Classic Music & Movie Reviews/MultiCultural Blogger
What I’m Listening to?
The group called "The Fifth Dimension" had a harmonic sound equivalent to "The Mama's and The Papa's." The only real difference between them was that "The Fifth Dimension" had more soul in their music (in my opinion). One reason I loved The Fifth Dimensions, was the fact that they sang a range of different types of music; including jazz. The lead singer was Marilyn McCoo. She had one of those distinct voices; when she sang, you knew immediately who it was. To my understanding, McCoo left the group in the mid 1970s. Interesting that all of my favorite hits seem to all have Marilyn McCoo in them. My number one favorite is "Aquarius (1969)," "Up Up and Away (1967)," "Wedding Bell Blues (1969)," "(Last Night) I Didn't Get To Sleep At All (1972)," and "Go Where You Wanna Go (1969)".

The group called "The Fifth Dimension" had a harmonic sound equivalent to "The Mama's and The Papa's." The only real difference between them was that "The Fifth Dimension" had more soul in their music (in my opinion). One reason I loved The Fifth Dimensions, was the fact that they sang a range of different types of music; including jazz. The lead singer was Marilyn McCoo. She had one of those distinct voices; when she sang, you knew immediately who it was. To my understanding, McCoo left the group in the mid 1970s. Interesting that all of my favorite hits seem to all have Marilyn McCoo in them. My favorite number one hits are the following: "Aquarius (1969)," "Up Up and Away (1967)," "Wedding Bell Blues (1969)," "(Last Night) I Didn't Get To Sleep At All (1972)," and "Go Where You Wanna Go (1969)".

Though Joe Simon had quite a few hits in the 70's, I only liked very few of them. His rhythm is the same for almost all his music it seemed.  I used to confuse him a lot with Percy Sledge, because both of their voices sounded so much a like. The only difference between them I think is, when Percy tries to hit those high notes, he sounds like he is singing from the back of his neck (I hated that). However, Joe Simon actually sings, and he doesn't necessarily try to over do it for his audience; and that is the kind of performance I can appreciate. My favorite songs are "Chok'n Kind (1969)," and the theme song for the movie "Cleopatra Jones (1973)." I really love Cleopatra Jones I guess it's because it came from the blaxploitation era. There also was a song called "Music In My Bones (1975)."

Though Joe Simon had quite a few hits in the 70's, I only liked very few of them. His rhythm is the same for almost all his music it seemed. I used to confuse him a lot with Percy Sledge, because both of their voices sounded so much a like. The only difference between them I think is, when Percy tries to hit those high notes, he sounds like he is singing from the back of his neck (I hated that). However, Joe Simon actually sings, and he doesn't necessarily try to over do it for his audience; and that is the kind of performance I can appreciate. My favorite songs are "Chok'n Kind (1969)," and the theme song for the movie "Cleopatra Jones (1973)." I really love Cleopatra Jones I guess it's because it came from the blaxploitation era. There also was a song called "Music In My Bones (1975)." © 2014 / Yogi

I loved Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes. Actually, I should say, I loved Teddy Pendergrass in HM & TBN. Having said that, I realized two things I took issue with concerning this group. First, whilst the group was officially called "Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes", Teddy Pendergrass has always been the lead singer for 90% of all their hit songs.  Second, They never really acknowledged him in any of their albums (that I'm aware of); they didn't at least print the words "featured Teddy P" on any of the albums I own. I guess that's one of the reasons Teddy went solo. Not that the entire group wasn't talented, but, let's be serious here, after Teddy left the group, it was curtains for the group entirely. I shouldn't be surprised. The Commodores career died the same way after Lionel Ritchie left the group. Thank goodness they have all those royalties to  fall back on. My most favorite, and probably the their biggest hit is called "Bad Luck (1975)" and "If You Don't Know Me By Now (1972)" and "The Love I Lost (1973).

I loved Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes. Actually, I should say, I loved Teddy Pendergrass in HM & TBN. Having said that, I realized two things I took issue with concerning this group. First, whilst the group was officially called "Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes", Teddy Pendergrass has always been the lead singer for 90% of all their hit songs. Second, They never really acknowledged him in any of their albums (that I'm aware of); they didn't at least print the words "featured Teddy P" on any of the original albums I own (not including the best of). I guess that's one of the reasons Teddy went solo. Not that the entire group wasn't talented, but, let's be serious here, after Teddy left the group, it was curtains for the group entirely. I shouldn't be surprised. The Commodores career died the same way after Lionel Ritchie left the group. Thank goodness they have all those royalties to fall back on. My most favorite, and probably the their biggest hit is called "Bad Luck (1975)" and "If You Don't Know Me By Now (1972)" and "The Love I Lost (1973)". © 2014

To be honest, I've never really been a Nat King Cole fan, his music just wasn't my cup of tea. His style of singing was more like a Black version of Lawrence Welk. Although I was listening to one song today I forgot he sang, and it appears to be the only song from him I really like, and it's called Unforgettable (1954). This song "unforgettable is clearly nostalgic, and each time I hear it I go through childhood flash backs when my grandpa used to listen to it. The only other music I used to like from him was his xmas music. Come to think about it, that may have been the problem as to why I didn't like his music; I've always associated his voice with xmas. He could have sang a song about a bicycle  and it would still sound like xmas.

To be honest, I've never really been a Nat King Cole fan, his music just wasn't my cup of tea. His style of singing was more like a Black version of Lawrence Welk. Although I was listening to one song today I forgot he sang, and it appears to be the only song from him I really like, and it's called "Unforgettable (1954)". This song "unforgettable" is clearly nostalgic, and each time I hear the song it invokes childhood flash backs when my grandpa used to listen to it. The only other music I used to like from him was his xmas music. Come to think about it, that may have been the problem as to why I didn't like his music; I've always associated his voice with xmas. He could have sang a song about a bicycle and it would still sound like xmas. ©2014/VintageNewscast

I absolutely love James Taylor's music. His music is the kind of music you would listen to, to relax your mind from a ruff day. I consider his genre of music "easy listening/modern folk". The mood of his music and tempo is similar to Jim Croce.  James Taylor is another artist that looks nothing like himself as he got older. However, he still has that same smooth soothing voice. James has been around musically for a very long time, and continues to have a long successful  career. If you're not a member of Rhapsody or Spotify, your better off finding one of his greatest albums. My favorite hits are "Carolina In My Mind (1968)", "Fire And Rain (1970)", "You've Got A Friend (1971)" (I also like Carole Kings Version too), "Handyman (1977)", "Shower The People (1976)", and "How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You (1975)"

I absolutely love James Taylor's music. His music is the kind of music you would listen to, to relax your mind from a ruff day. I consider his genre of music "easy listening/modern folk". The mood of his music and tempo is similar to Jim Croce. James Taylor is another artist that looks nothing like himself as he got older. However, he still has that same smooth soothing voice. James has been around musically for a very long time, and continues to have a long successful career.
If you're not a member of Rhapsody or Spotify, your better off finding one of his greatest hits albums.Please note, if you're not in to folk music, chances are you will not like James Taylor's music. My favorite hits are "Fire And Rain (1970)", "You've Got A Friend (1971)" (I also like Carole Kings Version too), "Handyman (1977)", "Shower The People (1976)", and "How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You (1975)"

I could be wrong about this but, I'm going to be bold enough and say, anybody younger than 20 years of age probably never heard of the Osmonds. According to Wikipedia, the Osmonds started performing around 1958, and still continues to perform today. To be honest, I only like 3 songs out of their entire career, but I think these songs are great enough to mention on my blog. When they started performing, they started off with "Lawrence Welk" type of music (which I find very BORING unfortunately), but when Donny Osmond was added to the group, they obviously became the "Jackson 5 sound-a-likes". When they released a song called "One Bad Apple (1971)", every single person (even till today) mistaken them for The Jackson 5. Later on, I guys as Donny grow older and passed puberty, he no longer had that same "Jackson 5 magic", then the next thing we new, the Osmonds were singing country (and pretty much been their type of music ever since). I remember as a young kid, I used to watch their TV show called "Donny & Marie" in the late 70's. Unfortunately, thi show was boring as all hell. This show was so boring, I would not even tell you to rented on Netflix, it's that boring. I've noticed that Marie is like a male version of Dick Clark, this bitch will not grow old for nothing LOL! She still looks fabulous after all these years, and I don't remember reading about any plastic surgeries either click here. Well, after they gone country, there were only two other songs I liked from them, and they were "I'm leaving It Up To You", and "Love Me For A Reason".

I could be wrong about this but, I'm going to be bold enough and say, anybody younger than 20 years of age probably never heard of the Osmonds. According to Wikipedia, the Osmonds started performing around 1958, and still continues to perform today. To be honest, I only like 3 songs out of their entire career, but I think these songs are great enough to mention on my blog. When they started performing, they started off with "Lawrence Welk" type of music (which I find very BORING unfortunately), but when Donny Osmond was added to the group, they obviously became the "Jackson 5 sound-a-likes". Yet when we watched them perform on TV they looked more like the first Menudo. When they released a song called "One Bad Apple (1971)", every single person (even till today) mistaken them for The Jackson 5. Later on, I guys as Donny grow older and passed puberty, he no longer had that same "Jackson 5 magic", then the next thing we knew, the Osmonds transitioned to singing country (and pretty much stayed with that genre of music ever since). I remember as a young kid, I used to watch their TV show called "Donny & Marie" in the late 70's. Unfortunately, this show was boring as all hell. This show was so boring, I would not even tell you to rented on Netflix, it's that boring. I've noticed that Marie is like a male version of Dick Clark, this bitch will not grow old for nothing LOL! She still looks absolutely fabulous after all these years (better than all her brothers), and I don't remember reading about any plastic surgeries either click here, in fact she almost looks like Valerie Bertinelli (from One Day At A Time). Well, after they gone country, there were only two other songs I liked from them, and they were "I'm leaving It Up To You", and "Love Me For A Reason". Update: I couldn't find any official news on Youtube so far about any work done to her face, but I read a few articles on the net about face lifts. I'm skeptical because a lot of them came from gossip sites and "plastic surgery sites" which are notorious for making celebrities appear to endorse something. The other thing is, she had a tremendous weight loss, which can alter facial features significantly, as well as make you look younger. I did see a video that stated she had an obsession with trying to look younger, so I guess it is likely she had something done. If she did have something done, thank goodness she didn't go overboard. there are some celebs that have faces that look like plastic now. ©2014

Yes guys! Believe it or not, I like Paul Anka's music too! Like I've said I'm musically diverse. I bet my younger blog fans probably have never heard of Paul Anka (unless you've heard your grand parents play his songs). Mr. Anka was one of those teen heartthrobs that girls used to scream their heads off for. Personally, I didn't think he was all that handsome, but I did and still do like some of his music. If you see the way he looks now you would never think he was the same person. Growing up, I remembered my grandfather  jamming to a long called "Diana". This was a very catchy and infectious tone back then; and even as a small child, I remember singing this all over the place. There were two more favorites of mine, the first is called "Put Your Head On My Shoulders", which was a huge hit in 1968. The other song is "Puppy love". © 2014

Yes guys! Believe it or not, I like Paul Anka's music too! Like I've said before I'm musically diverse. But how many of my younger blog fans actually heard of Paul Anka (unless you've heard your grand parents play his songs maybe)? Mr. Anka was one of those teen heartthrobs that girls used to scream their heads off for. Personally, I didn't think he was all that handsome, but I did and still do like some of his music. If you see the way Mr. Anka looks now you would never think he was the same person. Growing up, I remembered my grandfather jamming to one of his songs called "Diana". Here is the first original version, however, I like his remake better when he was older. This was a very catchy and infectious tone back then; and even as a small child, I remember singing this all over the place. There were three more favorites of mine, the first is called "Put Your Head On My Shoulders", which was a huge hit in 1968. Also song "Puppy love" and "Lonely Boy". I liked only boy, because it was one of the few sad songs you heard that had an up beat tempo. © 2014

I really love the temp of many of Gregory Isaacs's music. R.I.P. Although his sometimes nasally voice in some of his music gets a little annoying at times. However, one of his biggest hits called "Night Nurse (1982) was the exception to the rule. I love this song so much. I also think he did a remake with Lady Saw. I don't like Lady Saw's music at all, but I loved the collaboration with this particular song. Gregory has been around musically for a long time, and has had a long healthy music career before his passing a few years back. Some of these hits were "No Speech (1991)", "Each Day (2001)", and "Willow Tree (1995)" just to name a few. Just to give you a fair warning, a lot of his very early 70's reggae albums tend to sound a lot a like. However, I think my older Caribbean blog members can appreciate his music.

I really love the temp of many of Gregory Isaacs's music. R.I.P. Although his sometimes nasally voice in some of his music gets a little annoying at times. However, one of his biggest hits called "Night Nurse (1982)" was the exception to the rule. I love this song so much. I also think he did a remake with Lady Saw. I don't like Lady Saw's music at all, but I loved the collaboration with this particular song. Gregory has been around musically for a long time, and has had a long healthy music career before his passing a few years back. Some of these hits were "No Speech (1991)", "Each Day (2001)", and "Willow Tree (1995)" just to name a few. The "Willow Tree" has been remade by so many reggae artists, but I think the original singer was Elton Ellis. Just to give you a fair warning, a lot of his very early 70's reggae albums tend to sound a lot a like. However, I think my older Caribbean blog members can appreciate his music.

Rap is one type of music I rarely listen to know-a-days, because the quality of rap has really tanked over the last 20+ or so years. We've gone from "saying no to drugs" to glorifying anything that degrades women, and total disregard for respect, and a host of other things. I will say this, I will not get in to a long winded speech as to whether or not rap is an art form or not. I think this is a separate issue in terms of the quality of rap being played to day, and the o' so willing record companies willing to promote negative rap. I digress. Now, don't get wrong, rap was always about the rappers telling their story about the streets, however, it was very different in the 80's. In terms of rap, I don't really listen to anything else past bubble gum 80's, and maybe a few 90's stuff. Lately, I have been grooving to a old 2 man group called EPMD. One of the two named Erik Sermon wasn't particularly handsome, but he had beautiful eyes. It kinda kept me watching their videos, because his facial features were so unique. I kinda forget just how long they've been around. The first rap they did that drove me crazy was a song called "It's My Thing (1988)". This song had a sick beat, and most importantly, I understood what he was saying! It had a funk/James Brown kinda beat that I absolutely loved. Other favorites are "You Gots To Chill (1988)", "The Big Payback (1991)" and Your A Customer (1991)"

Rap is one type of music I rarely listen to now-a-days, because the quality of rap has really tanked over the last 20+ or so years. We've gone from "saying no to drugs" to glorifying anything that degrades women, and total disregard for respect, and a host of other things. I will say this, I will not get in to a long winded speech as to whether or not rap is an art form or not. I think this is a separate issue in terms of the quality of rap being played to day, and the o' so willing record companies willing to promote negative rap. I digress. Now, don't get wrong, rap was always about the rappers telling their story about the streets, however, it was very different in the 80's. In terms of rap, I don't really listen to anything else past bubble gum 80's, and maybe a few 90's stuff. Lately, I have been grooving to a old 2 man group called EPMD. One of the two named Erik Sermon wasn't particularly handsome, but he had beautiful eyes. It kinda kept me watching their videos, because his facial features were so unique. I used to mistaken Parrish Smith for Coolio a lot. I kinda forget just how long they've been around. The first rap they did that drove me crazy was a song called "It's My Thing (1988)". This song had a sick beat, and most importantly, I understood what he was saying! Other favorites are "You Gots To Chill (1988)", "The Big Payback (1991)" this song had a funk/James Brown kinda beat which I loved, and everyone could dance to this rap too, and "Your A Customer (1991)".

Monthly Archives: April 2009

amii-stewart

Amii Stewart’s father Joseph Stewart II, signed her up for singing and dancing lessons in 1960, at the age of four, and this eventually led to a very successful career as one of the most highly regarded disco artists. Before being signed to Ariola Records, Stewart was in the touring company of the stage production Bubbling Brown Sugar in 1975, firstly in Miama, then Broadway, and eventually London’s West End, where she met Barry Leng, a record producer for Hansa records.

At the end of 1977, “You Really Touch My Heart” a Barry Leng/Simon May composition, produced by Leng, was Stewart’s first recording. An album followed, which contained five Leng/May songs, one Leng/Morris song and three cover versions.

Her first single, a disco cover version of the 1966 Eddie Floyd hit “Knock on Wood” (Floyd/Cropper), reached number one in the U.S. in April 1979, and earned her a platinum record and a Grammy Award nomination. It also reached number 6 in the U.K., and number 2 in Australia, in the same year. It was her only American pop chart hit and as a result she is considered a one hit wonder there, although she also achieved several Top 10 and Top 20 hits in the U.S. dance chart. You can read the rest of the article on WikipediaThe Best of Amii Stewart: Knock on Wood.

Do you remember the Simon game? I remember having one as a kid and it was a lot of fun. It was basically a memory game using colors and sounds. The key objective was to remember all the sounds that corresponded to the color (or vise versa). The more sounds/colors, the harder it becomes. Try the new hand Simon Hand Held

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Actress Beatrice Author,has died today at the age of 87. She was best known for her character “Dorathy” from the hit TV show, the Golden Girls.  A very sarcastic, quick witted Dorathy, lived with 3 other women, Blanch Devero, played by Rue McClanahan, Rose Nylund, played by Betty White, and Sophia patrillo, played by Estelle Getty. Golden Girls was, and still remains, one of the most entertaining shows in comedy. Showing the interpretations of life,  through the eyes of 4 older women.

Beatrice Author Also had her own show in the seventies, called Maude.  Living with her not so smart husband,  played by Bill Macy,  a very liberal daughter, played by Adrienne Barbeau, and a somewhat militant maid, played by Esther Rolle, This was a spin off of the show “All in the family”.  Maude was the Female version of Archie Bunker.  The show dealth with a lot of sensitive racial issues, at a time were racism very previlent during that time.

 


Why would two young filmmakers be interested in the topic of aging in America? For Aaron Naar, the reason was personal. Seth Cuddeback was inspired for a different reason.

Aaron Naar and Seth Cuddeback co-produced a new dramatic film called
Aaron Naar and Seth Cuddeback co-produced a new dramatic film called Fades with Age, which explores the issue of aging in America
Naar and Cuddeback are recent graduates from the film school at Vassar College, a small liberal arts institution in New York.

They are the co-producers of a new dramatic film called Fades with Age, which Naar says explores the issue of aging in America. “Fades with Age is a short, 23-minute fiction narrative film about an elderly man in New York City who’s trying to reconnect with his son and grandson in an increasingly fast-paced world,” Naar says. “And it’s basically a critique of the marginalization of the elderly in a business-oriented America.”

Naar says he wanted to make Fades with Age because, for him, the issue of aging in America is personal. The cast and crew of The cast and crew of Fades with Age
“I wanted to make Fades with Age because my grandparents’ generation actually, unfortunately, died off this year, and it was pretty alarming and unfortunate to see how little health care and aid and support there was among many of these elderly communities that they’re involved in…” he explains.

 

Naar says that it isn’t just a lack of social services that causes the elderly to suffer. He says many of them feel isolated even within the circle of their own families. That, he says, is the sentiment he tries to convey in his film, which follows a day in the life of an elderly man named Roger and the encounters he has with his family and society at large.

Cuddeback, writer and co-director of Fades With Age, says his reason for making the film was to present a view of the senior population that isn’t typically portrayed in American films. Cuddeback says a scene in which Roger is ignored by a receptionist provides a typical example of how elderly people are treated by society Cuddeback says a scene in which Roger is ignored by a receptionist provides a typical example of how elderly people are treated by society
“I wanted to write something and make something that showed more accurately what the aging process might be like for somebody in America today,” Cuddeback says.

An example of that comes in a scene where Roger, needing to make an important phone call, approaches the reception desk in an office building, where a young receptionist – wearing ear buds and enjoying his music – is indifferent to the old man’s pleas. Cuddeback says that scene is, unfortunately, a fairly typical example of how elderly people are often ignored by society. But what really hurts, he says, is how they’re ignored by their own families.

“Even though we see him interacting with his son and his grandson, you know, family members who love him, but in sort of a different way, they’re sort of each involved in their own lives to an extent that they never, ever, think about this person,” Cuddeback says.  Roger interacts with many people in the film, but no one seems to really understand him Roger interacts with many people in the film, but no one seems to really understand him As the film develops, we learn that while Roger’s family may not always understand him, his best friend, Janet, does.

“Throughout the day, we see him interact with a lot of people, but none of them are people that he really connects with until this moment that he shows up at his friend’s house, somebody who he’s known for years, somebody that he shares a connection with personally and generationally,” Cuddeback says.

Janet, says Cuddeback, is the only person Roger feels can commiserate with him about his isolation and his loneliness. Roger and his friend Janet share their feelings of isolation and loneliness Roger and his friend Janet share their feelings of isolation and loneliness During one scene from the film, Roger and Janet have just finished dinner and are relaxing in her living room when Roger asks Janet if she ever wonders where they’re at.

“Sure, Roger, all the time,” Janet replies.

Cuddeback says most Americans are preoccupied with life in some form or another, which prevents many of them from connecting in a meaningful way with the elderly people in their lives. That, he says, is what needs to change.

“Our culture is very individualistic in a lot of senses, and, sort of, we all have this one specific thing that we want for ourselves, and oftentimes that comes at the expense of others,” he says.

Naar and Cuddeback hope their movie will help younger generations see the elderly in a more compassionate light and maybe even inspire them to put away that Blackberry, just for a few minutes, when Grandpa is visiting.

© VOA 2009

barney-miller

Barney Miller is a comedy television series set in a New York City police station in Greenwich Village that ran from January 23, 1975 to May 20, 1982 on ABC. It was created by Danny Arnold and Theodore J. Flicker. Noam Pitlik directed the majority of the episodes.

Captain Miller tries to remain sane while leading the 12th Precinct’s detectives crochety, nearing-retirement Jewish-American Philip K. Fish, naive but goodhearted Polish-American Stanley “Wojo” Wojciehowicz, ambitious, arrogant African-American Ronald Nathan Harris, philosophical, wisecracking Japanese-American Nick Yemana, and Puerto Rican Chano Amanguale. He also has to deal with his unapologetically old-school superior, Chief Inspector Frank Luger, and diminutive (and obsequious) Officer Carl Levitt, who passive-aggressively badgers Miller constantly about being promoted to detective. Amanguale was replaced by intellectual Arthur P. Dietrich from the third season on.

The show’s focus was split between the detectives’ interactions with each other and with the suspects and witnesses they detained, processed, and interviewed. Some typical conflicts and long running plotlines included Miller’s frustration with red tape and paperwork, his constant efforts to maintain peace, order, and discipline, and his numerous failed attempts to get a promotion; Harris’s preoccupation with outside interests, mainly his novel, and his inability to remain focused on his police work; Fish’s incontinence and reluctance to retire; Wojciehowicz’s impulsive behavior and love life; Luger’s nostalgia for the old days with partners Foster, Kleiner and Brown; Levitt’s (eventually successful) quest to become a detective; the rivalry between the precinct’s resident intellectuals, Harris and Dietrich and continually – but reliably – bad coffee.

In addition to Barney’s wife Liz (played by Barbara Barrie), recurring characters included Barney’s son David (Michael Tessier) and daughter Rachel (Anne Wyndham). After two seasons, Barney’s family was largely written out of the show, although Ms. Barrie would continue to make very occasional guest appearances for the remainder of the series run. Ms. Wyndham also reprised her role in one later episode. Read more on Wikipedia.

 

John Fitzgerald “Jack” Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963), often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963.

After Kennedy’s military service as commander of the Motor Torpedo Boat PT-109 during World War II in the South Pacific, his aspirations turned political. With the encouragement and grooming of his father, Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr., Kennedy represented Massachusetts’s 11th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1947 to 1953 as a Democrat, and in the U.S. Senate from 1953 until 1960. Kennedy defeated then Vice President and Republican candidate Richard Nixon in the 1960 U.S. presidential election, one of the closest in American history. To date, he is the only Catholic to be president. He was the second-youngest President (after Theodore Roosevelt), and the youngest elected to the office, at the age of 43. Kennedy is also the only president to have won a Pulitzer Prize. Events during his administration include the Bay of Pigs Invasion, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the building of the Berlin Wall, the Space Race, the African American Civil Rights Movement and early events of the Vietnam War.

Kennedy was born at 83 Beals Street in Brookline, Massachusetts on Tuesday, May 29, 1917, at 300 p.m., the second son of Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr, and Rose Fitzgerald; Rose, in turn, was the eldest child of John “Honey Fitz” Fitzgerald, a prominent Boston political figure who was the city’s mayor and a three-term member of Congress. Kennedy lived in Brookline for his first ten years of life. He attended Brookline’s public Edward Devotion School from kindergarten through the beginning of 3rd grade, then Noble and Greenough Lower School and its successor, the Dexter School, a private school for boys, through 4th grade. In September 1927, Kennedy moved with his family to a rented 20-room mansion in Riverdale, Bronx, New York City, then two years later moved five miles northeast to a 21-room mansion on a six-acre estate in Bronxville, New York, purchased in May 1929. He was a member of Scout Troop 2 at Bronxville from 1929 to 1931 and was to be the first Scout to become President. Kennedy spent summers with his family at their home in Hyannisport, Massachusetts, also purchased in 1929, and Christmas and Easter holidays with his family at their winter home in Palm Beach, Florida, purchased in 1933. In his primary school years, he attended Riverdale Country School, a private school for boys in Riverdale, for 5th through 7th grade.

For 8th grade in September 1930, the 13-year old Kennedy was sent fifty miles away to Canterbury School, a lay Roman Catholic boarding school for boys in New Milford, Connecticut. In late April 1931, he had appendicitis requiring an appendectomy, after which he withdrew from Canterbury and recuperated at home. In September 1931, Kennedy was sent to the Choate School, a private university preparatory boarding school for boys in Wallingford, Connecticut for 9th through 12th grades, following his elder brother, Joe Jr., who was two years ahead of him. In January 1934 during his junior year at Choate, Jack Kennedy became ill, lost a lot of weight, was hospitalized at Yale-New Haven Hospital until Easter, and spent most of June 1934 hospitalized at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota for evaluation of colitis.

© 2009


Following his release from prison on 11 February 1990, Mandela has supported reconciliation and negotiation, and has helped lead the transition towards multi-racial democracy in South Africa. Since the end of apartheid, many have frequently praised Mandela, including former opponents. Mandela has received more than one hundred awards over four decades, most notably the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. He is currently a celebrated elder statesman who continues to voice his opinion on topical issues. In South Africa he is often known as Madiba, an honorary title adopted by elders of Mandela’s clan. The title has come to be synonymous with Nelson Mandela.

Mandela belongs to a cadet branch of the Thembu dynasty, which reigns in the Transkeian Territories of South Africa’s Cape Province. He was born in Mvezo, a small village located in the district of Umtata, the Transkei capital. His patrilineal great-grandfather Ngubengcuka (who died in 1832), ruled as the Inkosi Enkhulu, or king, of the Thembu people. One of the king’s sons, named Mandela, became Nelson’s grandfather and the source of his surname. However, because he was only the Inkosi’s child by a wife of the Ixhiba clan (the so-called “Left-Hand House”), the descendants of his branch of the royal family were not eligible to succeed to the Thembu throne.

Mandela’s father, Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa, served as chief of the town of Mvezo. However, upon alienating the colonial authorities, they deprived Mphakanyiswa of his position, and moved his family to Qunu. Despite this, Mphakanyiswa remained a member of the Inkosi’s Privy Council, and served an instrumental role in Jongintaba Dalindyebo’s ascension to the Thembu throne. Dalindyebo would later return the favour by informally adopting Mandela upon Mphakanyiswa’s death. Mandela’s father had four wives, with whom he fathered a total of thirteen children (four boys and nine girls). Mandela was born to his third wife (‘third’ by a complex royal ranking system), Nosekeni Fanny. Fanny was a daughter of Nkedama of the Mpemvu Xhosa clan, the dynastic Right Hand House, in whose umzi or homestead Mandela spent much of his childhood. His given name Rolihlahla means “to pull a branch of a tree”, or more colloquially, “troublemaker”.


Ruth Elizabeth “Bette” Davis (April 5, 1908 – October 6, 1989) was an American actress of film, television and theatre. Noted for her willingness to play unsympathetic characters, she was highly regarded for her performances in a range of film genres; from contemporary crime melodramas to historical and period films and occasional comedies, though her greatest successes were her roles in romantic dramas.

After appearing in Broadway plays, Davis moved to Hollywood in 1930, but her early films for Universal Studios were unsuccessful. She joined Warner Bros. in 1932 and established her career with several critically acclaimed performances. In 1937, she attempted to free herself from her contract and although she lost a well-publicized legal case, it marked the beginning of the most successful period of her career. Until the late 1940s, she was one of American cinema’s most celebrated leading ladies, known for her forceful and intense style. Davis gained a reputation as a perfectionist who could be highly combative, and her confrontations with studio executives, film directors and costars were often reported. Her forthright manner, clipped vocal style and ubiquitous cigarette contributed to a public persona which has often been imitated and satirized.

Davis was the co-founder of the Hollywood Canteen, and was the first female president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. She was the first woman to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute. Her career went through several periods of eclipse, and she admitted that her success had often been at the expense of her personal relationships. Married four times, she was once widowed and thrice divorced, and raised her children as a single parent. Her final years were marred by a long period of ill health, but she continued acting until shortly before her death from breast cancer, with more than 100 film, television and theater roles to her credit. In 1999, Davis was placed second, behind Katharine Hepburn, on the American Film Institute’s list of the greatest female stars of all time.

Ruth Elizabeth Davis, known from early childhood as “Betty”, was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, the daughter of Ruth (“Ruthie”) Augusta (née Favor), and Harlow Morrell Davis, a patent attorney; her sister Barbara (“Bobby”) was born October 25, 1909. The family was Protestant, of English, French, and Welsh ancestry. In 1915, Davis’s parents separated and Betty and Bobby attended a Spartan boarding school called Crestalban in Lanesborough, which is located in the Berkshires. In 1921, Ruth Davis moved to New York City with her daughters, where she worked as a portrait photographer. Betty was inspired to become an actress after seeing Rudolph Valentino in The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921) and Mary Pickford in Little Lord Fauntleroy (1921), and changed the spelling of her name to “Bette” after Honoré de Balzac’s La Cousine Bette. She received encouragement from her mother, who had aspired to become an actress. Read more about Betty Davis on Wikipedia.

Patricia Louise Holte (born May 24, 1944), best known by her stage name of Patti LaBelle, is an American R&B and soul singer-songwriter and actress.

She fronted two groups, Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles, which received minor success on the pop charts in the 1960s, and Labelle, which received acclaim and a mainstream breakthrough in 1974 with their song “Lady Marmalade”. She went on to have a solo recording career well into the 1990s, earning another U.S. #1 single in 1986 with “On My Own,” a duet with Michael McDonald.

She is renowned for her passionate stage performances, wide vocal range and distinctive high-octave belting. Her biography, Don’t Block the Blessings, remained at the top of the The New York Times best-seller list for several weeks.

LaBelle was born Patricia Louise Holte in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Henry Holte, a railroad worker. The fourth of five children, including three sisters and a brother, LaBelle began singing at the age of 14 in church. A shy girl, LaBelle had a voice of a torch diva. A school teacher advised her to start a singing group.

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Sarah Lois Vaughan (nicknamed “Sassy” and “The Divine One”) (March 27, 1924 – April 3, 1990) was an American jazz singer, described by Scott Yanow as having “one of the most wondrous voices of the 20th century”. She had a contralto vocal range.

Sarah Vaughan was a Grammy Award winner.[3] The National Endowment for the Arts bestowed upon her its highest honor in jazz, the NEA Jazz Masters Award in 1989.

The Vaughans lived in a house on Newark’s Brunswick street for Sarah’s entire childhood. Jake Vaughan was deeply religious and the family was very active in the New Mount Zion Baptist Church on 186 Thomas Street. Sarah began piano lessons at the age of seven, sang in the church choir and occasionally played piano for rehearsals and services. She was their only natural child, although in the 1960s they adopted Donna, the child of a woman who traveled on the road with Sarah.

Vaughan developed an early love for popular music on records and the radio. In the 1930s, Newark had a very active live music scene and Vaughan frequently saw local and touring bands that played in the city at venues like the Montgomery Street Skating Rink. By her mid-teens, Vaughan began venturing (illegally) into Newark’s night clubs and performing as a pianist and, occasionally, singer, most notably at the Piccadilly Club and the Newark Airport USO.

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Mae West (August 17, 1893 – November 22, 1980) was an American actress, playwright, screenwriter, and sex symbol. Known for her bawdy double entendres, West made a name for herself in Vaudeville and on the stage in New York before moving to Hollywood to become a comedienne, actress and writer in the motion picture industry. One of the more controversial stars of her day, West encountered many problems including censorship.

When her cinematic career ended, she continued to perform on stage, in Las Vegas, in the United Kingdom, on radio and television, and recorded rock and roll albums. She was born Mary Jane West in Bushwick, Brooklyn, New York City. She was the daughter of John Patrick West and Matilda “Tillie” Doelger (also spelled Delker).