Archive for February 23, 2011

Why I Love Humphrey Bogart

Humphrey Bogart came into my life in the seventies and never left. I’ve watched The Maltese Falcon (the greatest detective movie ever made) probably more than 50 times. It’s my go to movie if I’m snowed in, bummed out or just because. The movie always gives me an ‘all’s right with the world feeling’ because of the kind of man Bogie was and the kind of characters he portrayed.
A new book, Tough without a Gun: The Life and Extraordinary Afterlife of Humphrey Bogart explores the mystique of this actor who died in 1957. The NY Times review says it best: “Bogart’s appeal was and remains completely adult — so adult that it’s hard to believe he was ever young. If men who take responsibility are hard to come by in films these days, it’s because they’re hard to come by, period, in an era when being a kid for life is the ultimate achievement”. They just don’t make ‘em like Bogie anymore. Pity.

Definitive Abe Lincoln

Abe Lincoln has been portrayed by a number of different actors. There is a consensus that the defintive portrait of him was given by Raymond Massey. Massey played him in Robert Sherwood’s play Abe Lincoln in Illinois as well as in the film version. There was some grumbling about a Canadian actor playing this role. But this criticism was deflected when Robert Todd Lincoln, the eldest son, heard Massey perform and was struck by the similarity of Massey’s speaking voice to that of his father. Massey also inspired the plot of the movie Adam’s Rib which was inspired by his divorce from Adrienne Allen. It was so amicable that the parties in the divorce each married their respective attorneys. Massey lived for a time in Wilton and is buried in New Haven.

The Winter of Our Discontent

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Forget about SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)-I’m calling our current affliction SNOAD (Snow Affective Disorder). If you’re spending time at home listening for creaking noises that could indicate the imminent collapse of your roof/house–you’re in the throes of SNOAD.
Psychiatrist John Sharp touches upon the effects of weather events in The Emotional Calendar: Understanding Seasonal Influences to Become Happier, More Fulfilled, and in Control of Your Life. He advises us to “enjoy what we can of what winter has to offer”. Right. As an alternative to embracing your inner snowman, I recommend checking out movies like Lawrence of Arabia–watching over three hours of mostly blistering, desert heat does have a warming effect –plus it’s a great movie.

Little House in Danbury

We are all familiar with the Little House on the Prairie series of books by Laura Ingalls Wilder and the incredibly popular television series that was spawned by it. Few people, however, know that Laura’s daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, was a resident of Danbury from 1938 until her death on October 30, 1968. Rose lived on King Street. She was a journalist and free lance writer who became one of the highest-paid female writers in America. She played a role in her mother’s writing of the series. But there is a dispute as to whether she was merely an advisor to her mother or actually ghostwrote the books. She also became a libertarian and disagreed with the New Deal and objected to paying income tax and lived a frugal lifestyle as a form of protest. She was on the brink of making a trip to Europe when she passed away in her house at 23 King Street in October of 1968.