Fun Facts Friday: Mort Walker
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / September 2, 2011

Tomorrow, September 3 will be the birthday of author and cartoonist Mort Walker (September 3, 1923). Mr. Walker (website) is mostly known for creating the comic strip Beetle Bailey in 1950 as well as Hi and Lois in 1954. Mr. Walker has written several excellent books on comics history and comic art as well as children’s books. 1 ) Born Addison Morton Walker in El Dorado, KS but grew up in Kansas City, MI. 2 ) Published his first comic strip at age 11. 3 ) Sold his first cartoon at age 12. 4 ) At 15 Mr. Walker already worked as a comic=strip artist for a newspaper and was chief editorial designer at Hall Brothers by the time he was 18. 5 ) Serving in the Army during World War II, Mr. Walker was honorably discharged as a first lieutenant. 6 ) “Beetle Baily” was picked up for syndication in 1950 by King Features. 7 ) In 1954 the Army’s paper Stars & Stripes dropped the strip because “it supposedly engendered lack of respect for officers”. Subsequently and due to the large press this move received the strip was picked up by more than 100 newspapers. 8 ) In…

Fun Facts Friday: Theodore Dreiser
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / August 26, 2011

Tomorrow will be the birthday of American novelist Theodore Dreiser (August 27, 1871 – December 28, 1945). Mr. Dreiser is known for many things, among them are the situations he created which resemble nature studies more than the philosophical choice of agency. 1 ) Born Theodore Herman Albert Dreiser  in Terre Haute, Indiana and was 12 out of 13 children. 2 ) Dreiser’s first novel “Sister Carrie ” (1900) was received poorly due to moral objections at the time. Since then “Sister Carrie” has been described as the “greatest of all American urban novels”. 3 ) Dreiser’s “An American Tragedy“ (1925) was his first commercial success. 4 ) “An American Tragedy” was made into a movie 1931 and again in 1951 (called “A Place in the Sun“). 5 ) The book was critical of the American justice system and was based on a true story. 6 ) Dreiser’s work as a journalist influenced his books about “murder for money” which he considered an American disease. 7 ) His short story “My Brother Paul” was the base for the 1942 file “My Gal Sal“. 8 ) Dreiser not only talked the talk, but also walked the walk. He constantly fought censorship because he…

Fun Facts Friday: Jacqueline Susann
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / August 19, 2011

Tomorrow will be the birthday of bestselling author Jacqueline Susann (August 20, 1918 – September 21, 1974). While many people had issues with Ms. Susann’s writing skills, she did write several best sellers. 1 )      Jacqueline’s father, Robert, was a portrait painter, her mother, Rose Jans, was a school teacher. 2 )      Jacqueline was known as an intelligent, but lazy student. When Jacqueline scored 140 on her IQ test it prompted her mother to predict that she would become a good writer. 3 )      Wanting to become an actress, Jacqueline participated in seven movies or TV shows. 4 )      Jacqueline hosted a TV talk show called Jacqueline Susann’s Open Door which only lasted about two months. 5 )       “Valley of the Dolls” was rejected by several publishers before becoming a hit. 6 )      The book broke several sales records (it sold around 30 million copies). 7 )      Jacqueline made a cameo appearance as a reporter in the film “Valley of the Dolls”. 8 )      Even though she was in it, Jacqueline hated the film adaptation of her book and walked out of the premiere. 9 )      Jacqueline had three books on the bestseller list all at once. The books were…

Fun Facts Friday: Robert Southey
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / August 12, 2011

On this day in 1774 Robert Southey (12 August 1774 – 21 March 1843), England’s poet laureate from 1813 until his death in 1843, was born. While Mr. Southey seems to have been forgotten by today’s world of poetry, in his time he was widely read and admired. 1)      Southey was expelled from school for publishing an essay in the school magazine condemning corporal punishment. 2)      While in Oxford University, Southey and his friend Samuel Coleridge made plans to start a utopian society in America. 3)      Since the utopian society included only married couple Southey married Edith Fricker while Coleridge married Edith’s sister. The utopian plan never materialized and Southey left Oxford without a degree. 4)      Southey’s “Letters from England” (read for free), published under the nom de plume Don Manuel Alvarez Espriella is said to be the most accurate depiction of England in the early 19th Century that exists. 5)      Besides his poetry, Southey was praised for his biographies, including Life of Nelson (1813) (read for free), Life of Wesley and the Rise and Progress of Methodism (1820) (read for free). 6)      In 1813 Southey became England’s poet laureate with support from Sir Walter Scott. 7)      The post was…

Fun Facts Friday: Guy de Maupassant
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / August 5, 2011

Today, August 5, is the birthday of French writer Guy de Maupassant who was born in the year 1850. If you haven’t heard of Monsieur Maupassant don’t be alarmed, he wrote mostly short stories. 1)      Was born as Henri-René-Albert-Guy de Maupassant. 2)      Even though he is known for writing he started out by studying law in Paris. 3)      Monsieur Maupassant’s law studies were interrupted in 1871 when he volunteered for the army during the Franco-Prussian War. 4)      Gustave Flaubert, a good friend of Maupassant’s mother noticed Maupassant’s interest in writing and introduced  him to Emile Zola and Henry James. 5)      Zola edited a collection of stories about the war and selected Maupassant’s “Boule de Suif” (“Ball of Fat”) to be one of them. 6)      Many of his stories are set in the Franco-Prussian War. 7)      In 10 years Maupassant created an amazing body of work including six novels, 300 short stories and several non-fiction books. 8)      In a strange turn of events Maupassant’s Naturalist style influenced Zola’s writing. 9)      Maupassant contracted syphilis in his 20’s. 10)  A side effect of syphilis is insanity, Maupassant died in 1893, his 40s, in an insane asylum.   Zohar – Man of la Book…

Fun Facts Friday: Emily Brontë
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / July 29, 2011

Tomorrow, July 30 will be the birth date of Emily Brontë (30 July 1818 — 19 December 1848). While I’m not a big fan of the Brontë sisters, I certainly do appreciate their contributions to literature. 1) Emily Jane Brontë was the fifth child, or six children, born into the Brontë family. 2) Her mother died when she was two. 3) Emily went to a school for clergymen’s kids when she was six with her three older sisters. However the two oldest died due to the harsh conditions at the “school”. 4) Emily worked as a governess and a schoolteacher. 5) Emily and Charlotte went to Brussels, Belgium, I n 1842 to study school administration. 6) After Emily learned that Charlotte and Anne have also written poems, they published their first book called “Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell” (read for free). 7) The collected poems sold…two copies. 8 ) Emily’s “Wuthering Heights” was published in 1847, however did not find the instant success that Charlotte’s “Jane Eyre” (book review) did. 9) Emily died of tuberculosis a year after “Wuthering Heights” was published. 10) In 1850, “Wuthering Heights” was published in a second edition, this time however Charlotte wrote…

Fun Facts Friday: Raymond Chandler
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / July 22, 2011

Tomorrow we are celebrating the birth of two important people who each changed the world in their own unique ways. One of these people is author Raymond Chandler (July 23, 1888 – March 26, 1959), creator of the detective Philip Marlowe. 1) Raymond Chandler born in Chicago but raised in England. 2) He worked as a freelance journalist for several newspapers after college. 3) Chandler served during World War I in the Royal Flying Corps. 4) After the war Chandler moved to California. 5) In California Chandler was the director of … independent oil companies. 6) Chandler started writing at age 45 because he lost his job during the depression. 7) The pulp magazine “Black Mask” was the first to publish his stories. 8 ) Chandler’s first novel, “The Big Sleep” was published in 1939. 9) In his lifetime, Chandler only seven novels, but also wrote several screenplays. 10) William Faulkner wrote the screen play for “The Big Sleep”, in which Humphrey Bogart played Philip Marlowe. Zohar – Man of la Book Related articles Morning Bites: Raymond Chandler’s birthday, Stealing books, Frank Lloyd Wright’s gas station, and more (vol1brooklyn.com) Philip Marlowe Collection Season 1-2 / Филип Марлоу Колекция Сезон 1-2…

Fun Facts Friday: The Scarlet Pimpernel
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / July 15, 2011

“The Scarlet Pimpernel” by Baroness Emmuska Orczy is an exciting book with some great history behind it. After reading it (book review) I did some research on it and found some amazing and fun facts. 1)      Baroness Emmuska Orczy full name is Baroness Emma Magdolna Rozália Mária Jozefa Borbála  Orczy de Orczi. Emmuska, meaning “little Emma”, is a nickname and is pronounced em-moosh-ka. 2)       “The Scarlet Pimpernel” was originally written as a play which received negative reviews but popular success. 3)      The book was published after the play opened and was immediately successful. 4)      The novel was translated to at least 16 languages and been adapted to film, television and even a musical. 5)      Due to the success of her novel, Baroness Orczy wrote a whole series of books associated with “The Scarlet Pimpernel”.  The books were not written in chronological order, however for your convince  here they are in the order they might be read: The Laughing Cavalier The First Sir Percy The Scarlet Pimpernel Sir Percy Leads the Band The League of the Scarlet Pimpernel I Will Repay! The Elusive Pimpernel Eldorado Mam’zelle Guillotine Lord Tony’s Wife The Way of the Scarlet Pimpernel Sir Percy Hits Back Adventures…

Fun Facts Friday: Dr. Watson
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / July 8, 2011

Today, August 7 is the birthday of the fictional character Dr. Watson. Created by Arthur Conan Doyle, Dr. Watson became almost as famous as the protagonist, Sherlock Holmes. 1) Full name John Hamish Watson, M.D born July, 7 1852. 2) Arthur Conan Doyle, a physician by trade as well, died on July 7, 1930 3) Watson attended the University of London Medical School and worked worked at St Batholomew’s Hospital in London as a staff surgeon before joining the English Army in World War I. 4) Coming back from the War, after being wounded, he heard about someone wanting a roommate to share expenses on Baker Street. That was how he met Sherlock Holmes. 5) “Elementary, my dear Watson” is the good doctor’s famous catchphrase. However, he never actually uses that phrase in any of the books. 6) Dr. Watson is the narrator of most of the Holmes books. 7) The good doctor is not only an excellent surgeon and healer, but also described as an excellent marksman with firearms. 8 ) Doyle created Dr. Watson, an ordinary man, to contradict Holmes, the analytical, unemotional machine. 9) Dr. Watson was a precursor to many sidekicks of great fictional detectives such…

Fun Facts Friday: George Sand
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / July 1, 2011

Today is the birthday of famed author George Sand. Despite the name, Sand was a woman who had a very interesting life. Here are ten facts about her. Portrait of George Sand by Auguste Charpentier (1838) 1)      Born in France on this day in 1804 under the name Amandine-Aurore-Lucile Dupin. 2)      Sand was a descendent of Augustus II the Strong, King of Poland through her father, through illegitimate lines. 3)      Sand became Baroness Dudevant through marriage. 4)      Sand justified her cross dressing (wearing men’s clothes) by saying that they are less expensive and more comfortable than the dress of a noblewoman. 5)      Not giving a hair rat’s behind about social codes, Sand shocked Parisian society by smoking tobacco in public. 6)      Despite, or because, or her behavior, Sand was both hated and admired by writers of her time. 7)      Two years after her divorce, Sand started a love affair with famed composer Frederic Chopin. 8 )      Sand wrote several books in which she drew from her countryside childhood experiences at her grandmother’s estate. 9)      Later, Sand’s inherited the countryside estate and retired there. 10)   Sand’s autobiography is 20 volumes in length. Zohar – Man of la Book   Related articles…

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