The three subjects of Gertrude Stein’s Three Lives are as follows: “The Good Anna” is about a German servant, “Melanctha” is about a young black woman, and “The Gentle Lena” is about a German maid.
John Greenleaf Whittier describes the bravery of the fictional title character in his poem “Barbara Frietchie” (1863) who said, “Shoot, if you must, this old gray head”. The aged Frietchie displays a Union flag when Confederate troops march by. Stonewall Jackson forbids his troops to harm the old woman.
The 1950 Broadway musical Guys and Dolls by Frank Loesser was inspired by the 1933 short story “The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown.” It chronicles the courtship and marriage of gambler Sky Masterson and mission worker Sarah Brown. A revival of Guys and Dolls opened on Broadway in spring 1992.
In The Last Picture Show (1972), the owner of the pool hall in Anarene, Texas, was played by veteran Western actor Ben Johnson. His performance for Sam the Lion earned him an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.
After World War I, the British Empire, or Commonwealth, covered over 14 million square miles and dominated 450 million people. It encompassed a quarter of the world’s population and land surface. Among the countries under its dominion were: Antigua, Australia, Canada, Ceylon, India, Iraq, Ireland, and Pakistan.
Lois Maxwell played Miss Moneypenny in most of the older James Bond films. Bernard Lee played M until his death in 1979; Robert Brown since then. Desmond Llewelyn played Q.
Diners Club, the first credit card for buying goods and services from more than one institution was invented in 1950 by Frank McNamara. McNamara, a loan company executive in New York, got the idea when he found himself short of money at a restaurant.
Less than eight months had gone by when the three network television movies on the “Long Island Lolita” shooting aired. The teenaged Fisher shot Buttafuoco, wife of her alleged lover Joey, on May 19, 1992, in Massapequa, Long Island. The NBC, CBS, and ABC TV-movies aired in the week from December 28, 1992, to January […]
The federal government founded the National Rail Passenger Corporation Amtrak in 1970 to prevent the imminent extinction of passenger railroads in the U.S. Unable to compete with airlines, the commercial railroads had been eliminating most of their passenger service and concentrating on freight. Railroad passenger-miles traveled in a single year had declined from a height […]
Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? was the film in planning that set director John L. Sullivan on the road. He had become famous doing popular movies like Hey Hey in the Hayloft and So Long, Sarong.
The annual prize for poetry, the Bollingen Prize, was first awarded in 1949 to Ezra Pound for his Pisan Cantos (1948).
Dorothy Parker collaborated on several screenplays, including A Star Is Born (1937), The Little Foxes (1941), Saboteur (1942), and The Fan (1949).
Peeping Tom was a tailor who dared to look at Lady Godiva as she rode through Coventry. In 1040, Lady Godiva’s husband, Leofric, Earl of Mercia and Lord of Coventry, agreed to rescind a tax on the town if Lady Godiva rode naked through the streets. Godiva asked everyone to observe custody of the eyes, […]
Jimmy Carter was the first president whom Sam Donaldson covered as ABC’s White House correspondent, beginning in 1977. By the time Carter’s term was over, the departing president wished two bad things on his successor: Menachem Begin and Sam Donaldson.
Doris Day first sang, “Que Sera, Sera” in The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The song, written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans, won an Oscar for Best Song.
The Marshall Plan was named for U.S. Secretary of State George C. Marshall and was formally known as the European Recovery Program. The Marshall Plan expended $12.5 billion in U.S. loans and grants to help rebuild Europe after World War II. Payments were made in the fiscal years 1949 through 1952.
Making their debut in Soup to Nuts (1930), the Three Stooges were Moe Howard, Larry Fine, and a string of actors in the third role: Shemp Howard, Jerry “Curly” Howard, Joe Besser, and Joe De Rita.
As the announcer never failed to remind us, the TV show, “The F.B.I.”, was a “Quinn Martin Production.”
In Ronald Reagan’s first job after college, the future president (served 198189) broadcasted play-by-play accounts of major league baseball games from Station WHO in Des Moines, Iowa.
The twelve jurors in the 12 Angry Men were played by: Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, Ed Begley, E. G. Marshall, Jack Warden, Martin Balsam, John Fiedler, Jack Klugman, Edward Binns, Joseph Sweeney, George Voskovec, and Robert Webber.
The doges of Venice were elected dukes who ruled the city-state of Venice and controlled much of the eastern Mediterranean coast. Their reigns tended to be short, often 1 to 10 years. Venice was an independent city-state from 697 until 1797, when Napoleon conquered it.
Yes, there is a connection between the Avon Lady and Shakespeare’s hometown Stratford-upon-Avon. In 1896 in New York City, D. H. McConnell abandoned door-to-door book selling and formed the California Perfume Company, which marketed scents the same way. His company expanded and McConnell built a factory in Suffern, New York. On the 50th anniversary of […]
Anne Francis played the female private detective “Honey West” during the 1965-66 season on ABC. Her pet ocelot was named Bruce.
The score at the end of the game in “Casey at the Bat” was two to four, with the “Mudville nine” losing to an anonymous team thanks to “Mighty Casey” striking out in the ninth inning. Written by Ernest Lawrence Thayer (1863-1940), the poem was first published pseudonymously in the San Francisco Examiner on June […]
Priapus, a Greek god of animal and plant fertility, was known for his enormous phallus. He was usually described as the son of Dionysus and Aphrodite, though sometimes his mother was said to have been a local nymph. To sophisticated city-dwellers, Priapus often became the subject of racy humor, but rural people adopted him as […]
Ishtar was the great mother goddess of the Babylonians and Assyrians. Her concerns included fertility, healing, sexuality, and lust.
Jimmy Carter (served 1977-81) was the first president to have more than one woman in his cabinet. His female cabinet members were: Patricia Roberts Harris – Housing and Urban Development; later moved to Health and Human Services Shirley Mount Hufstedler – Education Juanita Kreps – Commerce
Electric lights were first used for a baseball game between Fort Wayne and Indianapolis teams on May 28, 1883, in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Faust’s soul is rescued by a choir of angels at the end of Goethe’s Faust (1808).
Denise Crosby was Lieutenant Tasha Yar, the security officer who was killed off on “Star Trek: The Next Generation”.
The average body has 14 to 18 square feet of skin.
In President Franklin Roosevelt’s January 6, 1941, message to Congress, Roosevelt called for a world where these “Four Freedoms” were protected: freedom of speech and expression, freedom of religion, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.
Gordie Howe of the Detroit Red Wings, who scored 801 goals in his 25-year career, from 1946 to 1971 has the lifetime record for scoring goals.
The first Academy Awards ceremony was held in the Blossom Room of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel on May 16, 1929. All awards were presented by Douglas Fairbanks, then president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. There were no surprises because the winners’ names had already been made public in February. Since April […]
Bad Sister (1931) was Bette Davis’s film debut.
The warring tribes in the original One Million B.C. were the Rock People, represented by Tumak (Victor Mature), and the Shell People, represented by Loana (Carole Landis). The roles were taken by John Richardson and Raquel Welch in the remake, One Million Years B.C. (1967).
Union deaths from battle or disease totalled 364, 511 in the Civil War. Authoritative figures for the Confederacy are not available, but most estimates range around 260,000. The total of 620,000 deaths makes this conflict the bloodiest in the nation’s history, not excluding World War II, in which 405,399 Americans died.
The motto Annuit Coeptis above the eye on the dollar bill means, “He [God] Favored Our Undertakings.” The eye represents the all-seeing deity. The pyramid symbolizes strength; it is unfinished to suggest the work ahead.
George Gershwin’s opera Porgy and Bess is based on Porgy (1925), by Du Bose Heyward. Heyward and his wife, Dorothy, won a Pulitzer prize for their dramatic version of the novel. Porgy is a crippled beggar and gambler who lives on Catfish Row in Charleston, South Carolina. Bess is his drug-addicted mistress.
Married in 1987 and separated in 1990, the two actors Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis met on the set of Transylvania 6-5000 (1985). Their other collaborations were The Fly (1986) and Earth Girls Are Easy (1989).
The first blood bank was not opened until 1940 in New York City. It was designed and operated by American surgeon Richard Charles Drew (1904-1950). He could not contribute blood to the bank because he was black.
When Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton restructured the government’s miscellaneous debts into more or less their current form in 1791, the national debt was $75 million, or about $18 per person, given the population at that time. In 191, it was nearly 50,000 times larger. The national debt in 1991 was $3.7 trillion, or […]
Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde was written between 1385-90.
Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton or “Mother Seton” (1774-1821) was the first native-born American to become a saint in the Roman Catholic Church. Born into a wealthy Episcopalian family in New York City, Seton converted to Roman Catholicism after her husband died. She founded the American Sisters of Charity, an order dedicated to helping the poor […]
The subject of the Civil War marching song of the same name, goober peas were peanuts, one of the few foods soldiers in the South could find to eat.
The 1973 women’s health sourcebook Our Bodies, Ourselves stems from a 1969 course created in Boston by a group of women (now known as the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective). As their course about women and their bodies evolved, so did the title. Originally titled Women and their Bodies, it became the more inclusive Women […]
New York socialite Edith Newbold Jones (1862-1937) married George Wharton in 1885. Their marriage lasted twenty-seven years until 1912, when she divorced him. By then she was living in France, where she remained until her death.
Jack Dempsey was punched through the ropes by a first-round right from Luis Firpo on September 4, 1923, at the Polo Grounds in New York City. The punch did not end the fight: Dempsey came back to win by a knockout in the second round.
Once common in U.S. skies and hunted widely as cheap food, the last known passenger pigeon died in the Cincinnati Zoo on September 1, 1914.
The Watts riots of 1965 lasted six days, beginning on August 12, 1965. The riot in the largely black Watts district of Los Angeles involved up to 10,000 people. Thirty-four people, most of them black, were killed. Nearly 4,000 people were arrested. Whole blocks were burned, with nearly 1,000 buildings damaged or destroyed. Damage was […]
The English author of Middlemarch (1871-72), George Eliot was born Mary Ann Evans.
Basil Rathbone played Sherlock Holmes in fourteen films. The first was The Hound of the Baskervilles in 1939. The last was Dressed to Kill in 1946.
Japan surrendered on August 15, 1945, six days after Nagasaki was bombed on August 9 and nine days after Hiroshima was bombed on August 6.
In the process of deduction, you derive conclusions from assumed statements by using the rules of logic, moving from the general to the specific. In induction, you make inferences from experiments or observations to build a general law, moving from the specific to the general.
It is estimated that the first edition of one of the great American poems, Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass sold no more than three dozen copies when it was first published in 1855.
The Truce of God was an attempt by the Roman Catholic Church in 1041 to limit war. In this decree, the Church proposed that no country do battle between Lent and Advent, as well as from the Thursday to the next Monday of important festivals. Although the Lateran Council approved the truce in 1179 and […]
“And so, as Tiny Tim observed, ‘God Bless us, Every One!’ “
Ten-year-old Tatum O’Neal won an Oscar in 1973, for Best Supporting Actress in Peter Bogdanovich’s Paper Moon.
The title of the 1962 book by Michael Harrington refers to the huge number of Americans at the time who were living below the poverty level. According to Harrington, the poor totaled 20-25 percent of the U.S. population, or about 40-50 million people.
Gethsemane was the garden where Jesus was visited by an angel and betrayed by Judas. It was located on the western slope of the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem.