Monday, November 22, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Take time to be thankful for all of your blessings, love on your family and friends, and enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner! I'm off from blogging this week but will be back next Monday. 

Monday, November 15, 2021

Aliens and Race Relations

There's been a lot of talk lately about UFOs and extraterrestrials, so today I thought I'd republish a post from a few years back.

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!

Monday, November 8, 2021

The Sad Life of Audrey Munson


Audrey Munson
I'm a history buff and I love research, so whenever I read something interesting in a novel that's based on fact, I enjoy looking it up so I can read more.

Today I'm recycling a post from a few years back that I wrote after learning about Audrey Munson. She's mentioned in Linda Fairstein's Hell Gate, a novel filled with all kinds of New York City history and trivia.

The tragic life of this model and silent screen actress intrigued me, so I had to do a little research on my own to satisfy my curiosity.

Audrey Munson (June 8, 1891 – February 20, 1996) rose to fame prior to World War I.  She was  known as "Miss Manhattan," "the Exposition Girl," and "American Venus." She was the model or inspiration for more than 15 statues in New York City.

Fountain of the Setting Sun
Ms. Munson, who posed nude and clothed, was eventually involved in a scandal. While Munson lived in a rooming house, the married owner of the house fell in love with her.  To be with Muson, he killed his wife.  Munson was never interested in this man, who was eventually convicted of murder, but the scandal ruined her career.

Munson began suffering from schizophrenia, and at age 39 was committed to a mental institution.  She remained there for the rest of her life, dying at age 104.

As many monuments and statues that Audrey Munson posed for, it's ironic that she herself, is buried in an unmarked grave.

Do you have some interesting trivia you'd like to share that you've found in fiction?

Monday, November 1, 2021

Lost Boundaries

With the release of Rebecca Hall's motion picture Passing, the subject of passing is now in the limelight. If you are unfamiliar with he term, passing is a process by which an individual crosses over from one culture or community into another undetected

When I was doing research on my novel Revelation, which deals with this painful topic, I stumbled upon the movie Lost Boundaries.  This motion  picture is based on the book by William Lindsay White that tells the true story of Dr. Albert Chandler Johnston, a graduate of Rush Medical College. Johnston's family passed for white while living in New Hampshire. In the movie, Mel Ferrer plays Johnston's character as Scott Carter. A brief synopsis from FilmGordon follows below:
[After graduating] from medical school, Scott Carter, a fair-skinned African American, marries Marsha Mitchell and moves to Georgia. When he arrives at the black clinic in Georgia, he discovers that the job must inconveniently go to a Southerner. Discussions between two nurses at this clinic suggest that Scott’s light skin may have some bearing on the decision not to hire him.  
Defeated but not conquered, Scott returns to Massachusetts to live with his in-laws until he can get employment. He tries unsuccessfully to obtain employment as an African American. Because Marsha is pregnant, Scott decides to take a job at Portsmouth Hospital, but he reluctantly does so as a white man. While there, he manages to save the life of Dr. Bracket, who encourages him to take a postion in Keenham, New Hampshire.  
Scott decides to continue “passing” for white. In Keenham, Dr. Scott Carter proves to be quite a success for the town. For twenty years, Dr. and Mrs. Carter live peacefully in Keenham with son, Howard and daughter, Shelley. All
goes well until Scott and Howard decide to enter the military during World War II. When Scott applies for officer status with the Navy, an investigation reveals his black heritage, and he is barred from receiving a commission.

I'll be ordering a copy of the film and the book to help with my continuing research. Click here for more on Dr. Johnston.

This is a fascinating story I wasn't familiar with. Were you? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, October 25, 2021

Francine Everett

My Goodreads friend Damon Evans knows I love old movies and asked if I'd ever heard of the African American actress Francine Everett. I had not. So thank you, Damon, for bringing her to my attention. She was a knockout and refused to be cast in racially demeaning roles as domestics in Hollywood films of the 1930s and and '40s. Instead, she was a star of Race Films, films made by black studios that catered to black audiences. Here's more from Wikipedia:

She was born Franciene Williamson in Louisburg, North Carolina in 1915, and her father Noah was a tailor. She married Booker Everett in 1933 when she was 18. This marriage was dissolved, and she later married actor Rex Ingram. They divorced three years later in 1939. She studied and acted with the Federal Theater in Harlem, which was sponsored by the Works Progress Administration.

Among Everett's starring roles were the films Paradise in Harlem (1939), Keep Punching (1939) co-starring Canada Lee and Dooley Wilson, Big Timers (1945) co-starring Moms Mabley and Stepin Fetchit, Tall, Tan and Terrific (1946) with Mantan Moreland and Dots Johnson, and Dirty Gertie from Harlem U.S.A. (1946), directed by Spencer Williams.

Everett appeared as a singer in more than 50 short musical films that were produced in the 1940s, notably Ebony Parade (1947), which co-starred Dorothy Dandridge, Cab Calloway and the Count Basie band. She also worked as a model in print advertisements for clothing and cosmetics.
Everett's association with Hollywood was brief and desultory. She first arrived in Hollywood in the mid-1930s with husband Rex Ingram, but refused to accept racially demeaning stereotypical roles. After starring in Dirty Gertie from Harlem U.S.A., she had bit parts in two Hollywood films: Lost Boundaries (1949) and Sidney Poitier's first film, No Way Out (1950).

At the height of her career, Everett was dubbed "the most beautiful woman in Harlem" by columnist Billy Rowe in The Amsterdam News, a black-owned newspaper in New York City. Looking back at her career, filmmaker William Greaves commented: "She would have been a superstar in Hollywood were it not for the apartheid climate in America and the movie industry at the time."

To find out more about Francine Everett, click here. To see her perform, check out Dirty Gertie From Harlem USA and "If This Isn't Love."

Had you ever heard of Francine Everett? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!