As this is a pop culture column, I feel that I have to at least mention this year’s Comic-Con convention in San Diego, which just ended. But I really don’t know what else to say except THERE ARE MORE SUPERHERO MOVIES COMING. There are always more superhero movies coming.
I have to admit I didn’t realize that Scrooge McDuck was going to be one of the big hits of the convention.
We finally have a release date for the next 007 movie: November 8, 2019. That seems like a long time to wait, but at least we know another one is coming. What we don’t know yet is the title or whether Daniel Craig is going to play Bond once again. The New York Times is reporting that he has indeed signed for one more film, but there’s no official word yet from the studio.
In the meantime, there are plenty of Post pieces about the secret agent, including this piece on the 50th anniversary of the movie series and this terrific 1964 Pete Hamill interview with Sean Connery.
Fake (Shark) News
Okay, look: I didn’t really think that swimmer Michael Phelps and a shark were going to be in the water next to each other in their own swimming lanes, starting at the same time to find out who would win a race. I don’t think most people thought that. But I also didn’t think that Phelps was going to swim by himself and the shark would be represented by computer animation, and the “race” would actually be just a comparison of what the shark’s results “would have been” with “speed based on scientific data.” That’s kind of goofy, and I think a bit of a cheat.
Phelps says that it’s not his fault if people thought he was actually going to race a great white shark. If that’s the case, then why in this video does he dive down to meet real sharks in a cage, and why does one of the experts talk about the safety measures they’re taking because we “wouldn’t want to see him get eaten up by a shark”?
Next month, I’m going to try to outrun a 747. We won’t be in the same place and I’ll use stock footage of a 747 flying through the air, but the results will be really interesting!
RIP John Heard, June Foray, Barbara Sinatra, Chester Bennington, Red West, Jim Vance, Clancy Sigal, Danny Daniels
June Foray was the voice of many great characters you remember, including Rocky J. Squirrel and Natasha on Rocky & His Friends, Tweety Bird’s Granny in Looney Tunes cartoons, Cindy Lou Who in the animated How The Grinch Stole Christmas, and Mattel’s Chatty Cathy doll, plus voices in movies like Cinderella and Mulan, and too many others to mention, in a career that started in 1943. She died Wednesday at the age of 99.
Barbara Sinatra was Frank’s wife for the last 22 years of his life. She was also a former entertainer, a philanthropist, and author of the memoir Lady Blue Eyes. She passed away Tuesday at the age of 90.
Chester Bennington was a singer for the group Linkin Park. He committed suicide last week at the age of 41.
Jim Vance was a longtime news anchor at NBC4 in Washington, D.C. He died Saturday at the age of 75.
Clancy Sigal was the author of several books, including the influential novel Going Away, and was also a former Hollywood agent who counted Humphrey Bogart as one of his clients. Sigal was later blacklisted and moved to New York City and eventually London to work. He died July 16 at the age of 90.
Danny Daniels was a veteran choreographer and actor who made his screen debut at the age of 14 in the Bing Crosby film The Star Maker and won several Emmy and Tony awards. He died earlier this month at the age of 92.
Books and Bombs
Librarians have to deal with a lot on their first day of work: learning new computer and filing systems, how to deal with kids at the front desk, maybe even budgetary problems. Oh, and they also might have to deal with Civil War artillery shells, like this woman in Massachusetts. She found them at the bottom of a closet with a helpful note that said they might be live shells.
Notes on Trees
Here’s the feel-good story of the week (unless you count the Comic-Con news above as “feel-good”). This woman leaves anonymous notes on trees to help inspire people who may be going through hard times. She’s left over 1,000 notes on trees, on pay phones, in airports, and in grocery stores.
This Week in History
Detroit Riot Begins (July 23, 1967)
A new movie about the infamous riot, Detroit, opens next Friday. Here’s the trailer.
Jacqueline Bouvier Born (July 28, 1929)
The woman who would become Jackie Kennedy was born in Southampton, New York. Jimmy Breslin wrote this piece for the December 14, 1963, issue of the Post, about her last moments in Dallas with President Kennedy.
This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: “Unwelcome Pool Guests” (July 22, 1961)
I love this Thornton Utz cover for two reasons. One is the detail that shows what this guy had planned for the day. He’s in his lawn chair, he has his paper and his tray of food and his coffee and a radio to listen to the ball game, and here comes the damn family to interrupt things. Can’t I get one afternoon alone?
The second thing I love is the sitcom dad–like expression on his face as he breaks the fourth wall and looks at us.
National Milk Chocolate Day
The old M&Ms slogan says that they melt in your mouth, not in your hand. I found out this week that when it’s this hot and humid, that’s not exactly true. The candy coating sort of melts and leaves your hands sticky. If it’s as hot where you are as it is where I am, you might want to keep your milk chocolate in the refrigerator.
At least until you make these recipes for National Milk Chocolate Day, which happens to be today. Epicurious has these Milk Chocolate Brownies, while AllRecipes has a Fudgy Milk Chocolate Fondue. Or head on over to the Hershey’s site and try one of the many desserts you can make with their chocolate bars. I’d like some of that Our Gal Sundae Pie.
By the way, James Bond loved milk chocolate too.
Next Week’s Holidays and Events
International Clown Week (August 1-7)
A lot of people think that clowns are happy and fun! Others think they’re dark and scary. For you people who fall into the former category, here’s the official site for International Clown Week. For those of you in the latter category, here’s the trailer for the remake of Stephen King’s It, which opens on September 8.
Coast Guard Day (August 4)
This commemoration celebrates the day in 1790 that Alexander Hamilton founded the United States Coast Guard. Hamilton, of course, went on to become a talented singer and dancer and to star in the critically acclaimed Broadway show that bears his name.
Father’s Day, a commercial holiday if ever there was one, tends to be associated with family harmony. Isn’t dad just the best!
But dads are real people with real emotions. Sometimes, when a dad has a lovely tranquil day planned, something spoils it, and then you better look out.
Thornton Utz’s July 22, 1961 cover, “Unwelcome Pool Guests,” (not intended as a satire on Father’s Day, by the way) perfectly conveys this kind of moment.
Utz, a master of family drama, uses the man’s facial expression to convey the general feeling of the scene we’re witnessing–annoyance. What was supposed to be a relaxing day lounging outside has quickly turned to a family pool party fiasco.
Next to the man, the artist illustrated the hallmarks of a day spent relaxing. We see a tuned radio, morning slippers, coffee cup and saucer, breakfast tray (complete with grapefruit half), lit cigarette, newspapers, suntan oil lamp; lotion, tanning eye covers, sunglasses, and most importantly, the man’s set-aside unstrapped watch. He’s shirtless, unadorned, and hoisting his feet upon an ottoman as he sinks into the sling of a pool chair.
The man has nowhere to be on such a warm and sunny weekend. It is early morning, the sun hasn’t even risen over the roofline of the house enough to warm the pool naturally. Our homeowner has taken his breakfast outside by the pool to read the Saturday paper. There’s not a single ripple on the reflective water.
This pool takes up the majority of the illustration’s canvas for a symbolic reason. The barrier of crystal stillness is all that separates the homeowner from the ensuing chaos of splashing and yelling approaching from the parked car at the far edge of the illustration’s frame.
His clean and tidy yard, his happy, tranquil world, is about to become quite the mess. A man hollers from the car, barely restraining two dogs. Eight children run, if you count the leg still in the car, and adults slowly clamor out of the vehicle.
Whether these arriving individuals are extended family, friends, or even just local neighbors, everyone looks ready to have a good time–except the pool’s owner. But the arriving guests are clearly close enough in their relationship to the pool-lounger to feel that their presence could never be a bother.
While family and family-centered activities are wonderful memory-crafting events, sometimes dads just want to relax and have some much-relished alone time. So this Father’s Day, get the father figure in your life a card and a gift, and maybe a little time off. Remember that a little relaxation might just be the most appreciated gift of all.