George Spelvin day takes place annaully on 15 November. The purpose of George Spelvin Day is to commemorate those unsung actors who appear in film but remain anonymous or are not credited. George Spelvin, Georgette Spelvin, and Georgina Spelvin are traditional pseudonyms used in programs in American theater. The reasons for the use of an alternate name vary. Actors who do not want to be credited, or whose names would otherwise appear twice because they are playing more than one role in a production, may adopt a pseudonym. Actors who are members of the AFL-CIO trade union of professional actors known as Actors’ Equity Association, but are working under a non-union contract and wish to avoid the significant penalties ranging from substantial fines to revocation of union membership that could result from working under non-union contracts, also use pseudonyms.
In some plays, this name has appeared in cast lists as the name of an actor (or actress) portraying a character who is mentioned in the dialogue but never turns up onstage: with the role credited to “George Spelvin”, the audience is not forewarned that the character never makes an entrance. The name is said to have first appeared on a cast list in 1886 in Karl the Peddler, a play by Charles A. Gardiner. The 1927 musical play Strike Up the Band by George S. Kaufman and George and Ira Gershwin features a character named George Spelvin. The name can also be used when one actor is playing what appear to be two characters, but is later revealed as being one person with two names or identities. Because of the pseudonym, the audience is not clued-in that the two seemingly separate characters are meant to be the same person. This is especially useful in murder mysteries.
“Georgina Spelvin” has fallen out of general use (or become more popular depending on your outlook ) since it was adopted as a screen name by pornographic actress Shelley Graham, who was credited by that name in The Devil in Miss Jones (1973) and her subsequent films.
Another example of the name being used occurred in Players de Noc’s production of The Full Monty, about a group of men who try their luck as male strippers. A member of the production’s orchestra, not wanting members of his church to find he was involved with such a risqué play, had his name credited as George Spelvin. The one-act play The Actor’s Nightmare by Christopher Durang features a main character named George Spelvin, and the January 27, 1942, episode of Fibber McGee and Molly (“The Blizzard”) features a visit by a stranger calling himself George Spelvin (played by Frank Nelson).
The columnist Westbrook Pegler used this name in his writings; one of his books of collected columns is titled George Spelvin, America. The name was used in the I Love Lucy episode “Don Juan is Shelved”, in the Mama’s Family episode “Fangs A Lot, Mama” as the author of a book called A Nun’s Life, and as the name of a character villain voiced by Peter Serafinowicz in the “Tragical History” episode of Archer. The name may also be used for a character who never delivers a line, and thus any member of the stage crew might be filling in the role. For example, a person makes a delivery to a character onstage: the doorbell rings, the delivery is made, and the delivery carrier disappears, with no words spoken.
More Holidays and National Days which take place on 15 November
• America Recycles Day.
• American Enterprise Day.
• Day of the Imprisoned Writer.
• George Spelvin Day.
• Great American Smokeout.
• I Love to Write Day.
• International Guinness World Records Day.
• National Bundt Day.
• National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day.
• National Little Red Wagon Day.
• National Philanthropy Day.
• National Raisin Bran Cereal Day.
• National Spicy Hermit Cookie Day.
• Nouveau Beaujolais Day.
• Pack Your Mom’s Lunch Day.
• Proclamação da República.
• Use Less Stuff Day.
Day of the Imprisoned Writer
The Day of the Imprisoned Writer takes place annually on 15 November. The purpose of Day of the Imprisoned Writer is to recognize and support writers who resist, or have resisted, repression of the basic human right to freedom of expression and who stand up to attacks made against their right to impart information. This day is observed each year on November 15. It was started in 1981 by PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee.
PEN International is a worldwide association of writers, founded in London in 1921 by Catherine Amy Dawson Scott, with John Galsworthy as its first president. Its first members included Joseph Conrad, Elizabeth Craig, George Bernard Shaw, and H. G. Wells. PEN originally stood for “Poets, Essayists, Novelists”, but now stands for “Poets, Playwrights, Editors, Essayists, Novelists”, and includes writers of any form of literature, such as journalists and historians. PEN International established the following aims:
To promote intellectual co-operation and understanding among writers;
To create a world community of writers that would emphasize the central role of literature in the development of world culture; and,
To defend literature against the many threats to its survival which the modern world poses.
The association has autonomous International PEN centers in over 100 countries. Other goals of PEN International included: to emphasise the role of literature in the development of mutual understanding and world culture; to fight for freedom of expression; and to act as a powerful voice on behalf of writers harassed, imprisoned and sometimes killed for their views.
In addition to increasing the public’s awareness of persecuted writers in general, PEN uses the Day of the Imprisoned Writer to direct attention to several specific persecuted or imprisoned writers and their individual circumstances. Each of the selected writers is from a different part of the world, and each case represents circumstances of repression that occur when governments or other entities in power feel threatened by what writers have written. On this day, the general public is encouraged to take action—in the form of donations and letters of appeal—on behalf of the selected writer. The day also serves to commemorate all of the writers killed since the previous year’s Day of the Imprisoned Writer. Between November 15, 2007 and November 15, 2008, at least 39 writers from around the world were killed in circumstances that appeared to be related to their professions.
English novelist and short story writer James Graham “J. G.” Ballard was born 15 November 1930. He was also a prominent member of the New Wave movement in science fiction. His best-known books are Crash (1973), which was adapted into a (rather strange) film by David Cronenberg, and the semi-autobiographical Empire of the Sun (1984), which was awarded the James Tait Black Memorial Prize.
Empire of the Sun is Based on Ballard’s boyhood in the Shanghai International Settlement and his internment by the Japanese Imperial Army during the Second World War. It recounts the story of a young British boy, Jaime Graham, who lives with his parents in Shanghai. After the Pearl Harbor attack, the Japanese occupy the Shanghai International Settlement, and in the following chaos Jim becomes separated from his parents. He spends some time in abandoned mansions, living on remnants of packaged food. Then having exhausted the food supplies, he decides to try to surrender to the Japanese Army. After many attempts, he finally succeeds and is interned in the Lunghua Civilian Assembly Center. Although the Japanese are “officially” the enemies, Jim identifies partly with them, both because he adores the pilots with their splendid machines and because he feels that Lunghua is still a comparatively safer place for him, however the food supply runs short and Jim barely survives, with people around him starving to death. The camp prisoners are then forced upon a march to Nantao, with many dying along the route. However some of the people including Jim are saved from starvation by air drops from American Bombers.
The book was adapted by Tom Stoppard in 1987. The screenplay was filmed by Steven Spielberg, to critical acclaim, being nominated for six Oscars and winning three British Academy Awarhds (for cinematography, music and sound). It starred 13-year-old Christian Bale, as well as John Malkovich and Miranda Richardson; it also featured a cameo by the 21 year old Ben Stiller, in a dramatic role. The literary distinctiveness of Ballard’s work has given rise to the adjective “Ballardian”, defined by the Collins English Dictionary as “resembling or suggestive of the conditions described in J. G. Ballard’s novels and stories, especially dystopian modernity, bleak man-made landscapes and the psychological effects of technological, social or environmental developments.” Sadly Ballard was diagnosed with prostate cancer in June 2006, from which he died in London on 19th April 2009, however In 2008, The Times included Ballard on its list of “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945.