Thursday, December 31, 2009

Broadway Revival of Finian's Rainbow (Which Includes A Reference To Scranton) To Close January 17th

According to, the Broadway revival of Finian's Rainbow will close on Sunday, January 17th after a run of 22 previews and 97 performances.

The lyrics of The Begat, one of the show's most popular songs, contains the following:

"The Lats and Lithuanians, begat.
Scranton Pennsylvanians
, begat.
Strictly vegetarians, begat.
And honorary Aryans, begat."

To get tickets for Finian's Rainbow, click here.

For a previous blog entry on Finian's Rainbow, click here.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Extraordinary Measures (2010)

Today's Time-Tribune includes an article on the new Harrison Ford-Brendan Fraser film Extraordinary Measures, which details the true story of Scranton native Marty Holleran and the mysterious and rare disease that afflicted his grandchildren.

The film is based on the book The Cure: How a Father Raised $100 Million - And Bucked the Medical Establishment - in a Quest to Save His Children by Greeta Anand.

Extraordinary Measures opens nationwide January 22, 2010.

Click here to read the full article.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Remember The Night (1940) Now Available on DVD; Will Air on TCM 12/24 at 8 PM; Includes Brief Reference to Scranton

Turner Classic Movies will be broadcasting the 1940 Barbara Stanwyck/Fred MacMurray holiday film Remember the Night on Thursday, December 24th at 8 PM.

In addition, after only being available on VHS for a brief time in the 1980s, Remember the Night has FINALLY been released on DVD, which you can order directly from TCM by clicking here.

Remember the Night tells the story of a repeat shoplifter (Stanwyck) who goes to Indiana for the holidays with the lawyer who is also prosecuting her. The film also features a brief passing reference to Scranton.

Click here to read an awesome article detailing the long-awaited release of Remember the Night on DVD.

UPDATE 4/8/10 Albright Memorial Library now has the DVD of Remember the Night in its collection. To place a hold, click here.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

"The Last Station" Based On Novel By Pittston/Scranton Native Jay Parini, In Limited Release December 23rd; Expands Nationally January 15th, 2010

The film version of Pittston/Scranton native Jay Parini's novel The Last Station, will be opening in limited release Wednesday, December 23rd and will expand to theaters nationwide on January 15th, 2010.

Based on Parini's acclaimed 1990 novel of the same name, The Last Station details the final year in the life of reknowned author Leo Tolstoy. The impressive cast includes Oscar winner Helen Mirren, Christopher Plummer, Paul Giamatti, and James McAvoy.

For our previous blog entry on The Last Station, click here.

To place a hold on the library's copy of Jay Parini's 1990 novel The Last Station, click here.

Friday, November 27, 2009

"Hokey Pokey" Co-Author and Scranton Native Robert Degan Dies at 104

Scranton native and co-author of The Hokey Pokey Robert Degan died Monday in Lexington, Kentucky at the age of 104.

An article about Mr. Degan's life and the controversy and mystery surrounding the authorship of The Hokey Pokey appears in today's (Friday, November 27th's) Times-Tribune on pages A1 and A5. To read the article online, click here.

A previous Entertainment Blog entry on The Hokey Pokey can be viewed by clicking here.

The Local History Vertical File (LHVF) for “Music – Hokey Pokey Dance Song” includes Times writer Joseph X. Flannery’s editorials, as well as a photocopy of a letter to Degan from the US Copyright Office confirming its true authors. The LHVF can be viewed in the Reference Department of Albright Memorial Library.

Our hearts and thoughts go out to Mr. Degan's family.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Long Live the Queen by Lisa Lampanelli (2008/2009)

Lisa Lampinelli is a top name on the comedy circuit; she even played Wilkes-Barre's FM Kirby Center on May 2, 2008. Her humor has often been described as raunchy, vulgar, and extremely un-PC. My brother is a HUGE fan of hers and lent me her most recent comedy CD, 2009's Long Live The Queen, this past weekend. In between my huge guffaws and expressions of shock, I was also pleasantly surprised to hear her say "Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania" on one of the track.

Long Live The Queen is taken from Lisa Lampanelli's very first HBO special of the same name, which was recorded on November 21, 2008 in Santa Rosa, CA and first aired on HBO on January 31, 2009. The live CD and DVD of the performance were both released on March 31st, 2009.

Track number 8 on the CD, titled "Bagging A Bear," details Lisa's very first date with a professional athlete, a player for the Chicago Bears; in Lisa's words, the date was a "one hour stand". She then expresses some words of wisdom gained from her experience to her audience:

"So seriously, Santa Rosa b____s, BEWARE!
Tonight you'll get some good lovin'. HMMPF.
The next night, you'll be on stage in
Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania!"

Much thanks to my brother JR for this reference.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wrestling With Moses: How Jane Jacobs Took On New York's Master Builder and Transformed the American City by Anthony Flint (2009)

On August 4th, The New York Times Book Review published a review and excerpt from a book about Scranton native (and Central High School alumni) Jane Jacobs (1916-2006), urban renewal activist and author of The Death and Life of Great American Cities. The book, Wrestling With Moses: How Jane Jacobs Took On New York's Master Builder and Transformed the American City, was published in July 2009.

To read Chapter One from the book, titled "The Girl From Scranton," click here.

To place a hold on Jane Jacob's The Death and Life of Great American Cities, click here.

Much thanks to both Evelyn Gibbons and Peter Metrinko for this reference.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Woody Allen's "Whatever Works" (With Production Design by Wilkes-Barre Native Santo Loquasto) Coming to DVD and Blu-Ray October 27th

Keeping in tradition on smaller windows between theatrical releases and video releases, Woody Allen's latest comedy Whatever Works will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray on Tuesday, October 27th; it opened in theaters this past June. The Production Designer on the film is Allen's longtime collaborator and Wilkes-Barre native Santo Loquasto, who worked with Allen on over 20 of his films from 1987 through 2004, the last being 2004's Melinda & Melinda.

Lackawanna County Library System has ordered copies of the DVD of Whatever Works to borrow; to place a hold, click here. The library is also planning on purchasing a copy of the Blu-Ray for our collection as well, which cannot be reserved or placed on hold.

Monday, August 10, 2009

"The Magic of Scranton" by Anne Supsic from Sunday Philadelphia Inquirer (August 9, 2009)

The cover of the travel section of Sunday's Philadelphia Inquirer (August 9th, 2009, N1, N6) features an article by Anne Supsic titled "The Magic of Scranton," which details a trip she took to Scranton with her husband and grandson to see local sites like the Houdini Museum. The article is also accompanied by some excellent photographs of places in Scranton.

You can read the complete article online by clicking here.

Thanks to GlobalScranton for the scoop, and definitely follow them on Twitter (

Monday, August 03, 2009

The Crepes of Wrath: A Pennsylvania Dutch Mystery With Recipes by Tamar Myers (2001)

My esteemed colleague (and Queen of Local History) Judi K. is working her way through the Tamar Myers PA Dutch Mysteries with recipes and it seems in every one there is a reference to the much hated Chief of Police Melvin Stoltzfus, who once sent a gallon of ice cream via UPS to a relative in Scranton (1998's Between A Wok And A Hard Place and Eat, Drink, and Be Wary, as well as 2000's The Hand That Rocks The Ladle).

Judi just finished Myer's 2000 mystery The Crepes of Wrath and, sure enough, there was the Scranton reference. It occurs on page 6 at the beginning of the hardcover edition:

"Rumor has it our Chief of Police was kicked int he head by a bull--while trying to milk it. This rumor, I believe, was started by his mother. At any rate, Melvin is so out of touch with reality that he once mailed a gallon of ice cream to his favorite aunt in

The Crepes of Wrath is available to borrow from the Lackawanna County Library System. To place a hold, click here.

Thanks again to Miss Judi K. for this reference.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Penny Pinchers Club by Sarah Strohmeyer (2009)

My kickin' colleague Michele L. just finished reading Sarah Strolmeyer's latest novel The Penny Pinchers Club and discovered a Scranton reference. She also told me that Strohmeyer is a very popular author on the "chick lit" circuit, most notably for her bestselling Bubbles series and the novel The Cinderella Pact. Strolmeyer is also a native of Bethlehem, PA.

Released at the beginning of July 2009, The Penny Pinchers Club (which is a very timely novel, given the current economic crisis) is a story told from the point-of-view of happily married wife, mother, and compulsive shopper Kat, who lives in New Jersey. When she discovers her husband has been hiding a secret bank account from her, Kat's mind prepares for divorce as she takes drastic and over-the-top measures to cut her savings. She soon meets like-minded penny pinchers when she joins a group of like-minded women (and men) who call themselves The Penny Pinchers Club.

The Scranton reference appears on page 192, as Kat and her friend ( and fellow Penny Pincher Club member) are driving around Wall Street and discussing his former career as a broker and his friend Eric, a former broker originally from Scranton who committed suicide:

"Stabbing an accusing finger at the Drummond building, he said angrily, 'But these are the jerks who made it so the fat cats at our brokerage could keep their second homes and pay for their kids to go to private school, not giving a damn if a stupid palooka from Scranton like Eric could or couldn't pay his mortgage. And now these guys are gonna pay, too.'"

The Penny Pinchers Club is available to borrow from the Lackawanna County Library System; to place a hold, click here. The Large Print edition is also available by clicking here.

Thanks again to my undeniably awesome and groovy colleague Michele L. for this reference.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Melona Hardin, AKA "Jan" From The Office, to Be in Scranton Saturday, July 25th for "Office Tour" and Screen Her Film "You"

Melora Hardin, who plays Jan on the NBC sitcom The Office (set, of course, in Scranton), will return to Scranton on Saturday, July 25th to appear at The Office Fan Tour. This will be her first visit to The Electric City since October 2007 when she attended The Office Convention.

To purchase tickets for the July 25th The Office Fan Tour, click here.

At 7 PM, Hardin will attend a screening of You, a film in which she stars, produces, and makes her directorial debut, at the Mellow Theater at Lackawanna College.

For more information, click here.

P.S. Bobby Ray Schaffer (Bob Vance, Vance Refrigeration) will be attending The Office Fan Tour on Saturday, August 1st. For tickets to the August 1st tour, click here.

P.P.S. The Office Fan Tour has added dates for the Fall of 2009: September 12, October 10, November 14, and December 12. For more information on the Fall '09 tours, click here.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Scranton, Pennsylvanians, Begat! Finian's Rainbow Returning to Broadway This October

Scranton, Pennsylvanians, BEGAT!

After a 4-day limited run at City Center in New York this past March, the Tony-Award winning classic musical Finian's Rainbow is returning to Broadway this Fall for an open-ended run. The revival will celebrate its opening night on October 29th at the St. James Theatre in NYC, with previews beginning October 8th.

The revival's cast will include Christopher Fitzgerald (Wicked, Young Frankenstein), Kate Baldwin (Thoroughly Modern Millie), Chuck Cooper (Caroline or Change) and Cheyenne Jackson (Xanadu, written by Wilkes-Barre native Douglas Carter Beane).

he show originally opened on Broadway in 1947 and played for over 700 performances. It has also been revived in limited runs in 1955, 1960 and this past year as part of NY City Center's Encores! series. It was also adapted into film in 1968.

Towards the end of the show (and the film), Senator Billboard Rawkins and the Passion Pilgrim Gospellers break out into a song titled The Beget. Scranton is mentioned in the lyric section below:

The Lats and Lithuanians, begat.
Scranton Pennsylvanians, begat.
Strictly vegetarians, begat.
And honorary Aryans, begat.
Startin from Genesis, they begat.
Heroes and menaces, begat.
Fat filibusterers, begat.

To read the complete lyrics to The Beget, as well as the full score of Finian's Rainbow, click here. For the original blog entry for the film version of Finian's Rainbow, click here.

For tickets to the upcoming revival of Finian's Rainbow, visit Telecharge by clicking here.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Hand That Rocks The Ladle: A Pennsylvania Dutch Mystery With Recipes by Tamar Myers (2000)

My stupendous colleague (and fellow reader and lover of mysteries) Judi Keller has discovered yet another Scranton reference (her third) in a mystery by popular novelist Tamar Myers.

Myers's previous reference to Scranton (in 1998's Between A Wok And A Hard Place and Eat, Drink, and Be Wary) were in context to a popular bit of gossip that Police Chief (and all-around buffoon) Melvin Stoltzfus once sent a gallon of ice cream via UPS to a relative in Scranton (some say his cousin, others say his aunt). However, the Scranton reference in this particular book, 2000's The Hand That Rocks The Ladle.

The Hand That Rocks The Ladle continues the adventures of Magdalena Yoder, owner of the popular PennDutch Inn in Amish Country. This time, Magdalena gets involved in a mystery involving a friend's pregnancy with triplets and the curiosity that the hospital claims that only 2 babies were actually born.

Page 41 details a visit Magdalena makes to a local hospital to ask some questions regarding a friend diagnosed with appendicitis:

"'That could work.' After all, as a privately employed person, my health benefits are not all that great. 'How much of a discount, and on what?'
'Well, I've been negotiating with a plastic surgeon in Scranton--'
'A plastic surgeon?'
'Well, I just assumed you wanted to do something about that nose.'"

The Hand That Rocks The Ladle is available to borrow from the Lackawanna County Library System. To place a hold, click here.

Much thanks again to the delicious and nutritious Judi Keller for this reference.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Teacher Man: A Memoir by Frank McCourt (2005)

My superlative colleague Evelyn Gibbons alerted me to a Scranton reference in Pulitzer Prize-winning author Frank McCourt's 2005 memoir Teacher Man.

Teacher Man in the third in McCourt's trilogy that began with 1996's Angela's Ashes (which won the Pulitzer Prize) and continued with 1999's 'Tis.

Teacher Man follow McCourt's adventures in teaching public high school in New York City His unconventional teaching methods and imaginative assignments draws students to him in ways that change their lives.

Page 97 of the hardcover edition of Teacher Man features a story about Kevin, a student labeled as a troublemaker who no one teacher wants in their classes who, naturally, ends up in McCourt's classroom.

"His mother visits on Open School Day. She can do nothing with him, doesn't know what's wrong with him. His father ran off when Kevin was four, the bastard, and now lives in Scranton, Pennsylvania, with a woman who raises white mice for experiments."

Teacher Man is available to borrow from the Lackawanna County Library System in a variety of formats: book, large print, and audio book (tape and CD). To place a hold, click on any of the previous corresponding item type links.

Much thanks again to the eagle-eyed and devistatingly gorgeous Evelyn Gibbons for this reference.

UPDATE Monday, July 20, 2009: Sadly Mr. McCourt passed away yesterday. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Eat, Drink, and Be Wary by Tamar Myers (1998)

My delicious colleague, Judi Keller, has told me about yet another reference to Scranton in Tamar Myers's popular culinary mysteries, and this particular reference seems to be a running joke about one of the characters in her series.

In 1998's Eat, Drink, and Be Wary: A Pennsylvania Dutch Mystery With Recipes, Magdalena Yoder's popular PennDutch Inn in Amish Country is having a cooking contest that is interrupted by the discovery of a corpse found in the barn. Old Matilda, one of the resident cows, stands accused of fatally kicking the deceased, who happens to ahve been the CEO of a gourmet food company sponsoring the contest. But Yoder smells something else cooking and wonders if one of the contestants is the real culprit.

The Scranton reference occurs on page 25 of the paperback and involves Yoder's nemesis and all-around nincompoop, Police Chief Melvin Stoltzfus:

"The man is as bright as a two-watt bulb. He once sent a gallon of ice cream to his favorite aunt in Scranton - by U.P.S."

Another of Myers' books, Between a Wok and a Hard Place, also included a similar reference to Chief Stoltzfus having ice cream delivered to his cousin in Scranton, so the story seems to be a recurring point of humor among the characters in the series.

Eat, Drink, and Be Wary is available to borrow from the Lackawanna County Library System; to place a hold, click here.

Much thanks to Judi Keller for this appetizing reference.

Albright Memorial Library (Including Updates from Entertainment Blog) Now on Twitter

The Reference Department at Albright Memorial Library, the creators of this blog, is now on Twitter. Any new entries to the Scranton & Wilkes-Barre in Entertainment blog will be automatically updated and linked in our Twitter as well. Feel free to follow us at:

Monday, June 15, 2009

WB Native Santo Loquasto Reteams With Woody Allen for New Comedy "Whatever Works"

Production designer and Wilkes-Barre native Santo Loquasto has reteamed with legendary writer/director Woody Allen for the new comedy Whatever Works, starring Larry David, Evan Rachel Wood, and Patricia Clarkson. This is the first Loquasto and Allen film collaboration since 2004's Melinda and Melinda.

For more information on Santo Loquasto, click here.

Whatever Works opens in limited release in NY and LA on Friday, June 19th and will expand into wider release in the coming weeks.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

"The Office" Tours of Scranton Every Saturday Through August 29th

Every Saturday through the summer, The Office Convention will be sponsoring tours of Scranton that highlight landmarks featured on the hit TV show The Office.

Every Saturday - June 6 thru August 29 (Note: No Tour July 4)
Where: Tour starts at the Mall at Steamtown in downtown Scranton
How Long: 4 hour tour (from Noon ‘til 4:00 PM)
How Much: $35 for adults - $25 under 21 yrs
Includes: Lunch at Cooper's, drinks at Poor Richard's Pub & gift bag & more!

Seating is limited.

For more information, click here.

Visit The Office Convention web store to book your seat today!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Scenes From "Blue Valentine" Filmed in Reference Department at Albright Memorial Library (Wednesday, May 13th, 2009)

On Wednesday, May 13th, 2009, the Reference Department at Albright Memorial Library was used as a location to film scenes for the upcoming independent film Blue Valentine, starring Michelle Williams (Brokeback Mountain) and Ryan Gosling (The Notebook). Director Derek Cianfrance really loved the library building and selected it as a setting for pivotal scenes in the film.

Incentive Filmed Entertainment is financing Blue Valentine; Silverwood Films’ Lynette Howell and Hunting Lane Films’ Jamie Patricof and Alex Orlovsky are the producers. Also of note is that Hunting Lane Films is the same production company that produced 2006's Half Nelson, which earned Ryan Gosling an Oscar nomination for Best Actor.

Yes, both Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling were in the Reference Department for the filming.

Now the big question...did you meet them?

No...and yes. Because the Reference Department needed to be private and silent for the filming, the Reference staff were relocated to the computer lab for the duration of the filming. When we were permitted to return to the department, the crew was busy removing film equipment, etc. As we were getting ready to reopen the department to the public, we looked out the window behind the Reference Desk and there, in front of our library, were both Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling talking to the crew at the main gate of the library. Seconds later, Michelle Williams returned and came up the steps to the Reference Department. The staff said Hi to her and she, in turn, said, "Hi." Then I asked, "How are ya?" and she smiled and responded, "Fine."

And that was it. But I can now officially cross "Exchange pleasantries with Oscar nominee" off my list of Things to Do Before I Die.

Also check out page 22 of the May 18, 2009 issue of People Weekly (the one with "Kirstie Alley's Weight Saga" on the cover), which features a photo of Michelle Williams in a wheelchair in Scranton filming a scene; to see the pic online, click here.

One final note: when they finished filming in Reference, a crew member for Blue Valentine told us not to be surprised if various weird objects turn up scattered in the department, left over from filming. A few days later, one of our student assistants found (of all things) a clothes hanger left over from filming. I kept it, just for the heck of it--after all, it is an authentic Blue Valentine filming artifact and, at worst, it will come in handy if I ever find myself feeling all Joan Crawford (NO WIRE HANGERS!!!!!!)

Blue Valentine is currently in post-production and is tentatively scheduled for a 2010 release.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Participants Wanted For Upcoming Greg Matkosky Documentary on The Scranton Sirens, Scranton in the 1920s

WVIA filmmaker Greg Matkosky (Stories From The Mines) is currently seeking people to be interviewed on-camera for his upcoming documentary about Scranton in the 1920s. He is looking for people who have personal experiences or second-hand stories about Scranton and NEPA in the 1920s--specifically The Scranton Sirens, prohibition and speakeasies, the notorious red light district in Scranton, and life in general during that time.

For more information, please email or call (570) 602-1153.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Between A Wok and A Hard Place: A Pennsylvania Dutch Mystery With Recipes by Tamar Myers (1998)

My delicious colleague and fellow avid reader Judi Keller informed me a popular food mystery by author Tamar Myers includes a reference to Scranton in her 1998 book Between A Wok and A Hard Place: A Pennsylvania Dutch Mystery With Recipes.

Set in Pennsylvania Amish Country, the mystery involves an Asian tourist found strangled and run over by a horse and buggy and attempts to find out who (or what) killed him. Recipes for the food described in the story are included throughout the book.

From page 168 of the paperback version:

"'We still can't get over how he broke his leg,' the sheriff said, laughing. 'Is it true he once shipped his cousin in Philadelphia a gallon of ice cream by UPS?'
"'He shipped the ice cream to his cousin in Scranton,' I sniffed, and pointed my shnoz skyward."

Between a Wok and A Hard Place is available to borrow from libraries throughout the Lackawanna County Library System. To place a hold on the paperback, click here; to place a hold on the Large Print version, click here.

Much thanks again to the eternally awesome Judi Keller for this reference.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Video Clip of Vivien Leigh Singing "Wilkes-Barre, PA" from Broadway musical Tovarich (1963)

Here is an unexpected find from YouTube--A black-and-white TV clip of Vivien Leigh (with Byron Mitchell) performing the song Wilkes-Barre, PA from the 1963 Broadway musical Tovarich, for which Ms. Leigh won a Tony.
For the original blog entry on Tovarich, click here.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Scranton Native Wins Over $120,000 So Far on Jeopardy This Week

Congratulations to Scranton native and former Dunmore resident Liz Murphy, who has won a total of $121,302 dollars on her five consecutive nights as champion on the syndicated game show Jeopardy. Murphy, who now resides in Arlington, VA, will be competing again tonight to retain her crown.

To read more, click here to read the Scranton Times article about Murphy.

Much thanks to the Twitterlicious Sheli McHugh for this reference.

UPDATE 5/1/09: Liz's winning streak ended last night, but her winnings of $121,302 could put her in the “Tournament of Champions” later this year.