Friday, October 10, 2008


Today would have been the 85th birthday of the great Orson Welles. A most amazing actor. Welles first gained a very wide notoriety for his October 30, 1938, radio broadcast of H. G. Wells The War of the Worlds. Adapted to sound like a contemporary news broadcast, it caused a number of listeners to panic. Some even took their lives. In the mid-1930s, his New York theatre adaptations of Macbeth and a contemporary allegorical Julius Caesar became legendary. Welles was also an accomplished magician, starring in troop variety spectacles in the war years. During this period he became a serious political activist and commentator through journalism, radio and public appearances closely associated with Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1941, he co-wrote, directed, produced and starred in Citizen Kane, often chosen in polls of film critics as the greatest film ever made. The rest of his career was often obstructed by lack of funds, incompetent studio interference and other unfortunate occurrences, both during exile in Europe and brief returns to Hollywood.Although Welles remained on the margins of the major studios as a director/producer, his larger-than-life personality made him a bankable actor. In his later years he struggled against a Hollywood system that refused to finance his independent film projects, making a living largely through acting, commercials, and voice-over work. Welles received a 1975 American Film Institute Lifetime Achievement award, the third person to do so after John Ford and James Cagney. Critical appreciation for Welles has increased since his death. He is now widely acknowledged as one of the most important dramatic artists of the 20th century. Today would also be the 195th birthday of Giuseppe Verdi who was born in 1813. La Scala is perhaps his most known work. Today the world lost Yul Brynner and today Jerry Herman had his first Broadway show "Milk And Honey". Amazingly too, today marked the opening in 1947 of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Allegro-- one if the strangest musicals of them all. I start my life insurance training tomorrow and I am hoping all of this works out. Until next time...

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