Monthly Archives: May 2014

Norma Jean

‘Marilyn Monroe’ born in (1926) was an actress, model, and singer, who became a major sex symbol, starring in a number of commercially successful motion pictures during the (1950) and early (1960). ‘Monroe’ began a career as a model, which led to a film contract in (1946) with ‘Twentieth Century-Fox’.

‘Norma Jeane’ became one of ‘Blue Book’ most successful models; she appeared on dozens of magazine covers. Her successful modeling career brought her to the attention of ‘Ben Lyon’, a ’20th Century Fox’ executive, who arranged a screen test for her. ‘Lyon’ was impressed and commented, “It’s Jean Harlow all over again.” During her first few months at ’20th Century Fox’, ‘Monroe’ had no speaking roles in any films but, alongside other new contract players, took singing, dancing and other classes.

In (1947), ‘Monroe’ had been released from her contract with ’20th Century Fox’. She then met with ‘Hollywood’ pin-up photographer ‘Bruno Bernard’, who photographed her at the ‘Racquet Club of Palm Springs’; and it was at the ‘Racquet Club’ where she met ‘Hollywood’ talent agent ‘Johnny Hyde’. ‘Monroe’ signed in (1948) a six-month contract with ‘Columbia Pictures’ and was introduced to the studio head drama coach ‘Natasha Lytess’, who became her acting coach for several years.

‘Monroe’ faced in March (1952) a possible scandal when two of her nude photos from her (1949) session with photographer ‘Tom Kelley’ were featured on calendars. The press speculated about the identity of the anonymous model and commented that she closely resembled ‘Monroe’. As the studio discussed how to deal with the problem, ‘Monroe’ suggested that she should simply admit that she had posed for the photographs but emphasize that she had done so only because she had no money to pay her rent. She gave an interview in which she discussed the circumstances that led to her posing for the photographs, and the resulting publicity elicited a degree of sympathy for her plight as a struggling actress.

Of these photographs was published in the first issue of ‘Playboy’ in December (1953), making ‘Marilyn’ the first ‘Playmate’ of the Month. ‘Playboy’ editor ‘Hugh Hefner’ chose what he deemed the “sexiest” image, a previously unused nude study of ‘Marilyn’ stretched with an upraised arm on a red velvet background from (1949). The heavy promotion centered around ‘Marilyn’ nudity on the already famous calendar, together with the tease marketing, made the new ‘Playboy’ magazine a success.

Jones Fantasy

‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom’ is a (1984) adventure film directed by ‘Steven Spielberg’.

Producer and co-writer ‘George Lucas’ decided to make the film a prequel as he did not want the ‘Nazis’ to be the villains again. After three rejected plot devices, ‘Lucas’ wrote a film treatment that resembled the film final storyline.

The film was released to financial success but mixed reviews, which criticized its violence, later contributing to the creation of the PG-13 rating. However, critical opinion has improved since (1984), citing the film intensity and imagination.

Not Make It Home

A ‘United States’ federal holiday which is celebrated every year remembering the men and women who died while serving in the ‘United States Armed Forces’.

Many volunteers place an ‘American flag’ on each grave in national cemeteries, in (1906) that the first ‘Civil War’ soldier’s grave ever decorated was in ‘Warrenton’, ‘Virginia’, on June 3 (1861), implying the first ‘Memorial Day’ occurred there.

On ‘Memorial Day’, the flag of the ‘United States’ is raised briskly to the top of the staff and then solemnly lowered to the half-staff position, where it remains only until noon, the half-staff position remembers the more than one million men and women who gave their lives in service of their country.

One of the longest-standing traditions is the running of the ‘Indianapolis 500’, an auto race which has been held in conjunction with ‘Memorial Day’ since (1911).

And for many Americans, the central event is attending one of the thousands of parades held on ‘Memorial Day’ in large and small cities all over the country.

Wonder Motown

‘Stevie Wonder’ was born in ‘Saginaw’, ‘Michigan’, in (1950) is a singer-songwriter and record producer. Among ‘Wonder’ works are singles such as “Superstition”, “Sir Duke”, “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” and “I Just Called to Say I Love You”; and albums such as ‘Talking Book’, ‘Innervisions’ and ‘Songs in the Key of Life’. He has recorded more than thirty ‘United States’ top ten hits and received twenty-two ‘Grammy Awards’.

In (1961), when aged 11, ‘Wonder’ sang his own composition, “Lonely Boy”, to ‘Ronnie White’ of the ‘Miracles’; White then took Wonder and his mother to an audition at ‘Motown’, where ‘CEO’ ‘Berry Gordy’ signed ‘Wonder’ to ‘Motown Tamla’ label. At the end of (1962), when ‘Wonder’ was 12 years old, he joined the ‘Motortown Revue’, touring the “chitlin circuit” theatres across ‘America’ that accepted black artists. At the ‘Regal Theater’, ‘Chicago’ his 20-minute performance was recorded and released in May (1963) as the album ‘Recorded Live: The 12 Year Old Genius’.

Released in late (1972), ‘Talking Book’ featured the No. 1 hit “Superstition”, is one of the most distinctive and famous examples of the sound of the ‘Hohner’ clavinet keyboard. ‘Book’ also featured “You Are the Sunshine of My Life”, which also peaked at No. 1. During the same time as the album release By (1975), in his 25th year, ‘Wonder’ had won two consecutive ‘Grammy Awards’: in (1974) for ‘Innervisions’ and in (1975) for ‘Fulfillingness First Finale’.

The (1980) saw ‘Wonder’ achieving his biggest hits and highest level of fame; he had increased album sales, charity participation, high-profile collaborations, political impact, and television appearances. ‘Wonder’ was in a featured duet with ‘Bruce Springsteen’ on the all-star charity single for ‘African Famine Relief’, “We Are the World”.

The Boss

‘Bruce Springsteen’ born in ‘Long Branch, New Jersey’ (1949) is a singer-songwriter widely known for his brand of poetic lyrics, ‘Americana’ working class, sometimes political sentiments centered on his native ‘New Jersey’ and his lengthy and energetic stage performances.

‘Springsteen’ had been inspired to take up music at the age of seven after seeing ‘Elvis Presley’ on The ‘Ed Sullivan Show’ in (1956). ‘Springsteen’ signed a record deal with ‘Columbia Records’ in (1972) with the help of ‘John Hammond’, who had signed ‘Bob Dylan’ to the same label a decade earlier.

‘Springsteen’ is probably best known for his album ‘Born in the U.S.A.’ (1984), which sold 15 million copies in the United States, 30 million worldwide, and became one of the best-selling albums of all time with seven singles hitting the ‘Top 10’.

Pinky Bly

‘Nellie Bly’ was the pen name of journalist ‘Elizabeth Jane Cochrane’ born in ‘Cochran Mills’ (1864), today part of the ‘Pittsburgh’ suburb of ‘Burrell Township, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania’.

She was a ground-breaking reporter known for a record-breaking trip around the world in 72 days, in emulation of ‘Jules Verne’ fictional character ‘Phileas Fogg’.

In (1880), ‘Cochrane’ and her family moved to ‘Pittsburgh’. An aggressively misogynistic column titled “What Girls Are Good For” in the ‘Pittsburgh Dispatch’ prompted her to write a fiery rebuttal to the editor under the pseudonym “Lonely Orphan Girl”.

As a writer, ‘Bly’ focused her early work for the ‘Dispatch’ on the plight of working women, writing a series of investigative articles on female factory workers. But editorial pressure pushed her to the so-called “women’s pages” to cover fashion, society, and gardening, the usual role for female journalists of the day.

In (1888), ‘Bly’ suggested to her editor at the ‘New York World’ that she take a trip around the world, attempting to turn the fictional “Around the World in Eighty Days” into fact for the first time.

In (1895) ‘Nellie Bly’ married millionaire manufacturer ‘Robert Seaman’, who was 40 years her senior. She retired from journalism, and became the president of the ‘Iron Clad Manufacturing Co.’, which made steel containers such as milk cans and boilers.

Breaking Barriers

‘Michael Jackson’ was born in (1958), a singer-songwriter and actor, his contributions to music, dance, and fashion, along with his publicized personal life, made him a global figure in popular culture for over four decades.

He debuted on the professional music scene along with his brothers as a member of ‘The Jackson 5’ in (1968), and began his solo career in (1971). In the early (1980), ‘Jackson’ became a dominant figure in popular music.

The music videos for his songs, including those of “Beat It”, “Billie Jean”, and “Thriller” (1982), were credited with breaking down racial barriers and with transforming the medium into an art form and promotional tool.

The popularity of these videos helped to bring the then relatively new television channel ‘Music Television’ to fame.