My Russian teacher cancelled next week’s lesson. She’s Jewish, and it’s Passover. Which must mean that the ABC network broadcast of “The Ten Commandments” is right around the corner. It’s April 23 this year. Woot! I hope Alan doesn’t have anything planned, because it’s going to be wine time in front of the ol’ tube. I’ve missed it several years running, and I’m feeling it, kittens:
When I was researching the book I wrote last year for the Detroit Economic Club, one of the more interesting files was that of Cecil B. DeMille, who addressed them in 1948 on the topic of right-to-work legislation:
In 1936, DeMille was hired to host the Lux Radio Theater, a long-running anthology series featuring the top stars of the day. He held the position for nearly a decade, until 1945, when he balked at the deduction of $1 for political activities by the American Federation of Radio Artists, of which he was a member. The union was fighting a ballot initiative to make California a right-to-work state. DeMille not only refused to pay the fee himself, he also refused to let anyone else pay it for him. The incident ended with DeMille suspended by the union and out of his $100,000-per-year job as host.
DeMille made right-to-work advocacy a pet cause for years afterward.
The DeMille Foundation for Political Freedom existed for decades, and yet, only a few know it existed at all. But everyone’s watched “The Ten Commandments,” at least part of it. Art endures. Politics is just a luncheon address to some bigwigs in Detroit.
Actually, I found another speech in the club’s archives by a Hollywood type — David Wolper, who came in the mid-60s and gave a talk he titled “The Hills are Alive With the Sound of Money.” He was promoting a film he’d produced called “The Devil’s Brigade.” It was about a little-known special forces unit in World War II comprised of — quoting IMDB here — “Canadian troops and a ragtag group of American misfits.” (Misfits are always ragtag, I’ve noticed.) Anyway, the event seemed to have been coordinated with the opening of the film uppermost in mind, and Detroit chosen because of its proximity to Windsor, given the transnational aspect of the Devil’s Brigade. And yet, when was the last time you saw that one? Sometimes art doesn’t endure, either. It helps if the art is memorable.
I might have to dig up this one, however. Any flick with characters named Rockwell “Rocky” Rockman and Billy “Bronc” Guthrie can’t be all bad. And imagine William Holden delivering a line like this:
Lt. Col. Robert T. Frederick: [to Major Bricker] You’ve been in-and-out of nine different camps because you’re the biggest chiseler, hustler, and scrounger in the whole Army. Well, in two weeks our first recruits arrive, and whatever they need, and whatever this camp needs, you’re going to supply. How you do it is your own business. So start hustling.
Start hustling! OK, then.
It’s almost tax-filing deadline. I’m done and filed, and am expecting a small refund, which I’ve already decided to put toward an iPad, because I can think of a million ways to use it for work, which would make it a business expense on next year’s taxes, right? Anyway, our webmaster J.C. Burns — who celebrated his birthday yesterday, by the way — put together one of his occasional (and invaluable) knowledge dumps for new iPad owners. It’s a little technical for the novice, but still full of many tips, suggestions and whatnot if you’re in the same situation. So read, eh?
Until he sent it to me, I didn’t even know he had a Tumblr. Sigh. Another bookmark.
Via BuzzFeed, 52 Things You’ll Only See in America. Unfair, cruel, probably with a good deal of Photoshopping, and yet I still laughed out loud several times. Bad Boys Bail Bonds is real, anyway. Slogan: “Because your mama wants you home.”
People accuse Yanks of being silly about royal weddings, but don’t count the English out. I stumbled across the Daily Telegraph’s special web section the other day, and it’s exhaustive. Best single feature, however: Royal weddings in history, containing a click-through slide show of every one since Victoria and Albert. Bummer: Prince Albert is wearing tight riding pants, but is seen only in profile, so we can’t check for his Prince Albert.
Off to work I go. A good Tuesday to all.