Tag Archives: pop culture

The Circle Book Review

The digital age is both amazing and terrifying.  In today’s world, we can locate long-lost friends, instantly transfer money to different accounts, talk to people on the other side of the planet, buy and sell goods, and store precious media in the mysterious Cloud.  However, the digital age also sees countless occasions of identity theft, stalking, trolling, hacking, and viruses that can completely destroy everything on your hard drive.

The freedom we have to do whatever we want online, to see whatever we want and search for whatever we want, has people asking what privacy even is anymore.  What’s really ‘public domain’ in this age of digital media?  Is anything ever really deleted?  Is our privacy really protected?  How much information are we really giving away by shopping, banking, and playing online?  Are the measures we have in place safe enough to protect our most precious assets?  And, most importantly, what new developments are in store for a world that constantly begs for “the next best thing”?

In the fictional (but scarily true) novel, The Circle, it becomes clear that our digital profiles, no matter how secure we may think they are, offer an abundance of information to those running the Internet’s most powerful sites…and there’s little to nothing that can be done to stop it.

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When Mae Holland is hired to work for The Circle, the world’s most powerful Internet company, she cannot wait to jump in and get started.  Loosely and sort of obviously based on a Google-type company, The Circle is a powerhouse California start-up, featuring a sprawling campus, glass dining facilitates, cozy dorms, amazing after-work parties, and an abundance of clubs for practically every passion.

In a nutshell, The Circle aims to link users’ personal emails, social media, banking, purchasing history, and basically all online activity with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity that boasts about a “new age of civility and transparency”.  Want to buy new shoes?  Facebook message a friend?  Connect with a colleague’s professional network?  Pay a bill?  Schedule a party?  All that and more can be done within The Circle interface…and everyone who’s anyone has already joined.

Filled with young and impressionable minds, The Circle’s staff is made up of the best of the best from Silicon Valley…and Mae knows she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime to work there.  As she tours the campus, she becomes engrossed in the company’s activity and dedication to employee morale.  Famous musicians play on the lawn, an aquarium of rare fish offer a place of solitude, and employees seem almost happy and willing to go the extra mile for the good of the company.

Mae quickly learns the ropes of her job and impresses leadership with her skills and attention to detail.  As she starts to gain recognition at The Circle and her interface begins to grow, Mae learns how amazing this technology is…and how much it’s doing to improve the world at large…

Or is it?  Even as life outside of work grows distant…even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken…even as her role at The Circle becomes increasingly public…Mae still can’t believe her great fortune to be a part of this ground-breaking company.  But is this truly the opportunity of a lifetime…or is this the power of the digital age on young and influential minds?

What begins as a captivating story of one woman’s ambition to succeed soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense and terror, raising ethical and moral questions about privacy, democracy, and basic human rights.

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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28 Fun Facts About Gene Kelly

The first time I ever watched Gene Kelly dance was in Take Me Out to the Ball Game.  A wonderfully cheesy picture starring Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, and Esther Williams, TMOTTBG is about a terrible baseball team that is instantly improved when their new coach, (A WOMAN), whips them into shape.  Featuring lovely dance numbers, including several where Esther Williams is in the water, of course, Take Me Out to the Ball Game is a gem of a film, and happened to be one of my grandma’s favorites.

I was at her house when we watched it together for the first time.  She knew I loved Sinatra and thought this would be a great way for us to spend some time together.  Granted, I did love Sinatra’s numbers, but I remember my 10-year-old self being completely mystified and enchanted by Gene Kelly.

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After TMOTTBG, I dove into Gene’s other films, including the other two he made with Frank (Anchors Aweigh and On the Town), as well as the films that shot him into stardom, including An American in Paris, Cover Girl, and of course, Singin’ in the Rain.  I was glued on him.  He made it look so easy!  The fluidity of his movements and his drop-dead gorgeous smile…he lit up the screen in every way possible and to this day he remains as one of my favorite performers.

On this day 21 years ago, Gene Kelly passed away from complications from a stroke.  He was 83 years old and had nearly 30 movies under his belt by the time he passed.  He was a powerhouse both on stage and on screen and completely changed the way theater and moviegoers reacted to tap, ballet, and modern dance.  Many of his methods are still used to this day and his impact on Hollywood certainly does not go unnoticed.

Unlike his colleagues of the day, Gene didn’t actually get his start until much later in his life and was near 40 years old when he had his breakthrough role in Singin’ in the Rain.  But despite his late start to the game, Gene turned MGM and Hollywood upside down when he started dancing…and his dedication, near obsession, to his craft has earned him a glowing star amidst the glamour and glitz of the golden age of Hollywood.

If you’re looking to learn a little bit more about Gene Kelly, here are about 28 fun facts about the man who taught the world to love dance.

28 Fun Facts About Gene Kelly

Gene Kelly was one of five children born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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Like most young boys at the time, Gene’s dream was to be a professional baseball player for his hometown.  He’s quoted as saying he “wanted to be a shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates.”

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Gene entered Pennsylvania State College as a journalism major, but the 1929 Stock Market Crash forced him to work to help his family.  He and his brother Fred would earn money creating dance routines for local talent contests and nightclubs.

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Two years after he left Penn State, Gene enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh to study economics and received a degree in the subject.

While at University, Gene joined the Cap and Gown Club, which staged original musical productions.  After graduating in 1933, he continued to work with the Cap and Gown Club, serving as their director until 1938.

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Gene’s family opened a dance studio in Pittsburgh titled The Gene Kelly Studio of the Dance.  Gene taught there while attending college and working towards a law degree, a path he had to drop after two months when he decided to move to New York and pursue dancing full time…But NY was a bust.  Gene decided to move back to PA and teach dance wherever he could, as well as perform in a few local shows.

His first career breakthrough came in 1939 at the age of 27 when he was cast in the Pulitzer-Prize winning Broadway show, The Time of Your Life.

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The following year, Gene was cast as the lead role in the stage production of Pal Joey, a role that shot him into stardom.

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After Pal Joey, offers from Hollywood began pouring in…and in 1941, Gene decided to move back to New York and try his luck on the big screen.

Gene’s first movie was For Me and My Gal in 1942, starring box-office champion, Judy Garland.  Judy and Gene would go on to be very close friends the rest of their lives.

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He achieved another successful breakthrough in 1944 for his work with Rita Hayworth in Cover Girl.  This film features one of Gene’s most memorable scenes, where he dances with himself – NO CGI USED HERE – to highlight his characters internal struggle.

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At the end of the same year, Gene enlisted in the US Naval Air Service and was stationed in Washington DC, where he was involved in writing and directing a range of documentaries.

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Ironically Gene’s next film, Anchors Aweigh, cast him and heartthrob Frank Sinatra as two young and strapping Navy men.  MGM gave Gene a free hand to devise a range of dance routines, including one of Gene’s most popular dance scenes with Jerry the Mouse.  Though the scene only lasts about 4 minutes, it took months to complete.  Kelly’s movements were filmed first, then there were 10,000 painted frames of Jerry the mouse to synchronize with Kelly’s movements.

This scene was recreated recently on Family Guy with Stewie acting the part of Jerry.  Gene lives on!

Anchors Aweigh (one of my personal favorites!) was one of three movies starring Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra and was one of the most successful films of 1945.  It garnered Gene his first and only Academy Award nomination for Best Actor, which he lost to Ray Milland for The Lost Weekend.

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After a few flops, Gene wanted to return to safer and more commercial projects.  After a few smaller roles here and there, Gene starred in Take Me Out to the Ball Game, another film with Sinatra, in 1949.

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Their final pairing was in On the Town, a breakthrough in the musical film genre and probably one of my favorite musicals.  It has been described as “the most inventive and effervescent musical thus far produced in Hollywood.”  Great music, amazing dancing, and an all-star cast helped turn this film into Hollywood gold.

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If Gene wasn’t comfortable enough at the top, by 1952, he was a Hollywood All-Star.  In early 1951, Gene starred in the breathtaking An American in Paris, a film which won six Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

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An American in Paris also starred newcomer Leslie Caron, who Gene spotted in Paris and brought to Hollywood specifically for this role.  Their dream ballet sequence, lasting an unprecedented 17 minutes, was the most expensive production number ever filmed at the time.

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The following year, Gene was cast in what may be his most iconic role.  As co-director, lead, and choreographer, Gene was a driving force behind Singin’ in the Rain and several of his numbers from this movie cemented his place at the top among filmgoers and critics alike.

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Unfortunately his time at the top was short-lived.  After Singin’ in the Rain, Gene was in a few more movie musicals, including Invitation to Dance and Brigadoon, as well as a few non-musical pictures; however, the decline of the Hollywood musical left Gene in the dust…and after a handful of box office bombs, Gene decided to return to the stage.

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Into the 60’s, Gene made a handful of movie appearances, but most of his efforts were concentrated on production and directing.  He was asked to direct the film version of The Sound of Music starring Julie Andrews, but told the producer to “go find someone else to direct this piece of shit.”  Oops.

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After a few years acting in and directing some TV specials and shows, Gene was commissioned to direct Hello, Dolly! starring Barbara Streisand, Walter Matthau, and Louis Armstrong.  It was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including a Best Picture Oscar in 1969, but lost to Midnight Cowboy.

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By the 70’s and 80’s, Gene’s work was few and far between.  He was in a few TV specials and variety shows, and appeared in the surprising hits, That’s Entertainment!, That’s Entertainment, Part II, and That’s Entertainment, Part III, all a collection of amazing musical numbers from some of MGM’s best musicals of the time.

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His final film project was in 1994 for the animated film Cats Don’t Dance, released in 1997 and dedicated to him.

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Not surprisingly, Gene’s influence on the art of dance is monumental.  He brought the art of ballet to the big screen, created some of the most amazing dance numbers we’ve seen in film, and even coined his own type of dance, appropriately named “cine-dance”.

To help add to his on-screen performances, Gene wanted to make the camera movements serve the choreography, thus coining the term, “cine-dance”.  He defined cine-dance (cinema + dance) as “any dancing choreographed specifically and particularly to be filmed or televised.”  This meant that not only did Kelly’s movements have to be choreographed, but the camera movements had to be choreographed as well.  This was showcased several times in his career, notably in this number from Singin’ in the Rain.  The zoom of the camera onto Kelly’s face as he sings, “I’ve a smile on my face” is a movement that is specifically choreographed as part of the dance to add to the number and would be near impossible to do on stage…thus, cine-dance.

By the late 1980’s, Gene’s health was declining.  He had a stroke in 1994, and another in 1995, leaving him mostly bedridden.  He passed away on February 2, 1996 and was cremated, without funeral or memorial services.

Sometimes you just need a little fun in your life! Check back every week for a new “Just Bee-cause” post, where I discuss everything from celebrity news to favorite videos and websites!

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The Wonder Years…Where Are They Now?

We all have TV shows that have changed our lives – shows that stick with us forever and that we can go back and re-watch over and over again without exhaustion.  When I think of shows under this category, a few come to mind…but none as prominent as The Wonder Years.

I don’t know if it’s because I was Kevin Arnold’s age when I started watching the show…or maybe it’s because it was a show my dad and I watched together, but The Wonder Years remains, to this day, one of the best series I’ve seen on television.  I identified with it when I was 10, and then fell in love with it in a completely different way when I watched the series again when I turned 30.  Though the music and the clothes might date it a little, the themes of this show still ring true even in today’s day and age.

Starring a very young Fred Savage, The Wonder Years tells the story of a boy named Kevin Arnold.  Together with his childhood friends, Winnie Cooper (Danica McKellar) and Paul Pfeiffer (Josh Saviano), Kevin learns valuable lessons about love, loss, family, and understanding.  The show brings controversial themes to the forefront, including war, violence, death, abuse, drugs, and alcohol…and through the voice of a narrator, eventually revealed to be Kevin as an adult, we learn all about these magical years of wonder and adventure as we grow and learn with Kevin and his friends.

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The Wonder Years gained valuable praise during its run (1988 – 1993) and won a Primetime Emmy Award after only six episodes.  In 2016, Rolling Stone ranked it #63 on its list of the 100 Greatest TV Shows of All Time and the cast of The Wonder Years has remained very close to this day…several of them even acting in other projects together.

It’s a format that worked well for TV, especially for Savage’s younger brother, Ben, and his successful show, Boy Meets World.  Though much more upbeat in nature, Boy Meets World has a similar makeup, with similar characters in similar situations.  Both shows are staples in the lineup of the best coming-of-age TV shows and both hold loyal and true fandoms made up of viewers of all ages.

It’s been about 24 years now since The Wonder Years ended…and the cast that once made up this groundbreaking show remains active.  Check in below to see what’s happening with Kevin, Winnie, Jack, Wayne, and the rest of the characters we’ve grown to know and love through this amazing television classic.

The Cast of The Wonder Years…Where Are They Now?

Fred Savage
Kevin Arnold

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OMG HE LOOKS THE SAME!!
Fred Savage, a native of Illinois, grew up in the northern suburbs of Chicago before moving out to LA.  Before being cast in The Wonder Years, Savage had several small roles in movies and TV, perhaps most notably in The Princess Bride.  For his work on The Wonder Years, Savage received two Golden Globe nominations and two Emmy nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series and was the youngest actor ever to receive both honors (he was 13 at the time).  After The Wonder Years ended, he did mostly guest spots on TV and film, including a cameo on his younger brother’s show, Boy Meets World.  In 2015, Savage returned to acting with the FOX series, The Grinder.  Throughout the early 2000’s, Savage also dabbled in directing, standing behind the camera to produce several TV episodes, including work on the short-lived NBC sitcom, Working.  He’s also directed episodes of Modern Family and 2 Broke Girls.  Currently, Savage serves as a producer on the hilarious show, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.  Unlike Kevin Arnold, Savage actually married his childhood sweetheart in 2004 and they have two children together.

Danica McKellar
Winnie Cooper

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Oh, Danica…the ultimate in beauty and brains.  Scoring the role of Winnie in The Wonder Years in her early teens, McKellar found it difficult to transition into adult acting after having so much of her childhood dedicated to one job.  After The Wonder Years ended, McKellar had several guest roles in various TV shows and appeared in a couple Lifetime TV movies.  She returned briefly to TV with roles on The West Wing and How I Met Your Mother and even did some work as a voice actress in a variety of video games.  Outside of acting, McKellar got her Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics, graduating summa cum laude, from UCLA in 1998.  She’s a huge proponent of the importance of mathematics in education, especially for young women, and has authored four books on the subject:  Math Doesn’t Suck: How to Survive Middle School Math Without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail (a New York Times bestseller), Kiss My Math: Showing Pre-Algebra Who’s Boss, Hot X: Algebra Exposed, and Girls Get Curves: Geometry Takes Shape.  Her latest book, a children’s book titled Goodnight, Numbers, is available for pre-ordering now.  And for those who are obsessive like me, McKellar, Savage, and Saviano all still talk and keep in touch!

Josh Saviano
Paul Pfeiffer

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Josh Saviano, who played Kevin’s best friend, Paul Pfeiffer, throughout the series, grew up in New York and New Jersey before being cast in The Wonder Years.  His role as Paul is actually one of his few TV or movie roles.  He stopped acting after The Wonder Years to continue his education at Yale University, where he studied Political Science.  After graduating in 1998, he decided to enter Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in August of the same year.  He passed the bar and joined the law firm of Morrison Cohen LLP in New York, becoming a Senior Counsel in 2011 and Partner in 2013.  He left Morrison Cohen two years later and founded two start-up endeavors:  the JDS Legal law firm and the celebrity brand consulting agency, Act 3 Advisors.  Saviano returned to acting briefly in 2014 and 2015 to play a lawyer on the NBC series, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

Jason Hervey
Wayne Arnold

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Another actor who had various childhood roles before The Wonder Years, Jason Hervey got his start with small parts in several popular films, including Back to the Future, Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, and Diff’rent Strokes.  His big break came when he was cast as Kevin’s big brother, Wayne, on The Wonder Years, a role which helped Hervey launch a somewhat successful voice-acting career.  While his on-screen credits are few and far between these days, Hervey does maintain ties to the entertainment industry as the producer of various sports-themed videos and specials, most notably with the World Championship Wrestling channel.  From 2001 to 2003, Hervey served as the Senior Vice President of Media Communications for HealthSouth Corporation in Alabama.  He was involved in a fraud scandal and later sued his employer, demanding $300,000 in compensation.

Dan Lauria
Jack Arnold

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A Vietnam War veteran, Dan Lauria served as an officer in the US Marine Corps; ironically, he served at the same time his character on The Wonder Years was shipped off to serve in the Korean War.  Best known for his role as one of the greatest TV dads of our age, Lauria has also had several roles in various TV shows and on and off-Broadway stage productions.  In 2010, he appeared as Vince Lombardi in the Broadway play, Lombardi and was cast as Jean Shepherd in the 2012 Broadway production of A Christmas Story: The Musical.  Most recently, Lauria can be seen in the FOX series, Pitch.

Alley Mills
Norma Arnold

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Another native of Chicago, IL, Alley Mills starred as the loving mother, Norma Arnold, on The Wonder Years.  Since its end, Mills has had recurring roles in various soap operas, including Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman and The Bold and the Beautiful.  Outside of her work on the soap opera circuit, Mills has been pretty quiet.  She married actor Orson Bean in 1993 and currently lives in LA.

Olivia d’Abo
Karen Arnold

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Known for her role as Kevin’s rebellious hippie sister, Karen, Olivia d’Abo is a British actress who starred on The Wonder Years for the first four of its six seasons.  She had two guest appearances in the final two seasons, as well.  After her work on The Wonder Years, d’Abo had a recurring role in the NBC series, Law & Order: Criminal Intent and has been cast in numerous supporting roles in other TV programs and films, including The Spirit of ’76, The Big Green, and The Twilight Zone.  She also appeared in the 2005 Broadway production of The Odd Couple alongside Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane.  Like her fellow The Wonder Years cast members, d’Abo has also done a fair share of voice acting and has lent her voice to several video game characters.  Like Karen Arnold, d’Abo is also a singer-songwriter and guitarist.  She has composed music for several movie soundtracks, including the song “Broken” from the movie, Loving Annabelle.  Her debut album, Not TV, was released in July of 2008.  Most recently, d’Abo was in the 2016 films, Blue Weekend and the made-for-TV film, Inspired to Kill.

Daniel Stern
Narrator/Adult Kevin Arnold

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Yes, yes that’s Marv from Home Alone.  I know, I know!!  You’ll never look at The Wonder Years in the same way again!  After a variety of small successful films, Stern was cast as the narrator/adult Kevin Arnold on The Wonder Years.  Ironically, both he and Fred Savage appeared in the film, Little Monsters, with Stern playing Arnold’s father.  Stern also directed several episodes of The Wonder Years and would go on to direct other shows, including the CBS series, Danny.  Currently, Stern works as an artist, specializing in bronze sculpture.  He’s created art for public projects in San Diego, Agoura Hills, and Pasadena.  He is also the artist in residence at Studio Channel Islands Art Center in Camarillo.  Him and his wife have started several arts commissions and clubs and, in 2009, President Barak Obama awarded him the highest honor for volunteerism, the President’s “Call to Service” Award.  Stern now owns a 500-acre cattle ranch in California’s central valley.

Sometimes you just need a little fun in your life! Check back every week for a new “Just Bee-cause” post, where I discuss everything from celebrity news to favorite videos and websites!

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What Do You Stand For?

hamilton

Come back every Tuesday for “The Bees Knees”, where I post the best quotes from my favorite movies, TV shows, songs, and books.

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35 Fun Facts About Gone with the Wind

On January 17, 1940, the town of Atlanta, Georgia became a hub of activity. Some of the wealthiest families of the day, including the Vanderbilts, the Rockerfellers, and the Astors, flocked to the Loew’s Grand theater to be a part of what would become a historic evening.

On that cool day in January, the streets of Atlanta became a buzz with locals and tourists, all hoping to catch a glimpse of the stars soon to be walking into the theater. Afer days of parades and parties, the moment had finally arrived…the premier of the grand and anticipated classic, Gone with the Wind.

Thought to be one of the best movies of all time, Gone with the Wind opened to massive success. When the novel was released in June of 1936, it sold millions of copies within months of hitting the shelves. When word spread that it would be turned into a movie, it became the talk of the country…and celebrities of all kinds flocked to the studio to try to become a part of this soon-to-be classic.

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Now, near 77 years later, the movie still continues to draw in large crowds whenever it’s brought back to the theaters. It sits comfortably on several top movie lists and shot front-runners Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable into Hollywood stardom. It won several Oscars, including the first Oscar to be awarded to a black actor, and instantly became a record-setter that wouldn’t be touched for nearly 20 years.

Like most classic epics, Gone with the Wind is a commitment, clocking in at about 4 hours long…but it was a monumental achievement in its time. It tired out 3 directors, 16 writers, and every actor in the Screen Actor’s Guild at the time.

In my life, I’ve made it through Gone with the Wind twice, once on my own time and once in the theaters. It’s an amazing film and worth seeing just for the costumes alone! With amazing acting, beautiful cinematography, and elegant prose, Gone with the Wind is sure to stay a classic for years to come!

To help honor this film and shed some light onto what it cost, both financially and emotionally, to create this epic piece of cinematic history, here are 35 Fun Facts about Gone with the Wind…all of which will certainly make you give a damn the next time you watch it!

35 Fun Facts About Gone with the Wind

The original director of Gone with the Wind was George Cukor, who had spent more than two years in planning and developing the film.  However, there was friction on the set when it became public knowledge that Cukor was gay.  Clark Gable (Rhett Butler) voiced concern in working with Cukor for a variety of reasons…one being that Gable himself had been a homosexual hustler in his youth and didn’t want Cukor to expose him…the other being that Cukor had a reputation for making “woman’s films” and therefore Gable would lose the spotlight.  Whatever the reason, Cukor wasn’t the only one to walk.  The film actually had three directors throughout the course of its production (Cukor filmed 18 days, Victor Fleming filmed 93, and Sam Wood filmed 24).

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Leslie Howard (Ashley Wilkes) absolutely hated his role in the film.  He felt his slender 40-year-old frame wasn’t believable as a handsome 21 year-old, as Ashley was supposed to be.  He felt he was “not nearly beautiful or young enough to play Ashley”.

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Producer David Selznick wanted no less than 2,500 extras to lie in the dirt, portraying the dead and wounded Confederate soldiers toward the end of the war.  However, the Screen Actors Guild only had 1,500 to offer at the time.  Therefore Selznick ordered 1,000 dummies to round out the scene.

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It took 16 different writers to make the screenplay a viable length.

Selznick used all 7 Technicolor cameras in existence for the filming of Gone with the Wind.

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Author Margaret Mitchell started writing Gone with the Wind out of boredom.  She was recovering from an injury when she decided to dabble in writing.  Her project would take her 10 years to complete.  You’re not alone, GoT fans!

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Old West gunslinger Doc Holliday was Mitchell’s cousin…and many believe he was the inspiration for the character of Ashley Wilkes.

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It is estimated that if Selznick included all the dialogue from the book in the movie, Gone with the Wind would be about 168 hours long!

Selznick bought the movie rights from Mitchell for $50,000.  At the time, it was the highest price ever paid for a first novel.

The novel Gone with the Wind had been a phenomenal best seller upon its release…and the movie was hotly anticipated.  Over 1 million people poured into Atlanta to witness the premier of the movie.  The Governor of Georgia declared the day a state holiday and the mayor of Atlanta organized three days of parades and parties.

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Attendees of the premier included the Vanderbilts, the Rockerfellers, the Astors, J.P. Morgan, and all the Govenors of what used to be the Confederacy.

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In fact, there were more people at the premier of Gone with the Wind than there were in Atlanta at the height of the Civil War.

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The title Gone with the Wind comes from the poem “Cynara!” by Ernest Dowson.

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Half a million feet of film were shot for this near 4-hour movie.  It was cut down to only 20,000 feet in the end.

About 1,100 horses were used in the making of this film…oh the days before CGI…

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Gone with the Wind was the first film to receive more than five Academy Awards, receiving eight regular and two special Oscars.  The record stood for 20 years until Ben-Hur won 11 in 1959.

Among its accolades, Gone with the Wind took home Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Cinematography, Best Set Decoration, and Best Editing.  Both Clark Gable and Olivia de Havilland (Melanie Hamilton) were nominated, but lost their categories.

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Hattie McDaniel (Mammy) became the first black actor to win an Academy Award for her part in the film; however, she and her fellow black actors were banned from attending the film’s Atlanta premier.

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About 1,400 candidates were interviewed for the part of Scarlett, and of those, only 90 were given screen tests.  Selznick had Katharine Hepburn as his front-runner, but in the end thought she wasn’t sexy enough for the role.

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Unable to make a decision, Selznick turned the search for Scarlett into a publicity stunt.  He asked the public who they thought should score the role.  Top choices included:  Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Susan Hayward, Lana Turner, and Tallulah Bankhead.

Despite not having Scarlett cast, Selznick went on with filming.  Legend has it that during the filming of the great “Burning of Atlanta” scene, actress Vivien Leigh was just being introduced to the producer by Selznick’s brother.  She beat out about 1,400 other girls for the role of Scarlett O’Hara.

The Florida chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy were greatly offended that a British actress had been chosen to play such an iconic southern character; however, when they learned the role was close to going to Katharine Hepburn, they stopped their protest.  Better a Brit than a Yankee!

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In an epic example of fair wage rights, Gable was paid $120,000 to work on the film, working about 70 non-consecutive days.  Leigh, on the other hand, worked 125 days and received about $25,000.

Despite their steamy on-screen romance, Leigh has said that kissing Gable wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.  He wore false teeth and smoked a lot and she was quoted as saying, “his dentures smelled something awful”.

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The “Burning of Atlanta” scene was actually the first scene they filmed, as it would be the most expensive and they really only had one shot to make it work.  They actually made it quite successful by burning old sets on the backlot.

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It took 15,000 gallons of water to douse the flames after filming ended.

The character of Ashley Wilkes was one of the few countrymen to survive the war.  Ironically, the man who played him (Leslie Howard) died as a soldier in WWII.

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Unlike other epic war movies, Gone with the Wind doesn’t actually show any battles…only the effects of the war.

At auction, Michael Jackson paid $1,542,500 for David Selznick’s Best Picture Oscar for Gone with the Wind.

A Brazilian woman, who claims to have seen Gone with the Wind 8,000 TIMES, bought Scarlett’s pink dress worn during the “Burning of Atlanta” scene for $95,500.

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If Gone with the Wind were to be made today, it’s estimated it would come with a $40 million price tag.

Three of the four principal actors playing southerners (Leslie Howard, Olivia de Havilland, and Vivien Leigh) were British.

Overall, Gone with the Wind cost about $4.25 million to make.  In its initial run, the film grossed $21 million in North America alone and a total of $32 million worldwide.

When adjusted for inflation, Gone with the Wind is the highest grossing film ever made, grossing about $390 million worldwide.  In today’s money, that’s about $3.3 billion, more than today’s two biggest blockbusters, Avatar ($2.8 billion) and Titanic ($2.7 billion).

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It’s also believed to be the most watched film of all time, meaning more people bought tickets, regardless of price, to this film than any other.

Sometimes you just need a little fun in your life! Check back every week for a new “Just Bee-cause” post, where I discuss everything from celebrity news to favorite videos and websites!

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8 Game of Thrones Recipes

SUMMER IS COMING.

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In all honesty, I never find myself looking forward to summer…but summer 2017 is going to be EPIC.

If you’re not caught up with Game of Thrones, you have about 6 months to binge-watch before season 7 – the FINAL SEASON – airs on HBO.

It’s going to be hard letting this show go…I’ve come to love so many of these characters and, as any fan will tell you, no one is safe under the pen of George R.R. Martin. But let’s be honest…there’s only one character that just HAS to be safe…

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or else riot will ensue…

So, to prevent myself from falling into a depressive state over losing all my favorite fictional characters, come summer 2017 I’ll be drowning my sorrows in food and wine.

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Oh HELL F&*KING YES.

Though it may be hard to cook up some Dothraki horse meat or dive into a bleeding heart, there are a few recipes you can make that are pulled right from the pages of Game of Thrones, and will certainly help comfort you as we all power through these final episodes together.

From Sansa’s lemon cakes to Tyrion’s leg of lamb, this collection of 8 Game of Thrones-Inspired recipes are sure impress any Stark or Lannister royalty. So get out that flagon of wine (and perhaps some chocolate)…while 2016 may have been the Battle of the Bastards, summer 2017 is sure to become the Battle of the Bitches. TEAM DAENERYS ALL THE WAY!

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Until summer 2017…

8 Game of Thrones-Inspired Recipes

Direwolf Bread
bonappetit.com
direwolf-bread

Sansa’s Lemon Cakes
sugarandsoul.co
“Sansa was so stuffed that she could not manage more than two little lemon cakes, as much as she loved them.” — A Game of Thrones
lemon-cakes

Beef and Barley Stew
afarmgirlsdabbles.com
“’Maybe they don’t have sheep and cattle,’ Bran thought. He commanded the serving men to bring them mutton chops and a slice off the aurochs and fill their trenchers with beef-and-barley stew. They seemed to like that well…” -A Clash of Kings
beef-and-barley

Honeyed Chicken
feastofstarlight.com
“‘Hungry again?’ he asked. There was still half a honeyed chicken in the center of the table. Jon reached out to tear off a leg, then had a better idea. He knifed the bird whole and let the carcass slide to the floor between his legs. Ghost ripped into it in savage silence.” -A Game of Throneshoneyed-chicken

Salad with Apples and Pine Nuts
theblackpeppercorn.com
“Cersei set a tasty table, that could not be denied. They started with a creamy chestnut soup, crusty hot bread, and greens dressed with apples and pine nuts.” -A Clash of Kingssalad

Hot Spiced Wine
food52.com
“The Old Bear was particular about his hot spiced wine. So much cinnamon and so much nutmeg and so much honey, not a drop more. Raisins and nuts and dried berries, but no lemon, that was the rankest sort of southron heresy.” — A Clash of Kingswine

Roasted Leg of Lamb
seriouseats.com
“A leg of lamb would be nice… Perhaps a dish of peas and onions, some fresh baked bread with butter, and a flagon of mulled wine to wash it down. Or beer, if that’s easier. I try not to be overly particular.” – A Game of Thrones
lamb

Baked Apples
natashaskichen.com
“Later came sweetbread and pigeon pie and baked apples fragrant with cinnamon.” — A Game of Thronesbakedapples

Every Monday is a “Reci-bee” post, where I share my favorite recipes, recipe collections, and cooking and baking hints and tips. 

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25 Fun Facts About The Big Lebowski

Get in your comfy clothes.  Pour yourself a White Russian and lay out on that rug that really ties the room together…because today, we’re diving into 25 fun facts about The Big Lebowski!

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Named to tons of top 10, top 100, and even top 1,000 lists, The Big Lebowski is easily one of the best comedies of our time.  Directed by The Coen Brothers (Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?, Fargo, Raising Arizona, True Grit, Burn After Reading) and starring Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, David Huddleston, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Sam Elliott, and John Turturro, TBL has not only given birth to an amazing and loyal cult following, but has inspired an international Lebowski Fest and has even resulted in the creation of a new religion.

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Not too bad for a movie about a rug!

Even if you haven’t seen the movie all the way through, chances are you’d recognize some of the popular lines or scenes from the film.  I mean, who doesn’t start dancing like this when “Lookin’ Out My Back Door” comes on the radio?

the big lebowski

So whether you think The Dude is a prophet or a bum, you’re sure to get a kick out of these 25 Fun Facts About The Big Lebowski!

 

25 Fun Facts About The Big Lebowski

In December 2014, The Big Lebowski became one of 650 movies preserved for future generations in the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry.  Saving Private Ryan, Rosemary’s Baby, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off are a few of the other films that share the same honor.

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The Dude (Jeff Bridges), or the essence of The Dude, is present in EVERY scene in the film, including when the Nihilist crew are ordering pancakes (The Dude’s van can be seen through the diner window in the background).

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The Big Lebowski is one of the few Coen Brothers movies that does not feature Frances McDormand.  McCormand is married to Joel Coen and has appeared in seven Coen Brothers films to date.

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If you’re obsessed with The Big Lebowski, you’re in good company.  Several other celebrities have named it as one of their top five favorite films, including:  Jennifer Lawrence, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogan, Jane Lynch, Eva Mendes, and Nick Offerman, to name a few.

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Not surprisingly, The Big Lebowski is one of the most f-bomb-laden feature films ever made, with the f-word being uttered, in a variety of variations, about 292 times throughout the film.

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The word “Dude” is not too far behind, being mentioned a total of 161 times.

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The Dude says the word “man” about 147 times throughout the movie.

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The Coen Brothers have said that The Dude is based in part on Jeff Dowd, a film producer they met while working on their directorial debut, Blood Simple.  Walter Sobchak (John Goodman) is also based on writer/director, John Mulius, who had a hand in the making of Dirty Harry, Apocalypse Now, Jaws, and many others.  He sports glasses, a beard, and a figure similar to Walter, and claims to even be obsessed with the Vietnam War.

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The Big Lebowski has spawned its own festival.  Starting in Kentucky in 2002, Lebowski Fest has been held in Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, Chicago, London, and Edinburgh.  John Goodman, Jeff Bridges, Steve Buscemi, John Turturro, and Julianne Moore have all attended at least one Lebowski Fest.

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The cult film has also given birth to a religion:  Dudeism.  It has ordained more than 130,000 ‘Dudeist Priests’.

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Despite being part of the bowling league, The Dude is never actually seen bowling throughout the film.

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A lot of The Dude’s clothes came directly from Jeff Bridges’ own wardrobe, including his Jellies sandals, which he still owns and uses today.  #thedudeabides

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When writing the script, the Coen Brothers created roles specifically for John Goodman and Steve Buscemi, but did not know who would play the leading role of The Dude.

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The coffee shop where The Dude and Walter discuss the severed toe is called Johnie’s Coffee Shop and can be found in Los Angeles, though it is only used as a filming location and is not a functioning diner.

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Donny (Steve Buscemi) gets a strike with every bowl in the film except the last, moments before he dies.

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The west coast chain, In-n-Out Burger is referenced in the film.  John Goodman actually did a radio advertisement for the brand as well.

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Jeff Bridges plays guitar in a band called The Abiders, named after the popular “The Dude Abides” line from the movie.

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In an early draft of the film, it was revealed that The Dude’s money came from his status as an heir to the inventor of the Rubik’s Cube; however the directors decided to keep the audience guessing as to the source of his money.

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When The Dude writes his check for $0.69, the date on the check is September 11, 1991, exactly 10 years before the US terrorist attack.  President George Bush Sr. can also be heard saying “this aggression will not stand” on the TV in the background.

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In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, John Goodman said that The Dude’s reference to The Big Lebowski as a “human paraquat” was the only improvised line to make it into the film.  Every other line, including every ‘man’ and ‘dude’, was scripted.

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The Big Lebowski is John Goodman’s favorite of his own films.

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In every bowling scene, Walter, The Dude, and Donny bowl in lane 23.

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Walter’s ex-wife’s Pomeranian’s name is Thurston.

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The gun Walter pulls out in the bowling alley is a Colt model 1911 .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun, which was a standard US military side arm during the Vietnam War.

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And just in case you’re feeling a bit “un-Dude”, here’s the recipe for the famed White Russian/Caucasian:  2 parts vodka, 1 part Kahlua, 1 part cream.  Serve with ice in a low ball glass.

steve buscemi the big lebowski the dude the coen brothers walter sobchak

Sometimes you just need a little fun in your life! Check back every week for a new “Just Bee-cause” post, where I discuss everything from celebrity news to favorite videos and websites!

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