Jul. 30, 2000
Condemned Man's Last Supper, The
It's the birthday of film director Peter Bogdanovich, born in Kingston, New York (1939). He wrote 3 books on his favorite auteur filmmakers-The Cinema of Orson Welles (1961), The Cinema of Howard Hawks (1962), and The Cinema of Alfred Hitchcock (1963) before making his own first pictures: Targets, starring Boris Karloff, and The Last Picture Show (1971).
In 1935 on this date, the first modern paperbacks went on sale, published by Penguin Books, in Britain. The publisher, a man named Allen Lane, had the brilliant idea of using large print runs to keep the price down, so he could put out classic books at about sixpence apiece. The first Penguin title was Ariel, a biography of Shelley by André Maurois.
It's the birthday of novelist William H(oward) Gass, born in Fargo, North Dakota (1924), author of Omensetter's Luck (1966), and In the Heart of the Heart of the Country (1968).
American poet Joyce Kilmer was killed in action on this day in 1918, near the French town of Seringes. He was 31 years old. He's best known for his poem, "Trees," which begins:
I think that I will never see
A poem lovely as a tree
It's the birthday of historian C(yril) Northcote Parkinson, born in Barnard Castle, Durham, England (1909). He gave us Parkinson's First Law: "Work expands to fill the time available for its completion." This dictum, after appearing in The Economist magazine (1955), was so widely repeated that he expanded his article into a book published 3 years later as Parkinson's Law, or The Pursuit of Progress (1958), which includes his Second Law: "Expenditure rises to meet income."
A committee, according to Parkinson, "grows organically, flourishes and blossoms, sunlit on top and shady beneath, until it dies, scattering the seeds from which other committees will spring."
It's the birthday of sculptor Henry Moore, born in Castleford, Yorkshire (1898). His father was a coal miner, and his mother, he later recalled, would "work from morning till night till she was over 70. To be a sculptor, you have to have that sort of energy and that sort of stamina." As a boy he was often asked to rub his mother's back to soothe her rheumatism; 50 years later, working on the large figure of a seated woman, he found himself, in his words, "unconsciously giving to its back the long-forgotten shape of the one I had so often rubbed as a boy." In his 88 years, he produced a great number of organically shaped abstract figures in bronze and stone. He said, "I can see a reclining figure in anything-a smudge on the wall, an ink blot, a pebble."
It's the birthday of novelist Emily (Jane) Brontë, born in Thornton, Yorkshire (1818), who wrote Wuthering Heights (1847).
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®