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News of the Week: Tom Hanks Types, Bette and Joan Fight, and Everyone’s Confused about Johnny Appleseed

Published: March 3, 2017

Uncommon Type

Tom Hanks loves his typewriters (he owns over 100 of them), and now he has a book coming out about the machines. Well, sort of. His collection of short stories, titled Uncommon Type: Some Stories, will feature 17 tales that somehow involve typewriters. It hits bookstore shelves (and virtual bookstore shelves) in October.

The book came about after Hanks wrote a short story, “Alan Bean Plus Four,” for The New Yorker in 2014.

In other Tom Hanks news this week, he sent an espresso machine to the White House press corps.

Feud: Bette vs. Joan

This looks like a fun series. It’s a behind-the-scenes look at the legendary rivalry between Hollywood stars Bette Davis and Joan Crawford and the filming of their classic horror drama Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? It stars Susan Sarandon as Davis and Jessica Lange as Crawford, along with Judy Davis, Stanley Tucci, and Alfred Molina. It premieres this Sunday night on FX. Here’s the trailer.

Feud, by the way, is going to be an anthology series. The second season will be called Feud: Charles and Diana and will focus on the royal couple.

RIP Bill Paxton, Judge Joseph Wapner, Howard Leeds, and John Gay

One name missing from the “In Memoriam” segment at The Oscars last Sunday was Bill Paxton, who died the day before and couldn’t be included in the montage (Jennifer Aniston did mention him in her introduction, however). It’s amazing how many classic films this solid, dependable actor appeared in: Titanic, Aliens, Apollo 13, Twister, True Lies, Frailty, Tombstone, The Terminator, and Predator 2. He also starred in the Showtime series Big Love and appeared on shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Hatfields & McCoys. He’s currently starring in the CBS drama Training Day and later this year can be seen in the Tom Hanks movie The Circle.

Paxton died from complications after heart surgery. He was 61. Here’s a young Paxton on a helpful stranger’s shoulders, waiting to see President Kennedy in Texas in November 1963.

Judge Joseph Wapner really started this whole “judge show” craze back in 1981, when he presided over The People’s Court. He stayed with the show until 1993. Before that, he was a judge for many years in the L.A. Superior Court and a municipal judge. Wapner passed away Sunday at the age of 97.

Howard Leeds was a veteran producer on such shows as The Brady Bunch, My Living Doll, The Bill Dana Show, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Diff’rent Strokes, and The Facts of Life, and a writer for those shows and others, including Meet Millie, The Red Skelton Hour, Bewitched, My Three Sons, Barney Miller, and Silver Spoons. He died at the age of 97 on February 11, though his death was first announced this week.

John Gay wrote the screenplay for the films The Courtship of Eddie’s Father, No Way to Treat a Lady, The Power, Separate Tables, and Run Silent, Run Deep, along with TV-movie remakes of Dial M For Murder, Captains Courageous, Shadow of a Doubt, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. He also wrote for shows like General Electric Theater, Playhouse 90, Kraft Theater, and the mini-series Fatal Vision.

Like Leeds, Gay passed away earlier this month but it wasn’t announced until this week. He was 92.

Newspaper Owner Can’t Give It Away

What do you do if you own a newspaper and want to retire but you can’t even give the newspaper away to someone? You sell it.

That’s what happened with the owner of the New Hardwick Gazette in Connecticut. Last year Ross Connelly held an essay contest. For only a $175 entry fee, you could enter the contest, with the winner getting ownership of the paper. But not enough people entered the contest to make it a success (he wanted 700 entries but only received 140). But one couple, Ray and Kim Small, saved the day (and the paper) by buying it outright. They took over the reins two weeks ago and promise to serve the community and keep the paper’s focus on local news.

By the way, Ray Small was actually one of the people who entered the contest.

This Week in History

Buffalo Bill Cody Born (February 26, 1846)

William Cody has often been called “America’s First Superstar” because of his long-running Buffalo Bill’s Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World shows.

Charles Lindbergh’s Baby Kidnapped (March 1, 1932)

The body of the famed aviator’s infant son, Charles Jr., was found on May 12. Bruno Richard Hauptmann was convicted of the kidnapping and murder after one of the most sensational trials in history. Saturday Evening Post Archives Director Jeff Nilsson has a fascinating look at the man who helped solve the case by examining the ladder Hauptmann used.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Rockwell’s “The Rookie” Cover (March 2, 1957)

Boy in civilian clothes walks into baseball locker room

The Rookie
March 2,1957

It’s March, and that means we’re very close to baseball’s opening day. This March 2, 1957, cover by Norman Rockwell takes a look inside the Boston Red Sox locker room. The rookie in the suit is Massachusetts baseball star Sherman Stanford. The guys in the uniforms were real Red Sox team members, including the guy standing in the middle. That’s Ted Williams, even though Rockwell had to use a stand-in because Williams couldn’t make it to the studio that day.

National Pound Cake Day

Some things just go great together: peanut butter and jelly, cookies and milk, Norman Rockwell and The Saturday Evening Post. When I was a kid, I had another combo that I loved: pound cake and Pepsi.

I used to eat that all the time. I’d get a package of Sara Lee All-Butter Pound Cake (the one in the rectangular silver carton) and a bottle of Pepsi and pretty much eat the entire thing in one sitting while watching television. I don’t know how this combo came about (maybe my mom didn’t buy milk that week?), but it was delicious. I should try it again some time.

Tomorrow is National Pound Cake Day. Here’s a recipe for Lemon Pound Cake with Raspberry Sauce, and here’s one for Zion Canyon Lavender Pound Cake. You could make this classic Mama’s Pound Cake from Paula Deen or this Million Dollar Pound Cake. Note: The recipe is actually free.

Or you could just buy some from the fine people at Sara Lee. Nobody doesn’t like them! (And don’t forget the Pepsi.)

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

International Women’s Day (March 8)

This annual event “celebrates the social, economic, cultural, and political achievement of women.” And of course this year’s theme has a hashtag: #BeBoldForChange

Johnny Appleseed Day (March 11)

I bet you didn’t know there was a controversy involving Johnny Appleseed Day (if confusion over these holidays can be classified as a “controversy”). Some people celebrate it on September 26 because that was the birth date of John “Johnny Appleseed” Chapman, an American settler born in 1774. Others celebrate it on March 11 because he died on that day in 1845 (though even that is in dispute — some say March 18 and some say it was even a different year, 1847). But hey, why can’t we celebrate his life twice a year?

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  • The Tom Hanks link on typewriters is fascinating. Maybe I’ll get a typewriter again! A portable, but would need to make sure I can get the ribbons. Dealing with those is the only part I don’t like. I can fix typos with the ‘tape’ type white out.

    Not interested in catty stuff like ‘Fued’ although I did/do like ‘Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?’ The clip at :36-:40 of Davis exiting the black ’58 Impala convertible (a favorite) is great, so I may catch some of it at some point, for a mid-century escape from the present!

    Hopefully this series will alleviate the 36 year albatross Faye Dunaway has VERY unfairly had to endure after portraying Joan Crawford in ’81, with the role blowing up in her face, and adversely affecting her career since. The timing of this series on the heels of last Sunday’s Oscar debacle (again not her fault), will hopefully combine to close old doors and open new ones for the gifted ‘Chinatown’ and ‘Network’ actress.

    The death of Bill Paxton was quite a shock, with the Kennedy Assassination connection I’ve learned of here making it all the more haunting. 2 years older than me to the month, I was in the first grade of Catholic school that day, also told of what happened by the Nun teacher. It never leaves you. Even briefly, it still comes to mind every day.

  • Justan American

    A little known fact about Johnny Chapman. His intention for planting apple trees wasn’t so settlers could have apple pie. In truth the type of apples his trees were, was not eating apples. They were planted to allow the farmers to make apple cider vinegar which was used in everything and also hard cider to be drank as an alcoholic beverage..Yes,he was providing the settlers a way to get drunk and stay healthy.