Outcasts in The Twilight Zone

the big tall wish

“The Big Tall Wish” is your typical Twilight Zone episode. It concerns a boxer, played by Ivan Dixon, who is switched with his opponent and wins the round due to the wish of a young boy, played by Steven Perry.

What is not typical is that it starred an all African-American cast. We, in 2014, wouldn’t blink an eye at this but in 1960 (the year the show aired, during the first season) this was an incredible rarity. So much so that The Twilight Zone won the Unity Award for Outstanding Contributions to Better Race Relations in 1961. According to the show’s creator, producer, and one of the head writers, Rod Serling:

“Television, like its big sister, the motion picture, has been guilty of the sin of omission… Hungry for talent, desperate for the so-called ‘new face,’ constantly searching for a transfusion of new blood, it has overlooked a source of wondrous talent that resides under its nose. This is the Negro actor.”

But it wasn’t just blacks that Serling welcomed on the show. At the time (and for many years afterwards), homosexuals that were out of the closet had an almost impossible time finding work in show business. Serling often hired gays, like Tom Hatcher. He played Bill Soames, the man who brings Mrs. Fremont’s groceries, in one of the show’s most famous episodes, “It’s a GOOD Life”. The episode aired in November of 1961. Serling also hired those blacklisted in Hollywood for potential (and often times made-up) Communist leanings. The most famous one being Burgess Meredith, who starred in several episodes such as “Time Enough At Last” and “Printer’s Devil”.

Most people would agree that The Twilight Zone was a ground-breaking show, but most are not aware how ground-breaking it actually was.

When Elvis Met Nixon

Elvis-nixon

 

It is the most requested photo from the National Archives: the photo of an uptight President and the King of Rock and Roll buddying up in the Oval Office. How did this meeting come to be and what was it for?

It all started in Memphis, TN at the famous mansion, Graceland. Elvis Presley was getting a talking to from his wife Priscilla and his father Vernon on spending more than $100,000 that Christmas season. Guns and at least ten Mercedes-Benzes don’t buy themselves.

Irritated, Elvis, accompanied by his aide Jerry Schilling, boarded a flight from Memphis to Washington D.C and then to his home in Los Angeles, California. Then Elvis told Schilling to book a flight back to D.C. Although Elvis didn’t say why, but Schilling figured it was because Elvis got it into his head to try and obtain a badge from the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, the predecessor of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Elvis loved badges. His fame and the need for security that brought with it allowed him to make friends with police departments around the country. He had a big collection of honorary police badges. His public reason for wanting a badge from the BNDD was to fight anti-American hippy drug culture, but the real reason, according to wife Priscilla in her book  Elvis and Me “…he believed he could legally enter any country both wearing guns and carrying any drugs.”

On his flight to D.C., he traveled with California Senator George Murphy. He asked him how he could go about getting one of these badges and Murphy suggested Elvis write to President Richard Nixon. Elvis quickly wrote a letter to the President saying, “Sir, I can and will be of any service that I can to help the country out” and promising “I will be here for as long as it takes to get the credentials of a federal agent.”

The letter, written on the letterhead of American Airlines, was personally delivered by Elvis to the White House at 6:30 AM on December 21, 1970. He then went to the BNDD headquarters and asked for a badge from Deputy Director John Finlator. Request denied.

Lucky for Elvis, his letter reached the hands of Nixon aide Egil “Bud” Krogh. Krogh was a big fan of Elvis and slyly thought a meeting between the two would be a public relations dream. Krogh convinced the top White House bosses to the meeting and by noon Elvis Presley, the King of Rock and Roll himself, walked into the Oval Office.

Decked out in a purple velvet jumpsuit and cape, gold chain, and sunglasses, Elvis proudly showed Nixon his collection of badges, family photos, and bling. He then got to business, blaming anti-American ideas on drugs, Communism, and the Beatles.

“Presley indicated he thought the Beatles had been a real force of anti-American spirit,” recorded Krough. “He said that the Beatles came to this country, made their money, and then returned to England where they promoted an anti-American theme. The President nodded in agreement and expressed some surprise. The President then indicated that those who use drugs are also those in the vanguard of anti-American protest. Violence, drug usage, dissent, protest all seem to merge in generally the same group of young people.”

“I’m on your side,” Elvis told Nixon before asking for the badge. Nixon asked his aides if this could be done, was told that it could, and ordered a badge be made for the King. Elvis then hugged a surprised Nixon and presented him with a mounted gold World War II era Colt .45 that he had plucked from the wall of his L.A. home.

Elvis picked his badge up that afternoon and was made an official federal agent for the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. It had been less than twelve hours since he wrote the letter.

That New Year’s Eve, Nixon wrote a warm thank you letter:

Dear Mr. Presley,

It was a pleasure to meet with you in my office recently, and I want you to know once again how much I appreciate your thoughtfulness in giving me the commemorative World War II Colt 45 pistol, encased in the handsome wooden chest. You were particularly kind to remember me with this impressive gift, as well as your family photographs, and I am delighted to have them for my collection of special mementos.

With my best wishes to you, Mrs. Presley, and to your daughter, Lisa, for a happy and peaceful 1971.

Sincerely,

Richard Nixon

The story itself wouldn’t be revealed to the public for more than a year, as Elvis thought it would hurt the publicity surrounding his big come back special.

We can’t all practice what we preach, and Elvis was no exception. He died of complications from long-term heavy drug use on August 16, 1977. His badge resides at Graceland. The Colt .45 is at the Richard Nixon Library.

elvis badge

 

In Memory…

Prickly Pete (Spring 2005-December 18, 2013)

The Overlook Hotel

It is the grandest hotel I have thus far stayed in, beating out the St. Francis in San Francisco when I was eleven. It was also a pilgrimage. I have been fascinated with The Shining since seeing the Stanley Kubrick … Continue reading

Facts About Andy Kaufman

andy-kaufman-daughter-land-lead3

kaufman as toddler

• Andrew Geoffrey Kaufman was born on January 17, 1949 in Great Neck, Long Island, New York to Stanley Kaufman, a jewelry salesman, and his wife Janice Bernstein. He was the oldest of three. Brother Michael arrived two years later, and sister Carol was the youngest.

• Shortly after Michael’s birth, Andy would stand at the big picture window of their house and just stare for hours. His parents felt that children shouldn’t be sad, so they sent their son to numerous psychiatrists.

kaufman as boy [2]

• Andy would pretend that a camera was in his basement bedroom wall. Here he would put on shows for his imaginary audience; any show genre you can imagine that was popular during the 1950s. About 80% of the material Andy would end up performing as an adult got its start in his bedroom and from performing at children’s birthday parties: impersonating Elvis Presley, lip-syncing to the theme song to “Mighty Mouse”, singing simple children songs like “Pop Goes the Weasel”, and Foreign Man.

• Never did very well in school and often brought up straight D’s his entire scholastic career. Teachers would sometimes pass him so that they wouldn’t have to have him in their classes again the next year.

• Towards the end of high school and for a year or two afterwards, Andy became a stoner and an alcoholic. The partying came to an end when he got his seventeen-year-old girlfriend, Gloria, pregnant when he was nineteen. Andy finally took stock of his life and decided to go back to school, going to a junior college in Boston and getting an association in arts and television. It was around this time that Andy discovered Transcendental Meditation (TM), a discipline that would keep him focused and healthy (for the most part) for the rest of his life.

• Andy was off at school when his daughter was born in July of 1969. He never saw the baby, but his parents and Gloria’s parents did for a few days before the baby was put up for adoption.

elvis

• A huge Elvis Presley fan since elementary school, Andy was one of the first professional Elvis impersonators. The King himself had a few tapes of Andy’s Vegas impersonation gigs on tape at his mansion in Graceland. Elvis enjoyed Andy most of all because Andy would sing obscure Elvis songs and dress as Elvis had dressed when Elvis was at his peak.

• When Andy was twenty, he wrote a fan letter to Elvis:

Feb 27, 1969

Kaufman
Leavitt Hall
645 Beacon St.
Boston, Msses, Room 629

Dear Mr. Presley,

Hi.

Here I am at the old college desk writing you a letter for the first time in my life.

Here I am twenty years old. I have been an “Elvis Presley fan” since my grandfather bought me a copy of Elvis’ Golden Records when I was seven. (Since then I have acquired every word you ever recorded, except three.)

You are Elvis Presley. I am Andy Kaufman. One day I shall meet you. I shall shake your hand. I shall say “Hello.”

I know you, ya know? I really do know you. I have seen

[PORTION MISSING]

as yours.) It’s just an idea, but if it can’t happen, can you arrange for me to just shake your hand and say hello? I mean, I’ve gone through a heckova lot these past few years, turning people on to you, dragging friends and parties to your movies. I don’t even drink, smoke, or curse anymore.

Thanks for everything

(No kiddin’, I feel like I’m writin’ to Santa Claus or something’.)

Sincerely,

Andy G. Kaufman

hqdefault

• Bob Zmuda was Andy’s  best friend and partner in crime. Raised in Chicago, Illinois to a Polish Catholic family. Dabbled in stand-up with his old friend Chris Albrecht (“Comedy From A to Z”) but mostly did odd jobs around the clubs of New York City, like serving drinks. He met Andy when he offered to help the comedian load his car up after a show, all this being done while Andy was Foreign Man. Later, Andy would approach Zmuda and ask to hear the stories about Zmuda’s short stint as a personal assistant to eccentric screenwriter Norman Wexler. A lifelong friendship was born and Zmuda became Andy’s official writer.

andyhowdy

• A huge fan of “Howdy Doody” since he was a very young child, Andy arranged to have the original puppet to appear on his ABC “Andy’s Funhouse” show. The special was filmed in 1977 but did not air until 1979. A similar show was filmed in 1983 for PBS called “The Andy Kaufman Show”. Paul Ruebans asked permission to possibly use Andy’s funhouse format for his Pee-Wee Herman character, and Andy said yes. Later Reubans would create “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse”.

• Andy did not consider himself a comedian. He saw himself as a “Song and Dance Man”.

mighty mouse

• Performed  his “Mighty Mouse” lip syncing routine on the very first episode of Saturday Night Live on October 11, 1975.

• A fan of the ladies, Andy found it was easy to meet women when one was famous.  He started wrestling women mostly to meet, and hopefully have sex with, them. He organized fan mail based on if any good looking women sent him their pictures, and he would send them back stage passes if they did. He patronized the brothels around Las Vegas and Reno, and would often make life-long friends with the working women.

• Played Carnegie Hall in 1979. Andy invited his grandmother to watch the show on a sofa set up on stage. At the end of the show, the “grandmother” revealed herself to be none other than Robin Williams. Then Andy had the entire audience load into buses for some milk and cookies. The next day he had the audience meet him at the Staten Island Ferry where the performance continued.

cliftion

• Andy claimed that the character of Tony Clifton was based on a lounge singer he observed in Las Vegas. in the late 1960s. Andy was there in the first place to try to ambush and meet Elvis Presley. It worked.

• Before Zmuda met Andy, he was a personal assistant to screenwriter / script doctor Norman Wexler. Wexler, who wrote “Serpico”, “Joe”, and “Saturday Night Fever”, was very eccentric and probably mentally ill. He suffered from bi-polar disorder and was once arrested in 1972 for threatening to assassinate President Richard Nixon. A lot of the stories Zmuda told Andy about Wexler would be the basis of Clifton.

• Andy had a Cadillac he only used for when he was playing Clifton.

• One of the conditions for joining the cast of “Taxi” was that Andy’s mysterious friend Tony Clifton would be allowed to make two guest appearances, and two separate contracts were written. Tony’s first episode was to be a Christmas 1978 episode where he plays Louie DePalma’s (Danny DeVito) gambling brother Nicky. On the first day of rehearsal Clifton brought hookers to the set, botched his lines, was rude to the cast, and generally created chaos. Tony Danza captured the entire incident with his hand-held camera. Naturally the producers wanted to fire Tony, so Andy told them to fire him in front of everyone the next day at rehearsals. Tony was not happy about this and ended up being escorted out of the building by security guards.

• One belief is that Andy never smoked and stuck to a squeaky clean diet. While this was true 99% of the time, when he was playing Clifton he would chain smoke, eat meat, and down bottles of whiskey.

• During an appearance on “The Dinah Shore Show”, a drunk Clifton dumped a bowl of raw eggs and bacon on her head during the cooking segment. During the chaos that followed, Jean Stappleton (Edith on “All in the Family”) hid herself in her dressing room.

• Clifton was played by Andy, Bob Zmuda, and sometimes by Michael Kaufman. Clifton’s appearance on “David Letterman” was Zmuda.

• Andy and Zmuda wrote an epic biopic about Clifton to be filmed at considerable expense. Those who have read the script have said that it would have made a great movie. But any hopes for a Tony Clifton movie were killed when Andy’s movie “Heartbeeps” bombed at the box office.

andykaufman4

• A fan of wrestling since he was a young boy, he would wrestle any woman at any time at any place. On airplanes. In restaurants. In hospitals. In brothels. On Saturday Night Live. He had a room in his modest Laurel Canyon house laid down with nothing but wrestling mats. Towards the end of his career, he made a small film called “My Breakfast With Blassie”, a take on “My Dinner With Andre” where Andy has breakfast with old school wrestler Fred “Pencil Necked Geeks” Blassie.

• Beat almost every woman he wrestled with. When he wrestled on “Saturday Night Live”, the producers picked who Andy was going to wrestle. Nervous because he didn’t get the chance to choose the woman, Andy ended up winning anyway. The letters Andy received from women around the country wanting to wrestle him on SNL are featured in the book “Dear Andy Kaufman I Hate Your Guts”.

andykaufman14

• The character of “Foreign Man” was popular for several years before producers of a new show based around taxi cab drivers approached Andy one night. Andy felt that American sitcoms were one of the lowest forms of entertainment, but took the job in order to gain more exposure so he could do anything he wanted for (or to?) a larger audience. It also gave him a chance to make more money, so he could pay for his increasingly elaborate gags. This “Foreign Man” from “Caspiar” became the Sunshine Cab Company’s mechanic, Latka Gravas, on the show “Taxi”.

• The less Andy had to work on the show the better. While most actors fight tooth and nail for screen time, Andy did the opposite. While the cast worked a full week, Andy was allowed to show up for the Tuesday’s table readings and Friday’s filming. His photographic memory made it so that he never made any mistakes during filming.

Taxi_Season_1_Cast

• Andy did not socialize with the cast much at all. This is not to say he didn’t like them. And except for the Tony Clifton ordeal, Andy was a consummate professional. Do your job and go home.

• Friction did occur though. Judd Hirsch was irritated that the producers never made clear who the real star of the show was, and that Andy could get away with so much. Jeff Conaway, drinking a little bit too much at a cast party,  asked Andy if he thought he was better than everyone else and then promptly punched him in the face. Conaway apologized the next day and was forgiven.

• When Carol Kane was hired on to play Simka, Latka’s love interest from the same country, Andy invited her to dinner at his house. He attempted to teach her the made up “ibby-da” language of Latka’s people and made it so she could only talk in this language during dinner. He also asked her to wrestle. She politely declined, much to his disappointment.

andykaufman2

• By 1982 and 1983 audiences were getting exhausted with Andy’s antics. On “The David Letterman Show” alone (the only show he could get booked on in the end) he had his fake feud with wrestler Jerry “The King” Lawler, adopted three adult black men as his children, claimed he was homeless and needed money, and became a born-again Christian. He was voted off of “Saturday Night Live” in a stunt that backfired. A Broadway show he was in with Debbie Harry failed after one night. His movie “Heartbeeps” bombed at the box office, destroying any chance for a long time of a movie career. And worst of all, the Transcendental Meditation organization he loved so dearly refused to allow him to join their training sessions to become a teacher because of his wrestling women routine. This hurt him most of all.

• During a visit home for Thanksgiving in 1983, Andy’s family showed concern for the lingering congestive cough he just couldn’t seem to shake. When he returned to Los Angeles he went to a doctor and was diagnosed with a rare form of lung cancer. At first he didn’t treat it seriously. After all, he was Andy Kaufman! He would beat this! He put off telling his family due to a separate crisis the family had when Andy’s mother Janice had a stroke.

• Andy finally publicly announced his illness in January of 1984 when audiences were amazed at his gaunt appearance. Andy hoped to cure the cancer with “natural medicine”, including a diet of fruit and vegetables and plenty of vitamins.

andykaufman3

• He started radiotherapy but by then the cancer had gone from his lungs to his brain. In March of 1984 Andy, his long-time girlfriend Lynne Margulies, and (later) Zmuda went to Baguio, Philippines for “psychic surgery”, a New Age procedure featuring quack doctors using slight of hand tricks and chicken parts to pretend to pull tumors from desperate peoples’ bodies.

• On May 16, 1984 Andy Kaufman died of kidney failure, caused by metastasized large-cell lung carcinoma, in West Hollywood with his family and manager, George Shapiro, at his side. He is buried in the Beth David Cemetery in Elmont, New York. He was thirty-five years old.

bzmuda051410

• Bob Zmuda would go on to create Comic Relief USA (based in part on the UK’s Comic Relief charity) in Andy’s memory in 1986. In 1999 he wrote “Andy Kaufman Revealed!” and helped work on the movie “Man on the Moon” (the name based on a song by REM about Andy) , where he prepared the Tony Clifton make-up for Jim Carrey. Zmuda was played by Paul Giamatti. Andy was played by, of course, Jim Carrey. Lynne was played by Courtney Love. Zmuda still plays Tony Clifton, as seen above.

• Andy’s manager, George Shapiro would end up representing Jerry Seinfeld and, along with his agency West/Shapiro, would executive-produce the hit sitcom “Seinfeld”. Later, Shapiro would be played by Danny DeVito in the biopic “Man on the Moon”.

• Andy’s father, Stanley Kaufman, died in the summer of 2013 at the age of 90.

andy daughter

• In 1992 a young woman named Maria Bellu (pictured above) was able to track down her birth mother and was told that her father was Andy Kaufman, the guy on “Taxi”. She promptly began relationships with the Kaufman clan, becoming extremely close to her grandfather Stanley. She married New York insurance salesman Joe Colonna and had a daughter, Brittany in the mid-1990s. Andy’s granddaughter Brittany made an appearance in “Man on the Moon”, playing the younger version of her aunt Carol.

• The Andy Kaufman Hoax Machine 2014 has already started, with a woman coming onstage in November 2013 with Michael claiming to be Andy’s younger daughter and that he is living a quiet life with another family. And a grainy black and white video has surfaced of an old guy who looks nothing like Andy in Albuquerque.

• Is Andy Kaufman dead? Most likely, yes. He hasn’t appeared thus far and there’s no reason to believe he would have put his parents in so much pain. There were too many witnesses to his deteriorating condition as the cancer took hold in the final months and finally caused his death. Although he had thought about faking his death, Andy dropped the idea when he realized how difficult it would be and how stressful it would be for his family. But if Andy Kaufman returned, it would be one for the history books for sure.

kaufmana

Further Research

Lost in the Funhouse: The Life and Mind of Andy Kaufman by Bill Zehme

Andy Kaufman Revealed! by Bob Zmuda

Letters of Note: http://www.lettersofnote.com/2009/11/you-are-elvis-presley-i-am-andy-kaufman.html

A Few Facts About Heath Ledger

FACTS ABOUT HEATH LEDGER

A-young-Heath-Ledger
* Born Heath Andrew Ledger on April 4, 1979 in Perth, Western Australia.

* His parents are Kim Ledger, a race-car driver and mining engineer and Sally Ramshaw, a French language teacher. The Ledger family established and owned the Ledger Engineering Foundry. Heath’s great-grandfather has a trust named after him called the Sir Frank Ledger Charitable Trust.

* Has an older sister named Kate, an actress and later a publicist. Kate and Heath were named after the main characters from “Wuthering Heights”, a favorite book of their mother.

* Kate and Heath have younger half-siblings including Ashleigh Bell, born 1990, and Olivia Ledger, born 1996. Kim and Sally separated when Heath was ten and divorced when he was eleven.

* Acted on stage in school programs, inspired by his sister Kate. He developed choreography based on his love of Gene Kelly.

* Graduated from school when he was sixteen.

Heath Ledger retrospective - 22 Jan 2008

* With his best friend since age three, Trevor DiCarlo, he drove across Australia from Perth to Sydney to pursue an acting career.

* His first role was an uncredited role as an Orphan Clown in the 1992 movie “Clowning Around”.

* Played a gay cyclist on the TV series “Sweat” in 1996.

Heath-Ledger

* At age twenty-six he was the ninth youngest nominee for a Best Actor Oscar, for “Brokeback Mountain”.

* Wanted to eventually become a film director and directed some music videos.

* Was an avid chess player, and even won Western Australia’s junior chess championship at age ten. As an adult, and during frequent bouts of insomnia, would play chess at Washington Square Park. At the time of his death he was planning on performing in and directing an adaptation of the 1983 chess-related novel “The Queen’s Gambit” by Walter Trevis. It would have been his first feature film as a director.

* Dated such actresses as Lisa Zane, Heather Graham, and Naomi Watts.

* Met Michelle Williams on the set of Brokeback Mountain and started dating in the summer of 2004.

Heath-Ledger-s-Daughter-Is-Very-Much-like-Him-Say-Parents-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

* His and Williams’ daughter, Matilda Rose Ledger, was born on October 28, 2005 in New York City. Matilda’s godparents are Jake Gyllenhaal and Busy Phillips, Williams’ co-star from “Dawson’s Creek”.

* Ledger and Williams shared a house in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn from 2005 to 2007. In the fall of 2007 Williams’ father confirmed that the pair had separated.

heath_ledger_michelle_williams_finger

* Had a turbulent relationship with the press, especially in Australia. It was because of the press that he decided to reside in the United States. At the Sydney premiere of “Brokeback Mountain”, Ledger and Williams were squirted by water guns from the press.

joker22920121

* For his role as the Joker in “The Dark Knight” he spent a month in a hotel room in London attempting to develop the character. At first he based on the Joker on Alex DeLarge from “A Clockwork Orange” but the role developed further. He kept a notebook diary throughout the filming of “The Dark Knight”.

* Improvised the hand-clapping the Joker does in his jail cell when Gordon is made Commissioner. He also directed the videos that the Joker makes with Anthony Michael Hall.

* After his roles in “I’m Not There” and “The Dark Knight” he developed insomnia. He told an interviewer that he slept an average of two hours a night. He talked about taking two Ambien but woke up an hour later, with his mind still racing. According to Michelle Williams, “For as long as I’d known him, he had bouts with insomnia. He had too much energy. His mind was turning, turning, turning–always turning.”

The-Imaginarium-of-Dr-Parnassus-Heath-s-Final-Film-heath-ledger-6742008-369-400

* Had health problems, along with insomnia, on the set of his last film, “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus”. His co-star, Christopher Plummer, explained Heath’s problems on “walking pneumonia” and insomnia. To combat this, Heath took pills.

* He was also starting to be involved in custody battles with Michelle Williams over their two-year-old daughter Matilda. On the set of “…Doctor Parnassus” Ledger could be found curled up asleep with one of Matilda’s stuffed animals.

heath-ledger-last-photo The last known photograph of Heath Ledger, taken a day or two before his death.

* His habit of combining sleeping pills, with pain killers and cold medicine took its toll at around 2:45 PM (EST) on January 22, 2008 when he was found unconscious by his housekeeper, Teresa Solomon, and his masseuse, Diana Wolozin.

* Instead of calling 9-1-1 right away, Wolozin called Ledger’s friend Mary-Kate Olsen in California. She had a private security guard directed to guard the scene. Only then did Wolozin call 911 “to say that Mr. Ledger was not breathing”. She administered CPR, which was unsuccessful.

* Heath Ledger was pronounced dead at 3:36 PM and his body was removed from his apartment by 6:30.

* Ledger’s autopsy revealed that he died of an acute intoxication by the combined effects of oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam and doxylamine. So what do these names mean? Xanax, Valium, Unisom, Restoril, Vicodin, OxyContin-two downers, two sleeping pills (Ambien being one), and two painkillers. His lungs shut down under the weight of the combination of drugs.

* A Federal investigation was done on Mary-Kate Olsen, who was accused of supplying the drugs that killed Ledger. The investigation was dropped in August of 2008.

300-MatildaLedger-011513-jpg_211843

* The financial security of Matilda Ledger and her mother, Michelle Williams, is the Ledger family’s top priority. Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Ferrell donated their total pay from “…Doctor Parnassus” to Matilda. She is estimated to inherit over $20 million.

* According to Williams, she keeps her hair short as a tribute to Heath. “I cut it for the one straight man who has ever liked short hair and I wear it in memorial of somebody who really loved it.”

81aa_actor_supporting

* Ledger won a posthumous Best Supporting Actor award as the Joker in “The Dark Knight”. The Oscar was accepted by Kim, Sally, and Kate. His was only the second posthumous Oscar for acting, after fellow Australian actor Peter Finch, who won for 1976’s “Network”.

* His body was cremated, his ashes interred in a family plot at Karrakatta Cemetery next to his grandparents. He had private memorial ceremonies in Los Angeles. A memorial service was done at Penrhos College, with an even smaller service (attended by just ten closest family members) at Fremantle Cemetery. A wake was done at Cottesloe Beach.

The Parallels of Animal Farm

steadman animal farm

 

Just recently have I realized that I have very little if any pages dedicated to George Orwell’s second most famous novel, “Animal Farm”. So I thought I’d jot down some notes on the parallels between some characters/events/misc topics to their historical counterparts.

Pigs

OLD MAJOR: Vladimir Lenin
NAPOLEON: Joseph Stalin
SNOWBALL: Leon Trotsky
SQUEALER: Pravda, newspaper of Soviet Russia.
YOUNG PIGS: White Army

Humans

MR. JONES: Czar Nicholas II
MR. FREDERICK: Adolf Hitler
MR. PILKINGTON: Winston Churchill
MR. WHYMPER and the PIGEONS: Foreign agents of the Communist Internationale.

Horses

BOXER: Russian proletariat
MOLLIE: The Old Money bourgeoise

Other Animals:

PUPPIES/DOGS: KGB
MOSES: Russian Orthodox Church

Events and Misc. Topics

ANIMAL REBELLION: Russian Revolution of 1917
BATTLE OF THE COWSHED: Anti-Revolutionary invasion of Russia in 1918.
BATTLE OF THE WINDMILL: Battle of Stalingrad in World War II
FINAL SCENE (meeting of men and pigs): Teheran Conference
BUILDING OF WINDMILL: Five year plan
OLD MAJOR’S SKULL: Lenin’s body
CHASING AWAY JONES: Execution of Czar Nicholas II and family
CONFESSIONS AND EXECUTIONS: Blood purges of 1936-1938
SELLING OF WOOD: Nazi-Soviet pact
HOOF AND HORN FLAG: Hammer and sickle