News of the Week: Breakfast Politics, Citizen Kane, and Vincent Price Made One Zippy Bloody Mary

In the news for the week ending October 30, 2020, are Halloween costume ideas for the quarantined, a bookstore in need, a grocery store dilemma, and more.

Illustration of a Bloody Mary
Murvin / Shutterstock

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A Rockwell Video Minute

You may not have heard, but there’s a presidential election on November 3. This is a good time to post this video that gives the background story on one of my favorite Norman Rockwell covers, Breakfast Table Political Argument. This is what people used to do before they argued on social media (those things in the couple’s hands are called “newspapers”).

Save the Strand!

Many small businesses have been hurt during the pandemic, and that includes the iconic Strand Bookstore in New York City. They received a Paycheck Protection Program loan earlier this year, but it wasn’t enough (who knew they had over 200 employees!), and now they’re asking for the public’s help. Buy books from their site, give gift cards, visit the stores, tell your friends, and use #savethestrand on social media instead of arguing about politics.


Here’s the trailer for the new David Fincher-directed film that looks at the making of Citizen Kane, in particular the involvement of screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz and the problems he had with Orson Welles (who may or may not have co-written the script). I love not only that Mank is filmed in black and white, but that the trailer is crafted like the trailers of the ’40s and ’50s. It’s in select theaters on November 13 and will premiere on Netflix on December 4.

Trailer posted to YouTube by Netflix.

Halloween Costume Ideas

Halloween will be different this year, with some communities putting restrictions on how towns can trick-or-treat and most parties being held inside your bubble, but you can still dress up, even if you’re home bingeing on horror movies. I’m one of those cranks that thinks dressing for Halloween should be a kid-only thing, but cartoonist John Atkinson has some funny quarantine-inspired costume ideas, including Emily Dickinson, a TV critic, and a couch tester.

Whatever you do, don’t actually dress up as COVID-19. Not only is that going to be an overdone costume this year, it’s just depressing.

Question of the Week

One of the current online debates is this: How do you arrange the groceries when you place them on the checkout line’s conveyor belt?

Some put all of the cold stuff up front first, some put all the heavy stuff first or last, some even put them in the order of where the stuff goes in their home (and I guess they pray the clerk puts them in the bags in the same order). Some people are wondering, what the heck are you weirdos talking about?

Here’s how I do it: All of the heavy stuff (gallons of milk, water, soda bottles, bulky items) go first, then fresh food, then I put the stuff in boxes and packages, and then I put non-food items like liquid soap and cleaning supplies (I like to keep that stuff away from the food). The last items are fragile things like eggs and light bulbs and meats that might leak (and for the record, meat always goes into a separate bag by itself).

How do you do it?

RIP Marge Champion, William Blinn, Daniel Menaker, Viola Smith, and Bob Weber Sr.

Marge Champion was not only a dancer in classic movies, TV shows, and on Broadway — often with her husband Gower Champion — she was also the model for the Snow White character in Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. She died last week at the age of 101.

William Blinn wrote the screenplay for Purple Rain as well as the TV movie Brian’s Song. He also wrote several episodes of the Roots miniseries, helped develop Eight Is Enough, and wrote for many other shows. He died last week at the age of 83.

Daniel Menaker was an influential editor-in-chief at Random House and fiction editor at The New Yorker. He also wrote several books of his own, both fiction and nonfiction. He died Monday at the age of 79.

Viola Smith was an influential swing musician dubbed “the fastest girl drummer in the world.” She died earlier this month at the age of 107.

Bob Weber Sr. was a veteran cartoonist whose work appeared in The Saturday Evening Post (like the one below), Look, Argosy, and many other publications. He also did the syndicated cartoon Moose (which ended this year) and with his son did the Slylock Fox comic. He died earlier this month at the age of 86.

Woman calling her husband after she wrecked their car against a lamppost.
This cartoon by Bob Weber Sr. appeared in the Post on September 29, 1962.

This Week in History

Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (October 26, 1881)

The battle between the Earp brothers and Doc Holliday one one side and the Clanton gang on the other lasted only 30 seconds, but it is legendary. It was also the premise of a really weird Star Trek episode.

The Jack Benny Program Premieres on TV (October 28, 1950)

It started on radio and went by several names, but the TV incarnation ran on CBS until 1964 and then NBC for its final year.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Bobbing For Apples (October 30, 1943)

Girl bobbing for apples

I bobbed for apples once when I was a kid. I did not like it.

Apple Recipes

Grab some apples — you can do it the old-fashioned way, with your hands — and try some of these great autumnal recipes. Our Curtis Stone has this Spiced Apple Pie, while Rachel Allen has a recipe for Irish Apple Cake. If you’re looking for something more savory, Taste of Home wants you to make this Apple Beef Stew (yes, beef stew with apples!), while the same magazine has this Autumn Apple Chicken. For the cold nights that are just starting, here’s a classic Homemade Apple Cider from AllRecipes.

Oh, I know these recipes aren’t Halloween-specific and spooky, so how about trying this: Vincent Price’s Zippy Bloody Mary, from Dinner Is Served 1972.

“Vincent Price” and “bloody” are always a good combo at Halloween.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

Fall Back! (November 1)

Set your clocks back an hour before you go to bed on Saturday night and just like magic you’ll get an extra hour of sleep.

Check Your Blood Pressure Day (November 4)

Any day is a good day to check your blood pressure, but maybe it’s a particularly good idea to do it the day after Election Day. Of course, if no winner has been announced…

Featured image: Murvin / Shutterstock

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  1. Gotta say I love that Murvin/Shutterstock mid-century ‘Jet-Age’ style drink art at the top. May I have a sip? I’ll have it stirred with that straw.

    Great Rockwell cover and video moment about it. So liberating being an Independent and not a Democrat or a Republican. Never any arguments. Got my mail-in dropped off on October 24th. Love him or loathe him, I see 4 more years coming. That’s what my instincts tell me, for better or worse. Vote anyway though!

    I love bookstores, and even though I’ve never been to New York, I’m going to buy a book or two to help save The Strand! I pay shipping costs to CA. from back east on eBay, right?

    ‘Mank’ looks like a great Netflix fix, and the black & white’s just right! I’m kind of done with Halloween anyway, but it was fun at work in the ’80s. (See my comments in this week’s Halloween adult cartoons). That era required a lot more work to keep me stylin’ and smilin’ like Corey Hart. I wear MY sunglasses at night due to those ridiculous bright headlights. The ad’s in Post. Check your back issues my friends, and never be blinded by that horrid light again!

    I’ve got to work on organizing my shopping/packing better. Today’s the day, because I may not be leaving my condo for possibly a few days starting Tuesday? I’ll leave the Danger Zone of who knows what, to Kenny Loggins.

    Thanks for that beautiful 1943 bobbing for apples cover. It looks brand-new, all lit up online. I bobbed for apples once as a kid too, and didn’t like it either; probably for the same reason.


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