Kathy Avvakumovits, a fan of the blog, is trying to remember a book she read as a child that included a reference to both Wilkes-Barre and Scranton. She sent me the following email:
"I am trying to remember a novel I read as a kid – it takes place near W-B and Scranton, it is about a hard-boiled businessman who whistles “A Pretty Girl is like a Melody” (Irving Berlin) and somehow becomes involved with an orphanage (?) run by a courageous priest. I don’t remember the details, but I do remember a dialogue in the beginning when someone asks him if he’s ever been to (town x) and he says “I’ve been to Scranton and Wilkes-Barre,” and then the other person (probably a pretty young woman) goes , “then you’ve been very close to (town x).
I read this book many times over. I think I got it off my parents’ “reject” bookshelf in the garage. I don’t think it is a towering literary achievement but it was a good read, “inspiring.”
Can you help me remember this book?"Does anyone out there have an idea what this particular book was titled? If so, please email me at email@example.com and let's give Kathy an answer. Thanks :-)
UPDATED 4/7/10 Mystery solved by Kathy herself. The book she was referring to was The Miracle of the Bells by Russell Janney. There is a previous blog entry about the 1948 film version starring Frank Sinatra, Fred MacMurray and (Alida) Valli. The film was also filmed in several parts of Luzerne County, including Wilkes-Barre, Plains and Glen Lyon. The blog entry is at http://wb-scranton-movies.blogspot.com/2006/05/miracle-of-bells-1948.html
Go to the 1:27 mark in the Miracle of the Bells clip below and see the film's first Wilkes-Barre reference.