Posted in books, films & DVD, Science fiction, Television

Dalek Remembrance day (Part One)

International Dalek Remembrance Day takes place annually on 21 December to commemorate 21 December 1963, which was the first time that the Daleks appeared on BBC Science-fiction television series Doctor Who. The Daleks are a fictional extraterrestrial race of villainous mutants who appear on Doctor Who. They were conceived by science-fiction writer Terry Nation and first appeared in the 1963 Doctor Who serial The Daleks, in the shells designed by Raymond Cusick. The Daleks were inspired by the real-life example of the Nazis, Nation portrayed the Daleks as violent, merciless and pitiless cyborg aliens, who demand total conformity to their will. They are intent on the conquest of the universe and the extermination of what they see as inferior races with the cry “Exterminate!”

The Daleks were engineered by the scientist Davros during the final years of a thousand-year war between his people, the Kaleds, and their enemies the Thals. With some Kaleds already badly mutated and damaged by nuclear war, Davros genetically modified the Kaleds and integrated them with a tank-like, robotic shell, removing their every emotion apart from hate. His creations soon came to view themselves as the supreme race in the universe, intent on purging the universe of all non-Dalek life. Collectively they are the greatest enemies of Doctor Who’s protagonist, the Time Lord known as “the Doctor”. Later in the programme’s run, the Daleks acquired time travel technology and engaged the Time Lords in a brutal Time War affecting most of the universe, with battles taking place across all of history.

The Daleks were created by writer Terry Nation and designed by BBC designer Raymond Cusick. They were introduced in December 1963 in the second Doctor Who serial, colloquially known as The Daleks. They became an immediate and huge hit with viewers, featuring in many subsequent serials and two 1960s motion pictures. They have become as synonymous with Doctor Who as the Doctor himself, and their behaviour and catchphrases are now part of British popular culture. “Hiding behind the sofa whenever the Daleks appear” has been cited as an element of British cultural identity and In 1999 a Dalek photographed by Lord Snowdon appeared on a postage stamp celebrating British popular culture In 2010, readers of science fiction magazine SFX voted the Dalek as the all-time greatest monster, beating competition including Japanese movie monster Godzilla and J. R. R. Tolkien’s Gollum, of The Lord of the Rings.

The First Doctor first encounters the Daleks in the second serial of the show, The Daleks (1963−64). In this version of Dalek history, the Dalek homeworld of Skaro is described by the Daleks in the second episode as having once been home to two humanoid races: the Daleks and the Thals. Following a short but terrible nuclear war between the races “over five hundred years ago”, the Thals were horribly mutated and the “Dalek forefathers” retired into the city. According to the Thals in the third episode, the Daleks were originally teachers and philosophers, while the Doctor states in the fourth episode that the Daleks were called Dals back then, and speculates that the Daleks had just as badly been mutated at the time They are more or less confined to their city; their motive power being electricity conducted via metal walkways. After discovering the anti-radiation drugs of the Thals kill them, the now-xenophobic Daleks decide to release radiation from their nuclear reactors into Skaro’s atmosphere, leaving only the Daleks, However, the Thals fight back

They next appeared in The Dalek Invasion of Earth (1964), which shows the Daleks having conquered and occupied the Earth in the mid-22nd century after a meteorite shower and a plague and attempting to destroy the Earth’s magnetic core. However The First Doctor and his companions, Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright, intervene. The Daleks next appeared in The Chase (1965), where they use a time machine to pursue the TARDIS crew, before landing on the planet Mechanus and battling the robotic Mechanoids. The next Dalek story The Daleks’ Master Plan, takes place inthe year 4000 when the Daleks have an interstellar Dalek Empire and form an alliance with beings from the ‘Outer Galaxies’ in a villainous plot to attack the Solar System. They have help from the treacherous Guardian Mavic Chen, who supplies them with taranium for the Time Destructor. However The Doctor and his companion Sara Kingdom confront them again.

The Daleks turn up again in The Power of the Daleks, When they develop factory ships for conquering the Universe and join forces with a rebel group on the planet Vulcan and begin producing more Daleks to exterminate the colony. However the Doctor turns up. In 1967 the Daleks appeared in the episode The Evil of the Daleks and capture the Second Doctor and his companion Jamie McCrimmon, in order to remove the human factor and spread the Dalek Factor throughout human history however this does not go to plan. The Daleks returned in the Third Doctor serial Day of the Daleks (1972), where they attempt to take over the Earth during the 22nd century and The Doctor discovers a villainous plot by guerillas from the future who attempt to assassinate a conference deligate named Sir Reginald Styles. The Daleks returned in Frontier in Space and try to cause a war between Earth and Draconia with help from the Master. This leads directly into Planet of the Daleks (1973), where the Daleks invade the planet Spiridon. in the next story Death to the Daleks the Daleks try to stop humans getting the cure to a plague from Exxilon but find themselves trapped on the planet with the Third Doctor and humans when the Exxilon City drains the power from their ships.

The Dalek origins were explained in Genesis of the Daleks, where the Fourth Doctor was sent by the Time Lords to the moment of the Daleks’ creation, in order to stop the Dalek race before it could begin or to lessen their dominance in the future. It features The Kaleds (an anagram of Dalek), a race of humanoid extraterrestrials and the forebears of the Daleks, who, with their stylised salutes and authoritarian political structure, were thinly veiled analogues of the Nazis. In this serial, it was the Kaleds who waged war on the Thals. The Daleks originate during the thousand-year-long Kaled-Thal War, fought with nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. The crippled Kaled chief scientist and evil genius Davros deems the mutations from the fallout irreversible, so he comes up with a solution.

In the next story Destiny of the Daleks (1979), it is revealed that Davros had survived the Daleks’ attack. Meanwhile the Daleks had abandoned the ruins of Skaro and established a vast interstellar empire, eventually encountering a hostile race of androids called the Movellans. So The Daleks send an expedition to the ruins of Skaro to consult Davros and find a way to defeat the Movellans, However, the Fourth Doctor intervenes. In the next story Resurrection of the Daleks, the Daleks having lost the war, rescue Davros from the human prison station where he had been frozen for ninety years. However Davros double-crosses the Daleks, This causes a schism among the Daleks, with one faction following Davros’ leadership and another rejecting their creator to instead follow the Supreme Dalek. Davros Next appeared in Remembrance of the Daleks as the Dalek Emperor, leading his gold and white Imperial Daleks for control over Skaro against the Renegade Daleks, led by a black Supreme Dalek. They also try to obtain the Hand of Omega, a Gallifreyan stellar engineering device, hidden on Earth.


A new Doctor Who series was announced for 2005 and the Daleks have appeared in every series since (as of series 10). In the first series of the revival, the Daleks serve as the main antagonists. In “Dalek” (2005), it was revealed that the Daleks were involved with the Time Lords in a Time War, in which both sides were believed to have been practically wiped out. The Ninth Doctor encounters a surviving Dalek who somehow fell through time to 20th century Earth. By 2012, it had passed into the hands of American billionaire Henry van Statten, who dubs it a “Metaltron” and keeps it in a secret underground museum called the Vault along with other alien artefacts. The Dalek is damaged, remaining silent and helpless until the Ninth Doctor arrives at the Vault. Absorbing DNA from the Doctor’s companion Rose Tyler, it regenerates itself and goes on a killing spree.

This was followed by The two-part 2005 series finale, comprising “Bad Wolf” and “The Parting of the Ways” which revealed that this Dalek was, in fact, not the sole survivor of its race. The Emperor Dalek’s ship had also survived, falling through time much as the lone Dalek did. Hidden, it began to rebuild, infiltrating Earth society over the course of centuries and using human genetic material to create a new Dalek race. Having done this, the Dalek Emperor came to see itself as a god, and built its new society around the Daleks.

In the Emperor of the Daleks the Daleks start Subtly manipulating the Fourth Great and Bountiful Human Empire of the year 200,000 by means of news programmes transmitted from Satellite 5 in Earth orbit, the Daleks installed the monstrous Jagrafess as mankind’s keeper The Ninth Doctor confronts the Jagrafess in “The Long Game”, but was unaware that the Daleks were behind it. The Daleks then change Satellite Five into the Game Station where humans take part in twisted reality television games with the losers being taken by The Daleks for sinister experiments. The station’s Controller transports the Ninth Doctor and his companions into the station, where the Doctor discovers the Dalek presence. The race, now numbering close to half a million, are poised to invade Earth with a fleet of 200 ships unless The Doctor and Rose can stop them.

In the 2006 series finale, “Army of Ghosts” and “Doomsday”, it is revealed that The Cult of Skaro (Sec, Caan, Thay and Jast) escaped the Time War aboard a Daleks’ Void ship which finally emerges on 21st century Earth, where it is examined by the Torchwood Institute and they have brought the “Genesis Ark,” a prison which contains millions of Daleks. Unfortunately The path of the void ship leaves a breach in spacetime which also allows the parallel Earth Cybermen to cross over into the Doctor’s universe. The Ark is opened, releasing millions of Daleks and all hell breaks loose when they confront the Cybermen.

The Daleks then end up in New York in 1930 during the episode “Daleks in Manhattan” (2007), where after a failed attempt to restart their species via cloning, Sec hatches a plan of evolving the species into a new superior race. So The other Cult members (Dalek Thay, Dalek Caan, and Dalek Jast) Go round capturing humans, with the more intelligent humans becoming part of the Final Experiment, while the less intelligent are transformed into pig slaves, humanoid creatures with pig-like faces, to serve the Daleks. The Final Experiment involves Dalek Sec making the ultimate sacrifice, and combining with a human named Diagoras to become a new species of Hybrid Dalek, a Human Dalek. In the second part of the story, “Evolution of the Daleks” (2007), Hybrid Dalek Sec reveals that his transformation is only the first part of the Final Experiment. The next stage involves the introduction of his hybrid DNA into thousands of captured and mind-wiped humans. However, his plan goes slightly pear shaped When he is betrayed and Dalek army is corrupted by the Time Lord DNA.

The Daleks returned In “The Stolen Earth” (2008), where both Davros and a red Supreme Dalek are seen as rulers of the New Dalek Empire. It is revealed that Caan saved Davros from destruction at the Gates of Elysium during the Time War. Davros used cells from his own body to create a new race of Daleks which begin stealing planets from across time and space, creating an artificial solar system. The Follow-up episode “Journey’s End” (2008) shows Davros reveal a dastardly plan to destroy reality itself. “The Crucible” is revealed to be a gigantic space station that houses the entire empire and is used for experimentations with Davros’ invention, the reality bomb. The Supreme Dalek Davros’ and Dalek Caan reveal an evil plan to detonate the Reality Bomb and ensure that the Daleks are the sole living race in the universe. However this does not go to plan.

Luckily in “Victory of the Daleks” (2010), it is revealed that a Dalek ship actually survived its previous encounter with the Doctor, and fell back through time to 1941. Where The surviving Daleks are being used by Prime Minister Winston Churchill as war weapons during the second World War. The Daleks also discover a Progenitor, a small capsule containing pure Dalek DNA, had also fallen back through time. So The Daleks retrieve it, planning to create a new race of Daleks. The five New Paradigm Daleks that appear then exterminate their predecessors with no resistance, as they were deemed inferior and then go on a killing spree. Each Dalek is a different colour and each represents a specific place in Dalek Hierarchy — Drone, Scientist, Strategist, Eternal and Supreme. The Daleks then threaten to destroy Earth…

Posted in Events

Forefather’s Day

Forefathers’ Day is a holiday celebrated in Plymouth, Massachusetts, on December 22. It is a commemoration of the landing of the Pilgrim Fathers in Plymouth, Massachusetts, on December 21, 1620. It was introduced in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1769.

Forefathers Day’ is celebrated every year by the Old Colony Club, established in 1769 “to honor the forefathers”. The celebration begins at 6:00 AM with a march by members to the top of Cole’s Hill next to Massasoit’s statue, followed by a reading of a proclamation honoring the forefathers and a ritual firing of the club’s cannon. The Old Colony Club and the Mayflower Society both include a succotash dinner as part of their celebration. Sauquetash was recorded as a part of the first Thanksgiving. Unlike later versions of succotash, in Plymouth succotash is served as a broth containing large pieces of fowl and meat that are sliced at the table. When the 22nd falls on a Sunday, the Old Colony Club celebrates Forefathers Day’ on the following Monday.

There is some good-hearted dispute between the Old Colony Club and the Mayflower Society. The simple fact of the celebration falling on separate days permits members of both societies to participate in both celebrations. In adjusting the date to the Gregorian calendar, the anniversary was erroneously established on December 22 instead of December 21.

Posted in Events

Events and Holidays for 21 December


Crossword puzzle day takes place annually on 21 December to commemorate the worlds first Crossword puzzle which was published in a ‘New York World’ newspaper edition on December 21, 1913. A crossword is a word puzzle that usually takes the form of a square or a rectangular grid of white-and black-shaded squares. The game’s goal is to fill the white squares with letters, forming words or phrases, by solving clues, which lead to the answers. In languages that are written left-to-right, the answer words and phrases are placed in the grid from left to right and from top to bottom. The shaded squares are used to separate the words or phrases.

The title for the world’s first crossword puzzle is disputed. Some such puzzles were included in The Stockton Bee (1793–1795), an ephemeral publication. The phrase “cross word puzzle” was first written in 1862 by Our Young Folks in the United States. Crossword-like puzzles, for example Double Diamond Puzzles, appeared in the magazine St. Nicholas, published since 1873. Another crossword puzzle appeared on September 14, 1890, in the Italian magazine Il Secolo Illustrato della Domenica. It was designed by Giuseppe Airoldi and titled “Per passare il tempo” (“To pass the time”). Airoldi’s puzzle was a four-by-four grid with no shaded squares; it included horizontal and vertical clues.

Crosswords in England during the 19th century were of an elementary kind, apparently derived from the word square, a group of words arranged so the letters read alike vertically and horizontally, and printed in children’s puzzle books and various periodicals. The modern version of these ancestral puzzles is the invention of Arthur Wynne, a British-born violinist and journalist from Liverpool, England who emigrated to Pennsylvania when he was 19. An d published a crossword which appeared On December 21, 1913 in the New York World. This puzzle is frequently cited as the first crossword puzzle, and Wynne as the inventor.

Later, the name of the puzzle was changed to “crossword”. Although Eugene T. Maleska is usually credited with the first crossword phrase (as opposed to a single word) in The New York Times, an 1862 puzzle in the Lady’s Book had phrases that are considered modern, such as the expression “I did it”. Crossword puzzles became a regular weekly feature in the World, and spread to other newspapers; the Pittsburgh Press, for example, was publishing them at least as early as 1916 and The Boston Globe by 1917. The crossword puzzle soon became the pastime of the more astute folk. 


  • Forefathers’ Day
  • Anne and Samantha Day
  • Crossword Puzzle Day
  • Humbug Day
  • National Flashlight Day
  • National French Fried Shrimp Day
  • National Kiwi Fruit Day
  • National Look At The Bright Side Day
  • Phileas Fogg Win a Wager Day


Humbug Day was created by Thomas and Ruth Roy at The purpose of Humbug day is to allow people, who are becoming increasingly stressed out by the Christmas build up, to vent their frustrations when the stresses of the holiday season become too much.

Posted in Events

Winter Solstice

The Winter solstice occurs annually on 21st of December in the Northern Hemisphere. It is the time at which the Sun appears at noon at its lowest altitude above the horizon it usually occurs on December 21 to 22 each year in the Northern Hemisphere, Which also corresponds to the Summer Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere.

Conversely the time at which the Sun is at its northernmost point in the sky in the southern hemisphere corresponds to The Winter Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere and the Summers Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, this usually occurs annually between June 20 to 21 each year.

The Solstice occurs due to The axial tilt of the Earth and gyroscopic effects of the planet’s daily rotation which tends to keep the axis of rotation pointed at the same point in the sky. As the Earth follows its orbit around the Sun, the same hemisphere that faced away from the Sun, experiencing winter, will, in Six months time, face towards the Sun and experience summer.

Since the two hemispheres face opposite directions along the planetary pole, as one polar hemisphere experiences winter, the other experiences summer. Winter Solstice is more evident from high latitudes, where it occurs on the shortest day and longest night of the year, when the sun’s daily maximum elevation in the sky is the lowest. Since the winter solstice lasts only a moment in time, other terms are often used for the day on which it occurs, such as “midwinter”, “the longest night”, “the shortest day” or “the first day of winter”. The seasonal significance of the winter solstice is in the reversal of the gradual lengthening of nights and shortening of days. Worldwide, interpretation of the event has varied from culture to culture, but most Northern Hemisphere cultures have held a recognition of rebirth, involving holidays, festivals, gatherings, rituals or other celebrations around that time.

Posted in books, Fantasy, films & DVD, Television

Snow White and the seven dwarves

The world’s first full-length animated feature, Disney’s SNOW WHITE & THE SEVEN DWARFS , premiered at the Carthay Circle Theater on December 21st 1937 . Produced by Walt Disney and released by RKO Radio Pictures, it is Based on the German fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm, and was the first full-length cel animated feature film in history, the first produced in full colour, the first to be produced by Walt Disney Productions, and the first in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series.

Snow White” is a nineteenth-century German fairy tale which is today known widely across the Western world. The Brothers Grimm published it in 1812 in the first edition of their collection Grimms’ Fairy Tales. It was titled in German: Sneewittchen. The fairy tale features such elements as the magic mirror, the poisoned apple, the glass coffin, matricide, filicide, and the characters of the Evil Queen, Snow White’s evil stepmother, the huntsman, a beautiful princess named Snow White in a sleeping enchantment, a handsome prince and the Seven Dwarfs.

It starts with a Queen sewing at an open window during a winter snowfall when she pricks her finger with her needle, causing three drops of red blood to drip onto the freshly fallen white snow on the black windowsill. Then, she says to herself, “How I wish that I had a daughter that had skin as white as snow, lips as red as blood, and hair as black as ebony.” Some time later, the Good Queen gives birth to a baby daughter whom she names Snow White.

A year later, Snow White’s father, the King, takes a second wife, who is very beautiful, but a wicked and vain woman. The new queen, Snow White’s evil stepmother, possesses a Magic Mirror, which she asks every morning, “mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?” The mirror always replies: “My Queen, you are the fairest one of all.” The Queen is always pleased with that, because the magic mirror never lies. But as Snow White grows up, she becomes more beautiful each day and even more beautiful than the Queen, until the mirror states “My Queen, you are the fairest here so true. But Snow White is a thousand times more beautiful than you.”

This angers the Queen who becomes envious, and turns against Snow White. Eventually, the angry Queen orders a huntsman to take Snow White into the deepest woods to be killed. As proof that Snow White is dead, the Queen demands that he returns with her lungs and liver. The huntsman takes Snow White into the forest. After raising his knife, he finds himself unable to kill her and he spares her life. Snow White is told that her stepmother wants her dead and to get far away from the kingdom as possible.

After wandering through the forest, Snow White discovers a tiny cottage belonging to a group of Seven Dwarfs. Since no one is at home, she eats some of the tiny meals, drinks some of their wine, and then tests all the beds. Finally, the last bed is comfortable enough for her and she falls asleep. When the Seven Dwarfs return home, they immediately become aware that someone snuck in secretly, because everything in their home is in disorder. During their loud discussion about who snuck in, they discover the sleeping Snow White. She wakes up and explains to them what happened, and the Seven Dwarfs take pity on her and let her stay with them in exchange for housekeeping. They warn her to be careful when alone at home and to let no one in when they are away delving in the mountains.

Meanwhile, the Queen asks her mirror once again: “Magic mirror in my hand, who is the fairest in the land?” The mirror replies: “My queen, you are the fairest here so true. But Snow White beyond the mountains at the Seven Dwarfs is a thousand times more beautiful than you”. The Queen is horrified to learn that the huntsman has betrayed her and that Snow White is still alive. So She plans to get rid of Snow White herself by disguising herself as an old peddler. The Queen then walks to the cottage of the Seven Dwarfs and offers her colorful, silky laced bodices and convinces Snow White to take the most beautiful laces as a present. Then the Queen laces her up so tightly that Snow White faints, causing the Queen to leave her for dead. But the Seven Dwarfs return just in time, and Snow White revives when the Seven Dwarfs loosen the laces.

The Queen then consults her Magic Mirror again, and the mirror reveals Snow White’s survival. Now infuriated, the Queen dresses as a comb seller and convinces Snow White to take a beautiful comb as a present. She brushes Snow White’s hair with the poisoned comb and the girl faints again. Luckily She is revived by the Seven Dwarfs when they remove the comb from her hair. The Magic Mirror tells the Queen that Snow White is still “a thousand times more beautiful”. So in a third attempt to rid herself of Snow White, the Queen secretly consults the darkest magic and makes a poisoned apple. Disguised as a farmer’s wife, she offers it to Snow White. The girl is at first hesitant to accept it, so the Queen cuts the apple in half, eating the white (harmless) half and giving the red (poisoned) half to Snow White. The girl eagerly takes a bite and falls into a state of suspended animation. This time, the Seven Dwarfs are unable to revive Snow White and Assuming that she is dead, they place her in a glass casket.

A prince traveling through the land sees Snow White and is Enchanted by her beauty and instantly falls in love with her. The Seven Dwarfs let him have Snow Whites coffin, then a piece of poisoned apple falls from between her lips and Snow White awakens saying “Where am I?” The Prince then declares his love for her and proposes and Snow White accepts. Meanwhile the wicked stepmother again asks her Magic Mirror who is the fairest in the land. The mirror says: “Thou, lady, art loveliest here, I ween; but lovelier far is the new-made Queen”. So she visits the Queen unaware that the new Queen is in fact Snow White

The story was adapted by storyboard artists Dorothy Ann Blank, Richard Creedon, Merrill De Maris, Otto Englander, Earl Hurd, Dick Rickard, Ted Sears and Webb Smith. David Hand was the supervising director, while William Cottrell, Wilfred Jackson, Larry Morey, Perce Pearce, and Ben Sharpsteen directed the film’s individual sequences. In 1989 It was added to the United States National Film Registry as being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. It was one of two animated films to rank in the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 greatest American films of all time in 1997 (the other being Disney’s Fantasia), ranking number 49. It reached number 34 in the list’s 2007 revision, this time being the only traditionally animated film on the list. The AFI named the film as the greatest American animated film of all time in 2008.

Posted in music

Carl Wilson (The Beach Boys)

The late, great Carl Wilson, Musician with the Beach Boys Was born 21 December 1946. He was one of the founding member of the beach Boys along with his cousins , Brian and Dennis Wilson, and their friend Al Jardine. The Wilson family home was a musical one, and the Wilson family often sang at get-togethers. Urged by older cousin, Mike Love, Dennis approached Brian to form a group and composed a song about surfing. The Beach Boys formed in August 1961 when Brian and his brothers Carl and Dennis Wilson along with Mike Love and Al Jardine first gelled as a music group, initially named the Pendletones. Brian Wilson also began to experiment with recording songs after receiving a Wollensak tape recorder on his 16th birthday. This lead to the Formation of The Beach Boys, and after being encouraged by Dennis to write a song about the local water sports craze, Brian and Mike Love together created what would become the first single for the band, “Surfin’” and they were immediately successful.

Despite the fact that the Beach Boys were named after, and developed an image based on the California surfing culture, Dennis was the only actual surfer in the band. During the first few years of the Beach Boys, Dennis was given the role of the drummer by his brother, Brian. He quickly learned the basics of drumming at school lessons, and like the other members, he picked up more on the job. Brian Wilson took note of Dennis’s limited drumming technique early on and as the mid-60s approached, often hired session drummers such as Hal Blaine to perform on studio recordings (additionally substituting all other players at one time or another, under the demand for the band members on tour). Dennis accepted this situation with equanimity, generally giving high praise to his older brother’s work as Brian’s compositions became more mature and complex. Early Beach Boys recordings include (“Little Girl (You’re My Miss America)” and “This Car of Mine” “Girls on the Beach”) “Do You Wanna Dance?”,

He accompanied himself on guitar and like the other Beach Boys became a multi-instrumentalist. His piano playing and composing in particular was praised by Daryl Dragon, his frequent collaborator in the late Sixties and early Seventies and was showcased on his Pacific Ocean Blue album.Although he had helped Brian write a few other songs dating back to 1963 at the age of 18, Dennis Wilson’s first major released composition was “Little Bird,” the B-side of the “Friends” single, coupled with “Be Still”, also a paean to nature and reflecting on his place in the natural world of which his surfing hobby was only a minuscule part. From 1968 to 1973, as Brian withdrew more and more from active participation with his group, Dennis stepped up as the major creative force of the Beach Boys, having learnt production techniques from observing his brother and showing cosmic-gothic overtones in composing (influenced by Richard Wagner). At least two of his songs were included on all but one of the six albums released in that five-year period, peaking with four songs on each of 20/20 and Sunflower.

Brian Wilson was mainly the lead singer, of the Beach Boys. Mike Love wrote or co-wrote lyrics to many of the Beach Boys songs, mostly with the themes of surfing, cars or love, but also memorable ballads such as “The Warmth of the Sun”. while Dennls Wilson sang backing vocals on stage, occasionally taking a lead, his raspy-sounding vocals being a key ingredient to the group’s vocal blend in the studio, and in the late Sixties and Seventies his lead vocals lent a much-needed bluesy edge to an updating the Beach Boys’ sound, giving their music new dimensions on the retreat of brother Brian’s influence in composing and studio production.

The Beach Boys biggest hits, include “Surfin’ Safari”, “Surfin’ USA“, “Shut Down”, “Little Deuce Coupe“, “Be True to Your School”, “Little Saint Nick”, “Fun, Fun, Fun“, “I Get Around”, “When I Grow Up (To Be a Man)”, “Little Honda”, “Dance, Dance, Dance” and “California Girls“. Although carl Wilson sadly passed away on 6th February 1998, the remaining members of the Beach Boys released an abum “That’s Why God Made the Radio” in 2012 to celebrate their 50th anniversary and embarked on a worldwide tour and they remain popular.

Posted in books, films & DVD, Television

F.Scott Fitzgerald

American novellist Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was sadly found dead on 21 December 1940 after suffering a heart attack. He was born September 24, 1896 in Saint Paul, Minnesota, to an uper-middle-class family, Fitzgerald was named after his famous second cousin, three times removed, Francis Scott Key, but was referred to as “Scott.” He was also named after his deceased sister, Louise Scott. Fitzgerald spent he first decade of his childhood in Buffalo, New York and Syracuse, New York between 1901 and 1903). Fitzgerald attended two Catholic schools on the West Side of Buffalo, first Holy Angels Convent and n Nardin Academy. Fitzgerald was intelligent with an interest in literature, his doting mother ensuring that her son had all the advantages. Fitzgerald attended Holy Angels for only half a day—and was allowed to choose which half. In 1908, the family returned to Minnesota, where Fitzgerald attended St. Paul Academy, St. Paul from 1908 to 1911. When he was 13 he published a detective story in the school newspaper. In 1911, when Fitzgerald was 15 years old, his parents sent him to the Newman School, a prestigious Catholic prep school in Hackensack, New Jersey. There he met Father Sigourney Fay, who encouraged him to pursue his literary ambitions.

After graduating in 1913, Fitzgerald attended Princeton University, New Jersey, where he befriended future critics and writers Edmund Wilson and John Peale Bishop and wrote for the Princeton Triangle Club, the Nassau Lit, and the Princeton Tiger And the American Whig-Cliosophic Society, which ran the Nassau Lit and the Universty Cottage club The Princeton Triangle was a kind of musical-comedy society. In 1917 Fitzgerald left school to join the U.S. Army. Afraid that he might die in World War I with his literary dreams unfulfilled, Fitzgerald hastily wrote a novel called The Romantic Egotist. the reviewer noted its originality and encouraged Fitzgerald to submit more work in the future. During the 1920’s Fitzgerald travelled to Paris and the French Riviera, befriending many members of the American expatriate community in Paris, notably Ernest Hemingway. Fitzgerald supplemented his income by writing short stories for such magazines as The Saturday Evening Post, Collier’s Weekly, and Esquire, and sold his stories and novels to Hollywood studios.

Fitzgerald wrote his stories in an authentic manner then put in “twists that made them into saleable magazine stories. Although Fitzgerald’s passion lay in writing novels, only his first novel sold well enough to support the opulent lifestyle that he and Zelda adopted as New York celebrities. (The Great Gatsby, now considered to be his masterpiece, did not become popular until after Fitzgerald’s death.) Because of this lifestyle, as well as the bills from Zelda’s medical care, Fitzgerald was constantly in financial trouble and often required loans from his literary agent, Harold Ober, and his editor at Scribner’s, Maxwell Perkins. When Ober decided not to continue advancing money to Fitzgerald, the author severed ties with his longtime friend and agent. (Fitzgerald offered a good-hearted and apologetic tribute to this support in the late short story “Financing Finnegan”.)

Fitzgerald began working on his fourth novel during the late 1920s and also wrote short stories. Fitzgerald rented the “La Paix” estate in the suburb of Towson, Maryland to work on his latest book, the story of the rise and fall of Dick Diver, a promising young psychiatrist who falls in love with and marries Nicole Warren, one of his patients. Some critics have seen the book as an autobiographical novel recounting Fitzgerald’s problems with his wife, the corrosive effects of wealth and a decadent lifestyle, his own egoism and self-confidence, and his continuing alcoholism. This was published in 1934 as Tender Is the Night. Most critics felt that Fitzgerald had not lived up to their expectations. The novel did not sell well upon publication but has since become a classic.

In 1937, Fitzgerald moved to Hollywood, Besides writing, he also got involved in the film industry. Although he reportedly found movie work degrading, Fitzgerald was once again in dire financial straits, and spent the 1930s in Hollywood, working on commercial short stories, scripts for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and his fifth and final novel, The Love of the Last Tycoon. Published posthumously as The Last Tycoon, it was based on the life of film executive Irving Thalberg. Among his other film projects was Madame Curie. In 1939, MGM ended the contract, and Fitzgerald became a freelance screenwriter

Sadly Fitzgerald and Zelda fell out due to his alcoholism; she continued living in mental institutions on the East Coast, while he lived with his lover Sheilah Graham, the gossip columnist, in Hollywood. Records from the 1940 U.S. Census have him officially living at the estate of Edward Everett Horton in Encino, California San Fernando Valley. From 1939 until his death in 1940, Fitzgerald mocked himself as a Hollywood hack through the character of Pat Hobby in a sequence of 17 short stories, later collected as “The Pat Hobby Stories” which were published in The Esquire appearing January 1940 to July 1941.

Fitzgerald had been an alcoholic since his college days, and became notorious during the 1920s for his extraordinarily heavy drinking, leaving him in poor health by the late 1930s. Fitzgerald suffered two heart attacks in the late 1930s And was ordered by his doctor to avoid strenuous exertion. He moved in with Sheilah Graham, who lived in Hollywood on North Hayworth Avenue, where he had two flights of stairs to climb to his apartment. On the night of December 20, 1940, Fitzgerald and Sheilah Graham attended the premiere of This Thing Called Love starring Rosalind Russell and Melvyn Douglas. As they left the Pantages Theater, Fitzgerald became dizzy and The following day, Fitzgerald jumped from his armchair, grabbed the mantelpiece, gasped and fall to the floor. Upon entering the apartment to assist Fitzgerald, he was found dead on 21 December 1940 after suffering a heart attack. His body was moved to the Pierce Brothers Mortuary. Fitzgerald died at age 44, before he could complete The Love of the Last Tycoon. His manuscript, was edited by his friend, the literary critic Edmund Wilson, and published in 1941 as The Last Tycoon. In 1994 the book was reissued under the original title The Love of the Last Tycoon.

Fitzgerald is considered a member of the “Lost Generation” of the 1920s and he is widely regarded as one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century. His works are the paradigmatic writings of the Jazz Age, and have inspired writers ever since the publication of The Great Gatsby which is required reading in many school and college classes. He finished four novels: This Side of Paradise, The Beautiful and Damned, The Great Gatsby (his most famous), and Tender Is the Night. A fifth, unfinished novel, The Love of the Last Tycoon, was published posthumously. Fitzgerald also wrote many short stories concerning themes of youth and promise along with age and despair.

Fitzgerald’s work has been adapted into films many times. Tender is the Night was filmed in 1962, and made into a television miniseries in 1985. The Beautiful and Damned was filmed in 1922 and 2010. The Great Gatsby has been the basis for numerous films of the same name, spanning nearly 90 years; 1926, 1949, 1974, 2000, and 2013 adaptations. In addition, Fitzgerald’s own life from 1937 to 1940 was dramatized in 1958 in Beloved Infidel. Fitzgerald was also inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame in 2009 and is also the namesake of the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, Minnesota, home of the radio broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion.