.26.12 Thought of the Day

MSP: Snoopy

MSP: Snoopy (Photo credit: jpellgen)

All you  need is love. But a little chocolate now the doesn’t hurt.

Life is like a ten speed bicycle, most of us have gears we never use.

I love mankind. Its people I can’t stand.

There is no problem so big it can’t be run away from.

A whole sack of memories never equal one hope.

Try not to have a good time this is supposed to be educational.

 “My life has no purpose, no direction, no aim, no meaning, and yet I’m happy. I can’t figure it out. What am I doing right?”

Charles Schultz


Thought of the Day 11.13.14 Steve Zahn

“Film is a strange thing.”
Steve Zahn

English: U.S. actor Steve Zahn

English: U.S. actor Steve Zahn (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Steven James Zahn was born on this day in Marshall, Minnesota in 1967. He is 45 years old.

He started acting in high school when he discovered improv. After a year at Gustavus-Adolphus College and two years at the American Repertory Theatre he moved to New Jersey. Based in Hoboken he acted in New York and did odd jobs to pay the rent. He did a national tour of Bye, Bye Birdie directed by Tommy Tune. The gig last 13 months and Zahn met his future wife Robyn Peterman.

 

Cover of "That Thing You Do! - Tom Hank's...

Cover via Amazon

Zahn co-starred with Ethan Hawke in the play Sophistry  and Hawke recommended him for a part in the 1994 film Reality Bites. It was a break out role for Zahn and he followed it up with Crimson Tide and That Thing You Do!

He has made “an art out of portraying dysfunctional losers and likable freaks,” [AMG All Movie Guide: Steve Zahn] and he always made it look fun. From his turn as Rosencrantz in Michael Almereyda’s 2000 version of Hamlet to Wayne Wayne Wayne Jr. in Happy Texas it is hard to take your eyes off him when he is on-screen.

 

Cover of "Rescue Dawn"

Cover of Rescue Dawn

There are some dramatic roles in his CV, to be sure. For his part as Duane in Rescue Dawn. Zahn lost 40lbs.

He currently plays Jazz loving Davis McAlary on HBO’s Treme. He taps into his musical side for the show and sings and plays on screen.

Zahn lives on a farm in Kentucky with his wife and kids.  He raises hay on the farm because it is easy, it allows him time away from the farm to work, and it is just funny to say.


Thought of the Day 10.22.12 Sarah Bernhardt

Your words are my food, your breath my wine. You are everything to me.
–Sarah Bernhardt

English: Sarah Bernhardt, portrait by Nadar (d...

English: Sarah Bernhardt, portrait by Nadar (d. 1910) Português: Sarah Bernhardt, fotografia de Nadar (d. 1910) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Henriette-Rosine Bernard was born on this day in Paris, France in 1844. Today is the 168th anniversary of her birth.

The illegitimate daughter of a Julie Bernardt, a Dutch courtesan working in Paris. She was sent to Grandchamp, a Augustine convent school. She was greatly influenced by her time at the religious school and showed a desire to become a nun herself. Her first role was as the Angel Raphael in Tobais Regains His Sight, a show performed for the Archbishop of Paris when he visited the convent.

When one of her mother’s lovers, the Duke of Monry (Napoleon III’s half-brother) took an interest in young Sarah’s acting abilities, he arranged for her to go to the Paris Conservatoire at age 16 in 1862. She was forced to forget her dreams of becoming a Bride of Christ and took up a life on stage instead.

With the Duke as her patron she moved from the Conservatoire to France’s national theatre company, Comedie-Francaise where she starred in Iphigene. She left Comedie-Francaise after she slapped another actress and had a two year run at Theatre du gymnase-Dramatique.

English: Sarah Bernhardt as Joan of Arc holdin...

English: Sarah Bernhardt as Joan of Arc holding banner (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At about that time she had an affair with  Charles-Joseph Eugène Henri Georges Lamoral de Ligne (Belgium) and gave birth to her son Maurice in 1864. Although the prince proposed the royal family rejected the idea of his marrying an illegitimate actress. They forbade the union and Bernhardt was left to raise Maurine on her own. [See side bar below]

In 1866 she got a contract with Theatre de L’Odeon. During her six year run at the L’Odeon she had her first big success in the French version of King Lear as Cordelia and as the Queen in Ruy Blas by Victor Hugo. Perhaps her most memorable star making role was Zanetto in Le Passant (The Passerby), a role she played in a command performance for Napoleon III.

In 1870, in the midst of the Franco-German War, Bernhardt organized a military hospital in the Odéon, and by the late 1870s, when the war was over, she resumed acting and had reached the heights of her acting career, propelled in part by her quirky behavior both on and off the stage.” [biography.com]

In 1899 she took over the Theatre de Nations and renamed it the Theatre Sarah-Bernhardt. In May she premiered a prose adaptation of Hamlet in which she played the great Dane.

At 61 the actress was in Rio de Janeiro starring in La Tosca.

She… injured herself in a leap off the parapet at the end of … the stage play that later became a Puccini opera, and she was in constant pain.  [Sarah Bernhardt’s leg, 02.02.09 NYTimes.com]

a decade later she take the pain no longer and she ordered doctors at Bordeaux University to amputate it above the knee. She was wheelchair bound for a while, but eventually she retuned to acting (with or with out the wooden leg which she found cumbersome.) Her last three movies were filmed after the leg was amputated.

English: Portrait of Sarah Bernhardt as Hamlet.

English: Portrait of Sarah Bernhardt as Hamlet. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With the advent of film Bernhardt became the first classical actress to lend her talents to the new medium. She filmed her version of Hamlet (Le Duel d’Hamlet — which she thought was abysmal); La Tosca; La Dame aux Camelias; Adrienne Lecouvreur; Elisabeth Reine d’Angleterre; Meres Francaise; Jeanne Dore and La Voyante.

She’s alleged to have had over 1,000 lovers. When she was 15 she bought a rosewood coffin. She some times slept in it — allegedly it helped her prepare for her dramatic roles. The coffin was lined with letters from her lovers.

Bernhardt died of kidney failure in 1923.

Side Bar — The Importance of Being Sarah:
[Prince Henri was not completely out of the picture. When Maurice was about to be married Henri offered to “officially recognize him and offered him his name and a substantial fortune.” [IMDB.com] Maruice refused saying his mother had sacrificed so much to raise him that he would remain a Bernhardt. Later when the two were traveling by train Henri was frustrated at having to wait in a long line. He went to the man in charge and demanded to be let in front saying “I am the Prince de Ligne” The man had never heard of him and told him to take his place in the back. So Maurice came forward and said he was the son of Sarah Bernhardt. They were immediately brought through. [ibid]

Alphonse Mucha’s poster for Bernhardt in as Gismonda [Image courtesy: Art Dish]
Mucha’s poster for Bernhardt’s Hamlet [Image Courtesy: Art Renewal]

Thought of the Day John Lennon

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Switching up the formula a little today as it is NOT John Lennon’s Birthday — that was October 9th — but I was away that day, so I thought I’d retroactively give John the birthday nod.
———————————————————————–

“If someone thinks that love and peace is a cliché that must have been left behind in the Sixties, that’s his problem. Love and peace are eternal.”
— John Lennon

John Winston Lennon was born on October 9th, 1940 in Liverpool, England. He would be 72 years old this year.

John was born during World War II, indeed he was born during an air raid, to Julia and Alfred Lennon. His father worked as a merchant seaman and was often away from home. By the time John was four-years-old his parents were divorced and he went to live with his Aunt Mimi Smith. Although Alfred was largely out of the picture, Julia remained close, she visited John regularly.

She taught John how to play the banjo and the piano and purchased his first guitar. [biography.com]

Julia Lennon died when John was 18, she was stuck by a car.

He did not do well in school, and preferred to be the class clown rather than study. He did love art and music though. John drew unique (almost grotesque) line drawings that quickly and simply captured the image.

John started a ‘skiffle band’ (a band that used the instruments they had at hand) called the Quarry Men when he was 16. The Quarry Men take their name from John’s high school, Quarry Bank High School in Liverpool. The next year he asked Paul McCartney to join the group.  George Harrison and Lennon’s art school mate Stu Sutcliffe also joined the band and they later added Pete Best on drums.

John at the Cavern Club [Image courtesy: Join the Cavern Club]

The group changed their name to the Beatles and played clubs in Hamburg, Germany and the Cavern Club in Liverpool. Brian Epstein came on board in 1961 as manager, and they got a recording contract with EMI records.

1962 saw huge changes for both Lennon and  the group.  In April of 1962 Sutcliffe died tragically of a brain aneurysm. In August John married Cynthia Powell, the couple had a son, Julian in April the next year. The band replaced drummer Pete Best with Ringo Starr. The realigned group recorded  at EMI with George Martin as their producer, and released Love Me Do in October. The single reached #17 on the British Charts. Please, Please Me the follow-up single, topped the charts. And the Beatles were off.

Beatlemania invaded the US in 1964. They appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show and played sold out concerts.

Still from Hard Day’s Night. [Image courtesy: Cinematical]

Back in the UK they made the movie A Hard Day’s Night.  The movie is a delightfully fun, pop romp of a mockumentary. It featured songs from the album of the same name, notably: A Hard Days Night, If I Fell, I’m Happy Just to Dance with You, Tell Me Why, Any Time At All and Can’t Buy Me Love. The popularity of the movie helped keep the album at #1 for 14 weeks on the Billboard chart. The budget was limited so it was shot in black and white, and everything was kept simple. Not so with their second film HELP! which still manages to be charming but not as charming as  Hard Day’s Night. It is overproduced and over done. Lennon said that the Beatles felt like extras in their own movie with HELP! and it shows.  Still the music was pretty awesome: Help!, You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away, You’re Going to Lose That Girl! Ticket to Ride, It’s Only Love, I’ve Just Seen a Face, and Yesterday. The Album held the top spot on Billboard for 9 weeks.

Musically the lads from Liverpool were in top form, releasing the breakthrough album, Rubber Soul in 1965. Their song writing had transformed from the harder R&B influenced Hold My Hand kind of song to lyrical, mature songs like Norwegian Wood, Nowhere Man, Michelle, Girl, In My Life, and If I Needed Someone. It was another #1 Billboard album (6 weeks).   [I’m guessing that if you are still reading this blog you are a Beatles fan and already have most of their albums, but if you don’t… I’d put Rubber Soul at the top of the list. For my money Rubber Soul and Revolver are two of the best albums every made.]

Rubber Soul [Image courtesy: Amazon.com]

Revolver [Image courtesy: Amazon.com]

Yesterday…and Today came out in 1966. Stand out songs include: Drive My Car, Nowhere Man, Yesterday, If I Needed Someone, We Can Work It Out and Day Tripper. The album reached #1 for 5 weeks. Revolver also came out in 1966.  Taxman, Eleanor Rigby, Here, There and Everywhere, Yellow Submarine, Good Day Sunshine, And Your Bird Can Sing, and Got to Get You Into My Life are some of the hits off the album, which spent 6 weeks at the #1 spot on Billboard’s chart. By 1966 the strain of constant touring, recording, and the hounding fans was weighing on the band. Lennon got in trouble for his “We’re more popular than Jesus now” remark. They played their last concert in Candlestick Park stadium, San Francisco in August.

The following year the Beatles put out their eighth LP, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. An eclectic mix of pop, rock n roll, and Indian influenced tracks.  It won Album of the Year and was #1 on the Billboard charts for a whopping 15 weeks. Hits from the album include: With a Little Help from My Friends, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, Getting Better, –the amazing — A Day in the Life, and of course, Lovely Rita.  But as good as Pepper was, and it was very good, it was also over produced. All those horns and whistles and animal sounds didn’t quite get in the way enough to ruin the songs, but were they really necessary? Listening back on them now… well, I prefer a simpler production. [It worked somehow in A Day in the Life; not so much in Lovely Rita, but still, the later has such a great title.]

Speaking of over produced…there’s Magical Mystery Tour — a movie that makes absolutely no sense.  The LP had some lovely songs though. And even if it was becoming painfully clear that Lennon was writing  the “Lennon” songs– which were leaning toward sarcasm — and McCartney was writing the “McCarntney” songs — which were tending to  get more nostalgic and saccharine — both came up with some good ones here, like: The Fool on the Hill, Strawberry Fields Forever, Penny Lane, and All You Need Is Love.

1968 brought the animated (and equally bizarre) film Yellow Submarine. In November they release a new album called The Beatles aka The White Album. It was at the top of the charts for 9 weeks.   This double album seems almost schizophrenic with some great songs like the hard rock and roll Back in the USSR, Why Don’t We Do It in the Road? Helter Skelter, and  Revolution; others that are lovely and lyrical; While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Blackbird, Julia, Long, Long, Long, Good Night; And others that I’m not going to waste my time talking about.

On the personal side John divorced Cynthia Lennon in November of 1968. He and Yoko Ono, who he had been seeing since 1966, and living with since the summer of ’68, put out a collaborative album Two Virgins.  The album showed the couple nude on the cover and was banned in most record stores. On March 20, 1969 John and Yoko married in Gibraltar.

The following week, the two master media manipulators used their celebrity for good, hosting a honeymoon “bed-in” for peace in room 902, the presidential suite of the Amsterdam Hilton. The… pajama-clad newlyweds spoke out about world peace. It was the honeymoon as performance art, interlaced with a protest against the Vietnam War. [About.com]

They repeated the “performance” in Montreal  the following week and with a bedroom full of musicians, artist, writers and other 1960’s counter-culture dignitaries, they recorded  Give Peace a Chance.

Abbey Road [Image courtesy: Amazon.com]

Abbey Road was released  in 1969. It is actually the last album the Beatles recorded, but it was released before Let It Be.
Notable songs include: Come Together, Something, Here Comes the Sun, and I Want You. Abbey Road stayed at #1 for 11 weeks.

Recorded largely in January in 1969,  Let it Be wasn’t released until 1970 and was #1 for 4 weeks. Lennon had already left the group (September of 1969.) A film of the same name came out the same year. The film was supposed to be a documentary that went behind the scenes to show the world’s most famous rock band making an album. Instead it showed the world’s most famous rock band dissolving.  The film culminated in a rooftop concert on January 30th. Songs from the album include: Don’t Let Me Down, Get Back, Two of Us, Let It Be, and The Long and Winding Road.

After the Beatles John released Plastic Ono Band.

The raw, confessional nature of Plastic Ono Band reflected the primal-scream therapy that Lennon and Ono had been undergoing with psychologist Arthur Janov. He dealt with such fundamental issues as “God” and “Mother” and the class system (“Working Class Hero”) on an album as full of naked candor as any in rock has ever been. [Rock & Roll Hall of Fame]

1971 brought Imagine. Rolling Stone Magazine called the title track the third all-time best song ever written.

English: John Lennon and Yoko Ono

English: John Lennon and Yoko Ono (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

John and Yoko followed Imagine with an anti-war release Happy Xmas (War is Over). The Nixon administration was not amused.  It decided to begin deportation proceeding against Lennon.  The stress took its toll on Lennon’s marriage with Ono and the two separated. For 18 months he lived in Los Angeles with another woman, May Pang. It is a period he calls his “Lost weekend” of drinking a partying. He fished Mind Games, and recorded Walls and Bridges. Whatever Gets You Thru the Night, a single off the later album became a number one hit. He co-wrote Fame with David Bowie.

He and Ono were reunited in 1975 shortly before the release of Rock n Roll. The couple celebrated the birth of their son Sean in October of 1975. And, after releasing Shaved Fish, John became a stay at home dad for five years.

In 1980 he came out of retirement and released Double Fantasy with the single Just Like Starting Over.

On December 8, 1980 the music died. As Lennon and Ono were returning home from recording tracks for the following up album,  Milk and Honey  he was assassinated in front of his New York apartment building, the Dakota.


Thought of the Day 10.17.12 Elinor Glyn

“All the legislation in the world will not abolish kissing”
Elinor Glyn

Portrait of Elinor Glyn, 1927

Portrait of Elinor Glyn, 1927 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Elinor Southerland was born on this day in Jersey, Channel Islands, England in 1864. Today is the 148th anniversary of her birth.

Elinor’s father died when she was a toddler and the family moved for a while to Canada. They returned to Jersey when she was eight and her mother remarried.  Elinor…

was a voracious reader interested in French history and mythology, though she had no formal education … She would later be drawn to mysticism and romance. [The Literature Network]

She liked to write and she kept a diary.

At 28 she married Clayton Glyn. The couple had two daughters, Margot and Juliet. The marriage was not a happy one.  and, although Elinor and Clayton officially remained together both had affairs.

Elinor had affairs with a succession of British aristocrats and some of her books are supposedly based on her various affairs… [Good Reads]

English: Elinor Glyn portrait

English: Elinor Glyn portrait (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

She contributed articles to Scottish Life and Cosmopolitan but her real break through in the literary world came with the serialization of her first book The Visits of Elizabeth in 1900. The book, was written as a series of letters by an innocent young woman. Elizabeth.

The naive and charming narrator gets herself into social scrapes due to her innocence, … they are actually funny over a hundred years later because you know what Elizabeth doesn’t know–and perhaps that was the appeal for the more knowing Edwardian readers. Glyn’s book is a bit of a satire, but a romantic one, and Elizabeth gets her happily-ever-after, but not before making every handsome gentleman fall deeply in love with her.  [Amazon.com review]

Elinor was prolific in turning out her novels (she had to be, finances at home had taken a turn for the worse and the once wealthy Clayton Glyn was in debt by 1908. He died in 1915.)  Her reputation as a writer of romance grew with the publications  of The Seventh Commandment (1902), The Reflections of Ambrosine (1903), The Damsel and the Sage (1903), The Vicissitudes of Evangeline (1905) and Beyond the Rocks (1906).

Movie poster for Three Weeks

Her risqué Three Weeks, about an exotic Balkan queen who seduces a young British aristocrat, was allegedly inspired by her affair with Lord Alistair Innes Ker. On the one hand it scandalized Edwardian aristocrats and jeopardized Glyn’s status. [The Literature Network]

Deemed immoral and banned at elite schools like Eton and panned by some critics who considered it disjointed and dull, the book non the less sold out within weeks of its publication and  it  “ensured her meteoric rise to fame.” [ibid]. It also brought about the anonymous  ditty:

Would you like to sin
With Elinor Glyn
On a tiger skin?
Or would you prefer
To err
With her
On some other fur

Her private life seemed to either echo or prelude the romantic interludes of the heroines in her novels as she continued to crank out “romances” until the start of World War One. During the Great War she worked in France as a war correspondent and Glyn was one of two women to witness the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.

Elinor Glyn looks up at Rudolph Valentino, fro...

Elinor Glyn looks up at Rudolph Valentino, from the frontispiece of Beyond The Rocks (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

She made the move to Hollywood in 1920 where she worked as a scriptwriter  for MGM and Paramount. The Great Moment was filmed in 1920.  In 1922 Beyond the Rocks was made into a major motion picture with red-hot Rudolph Valentino and Gloria Swanson. Three Weeks was given the big screen treatment not once, but twice, first in 1914 and then in 1924. And Glyn wrote the screenplay and was closely involved in the production of the 1926 Love’s Blindness.

In 1927 she wrote a novella that gave us the expression “the IT girl.”  She coined the phrase and quickly  crowned Clara Bow, who was staring in Red Hair (a movie based on Glyn’s The Vicissitudes of Evangeline), as the first IT girl. Here autobiography Romantic Adventure was published in 1936. She continued writing until 1940 when she published her last — and 42nd — book, The Third Eye.

English novelist and scriptwriter Elinor Glyn ...

English novelist and scriptwriter Elinor Glyn (1864-1943) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Elinor Glyn died in September of 1943 in Chelsea, London.

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Bookshelf:

Interested in reading some of Elinor Glyn’s books? You can find them through the links below.

Red Hair (Classic Reprint)<img src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=rico095-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B0094JHIEE&#8221; width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />

Man and maid<img src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=rico095-20&l=am2&o=1&a=117680328X&#8221; width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />

Three Weeks<img src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=rico095-20&l=am2&o=1&a=0715603612&#8243; width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />

The Visits Of Elizabeth<img src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=rico095-20&l=am2&o=1&a=1162711698&#8243; width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />

The man and the moment<img src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=rico095-20&l=am2&o=1&a=1178145077&#8243; width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />

The man and the moment<img src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=rico095-20&l=am2&o=1&a=1178145077&#8243; width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />

The Point of View<img src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=rico095-20&l=am2&o=1&a=1444425269&#8243; width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />


Thought of the Day 10.15.12 P. G. Wodehouse

“I just sit at a typewriter and curse a bit.”“There is only one cure for gray hair. It was invented by a Frenchman. It is called the guillotine.”“I know I was writing stories when I was five. I don’t know what I did before that. Just loafed I suppose.”–P.G. Wodehouse

P. G. Wodehouse, Bolton's friend and collaborator

“I just sit at a typewriter and curse a bit.”

Pelham Grenville Wodehouse was born on this day in Guildford, Surrey, England in 1881. This is the 131st anniversary of his birth.

Wodehouse, called “Plum” as a child, spent much of his early life in the care of a gaggle of aunts and at boarding schools in England, while his parents lived in the Far East. Third of four boys, Wodehouse was close to his brothers.  He went to The Chalet School, Elizabeth College in Guernsey, Malvern House (near Dover) and finally at Dulwich College with his older brother Armine. He flourished at Dulwich where he played sports (especially boxing, cricket and rugby), studied the classics, sang and acted in the school’s theatricals, and of course, wrote.)

Psmith in the City

Psmith in the City (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Upon graduation in 1900 ailing family finances meant he couldn’t go on to Oxford like Armine. Instead, Plum’s father got him a job in the London branch of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank. He wrote about his experiences at the bank in Psmith in the City, but he said he “never learned a thing about banking.”  In 1902 he gave up the financial farce and dove into journalism  with a job writing a comic column at The Globe newspaper. He moved to New York and published his first novel, The Pothunters the same year.  A Prefect’s Uncle; Love Among the Chickens; The Swoop; Psmith In the City; Psmith, Journalist; The Prince and Betty; and  Something New followed fairly quickly there after.

The Prince and Betty

The Prince and Betty (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He also wrote for musicals. He penned the book for Cole Porter’s Anything Goes; the Gershwin’ s Oh Kay . He worked with Ira Gershwin on the lyrics for Rosalie. And he wrote dozens of musicals — generically called the Princess Theatre Musicals — with Guy Bolton and Jerome Kern. [For a complete list of Wodehouse musicals go to The Playwrights Database at doolee.com]   The Princess Theatre Musical are generally seen as a stepping stone that took the best of vaudeville and operetta and blended them into modern musical theatre. They transitioned

“… the haphazard musicals of the past to the newer, more methodical modern musical comedy … the libretto is remarkably pun-free and the plot is natural and unforced. Charm was uppermost in the creators’ minds … the audience could relax, have a few laughs, feel slightly superior to the silly undertakings on stage, and smile along with the simple, melodic, lyrically witty but undemanding songs” [Bloom and Vlastnic Broadway Musicals: The 101 Greatest Shows of All Time]

My Man Jeeves

My Man Jeeves (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Starting with My Man Jeeves in 1919 Wodehouse published the series of books for which is he best known, The Jeeves and Wooster books.  Here’s a clip from the 1990 Granada Television production of Jeeves and Wooster starring Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry:

He also wrote the Blandings Castle series about a fictional castle with Lord Emsworth and his prize-winning pig, the “Empress of Blandings.”

Since he and his wife, Ethel Wayman, were officially residents of both England and the US they were being taxed by both countries. To alleviate the tax burden they moved to France in 1934. The Wodehouse’s remained in France when the Nazi troops moved in. Wodehouse was interned as an “enemy alien” eventually landing in Tost, Upper Silesia, Poland. He later quipped of  his ‘lodgings’ “If this is Upper Silesia, what on earth must Lower Silesia be like?” He entertained his fellow prisoners with dialogues and wrote during his two-year internment (he completed one novel and started two more). He was released just prior to his 60th birthday when a German friend from his Hollywood days, Werner Plack, approached him about doing a broadcast for the Americans describing his life as an internee.  America was not at war with Germany yet, and he had received many letters of encouragement from his fans in the US while in the camp. He saw this as a way to thank them. And, Wodehouse claimed,  he was simply reflecting the “flippant, cheerful attitude of all British prisoners.” [the Guardian]  in the broadcasts. But the British public didn’t see it that way, and neither did MI5. He was interrogated for suspected collaboration with the Germans — something that shocked the aging author. “I thought that people, hearing the talks, would admire me for having kept cheerful under difficult conditions,” [ibid] Wodehouse maintained that he never had intended to aid the enemy. But the incident left a bad taste with both the Wodehouses and the British public. The author moved to the US in 1945, and never went back to England.

Wodehouse died in 1975.

books - wodehouse

books – wodehouse (Photo credit: rocketlass)


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