Saturday, October 05, 2013

Dear Mom, Love Cher (2013)

Georgina Holt (86 year-old mother of Cher):
"We got down to twenty cents, I remember that, and I said, 'Johnny, this will buy the baby two bottles of milk.  What are we going to do?'"

"We had gone to Scranton, Pennsylvania.  He said, 'Well, I'm Catholic.  We can put her in the Catholic home and we can border there, and you can go to work, and I'll go back to New York and try to get money.'"

"And so I went to work in a diner for a dollar a night, from seven at night to seven in the morning (pictured as White Tower Hamburger, but the it must have been a stock video because no restaurant by that name existed in Scranton, according to the 1946 City Directory) in a strange town where I knew nobody.  After two weeks, I went to go pay the money, then take her out.  The Mother Superior wouldn't let me take her out and said that I should let her be adopted.  Johnny was at his sister's in New York, and I had no way of contacting him."

"There was this man on the City Council I became friends with, and I told him my situation.  He was just terrific.  He said, 'Look, Kid.  I can't buck the Catholic Church right now.'  But he said, 'I will help you.'  He did finally help me get her out, but I was just terrified." 

This incident, told by Cher's mother Georgina Holt in the Lifetime TV documentary Dear Mom, Love Cher (premiere date May 6, 2013) inspired Cher to write the song Sisters of Mercy.

UPDATE 7/12/14 The library now has two copies of Dear Mom, Love Cher available to borrow on DVD.  Click here to place a hold.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Night Film by Marisha Pessl (2013)

Since late Spring, Entertainment Weekly has been generating a lot of buzz about Marisha Pessl's second novel titled Night Film.  Through text, images from websites and newspaper/magazine clippings, Night Film involves a disgraced investigative reporter researching the suicide of the daughter of a mysterious film director, which may or may not be cult-related. The reclusive director, Stanislas Cordova, makes controversial horror films on his massive estate (named The Peak), and the films are often banned and only screened in underground locations.

Pages 153-154 of Night Film consists of an article reproduction of an interview conducted by the reporter.  The interview's subject is Nelson Garcia, a neighbor of the filmmaker:

"According to Garcia, in early December 2004, he received a series of UPS deliveries that were intended for The Peak but, by mistake, was delivered to him.  The first was a massive box stamped with a label reading Century Scientific. 
Century Scientific, Inc., based in Scranton, Pennsylvania, is a company that specializes in medical equipment.  They vend beds, wheelchairs, stretchers, and other therapeutic devices to private hospitals." 
Night Film is available to borrow from the Lackawanna County Library System; click here to place a hold. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Jason X (2001); Yup, Even A Friday the 13th Movie Has A Scranton Reference

I've seen every Friday the 13th movie numerous times, but I have NEVER noticed the Scranton reference in 2001's Jason X; still unsure if I heard the dialogue correctly, I even had to turn on the closed captioning to verify the reference, but it's true.

Jason X, the 10th film in the Friday the 13th franchise, is affectionately referred to by fans as "Jason Goes To Space."

Because of his seemingly inability to be killed, Jason Voorhees is cryogenically frozen by scientists to prevent another murderous rampage; scientist Rowan (Lexa Doig) is accidentally frozen with Jason. A spaceship crew revives them in the year 2455, when "Earth 2" has replaced the now-uninhabitable Earth, and Jason proceeds to continue his trail of murder.

In the first sequence of the film, set in the present, Rowan and Dr. Wimmer (a brilliant cameo by director David Cronenberg) are disagreeing on whether or not to have Jason frozen:

What are you doing here?

Dr. Wimmer:
 I'm taking the speciman.

Well, you can't.  I haven't prepared the cryostatic chamber.

Dr. Wimmer:
I don't want him frozen.  I want him soft.

We've already discussed this.

Dr. Wimmer:
Yeah.  Well, I had to go over your head.  I'm moving him to our Scranton facility. 

Jason X is available on DVD and was also recently released on Blu Ray as part of the Friday the 13th: The Complete Collection box set. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Miracle of the Bells Available To Borrow on DVD and Blu-Ray; Features Numerous References to Wilkes-Barre and Nanticoke

The 1948 classic film The Miracle of the Bells, starring Fred MacMurray, (Alida) Valli and Frank Sinatra, is available for the first time on DVD and Blu-Ray.  The movie was partly filmed in Wilkes-Barre and Glen Lyon, PA (it also features several reference to both places, as well as Nanticoke). 

Synopsis: Granting her final request, a Hollywood press agent brings the dead body of an actress, who died after making her first and only film, back to her hometown of Coal Town ("near Wilkes-Barre," according to the film) for burial. To arouse public interest, and to get the reluctant studio head to release the film, he asks all the local churches to ring their bells for three days.

Miracle of the Bells is available to borrow from Albright Memorial Library on both DVD and Blu Ray. Click on either link for more information; you may place a hold on the DVD. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Good Luck Girls of Shipwreck Lane by Kelly Harms (2013)

My dear friend and fellow avid reader Michele L. came upon a Scranton reference in her summer reading.

Kelly Harm's debut novel The Good Luck Girls of Shipwreck Lane tells the story of Janine Brown of Cedar Falls, Iowa, who wins a beautiful house that overlooks the coast in Maine. 

The problem: there are two Janine Browns in Cedar Falls, Iowa, and both think they've won the house, especially when they are both contacted from the network. 

Page 29, 2nd paragraph: 

"We only made it to Scranton before I go stark raving mad and demand a hotel with a TV that carries the Food Network." 

The Good Luck Girls of Shipwreck Lane is available to borrow from the library.  Click here to place a hold.

Much thanks to Michele L. for this reference.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Author Sebastian Junger To Speak in Scranton Thursday, October 3rd; Referenced Scranton in His Book "War"

The 2013 selection for the Matthew F. Flynn Library Lecture Series American Masters Lecture is Sebastian Junger,  the bestselling author of The Perfect Storm and War, and the co-director of the 2010 documentary Restrepo.

Mr. Junger will speak at the Scranton Cultural Center on Thursday, October 3rd at 7 PM.

War features a brief reference to Scranton.

In 2000 his book The Perfect Storm was adapted into a hit film starring George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg

Tickets are free with your library card and will be available in September at all libraries in the Lackawanna County Library System, as well as the Scranton Cultural Center box office.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Gasland Part II, Directed By Wayne County Native Josh Fox, To Premiere on HBO Monday, July 8th

Gasland Part II, directed by Emmy-winning and Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Josh Fox, will have its television premiere Monday, July 8th at 9 PM on HBO.

Fox is a native of Wayne County; his original 2010 documentary Gasland was a Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary Feature and won an Emmy Award winner in 2011 for Outstanding Directing for Nonfiction Programming.  

Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Fringe ("Season Five, Episode Three: "The Recordist") (October 12, 2012)

The hit sci-fi TV show The Fringe recently wrapped its fifth and final season on FOX.  Near the beginning of the third episode of the season (titled The Recordist, which originally aired on Friday, October 12th, 2012), Dr. Walter Bishop (John Noble) has the following exchange during a Coordinate Search in Northern Pennsylvania:

Walter, you alright? 

I'm fairly certain I have a blood clot, because somebody wouldn't stop at Scranton to let me stretch my legs. 

Much thanks to Elizabeth Davis for this reference. 

Monday, April 01, 2013

Queen of the Big Time by Adriana Trigiani (2004); Author To Speak In Scranton Thursday, April 18th

Bestselling author Adriana Trigiani will be the first speaker in the 2013 Matthew F. Flynn Library Lecture Series on Thursday, April 18th at 7 PM at the Scranton Cultural Center.  Tickets are free with your library card and are available at all member libraries in the Lackawanna County Library System.

Her novel Queen of the Big Time is set in Roseto, Pennsylvania (Northampton County) and tells the decade spanning story of a Italian-American farming family.  Middle daughter Nella dreams of becoming a teacher, but circumstances in her life take her on a different path.

The novel features numerous references to Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton; however, the novel also includes references to a university in our neck of the woods as well:

P. 217: 'She (Celeste, Nella's daughter) is far too young to get married, I think, but this is her choice.  She was in her first year of college at Marywood and decided it wasn't for her."

p. 218: "'Mom, this isn't about what you had, this is about me.  You were never there, which is why I left Marywood."

Also of note is the film makes a passing reference to the 1931 Pre-Code Joan Crawford film Dance Fools Dance, which revolves around the murder of a reporter named Bert Scranton.

Click here to place a hold.

Check out the video below, which is an except from a hilarious lecture Adriana Trigiani gave in March 2010 at Palm Beach County Library.  At the 3:42 spot, Trigiani discusses a hilarious exchange with her best friend, Scranton native Michael Patrick King (Sex and the City), regarding the naming of her child.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Long Gone Daddies by David Wesley Williams (2013)

Barb Williams, who has regularly contributed Scranton references to the blog, emailed me recently to tell me her husband David Wesley Williams has just published his debut novel titled Long Gone Daddies, and it is FILLED with Scranton references, included two chapters set in Scranton itself.

Below is a description of the book from the publisher's page, John. F. Blair:

"All his life, Luther Gaunt has heard songs in his head songs of sweet evil and blue ruckus, odes to ghosts, drinking hymns. In search of his past, he hits the road with his band, the Long Gone Daddies, and his grandfather's cursed guitar, Cassie.

While his band mates just want to make it big when they get to Memphis, Luther retraces the steps of his father and grandfather, who each made the same journey with the same guitar years earlier. Malcolm Gaunt could have been Elvis that white man who could sing black except his rounder's ways got him shot before he could strike that first note for Sam Phillips at Sun Records. At least that's what Luther's father Malcolm's son always told him before he made like smoke when fame came calling and disappeared down south, too.

As Luther discovers the truth about the two generations of musicians that came before him, he must face the ghosts of history, the temptations of the road, and the fame cravings of a seriously treacherous woman named Delia, who, it turns out, can sing like an angel forsaken.

Long Gone Daddies is lyrically written and accessible as a hook-filled favorite song and proves that the people who struggle the most are invariably the most interesting the most noble whether they succeed or not."

Below is a Scranton reference from David's novel that is included in the preview of the book:

Page 10:

"Some things I know for sure: Malcolm left a wife back home in Pennsylvania, in the coal-dusted city of Scranton."

Click here to purchase a copy of Long Gone Daddies from Amazon.

For a recently recorded podcast with David Wesley Williams discussing his book, click here.

Much thanks to Barb Williams for this reference.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Wilkes-Barre Native Douglas Carter Beane Writes Two Broadway Shows Opening Spring 2013

Wilkes-Barre native and two-time Tony nominee Douglas Carter Beane will be having a busy Spring, as two shows penned by Beane (a musical and a play) will be opening on Broadway within the next 3 months.

Beane wrote the new book for the Broadway revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella, now in previews and opening Sunday, March 3, 20013 at the Broadway Theatre (which recently housed the Broadway debut of Sister Act, also written by Beane). Click here for tickets

Beane also wrote the new play The Nance starring Nathan Lane, which opens Monday, April 15, 2013 at the Lyceum Theatre (previews begin Thursday, March 21, 2013).  Click here for tickets.

Click here for a list of previous blog entries on Douglas Carter Beane.