“We crave for new sensations but soon become indifferent to them. The wonders of yesterday are today common occurrences”
― Nikola Tesla, My Inventions: The Autobiography of Nikola Tesla
Clark Gable owned this rare Duesenberg Model JN convertible coupe until his wife, Carole Lombard, died in 1942. According to The Duesenberg Registry, he left the vehicle in Canada when his wife died. Gable instructed that the car never be seen in California while he was still alive.
From auctioneers, Gooding & Company:
For all its visual splendor and technological excellence, the Model J could not have been introduced in more difficult times. While Duesenberg intended an initial run of 500 chassis for 1929, the Great Depression changed the face of the luxury car market overnight. The few individuals who possessed the means and confidence to purchase the phenomenally expensive Model J were of a rarified breed.
Just three years after the Model J was unveiled, Duesenberg began offering variants of the standard chassis with the hope of buoying sales. The supercharged SJ appeared in 1932 and proved popular with 36 examples built. Yet not all buyers were interested strictly in performance. By the mid-1930s, Duesenberg was offering a pricey car that didn’t even look particularly up-to-date. Other high-end manufacturers such as Cadillac, Packard and even Pierce-Arrow were adopting the latest streamlined styling, and the Model J was beginning to look obsolete.
In 1935, Duesenberg came up with the JN. In an attempt to imbue the new JN series with a clean, modern image and restore integrity to the marque’s refined aesthetic sensibilities, Duesenberg commissioned Rollston of New York City to fashion a line of tasteful body styles.
As one of Duesenberg’s longest-standing and most trusted collaborators, Rollston succeeded in combining streamlined contours with the elegant, classical restraint of the original Model J. In total, just three body styles were offered: convertible coupes and convertible sedans were available on the standard-length chassis, while sport sedans were produced strictly for the long-wheelbase chassis.
Signature styling cues included soft, sweeping curves, smaller 17" disc wheels, skirted front fenders, small dual taillights in place of the classic Duesenberg “stop” light and elegant carriage-body sills that brought the bottom of the doors very close to the running boards. On all JN body styles, the roofline, beltline and side molding were carefully arranged and integrated to introduce a long, sloping rear deck and thus, a graceful profile.
It is believed that only 10 JNs were built, of which four examples were bodied as convertible coupes, style number 434. All of Rollston’s JN body styles were delivered to Duesenberg “in the white,” ready for paint and trim to customer preference.
Today, these extremely rare Model JNs are fixtures in the finest classic car collections and are considered among the most attractive of the late-production Duesenbergs.
CLARK GABLE AND HIS MOTORCARS
Clark Gable, known during his heyday as “The King of Hollywood,” gained extraordinary fame for his legendary silver screen roles and projected the very essence of masculinity. In an industry characterized by its capriciousness, Gable maintained the affection of moviegoers longer than most stars of the era. As one of the top-ten box office attractions for two decades, marquees throughout the country would simply announce, “This week: Clark Gable.”
Offscreen, Gable was an avid sportsman who enjoyed duck shooting, fishing and the finest automobiles. Not only did Gable’s wealth and celebrity status grant him access to the most glamorous motorcars, he also had a genuine hands-on passion and appreciation for them.
In Long Live the King: A Biography of Clark Gable, Lyn Tornabene writes: “Whenever he’s needed on the set, and not in sight, somebody is sent for him under all the parked cars, and usually he’s under one...tinkering. His former secretary, Jean Garceau...says that whenever she needs him she calls all the service stations on Ventura Boulevard until she finds him. He would have made a first-class mechanic or chauffeur. He’s got so much axle grease in the pores of his hands, no amount of scrubbing will remove it.”
Over the years, Gable developed into one of Hollywood’s first great car enthusiasts and owned an impressive array of automobiles, including top-of- the-line Packard Roadsters, Model J Duesenbergs and the rarest and most exclusive one-off Fords. Even after WWII, he continued to indulge in his passion and acquired the latest European sports cars, from a Jaguar XK120 to a Mercedes-Benz 300 Sc Cabriolet and 300 SL Gullwing.
Of all the cars Clark Gable owned, none possesses the remarkable history and romance of the sensational automobile presented here.
A HOLLYWOOD ROMANCE
The last of four JN Convertible Coupes built, this striking open Duesenberg was originally delivered to the factory’s Los Angeles, California, branch in December 1935. Following the New Year, the handsome Rollston-bodied Duesenberg, chassis 2585, engine J-560, was sold to its first owner, Clark Gable.
On January 25th, Gable drove his brand-new Duesenberg Model JN to the White Mayfair Ball in Beverly Hills. It was on this fateful night that a casual friendship between Clark Gable and Carole Lombard began to blossom into Hollywood’s most poignant romance.
Four years earlier, they had co-starred in No Man of Her Own, a comedy about a card shark who weds a small-town beauty on a bet. At that time, Gable had yet to achieve great recognition and Lombard was happily married to debonair actor William Powell.
By January 1936, both Gable and Lombard were household names and the circumstances of their personal lives had each taken a dramatic turn.
Lombard divorced Powell in 1934 and became one of the highest-paid actresses in America, earning over $450,000 in one year for three movies and a series of popular radio shows. Gable – the 35-year-old heartthrob and star of It Happened One Night and San Francisco – had established himself as a successful leading man but felt trapped in a doomed marriage with Ria Langham, an oil heiress seven years his senior.
At the Mayfair Ball, Gable and Lombard spent a great deal of time together, shared dances and eventually slipped away to take a spin in the new Duesenberg. When Gable stopped in front of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, where he was then living, he asked Lombard if she wanted to come up to his suite.
“Who do you think you are?” Lombard exclaimed, “Clark Gable?”
Undeterred, Gable returned with Lombard to the party and asked her out on a proper date. A few days later, Lombard acquiesced.
Less than a week after the chance meeting in Beverly Hills, Gable arrived at Lombard’s house in the middle of a Winter downpour. According to Lombard, the splashy Duesenberg Convertible was “leaking like toilet paper,” a situation that she found quite amusing and he found deeply embarrassing.
In no time at all, Gable approached his preferred coachbuilder, Bohman & Schwartz of Pasadena, to have his Duesenberg dramatically updated. Not only was the Convertible Coupe in need of weatherproofing, Gable felt that the subtle Rollston design was far too conventional for his needs. After all, a Hollywood leading man needed to stand out in a crowd.
To realize his automotive fantasies, Gable worked in cooperation with legendary designer Wellington Everett Miller. Widely regarded as one of the most talented and influential automotive stylists of the 1930s, Miller worked as the head designer for two of the most respected American coachbuilding firms, Locke and Murphy, and helped Packard create a series of elegant production bodies. An early adopter of Art Deco-inspired streamlined features, Miller successfully updated many Duesenbergs and his designs for Bohman & Schwartz represent the very best of mid-1930s automobile styling.
As this car was to be for his personal use, Gable envisioned the JN Convertible Coupe as a sporting two-seat roadster that was as theatrical as its owner. Throughout the design process, Gable was intimately involved and worked in tandem with Miller to create the highly individualized coachwork. The result is one of the most successful collaborations between an owner and a coachbuilder. Gable had a preternatural instinct for automobiles and his wonderfully stylized Duesenberg JN Convertible Coupe is a splendid exaggeration of the classic American roadster – sporting, sassy and absolutely grand in every sense.
Contributing to the overall impression of length is a dramatically raked windscreen, rear-fender spats and a full-length hood that stretches past the firewall, terminating at the trailing edge of the cowl. This marvelous lengthening effect is further accentuated by the use of “continental-style” dual rear spares, each enclosed in a metal cover, the effect of which is dramatic and unique to this car.
Gable also requested rectangular mesh hood sides, scooped and V’d hood ventilators, elegant single-bar bumpers and distinctive sun visors with a unique articulating hinge that allows for clean, uninterrupted storage. Other noteworthy additions include external exhaust pipes, painted radiator shell and headlights and a reworked convertible mechanism that gives the car a sleek, integrated look even when the top is raised.
Finished in a light, monochromatic color scheme and equipped with whitewall tires, Gable’s Convertible Coupe has a clean, modern appearance that is entirely unique.
As his Duesenberg was nearing completion, Gable was told to arrive at the Bohman & Schwartz workshop on a Friday to collect his freshly styled car. When he and Lombard arrived in the morning, they were informed that the car was not quite ready and that they could pick it up after lunch. Rather than dine on their own, the couple felt the circumstance warranted a celebration and returned to the coachbuilder with sandwiches and champagne for everyone. As the atmosphere became increasingly jovial and champagne was consumed steadily, it was soon clear that the car was not going to be completed by the end of the working day.
Gable assured them that this was not a problem and asked that the car be delivered to him at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. At this point Chris Bohman, then a student in college, volunteered to deliver the car to Gable, as his formal dance was being held at the hotel’s ballroom the following evening. On his way to Beverly Hills, Bohman collected his date in the one-off Duesenberg and upon his arrival at the Beverly Wilshire, Gable and Lombard came down to see the finished creation.
A few hours later, while Chris Bohman and his date were seated in the ballroom, the door opened and the whole room fell silent. Gable walked up to the young Bohman, thanked him for delivering the car and asked if he could join their table for dessert. Gable was particularly pleased, as Lombard had enjoyed the restyled Duesenberg as much as he did. After dessert had been served, the band started up and everyone returned to the dance floor. In classic style, Gable asked Bohman if he could have the first dance with his date and then proceeded to dance with every girl in the room.
Throughout the following year, Gable and Lombard enjoyed a romantic courtship and by 1937, the duo was so inseparable that they were cited in a Photoplay article as one of “Hollywood’s Unmarried Husbands and Wives.” The situation was increasingly problematic for Gable, who was then competing for the role of Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind and did not need the additional notoriety. With the encouragement of MGM head Louis B. Mayer, Gable filed for divorce from Ria Langham.
Around this time, Gable’s Duesenberg was becoming a star in its own right. Featured in the Hal Roach comedy Merrily We Live, starring Brian Aherne and Constance Bennett, the striking JN Convertible Coupe was refinished in a darker color and further updated with bullet headlights for its big screen debut.
On March 29, 1939, as soon as he had a break from the production of Gone with the Wind, Gable and Lombard drove to Kingman, Arizona, and were married. The only other person in attendance was Otto Winkler, Gable’s press agent. Considered one of the happiest couples in movie land, they settled in an elaborately restored farmhouse in then-rural Encino, California, where they led a quiet, idyllic life.
In 1941, Gable and Lombard drove the Duesenberg up the West Coast to Vancouver, British Columbia, where they vacationed in the unspoiled scenery and watched the thoroughbreds run at Lansdowne racetrack. When their stay was finished, Gable left the Duesenberg in a garage at the track and he and Lombard returned to Los Angeles by train. Their plan was to return the following year, take the train up the coast, collect the car and return home. Sadly, this was not to be.
On January 16, 1942, Carole Lombard, along with her mother and Otto Winkler, boarded a TWA DC-3 to return to California following a successful war bond rally; 23 minutes after taking off from Las Vegas, Nevada, their plane crashed into Potosi Mountain, killing all 22 passengers aboard.
Gable and Lombard’s six-year romance – perhaps the greatest Tinseltown love story – ended in misery. No Hollywood writer would ever imagine such a tragic ending.
Following Lombard’s death, Gable was inconsolable and fell into a deep depression. On August 12, 1942, he joined the US Army Air Corps and trained to serve in aerial gunnery. During the war, he flew five combat missions, including one over Germany as an observer gunner on a B-17 Flying Fortress. According to legend, Gable was Hitler’s favorite actor; the leader of Germany offered a substantial reward to any person who could bring the star to him unscathed.
Even after his return to American soil, Gable remained deeply saddened by the loss of his wife. According to his friend David E. Jordan, Gable said that he could never bring himself to ride in the Duesenberg again without Lombard. It was the car that they had their first date in and it held too many painful memories for him to own it any longer.
Instructed by Gable to sell the car, Mr. Jordan travelled to Vancouver and had the track manager get the Duesenberg out of the garage. Freed after years of static storage, the car was tuned by a local mechanic and driven south to Los Angeles, where it was consigned to a local dealer – either Bob Roberts or Peter Satori – with orders to sell the car to someone outside California.
By the late 1940s, Gable’s Duesenberg ended up in the hands of Donald Ballard, a resident of Santa Fe, New Mexico, whose parents led the popular “I AM” religious movement in Los Angeles. During this period, Mr. Ballard owned another open Duesenberg – a Murphy Roadster equipped with a similarly raked windscreen. After some time, Mr. Ballard sold both Duesenbergs to S.P. Motors of Albuquerque, New Mexico, operated by Alta and Earl Sanders and James Palmer.
S.P. Motors specialized in Duesenberg motorcars and acquired at least seven Model Js throughout the late 1940s and early 1950s. During this period, Sanders installed engine J-521 in the Gable Duesenberg, although the original, highly visible bell-housing number, J-560, has always remained intact.
In August 1951, G.W. Cleven of Albuquerque offered the Duesenberg for sale, asking $3,750. The car was eventually sold to professional wrestler Robert “Hans” Hermann, who paid $2,500 for the aging classic. Hermann, who was half of the successful and essentially unbeatable tag team with “Killer Kowalski,” won the NWA Pacific Coast Tag title in 1951.
From there, the Duesenberg was sold to Richard S. Luntz of Indianapolis, Indiana, who consigned it with Chicago, Illinois, Rolls-Royce and Duesenberg dealer “Honest John” Troka. In October 1953, Troka sold the Gable Duesenberg to Paul V. Colianni of Arlington, Illinois, who paid a record price of $4,500. By this time, the Duesenberg had been refinished in maroon and equipped with a single rear spare.
Although Mr. Colianni owned a lovely home, his single-car garage could not accommodate the imposing Duesenberg and it was instead displayed at Troka’s showroom before relocating to Joseph Kaufmann’s shop in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.
In late 1973, Charles H. Johnson, Jr., a Ford dealer and Duesenberg collector, acquired the Gable Duesenberg after chasing it for many years. “It was a dirty old rusty brown,” Johnson recalled, “The front was off, the hood was off. But I want to tell you she was still gorgeous! I paid $75,000 for the car. It was a very fair price.”
Mr. Johnson treated the Duesenberg to its first comprehensive restoration and displayed it with great success, earning a string of ACD, AACA and CCCA awards throughout the late 1970s. For three months in 1979, the famed Duesenberg JN was exhibited at the Auburn Cord Duesenberg (ACD) Museum in Auburn, Indiana.
In May 1980, Jerome Sauls of Pennsylvania acquired the Duesenberg, only to sell it to P.A. Parviz of London, England, two years later. In January 1983, Tom W. Barrett, III discovered the Duesenberg in a Beverly Hills garage and bought the car from Mr. Parviz. From there, the Model JN joined the famed Behring Collection and was displayed as part of the Blackhawk Collection in Danville, California. In 1995, Chairman Lee purchased the Duesenberg and it continued to remain a fixture at Blackhawk for the next decade.
In 2006, the current caretaker acquired the Gable Duesenberg and immediately set about returning the car to its original splendor. To conduct the restoration of this important automobile, the owner enlisted the services of Stone Barn Automobile Restorations in Vienna, New Jersey, a leading restorer specializing in the great coachbuilt American classics.
When it was unveiled at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2007, the magnificently restored JN Convertible Coupe justifiably earned a prestigious special award: the Gwenn Graham Most Elegant Convertible Trophy. A remarkable testament to the quality and accuracy of the restoration work, as well as the inherent significance of this car, the Gable Duesenberg has since taken Best of Show honors at two of the most prestigious concours venues – Amelia Island and Meadowbrook. Having been treated to attentive care in one of the world’s great classic car collections, the Duesenberg remains in show-quality condition inside and out.
Commissioned by the most recognizable actor of the 1930s, this one-of-a-kind JN Convertible Coupe possesses the unmistakable imprimatur of its original owner. Not only is the photo of Clark Gable posing with his stylish custom-built JN Convertible Coupe one of the most iconic images of a classic automobile, it is also integral to the fabric of popular culture.
The legacy of this car has powerful, lasting connections to the Golden Age of the American film industry, the art of custom coachbuilding and the pioneering years of car collecting. In its inspired origins and glamorous early history, it scales the heights of automotive folklore. Unique, dramatic and instantly recognizable, this legendary Duesenberg is arguably the most iconic example of all.
An exceptionally beautiful and important automobile, Clark Gable’s Duesenberg is to many the holy grail of American classics and possesses each and every quality that connoisseurs demand of a collectible object: impeccable presentation, extraordinary pedigree and the magnetic, show-stopping personality that defines a true Hollywood star.
The auction estimate is $9,000,000.
Frankly, I'm surprised that I haven't seen this copy error more often in early documents.
To learn more from the authoritative source, The Johns Hopkins Gazette, click here.
Miss Holm said three things that I will always remember:
I believe that if a man does a job as well as a woman, he should be paid as much.
We live by encouragement and die without it - slowly, sadly, angrily.
and [on Bette Davis]
I walked onto the set ["All About Eve"] and there's Bette and I say 'Good Morning,' and she said, 'Oh, shit, good manners,' and I felt as if I'd been hit in the face with a wet flounder and I never spoke to her again. She called me a 'Bitch,' okay.
It was the 33rd President of the United States who brought the White House into a new era—the era of television. President Harry S. Truman held the first televised Presidential Address from the White House on October 5th 1947.
Although ground-breaking, the Truman address to the nation was delivered to an extremely limited audience. Television was still in its infancy. In 1947 there were only about 44,000 TV sets in U.S. homes and the sets were concentrated in just a few major cities. By comparison, there were over 40 million radios in the United States.
First Presidential address to be Televised - Truman, 1947
According to Politico.Com: Though Truman pioneered the now-familiar ritual of a White House telecast to the nation, he was not the first president to appear on television. President Franklin D. Roosevelt broadcast on a compact black-and-white screen from the New York World’s Fair on April 30, 1939.
It should be noted that FDR’s comments on the opening day of the 1939 World's Fair’s were seen only on receivers at the fairgrounds and at Radio City Music Hall, in midtown Manhattan. The next day, May 1st, early TV sets went on sale to the general public, as RCA (Radio Corporation of America)—NBC’s (National Broadcasting Company) parent company—began broadcasting on a daily basis. Those daily telecasts didn't last long; they were, for the most part, suspended until the end of World War II.
First Televised Presidential Address - Truman, 1952
Following Truman's address in 1947, all of his subsequent White House speeches, including his 1949 inaugural address, were televised. In 1948, Truman was also the first presidential candidate to air a paid political ad on TV. President Truman's televised tour of the White House followed some unsettling observations.
From the Truman Library:
The White House is Falling Down: Some said the White House was standing only from the "force of habit"
Shortly after moving into the White House, President Truman noticed the telltale signs of a building under serious physical stress. He frequently complained of drafts and unusual popping and creaking noises in the old house. In letters to his wife Bess, back home in Missouri, Truman often joked of the "ghosts" that inhabited the White House.
"The damned place is haunted, sure as shootin... You and Margie had better come back and protect me before some of these ghosts carry me off."
[Harry Truman, in a letter to his wife Bess, September 8, 1946]
"The floors pop and the drapes move back and forth. I can just imagine old Andy and Teddy having an argument over Franklin."
[Truman, in a letter to Bess in June 1945]
Early in 1948, in response to the President's concerns, engineering reports confirmed that the White House was in a serious state. The White House was burned out to its exterior walls during the War of 1812 and further compomised by poorly constructed, successive additions of indoor plumbing, gas lighting, electric wiring, heating ducts, and major structural modifications in 1902 and 1927. Following the 1948 engineering reports the decision was made to move the Trumans across the street to Blair House for three years while the White House underwent a complete interior demolition. The complete reconstruction only retained the exterior walls of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the Executive Mansion.
Following the reconstruction, on May 3, 1952, President Truman conducted a televised tour of his new home—the new White House. This is an excerpt:
The First White House Tour on Television - the Video
A decade later, on February 14, 1962, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy proudly presented her White House restoration to the world.
The restoration was Mrs. Kennedy's premiere project as First Lady. She was dismayed during her preinauguration tour of the White House to find little of historic significance in the Executive Mansion. The rooms were furnished with undistinguished pieces that she felt lacked a sense of history. Her initial efforts to restore the White House began on her first day in residence.
Jacqueline Kennedy Tour of the White House - 1962
A record 80-million viewers watched the broadcast. It was later syndicated to over 50 countries around the world. If you haven't seen the tour hosted by Jacqueline Kennedy, you should watch. Besides being a wonderful historical document, it is honestly informative and quite a production—by the television standards of the day.
From the Museum of Broadcast Communications:
On the night of 14 February 1962 three out of four television viewers tuned to CBS or NBC to watch a A Tour of the White House with Mrs. John F. Kennedy. Four nights later, ABC rebroadcast the program to a sizable national audience before it then moved on to syndication in more than fifty countries around the globe. In all, it was estimated that hundreds of millions of people saw the program, making it the most widely viewed documentary during the genre's so called golden age. But the White House tour is also notable because it marked a shift in network news strategies, since it was the first primetime documentary to explicitly court a female audience.
Thanks to Aqua.Org for sharing their Inner Harbor webcam with us so that we may share a glimpse of Baltimore's Sailabration with our family and friends who can't be here for this extraordinary event.
Watch live as an international parade of more than 40 tall ships and naval vessels sails into Baltimore. Sailabration runs from June 13–19, 2012.
The National Aquarium's webcam is here.
To learn more, visit starspangled200.com. Over the weekend, watch out for the Blue Angels, they will be flying low and hard over Baltimore for the first time. And, be sure to take a look at the list and descriptions of the ships that will be visiting Baltimore for this event. It's impressive.
On many fronts, 1937 wasn't altogether a great year. The United States was still attempting to recover from the Great Depression, Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan disappeared after taking off from New Guinea, Japan occupied Beijing, the Great Hong Kong Typhoon killed 11,000 people, Italy withdrew from the League of Nations. John D Rockefeller, George Gershwin, and Jean Harlow died. In April of 1937 German warplanes from the Luftwaffe's Condor Legion destroyed the Basque town of Guernica during what was reported as the first air bombardment of an undefended town in history; more than 1,600 civilians were killed.
And, the Baltimore News-Post ran this this headline in May:
1937, Baltimore News-Post Reported: Hindenburg Explodes
Earlier that year WLS, Chicago's powerhouse of a radio station, dispatched announcer Herb Morrison and his engineer, Charlie Nelhsen, to cover the Hindenburg landing in Lakehurst, New Jersey. Morrison's report was to be recorded on a large acetate disk for later broadcast. Recording news and actualities was, in 1937, against all the rules of network radio broadcasting. Morrison's recorded report lead to a change of those rules, which at the time only allowed recordings to be used for sound effects in radio dramas. Morrison's report was so human and so compelling that NBC played the recording on it's network and it became the prototype for news actualities in the post war years.
Morrison was a slender, diminutive man with dark hair, dimples, and a strong chin. On the air, he sounded older than his years. He was dapper, and by all accounts he was exceedingly handsome. Prior to his dispatch to Lakehurst, the majority of his radio work had been as an announcer for live musical programming. For the Hindenburg report from Lakehurst he wore a blue serge suit and a tailored top coat.
Today most people see, or remember, a newsreel of the Hindenburg disaster with Morrison's account as the voice-over. However, that's a later construction of how the actual reports were filed, seen, and heard.
Even in 1937 newsreels were a low-budget affair. Black and white cameras with no ability to record sound were used. And Morrison and his one-man crew were recording a transcription to a disk with no ability to add visuals. Think of what you remember seeing as one of the earliest audio-visual mashups.
Here is an actual (and yes, silent) newsreel from the time with post production, editing, and a certain amount of 'film touch-up' as performed by the releasing studio.
And this, from the Smithsonian, is Herb Morrison's radio report added to actual newsreel film, without any film reconstruction. The difference in film quality is all-telling.
According to WLS radio: Listeners in Chicago and across the country didn't hear Morrison's coverage of the disaster until the next day because his report wasn't broadcast live from Lakehurst. He and engineer Charley Nehlsen had been experimenting with field recordings on huge acetate discs. They realized the gravity of their recordings as they found themselves being followed by German SS Officers! After hiding out for a few hours, the two managed to make a clean getaway and get back across the country to WLS. The chilling account aired the next day on the station and was the first recorded radio news report to be broadcast nationally by NBC.
I've been fascinated by lighter-than-air craft, zeppelins, and blimps for as long as I can remember. In Baltimore we all see quite a few small blimps soaring over the city—Dish Network, MetLife, and yes, the Conan craft. I wondered what a zeppelin the size of the Hindenburg would have looked like flying over Baltimore. I wondered if it might have looked this:
The Hindenburg explosion killed 35 of the 97 people on board and one person on the ground. A cause of the disaster has been widely speculated about and has created more conspiracy theories than the Kennedy assination, yet the true cause of the Hindenburg's demise has never been discovered.
A Fierce Longing will return to Theatre Project, Baltimore, for a limited run June 1 - 9. The play, written by John Schneider, was developed in workshop by the company members of Milwaukee's Theatre X and first performed in April, 1978. Later that year it came to Theatre Project and Performance Garage in NYC.
Directed by John C. Wilson, this is a highly visual, multi-media production that borrows stylistically from Japanese theater traditions. The play is drawn from the life and work of the Nobel-nominated Japanese novelist and playwright Yukio Mishima. A Fierce Longing chronicles his life, his work, and his turmoil. A complex man, Mishima struggled with family issues, wrestled with a St. Sebastian fetish and homosexual desires, sought fame and celebrity for his Nobel-nominated writing, and desired to honor the Emperor and the Samurai tradition through his ultra-conservative political views and formation of a militia. Ultimately, he committed seppuku, ritual suicide, in 1970.
"A Fierce Longing rocked my world when I first saw it for a variety of reasons," said director John C. Wilson. "A strong ensemble cast, mind-boggling visuals, a fascinating central character from an unfamiliar culture, and an exploration of themes of beauty, sexuality, and death all contributed to an unforgettable piece of theater. I'm reviving this play to pay tribute to one of the peak theatrical experiences of my life, and to honor the exceptionally rich history of work presented at Theatre Project over its 40-year history."
The opening of A Fierce Longing coincides with Theatre Project's 40th Anniversary "Homecoming Weekend."
Events will include:
Opening Night, June 1—This will be a "Pass the Hat" performance in honor of Theatre Project's beginnings as a free theatre. Suggested donation $10.
Opening Weekend Gala, Saturday, June 2—Pre-show reception and silent auction, followed by the performance of A Fierce Longing and after-show gathering. Tickets are $40 in celebration of Theatre Project's 40th Anniversary.
Theatre Project Open House, Sunday, June 3—This is a family friendly event that will be free and open to the public, featuring a potluck picnic and performances throughout the afternoon.
June 1 @ 8pm "Pass the Hat" Opening
June 2 @ 8pm Gala Performance
June 7 @ 8pm
June 8 @ 8pm
June 9 @ 8pm
Gala Performance ~ $40
General Admission ~ $20
Seniors/Artists/Military ~ $15
Students ~ $10
If that doesn't seem extraordinary in these days of instant online ticketing, online seat choices, and online payments, think about this: It happened in January of 1974. It happened in the days of "line up at the box office for your paper ticket" and buy the best ticket you're offered before the box office ticket master looks over your shoulder and yells, "Next".
Masterworks Broadway has announced the release Liza Minnelli’s historic concert album "Legends Of Broadway: Liza Minnelli Live At The Winter Garden" on April 3rd digitally at www.masterworksbroadway.com, and on May 8th at other digital retailers and all hard-copy retailers.
This long-awaited Minnelli performance recording—recorded 38 years ago—is derived from the original master engineered by Phil Ramone.
The concert recording includes performances from Minnelli’s legendary Broadway show in January 1974 as well as three recently discovered live bonus tracks that were recorded but not included on the original LP for space reasons that recordings on vinyl dictated. The bonus tracks include Stevie Wonder’s "You and I" and standards "It Had to Be You" and "My Shining Hour."
From the press release:
The story behind the recording is an interesting one. The 27-year-old dynamo had sold out an entire month’s run of 24 concerts in 36 hours, setting a house record for the Winter Garden Theater. The show itself, which opened on January 6, was simply titled Liza.
The album Liza Minnelli Live At The Winter Garden was quickly released by Columbia Records in April, but had to be withdrawn from the market due to contractual conflicts over her performance of songs from the Cabaret film score, which were available on the then-current soundtrack album. Only pirated versions of the album have circulated since. This is the first time that the entire show will come out on CD and digital release.
Like Cabaret, Liza was directed by Bob Fosse, who choreographed it with Ron Lewis. Marvin Hamlisch served as musical director, and the celebrated songwriting team of John Kander and Fred Ebb supplied Minnelli with new songs for the shows.
"The thing about doing a show like Liza is that every song means something," Minnelli reflects. "Fred and John were so brilliant at building a show, plus I had Marvin, so we tried all kinds of different rundowns and finally came up with what you hear on the album, and thank God it worked! But you keep trying, and don’t get satisfied with anything but the best."
Here's the track-list:
1 Overture – Liza With A "Z", Ring Them Bells, I Can See Clearly Now, Maybe This Time, and Cabaret
2 If You Could Read My Mind, Come Back To Me
3 Shine On Harvest Moon
4 Exactly Like Me
5 The Circle
6 More Than You Know
7 I'm One Of The Smart Ones
8 Natural Man
9 I Can See Clearly Now
10 And I In My Chair (Et Moi Dans Mon Coin)
11 There Is A Time (Le Temps)
12 Quiet Thing
13 Anywhere You Are, I Believe You
14 Cabaret Medley – Curtain Bows, Cabaret
15 You and I (Bonus Track)
16 It Had to Be You (Bonus Track)
17 My Shining Hour (Bonus Track)
About Minnelli: An Oscar winner for her performance in the movie version of "Cabaret," Minnelli has also earned Tony Awards for her performances in Flora, the Red Menace, The Act, Liza's at the Palace, as well as a special 1974 Tony. She also presented a tribute to her late father Minnelli on Minnelli at the Palace and has appeared in the films "The Sterile Cuckoo," "Arthur," "New York, New York" and "Stepping Out." The singer is also a Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning actress.
I like to think I'm a darn good navigator of the legitimate theatre scene—current and historical, national and regional. I was surprised, this morning, to discover an important actor named Ira Aldridge.
I studied theatre in New York for a lot of years, yet I'd never heard the name Ira Aldridge until today. I wondered why? After some searching and reading, I realized why the actor was a mystery to me.
I received an email alerting me to an event at The Walters Art Gallery. Here's the information:
Join Kwame Kwei-Armah, British playwright, actor, director, and new Artistic Director of Center Stage, Baltimore, in this lively discussion about Ira Aldridge, the first American of African descent to achieve fame in the theater. Kwei-Armah will preview recordings from his recent radio documentary on Aldridge, who spent much of his career on the London stage in Shakespearean roles, especially that of Othello.
Portrait of Ira Aldridge, as Othello
I learned from England's BBC Radio 4 that, in a 2009 documentary:
Kwame Kwei-Armah traced the life and work of Ira Aldridge, a black actor who defied racial prejudice to become one of Britain's finest Shakespearean actors.
When Aldridge first appeared on the London stage in 1825, he was enthusiastically received by the public but the critics hated him, The Times going so far as to say that he could not pronounce English properly, 'owing to the shape of his lips'.
Here was a black man daring to break into the heartland of the British 'classics', which had hitherto been the exclusive domain of white actors.
But, undeterred by the racial hostility of the press, Aldridge became a perpetually touring player, an exotic 'star', honing his skills in the provinces and across Europe. In a career spanning 30 years, he became one of Britain's finest Shakespearean players, and had more honours showered upon him than any other actor of his time.
Here's actor Eke Chukwu portraying Ira Aldridge in a short documentary promo:
I'm not going to attempt to write a biography of Aldridge. I just met him, after all. There are dozens of resources available online. Here are a couple:
Ira Aldridge: African American Theater Pioneer
Presented by Kwame Kwei-Armah
The Walters Art Museum
Date: Sunday, February 26, 2012
Time: 02:00 PM–03:00 PM
So, why didn't I know about Ira Aldridge? I thought back to school in the 1970s and realized that I wasn't taught anything about Africian-American Actors or their contribution to the world of theatre. And, that is the plain, sad, pitiful truth. Will I see you at the Walters on the 26th?
Marketing automation, marketing automation, marketing automation. You can’t go five minutes in an accredited marketing class without someone mentioning this ‘phenomenon’. Everyone is discussing the concept using ten-syllable words.
Marketing automation is certainly effective when done right, but it's not brain surgery. I learned all about it when I was a kid.
What do Cutty Sark, Santa Claus, Kentucky Bourbon, Stag Beer, and Hammond Organs all have in common? Marketing automation, of course.
And, it all begins with a little puppy just like this:
This little video is your single source for everything you need to know about marketing automation.
[By the way, I shared this video with Tom Rowe at Visit Baltimore last week and he said, "I feel like I'm watching the future."]
So there you go, now you have it.
You now know all you need to know about marketing automation. Feel free to pass this information along to the less informed. And when you do, be certain to have your tongue firmly implanted in your cheek.
The Jack Benny Program
New Years Day, 1956
Season 6, episode 7
Original air date: 1 January 1956
Cast: Jack Benny (Jack Benny/ The Old Year), Don Wilson (Don Wilson/ Uncle Sam), Red Sanders (Himself- UCLA Football Coach), Duffy Daugherty (Himself- Michigan State Football Coach), The Sportsmen Quartet (Themselves - Singers), Lois Corbett (Lois Wilson - Columbia), Mel Blanc (Airplane/ Mars), Charles Herbert (The New Year), Gene Twambley (Himself - Sound Man), Gurney Bell (Member - The Sportsman Quartet: uncredited), Bill Days (Member - The Sportsman Quartet: uncredited), Robert Garsen (Member - The Sportsman Quartet: uncredited), Benny Rubin (Audience Member: uncredited), Martin Sperzel (Member - The Spotsman Quartet: uncredited).
56 years ago television was such an infant. The comedy was so gentle and proper, yet somehow, it's still funny. Smart and clever.
A video note from Johns Hopkins on behalf of Baltimore Heritage:
I renewed my membership today. Please join me in supporting the good work and educational programs of Baltimore Heritage.
Baltimore Heritage is Baltimore’s only city-wide preservation organization. By becoming a member of Baltimore Heritage, you are helping to preserve our city’s charm and distinctive character for current and future generations.We invite you to join now and become involved in our important and fulfilling work,
Baltimore Heritage members participate in the following:
You certainly might and you certainly may. And, it's affordable and fun. More than that, the classes are taught by theatre professionals.
Baltimore's Everyman Theatre is an extraordinary institution and Everyman offers some outstanding and cost-effective classes.
"If you haven't discovered Everyman yet, you're missing out on some of the best shows in town."
–Baltimore City Paper"
"Everyman Theatre has been upping the ante for professional theater in Baltimore."
Adult Acting Classes:
Acting 1 with Bruce Nelson
This introductory course on character development will teach actors how to create clear and dynamic characters through understanding the importance and complexity of character motivation, playing strong objectives, and script analysis. Actors will work with a variety of texts and exercises to apply learned techniques.
Dates: Tuesdays, January 10th – February 14th
Time: 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Register for Class
Acting 2 with Deborah Hazlett
Students will continue their exploration of acting by learning first to identify physical and vocal habits and then to shape and change them to inform character development. Once students experience how their bodies move through space in their daily lives and how sound and voice are produced and shaped, they can begin to make choices that redefine their habits. This body knowledge will allow actors to fully realize and integrate the physical and vocal lives of the characters they play.
Dates: Saturdays, February 11th – March 17th
Time: 10:00am – 12:30pm
Register for Class
Improv I with Bruce Nelson
Improvisation is not about being funny; it’s about being true. This beginning level course will help students learn to trust their creative instincts, improve listening skills and hone their connections through the art of Improv. A safe and supportive classroom environment will allow students to take the improv exercises and create dynamic and committed work. For the local professional looking to enhance his or her skill set, for those brand new to theatre and for any person needing to let go, live in the moment and deepen daily interactions.
Dates: Mondays and Wednesdays, June 25th – July 11th (no class July 4th)
Time: 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Register for Class
Improv II with Bruce Nelson
With the skills learned in Improv I, this second level course will continue to help students hone their creative instincts while emphasizing the importance of forming a team bond. A safe and supportive classroom environment will allow students to detail their characterizations and more fully commit to their space work when establishing mimed stage locations and activities. Scene structure will be practiced in a way that emphasizes working with your partner, developing conflict, and finding a resolution. Constructive criticism will be encouraged as will open give and take about making scenes stronger, not necessarily funnier. Verbal and non-verbal listening will be fine-tuned as will letting go and living in the improvised moment.
Dates: Mondays and Wednesdays, July 16th – July 30th
Time: 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Register for Class
Teen Acting Classes:
Auditioning for teens with Megan Prue
This class is for teens who are interested in expanding their knowledge of the audition process as well as improving techniques for performing monologues and doing cold readings. Whether you’re interested in getting into a competitive theatre program or getting a part in your school’s play, this class will give you the skills you need to get an edge on the competition.
Dates: Mondays, January 9th – February 13th
Time: 5:00pm – 7:00pm
For ages 13 - 18
Register for Class
Teen Acting 1 with Marianne Angelella
Everyone has to start somewhere! If you (or your teen) want to explore acting – whether as a fun extracurricular activity or as a possible career – this class is a great place to start. Learn about the building blocks of acting like character development, motivation, and objective. Students will work on their feet with text as well as participating in theatre games and other exercises to learn in a fun environment.
Dates: Wednesdays, March 14th – April 25th (no class April 4th)
Time: 5:00pm – 7:00pm
For ages 13 - 18
Register for Class
Teen Acting 2 with Marianne Angelella
Building on the foundational work of Acting 1, this class will continue to delve into the acting process. Students will have the opportunity to participate in scene work and learn more about what it really means to be an actor.
Dates: Wednesdays, May 2nd – June 6th
Time: 5:00pm – 7:00pm
For ages 13 - 18
Register for Class
High School Intensive
For dedicated high school students looking for a fun and extensive exploration of theatre. Learn and hone your acting skills through vocal exercises, movement, stage combat, scene study, monologue coaching and, of course, performance! This rigorous 3-week journey will challenge you, reward your talent, and feed your passion for performing.
Dates: Mondays – Fridays, July 9th – July 27th
Time: 10:00am – 3:00pm
Register for Class
Stage Management Intensive
Do you know what it takes to be a stage manager? Let our resident stage manager Amanda Hall introduce you to the wonderful (and busy) world of stage managing. Learn how to put together a prompt book, keep track of props and actors, call cues, organize schedules, and much more in this intensive class.
Date: Saturday February 4th
Time: 10:00am – 12:30pm
Register for Class
At least it was simple on TV.
Television audiences could vicariously spend Christmas in Mayberry, Beverly Hills, Virginia City, Dodge City, Bryant Park, Los Angeles, or Hilldale.
Some of the popular shows on television in 1963 were: Bonanza, The Donna Reed Show, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, The Andy Griffith Show, Gunsmoke, Ben Casey, The Patty Duke Show, and My Three Sons.
Number 1 in the Nielsen Ratings, as it entered its second season, was The Beverly Hillbillies. Here's the 1963 Christmas episode, Christmas with the Clampetts. It's now in public domain.
Oh sure, it's silly and simple comedy. But here's what I find wonderfully refreshing: It's scripted entertainment, there's not a hint of reality TV, and there's not a Kardashian anywhere in sight.
When you get all crazy with your Holiday chores and guest lists, pour a glass of eggnog and take a look back at a simpler time. Merry Christmas, all.
Our troops give us the gift of freedom and security. It's important that we remember our troops every day. It's even more important that we remember them during the Holidays.
You won't see a photo of our troops celebrating Christmas captured on a Currier and Ives print. Christmas for soldiers serving in faraway places is not pretty, it's not an image to put on a greeting card.
I wasn't really aware of what Christmas might be like for our troops until a couple of years before I turned 18. Draft age.
Our family watched Bob Hope, on his 1967 USO tour, visiting the troops at Christmastime. During the broadcast my father, who had returned home from WWII with some massive scars and a Purple Heart, reminded us that what were seeing on television was the prettiest face that could ever be put on an ugly situation, a situation that he called "that tragic mess in Indochina." Watching the broadcast was an eye-opener for me.
1967 was a bloody year in Vietnam. Over 11,000 Americans died in the military conflict that year. Enjoyable moments for our troops serving in 1967 were few and far between. There may have been none at all.
Here's the show our family watched from our living room in Kansas.
Bob Hope was the first big star to entertain American troops under the USO banner. He entertained at March Field in May of 1941, just 3 months after the USO was founded.
Comedian Joe E Brown was the first top-shelf name to entertain our troops on frontline bases. Brown's USO tour began in March of 1942. (Brown's own son was killed in a military plane crash in California in 1942.)
There are dozens of ways to support and remember our service members and I hope that you'll find one that touches you. There is a perfect way to support our troops through the USO. Follow this link to the USO Wishbook, and take a look around, read, and please do what you can.
Our troops are doing everything they can possibly do—including giving their lives—every single day to help us have a safe Christmas. It's our turn to give a little something. It's the least we can do.
The USO's financials are online for you to review.
An Evening with Dan Rather - A SAG Foundation Live Stream Event for Everyone:
Tuesday, December 6th
8:30 PM EST / 5:30 PM PST
View Live Stream at www.sagfoundation.org/videogallery/livestream
This is a pulic live stream event. To view the Q&A you DO NOT need to log into our website or RSVP online.
Get Involved! During the event, you can email questions to the moderator at LiveStream@sagfoundation.org or tweet to @SAGFoundation or #SAGF.
Dan Rather has covered virtually every major news event in the world in the past 50 years. His resume reads like a history book, from his unparalleled reporting on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, through the civil rights movement, to Watergate, and wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq. (He has covered, on scene, in person, more than twenty wars, violent insurrections, uprisings, coups and riots all over the world—including the 1965 India-Pakistan War, the Rhodesian War of Independence and the Tiananmen Square uprising for freedom and democracy in China—earning the nickname “War Zone Dan”)
From his early days as the Associated Press reporter in Huntsville, Texas, in 1950, Rather has more than earned his reputation as the “hardest working man in broadcast journalism.”
Now the anchor and managing editor of DAN RATHER REPORTS, which began broadcasting on HDNet in November, 2006, Rather served as anchor and managing editor of the CBS EVENING NEWS from March 9, 1981 to March 9, 2005, the longest such tenure in broadcast journalism history. He also served as anchor of the CBS program 48 HOURS and as a correspondent for 60 MINUTES and 60 MINUTES II.
Rather has interviewed every United States president from Dwight D. Eisenhower to George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and virtually every major international leader of the past 30 years. He landed two world exclusive news-breaking interviews with Saddam Hussein, in 1990 and in 2003.
Rather has received virtually every honor in broadcast journalism, including numerous Emmy and Peabody Awards and citations from critical, scholarly, professional and charitable organizations.
This event will be moderated by Anthony DeRosa, Social Media Editor, Reuters.
About Anthony DeRosa:
Anthony is the Reuters Social Media Editor, integrating the “ambient wire” that exists on social networks, where news now breaks before anywhere else, into Reuters platforms. As part of his mission, he helps Reuters journalists and editors use social media tools to monitor news, report news, and find leads. The New York Times declared him “The undisputed King of Tumblr” based on soupsoup.tumblr.com. Mashable named it one of the best tumblrs of 2008. On Feb 23, 2010, it cracked the Technorati Top 100. Soup was recently cited as a reliable source for news on ABC, NBC, CNN and by Jon Stewart on The Daily Show. Connect with Anthony at twitter.com/antderosa.
Visit the SAG Foundation website at www.sagfoundation.org
In 1972 my old friend, Gary Owens, crafted a wonderfully zany comedy album. Put Your Head on My Finger was released through MGM Records on the Pride label and today it seems to be largely forgotten. And, that's a shame.
On the album Owens poked fun at horoscopes, politics, old vaudeville actors (my favorite bit), teenagers, funerals. You know, silly and insignificant things.
Since it's election year, I thought you might like to hear three little clips from Put Your Head on My Finger.
[Tech note, click the bars once. Audio may take a moment to start. The clicks and jumps in the Nixon piece were intended are on the album.]
A bit about Democrats:
And, on the perennial candidate,
On a personal note, I haven't seen Gary Owens in a long time, but here is my insegrevious memory of him:
One afternoon in the early 1980s, I took a new friend of mine to a Hollywood Radio and Television Society luncheon at the newly renovated Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel on Hollywood Boulevard and North Orange Drive.
Sitting at our table with drinks in hand, my friend gazed around the room, got all excited, and said, "Wow, there's Gary Owens!"
"Would you like to meet him," I asked?
My friend's reply was a bit sour and very emphatic, "You don't know Gary Owens."
He looked back at the room and noticed Gary Owens walking toward our table. The new friend looked down at his cocktail and started to fidget with the swizzle stick.
In his deep, booming, unmistakeably articulated voice, Gary Owens said, "Stephen! It's good to see you! Come over, I'll introduce you to my friends."
At his table he said, "I'd like you all to meet Stephen Brockelman. Stephen is a very clever writer. He also made me a 3-dimensional rebus once."
I nodded at everyone, did the hellos, went back to my table and, listening to the HRTS presentation, I feasted on flattery. As I remember my friend dined on crow.
Mark Cudek will direct two performances by the Peabody Renaissance Ensemble of Godly and Spiritual Songs, a program of Christmas music from the British Isles, on Thursday, Dec. 1, and Friday, Dec. 2, in Peabody's Leith Symington Griswold Hall.
Thursday night's concert will begin at approximately 8:00 pm, following the 40th Annual Lighting of the Washington Monument, which will feature a short performance by a Peabody brass group—the Bonehedz Trombone Quartet—around 7:15. Friday night's Renaissance Ensemble concert will begin at 7:30 pm.
Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors, and $5 for students with ID. To purchase tickets, call the Peabody Box Office at 410-234-4800.
For Monument Lighting details, visit godowntownbaltimore.com.
About the Early Music Program at the Peabody Institute:
The Peabody Conservatory of Music continues to expand its offerings in the historical performance of music before 1800. The Early Music Program provides instruction and performance opportunities in Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, and early Classical music.
Students play on period instruments and develop vocal techniques compatible with early performance practices. Our accomplished faculty brings a wealth of performing and teaching experience to developing artists.
Graduates of Peabody's Early Music Program have gone on to win prizes at international competitions, earn Fulbright and Beebe scholarships, and graduate from European conservatories with high honors. Peabody graduates have performed with Apollo's Fire, the Baltimore Consort, Hesperus, Les Arts Florissants, the New York Collegium, and the Waverly Consort.
I'm Stephen Brockelman, freelance copywriter.
Based in Baltimore, MD, I provide clients nationwide with smart marketing copy. Copy that creates leads and sales for agencies and companies like yours.
After taking a look around, contact me. You'll take some valuable ideas away from our very first meeting. Hundreds of my clients have. Call me today.