Category Archives: On This Day

Happy Birthday, Dorothy Parker: “A ‘smartcracker’ they called me, and that makes me sick and unhappy.”

Dorothy Parker, near the end of her life, speaking of the Algonquin Round Table: These were no giants. Think who was writing in those days — Lardner, Fitzgerald, Faulkner and Hemingway. Those were the real giants. The Round Table was … Continue reading

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Happy Birthday, Maureen O’Hara

Maureen O’Hara was one of those “old” movie stars whom I grew up knowing about because of the yearly showing of Miracle on 34th Street on television, as well as my absolute obsession with Parent Trap. I wanted to be … Continue reading

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On This Day: August 7, 1934: “It must always be remembered that his locale was Celtic and his season Spring.”

The US Court of Appeals judged Ulysses by James Joyce to be NOT obscene and declared that the book could be admitted into the United States. Here’s what the first American edition of that book looked like: The book came … Continue reading

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60 Years Ago Today: July 30, 1954: Elvis Steps Onstage at the Overton Park Shell

The Overton Park shell, Memphis 60 years ago, on July 5, 1954, Elvis Presley recorded “That’s All Right” at Sun Records, with Scotty Moore on guitar and Bill Black on bass. Sam Phillips hustled the 45 over to Memphis DJ … Continue reading

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Happy Bastille Day

One of the best scenes in cinema, the scene of the “dueling anthems” in Casablanca, when the crowd drowns out the German anthem with “La Marseillaise”. Gives me goosebumps every time, especially considering that most of those extras and actors … Continue reading

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60 Years Ago Today: July 5, 1954 – Elvis Presley Recorded “That’s All Right”

“That’s All Right”, what would be the first single, which went off like a bomb (at least in Memphis, although other regions of the South would follow) was recorded on July 5, 1954, by Elvis Presley, Bill Black (on bass) … Continue reading

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June 28, 1914: “But if ever a man went anywhere of his own free will, Franz Ferdinand went to Sarajevo.”

June 28, 1914: Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie – setting out in their motorcade in Sarajevo that fateful morning, as the assassins, unseen, move into position. Here are two excerpts from Rebecca West’s towering Black Lamb and Grey … Continue reading

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Happy Birthday, Errol Flynn

“He had a way of making a simple walk down a country lane into a Grand Adventure.” — Patricia Flynn, on her husband Errol’s acting ability. And, just for fun, check out three great stories from Dean Stockwell about Errol … Continue reading

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Happy Birthday, Paul Muldoon

“This work [Paul Muldoon's book 'The Annals of Chile'] gives the impression of coming clean and being clandestine at one and the same time. It is Joycean in its combination of the everyday and the erudite, but it is also … Continue reading

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“Horseman Pass By”: Happy Birthday, William Butler Yeats

William Butler Yeats was born today in 1865. Yeats is a great poet and all that, but I grew up pretty much “over” him because he was omnipresent in our household. We were made to memorize his epitaph in order … Continue reading

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