This Week In Literature And Arts

Happy 78th birthday to John Winston Lennon, born October 8, 1940 at the Liverpool Maternity Hospital.

And a happy 43rd to Sean.


Birthday greetings to Manhattan’s own Sigourney Weaver, born Susan Alexandra Weaver October 8, 1949. Both her parents were actors and her uncle is comedian Doodles Weaver!

She’s done everything well, and I’m not the only one who could watch Ripley kick wholesale xenomorph ass all day, and we may get the chance as, apparently, Alien 5 isn’t off the table.


October 10, 1985: After spending the night writing stage directions for his next project, George Orson Welles dies in his sleep of heart failure. He was 70.

Larger than life.


October 12, 1997: John Denver dies when his experimental Long-EZ aircraft crashes into Monterey Bay. Investigators blamed poor design and pilot error—although an experienced flyer, Denver was unfamiliar with this aircraft. He was 53.


A happy big 5-0 to Hugh Jackman, born October 12, 1968 in Sydney. How much pure fun is this guy as Wolverine? And it’s hard to tell if the guys or the girls like him better.

Outside of the X films, I think the best work he’s done is Prisoners, a solid film that didn’t find the audience it deserved. Track it down.


October 13, 1938: At MGM’s Culver City lots, production begins on The Wizard of Oz with Richard Thorpe directing the earlier scenes (five directors ultimately were involved), but the production, which seemingly would be cursed with numerous troubles, ceased ten days in when Buddy Ebsen, originally cast as the Tin Man, became near fatally ill from the metal-powder makeup.

Three days before cameras rolled, Gale Sondergaard quit as the Wicked Witch leaving MGM execs scrambling to fill the part, finally settling on contract player Margaret Hamilton. Thank you, Gale  (that might be the happiest accident in film history).


October 14, 1977: After playing 18 holes of golf and singing “Strangers in the Night” to a group who recognized him on the course outside Madrid, Spain, Bing Crosby collapses and dies of a massive heart attack at 74.

Visited Bela Lugosi at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, CA, two years ago and was surprised to see der Bingle resting just a few graves over under his given name, Harry Lillis Bing Crosby.

Beloved by all.


Michael Rogers

( is a Jesse H. Neal Gold Award-winning freelance writer, editor, reviewer, and photographer. He is also former Media Editor and audiobook reviewer at Library Journal.

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