News of the Week: Roger Moore, the Revenge of Print, and the Return of the Bride of Frankenstein

In the news for the week ending May 26, 2017, are the return of hardcover books, a new museum for the people who wrote them, a sort-of revelation that journalists aren’t normal, the death of a double-oh-seven, and more.


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RIP Roger Moore, Dina Merrill, Anne R. Dick, and Marsh McCall

Roger Moore
By Allan warren (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons
Every generation has their favorite James Bond, usually the one you remember seeing in movie theaters. I’m a Sean Connery guy, but the first 007 I saw in theaters was Roger Moore, who died earlier this week at the age of 89. Moore also played another famous character, The Saint, for several seasons and appeared in Maverick, Ivanhoe, and The Persuaders with Tony Curtis.

Here’s a great story from a fan that illustrates the type of person Moore was.

Dina Merrill was an actress and philanthropist (she was the daughter of E.F. Hutton and Post cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post), appearing in such movies as Desk Set, Operation Petticoat, BUtterfield 8, and The Player, as well as TV shows like To Tell the Truth, Murder, She Wrote, and Batman. She passed away Monday at the age of 93.

Anne R. Dick was a jewelry-maker, publisher, and writer who was also a major inspiration in the writings of her husband, Philip K. Dick, author of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (which was turned into the movie Blade Runner), The Man in the High Castle, and many other books and stories. She wrote a memoir of their time together, The Search for Philip K. Dick, and was about to publish her first novel. She died in April at the age of 90.

Marsh McCall started his TV career as a writer on Late Night with Conan OBrien and went on to write for such shows as Just Shoot Me! and The Naked Truth. He was also a producer on Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing and the Full House reboot, Fuller House, and co-created My Big Fat Greek Life. He died Sunday at the age of 52.

Print Books Are Back!

I prefer print books over e-books. It’s not that I’m a Luddite and don’t want to get involved with electronic versions of books — hey, I have the Kindle app! — it’s just that I prefer the look, the feel, the history, even the smell of the printed page. Honestly, I spend so much time in front of screens already. I’m always looking for a way to get away from them, and print lets me do that.

It seems a lot of other people like them too, as this piece at The Guardian explains. E-book sales reached a high in 2014 but ever since then have seen their sales drop. In fact, last year, sales dropped 17 percent. It’s also interesting to see that while many big bookstore chains have failed or aren’t doing too well, independent bookstores are doing better.

I don’t think e-books are going away, leaving us in a world where just print books exist — digital is still where we’re headed — but I think there’s a real future for print that goes beyond just being a niche product that only collectors are still interested in. Print books and bookstores are here to stay.

The American Writers Museum

Many of the books you’ll find in those bookstores (boy, that’s a tortured segue) were written by classic American writers, and now you can go to one place that celebrates their work. The American Writers Museum in Chicago opened recently and showcases the work of such writers as Mark Twain, Herman Melville, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jack London, Shirley Jackson, John Updike, Kurt Vonnegut, David Foster Wallace, and even I Love Lucy writer Madelyn Pugh Davis (who, by the way, went to the same high school as both Kurt Vonnegut and former Saturday Evening Post owner Beurt SerVaas).

It won’t surprise you that, yes, many of those writers wrote for the Post, including Fitzgerald, London, Jackson, and Vonnegut.

Journalists Aren’t Normal, Study Shows

No, this isn’t another story about so-called fake news. It’s about a scientific study that shows journalists’ brains aren’t the same as everyone else’s.

Neuroscientist Tara Swart, in association with the London Press Club, interviewed and tested 40 journalists from various newspapers, magazines, and websites and found out that not only do their brains show a lower-than-average level of functioning than the average population, they’re also more prone to dehydration, to not getting enough exercise, to an inability to “silence the mind,” and to self-medicate with caffeine, sugary foods, and alcohol.

Every single writer and journalist will tell you that those findings are absolutely true.

The study wasn’t all bad news. It also showed that journalists did very well with things like “abstraction” (the ability to deal with ideas rather than events) and “value tagging” (the ability to figure out what’s important or what has meaning). It just so happens that, to many journalists, those important things are caffeine, sugary foods, and alcohol.

Frankenstein and The Mummy and The Creature, Oh My!

Universal Studios wants to make a monster movie universe, a series of connected movies, much like all the Marvel movies are connected and part of the same universe. And they’re going back to their roots to create that universe.

With the launch of The Mummy (with Tom Cruise) on June 9, the studio is well on its way to forming what is being called a “Dark Universe.” Other movies in the series will include The Invisible Man (with Johnny Depp), Van Helsing, and new versions of Frankenstein (with Javier Bardem) and The Bride of Frankenstein.

I hope they don’t ruin these movies with too many special effects when it comes to the actual monsters. They have to be guys in suits, right? That’s the only way these movies will work. Part of the charm of the original Creature from the Black Lagoon was that we knew it was a guy in a creature suit swimming around. I don’t want to see a CGI Creature or Frankenstein.

Finally, You Can Drink a Latte out of an Avocado

I didn’t realize that drinking something out of a food was a thing, but then again, I’m just getting caught up on fidget spinners and Harry Styles.

The Truman Cafe in Melbourne, Australia, is currently serving the Avolatte, which combines two Australia favorites, lattes and avocados. It started as a joke, but now it has taken off and everyone is talking about it.

It probably won’t catch on, and soon we’ll be on to the next fad. Maybe my invention will become popular: drinking Diet Pepsi out of a hollowed-out tomato. I call it The Tomepsi.

This Week in History

Arthur Conan Doyle Born (May 22, 1859)

The creator of Sherlock Holmes contributed several articles to The Saturday Evening Post, including “The End of Devil Hawker,” a nonfiction piece about the wrongful conviction of a half-English, half-Indian man, George Edalji.

Dunkirk Evacuation Begins (May 26, 1940)

Also known as Operation Dynamo, the evacuation of Allied troops from Dunkirk’s beaches and harbor on the French coast took place between May 26 and June 4.

Director Christopher Nolan’s new movie about the event, Dunkirk, opens on July 21. Here’s the trailer:

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: First Cake Cover (May 21, 1955)

First Cake by Stevan Dohanos From May 21, 1955
First Cake by Stevan Dohanos From May 21, 1955

I love that kitchen. I want to live in a time and place where that kitchen exists. This cover is by the great Stevan Dohanos, and it’s so well done you don’t even have to see the date on the cover to know it’s from the 1950s. But it proves you can have all of the most modern appliances in your kitchen and they still won’t guarantee you’ll make a great cake. Even the oven looks shocked at how it turned out.

National Cherry Dessert Day

Today is the day when you can officially eat cherry-inspired desserts, such as these Cherry Oatmeal Cookies or this Cherry Dream Cake. You can also make Mary’s Royal Cherry Trifle. “Mary” is Mary Berry, the tough but fair British food writer and co-host of The Great British Bake Off and The Great American Baking Show.

If you want to pour a latte into one of these desserts, well, I guess I can’t stop you. I don’t think Mary would be too happy about it, though.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

Memorial Day (May 29)

This Monday isn’t just the unofficial kickoff to summer, the day to fire up the grill and get out the patio furniture and bug spray; it’s also a day to honor our heroes.

National Doughnut Day (June 1)​

There are actually two National Doughnut Days (the other is on November 5), but most people consider this day the official day, as this Mental Floss piece explains. But feel free to celebrate both if you really like doughnuts.

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  1. It really is great that printed books are here to stay, and good news for both new and used bookstores as well. They both have equal justification and rights to be here; now more than ever with seemingly never-ending screens!

    Print lets me get away from the screens I spend too much time in front of too, including your own column Bob, last Saturday. It was wonderful, discussing the ‘new’ Twin Peaks. I had to wait until I’d seen it to make the comments, in all fairness. My second sentence somehow wound up with a double word error I didn’t intend. It can be fixed, right?

    The American Writers Museum alone would be the perfect excuse to go to Chicago, I think. It features the best of the best. I clicked on Madelyn Pugh Davis first, a true female writing pioneer who was an integral part of Lucy and Desi’s writing dream team between the ’50s and the ’70s. All of their shows together, Lucy’s own 2 series, Desi’s ‘The Mothers-in-Law’ and later ‘Alice’ from 1976-’84.


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