The Guinea Pig Diaries Book Review

825742What would life be like if you could outsource your emails, phone calls, and arguments? What if you could go to the Oscars disguised as a movie star or spend a month practicing Radical Honesty? In a collection of hilarious and thought-provoking experiments, author A.J. Jacobs becomes a human guinea pig, putting his life, his career, and his marriage on the line all for the sake of science (OK it’s not that dramatic, but you get the idea).

In The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment, Jacobs spends a year committing to various social experiments. He begins by hiring a team in India to handle everything from unwanted emails to disagreements with his wife and quickly learns why so many companies decide to outsource overseas (I mean, after reading this…I’d consider it). He has a personal assistant to handle day-to-day dealings and also has someone to help him draft emails to pushy bosses and disgruntled friends.

After a quick jaunt outsourcing to India, Jacobs then spends a month practicing Radical Honesty – a movement that encourages us to remove the filters between our brains and our mouths…yup, it’s just what you expect.

An unnerving month spent telling the truth no matter what the cost is also followed by an undercover operation to the Academy Awards, a commitment to ultimate rationality, a religious following of George Washington’s Rules of Life, and then the coup de gras, a month spent at his wife’s every beck and call.

A funny and entertaining read, The Guinea Pig Diaries follows a series of other experimental books by Jacobs, including The Know-It-All, where he reads the entire Encyclopedia Britannica from cover to cover in a quest to learn everything in the world, and The Year of Living Biblically, where he follows every single rule of the Bible.

Witty and conversational in tone, The Guinea Pig Diaries never failed to entertain…and Jacobs did a great job keeping me intrigued in his conquests. Just like the Morgan Spurlock’s and the Michael Moore’s of the documentary world, Jacobs puts it all out there, ignoring his pride and accepting full-fledged embarrassment all to answer one simple question…why?

Fun, entertaining, and quick to read, The Guinea Pig Diaries answers questions we have all had at some point in our lives…and may even inspire you to lead one or two social experiments of your own!

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Disney Villains…Where Are They Now?

Everyone knows the best part of any movie is the villain…and for years, Disney has been making some of the best villains of all time!

But what ever happened to those awesome voices behind some of our favorite movie villains? With backgrounds in theater and radio, several of Disney’s most well-loved villains are actually celebrated actors and actresses with astounding and award-winning careers.

So get ready for the ultimate conclusion to our Disney Where Are They Now series with some of the most recognizable and hilarious characters we all loved to hate!

Don’t forget to check out these other Disney articles!

Disney Princesses…Where Are They Now?
Disney Princes…Where Are They Now?

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The Evil Queen
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
Voiced By: Lucille La Verne
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latest-11Known for her silent, scolding, and vengeful roles in early color films, Lucille La Verne began her acting career in 1914. Best known for her role in Snow White, Verne was typecast into playing several older women, mothers, and aunts during her career. She died from cancer eight years after her work on Snow White, which would be her last film.

 

Lady Tremaine
Cinderella (1950)
Voiced By: Eleanor Audley

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audley-1-sizedA Broadway baby, Eleanor Audley was born in New York City and got her start acting in several Broadway plays and musicals. She spent a majority of the 1940s and 1950s doing radio and film and was given the chance to voice Lady Tremaine in 1950. Disney liked her so much that she was cast again a few years later to voice one of the scariest Disney villains to hit the screen: Maleficent. Audley’s likeness was used to create the characters of both her Disney villains. After her work at Disney, Audley went on to do some TV work, including appearances on I Love Lucy, Perry Mason, Dennis the Menace, The Twilight Zone, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Beverly Hillbillies, and many more. She was added as a series regular to Green Acres from 1965 to 1969, playing the disapproving mother, Eunice Douglas. She passed away in November of 1991 due to respiratory failure.
The Queen of Hearts
Alice in Wonderland (1951)
Voiced By: Verna Felton

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verna-felton-1-sizedWhile Verna Felton had a good slew of film and TV appearances, she is perhaps best known for her work on radio. She was a part of the popular radio show, The Cinnamon Bear, and also worked on The Jack Benny Program and The Abbott and Costello Show. Previous to her work on Alice in Wonderland, Felton also voiced Dumbo’s mother in Dumbo and the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella (1950). After Alice in Wonderland, she worked on three more Disney movies: Lady and the Tramp, Sleeping Beauty, and The Jungle Book, which would be her final role.   Felton died in 1966, the day before Walt Disney passed away. She was married to another radio actor named Lee Millar, who also did animation voices, notably for Disney’s Pluto.

 

Captain Hook
Peter Pan (1953)
Voiced By: Hans Conried

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220px-Hans_Conreid_1977Best known for his voice acting roles, Hans Conried provided the voice for both Mr. Darling and Captain Hook in Disney’s Peter Pan. He started his career on stage, playing several classical major roles after his studies at Columbia University. As a voice actor, he had several roles in various radio productions and TV shows, including Mister Ed, Lost in Space, The Beverly Hillbillies, Gilligan’s Island, Laverne & Shirley, The Love Boat, Hogan’s Heroes, and many more. He was perhaps best known for his work on Make Room for Daddy, where he played Uncle Tonoose. He died of a sudden heart attack in January 1982.

 

Maleficent
Sleeping Beauty (1959)
Voiced By: Eleanor Audley

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See Lady Tremaine entry.

 

Cruella de Vil
101 Dalmatians (1961)
Voiced By: Betty Lou Gerson

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220px-Betty_Lou_Gerson_1941Another star of the radio, Betty Lou Gerson is best known for her role as Cruella de Vil in 101 Dalmatians, a role that made her a Disney Legend (the only villain on this list to achieve that honor). She got her start in radio dramas and soap operas before she moved to Los Angeles and got some minor roles in film and TV. Before her work on 101 Dalmatians, Gerson was cast as the narrator in Disney’s Cinderella. After her work as Cruella, she had a few more appearances in TV and film, including a small role in Disney’s Mary Poppins and a few guest appearances on The Twilight Zone, The Dick Van Dyke Show, and Hazel. She retired from acting in 1966 and passed away from a massive stroke in January 1999.

 

Madam Mim
The Sword and the Stone (1963)
Voiced By: Martha Wentworth

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Martha Wentworth, like so many before her, also got her start on radio…starring in popular radio shows such as The Cinnamon Bear, Crime Classics, and The Abbott and Costello Show. Her work on The Cinnamon Bear was perhaps her best, as she starred as the terrifying Wintergreen Witch.  She appeared in some westerns before her work at Disney and also voiced the role of Nanny in 101 Dalmatians two years before The Sword in the Stone.  Her work on The Sword in the Stone would be her final performance. She died 11 years later at the age of 84.

 

Shere Khan
The Jungle Book (1967)
Voiced By: George Sanders

MV5BMTgyODU3MDQ4NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTgwOTkxOA@@._V1_UY317_CR22,0,214,317_AL_With a career that spanned more than 40 years, George Sanders definitely made his mark in entertainment. An actor, singer-songwriter, music composer, and author, Sanders was involved in a little bit of everything. His amazing base voice often led him to be cast as sophisticated villains, both on screen and as a voice actor. A British actor who was drawn to films with British casts, Sanders had memorable roles in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca, The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, and All About Eve, a role that awarded him a Best Supporting Actor Oscar. A few years before his work on The Jungle Book, Sanders released his autobiography, Memoirs of a Professional Cad, which gathered critical praise for its wit and humor. He suffered from dementia later on in life and grew severely depressed when he could no longer play his piano. He died of a drug overdose in April 1972.

 

Prince John
Robin Hood (1973)
Voiced By: Peter Ustinov

Sir_Peter_Ustinov_portrait_Allan_WarrenA renowned filmmaker, theater and opera director, stage designer, author, screenwriter, comedian, humorist, newspaper and magazine columnist, broadcaster, and presenter, Peter Ustinov was a noted and celebrated entertainer who won several awards for his work in entertainment. After his humorous work as Prince John and King Richard in Robin Hood, he continued acting in films, receiving Best Supporting Actor Oscars for his roles in Spartacus and Topkapi. His autobiography, Dear Me, came out in 1977 and was well received by critics. The later part of his life was spent working for various organizations, including UNICEF, for which he was a Goodwill Ambassador and fundraiser. Fluent in English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, and Russian, he also spoke some Turkish and modern Greek. Ustinov was also proficient in accents and dialects in all his fluent languages. He passed away in March 2004 from heart failure.

 

Madame Medusa
The Rescuers (1977)
Voiced By: Geraldine Page

529full-geraldine-pageGeraldine Page was a celebrated actress who was nominated for Academy Awards eight times between 1953 and 1985. She finally won an Oscar for Best Actress for her performance in The Trip to Bountiful. After her work as Madame Medusa in The Rescuers, she starred in several Broadway shows and was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 1983. She has worked with Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, Maya Angelou, Lee Strasberg, and several other well-known stars of the theater and stage. After winning her Academy Award in 1986, Page was cast in a revival of Blithe Spirit, a role that landed her a Tony Award nomination. She did not win the award and passed away several days after the ceremony.

 

Ratigan
The Great Mouse Detective (1986)
Voiced By: Vincent Price

vincent-vincent-price-35944932-1080-960A stable in the horror genre, Vincent Price had an illustrious career in TV and film. Before his work on The Great Mouse Detective, Price starred in several popular films, including House of Wax, The Fly, House on Haunted Hill, Laura, and much more. Around 1975, after the horror film genre suffered a huge slump, Price transitioned to voice over work and theater. His role as Professor Ratigan was one of his last major roles, and one of his favorites. After The Great Mouse Detective, he did some small work on TV before passing away in October 1993. Price was also a noted gourmet cook and art collector and authored several cookbooks with his wife.

 

Ursula
The Little Mermaid (1989)
Voiced By: Pat Carroll

220px-Pat_Carroll_1972An Emmy, Drama Desk, and Grammy Award-winning actress, Pat Carroll is a voice actress who has enjoyed a long career on radio, film, and TV. Another regular on the sitcom, Make Room for Daddy, Carroll also appeared on several variety shows and even had a one-woman show on Gertrude Stein. In 1989, Carroll was cast as Ursula, a role she has referred to as one of her favorites. She has reprised the role in several video games and spin-offs as well. Currently Carroll can be seen on various game shows and theater productions.

 

Gaston
Beauty and the Beast (1991)
Voiced By: Richard White


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A native of Tennessee, Richard White is an actor, opera singer, and voice actor best known for his role as Gaston in Beauty and the Beast.  He was nominated for a 1985 Joseph Jefferson Award for his role in Carousel at the Marriott Theater in Chicago (REPRESENT!!) and was in a national tour and Broadway revival of Jekyll and Hyde from 2012 to 2013.  White has starred in several regional and off-Broadway productions and most recently was in a Broadway production of GIGI.

 

Jafar
Aladdin (1992)
Voiced By: Jonathan Freeman

1Johnathan Freeman is best known for his role as Jafar in the Aladdin franchise, as well as in the Kingdom Hearts video game series and the 2011 Aladdin Broadway musical. Before his work on Aladdin, Freeman was a puppeteer for Shining Time Station and appeared in several Broadway revivals, including How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, The Producers, On the Town, and 42nd Street. Currently, Freeman is starring as Jafar in the musical adaptation of Aladdin on Broadway.

 

Scar
The Lion King (1994)
Voiced By: Jeremy Irons

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A golden child of the theater, Jeremy Irons has appeared in several Shakespearean shows and other Broadway productions. He has a long award-winning film career, filled with several movies where he played a villain. After his work on The Lion King, he won an Emmy and Golden Globe Award for his role in the TV mini-series, Elizabeth I. Despite his long and colorful career, he’s perhaps best known for his role as Scar. He has provided voice overs for three Disney World attractions and reprised his role as Scar in Fantasmic. Another fun fact…a 2008 study found “the perfect male voice” to be a combination of Jeremy Irons and Alan Rickman, both of whom played brothers in the Die Hard films. An advocate for several causes, Irons is celebrated both politically and professionally. Currently, Irons is performing in Long Day’s Journey into the Night at the Bristol Old Vic theater and has two movies coming out in 2016 and 2017: Assassin’s Creed and Justice League.

 

Governor Ratcliffe
Pocahontas (1995)
Voiced By: David Ogden Stiers

David_Ogden_StiersA native of Peoria, Illinois, David Ogden Stiers attended high school with film critic Roger Ebert and attended Julliard. He has performed with the California Shakespeare Theater, San Francisco Actor’s Workshop, and the improv group, The Committee. Before his work with Disney, Stiers was an actor on M*A*S*H, a role for which he received two Emmy nominations. After his work on Pocahontas, Stiers did additional voice work on The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Lilo & Stitch, Hoodwinked, and voiced several characters in various video games. He is the associate conductor for the Newport Symphony Orchestra and has guest-conducted more than 70 orchestras around the world.

 

Hades
Hercules (1997)
Voiced By: James Woods

JamesWoodsYet another actor who got his start on stage, James Woods appeared in 36 plays before finally making his Broadway debut in 1970. If he has a familiar face, that might be because he’s appeared in more than 130 films as of 2013 and has had several roles doing voice over work, including his favorite role, that of Hades in Hercules. After Hercules, he had roles in several other movies, including The Virgin Suicides, Any Given Sunday, Riding in Cars with Boys, John Q, and most recently, Jamesy Boy and Bling. Currently he plays the voice of Lex Luthor in Justice League Action.

 

Shan Yu
Mulan (1998)
Voiced By: Miguel Ferrer

'Iron Man 3' Los Angeles premiere

Another actor known for playing villains, Miguel Ferrer has starred as the guy you love to hate in several TV shows and movies. After his work on Mulan, he had roles in Traffic, Sunshine State, The Manchurian Candidate, Iron Man 3, and Rio 2. Currently he plays the voice of Death in Adventure Time. One of five children of the lovely Rosemary Clooney, Ferrer is also first-cousins with fellow actor George Clooney.

 

Dr. Facilier
The Princess and the Frog (2009)
Voiced By: Keith David

the-cape-9A fellow graduate of Julliard School, Keith David is an actor praised for his voice over work. He has appeared in several films and TV shows, including Armageddon, There’s Something About Mary, Barbershop, Crash, and Requiem for a Dream. He has narrated Ken Burns, The War, as well as several other Burns films. He’s voiced video games characters and was cast in the leading role in the 2015 drama series, Greenleaf.

 

Mother Gothel
Tangled (2010)
Voiced By: Donna Murphy

MV5BMjI2OTA5NTIzNF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNDY1MjM1Nw@@._V1_SX1024_CR0,0,1024,1457_AL_A five-time Tony Award nominee, Donna Murphy is a celebrated actress of the stage. She has won Tonys for her roles in Passion and The King and I and has appeared in a handful of films and TV shows. After her work on Tangled, Murphy appeared in the films Higher Ground, Dark Horse, The Bourne Legacy, and House of Versache. She’s also had roles on The Good Wife, Royal Pains, and Resurrection. She won a Drama Desk Award for LoveMusik in 2007 and was nominated for several awards in 2011 for her work in The People in the Picture.

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Where the Wild Things Are Necklace

By now, dear readers, you must know that I am a huge Maurice Sendak fan.  I know I’ve written about him at least a couple times on this blog.  I own several of his books, I dressed up as Max from Where the Wild Things Are for Halloween one year…heck, I even have a Sendak-inspired tattoo on my leg.  I adore his stories and his views on how children should be taught and raised.

So today I’d like to share a fun little necklace with you, inspired by Max from Where the Wild Things Are.  Made of clay, this little charm could also make a great ornament or gift embellishment.

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Where the Wild Things Are Necklace

Materials:

  • Gold Clay
  • Gray or Off White Clay
  • Clay Roller
  • Sharp Knife
  • Aluminum Foil (optional)
  • Toothpick or Sewing Needle
  • Jump Ring
  • Chain

 

Instructions:

  1. Work gold clay until it’s soft and pliable.  Roll out flat.
  2. Using the sharp knife, cut out the crown shape.  I just cut out triangles from the clay.  Easy peasy!
  3. Wrap clay around your finger to form crown, trimming any excess clay if necessary.  If you find it too hard to use a finger, you can also make a mold from aluminum foil and wrap your clay around that.
  4. Work gray clay until it’s soft and pliable.  Roll clay into a log, about ¼ in. thick.
  5. Wrap around base of crown and press lightly to secure it in place.
  6. Using the toothpick or sewing needle, drag the point through the gray clay several times to create the look of “fur”.  Careful not to push too hard and cut through the clay.
  7. Carefully poke a hole in one of the points of the crown.  This will be for your jump ring.
  8. Slightly bend the points of the crown back so crown looks curved.  You can bend the points over a pencil or pen if you’d like.
  9. Bake the crown following package instructions on your clay.  Mine took about 15 minutes at 275 degrees F.
  10. Let your crown cool completely.
  11. Once cooled, attach a jump ring to the crown and string it through your chain.

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The Bees Knees: Wisdom from Bobby D.

bob-dylan

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September 27, 2016 · 6:39 am

Reci-bee: 50 Recipes, 50 States, 1 Very Hungry Blogger

A few weeks ago, I tried Nashville Hot Chicken for the first time. I have been to Nashville before and never heard of it…it took a trip to a local chain restaurant to learn about this amazing, comforting, soul-southing dish that would eventually inspire today’s blog post (it was The Yard House, if you’re curious! If there’s one by you, I highly suggest trying it). I mean, look at this. LOOK AT THIS DISH. Hot chicken, sweet potato pancakes (which could be a meal just by themselves)…this is happiness. Pure happiness.

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So today’s post is mostly inspired by the discovery of this Nashville delight, as well as a game my dad and I talked about playing several times (but actually never did…but I’m bound and determined to do it with my kids!).

So here’s what ya do. Get a map of the United States (or the world for adventurous eaters!)…like, a big one. Big enough to cover your kitchen table. Then use dice, a penny, or any small object you and your kids can easily toss and use the state or country it lands on to inspire your cuisine. Isn’t that fun?! It’s a great way to travel without spending a ton of money and a fun and clever way to introduce kids to new flavors and cultures.

Best of all, I’ve done some of the work for you! Below you’ll find 50 amazing recipes representing each state in the US (just click the picture to see the recipe!). So whether you land on Utah or Florida, you’ll have a tasty recipe you can make to get a feel and taste for every state in the US!

Happy Travels!

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One Recipe for Each State in the US

Alabama:  Fried Green Tomatoes
The Irondale Cafe, located in Irondale, Alabama was the inspiration for the Whistlestop Cafe in the film, Fried Green Tomatoes...and just like in the film, the Irondale Cafe is still known for whipping up some awesome fried green tomatoes.

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Alaska:  Roasted Maple Salmon
Salmon can be found almost anywhere along the coastlines of the United States, but no state gets better, fresher salmon than Alaska.  With natives who have created unique and flavorful recipes that you can’t find anywhere else (salmon candy, anyone?) Alaska is the place to go for fresh, delicious, healthy salmon dishes.

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Arizona:  Chimichangas
According to lore, the founder of the Tuscan, Arizona restaurant El Charro accidentally dropped a pastry in a deep fryer in 1922.  She supposedly yelled “chimichanga!” when it dropped, eventually inspiring the name of this popular dish.

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Arkansas:  Catfish Sandwich
Catfish abound along the banks of the Mississippi River, and the locals of Arkansas know how to turn this bottom-dwelling fish into a stand-out sandwich.  Fried, baked, or broiled, catfish dishes make Arkansas a unique destination for seafood lovers.

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California:  Avocado and Kale Toast
The health craze has hit California hard!  Basically anything containing avocado or kale can be considered “Californian”, and when you combine the two, dude…that’s like, totally bitchin’.

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Colorado:  Rocky Mountain Green Chili
Chili is a Colorado favorite.  Call it the cold weather or the fact that it shares space with some other wild west towns, but Colorado is home to some of the best green chili cooks in the US.

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Connecticut:  Steamed Cheeseburgers
A true Connecticut thing, steamed burgers and cheeseburgers use hot steam to cook the patties, resulting in a juicy burger that’s unlike anything you’ve ever eaten!  While you can make these at home, be sure to get yourself an authentic steamed burger next time you’re on the east coast!

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Delaware:  Vinegar Fries
You can find vinegar fries in other places, but no one does it quite like Delaware.  The unique flavor of these fries makes them a great side dish to fish.

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Florida:  Key Lime Pie
Created and imported from Florida, Key Limes are a product of the Florida Keys and are often used in creating key lime pie.  Much smaller than a traditional lime, these limes pack a sour punch!

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Georgia:  Peach and Bourbon Cobbler
Lovingly named “The Peach State”, Georgia is home to these sweet and tasty fruits, and you can get a taste of this southern state with almost any peach recipe…but this one also features another southern favorite:  Bourbon!  Serve with cinnamon ice cream for a tasty treat any southern belle would love!

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Hawaii:  Spam Sliders
Spam is the chicken of Hawaii.  Used in practically every savory Hawaiian recipe, spam is a flavor that island dwellers love.  It’s a great pairing to pineapple and is tasty just as is after a few seconds on the grill.

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Idaho:  Finger Steaks
Often served with potatoes of some kind (shocker), finger steaks are just what they sound like.  Small pieces of steak are battered and fried and served like chicken nuggets.  A true Idaho favorite, these little finger steaks are fun and tasty to eat.

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Illinois:  Deep Dish Pizza
There’s a running joke that Chicago people don’t eat deep dish…only out-of-towners who come to Chicago for the first time.  I am living proof that this is not true.  I’m a born and raised Chicagoian who loves deep dish, but it’s not for everyone.  More like a pie with a thick crust and lots of sauce, this pizza is not for the faint of heart!  But it is a tasty treat that takes me home every time I eat it!

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Indiana:  Creme-Filled Doughnuts
Indiana is home to tons of doughnut shops (I WANT TO GO TO THERE) with each shop claiming they have the best doughnuts in town.  Skip all the drama and make your own at home!  Best of all, your kitchen is going to smell amazing!

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Iowa:  Pork Tenderloin Sandwich
Iowa is true farmland…and pork is abundant here in the midwest.  Fry it up and serve it on a bun and you’ve got yourself a midwestern staple that is comically satisfying (I mean look at the size of that meat).

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Kansas:  Kansas BBQ Chicken
Every southern state wants to make their claim to delicious BBQ…and every one of those states has their own style.  Kansas style is sweet and spicy and great on chicken.  Make your own Kansas BBQ sauce and see if you can go back to the dry rubs of Texas!

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Kentucky:  Hot Brown Sandwich
Born at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, this sandwich features turkey, bacon, and Mornay sauce, a Bechamel sauce made of Gruyere cheese.  Served on a piece of crispy bread, this is stick-to-your-ribs comfort food right here.

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Louisiana:  Beignets
It’s no surprise that the French had a large influence on Louisiana…and these light and fluffy beignets are a product of this influence.  Pieces of dough are fried up and covered…COVERED…with confectioners’ sugar and served up nice and hot.

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Maine:  Lobster Rolls
I feel like this doesn’t even need an explanation.  If you’re in Maine and you DON’T get a lobster roll, you’ve missed out on one tasty experience!

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Maryland:  Baltimore Crab Cakes
Granted you can easily find crab cakes in any east coast state, but Maryland takes crab cakes seriously.  For the freshest and best-tasting crab cakes, look no further than Boston.

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Massachusetts:  Ultimate Clam Chowder
Whether you call it chowda’ or chowder, there’s no denying that Massachusetts is home to come of the best chow on the planet.  Often served with potatoes and bacon, this soup will warm your insides on those cold northeastern winter nights.

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Michigan:  Easy Beef Pasties
Containing meat, a veggie, and potatoes all in one pastry, the Michigan pasty really is a meal all in itself.  Originally used by miners and laborers as a way to essentially eat on the job, these meals are hardy, filling, and comforting.  You can find authentic pasty shops all over Michigan, particularly in the northern parts of the state.

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Minnesota:  Minnesota Hot Dish
If Fargo taught me anything, it’s that Minnesota does not mess around when it comes to winter blizzards.  Since weather in Minnesota can be very sketchy, sometimes people are stuck with making a casserole from whatever is on-hand…thus, the Minnesota Hot Dish.  Often served with hash browns or tater tots, this is one casserole that will satisfy every guilty pleasure.

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Mississippi:  Mississippi Mud Pie
Chocolate lovers rejoice!  This ooey gooey pie is a slice of heaven.  Thought to have originated in Mississippi, this pie often is served with ice cream and is the perfect ending to a light summer meal.

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Missouri:  Toasted Ravioli
St. Louis holds claim on the creation of toasted ravioli.  A delicious appetizer or snack, toasted ravioli is often made with cheese-filled pasta, seasoned and baked and served with fresh marinara sauce.

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Montana:  Huckleberry Buckle
Montana and Idaho are great places to find the tasty huckleberry.  Similar in taste to the blueberry, the huckleberry is used to make everything from medicines to jams.

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Nebraska:  Classic Ruben
Thought to have come from Omaha, the Ruben is a popular sandwich consisting of corned beef and sauerkraut.  Often grilled on buttered rye bread, this sandwich can be found in several restaurants across the country…but a homemade one is always best!

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Nevada:  Shrimp Cocktail
Though Nevada doesn’t have a traditional food, the shrimp cocktail is somewhat symbolic of the Vegas culture.  A great appetizer or light dinner, the shrimp cocktail can be as simple or as elaborate as you’d like it to be!

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New Hampshire:  Slow Cooker Apple Maple Pork Tenderloin
Known for apples and maple syrup, New Hampshire is the place to go for hearty and tasty dishes…and this yummy recipe combines them both.  Served with potatoes and peas, this dinner will fill your kitchen with delectable aromas.

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New Jersey:  Italian Hoagie
A large Italian population makes New Jersey the place to go for great Italian food in the US…and the hoagie (or hero or sub) is a New Jersey staple!  Filled with meat and cheese and delicious Italian spices, this sandwich is worthy of at least a few fist pumps!

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New Mexico:  Green Chili Stew
New Mexico is home to the green chili pepper, and this stew is a great way to highlight the flavors of this tasty ingredient.  Use whatever meat you’d like in this stew and serve alongside tortillas or cornbread for a dinner your family will love.

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New York:  New York Style Cheesecake
Cheesecake may look light and fluffy, but this dessert is anything but!  Decedent and creamy, New York style cheesecake often features a simple strawberry glaze and garnish to finish it off.

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North Carolina:  Pulled Pork (or Chicken) Sandwiches
Another state trying to lay claim to amazing BBQ, North Carolina has it’s own style of treating pork and chicken.  Featuring a tangy sauce made from a few spices and vinegar, North Carolina BBQ is a unique and delicious take on this southern favorite.

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North Dakota:  Plum Kuchen
Kuchen comes from the large German influences in North Dakota.  You can make it with almost any fruit you’d like, and every Dakota grandma has her own go-to recipe.  Served in bar form or as pie slices, this dessert is a Dakota claim to fame.

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Ohio:  Buckeye Peanut Butter Balls
These Buckeye candies are an Ohio favorite.  Featuring two of my favorite flavors, chocolate and peanut butter, you can find these tasty treats at almost any Ohio football game.

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Oklahoma:  Stuffed Fried Okra
Part of the state meal of Oklahoma (yes, that’s a real thing), fried okra is a southern favorite.  Sometimes battered and fried, sometimes stuffed and battered and fried, because–why not?–fried okra makes a great side dish if you can find it in your local grocery store.

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Oregon:  Beer Marinated Chicken Drumsticks
Oregon is home to several amazing breweries, making these beer marinated drumsticks a wonderful taste of the west coast.  Serve with an ice cold IPA for a true Portland experience.

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Pennsylvania:  Cheese Steak Sandwich
Pennsylvania dwellers take their cheese steak sammies seriously.  With several restaurants offering up the same sandwich, each spot has loyal customers that swear that their restaurant offers the best option.  Thankfully, you can avoid all the back and forth and just make amazing cheese steak sandwiches right from the comfort of your own home!
PS – How come no one on The Office ever ate a cheese steak sandwich?  Not even Kevin!!  Missed opportunity, NBC. 😉

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Rhode Island:  Spicy Calamari
Another popular east coast snack, calamari is best served in Rhode Island.  Rhode Island calamari features a lighter coating and sometimes has a little spicy kick.

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South Carolina:  Shrimp and Grits
A true South Carolina stable, shrimp and grits can be found at almost any restaurant in the south.  Rich and comforting, this dish is just as comforting as it is delicious.

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South Dakota:  Chislic
Featuring cubed red meat served on a skewer, chislic is a dish commonly served in South Dakota.  The meat is often grilled or fried and can be anything from beef to lamb.

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Tennessee:  Nashville Hot Chicken
A local specialty of Nashville, hot chicken is basically fried chicken with a spicy batter.  Often served with a side of ranch dressing, this spicy chicken is a serious game changer!

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Texas:  True Texas Brisket
There’s no better place to get beef brisket than Texas.  I mean, look at that slice!!  Served just as is or piled high on a sandwich, Texas brisket is a meathead’s happy place.

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Utah:  Funeral Potatoes
A popular Mormon dish usually served at after-funeral dinners, Funeral Potatoes feature all the things that make your soul happy:  potatoes, cheese, cream, and butter.  These potatoes are great if you need a little pick-me-up, no matter what the reason!

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Vermont:  No-Bake Vermont Maple Syrup Cookies
Do yourself a favor and throw out any syrup you have that’s not directly from Vermont…because once you taste the real thing, you’re not gonna go back.  These no-bake cookies allow the real flavor of Vermont maple syrup to shine through and they’re sure to be a hit with kids and adults alike.

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Virginia:  Peanut Soup
Yes, it sounds weird…but peanut soup is a Virginia staple, and has been since the days of colonial Williamsburg.  Thick and satisfying, this soup is great for cold winters and is also a popular staple in African cooking.

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Washington:  Sweet Rainier Cherry Pie
Cherry pie may seem pretty universal, but pie made with Sweet Rainier cherries…that’s 100% Washington state!  Sweet and beautiful in coloring, Sweet Rainier cherries grow in Washington state and are tasty baked, cooked, or fresh off the tree!

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West Virginia:  Pepperoni Rolls
A strange, yet satisfying food, pepperoni rolls can be found all over West Virginia.  They all feature pepperoni slices baked inside loaves of fresh bread and can come with any variety of cheeses or other additions.

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Wisconsin:  Bratwurst Beer Cheddar Pretzel Pot Pie
I think I’d be hard-pressed to find a more Wisconsin-themed recipe.  Bratwurst…beer….cheese…pretzels….this pot pie features all the amazing flavors of this dairy state…and served with a nice stout, this pot pie will help you get through even the toughest midwestern winter.

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Wyoming:  Cowboy Chili
The cowboy state deserves a proper cowboy recipe.  Bursting with bold and strong flavors in a hearty stew, this cowboy chili is a guaranteed winner the whole crew is sure to enjoy.

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27 Weird and Wacky Cookbooks Based on Pop Culture

Everyone knows that there are a few good cookbooks you need to basically have every recipe you need in life. The Joy of Cooking, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and a good cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen are great to have in the wheelhouse and should give you recipes for anything you can’t find on Pinterest. But for those of us who love the weird and wacky, there are a whole SLEW of cookbooks that are a MUST for foodies who love TV, movies, books, and music.

Compiled for your shopping and reading enjoyment, here are 27 fantastically weird and wacky cookbooks that you add to your upcoming birthday or holiday lists. I actually do own a good handful of these myself and they’re quite amazing. My famous chocolate chip cookie recipe comes from Aunt Bee’s Mayberry Cookbook, I have made a handful of drinks from the Mad Men Cookbook and I’ve tried making Pumpkin Pasties from the Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook (I also recently purchased Vincent Price’s cookbook, which is a full-color collection of some very unique and scrumptious recipes!). These are all real and all for sale on Amazon.com (they’re also all linked for easy shopping!).

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Cookin’ with Coolio: 5 Star Meals at a 1 Star Price

The Star Wars Cookbook: Wookiee Cookies and other Galactic Recipes

Baking Bad: Criminally Delicious Recipes. No Meth-in Around.

Alice’s Brady Bunch Cookbook

Cooking with FRIENDS

Star Trek Cookbook: The Official Cookbook from Star Trek’s First Chef

Rapper’s Delight: The Hip Hop Cookbook

Are You Hungry Tonight?: Elvis’ Favorite Recipes

Aunt Bee’s Mayberry Cookbook

The Unofficial Narnia Cookbook

The Portlandia Cookbook: Cook Like a Local

The Bob’s Burgers Burger Book: Real Recipes for Joke Burgers

Grandpa’s Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Cookbook

The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook

Fifty Shades of Chicken: 50 Chicken Recipes Bound to be Delicious

Green Eggs and Ham Cookbook

The Nancy Drew Cookbook: Clues to Good Cooking

Orange is the New Black Cookbook: Bites, Booze, Secrets and Stories from Inside the Big House

Outlander Kitchen: The Official Outlander Companion Cookbook

Pulp Kitchen: Recipes for the Good, the Bad, and the Hungry

Roald Dahl’s Revolting Recipes

TrueBlood Cookbook: Eats, Drinks and Bites

The Snacking Dead Cookbook

The Sopranos Family Cookbook

The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook: Inside the Kitchens, Bars, and Restaurants of Mad Men

A Feast of Ice and Fire: The Official Game of Thrones Cooking Companion

A Treasury of Great Recipes by Mary and Vincent Price

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One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest…Fun Facts!

Whenever One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is on TV, I have to stop whatever I’m doing and watch it. Personally, I think it’s Jack Nicholson’s best performance and maybe one of the best films I’ve ever seen.

For as much as I love the movie, I didn’t know it was a book first until I stumbled upon the audiobook at the library. I decided to check it out…

Though I think I like the movie a tad better, the novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was an intoxicating read, and a very different take on R.P. McMurphy and Chief Bromden (who ironically ends up narrating the novel).

I just finished the book a few days ago and immediately watched the movie yet again…inspiring today’s post…33 Fun Facts about One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

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A film with quite an interesting backstory, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest opened in 1975 to critical acclaim. It had a killer opening weekend and swept the Oscar ceremony, with awards for Best Picture, Best Actor and several more. It was the film debut of Brad Dourif (who scored a Best Supporting Actor nomination for this role as Billy Bibbit) and popular favorite, Christopher Lloyd.

Set in a real-life psychiatric hospital, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest also featured a few actual patients and provided a home for the cast during filming. It’s on the favorite movie list of several A-listers, including Ron Howard and Barack Obama, and has been added to the Best 100 Movies of All Time list, as well as the National Film Registry.

If you haven’t seen it, I highly suggest you check it out…and if you have seen it, read these fun facts and watch it again!

 

33 Fun Facts About One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

In the novel, main character Randle P. McMurphy is actually a large, red-headed Irishman.
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One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is the favorite movie of director Ron Howard and President Barack Obama.

Ken Kesey’s novel of the same name was based on his experiences while working at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Palo Alto, CA.
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The title of the film (and novel) gets its name from an American children’s folk rhyme. It’s mentioned in full in the novel but never referenced in the film.
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During most of the film’s shooting, William Redfield (Harding) was ill. He died several months after the film was completed.
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Many extras in the film were real mental patients.
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One large change between the book and the film is that the book is narrated by Chief Bromden…a decision that was left out of the movie. Because of that, author Ken Kesey refused to see the film adaptation of his novel.
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One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was the first film to win all “Big Five” Academy Awards in 41 years. Not since 1934 (It Happened One Night) did one picture win Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Screenplay. This honor would not be matched again until Silence of the Lambs won the Big Five in 1992. No film has won the Big Five since.
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Other actors considered for the role of Randle P. McMurphy included Kirk Douglas (who was McMurphy in the stage production, shown below), Gene Hackman, Marlon Brando, and Burt Reynolds.  It was awarded to Jack Nicholson because he was the biggest Hollywood name at the time.
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As for Nurse Ratched, several actresses were considered as well, including Anne Bancroft, Colleen Dewhurst, Geraldine Page, and Angela Lansbury.

The doctor who assessed R.P. McMurphy at the beginning of the film (Dr. John Spivey) was actually a facility superintendent at Oregon State Hospital, where the movie was filmed.
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Mel Lambert, another non-actor, was also asked to play the harbormaster who protested McMurphy and his crew taking the boat out on a fishing trip. What’s more, Lambert had a strong relationship with the Native American community in Oregon and introduced the production team to Will Sampson, who would be cast as the major character, Chief Bromden.
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All of the actors who played patients actually lived on the Oregon State Hospital psychiatric ward throughout production. They personalized their sleeping quarters and spent their days on campus getting a sense of what it was like to be hospitalized.
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To add to the effect of realism, the director led his performers in unscripted group therapy sessions in which he directed the actors to develop their characters’ psychological maladies organically. He would capture footage of the actors, both in and out of character, without mentioning that the cameras were rolling.
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Most of Jack Nicholson’s scene with Dr. Brooks (Spivey) upon arriving at the hospital was improvised – including the slamming of the stapler, asking about the fishing photo, and discussing his rape conviction. Brooks’s reactions to Nicholson in that scene were 100% authentic.
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Strained by a demanding shooting schedule that kept him away from his wife, Rhea Perlman, Danny DeVito created an imaginary friend with whom he would have nightly chats. Concerned that his own sanity might be slipping away, he sought the advice of Dr. Brooks (Dr. Spivey in the film), who assured him there was no reason to worry as long as DeVito could still identify the character as fictional.
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The cast and crew were also concerned about the behavior of Sydney Lassick (Cheswick). He exhibited increasingly unpredictable and emotionally erratic behavior during his time in character, a pattern that culminated in a tearful outburst during his off-screen observation of the final scene between McMurphy and The Chief. Lassick became so overwhelmed during the scene that he had to be removed from set.
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The play opened on Broadway in NYC in November 1963 and closed after 82 performances. The cast included Kirk Douglas as R.P. McMurphy, William Daniels as Dale Harding and Gene Wilder as Billy Bibbit.
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The final scene of the film was shot in one take.
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Dr. Brooks and Mel Lambert weren’t the only newbies to the big screen. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was also the film debut for Brad Dourif (who received a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his role as Billy Bibbit), Christopher Lloyd, and Will Sampson.

During the ECT scene, McMurphy says, “A little dab will do ya” as the nurse is putting conductor gel on the side of his head. This phrase, not in the original script, is a reference to the advertising gingle of Brylcreem hair cream, which was a popular hair care product for men in the 60s and 70s.
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Danny DeVito reprised his performance for a 1971 off-Broadway revival.

Louise Fletcher was so disturbed by her own performance as Nurse Ratched that she couldn’t watch the film for years.
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Jack Nicholson seems to be a master negotiator, as he took a percentage of the profits of the film in lieu of a small salary. The move paid off when the picture went on to gross well over $120 million. He pulled a similar arrangement with Tim Burton’s Batman.

When filming the fishing scene, all of the cast except Jack Nicholson got seasick. What made it worse for them was it took a whole week to film it! Danny DeVito apparently still gets queasy thinking about it.
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The fishing scene was almost cut from the film. It was the final scene filmed and the only piece shot out of chronological order.

A little Easter Egg for the fishing scene: Angelica Huston makes a small cameo as an onlooker who was watching the boat as McMurphy steers the boat back to shore (Huston and Nicholson were dating at the time).
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The fishing trip sequence was filmed at Depoe Bay, Oregon – the smallest harbor in the world.
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Most of the cast was chosen by putting them in group therapy auditions.

Filming was so intense and strenuous that the party scene was actually such a welcome “breathe of fresh air” for the cast (this is also my favorite scene in the entire film!  BILLY YOU LITTLE HEARTBREAKER).
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Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, and Vincent Schiavelli – all patients in the hospital – all played villains in Tim Burton’s Batman films.

Similarly, Louise Fletcher, Christopher Lloyd, Vincent Schiavelli, Michael Berryman, and Brad Dourif have all appeared in Star Trek productions.

In 1993, the movie was deemed “culturally, historically and aesthetically significant” by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.

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