The Sting of Spring
Mother Nature and assorted meteorologists have been toying with us this spring, throwing in 49-degree days along with the 70-degree ones. But we’ve turned a corner. The warm weather is here. There’s no turning back now.
I killed a giant bee in my apartment recently. The first appearance of an insect in the spring is always a bit disorienting. I heard the buzzing sound, but it was so loud I thought it was coming from construction equipment down the street. Then I saw it fly by my television and flap around the window. At first I didn’t know what to attack it with. A shoe would have been cumbersome in the window, and I didn’t want to use my copy of The Saturday Evening Post. So I used the next most logical thing: the 1951 Loretta Young film noir Cause for Alarm! Hey, I panicked and didn’t want the bee to get away! For some reason I own two copies of it and decided to sacrifice one to squash the bee (in my defense, it is considered a B-movie).
I’m usually a curmudgeon when it comes to warm weather. I start complaining about the temperatures on Memorial Day and I don’t stop until after Labor Day. But this year, I’ve decided to embrace it. I’ll wear shorts and drink cold drinks and watch tennis until the better weather comes along. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Just make sure you have plenty of extra DVDs on hand to kill the bugs.
Want, Worship, Speech, Fear
Starting today, the New York Historical Society will host an exhibition of Norman Rockwell’s Four Freedoms paintings, in a celebration of Rockwell, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and America. The “Rockwell, Roosevelt & the Four Freedoms” exhibition will last until September 2 and will then go on tour to several other locations around the world, including The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan, The Textile Museum in Washington, D.C., the Mémorial de Caen in Normandy, France, and the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
To celebrate the tour, Turner Classic Movies had a marathon of movies inspired by Four Freedoms this week, hosted by Ben Mankiewicz. It included an interview with Harvey J. Kaye, author of The Fight for the Four Freedoms: What Made FDR and the Greatest Generation Truly Great. The films Mankiewicz and Kaye discussed included The Grapes of Wrath, Casablanca, Deadline U.S.A., and two short films from 1945: The Cummington Story and The House I Live In, with Frank Sinatra.
A guitar that Bob Dylan played on his first electric tour — and later strummed by Robbie Robertson — sold at auction this week for $490,000.
It should be noted, however, that this isn’t the guitar Dylan played at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, the one that caused an uproar because some fans just couldn’t believe he had gone electric. That concert is one of the many topics in this 1968 Post profile of Dylan by Alfred Aronowitz.
I love going through the Post archives to see who wrote for the magazine over the years. It’s an impressive list, and it includes Shirley Jackson, probably best known for her short story that’s taught in every high school English class, “The Lottery.” In the March 27, 1965, issue we published Jackson’s short story “The Bus.” She died just five months later.
This week it was announced that the Mad Men and Handmaid’s Tale star Elisabeth Moss will play Jackson in a new movie based on Susan Scarf Merrell’s novel Shirley. It’s about a couple who move in with Jackson and her husband and wish they hadn’t.
Can You Name a Book?
Speaking of books, can you name one? If someone stopped you on the street and asked you to name a book — any book at all — could you do it? Of course you could! But these people interviewed on Jimmy Kimmel Live! had a lot more trouble.
RIP Philip Roth, Joseph Campanella, Clint Walker, Richard Goodwin, Robert Indiana, Jimmy Nickerson, and Patricia Morison
Here’s a funny remembrance of meeting Roth from Billions creator Brian Koppelman.
Clint Walker starred in the popular western series Cheyenne from 1955 to 1962 and appeared in many other shows and movies. He died Monday at the age of 90.
Richard Goodwin was a speechwriter and adviser to Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. He also wrote several books and was married to historian and author Doris Kearns Goodwin. He was a member of the House subcommittee that investigated rigged game shows in the late ’50s and was portrayed by Rob Morrow in the 1994 movie Quiz Show. He died Sunday at the age of 86.
Patricia Morison was the original star of the Cole Porter musical Kiss Me, Kate in 1948 and went on to appear in many other stage productions and movies, including The Song of Bernadette, Song of the Thin Man, and the last Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes film, Dressed to Kill. She even appeared in an episode of Cheers. Morison died Sunday at the age of 103.
Quote of the Week
Not really a quote, it’s a headline, but it’s important news:
— Tom Chivers (@TomChivers) May 18, 2018
This Week in History
Charles Lindbergh Takes Off (May 20, 1927)
Johnny Carson’s Last Tonight Show (May 22, 1992)
This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: First Norman Rockwell Cover (May 20, 1916)
Rockwell’s first cover was titled Boy with Baby Carriage. He also did the first full-color cover for the Post, The Old Sign Painter, in 1926.
The French Open tennis tournament starts Monday. There’s a big controversy this year because Serena Williams won’t be seeded due to the time she took off to have a baby. She was ranked number one when she left the tour and now she’s ranked 453, which means she’ll have to play the top players earlier. I think the moral to this story is “kids ruin everything.”
But let’s talk about French food. Here’s a classic recipe for Coq Au Vin from Bon Appétit and one for French Onion Soup Au Gratin. And because you can never have enough recipes with “au” in the name, here’s a recipe for Potatoes Au Gratin.
You can eat while watching the French Open coverage on NBC and the Tennis Channel, even if you will have to do it in the morning because of the time zone difference. But maybe it’s time Coq Au Vin became a breakfast staple.
Next Week’s Holidays and Events
Memorial Day (May 28)
Here’s Pamela Krol on what the day means and why it’s important to always remember.
Scripps National Spelling Bee (May 29)
You can watch all the preliminaries on ESPN3 starting at 9:15 a.m. and then the finals May 31 on ESPN2 starting at 10 a.m.
Last year’s winning word was marocain, which is a word I’ll probably never use, but it is an anagram of macaroni.