Sunday, September 22, 2019

Alabama History & Culture News: September 22 edition

For a number of years I've been posting links to just-published Alabama history and culture articles in the "alabamahistory" group at Yahoo!Groups. Most of the articles are from newspapers, with others from magazines and TV and radio websites. You can subscribe to the emails there if you wish; I send out two or three a week along with relevant meeting announcements and so forth. 

Here's the latest batch: 

MOMENT IN HISTORYAlabama State Capitol
Alabama State Capitol. The Alabama State Capitol was located in Tuscaloosa from 1826 until 1847. The stone foundation of the capitol building was ...

On this day in Alabama history: NY Jets take down the Boston Patriots at Legion Field
It was the first major professional, regular-season football game played in Alabama. But hopes by local leaders that it might lead to something more ...

Cricket Theatre hosts bicentennial event
The Collinsville Historical Association is sponsoring an Alabama Bicentennial Event on Sept. 23 at The Cricket Theatre on Main Street in historic ...

Waterloo prepares for thousands of bikers with annual Trail of Tears
They are remembering the place in north Alabama where Native Americans were ... The procession has been 25-miles long at times during its history.

On this day in Alabama history: Alberta City annexed into Tuscaloosa
It was the early 1900s when folks began settling in a heavily wooded area east of Tuscaloosa and the Huntsville Road (now University Boulevard) and ...

Birmingham author speaks to lunchtime crowd at library
... Arts Executive Director Elliott Knight, who will be on hand Oct. 3 to talk about the Alabama Creates “200 Years of Arts and Artists” coffee-table book.

Downtown Birmingham shop is part book store, part museum
“This is a book store?” the new customer asks in surprise. “I was just looking at the doodads,” she's referring to all the collectible and cherished items ...

Sand Mountain Corn Maze celebrates Alabama's 200th anniversary
Although the logo won't be visible from inside the maze, Alabama's history still will play a crucial part. Throughout the maze, 10 checkpoints will be set ...

On this day in Alabama history: Alabama Legislature ratified the 19th Amendment
The fight for the right for women to vote officially ended in 1920 when Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment to the U.S. ...

Documentary delves into history of 'The Strip' at UA
Documentary delves into history of 'The Strip' at UA .... about the shifting face and history of the commercial strip adjacent to the University of Alabama, ...

Making history: Collier Neeley following in his grandmother Mary Ann Neeley's footsteps
And this week, he took over as interim executive director of the Landmarks Foundation, the nonprofit preservation group based in Old Alabama Town.

Five historic Alabama civil rights churches get National Parks grants
Five churches that played important roles in the civil rights movement have received major grants from the National Parks Service totaling about $3.4 ...

On this day in Alabama history: Author William March was born
William Edward Campbell was one of 11 children. His father was the orphaned son of a Confederate soldier who worked as an itinerant laborer.

Rep. Terri Sewell Announces Nearly $3.4 Million to Preserve African American Civil Rights Sites
“I have always believed that the extraordinary history of Alabama's 7th ... history of African Americans' struggle for civil rights in the state of Alabama ...

Several Pelham library events planned for October
Books will be available for purchase. ... takes you on a ghostly tour of the county through stories from her book, Haunted Shelby County, Alabama.

Wiregrass Archives co-sponsoring historian's Dothan speech
Bailey's program, based on his book titled “They Too Call Alabama Home: African American Profiles, 1800-1999,” is part of the Draughon Seminars in ...

Fifty to 150 graves are located at the historic Eli Jackson Cemetery, which is in such a remote .... children, fled from Alabama to the banks of the Rio Grande because they were being persecuted under the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.

BESSEMER, Ala. (WIAT) — Decades after being killed during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the remains of a Bessemer man have finally been ...

School of Optometry celebrates 50 years of improving vision
The only optometry program in the state of Alabama, UABSO's rich history and commitment to serving the state's patients have helped cement the ...

'My Alabama'
Alabama continues to celebrate its bicentennial year, and one of the more common manners of marking the occasion is the publication of several ...

3 Selma historical sites to receive more than $1.8M
“I have always believed that the extraordinary history of Alabama Seventh District can drive economic revitalizations and promote its heritage tourism ...

Alabama's bright side of history
The cast of Alabama Speaks at the Huntsville library Monday, Sept. 16. Actors portrayed: Tallulah Bankhead (Emily Watson); Congressman Carl Elliot ...

On this day in Alabama history: NASA unveiled space shuttle Enterprise
It was named after the Starship Enterprise, from the famed TV show “Star Trek.” Indeed, much of the cast of the show and its creator, Gene Rodenberry, ...

Friday, September 20, 2019

Johnny Mack Brown & "A Lady of Chance" (5)

This post is the fifth and final part of a look at A Lady of Chance, the 1928 silent film starring Johnny Mack Brown and Norma Shearer. Part one is here, part two is here, part three is here and part four is here.

My comments on the film are at the end of this post. 

Once the police arrive and take Gwen and Brad into custody, Dolly confesses everything and begs forgiveness. 

Steve doesn't want to give her up, but Dolly says he needs a "nice girl."

The police are ready to break up the love birds and take "Angel Face" to jail. 

Dolly and Steve share a final kiss. 

Some time later Dolly is brought into a meeting room in the prison. 

Dolly is suddenly hopeful. Not only will she be freed, but Steve still loves her. 

So this tale of the big city con woman and the Alabama small businessman ends happily!

Brown in his football days at UA

A comic book series featuring Brown appeared in nine issues from October 1950 until September 1952.

Source: ComicBookPlus

I really enjoyed watching A Lady of Chance; the film showed up on Turner Classic Movies a few months ago. I've seen a number of silent films over the years, so watching this one was nothing unusual. Shearer and Brown were both excellent in their roles, although Shearer was obviously the more experienced actor. Brown's inexperience worked fine for the earnest, humble character he played. I haven't seen many of Shearer's films, but she is a delight to watch in this one. The film has both humor and genuine emotion and despite its flaws an interesting story. 

Watching silent films and other older movies set in the period they were made allows us to enter another world--the past. Although fictionalized, the films are time capsules of the minutia of daily life at the time--cars and other transportation, clothing, furniture, the way people related to each other. We get to peer inside businesses and dentist offices, operating rooms, and people's homes. The experience brings plenty of visual delights and exciting stories if we leave behind our modern film expectations of rapid action, lots of special effects, and color. Silent films had all those things, but not in the quantity of today's movies.

Historical dramas from these early periods of commercial film can also be fascinating to watch. We can see another era's views of historical figures and events made for a popular audience. That's something we could only get from fiction and poetry before the movies came along.

A good place to start on the silents is the Movies Silently blog. And TCM is a constant source of riches on both silent and "classic" movies and even the shorts that filled out programs at early movie houses. 

The End

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Johnny Mack Brown & "A Lady of Chance" (4)

This post is part four of a look at A Lady of Chance the 1928 silent film starring Johnny Mack Brown and Norma Shearer. Part one is here, part two is here and part three is here.

Dolly's old pals Gwen and Brad have managed to track her down and are surprised to find her living where and the way she is. They have presented themselves to the Crandalls as Dolly's cousins and are invited to stay. 

Dolly tells them she's fallen for a man of no wealth, but they don't take her seriously. Dolly gives them the $10,000 in hopes they will leave.

Steve gets a telegram offering him $100,000 for the rights to his cement formula. He shares this good news with everyone, and suddenly Brad has a business investment back in New York he wants to talk about. 

Everyone here is pretty happy except poor, poor Dolly.

She pours out her heart to Gwen, trying to convince her that she and Steve are really in love. 

Dolly produces a gun to emphasize her feelings to Gwen.

Unfortunately Brad and Gwen are seeing a big payoff and insist they proceed to New York so Steve can sign the "investment" contract. They threaten to reveal Dolly's past if she doesn't go along.

Steve and Dolly are briefly happy as they settle into their hotel suite in the Big Apple. 

Brad and Steve go over the contract by which he plans to separate Steve and his money. 

Dolly has had enough. She can't bear to watch Steve get taken and calls the police. 

Then she proceeds to blow the whole scam wide open. 

I think we can safely say Steve is surprised. 

To Be Continued

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Johnny Mack Brown & "A Lady of Chance" (3)

This post is part three of a look at A Lady of Chance the 1928 silent film starring Johnny Mack Brown and Norma Shearer. Part one is here and part two is here.

Steve is trying to overcome Dolly's disappointment at having married a man who's not wealthy like she assumed. 

Ma Crandall and Dolly are gazing out a window at the cement "factory". 

Of course, Dolly has a cynical city woman's observation.

Now Dolly is in a jam. She's stuck in Alabama married to a man who's not wealthy like she assumed. What does a girl do? 

She decides to take her $10,000 in ill-gotten gains and head back north. Even Steve's reminder of the sharecroppers singing on the plantation next door doesn't help.

Steve takes Dolly to the train station to see her off. 

The next morning Steve returns home and finds Dolly in his bedroom. She realized she loves him too much to leave, and they reconcile. However, she tells him nothing about her past. 

The whole family is celebrating. 

Steve's Enduro cement is supposed to last a looong time.

But two new arrivals in town mean trouble. 

To Be Continued

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Alabama History & Culture News: September 17 edition

For a number of years I've been posting links to just-published Alabama history and culture articles in the "alabamahistory" group at Yahoo!Groups. Most of the articles are from newspapers, with others from magazines and TV and radio websites. You can subscribe to the emails there if you wish; I send out two or three a week along with relevant meeting announcements and so forth. 

Here's the latest batch:

Arlington Author Shaun Hamill Receives Praise from Stephen King for Debut Novel, A Cosmology ...
I loved it,” Stephen King has said, as quoted on the book's dust jacket. ... Hamill lives in Alabama with his wife, his in-laws and his dog, but it was in ...

New Book Chronicles History of Ruffner Mountain
Author Mark Kelly chronicled the preserve's history in his book “Back to ... The preserve's namesake, William Henry Ruffner, was not an Alabama ...

'My Alabama'
One such pictorial book recently released by NewSouth Books, based in Montgomery, is the hardback coffee table sitter “My Alabama” by ...

Alabama historical commission claims control of Clotilda, the last US slave ship
Alabama's state historical commission apparently will retain control of the last U.S. slave ship, the Clotilda. Friday was the deadline for any potential ...

Alabama Maker Siluria Brewing has tapped into local flavor of Alabaster
Siluria Brewing is an Alabama Maker of local beer from Alabama ... “We knew we wanted an old building, we wanted there to be some history and ...

Alabama's bicentennial cookbook launches with signings around the state
“Time to Eat, Y'all: Celebrating the Culinary Heritage of Sweet Home Alabama” is a commemorative book includes recipes and family stories from Gov.

On this day in Alabama history: Looney House deeded to St. Clair Historical Society
The John Looney House was built by its namesake and his sons around 1820, west of the Coosa River – near what is now the town of Ashville, in St.

Police are investigating if a historic cemetery in south Huntsville was ... County and spread out all over the southwest and south Alabama," says Miller.
Pinson Valley High School named Alabama Bicentennial School
PINSON — Alabama Governor Kay Ivey named Pinson Valley High School one of 21 ... The history, tales and recipes were published in a book.
in 'A Cosmology of Monsters,' Alabama author Shaun Hamill tells a horror story about a family that ...
“A Cosmology of Monsters” is the first novel from Shaun Hamill, a recent Texas transplant to Alabama. The book is a family saga about the anguish of ...
Alabama artists make an indelible impression as Ken Burns explores 'Country Music'
Alabama artists make an indelible impression as Ken Burns explores ... Music” at the Alabama Department of Archives and History in Montgomery.

On this day in Alabama history: Educator Nathan B. Young was born
Born in Hale County on this day in 1862 to an enslaved mother, Nathan Benjamin Young grew up in Alabama during Reconstruction. Young attended ...

Alabama's Michael Rooker officially cast in new 'Suicide Squad' movie
Comic book movie fans got some fun news Friday afternoon when director James Gunn revealed the cast of his upcoming sequel “The Suicide Squad.

Anne Rivers Siddons, Novelist Whose Muse Was the New South, Dies at 83
Hearing that, Mr. Conroy told her, “That's the opening of your great book ... high school and a popular sorority sister at Auburn University in Alabama.

40 years ago Aubie the Tiger jumped into mascot history
40 years ago Aubie the Tiger jumped into mascot history .... During the Alabama game at Legion Field in 1979, Aubie wore a houndstooth hat and ...

On this day in Alabama history: 'Miss Nina' was born
Nina Miglionico was born in Birmingham on this day to Joseph and Mary Miglionico, Italian immigrants who owned a delicatessen and sundries store.

Hulu's "Looking for Alaska" Releases First Full Trailer Starring Kristine Froseth and Charlie Plummer
We see him as he packs up his bags (and books) and leaves his native Miami to arrive at Alabama's Culver Creek for boarding school, his father's ...

Dr. Joseph Landers creates opera in celebration of Alabama Bicentennial
Dr. Joseph Landers creates opera in celebration of Alabama Bicentennial ... were eventually published in a 1941 book titled Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. ... Additionally, the Alabama State Council on the Arts provided financial ...

Colbert County starts historic marker program
The project's initial funding is through grants from the Alabama Bicentennial ... "Colbert County has its share of old homes, some even before 1820.".

From Three on a String to Ken Burns documentaries, this Alabama Music Maker is making history
Bobby Horton has been interested in the Civil War since he was 9 years old, igniting his lifelong love of history. “Every adult male in my life, from my ...

UM has many connections to state's Bicentennial celebration
In recognition of two centuries of statehood, Alabama's Bicentennial ... Everyone's story matters, because it's all tied to the history of Alabama,” ...

On this day in Alabama history: Talladega Superspeedway held first race
Bill France Sr., founder of NASCAR, helped created the Talladega Superspeedway in the late 1960s at a time most major tracks were located along ...

5 reasons to see The Watsons Go To Birmingham – 1963 at the Birmingham Children's Theatre ...
Directing The Watsons Go To Birmingham – 1963 “is another opportunity to reenact some of Alabama's history that affected the world, and hopefully ...

Her oval face and wide brown eyes had a girl-next-door innocence that Hollywood couldn't resist. Allene Roberts was 17 or 18 years old when she ...

(WALA) – As the ferocious winds from Alabama's storm of the century ... Fellows Cemetery in Bayou La Batre, where Bosarge's mother and brother are ...

L. A. and Grady House were buried side by side in the cemetery next to Hatchet Creek Presbyterian Church. Every Labor Day Sunday, her family ...

In honor of one of Alabama's most enduring legendary figures, Gen. ... It includes the family cemetery and the original out buildings, some which ...