Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Nothin' To Lose: The Making of KISS, 1972-1975 by Ken Sharp with Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons (2013)

On Monday, September 16th, 1974, Wilkes-Barre became a part of the beginning of KISStory as the legendary band (being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next month) played the Paramount Theater -- now home to the F.M. Kirby Center -- on their first major tour as headliners. 

This information appears on page 247 of the book Nothin' to Lose: The Making of KISS, 1972-1975 by Ken Sharp, with Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons.  The book discusses the very early history of KISS, from its formation in the early 1970s to their struggle to find an audience to their triumphant 1975 double album Alive!

Page 247 of Nothin' to Lose features an image from the 1974 tour ledger of Gene Simmons (pictured above) that lists the Wilkes-Barre date near the final leg of their tour.

Nothin' to Lose: The Making of KISS, 1972-1975 is available to borrow from the library.  Click here to place a hold on the book.

UPDATED 3/29/14 I just finished the book and I highly recommend it.  Pages 386-387 feature a humorous anecdote when comedian Kenny Kramer (the inspiration for Kramer on the TV show Seinfeld) opened for KISS on Monday, December 23, 2014 at the Paramount Theater in Wilkes-Barre (according to previous information in the book--pictured above--they had previously played September 16, 1974).

Monday, February 24, 2014

Dance, Fools, Dance Available To Borrow on DVD

The 1931 Pre-Code classic Dance, Fools, Dance (featuring the first pairing of Joan Crawford and Clark Gable) is now available to borrow from Albright Memorial Library. 

Dance, Fools, Dance includes a character named Bert Scranton, played by Cliff Edwards.

Fearing her brother Roddy (William Bakewell) has become part of a bootleg gang, socialite-turned-cub reporter Bonnie Jordan (Joan Crawford) volunteers to cover the follow-up story to the murder of the paper's star reporter, Bert Scranton (Cliff Edwards), while he is investigating a Prohibition-era massacre.   Posing as a professional dancer, she infiltrates the gang of Jake Luva (Clark Gable), working in one of his speakeasies.

Click here to place a hold on Dance, Fools, Dance

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Front (1976)

In one of only a handful of films he appeared in that he did not direct, acclaimed filmmaker Woody Allen stars in the 1976 comedy/drama The Front. The film, which deals with blacklisting in the entertainment industry in 1950s New York City, was directed by formerly blaclisted director Martin Ritt (The Long Hot Summer, Norma Rae, The Sound and the Fury) and co-stars former blacklisted actors Zero Mostel (Mel Brooks' The Producers) and Hershel Barnard

Allen plays Howard Prince, a down-on-his luck cashier who poses as a writer for blacklisted talents to submit their work through, but the injustice around him pushes him to take a stand.

Around the 1:12:50 mark in the film, Howard is visited by Hecky Brown (Zero Mostel), a blacklisted actor from a television show Harold is "writing" for; Hecky is cooperating with the HUAC to entrap Harold into admitting he is a fellow Communist.  They have the following exchange:

How's it going?

Hecky Brown:
Not bad.  Club date.  Out-of-town.  Not bad.  Scranton.  Allentown.  Altoona.  You didn't know I was a big hit in Pennsylvania.

The Front is available to borrow on DVD from the library; click here to place a hold.  It was also recently released on Blu Ray by Twilight Time.

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Supreme Macaroni Company by Adriana Trigiani (2012)

Your truly with author Adriana Trigiani following her lecture in Scranton on April 18th, 2013.

My wonderful colleague and fellow avid reader Michele L. recently finished bestselling author Adriana Trigiani's final book in her Valentine series.  The Supreme Macaroni Company, released in late 2013 (and whose title Adriana first announced when she presented at the Matthew F. Flynn Library Lecture Series on April 18th, 2013) continues the saga of the love, life and work of shoemaker Valentine Roncalli.

On page 113 Valentine's mother inquires whether Valentine spoke to Father Drake.  Valentine responds:

"I left him a message.  God, I wish we were better Catholics and had some decent connections.  If we did, we could climb up the food chain for a officiante.  Our monsignor retired, and the one bishop we knew left for Scranton to live with his sister at the Mercy Home."

On page 338, on the final page of her acknowledgements, Adriana thanks her "lifelong friend, (actor) Joe O'Brien, first of Scranton and then Manhattan."  She pays tribute to her dear friend, who passed away on April 3, 2013, shortly before Adriana's lecture in Scranton), as "the best brother and friend, and a fine actor who lit up the stage and screen with originality and passion."

The Supreme Macaroni Company is available to borrow from the Lackawanna County Library System in several formats: regular print, large print, and CD audiobook.  Click on the preceding links to place on a hold.

Much thanks to Michele L. for this reference.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Dear Mom, Love Cher (2013)

Georgina Holt (86 year-old mother of Cher):
"We got down to twenty cents, I remember that, and I said, 'Johnny, this will buy the baby two bottles of milk.  What are we going to do?'"

"We had gone to Scranton, Pennsylvania.  He said, 'Well, I'm Catholic.  We can put her in the Catholic home and we can border there, and you can go to work, and I'll go back to New York and try to get money.'"

"And so I went to work in a diner for a dollar a night, from seven at night to seven in the morning (pictured as White Tower Hamburger, but the it must have been a stock video because no restaurant by that name existed in Scranton, according to the 1946 City Directory) in a strange town where I knew nobody.  After two weeks, I went to go pay the money, then take her out.  The Mother Superior wouldn't let me take her out and said that I should let her be adopted.  Johnny was at his sister's in New York, and I had no way of contacting him."

"There was this man on the City Council I became friends with, and I told him my situation.  He was just terrific.  He said, 'Look, Kid.  I can't buck the Catholic Church right now.'  But he said, 'I will help you.'  He did finally help me get her out, but I was just terrified." 

This incident, told by Cher's mother Georgina Holt in the Lifetime TV documentary Dear Mom, Love Cher (premiere date May 6, 2013) inspired Cher to write the song Sisters of Mercy.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Night Film by Marisha Pessl (2013)

Since late Spring, Entertainment Weekly has been generating a lot of buzz about Marisha Pessl's second novel titled Night Film.  Through text, images from websites and newspaper/magazine clippings, Night Film involves a disgraced investigative reporter researching the suicide of the daughter of a mysterious film director, which may or may not be cult-related. The reclusive director, Stanislas Cordova, makes controversial horror films on his massive estate (named The Peak), and the films are often banned and only screened in underground locations.

Pages 153-154 of Night Film consists of an article reproduction of an interview conducted by the reporter.  The interview's subject is Nelson Garcia, a neighbor of the filmmaker:

"According to Garcia, in early December 2004, he received a series of UPS deliveries that were intended for The Peak but, by mistake, was delivered to him.  The first was a massive box stamped with a label reading Century Scientific. 
Century Scientific, Inc., based in Scranton, Pennsylvania, is a company that specializes in medical equipment.  They vend beds, wheelchairs, stretchers, and other therapeutic devices to private hospitals." 
Night Film is available to borrow from the Lackawanna County Library System; click here to place a hold. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Jason X (2001); Yup, Even A Friday the 13th Movie Has A Scranton Reference

I've seen every Friday the 13th movie numerous times, but I have NEVER noticed the Scranton reference in 2001's Jason X; still unsure if I heard the dialogue correctly, I even had to turn on the closed captioning to verify the reference, but it's true.

Jason X, the 10th film in the Friday the 13th franchise, is affectionately referred to by fans as "Jason Goes To Space."

Because of his seemingly inability to be killed, Jason Voorhees is cryogenically frozen by scientists to prevent another murderous rampage; scientist Rowan (Lexa Doig) is accidentally frozen with Jason. A spaceship crew revives them in the year 2455, when "Earth 2" has replaced the now-uninhabitable Earth, and Jason proceeds to continue his trail of murder.

In the first sequence of the film, set in the present, Rowan and Dr. Wimmer (a brilliant cameo by director David Cronenberg) are disagreeing on whether or not to have Jason frozen:

What are you doing here?

Dr. Wimmer:
 I'm taking the speciman.

Well, you can't.  I haven't prepared the cryostatic chamber.

Dr. Wimmer:
I don't want him frozen.  I want him soft.

We've already discussed this.

Dr. Wimmer:
Yeah.  Well, I had to go over your head.  I'm moving him to our Scranton facility. 

Jason X is available on DVD and was also recently released on Blu Ray as part of the Friday the 13th: The Complete Collection box set. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Miracle of the Bells Available To Borrow on DVD and Blu-Ray; Features Numerous References to Wilkes-Barre and Nanticoke

The 1948 classic film The Miracle of the Bells, starring Fred MacMurray, (Alida) Valli and Frank Sinatra, is available for the first time on DVD and Blu-Ray.  The movie was partly filmed in Wilkes-Barre and Glen Lyon, PA (it also features several reference to both places, as well as Nanticoke). 

Synopsis: Granting her final request, a Hollywood press agent brings the dead body of an actress, who died after making her first and only film, back to her hometown of Coal Town ("near Wilkes-Barre," according to the film) for burial. To arouse public interest, and to get the reluctant studio head to release the film, he asks all the local churches to ring their bells for three days.

Miracle of the Bells is available to borrow from Albright Memorial Library on both DVD and Blu Ray. Click on either link for more information; you may place a hold on the DVD. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Good Luck Girls of Shipwreck Lane by Kelly Harms (2013)

My dear friend and fellow avid reader Michele L. came upon a Scranton reference in her summer reading.

Kelly Harm's debut novel The Good Luck Girls of Shipwreck Lane tells the story of Janine Brown of Cedar Falls, Iowa, who wins a beautiful house that overlooks the coast in Maine. 

The problem: there are two Janine Browns in Cedar Falls, Iowa, and both think they've won the house, especially when they are both contacted from the network. 

Page 29, 2nd paragraph: 

"We only made it to Scranton before I go stark raving mad and demand a hotel with a TV that carries the Food Network." 

The Good Luck Girls of Shipwreck Lane is available to borrow from the library.  Click here to place a hold.

Much thanks to Michele L. for this reference.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Author Sebastian Junger To Speak in Scranton Thursday, October 3rd; Referenced Scranton in His Book "War"

The 2013 selection for the Matthew F. Flynn Library Lecture Series American Masters Lecture is Sebastian Junger,  the bestselling author of The Perfect Storm and War, and the co-director of the 2010 documentary Restrepo.

Mr. Junger will speak at the Scranton Cultural Center on Thursday, October 3rd at 7 PM.

War features a brief reference to Scranton.

In 2000 his book The Perfect Storm was adapted into a hit film starring George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg

Tickets are free with your library card and will be available in September at all libraries in the Lackawanna County Library System, as well as the Scranton Cultural Center box office.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Gasland Part II, Directed By Wayne County Native Josh Fox, To Premiere on HBO Monday, July 8th

Gasland Part II, directed by Emmy-winning and Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Josh Fox, will have its television premiere Monday, July 8th at 9 PM on HBO.

Fox is a native of Wayne County; his original 2010 documentary Gasland was a Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary Feature and won an Emmy Award winner in 2011 for Outstanding Directing for Nonfiction Programming.  

Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Fringe ("Season Five, Episode Three: "The Recordist") (October 12, 2012)

The hit sci-fi TV show The Fringe recently wrapped its fifth and final season on FOX.  Near the beginning of the third episode of the season (titled The Recordist, which originally aired on Friday, October 12th, 2012), Dr. Walter Bishop (John Noble) has the following exchange during a Coordinate Search in Northern Pennsylvania:

Walter, you alright? 

I'm fairly certain I have a blood clot, because somebody wouldn't stop at Scranton to let me stretch my legs. 

Much thanks to Elizabeth Davis for this reference.