Monday, May 20, 2019

Hawaiian Chicken

Summer is quickly approaching, and with summer comes vacation planning!

I don't know about you, but I'd love to go to Hawaii!  Unfortunately, with two kids in college, that won't happen any time soon. 

But I can always dream, and this Hawaiian Chicken recipe makes me feel like I'm there... well not really, but it sure tastes good!

Hope you enjoy it, too! It's a crock pot recipe and only takes minutes to assemble, but you will need to set aside up to five hours for it to cook. It's delicious over rice!

This recipe is from my General Electric Slow Cooker Recipe Book.

Hawaiian Chicken

3 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved (I use thighs)
1 16 ounce can pineapple slices, drained (I use chunks)
1 15 ounce can mandarin oranges, drained
1/4 cup corn starch
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground ginger

Combine all ingredients in the crock. Stir well. Cover and cook on:
Low - 4 to 5 hours or High - 2 to 3 hours

Where will yo be vacationing this summer? 

Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, May 13, 2019

Aliens and Race Relations

Today I thought I'd share something fun about a famous interracial couple from history.  I'd never heard of Betty and Barney Hill, but if you're familiar with UFO trivia, you might know of them.  This article is from ListVerse.


Betty and Barney Hill were from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Barney worked for the post office and Betty was a social worker. The Hills were also members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and community leaders. On the night of September19th, 1961, Betty and Barney Hill were heading back from a vacation in Southern Canada to their home in New England. They claimed to have observed a bright light in the sky that appeared to be following them. They arrived home at about 3 am and realized (later, when it was pointed out to them) that they had lost about 2 hours of time. Two weeks later Betty began having nightmares. In her nightmares, she described being taken aboard an alien spacecraft and then having medical experiments performed on her. Betty and Barney then decided to undergo hypnosis.  
In separate sessions, they described some similar experiences of being taken on board an alien spacecraft. Betty said she was shown a star map which she was able to memorize and reproduce later, which some believe is showing Zeta Reticuli as the aliens’ home. Under Barneys hypnotic session he said a cup-like device was placed over his genitals and thought that a sperm sample was taken. He also said he heard them speaking in a mumbling language that he did not understand. The UFO incident was distracting and embarrassing for Barney Hill. He feared that the tabloid publicity would tarnish his battle for equality and dignity. The Hills eventually went back to their regular lives but were always willing to discuss the UFO encounter with friends and UFO researchers. The release of the book “Interrupted Journey” in the mid-1960s, and a movie called The UFO Incident, starring James Earl Jones and Estelle Parsons turned Betty and Barney Hill into the world’s most famous UFO “abductees.”

Interesting Fact: Some psychiatrists suggested later that the supposed abduction was a hallucination brought on by the stress of being an interracial couple in early 60s. Betty discounted this suggestion, saying that her relationship with Barney was happy, and their interracial marriage caused no notable problems with their friends or family. Barney died of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1969, and Betty died of cancer in 2004. Many of Betty Hill’s notes, tapes and other items have been placed in a permanent collection at the library of the University of New Hampshire, her alma mater.

Had you ever heard of Betty and Barney Hill, or have you ever known anyone who claims to have been abducted by aliens?  Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Originally published 7/1/13

Monday, May 6, 2019

Public Speaking: How Not to Bomb

Today I'm re-posting a guest post written by Alice Osborn, author of Write From the Inside Out. She shares some great advice that will help you better prepare for your next public speaking engagement. 

Alice Osborn
My name is Alice Osborn. I am a poet, speaker and editor. I live in Raleigh, NC, where I help writers become authors and better business people.

When you’re nervous before a reading, open mic or a speaking event you’re that way because you don’t want to bomb . You don’t want to be humiliated and asked never to come back.  You also don’t want to let your audience down. Maybe you’ve had a less-than-ideal speaking experience and you’re afraid lightning will strike twice. I’d like to share a few tips with you on how not to bomb, or at least how to bomb less! Now, let go of your nervousness and give your best performance to the people who have come to see you!

Alice's Latest Book
Know Your Audience
If you’re an author giving a reading, know your audience! Are they familiar with your work or are they completely new to it? If they are new to it, warm them up by telling them why they’ll love your work and use humor! If you’re the first speaker, you won’t have a lot of material to riff about except complimentary stuff about the venue, the hosts and the warm crowd, but if you’re performing after an open mic segment or after another speaker, talk up the folks who have  gone before you and give them a little love. Doing so will endear you to your audience.

I had a little issue with a speaking engagement when I realized that my talk was geared towards entrepreneurs and not corporate employees. Oh, boy! I should have asked my speaking coordinator who my audience was so I could prepare. But here I was and I spoke to them about how being creative and flexible would make them more effective in their presentations—something from the entrepreneur world that they may not deal with on a daily basis.

Collect Stories             
As you go about your life, collect anecdotes that will resonate with your audience and that will help you break the tension. Just be sure that they’re relevant to you and your reading.

Show Up Early
When you show up early rather than on time you give yourself the chance to arrange the room and get a feel for the acoustics. I’ve shown up early at gigs and have rearranged the chairs to go from a classroom to a U-pattern—it’s made all of the difference!

Don’t drink too much
This applies more at a reading or an open mic, but don’t drink even if you think it’ll help you when it’s your turn at the mic. Drink plenty of water and when you’re all through, then have your favorite adult beverage.

Prepare
Rehearse your talk and material ahead of time—mark your pages if you’re reading from your book so you’re not thumbing randomly. Check to see where you’re stumbling and adjust. Time your talk so you’re going over or under. Preparing is vital for success and I consider this my most important tip.

Possessing strong speaking skills as an author is vital for your continued success.  You might also consider using video to record your performances and then later see what you could have done better. 

Your Turn

OK, so those are my tips on how not to bomb. What have I missed? Please feel free to add a few more suggestions in the comments for us!

Alice Osborn, M.A. is the author of three books of poetry, After the Steaming Stops, Unfinished Projects, and Right Lane Ends; she helps authors become business people and business people become authors. Alice teaches creative writing all over the country where she uses sensory images and road-tested prompts to stimulate her students’ best work. Her work has appeared in the News and Observer, The Broad River Review, The Pedestal MagazineSoundings Review and in numerous journals and anthologies. She lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, with her husband and two children. Visit her website at www.aliceosborn.com.

Originally posted 5/7/12

Monday, April 29, 2019

Writing Tip: Utilize Another Set of Eyes

"Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness." Chinese Proverb

There's nothing like a second set of eyes (or a third, fourth or fifth pair) to help you shape up your manuscript!

It's amazing how wonderful something sounds to our ears after we've written it.  And all the praise we receive from loved ones who've read it is pretty great, too!  But let's face it, writers need other writers to critique their work, otherwise, we're bumbling around in the dark, wondering why our manuscripts keep getting rejected.

If you're married to a writer, you have an advantage! But those of us who aren't so lucky need a writers group.  If you don't have any friends or acquaintances that write, there are lots of critique groups available online.

Some writers have one critique partner, while others have several.  I meet weekly in person with a group of five. I love having the benefit of all those different skill sets, and I know my finished product will be a lot stronger with all the fantastic input I receive!

In a group you'll see that someone might be great at line edits, while another person offers just the right dialogue.  Brainstorming ideas is always fun, and formulating a better scenario or plot twist can come directly from your critique group.

When other writers read your work, you'll also find out if what you've written makes sense to begin with.  And if it doesn't, your group can help you make it make sense!

Sometimes I think I've churned out a decent piece that can stand on its own.  But then Lisa, my writing teacher/group facilitator starts peeling away the layers (some that I didn't even know were there) to show me how to create an even better scene.

After Lisa reads my work, I feel like I've written it looking through a peephole.  It takes her to open the door and reveal everything else out there that's waiting to be said!  She's amazing at digging deeper in a scene to bring it greater depth, feeling and clarity!

So, if you're currently floundering alone, join a critique group!  The writing journey to publication is hard enough--don't go it alone!

Do you belong to a writers group or have a critique partner? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, April 22, 2019

Merle Oberon's Secret

One of my favorite movies is the 1939 film version of Wuthering Heights, starring the extraordinarily beautiful Merle Oberon, a talented actress during the 1930s and '40s.

May 12, Mother's Day, is quickly approaching and I'm looking forward to spending time with my wonderful mother, as I'm sure most of us are, who are still fortunate to have our moms with us. That said, I find it sad the way Miss Oberon treated her own mother--her dark skinned mother--by passing her off as a servant. Throughout her lifetime, Merle Oberon kept her ethnic origin a secret.

 About.com says "Merle Oberon earned an Oscar nod for her acting in 1935’s “The Dark Angel” and more recognition for playing Cathy in 1939’s Wuthering Heights. But off screen, Oberon feared that her secrets would be exposed. She wasn’t solely white nor was she born in Tasmania like actor Errol Flynn, as she told people. Actually, she was born in India to an Indian mother and an Anglo father. Rather than disown her mother, though, Oberon passed her off as a servant. When the actress visited Tasmania later in life, the press hounded her for details about her upbringing, forcing her to admit that she wasn't born there. Still, Oberon did not confess to being Indian."

For a more in depth look into Merle Oberon's life and deceit regarding her origins, check out this article about the 2002 documentary "The Trouble with Merle".

Have you seen any of Merle Oberon's movies?

Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Previously posted 5/13/13

Monday, April 15, 2019

Crock Pot Pork Tenderloin with Cranberry Sauce


I love pork loin and I found this recipe at Ashley Fehr's blog thereciperebel.com. It sounds mighty tasty and very easy! 

According to Ashley, "This Crock Pot Pork Tenderloin with Cranberry Sauce is an easy slow cooker meal or a fancy holiday dinner -- you decide! The BEST pork tenderloin recipe."  I'll take her word for it. I think I'll try it this week. Thank you, Ashley! 

Crock Pot Pork Tenderloin with Cranberry Sauce
Ingredients
  • 1 pork tenderloin (1-1.5lbs, trimmed -- see post above)
  • 1 1/2 cups whole berry cranberry sauce(1 348ml can)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (35g)
  • 1/3 cup low sodium chicken broth (75g)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (30g)
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch (10g)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper

Instructions

  • Place pork tenderloin in 2-4 quart crock pot, cutting in half lengthwise to fit flat if necessary.
  • In a large bowl or glass measuring cup, whisk together cranberry sauce, sugar, broth, vinegar, corn starch, garlic, salt and pepper. Pour over tenderloin in crock pot, lifting the pork to let the sauce seep underneath.
  • Cover and cook on high for 2 hours or low for 4 hours, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 150-165 degrees. Remove pork and place on a cutting board to rest for 3-5 minutes. 
  • If desired, add an additional tablespoon of corn starch mixed with a tablespoon of water to thicken remaining juices. 
  • Slice and serve with sauce.

Are you a fan of pork loin? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, April 8, 2019

Writing Tips From 24

I just discovered that the television program 24 is available on Amazon Prime. I loved that show and just might be tempted to do a little binge watching since it's been off the air for a while and I can't remember all the story lines.

During its original eight seasons, I picked up quite a few tips on compelling story telling.

The cliffhanger hooks were always exciting, leaving unanswered questions, the foreshadowing of an attack, or a love dilemma.  If you've ever had trouble formulating a hook to close a chapter, 24 just might inspire you!

As writers, in any story we look for goal, motivation and conflict.  In 24, the main GMC was as follows:

Goal: To keep the country safe from terrorism

Motivation: The safety of the American people 

Conflict: The terrorists want to terrorize, the federal agents want to stop them

But look for the GMC in the characters, as well:  
  • Who has to work with whom, and why is this a problem? 
  • Who has something to prove and why?  
  • Who has lost something significant and how does this affect his/her job performance?  
  • What is the conflict within the terrorist organization that will keep it from performing effectively?  
  • What conflict keeps the government in pursuit of the wrong lead? 
  • How detrimental will a past love be to a high ranking government official?
You can't have a good story without conflict, and 24 delivers! Were you a fan of 24? Also, do you have a favorite television show that's inspired your writing technique?

Thanks for visiting and have a great week!     

Monday, April 1, 2019

Hidden History: The Other Internment Camps

I just read Lisa See's wonderful novel China Dolls, and part of the story takes place in a Japanese internment camp. It brought to mind this story that I posted back in 2013.

I think everyone is familiar with the disgraceful legacy of internment camps for Americans of Japanese descent during World War II.  However, if you're like me, you probably didn't know that internment camps existed for German and Italian Americans, as well.  

Family of Ludwig Eberhardt. Eberhardt was interred at Camp Kenedy in Texas

The World War II experience of thousands of German Americans, to most,  is an unknown.  During World War II, the U.S. government and many Americans viewed German Americans and others of "enemy ancestry" as potentially dangerous, particularly immigrants.  The government used many interrelated, constitutionally questionable methods to control persons of German ancestry, including internment, individual and group exclusion from military zones, internee exchanges, deportation, repatriation, "alien enemy" registration, travel restrictions and property confiscation.
 The human cost of these civil liberties violations was high.  Families were disrupted, if not destroyed, reputations ruined, homes and belongings lost.  By the end of the war, 11,000 persons of German ancestry, including many American-born children, were interned. 
 Pressured by the United States, Latin American governments collectively arrested at least 4,050 German Latin Americans.  Most were shipped in dark boat holds to the United States and interned.  At least 2,000 Germans, German Americans and Latin American internees were later exchanged for Americans and Latin Americans held by the Third Reich in Germany.
Apparently, this is one of those historical facts shrouded in secrecy.  To learn more, as well as read personal stories,  visit The Freedom of Information Times.

Is this a part of history you're familiar with?  If so, how did you learn about it?

Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Originally posted 5/27/13

Monday, March 25, 2019

Ira Aldridge

Not long ago, I learned about a black Shakespearean actor named Ira Aldrige who lived back in the 1800's. His life was news to me! Here's more about him from Wikipedia:
Ira Aldridge was born in New York City to Reverend Daniel and Luranah Aldridge on July 24, 1807. At age 13, Aldridge went to the African Free School in New York City, established by the New York Manumission Society for the children of free black people and slaves. They were given a classical education, with the study of 
His early exposure to theater included viewing plays from the high balcony of the Park Theatre, New York's leading theater of the time, and seeing productions of Shakespeare's plays at the African Grove Theatre.
Aldridge's first professional acting experience was in the early 1820s with the African Company. In 1821, the group built the African Grove Theatre, the first resident African-American theatre in the United States.
Aldridge made his acting debut as Rolla, a Peruvian character in Richard Brinsley Sheridan's Pizarro. He may have also played the male lead in Romeo and Juliet, as reported later in an 1860 memoir by his schoolfellow, Dr. James McCune Smith.
Confronted with the persistent discrimination which black actors had to endure in the United States, Aldridge emigrated to Liverpool, England, in 1824 with actor James Wallack. During this time the Industrial Revolution had begun, bringing about radical economic change that helped expand the development of theatres. The British Parliament had already outlawed the slave trade and was moving toward abolishing slavery in the British colonies, which increased the prospect of black actors being able to perform.

Ira Aldridge as Mungo in The Padlock
Having limited onstage experience and lacking name recognition, Aldridge concocted a story of his African lineage, claiming to have descended from the Fulani princely line. By 1831 he had taken the name of Keene, a homonym for the then popular British actor, Edmund Kean. Aldridge observed a common theatrical practice of assuming an identical or similar nomenclature to that of a celebrity in order to garner attention.
On October 10, 1825, Aldridge made his European debut at London's Royal Coburg Theatre, the first African-American actor to establish himself professionally in a foreign country. He played the lead role of Oroonoko in The Revolt of Surinam.
An innovation Aldridge introduced early in his career was a direct address to the audience on the closing night of his engagement at a given theatre. Especially in the years leading up to the emancipation of all slaves in the British colonies in 1832, he would speak of the injustice of slavery and the passionate desire for freedom of those held in bondage.
To read more, click here.
Had you ever heard of Ira Aldridge? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Originally posted 2/20/17

Monday, March 18, 2019

The History of Private Investigators

I've always been fascinated by the world of private eyes, but I didn't know anything about the history of the profession. Take a look at this article from North American Investigations at pvteyes.com: 

It should come as no surprise that the history of private investigation is an intriguing and colorful tale that dates all the way back to ancient Sumerian and Egyptian civilizations.

The first mention of espionage is even recorded in the Old Testament of the Bible in the Book of Numbers, when God told Moses to send some men to spy on Canaan. These twelve spies were the leaders of their respective ancestral tribes and were sent ahead by Moses to explore Canaan during the Jews’ long trek from Egypt to the Promised Land.

The Birth of the Private Investigation Agency

As a craft, private investigation has existed for thousands of years, for as long as people have required it. The first known private detective agency, however, was founded in 1833 by a man named Eugène François Vidocq, a French soldier, privateer, and criminal. Le bureau des renseignments, or the Office of Intelligence as it was called, was staffed by men of similarly patchy backgrounds with law enforcement. Most of these men were ex-convicts and, as a result, official law enforcement attempted to shut the operation down several times,

In 1842, Vidocq was arrested on charges of unlawful imprisonment and for accepting money under false pretenses after solving an embezzlement case. He suspected a set-up but was still sentenced to 5 years imprisonment and a 3,000 franc fine. The Court of Appeals later released him.

Vidocq was the one who introduced record-keeping, criminology, and ballistics to the field of criminal investigation. He pioneered the practice of creating plaster casts of shoe prints and is also the inventor of indelible ink and unalterable bond paper.

To this day, some aspects of his method of anthropometrics – the study of the human body and its movement – is still in use by seasoned private investigators and the French police. He was also a known philanthropist who claimed to never have informed on anyone who had stolen due to a great need.
Evolution of Private Investigators

The private investigation industry came into existence as a response to a specific need: in the olden days, clients went to private investigators with the expectation that they would do work and act as the police in matters where traditional and official law enforcement were ill-equipped or simply unwilling to do.

They were mostly employed by wealthy owners who effectively utilized and deployed them to resolve labor disputes. Their primary function was to control workers and keep the peace, especially those who had been inspired by the French Revolution. They also did mercenary work, as well as acted as private security.
Private Eyes in the United States

Meanwhile, in the United States, a man named Allan Pinkerton was making a name for himself as a criminal detective. After informing on a band of counterfeiters to the local sheriff of his town, he was appointed in 1849 as the first police detective in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois.

A year after that, he partnered with a Chicago lawyer named Edward Rucker and formed the Pinkerton National Detective Agency, a company that continues to exist today under the name Pinkerton Consulting and Investigations. It is believed that the term “private eye” originated from Pinkerton’s choice of business insignia: a wide open eye with the caption “We never sleep”.

During the Civil War, Pinkerton became the head of the Union Intelligence Service – the predecessor of the United States Secret Service – and managed to successfully foil an assassination plot targeting Abraham Lincoln. He and his men often took on undercover jobs posing as members of the Confederate army and sympathizers in order to acquire military intelligence.

Today, private investigators fulfill an important role in society. Their services have become invaluable in everything from assisting crime investigations to finding missing persons. With the continuing advancement of technology, private investigation services are continually evolving to serve the public much better ways than ever.

That's your trivia for the day! Did you learn something new? Thanks for visiting an d have a great week!

Monday, March 11, 2019

Busy Day Brisket


I absolutely love beef brisket, and the first time I posted this recipe, I had never made it until that day. As a matter of fact, it was in my crock pot cooking as I wrote this post back in October of 2017, so I didn't even get a chance to taste it until later that evening. I must say, this recipe is absolutely fabulous and so, so tasty, not to mention easy! Many thanks to Allrecipes.com for this wonderful dish. Enjoy!

Busy Day Brisket

Monday, March 4, 2019

Bad Girl as Protagonist

Lavinia Hargraves
Masquerade
Lying,  scheming, adultery, murder, multiple marriages, and extreme dislike of children are just a few things that make a bad girl really bad.  Readers may not fall in love with protagonists that exhibit these negative characteristics, but at least there's never a dull moment with them!

In MASQUERADE: Book Two of my Unchained Trilogy series, Bad Girl Protagonist Lavinia Hargraves is the star of the show.  She's actually introduced in the first part of the trilogy, EscapeIn that story, Lori is a slave girl, and Daniel Taylor the white man who falls in love with her and helps her to escape.  Eventually, they have three children, Lavinia  being their youngest.  



Gene Tierney as Ellen Berent
Leave Her to Heaven
Lavinia, who passes as white, despises her sister, who is kind and good, and hates her mother for being black and a former slave.  At seventeen, Lavinia runs off with fifty-four year old Vernon Hargraves, only because of what he can do for her.  Although Vernon truly loves Lavinia, the feeling isn't mutual on her part.  From that storyline, it's clear to see that Lavinia isn't the nicest person around. 

What drives some bad girl protagonists to be so bad?  Sometimes, mental illness can play a role.  If Lavinia had lived today, she probably would've been diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, which, according to MayoClinic.com, "is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance and a deep need for admiration. Those with narcissistic personality disorder believe that they're superior to others and have little regard for other people's feelings. But behind this mask of ultra-confidence lies a fragile self-esteem, vulnerable to the slightest criticism."
Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O'Hara
Gone with the Wind
Lavinia's personality, combined with her actions, make for some rather interesting situations, to say the least.  Lavinia joins the ranks of other bad girls in fiction, including Ellen Berent from the 1944 novel, LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN by Ben Ames Williams.  Ellen Berent, like Lavinia, is mentally imbalanced.  As well as having some unresolved father issues, Ellen is overly jealous for the attention of her husband, Richard Harland.  She indirectly causes Richard's crippled younger brother to drown, and then, when pregnant, throws herself down the stairs to cause a miscarriage. Without a baby, she won't have to share hubby's affection.  Finally, when it becomes clear that Ellen's adoptive sister Ruth is attracted to Richard, Ellen commits suicide, making her death appear to be murder and framing Ruth for the "crime."  Unbelievable!  Oh, yeah, it's fiction... 
Undeen Spragg
The Custom of the Country
Another motivation that drives bad women is control.  Let's take a look at fiery southern belle Scarlett O'Hara, from Margaret Mitchell's 1936 novel GONE WITH THE WIND.  Scarlett's sanity is in tact, but she's a total control freak!  Scarlett is determined to marry Ashley Wilkes (the wrong man who's already betrothed to his cousin, Melanie), and after the war, driven to save her plantation, Tara.  Scarlett marries once for spite (Charles Hamilton to make Ashley jealous) and twice for money (Frank Kennedy, her sister's fiancé, and then the handsome rogue, Rhett Butler).  Scarlett eventually does fall in love with Rhett, after she's been married to him for a while.  But when she realizes this, and that a life with Ashley never would've been realistic (after numerous attempts to get him to dump Melanie, before, during and after her marriages), Rhett has had enough and leaves her.
The need for power, status and money drive some bad girls, like Undeen Spragg, the ruthless heroine from Edith Wharton's 1913 novel THE CUSTOM OF THE COUNTRY.  Undine is a social climber, who through multiple marriages and divorces, experiences the pleasure of money and aristocratic titles. Eventually, she settles on marrying someone from her hometown.  He's a millionaire, his money is new, and he's actually on her original social level.  At this point, Undeen has all that money can buy—yet she wants more.  At the end of the novel, she imagines what it would be like to be an ambassador's wife—a position she can never hold due to her divorces.
Bad girls may not endear themselves to readers, but their escapades are certain to keep the pages turning!  Who are some of your favorite bad girls in fiction? 
Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, February 25, 2019

Pinky

Racial passing is a subject matter that interests me and Pinky, a film from 1949, deals with this issue. I have never seen it, but plan to watch it this week for research purposes. Pinky is a race drama about a light-skinned black woman passing as white. For more about the film and the plot, click here

One of the controversies regarding the film was the casting of white actress Jeanne Crane to play the title role. Black actress Lena Horne had wanted the part, but having a white actress as Pinky with audience appeal and monetary pull led to the casting of Miss Crane. (In my opinion, since the actress had to be white, I would have chosen Jennifer Jones. She could have more realistically passed for black, again, just my opinion.)

Anyway, here's another interesting fact about the movie from Turner Classic Movies:

[A] major change in the production of Pinky was the director. [Director] John Ford left the film after only a week of shooting that was so traumatic [black co-star] Ethel Waters described it as a "shock treatment", with Ford's abrasive personality making her "almost have a stroke". [Producer] Zanuck was unhappy with the rushes he saw. 
Jeanne Crane
"Ford's Negroes were like Aunt Jemima caricatures. I thought we're going to get into trouble. Jack said, 'I think you'd better put someone else on it." Ford was replaced with Elia Kazan, who had made Gentleman's Agreement (1947), another racially-themed film for the studio, and earning it an Academy Award in the process. The official reason for John Ford's departure was listed as a bad case of the shingles, which Kazan later admitted was a lie. 
Lena Horne
"He pretended to have shingles. Some years later I said to Zanuck, 'Jack Ford never had shingles, did he?' And he said, 'Oh, hell, no. He just wanted to get out of it; he hated Ethel Waters and she sure as hell hated him.' Jack scared her to death and he knew she didn't want to work with him. I also think maybe he didn't like the whole project. Anyway, Zanuck wired me and asked if I'd come out. I wired back, 'I'll do it as a favor.' Firstly, I threw away whatever Ford had shot. It was poor. It showed a lack of interest and involvement. So, all the footage was mine. The only things that were not mine, which are a hell of a lot, were the script and the cast. It was the last time I ever allowed that. Jeanne Crain was a sweet girl, but she was like a Sunday school teacher. I did my best with her but she didn't have any fire. The only good thing about her face was that it went so far in the direction of no temperament that you felt Pinky was floating through all of her experiences without reacting to them, which is part of what 'passing' is." 
Jennifer Jones
Have you ever seen Pinky? If so, what did you think?

Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Originally posted 2/27/17

Monday, February 18, 2019

Claudette Colvin: Rebel With a Cause

Claudette Colvin in 1953
It's Black History Month, and one of my kids told me about a young woman in Alabama in the 1950s who refused to give up her seat on the bus before Rosa Parks. That was news to me, so here's a little about her from Wikipedia:
Claudette Colvin (b. 1939) was a pioneer of the African American Civil Rights Movement. On March 2, 1955, she was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a bus in segregated Montgomery, Alabama, nine months prior to Rosa Parks.
Colvin was among the five plaintiffs originally included in the federal court case filed by civil rights attorney Fred Gray on February 1, 1956, as Browder v. Gayle, and she testified before the three-judge panel that heard the case in the United States District Court. On June 13, 1956, the judges determined that the state and local laws requiring bus segregation in Alabama were unconstitutional. The case went to the United States Supreme Court, which upheld their ruling on December 17, 1956. Colvin was the last witness to testify. Three days later, the Supreme Court issued an order to Montgomery and the state of Alabama to end bus segregation, and the Montgomery Bus Boycott was called off.
For many years, Montgomery's black leaders did not publicize Colvin's pioneering effort because she was a teenager who was pregnant by a married man; words like "feisty", "mouthy", and "emotional" were used to describe her, while her older counterpart Rosa Parks was viewed as being calm, well-mannered, and studious. Because of the social norms of the time and her youth, the NAACP leaders worried about using her to symbolize their boycott.
Claudette Colvin said, "Young people think Rosa Parks just sat down on a bus and ended segregation, but that wasn't the case at all."
On the day Colvin was ordered from her seat by the bus driver but refused to move, here's what happened:
When Colvin refused to get up, she was thinking about a school paper she had written that day about the local custom which prevented blacks from using the dressing rooms and trying on clothes in department stores. In a later interview, she said: "We couldn't try on clothes. You had to take a brown paper bag and draw a diagram of your foot [...] and take it to the store”;and "She couldn't sit in the same row as us because that would mean we were as good as her".
"The bus was getting crowded, and I remember the bus driver looking through the rear view mirror asking her to get up for the white woman, which she didn't," said Annie Larkins Price, a classmate of Colvin's. "She had been yelling "It's my constitutional right!". She decided on that day that she wasn't going to move." Colvin was handcuffed, arrested and forcibly removed from the bus. She shouted that her constitutional rights were being violated. Price testified for Colvin in the juvenile court case. Colvin was convicted of disturbing the peace, violating the segregation law, and assault.
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Feisty, mouthy and emotional; sounds like a teenager, and what a teen she was! I had never heard of Claudette Colvin. Had you?
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Originally posted: 2/6/17