L.Frank Baum

Best known for writing “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”, the prolific American author Lyman “L.” Frank Baum sadly passed away 6th May 1919. He was born on May 15, 1856 in Chittenango, New York, in 1856, and grew up on his parents’ expansive estate, Rose Lawn. AS a young child, he was tutored at home with his siblings, but at the age of 12, he was sent to study at Peekskill Military Academy, and after two utterly miserable years he was allowed to return home. Baum started writing at an early age and His father bought him a cheap printing press; which, with the help of his younger brother Henry (Harry) Clay Baum, he used to produce The Rose Lawn Home Journal.

The brothers published several issues of the journal, Baum also established a second amateur journal, The Stamp Collector, he also printed “Baum’s Complete Stamp Dealers” Directory, and started a stamp dealership with friends. At the age of 20, Baum started breeding fancy poultry, and specialized in raising a particular breed of fowl, the Hamburg. In March 1880 he established a monthly trade journal, The Poultry Record, and in 1886, he published his first book: The Book of the Hamburgs: A Brief Treatise upon the Mating, Rearing, and Management of the Different Varieties of Hamburgs.

Baum, then became interested in theatre, performing under the stage names of Louis F. Baum and George Brooks. In 1880, his father built him a theatre in Richburg, New York, and he set about writing plays and gathering a company to act in them. The Maid of Arran, a melodrama with songs based on William Black’s novel A Princess of Thule, proved a modest success. Baum not only wrote the play but composed songs for it and also acted in the leading role. His aunt was also the founder of Syracuse Oratory School, and Baum advertised his services in her catalog to teach theatre, including stage business, playwriting, directing, and translating, revision, and operettas.

In 1882, Baum married Maud Gage, and in 1888 they moved to Aberdeen, Dakota, where he opened a store, “Baum’s Bazaar” and later editing a local newspaper, The Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer, where he wrote a column, “Our Landlady”. Baum’s description of Kansas in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is based on his experiences in drought-ridden South Dakota. After Baum’s newspaper failed in 1891, he, Maud and their four sons moved to Humboldt Park, Chicago, where Baum took a job reporting for the Evening Post. In 1897 he wrote and published Mother Goose in Prose, a collection of Mother Goose rhymes written as prose stories, which was illustrated by Maxfield Parrish. This was followed in 1899 when Baum partnered with illustrator W. W. Denslow, to publish Father Goose, which was a collection of nonsense poetry, which became the best-selling children’s book of the year.

In 1900, Baum and Denslow published The Wonderful Wizard of Oz to much critical acclaim and financial success, and this became the best-selling children’s book for two years after its initial publication. Baum went on to write thirteen more novels based on the places and people of the Land of Oz.Two years after Wizard’s publication, Baum and Denslow teamed up with composer Paul Tietjens and director Julian Mitchell to produce a musical stage version of the book under Fred R. Hamlin, which, opened in Chicago in 1902, then ran on Broadway for 293 stage nights from January to October 1903. It returned to Broadway in 1904, where it played from March to May and again from November to December. It successfully toured the United States with much of the same cast, until 1911, it differed considerably from the book, and was aimed primarily at adults.

Baum then wrote a sequel, The Woggle-Bug, however the Scarecrow and Tin Woodman were omitted from this adaptation. He later worked on a musical version of Ozma of Oz, which eventually became The Tik-Tok Man Of Oz. This did fairly well in Los Angeles, and also began a stage version of The Patchwork Girl of Oz. Baum also wrote several plays for various celebrations. and In 1914, after moving to Hollywood, Baum started his own film production company, The Oz Film Manufacturing Company. Many times during the development of the Oz series, Baum declared that he had written his last Oz book and devoted himself to other works of fantasy fiction based in other magical lands, However, persuaded by popular demand, letters from children, and the failure of his new books, he returned to the series each time.

Sadly on May 6th 1919 L Frank Baum passed away after having a stroke, nine days short of his 63rd birthday. He was buried in Glendale’s Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery. His final Oz book, Glinda of Oz, was published on July 10, 1920, a year after his death. The Oz series was continued long after his death by other authors, notably Ruth Plumly Thompson, who wrote an additional nineteen Oz books. his other works also remained popular after his death, with The Master Key appearing on St. Nicholas Magazine’s survey of readers’ favorite books well into the 1920s. His novels also predicted such century-later commonplaces as television, laptop computers (The Master Key), wireless telephones (Tik-Tok of Oz), women in high risk, action-heavy occupations (Mary Louise in the Country), and the ubiquity of advertising on clothing (Aunt Jane’s Nieces at Work), and the Wonderful Wizard of Oz series of books remains popular to this day and his novels have been adapted for screen numerous times, the most famous being the 1939 version starring Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale which is a perennial Favourite on television during holidays.

Jeffrey Deaver

Prolific American Mystery/crime thriller author Jeffery Deaver was born May 6, 1950 in Glen Ellyn, Chicago, Illinois. He grew up in a creative family. His mother was an artist, and his father an advertising writer. His sister Julie Reece Deaver is an author of young adult novels.The book that inspired him to write was From Russia With Love, a James Bond novel by Ian Fleming. He Earned a bachelor of journalism degree from the University of Missouri and a law degree from Fordham University and originally started working as a journalist. He later practiced law before embarking on a successful career as a best-selling novelist.

 

Deaver’s most popular series features his regular character Lincoln Rhyme, a quadriplegic detective, and NYPD Detective Amelia Sachs. Deaver stated in a 2006 Early Show interview that he would rotate between his new series and Lincoln Rhyme each year. Virtually all of his works feature a trick ending or multiple trick endings. Deaver’s 2001 book The Blue Nowhere features criminal hackers (one using social engineering to commit murder), as well as a law enforcement computer crime unit. In this book, Deaver gives credit to Lee de Forest, the inventor of the Audion (also known as the triode tube), who is thus considered to have opened the world to electronic development.)

He has been awarded the Steel Dagger and Short Story Dagger from the British Crime Writers’ Association and the Nero Wolfe Award, and he is a three-time recipient of the Ellery Queen Reader’s Award for Best Short Story of the Year and a winner of the British Thumping Good Read Award. His novels have appeared on bestseller lists around the world, including The New York Times, The Times, Italy’s Corriere della Sera, The Sydney Morning Herald, and The Los Angeles Times. Deaver also edited The Best American Mystery Stories 2009.

Three of Deaver’s novels have also been produced into films: Maiden’s Grave made for TV as film Dead Silence 1997, The Bone Collector released 1999, The Devil’s Teardrop made for TV and in 2010 Deaver also created the characters and—in a collaboration with 14 other noted writers—wrote the 17-part serial thriller The Chopin Manuscript. Deaver has also written an official new James Bond novel: Carte Blanche, which was published 2011. Other novels written by Deaver include Mistress of Justice (1992), The Lesson of Her Death (1993), Praying for Sleep (1994), A Maiden’s Grave (1995), The Devil’s Teardrop (1999), Speaking in Tongues (2000), The Blue Nowhere (2001), Garden of Beasts (2004), The Chopin Manuscript (2008), The Bodies Left Behind (2008), Edge (2010), The October List (2013), Manhattan which Is My Beat (1988), Death of a Blue Movie Star (1990), Hard News (1991), Shallow Graves (1992), Bloody River Blues (1993), Hell’s Kitchen (2001), The Bone Collector (1997), The Coffin Dancer (1998), The Empty Chair (2000), The Stone Monkey (2002), The Vanished Man, The Twelfth Card, The Cold Moon, The Broken Window, The Burning Wire, The Kill Room, The Skin Collector, The Steel Kiss, The Sleeping Doll, Roadside Crosses, XO, Solitude Creek, Carte Blanche, A Confederacy of Crime, Twisted, More Twisted andTrouble in Mind. His latest novel “The Cutting edge” is published 17 May.

Orson Welles

American actor, director, writer and producer George Orson Welles was born May 6, 1915 in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He worked extensively in theatre, radio and film and is best remembered for his innovative work in all three media, most notably Caesar (1937), a groundbreaking Broadway adaption of Julius Caesar and the debut of the Mercury Theatre; The War of the Worlds (1938), the most famous broadcast in the history of radio; and Citizen Kane (1941), which many critics and scholars name as the best film of all time. Welles directed a number of high-profile theatrical productions in his early twenties, including an innovative adaptation of Macbeth and The Cradle Will Rock, but found national and international fame as the director and narrator of a 1938 radio adaptation of H. G. Wells’ novel The War of the Worlds performed for the radio drama anthology series Mercury Theatre on the Air. It was reported to have caused widespread panic when listeners thought that an actual invasion by extraterrestrial beings was occurring, and this rocketed Welles to instant notoriety. His first film was Citizen Kane (1941), which he wrote, produced, directed, and starred in as Charles Foster Kane. It is often considered the greatest film ever made. Welles went on to directed thirteen critically acclaimed films in his career, including The Magnificent Ambersons, Journey into Fear, It’s All True, The Stranger, The Lady From Shanghai, Macbeth, The Third Man, Othello, Mr Arkadin, The Trial and Touch of Evil.

He was reknowned for His distinctive directorial style, which featured layered and nonlinear narrative forms, innovative uses of lighting such as chiaroscuro, unusual camera angles, sound techniques borrowed from radio, deep focus shots, and long takes. He has been praised as a major creative force and as “the ultimate auteur.” Welles became Well known for his baritone voice, And was also a well regarded actor who won many wards. These other Welles films were nominated for their list: The Magnificent Ambersons (1942, director/producer/screenwriter); The Third Man (1949, actor); Touch of Evil (1958, actor/director/ screenwriter); and A Man for All Seasons (1966, actor). Citizen Kane was also nominated for numerous prizes at the 1941 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor in a Leading Role. The only Oscar won, however, was Best Original Screenplay, which Welles shared with Herman J. Mankiewicz.The Magnificent Ambersons was nominated for four 1942 Academy Awards, including Best Picture. The Stranger was nominated for the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 1947. Othello won the Palme d’Or at the 1952 Cannes Film Festival.

In 1968 Welles was nominated for Best Foreign Actor in a Leading Role at the 21st British Academy Film Awards for his performance in Chimes at Midnight. Welles was given the first Career Golden Lion award in the Venice Film Festival in 1970, during the same year Welles was given an Academy Honorary Award for “superlative and distinguished service in the making of motion pictures.He was also awarded the French Légion d’honneur, the highest civilian decoration in France. He also recieved the American Film Institute Lifetime Achievement Award in 1975, and In 1978, Welles was presented with the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Career Achievement Award. In 1979, Welles was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame. In 1982, Welles was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture at the Golden Globe Awards for his role in Butterfly, and won a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Recording for his role on Donovan’s Brain.

In 1983 Welles was awarded a Fellowship of the British Film Institute and In 1984, Welles was given the Directors Guild of America Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked Welles as the 16th Greatest Male Star of All Time. When asked to describe Welles’s influence, Jean-Luc Godard remarked: “Everyone will always owe him everything.” Welles was also voted the greatest film director of all time in two separate British Film Institute polls among directors and critics, and a wide survey of critical consensus, best-of lists, and historical retrospectives calls him the most acclaimed director of all time. He was also voted number 16 in AFI’s 100 Years, 100 Stars list of the greatest American film actors of all time. Sadly On October 10, 1985, Welles died of a heart attack at his home in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles, California, and was found slumped over his typewriter, working on a new film script however his influence can be seen in many films made since and he remains important to film history.

Gaston Leroux

Best known for writing the novel The Phantom of the Opera, The French journalist and author of detective fiction, Gaston Leroux was born 6 May in 1868 in Paris. He went to school in Normandy and later studied law in Paris, graduating in 1889. He inherited millions of francs and lived wildly until he nearly reached bankruptcy. Subsequently in 1890, he began working as a court reporter and theater critic for L’Écho de Paris. However his most important journalism came when he began working as an international correspondent for the Paris newspaper Le Matin.

In 1905, he was present at, and covered, the Russian Revolution. Another case he was present at involved the investigation and in-depth coverage of the former Paris Opera (presently housing the Paris Ballet).In 1907 He suddenly left Journalism and began writing fiction. he and his writing patner Arthur Bernède formed their own film company, Société des Cinéromans to publish novels simultaneously and turn them into films. He first wrote a mystery novel entitled Le mystère de la chambre jaune (1908; The Mystery of the Yellow Room), starring the amateur detective Joseph Rouletabille,

He was a very prolific author and went on to write many more novels about the adventures of Joseph Rouletabille, including Le parfum de la dame en noir (The Perfume of the Lady in Black, Rouletabille chez le Tsar, Rouletabille à la guerre (Rouletabille at War), Les étranges noces de Rouletabille (The Strange Wedding of Rouletabille. Rouletabille chez Krupp, Le crime de Rouletabille (1921), Rouletabille chez les Bohémiens, Le petit marchand de romme de terre frites, Un homme dans la nuit, La double vie de Théophraste Longuet, The Phantom of the Opera, Le roi mystère, L’homme qui a vu le diable, Le fauteuil hanté, La reine de Sabbat, Balaoo, Le dîner des bustes, La hache d’or, L’ épouse du soleil, Première aventures de chéri-Bibi, La colonne infernale, Confitou, L’ homme qui revient de loin, Le capitaine Hyx – La bataille invisible, Le coeur cambriolé, Le sept de trèfle, La poupée sanglante – La machine à assassiner, Le Noël du petit Vincent-Vincent, Not’olympe, Les ténébreuses: La fin d’un monde & du sang sur la Néva.

Sadly Leroux passed away on 15th April 1927, but his legacy lives on in the form of some wonderful novels and hid contribution to French detective fiction is considered a parallel to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the United Kingdom and Edgar Allan Poe in the United States. His most famous work The Phantom of the Opera (Le Fantôme de l’Opéra, 1910), has been adapted for film and stage productions numerous times, including a 1925 film starring Lon Chaney, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1986 musical and Joel Schumacher’s subsequent film adaptation of the musical starring Gerard Butler, Minnie Driver & Jennifer Ellison. The Musical still remains popular to this day and you can still see it in London, New York, Las Vegas and Budapest.

The Grapes of Wrath

John Steinbeck was awarded the Pulitzer prize for his epic novel The Grapes of Wrath on 6 May 1940. The Grapes of Wrath features ex-convict Tom Joad who is paroled from McAlester prison, where he was imprisoned after being convicted of homicide. On his way home, Tom meets former preacher Jim Casy, whom he remembers from his childhood, and the two travel together. When they arrive at Tom’s childhood farm home, they find it deserted. Their old neighbor, Muley Graves, tells them the family has gone to stay at Uncle John Joad’s home nearby. Graves tells them that the banks have evicted all the farmers, but he refuses to leave the area.

The next morning, Tom and Casy go to Uncle John’s where Tom finds his family preparing to leave and discovers that after their crops destroyed by the Dust Bowl, the family had defaulted on their bank loans, and their farm was repossessed. Consequently, the Joads have no option but to seek work in California. Although leaving Oklahoma would violate his parole, Tom decides it is worth the risk, and invites Casy to join him and his family. Traveling west on Route 66, the Joad family find the road crowded with other migrants. In makeshift camps, and hear many stories from others, some returning from California. Sadly Granpa dies during the journey and they bury him in a field; then Granma dies close to the California state line. Then both Noah (the eldest Joad son) and Connie Rivers (the husband of the pregnant Joad daughter, Rose of Sharon) split from the family.

Upon Reaching California, they find conditions are not much better, the wages are low, and workers are exploited to the point of starvation. The big corporate farmers are in collusion, and smaller farmers suffer from collapsing prices. Weedpatch Camp, one of the clean, utility-supplied camps operated by the Resettlement Administration, a New Deal agency, offers better conditions, but does not have enough resources to care for all the needy families. Nonetheless, as a Federal facility, the camp protects the migrants from harassment by California deputies.

In response to the exploitation, Casy becomes a labor organizer and tries to set up a labor union. The remaining Joads work as strikebreakers in a peach orchard, where Casy is involved in a strike that eventually turns violent. When Tom Joad witnesses Casy’s fatal beating, he kills the attacker and flees as a fugitive. The Joads later leave the orchard for a cotton farm, where Tom is at risk of being arrested for the homicide. Tom leaves promising to work for the oppressed. Rose of Sharon’s baby is stillborn. Then the Joads’ dwelling is flooded, so they move to higher ground where they shelter from the flood in an old barn and assist a young boy and his father, who are dying of starvation.