I stumbled across this while looking at Burbank railroad websites: What happens to a fifteen year-old who derails a train? (Scroll to bottom.)
Last night I watched an amusing little comedy from 1935: Ruggles of Red Gap. Is there such thing as a bad Charles Laughton film, I wonder? One of the highlights is Laughton's impressive reading of the Gettysburg Address, delivered with gentleness and not portentousness, which is usually the case.
This film also starred a seriously undervalued actress from the old days, ZaSu Pitts. (ZaSu? Her mother's two sisters, Eliza and Susan, both wanted the baby named after them. Her mother didn't want to disappoint either of them, so she formed the name from the last two letters of Eliza and the first two letters of Susan.)
A good page about her is here; it is worth reading. I saw Erich Von Stroheim's "Greed" from 1924 - Pitts was sensational. It totally blew me away that an actress I knew as a comedienne and from character parts could do tragedy so convincingly. In a silent film! But then, Stroheim called her "the greatest tragedienne of the screen." He may have been right...
By the way, even if you've never seen her in anything, you have. Think of Shelly Duvall's mannerisms in "Popeye" (1980). They were patterned after the animated Olive Oyl - who was patterned after ZaSu Pitts fluttery comedy persona. She's the archetype.
I am now reading a book from 1901 entitled "A Day with a Tramp and Other Days" by Walter Augustus Wyckoff. The author was a student in 1893. To satisfy his intellectual curiosity about the hobo class, he bummed rides on freight trains and begged his way across the country. It's a brisk work, if a little stilted and dated in language. No good excerpts for you that I see yet, and no traumatic amputations.
It's one of those Google books... remember when they announced that they planned to start digitizing and making available millions of books whose copyrights have lapsed? By last November they had reached the seven million number!
If I told you that there were language issues with this effort, could you guess how and from what source? From wikipedia: "Some European politicians and intellectuals have criticized Google's effort on "language-imperialism" grounds, arguing that because the vast majority of books proposed to be scanned are in English, it will result in disproportionate representation of natural languages in the digital world... Among these critics is Jean-Noël Jeanneney, the former president of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France."
Ah, yes, the French, striving mightily to assert that French is more important than English. Good luck on that one, guys.
Al Qaeda Sleeper Agent Pleads Guilty to Terror Charges - I say we move him from Peoria to the South, wear men wear similar mullets, for sentencing. Somewhere eager to sentence a terrorist - like Texas. Or Virginia.
Have a great weekend!
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