Monday, July 15, 2024

Black OOps: A Fun Summer Mystery Series

If you're looking for a fun mystery series to enjoy at the beach, perhaps Tracy Black and her partner Adam Slade of Black Ops Detective Agency can entertain you in Cad to Cadaver and Growler to Grave

In the first Black OOps Detective Mystery, life is in the pits for ex-cop Tracy Black, the floundering founder of Black Ops Detective Agency. Tracy is black, like her name, and trying to establish herself as a private investigator in her hometown of Cincinnati after leaving behind a bad relationship and a stressful career as an FBI agent in Atlanta. 

 

Though not romantically interested in womanizing cad Dr. Terrance Jackson, Tracy reluctantly accepts his invitation to attend a medical reception. On high alert from her Terrorism Task Force days, Tracy wrongly accuses a random guest of being a terrorist. Oops! This leads to an embarrassing encounter with handsome white guy Adam Slade, security consultant and ex-navy SEAL. He thinks she’s hot, but Tracy dismisses him as a bumbling gorilla.

 

Eventually, Tracy comes to see Adam as less of a primate and more of man. And when she assists him on a lucrative out-of-state gig involving the Bosnian Mafia, Tracy realizes they make a great team–professionally and romantically!

 

Yet things take a drastic turn when Tracy is accused of Terrance Jackson’s murder. What will it take to get her off the hook? The dauntless duo  encounter one misadventure after another as they put their lives on the line  to clear Tracy’s name and find the killer who turned Dr. Jackson from cad to cadaver!  


Ex-FBI agent Tracy Black and ex-Navy SEAL Adam Slade are back in Growler to Grave, the second in the Black OOps Detective series!  This stand-alone sequel to Cad to Cadaver finds partners Tracy and Adam embroiled in another zany rom/com mystery. Adam, a man of few words, and Tracy, a woman of many, are arguably a match made in Heaven.

 

Catching brewmeister Blake Geist’s cheating spouse isn’t the most desirable job for these audacious private detectives, but money’s tight. Tracy is no nature girl, but that doesn’t stop this daring duo from following trophy wife Denise Geist and her bodybuilding lover Johann Becker deep into the woods in Kentucky’s Red River Gorge. Tracy’s scrabble up the crook of an ash tree provides the proof of infidelity. Yay!  Tracy’s fall from the tree onto Adam lands him with a concussion. Oops!

 

After the private eyes are swindled out of payment by cheapskate Blake, the brewmeister’s subsequent murder arouses police suspicion of the Black Ops duo. As bodies pile up, evidence mounts against Adam, whose mysterious disappearances and lack of an alibi trigger Tracy’s trust issues. Would a head injury lead him to commit murder? Tracy must find the killer to prove Adam’s innocence. Will she be able to crack the case? Will Tracy and Adam's relationship survive? Or is their partnership doomed to a "grave" demise?


Do you enjoy mysteries? Thanks for visiting and have a great week! 

Monday, July 8, 2024

Writing Tips to Make Writing Easier


Love to write? Are you just starting out? Maybe you've written several books. No matter where you are in your writing journey, you never stop learning. And Grammarly is a wonderful place to find lots of helpful information. 

Today I've posted a brief snippet of an article by Karen Hertzberg entitled "30 Writing Tips to Make Writing Easier."

Take a look at first seven and click here for the entire article. Happy Writing!

 Set writing goals.

Maybe you want to write a certain number of words per day or upgrade your vocabulary. You can’t reach a goal unless you have one, so write that goal down and work toward it.

Write in the morning.

For many people, writing comes easier right after a good night’s sleep. Grammarly’s research also shows early birds make fewer writing mistakes. (No matter when you write, Grammarly has your back. Try Grammarly to get more writing tips to help keep you on track.)

Write daily.

Getting started on a big writing project can feel intimidating if you’re not used to the act of writing. Practice this skill daily—whether a short sentence or full paragraph—to get accustomed to the mental and physical concept of writing.

Get inspired by research.

Before you begin writing, do some reconnaissance reading. Take notes as you read up on your subject material. Ideas will form as you research.

Always carry a notebook and pen.

Inspiration can hit you at any time. Don’t leave a gripping pitch for a client, poetic sentence, or catchy project name to your memory. Write it down in a dedicated notebook, or create a note file on your smartphone. 

Experiment with writing prompts.

One of the best writing tips for aspiring writers is using a prompt. You can find endless writing prompts online that are suited for all types of genres. Pick one that stimulates your imagination and encourages you to get creative.

Outline.

If you often find yourself rambling on without a clear structure, start with an outline. Follow this simple, no-fail outlining process to organize yourself from the start.

Find all 30 tips here.

Do you use Grammarly? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Happy Fourth of July!

Way back in the dark ages, 1972, to be exact, when the United States was getting ready celebrate its Bicentennial Anniversary in 1976, a movie was released celebrating our country's independence. That movie was the musical1776, and I LOVED it!

Never heard of it? Wikipedia says: 1776 is a 1972 American historical musical comedy drama film directed by Peter H. Hunt and written by Peter Stone, based on his book for the 1969 Broadway musical of the same name, with music and lyrics by Sherman Edwards. Set in Philadelphia in the summer of 1776, it is a fictionalized account of the events leading up to the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The film stars William DanielsHoward da SilvaDonald MaddenJohn CullumKen Howard and Blythe Danner.

Portions of dialogue and some lyrics were taken directly from the letters and memoirs of the actual participants of the Second Continental Congress. 

For a synopsis, click here.

I was in fifth grade when my mom took me to see it. It was educational as well as entertaining! I loved it so much, my dad took me to see it again. That was in the days before VCRs, so when it was gone from the theaters, it was gone. But I did buy the album! That was the closest thing to seeing the movie again and again. I never saw it on TV, but I never forgot about the exciting experience of seeing this part of our history brought to life on the screen!

Well, silly me. When my kids were in junior high and middle school, I found DVD of 1776 at the library. So cool! I thought they'd enjoy watching it.  After all, I was in middle school when I saw it, but I also loved history; my kids not so much. Needless to say, they fell asleep. My husband was so-so about it since he's not a fan of musicals, but I loved it just as much as I did when I was a little kid! 

If you enjoy musicals and love history, I highly recommend watching 1776! It'll be a great way to spend some of your July 4th weekend!

By the way, Happy Fourth of July! Have you seen 1776? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Band of Angels

I happened to read about this movie while doing a little research and thought it sounded interesting. I love historical interracial love stories, and this one is based on a novel of the same name by Robert Penn Warren. This is TMC's synopsis of Band of Angels, produced in 1957 and starring Clak Gable, Yvonne De Carlo and Sidney Poitier.

In antebellum Kentucky, the beautiful Amantha "Manty" Starr arrives home from finishing school in Cincinnati just after the death of her father, kindly plantation owner Aaron Starr. During the funeral, it is revealed that Manty's mother, who had died years before, was one of Starr's slaves and that Manty, now considered chattel of the estate, is to be sold by a slave trader to whom Starr had been deeply in debt.

At a slave auction in New Orleans, a wealthy gentleman named Hamish Bond pays a huge sum for Manty, intending to treat her as a lady in his household. Because she assumes she is to be a kept woman, however, she rebuffs his offer of friendship. Michele, the head housekeeper, who is herself in love with Hamish, secretly gives Manty a ticket to Cincinnati, but Rau-Ru, an educated slave who helps Hamish manage his business affairs, prevents Manty from boarding the boat. 

Later Hamish confesses that he is tormented by his past, and Manty, who now sees another side of Hamish, kisses him. The next morning,
Hamish takes Manty to his largest plantation and offers to free her. She hesitates but decides to remain with Hamish. Soon afterward, Hamish learns that war has been declared. While he visits another of his plantations, Manty accepts the attentions of his wealthy white neighbor, Charles de Marigny, which leads Rau-Ru to accuse her of betraying her people by attempting to live as a white woman. When de Marigny attacks Manty, however, Rau-Ru strikes him, and subsequently is forced to run away to the North. There he becomes a Union soldier under the command of Seth Parton, a self-righteous minister who had courted Manty when she was at finishing school. 

Hamish returns to the plantation and, in defiance of Union general Benjamin Butler's order, sets his own crops ablaze in order to keep them out of Yankee hands. As his fields burn, Hamish confesses to Manty that in his younger days, he had been a ruthless slave trader. With some reluctance, Manty leaves Hamish to begin a new life in New Orleans, and there she encounters Parton, who threatens to tell her new sweetheart, Ethan Sears, that she is black unless she makes love to him. Horrified, Manty returns to Hamish's New Orleans home, where she learns that he is on the run for burning his crops. 

Rau-Ru, who despises Hamish for having treated him with kindness, which he calls, "the worst kind of bondage," discovers where his old master is hiding and holds him at gunpoint. When Hamish tells Rau-Ru that he rescued him from a slave trader's bullet when he was an infant, however, Rau-Ru decides to let Hamish go. At that moment, Union troops arrive and Rau-Ru, while loudly proclaiming that he has captured Hamish, quietly slips his former owner the handcuff keys. Hamish escapes from the Union soldiers as Rau-Ru leads Manty to the cove where Hamish plans to rendezvous with an old seafaring friend. Bidding farewell to Rau-Ru, Hamish and Manty embrace and then board the boat that will take them to safety.

Ever seen it? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!  

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

20 Writing Tips From Fiction Authors

  


For all the writers out there--published, aspiring and everything in between--here's a great article from iUniverse that I thought would be worth sharing!

Writing success boils down to hard work, imagination and passion—and then some more hard work. iUniverse Publishing fires up your creative spirit with 20 writing tips from 12 bestselling fiction authors.

Use these tips as an inspirational guide—or better yet, print a copy to put on your desk, home office, refrigerator door, or somewhere else noticeable so you can be constantly reminded not to let your story ideas wither away by putting off your writing.

Tip1: "My first rule was given to me by TH White, author of The Sword in the Stone and other Arthurian fantasies and was: Read. Read everything you can lay hands on. I always advise people who want to write a fantasy or science fiction or romance to stop reading everything in those genres and start reading everything else from Bunyan to Byatt." — Michael Moorcock

Tip 2: "Protect the time and space in which you write. Keep everybody away from it, even the people who are most important to you." — Zadie Smith

Tip 3: "Introduce your main characters and themes in the first third of your novel. If you are writing a plot-driven genre novel make sure all your major themes/plot elements are introduced in the first third, which you can call the introduction. Develop your themes and characters in your second third, the development. Resolve your themes, mysteries and so on in the final third, the resolution." — Michael Moorcock

Tip 4: "In the planning stage of a book, don't plan the ending. It has to be earned by all that will go before it." — Rose Tremain

Tip 5: "Always carry a note-book. And I mean always. The short-term memory only retains information for three minutes; unless it is committed to paper you can lose an idea for ever." — Will Self

Tip 6: "It's doubtful that anyone with an internet connection at his workplace is writing good fiction." — Jonathan Franzen
"Work on a computer that is disconnected from the internet." — Zadie Smith

Tip 7: "Interesting verbs are seldom very interesting." — Jonathan Franzen

Tip 8: "Read it aloud to yourself because that's the only way to be sure the rhythms of the sentences are OK (prose rhythms are too complex and subtle to be thought out—they can be got right only by ear)." — Diana Athill

Tip 9: "Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass." – Anton Chekhov

Tip 10: "Listen to the criticisms and preferences of your trusted 'first readers.'" — Rose Tremain

Tip 11: "Fiction that isn't an author's personal adventure into the frightening or the unknown isn't worth writing for anything but money." — Jonathan Franzen

Tip 12: "Don't panic. Midway through writing a novel, I have regularly experienced moments of bowel-curdling terror, as I contemplate the drivel on the screen before me and see beyond it, in quick succession, the derisive reviews, the friends' embarrassment, the failing career, the dwindling income, the repossessed house, the divorce . . . Working doggedly on through crises like these, however, has always got me there in the end. Leaving the desk for a while can help. Talking the problem through can help me recall what I was trying to achieve before I got stuck. Going for a long walk almost always gets me thinking about my manuscript in a slightly new way. And if all else fails, there's prayer. St Francis de Sales, the patron saint of writers, has often helped me out in a crisis. If you want to spread your net more widely, you could try appealing to Calliope, the muse of epic poetry, too." — Sarah Waters

Tip 13: "The writing life is essentially one of solitary confinement – if you can't deal with this you needn't apply." — Will Self

Tip 14: "Be your own editor/critic. Sympathetic but merciless!" — Joyce Carol Oates

Tip 15: "The reader is a friend, not an adversary, not a spectator." — Jonathan Franzen

Tip 16: "Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose. If you have the knack of playing with exclaimers the way Tom Wolfe does, you can throw them in by the handful." —Elmore Leonard

Tip 17: "Remember: when people tell you something's wrong or doesn't work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong." — Neil Gaiman

Tip 18: "You know that sickening feeling of inadequacy and over-exposure you feel when you look upon your own empurpled prose? Relax into the awareness that this ghastly sensation will never, ever leave you, no matter how successful and publicly lauded you become. It is intrinsic to the real business of writing and should be cherished." — Will Self

Tip 19: "The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you're allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it's definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it honestly, and tell it as best you can. I'm not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter." — Neil Gaiman

Tip 20: "The nearest I have to a rule is a Post-it on the wall in front of my desk saying ‘Faire et se taire’ (Flaubert), which I translate for myself as ‘Shut up and get on with it.’" — Helen Simpson

Even famous authors sometimes have a tough time with writing; they also go through periods of self-doubt. Despite this, they always manage to come up with the goods. So take a lesson from them and stop putting off your writing plans and get started on your publishing journey today.

There has never been a better time than now to realize your dream of becoming a published author. Let your voice be heard and let your story be told. Never let your passion for writing wane. 

I think all of these tips are wonderful, but 4, 5 and 9 are my favorites. Which of these do you like best? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, June 10, 2024

Happy Birthday, Hattie McDaniel!

Today would have been Hattie McDaniel's 131st birthday. She died back in 1952, but she was born on June 10, 1893. Hattie McDaniel starred in one of my favorite movies, 1939's Gone With the Wind. Although this movie is a favorite of many, it is not without controversy. And, Ms. McDaniel, the daughter of former slaves, found herself in the thick of it.

If you are not familiar with Hattie McDaniel, here are some highlights from Wikipedia:

Hattie McDaniel was an American actress, singer-songwriter, and comedienne. For her role as Mammy in Gone with the Wind (1939), she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, becoming the first African American to win an Oscar

The competition to win the part of Mammy in Gone with the Wind was almost as fierce as that for Scarlett O'Hara. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt wrote to film producer David O. Selznick to ask that her own maid, Elizabeth McDuffie, be given the part. McDaniel did not think she would be chosen, because she had earned her reputation as a comic actress. One source claimed that Clark Gable recommended that the role be given to McDaniel; in any case, she went to her audition dressed in an authentic maid's uniform and won the part.

Loew's Grand Theater on Peachtree Street in Atlanta was selected by the studio as the site for the Friday, December 15, 1939, premiere of Gone with the Wind. Studio head David O. Selznick asked that McDaniel be permitted to attend, but MGM advised him not to, because of Georgia's segregation laws. Clark Gable threatened to boycott the Atlanta premiere unless McDaniel were allowed to attend, but McDaniel convinced him to attend anyway.

Most of Atlanta's 300,000 citizens crowded the route of the seven-mile (11 km) motorcade that carried the film's other stars and executives from the airport to the Georgian Terrace Hotel, where they stayed. While Jim Crow laws kept McDaniel from the Atlanta premiere, she did attend the film's Hollywood debut on December 28, 1939. Upon Selznick's insistence, her picture was also featured prominently in the program.

For her performance as the house servant who repeatedly scolds her owner's daughter, Scarlett O'Hara (Vivien Leigh), and scoffs at Rhett Butler (Clark Gable), McDaniel won the 1939 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, the first Black actor to have been nominated and win an Oscar. "I loved Mammy", McDaniel said when speaking to the white press about the character. "I think I understood her because my own grandmother worked on a plantation not unlike Tara". Her role in Gone with the Wind had alarmed some whites in the South; there were complaints that in the film she had been too "familiar" with her white owners.

While many Black people were happy over McDaniel's personal victory, they also viewed it as bittersweet. They believed Gone With the Wind celebrated the slave system and condemned the forces that destroyed it. For them, the unique accolade McDaniel had won suggested that only those who did not protest Hollywood's systemic use of racial stereotypes could find work and success there.

Ms. McDaniel received criticism from the black community during her lifetime for playing maids, but she said she 'd rather play a maid for $700 a week, than be one for $7 a week.  

The 12th Academy Awards took place at Coconut Grove Restaurant of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. It was preceded by a banquet in the same room. 

McDaniel received a plaque-style Oscar, approximately 5.5 in (14 cm) by 6 in (15 cm), the type awarded to all Best Supporting Actors and Actresses at that time. She and her escort were required to sit at a segregated table for two at the far wall of the room; her white agent, William Meiklejohn, sat at the same table. The hotel had a strict no-Blacks policy but allowed McDaniel in as a favor. The discrimination continued after the award ceremony as well; her white co-stars went to a "no-Blacks" club, where McDaniel was also denied entry.

For more information on the life of Hattie McDaniel, click here.

Despite the various controversies, Ms. McDaniel's outstanding performance as Mammy will never be forgotten!

Have you ever seen Gone With the Wind? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, June 3, 2024

Love Against the Odds

A few years ago, my friend Lisa recommended three movies that she knew I'd enjoy, all from different time periods. Two dealt with interracial love (one of my favorite topics), while the third was a May/December romance. 

Here's a brief summary of each film from IMDb:

All That Heaven Allows (1955): An upper-class widow falls in love with a much younger, down-to-earth nurseryman, much to the disapproval of her children and criticism of her country club peers.

Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974)A lonely widow meets a much younger Arab worker in a bar during a rainstorm. They fall in love, to their own surprise-and to the outright shock of their families, colleagues, and drinking buddies.

Far From Heaven (2002): In 1950s Connecticut, a housewife faces a marital crisis and mounting racial tensions in the outside world.

I don't claim to be a movie reviewer, but I'll share my thoughts regarding each film. My favorite was the sappy melodrama All That Heaven Allows. Why? Because it had a happy ending!


All That Heaven Allows
 focused on socio-economic status and an older woman younger man relationship. I loved how the main character Carrie's detached/clinical social worker daughter couldn't handle the situation. Her WASP son wasn't any better. Ron, the love interest was a novelty to Carrie at first (a nice set of muscles, as her son said), and she was willing to let him go to keep her children's approval (and maybe that precious social status, too). But love conquered that in the end and they became equals who'd live a non-snobbish lifestyle. The doctor character was a voice of reason and support for Carrie, so that was refreshing.

Ali:Fear Eats the Soul was fascinating. It was interesting to see how the issue racism and ethnicity was addressed in Europe at that time. Also, the relationship of a much, much older (and not very attractive) woman and a younger man was intriguing. When the main character Emmi falls in love with Ali, she loses everything. It's even mentioned that she's not really even German because she has a Polish last name. Her children, neighbors, and workmates offer her no support and are quite cruel. Though this is difficult for Emmi, Ali is too important to her and she won't end their relationship. 

After they return from a long vacation, Emmi is accepted back by her community because of what she can (monetarily) offer. She even participates in alienating a new co-worker from Yugoslavia. With her place restored, she wants to change Ali, perhaps assimilate him. At this point, he seems like more of a possession (and a nice set of muscles), and not an equal. He eventually becomes an equal in their relationship, but that doesn't happen until after she drives him into another woman's arms. Though I was happy Emmi and Ali reunited, I was saddened when she told him he had her permission to stray. The stomach ulcer told Ali's story. The discrimination and rejection he faced ate away at his soul. The landlord's son was supportive of their relationship early on, so that was nice to see.

Far From Heaven
 (inspired by the other two movies mentioned above) was a really hard hitting film! No age issue, just Yankee racism. NO happy ending here or even a supportive character, aside from perhaps the maid. This movie portrayed the ultimate relationship (black man/white woman) where no lines could be crossed in 1950s America! 

Frank, the gay husband, is a fascinating angle. And when he hears talk of his wife, Cathy, being seen with a black man, he blows quite the gasket! He'd worked so hard at establishing the perfect life for his family (and hiding his gay affairs) and she was destined to destroy all he'd accomplished. Cathy has to lie about her excursion with Raymond, her black gardener. And though nothing transpires between them, when she does open up to her best friend, Eleanor, about her feelings of just thinking about him, Eleanor drops her as a friend. 

Raymond seems to be a secret desire, one left hidden and best not discussed. He is a fantasy, something Cathy longs for, but knows she can never have. And knowing he feels the same and desires her makes it all the more heart-wrenching, especially after watching her live with an alcoholic husband who doesn't really love or desire her. The ending is sad, but realistic.  

Have you seen any of these movies? If so, do you have any thoughts to share? Thanks for visiting and have a great week! 

Monday, May 27, 2024

Happy Memorial Day!




I'm taking a day off from blogging today. Enjoy the holiday and remember to honor those who have served our country!

Monday, May 20, 2024

Janet Leigh: Beautiful Discovery

Beautiful actress Janet leigh starred in three of the most iconic motion pictures of all time: Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960), John Frankenheimer's The Manchurian Candidate (1962) and Orson Welles' Touch of Evil (1958).

That's quite a resume! And with no acting experience, Janet Leigh's story is like a fairy tale. She was a pretty face that was discovered. Here's her story from Wikipedia:

In February 1946, actress Norma Shearer was vacationing at Sugar Bowl, a ski resort in the Sierra Nevada mountains where Leigh's parents were working at the time. In the resort lobby, Shearer noticed a photograph of Leigh taken by her father over the Christmas holiday, which he had printed and placed in a photo album available for guests to browse.

Upon returning to Los Angeles, Shearer showed Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) talent agent Lew Wasserman the photograph of the then-eighteen-year-old Leigh (Shearer's late husband Irving Thalberg had been head of production at MGM). She would later recall that "that smile made it the most fascinating face I had seen in years. I felt I had to show that face to somebody at the studio." 

Through her association with MGM, Shearer was able to facilitate screen tests for Leigh with Selena Royle, after which Wasserman negotiated a contract for her, despite her having no acting experience. Leigh dropped out of college that year, and was soon placed under the tutelage of drama coach Lillian Burns.

And the rest is history! To read more about Janet Leigh, click here. My favorite Janet Leigh movie is Touch of Evil. Do you have a favorite hanet Leigh movie? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, May 13, 2024

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.

Yesterday was Mother's Day and I enjoyed spending time with my mother, as I'm sure most of us did who are still fortunate enough to have our mothers. 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! 

Monday, May 6, 2024

Barbara Bilingsley: Real Mom vs. TV Mom

Mother's Day is Sunday, so today I thought I'd republish a post about Barbara Billingsley. If you're not familiar with that name, she's the actress best known as June Cleaver, one of the world's greatest TV moms from the sitcom Leave it to Beaver.

While playing a mom on TV, she was also a mom of two boys in real life, so here's some interesting trivia about that, courtesy of Wikipedia.:

"She was the ideal mother," Billingsley said of her character in 1997 in TV Guide. "Some people think she was weakish, but I don't. She was the love in that family. She set a good example for what a wife could be. I had two boys at home when I did the show. I think the character became kind of like me and vice versa. I've never known where one started and where one stopped." As for the idealized TV family on Leave It to Beaver, which continues in reruns on cable more than half a century after its debut, Billingsley had her own explanation for the Cleavers' enduring appeal. "Good grief," she told TV Guide, "I think everybody would like a family like that. Wouldn't it be nice if you came home from school and there was Mom standing there with her little apron and cookies waiting?"

Billingsley, however, questioned her character's reactions to the Cleaver children's misbehavior, basing her concern on personal experience as the mother of two sons. As the co-producer Joseph Connelly explained, "In scenes where she's mad at the boys, she's always coming over to us with the script and objecting. 'I don't see why June is so mad over what Beaver's done. I certainly wouldn't be.' As a result, many of Beaver's crimes have been rewritten into something really heinous like lying about them, in order to give his mother a strong motive for blowing her lady-like stack."

I watched reruns of Leave it to Beaver while growing up and thought she was a great mom. My mom was and is still a great mom, but she never wore pearls and heels while doing housework! Did yours?

Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, April 29, 2024

Star Wars Day: May the 4th Be With You

When my second son was born on May 4, 2001, I had no idea he was born on what was known as Star Wars Day, May the 4th Be With You. I didn't even know such a thing existed until he was in high school and happened to mention it. 

This coming Saturday is May 4th and my son's 23rd birthday, even though it seems like he was just born yesterday.

If you're like me and knew nothing about Star Wars Day, here's an article you might find interesting from Starwars.com., "May the 4th Be With You: A Cultural History," by Lucas Seastrom.

The earliest uses of the phrase “May the 4th Be With You” that we have evidence for date from 1978, one year after the release of Star Wars: A New Hope. By then, Star Wars was firmly established within American popular culture and became “like a handshake,” as Professor Leo Braudy would later comment in the documentary, Empire of Dreams. That summer of ’78, clever newspaper writers used the phrase as a gimmick to mark Independence Day celebrations on the Fourth of July. “May the Force be with you,” as heard in A New Hope, had been appearing on licensed (and unlicensed) buttons, posters, and various items for months, enough to convince those writers that the joke would be well-received by their readers.

Star Wars at Grauman's Chinese Theater

English-speaking audiences in the United Kingdom were familiar with it as well. It was on May 4, 1979, that the first known instance of “May the 4th Be With You” being used to mark the earlier date took place. Britain’s new prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, happened to assume office that day, and another clever newspaper writer for The London Evening News declared in a full-page ad: “May the Fourth Be With You, Maggie. Congratulations!” (Coincidentally, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back was in production at nearby Elstree Studios at the same time, and issues of the Evening News could have appeared in Lucasfilm’s offices.)

Another lesser-known instance came from within Lucasfilm in 1982. Randy Thom, who today is the director of sound design at Skywalker Sound and has been with the company for over 40 years, worked as a location sound recordist on Revenge of the Jedi (its title, of course, was later changed, and at the time of production it was known under the codename Blue Harvest).

Thom joined the production unit in northern California as they shot in the redwood forest doubling for the moon of Endor. May 4, 1982, happened to be a working day, and Thom recalled thinking of the pun on his own when contemplating the date. He shared it with others on the set, and would continue to write an annual message to the company declaring “May the 4th Be With You” for years to come.

A May the 4th poster wirth Yoda promoting the holiday and Episode III

In ensuing years, evidence for use of the phrase in public or private is hazy. As recently as 2005, it was used once again in context with the American Fourth of July holiday. Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith had been released weeks earlier, and a marketing push to bring audiences back to theaters inspired a unique newspaper ad sporting Yoda, a background of red-white-and-blue fireworks, and “May the Fourth Be With You” (the ad was later made into a poster sold at StarWars.com).

As the laughable pun continued to circulate underground, an unofficial holiday emerged. Star Wars fans chose the day to hold themed parties or host community events and gatherings. Others simply used it as a time to revisit the films. It was not unlike other ways fans exercised their passion throughout the year, such as the popular “Blow Up the Death Star” watch-parties on New Year’s Eve. This point is essential because Lucasfilm cannot take credit for Star Wars Day. That belongs to the fans, along with the irresistible attraction of using the phrase to evoke laughter (or even an eye-roll) from bemused friends, relatives, colleagues, or even strangers on the street!

For the complete article, click here. Are you a Star Wars fan? If so, do you celebrate Star Wars Day? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!