Miscellaneous bits of news and fun stuff from around the Internet...
...There's a new biography which would make a great Christmas gift for anyone who loves American history: WASHINGTON: A LIFE by Ron Chernow. Chernow's book ALEXANDER HAMILTON is in my collection.
...There is growing competition for the online streaming business currently dominated by Netflix. This bit caught my eye: "...analysts expect the company to begin closing some of its 58 distribution centers as DVD rentals decline. The company has said it is not making any more major investments in the centers." Hmmm, that's going to make mail turnaround times slower for those of us who are still using DVDs. My kids watch streamed shows online but I find it more comfortable to watch a DVD the old-fashioned way, on TV...I suppose at some point streaming to TV sets will be commonplace.
...There's a campaign started to request that Charlton Heston be featured on a postage stamp. There's more info at Big Hollywood. I'm all for it. Heston not only played characters of epic dimensions, including Moses and Ben-Hur, he was a rather remarkable man off the screen.
...I recently came across a pair of nice photo posts written earlier this year at Java's Journey on FIRST LOVE (1939) and THE SOUND OF MUSIC (1965).
...Singin' and Dancing Back in Time links to the first of an excellent five-part interview with Ricardo Montalban. I've seen other interviews in this series and they'll all very worthwhile.
...Barnes & Noble recently turned back a takeover bid by billionaire Ron Burkle. Glad to hear it.
...Over at DVD Savant, Glenn Erickson reviewed FOG OVER FRISCO (1934) with Bette Davis. I want to see this one...the last time it aired on TCM I had a problem recording it.
...Lou Lumenick reviews new classic film releases here and here. I'm curious about BUNCO SQUAD (1950) starring Robert Sterling, who was very good in a terrific little Western called ROUGHSHOD (1949).
...Over a recent three-year period, $69 million in taxpayer-paid California welfare benefits were withdrawn in questionable locations, including cruise ships, at Disney World, at the lux Venetian Shoppes in Las Vegas, and on the exclusive island of Lanai in Hawaii (which has two four-star hotels and not much else). In response to an expose by the L.A. Times, the state shut down the ability to use the welfare cards in casinos and on cruise ships. This kind of thing makes me crazy. $69 million is not chump change. Welfare is meant to cover basic survival necessities. Hard-working Californians should not have their money forcibly transferred to others to fritter away on luxury goods and vacations.
...The Supreme Court let stand a ruling that the decades-old "SC" logo belongs to the University of Southern California, not the University of South Carolina. (Now if only we could do something about the Trojan football team's recent habit of losing on a field goal in the final seconds of the game...)
...I've always enjoyed actress Sela Ward -- who incidentally wrote a very nice memoir, HOMESICK, a few years back. The L.A. Times recently interviewed her about her new role on CSI: NY.
...Surprising news last week: KCET in Los Angeles has severed ties with PBS after over four decades. Personally, I think taxpayer-funded TV has outlived its purpose in this world of cable and the internet, and given our nation's massive debt load it would make sense to cut that from the federal budget.
...There's a series of beautiful Lone Pine photos posts up at Sidewalk Crossings, as well as a review of THEY DIED WITH THEIR BOOTS ON (1941). Good stuff.
...My kids were glad to see that HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS - PART ONE will not come out in 3-D.
...Leonard Maltin shares memories of Tony Curtis and Gloria Stuart at his website.
...Attention Southern Californians: The L.A. County Museum of Art is currently hosting a 20th Anniversary Tribute to the Film Foundation. Upcoming titles include WILD RIVER (1960), THEY MADE ME A CRIMINAL (1947), THE RED SHOES (1948), and LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN (1945).
...My good friend Jori has opened an Etsy Shop to sell her beautiful sewing creations, which include reusable grocery bags and American Girl sized doll clothes. She's very talented -- check it out!
Have a great week!