Monthly Archives: August 2010

ON THIS DAY IN BLACK MUSIC HISTORY: AUGUST 31

#1 R&B Song 1968:  “You’re All I Need To Get By,” Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell

Born:  Wilton Felder (the Crusaders), 1940

*******************************************************************************************

1955   Chuck Berry’s “Maybellene” reached #5 pop while spending eleven weeks at #1 on the R&B hit list. Chuck began his musical career as a member of the Johnny Johnson trio in St. Louis in 1952.

1959   The Coasters’ “Poison Ivy” charted, eventually becoming the group’s fourth and final R&B #1.

1962   The Shirelles, ben E. King, Little Eva, Chuck Jackson, Dee Dee Sharp, the Marvelettes, the Ronettes, the Del-Satins, the Majors and Tony Orlando (years before Dawn) performed at Murray the K’s annual New York Labor Day Rock ‘n’ Roll show at the Brooklyn Fox Theater.

1963   The Miracles’ “Mickey’s Monkey” charted en route to #3 R&B and #8 pop.

1969   Richie Havens performed at England’s Isle of Wright Festival with the Moody Blues, the Who, Joe Cocker, Bob Dylan, and others.

1976   George Harrison was found guilty of “subconscious plagiarism” of the Chiffons’ hit “He So Fine” for similarities to his million-seller “My Sweet Lord.” In a case of sweet retribution, the Chiffons then recorded their own version of “My Sweet Lord.”

1987   Michael Jackson: The Magic Returns aired on CBS-TV, featuring his seventeen-minute video “Bad.”

1994   R. Kelly married new chart sensation Aaliyah in Rosemont, IL. The marriage was later annulled as Aaliyah was only fifteen years old at the time and the state law required that people to be sixteen to marry.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

. . . .AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT: “GATTACA” (1997)

Gattaca, is a futuristic film that delves into the world of human genomes, nucleotides, DNA, and how one’s genetics are the determining factor in whether a person succeeds and goes far in life, or whether one is trapped into a menial and servile position in life. 

Written and directed by Andrew Niccol, and released on October 24, 1997, Gattaca  builds its premise around the controversial subject of genetic engineering and how it might lead to a socio-economic class divide, now that the human genome project was completed in 2003.

 

Gattaca is a film that awes and inspires with its message that nothing can crush nor stop the human spirit:   from the innovative and opening credits  of the main title (created by Imaginary Forces), where the remnants of fingernail clippings, hair strands, and skin debris  fall into piles, to the clever insertion of the letters of the DNA nucleotides guanine, adenine, thymine and cytosine (hence the name Gattaca)   inserted into the actors and film creator’s names, the film Gattaca is a beautiful, mesmerizing and original film whose message still stands the test of time more than 13 years later.    

The film stars Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, Jude Law, Gore Vidal, Loren Dean and Alan Arkin. 

Hawke plays Vincent Freeman. He is a “God-child”, a “faith birth”, so-called because his parents (Jayne Brook and Elias Koteas) decided to have him the natural way without using advanced technology to create a perfect baby with no abnormalities or genetic defects that would cause diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, etc. No sooner than he is born, he is immediately subjected to tests which will divulge not only his future health  prospects, but, even how long he may live. 

The second time his parents have a child, they decide to go to a geneticist, played by Blair Underwood. With four embryos, two girls, two boys, in vitro,  they indicate they want a brother for Vincent, and to have him genetically engineered to be perfect, what society calls a “Valid.” This child is named Anton, after his father. He is played by Loren Dean. 

Since Vincent is born the normal way, he is considered an “Invalid’, by society, and destined to live out his life on the lower rungs of society. As Vincent so aptly states it, “We now have discrimination down to a science.” 

While growing up, he and his brother have a rivalry that exteneds to their swimming in the ocean in a race against each other. When they were children, Anton would always win. But, one time, when they are teens, they swim again, and this time Vincent wins. Vincent has now realized that he can accomplish more than what is expected of him, and he leaves their parent’s home to strike out on his own.

Even though he does not have the right genes for it, Vincent has longed to be an astronaut. He goes to work at a NASA-type organization galled Gattaca, which has a space program that prepares employees for travel to the largest moon of Saturn:  Titan. Vincent works as a janitor and while working his shift he is always aware of the launches that are performed daily, launches that send the chosen few to the coveted Titan. 

Vincent wants so much to be a part of this elite group of star voyagers, that when he sees one launch after so many he states:  “I was  never more certain of how far away I was from my goal than when I was standing right beside it.” There is no gene for faith, for drive, for ambition, for perseverance—-but, Vincent will not let the fact that society saw his skills, his capabilities, his  resume in his cells, stop or hinder him from his dream. Vincent decides to go for broke. 

Enter Jerome Eugene  Morrow (played by Jude Law). Jerome, who goes by his middle name Eugene, is a valid, a vitro destined to have the very best that life and society can offer. But, Jerome can no longer attain those things. A former Olympic swimmer, he is now bound to a wheelchair, a cripple from a car accident. Even though he is a Valid, he suffers from being a “made man”, a perfect human. Thus  Eugene had a burden  to bear just as Vincent has to bear his burden. Vincent refuses to let society have the last word on what he can or cannot attain.  

For a Valid who has fallen on hard times, Eugene has something that he can offer Vincent:  his genetic DNA . With the help of German, a shady DNA gene broker, played by Tony Shalhoub, Vincent can now accomplish his goal to be an astronaut. 

But, at the time, Vincent also has something he can offer Eugene, though at the time neither one realizes this, but they both will, later on in the film. 

The three set about preparing Eugene’s DNA in blood samples, skin shavings, hair follicles, and urine for Vincent to use to pass the interview he has at Gattaca. Vincent has one problem–he is two inches shorter than Eugene. Even here, Vincent would not let that stop him. He undergoes a surgical procedure, limb lengthening,  that adds inches to his height, thus as he states: “Now I am two inches closer to my goal.’ 

Vincent passes the urine test (his interview) after meeting Dr. Lamar (played by Xander Berkeley). He is accepted into the program, and is now on his way finally to the moon of Saturn. But, a problem occurs. 

One of the administrators at Gattaca is against the space program and wants to see it disbanded. To make matters worse, he was getting close to exposing Vincent’s secret. When he is found dead one morning, and the cops come to gather evidence, bad luck would have it that an eyelash of Vincent’s is found at the crime scene. Unbeknownst to Vincent, his brother, Anton, is chief of the investigation of the murder. The head scientist over the program, Director Josef, played by Gore Vidal, wants the program to go on, and with another launch due the following week, he will let nothing stand in the way of the continuance of the program. 

In the meantime, Vincent has met and become enamored of another recruit of the program, Irene Cassini, played by Uma Thurman. 

As the officer assigned to the case, Det. Hugo (played by Alan Arkin) is dogged in his determination to find the killer.  Irene is put in charge by her supervisor, Director Josef, to help Anton search the files to find evidence of the killer through the employee’s DNA database. While going through the files of employees at Gattaca, she finds out that Vincent is neither whom nor what he pretends to be. 

At this time, Vincent’s brother Anton has found out as well and has asked Irene to take him to Vincent’s apartment. Vincent sees Irene  leaving with his brother, he calls Eugene and alerts him, and Eugene swings into action. Eugene stays downstairs, and since the entrance to his home is upstairs, he has to pull himself up the stairs before Anton and Irene arrive to ring the doorbell. Desperately crawling up the stair case to get himself into position and character, to keep the ruse going, Eugene  frantically makes his way upstairs just as Irene rings the doorbell.  He buzzes them in, they enter,and Irene sits  by Eugene, as Anton starts his round of questions directed at “Vincent”/Eugene. Just as Anton decides to go on a search of the downstairs area of the home, he is called back to Gattaca: the murderer has been found. 

After Anton leaves, Vincent comes in and seeing the look on Irene’s  face realizes that because of this impersonation of Eugene, he may have lost her  forever. 

Later near the end of the movie Vincent goes back to Gattaca that evening and confronts his brother who was waiting for him. Anton feels that Vincent has no right to continue on in his desire to attend the launch since he is masquerading as a Valid, but, Vincent, tired of how society has already treated him, lashes out at his brother for his narrow-minded view of the indomitable will of Vincent to succeed in this dream he has had for nearly all of his life: 

“Is that the only way you want to  succeed is to  see me fail?” 

They swim one last time, and here Anton realizes that Vincent would not go back to the circumscribed life he had lived. Anton questions how Vincent was able to pull off his ruse, and Vincent states:  “I never saved anything for the trip back.”

Vincent never saved anything for going back to the old life that suffocated him–for him it was no turning back—–all-or-nothing. 

On the day before Vincent is to take the launch, he and Eugene discuss how this friendship they have built has affected them both–and as to whom received the better deal. Vincent is nervous about his trip, but, he has come too far to turn back, come what may. Vincent would be on Titan for a whole year, and he asks Eugene what will he do with himself all that time. Eugene states that he has his books, and, besides, he too is going away on a trip.

The next day arrives, Vincent is ready for the launch, and he must now take a final test that will either expose him, or open the door to the wonders of interplanetary travel. 

Gattaca is one of the most memorable, inspiring, and thought-provoking films made. The tyranny of racism, sexism, shadism, ageism, heterosexism–assaults upon the humanity that were used to keep a person down and in their place supposedly have now been pushed aside in the future where one’s genes–one’s resume of their future— is found in what can be deciphered from their DNA. In this brave new world of tomorrow, if your birth is left to the chance of Mother Nature, you may end up with a hereditary disease, but, if you are a vitro engineered child, the world may be your oyster. 

But, my question with this movie is with Vincent’s working as a janitor at Gattaca. Is it to be accepted that now racism, sexism and all the other isms have gone the way of the dinosaur? Is racism no longer a part of the not-too-distant future? 

What is to stop parents only a few years into the future from not only deciding their baby’s gender–but, also, what their baby’s race and skin color will be?  Even the geneticist in the film, a Black man, acknowledges this not-so-far-off possibility in the lines he states to the parent’s type of child they want:  “Dark hair, hazel eyes—fair skin.” In the future, skin color will more likely be fair, than dark, when parents decide what their child’s exterior features will look like. Even the actors/actresses in the film have model-type bodies—thin and tall. With the negative and racist views against dark skin, it would be no surprise if fair skin becomes more prevalent in the future with genetic tampering.

Gattaca is a lovingly filmed movie, from the dialogue, the acting, to the double-helix staircase in Eugene’s home, to the chiaroscuro effects of the cinematography.

It opens up a Pandora’s Box of questions on how the now completely mapped human genome will be handled.  What wonders —and terrors—will we leash upon the world with this brave new technology?

The music is very good as well. Composed by Michael Nyman, the soundtrack is very evocative and suits the film well. 

   

The dialogue is great with some of these memorable lines: 

“We now have discrimination down to a science.” 

“Ten fingers, ten toes. That’s all that used to matter. Not now.” 

“Keep your eyelashes on your eyelids where they belong.” 
“My eyes are prettier.” 

“I’m bored of talking to you, no I’m bored. I’ll call you back.” 

“Two samples, two days. Either the suspect went back to the scene of the crime to get a drink of water -but I don’t know anybody that thirsty- or he still works there.” 

“No one exceeds his potential.” 

“If he did?” 

“It would simply mean that we did not accurately gauged his potential in the first place.”

Even the names are a play on human character and outlook:  Eugene (well-born, noble)— eugenics, derived from the Greek word eugenes; Vincent (conquering, victorious); Freeman (free man); Jerome (of holy, sacred name), also, Jerome/genome; Morrow (tomorrow), as in the future. Uma Thurman’s character is named Irene Cassini. Cassini is the surname of the 17th century Italian astronomer, Giovanni Domenico Cassini, who discovered the prominent gap in Saturn’s main rings, as well as the icy moons, Iapetus, Dione, Rhea, and Tethys. The space mission in Gattaca is destined for Saturn. On October 15, 1997, NASA launched the Cassini  space  probe bound for Saturn. It carried the Huygens space probe, which was dropped into Titan in early 2005, and discovered ground under the clouds.

More than anything, Gattaca is an uplifting film. No matter who tries to turn you around, no matter how hard society tells you that you are nothing, that you can never, nor ever will reach and exceed your potential, you should push on and at least try to make your goal. To always keep your eyes on the prize. 

The human spirit cannot be crushed. 

It may be beaten down, tramped into the ground, but, it will rise.  It will save nothing for the trip back.  

It will triumph. 

The unknown can be frightening. At times, it can be downright terrifying. But, the inner resolve and strength to say “I can” and “I shall” will always be a part of the human spirit to face and meet challenges that lead one’s feet onto the terra incognito of ourselves that is yet to be discovered.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE PRESERVATION OF THE OZONE LAYER: SEPTEMBER 16, 2010

International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer

Quick Facts

The United Nations’ (UN) International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer focuses on the importance of protecting human health and the environment.

Local names

Name Language
International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer English
Día Internacional de la Preservación de la Capa de Ozono Spanish

International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer 2010

Thursday, September 16, 2010

International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer 2011

Friday, September 16, 2011
See list of observations below

The United Nations’ (UN) International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer is celebrated on September 16 every year. This event commemorates the date of the signing of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer in 1987.
UN International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone
The earth’s ozone layer plays an important role in protecting human health and the environment. ©iStockphoto.com/Stephen Strathdee

What do people do?

On this day primary and secondary school educators throughout the world organize classroom activities that focus on topics related to the ozone layer, climate change and ozone depletion. Some teachers use educational packages from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) that have been specifically tailored to address topics about the earth’s ozone layer.

Other activities that are organized by different community groups, individuals, schools and local organizations across the world include: the promotion of ozone friendly products; special programs and events on saving the ozone layer; the distribution of the UNEP’s public awareness posters to be used for events centered on the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer; and the distribution of awards to those who worked hard to protect the earth’s ozone layer.

Public Life

The UN’s International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer is a global observance and not a public holiday.

Background

In 1987 representatives from 24 countries met in Montreal and announced to the world that it was time to stop destroying the ozone layer. In so doing, these countries committed themselves, via the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, to rid the world of substances that threaten the ozone layer.

On December 19, 1994, the UN General Assembly proclaimed September 16 to be the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, commemorating the date when the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer was signed in 1987. The day was first celebrated on September 16, 1995.

Symbols

Many promotional items used for the day feature images of the sun, sky, or earth’s natural environment to represent the ozone’s importance in protecting the environment. Selected winning paintings from the 1998 Children’s Painting Competition, which was part of UNEP’s public awareness campaign at the time, have since been reproduced on posters, calendars, publications, and other material.

International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer Observances

Weekday Date Year Name Holiday type Where it is observed
Sat Sep 16 1995 International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer United Nation day  
Mon Sep 16 1996 International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer United Nation day  
Tue Sep 16 1997 International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer United Nation day  
Wed Sep 16 1998 International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer United Nation day  
Thu Sep 16 1999 International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer United Nation day  
Sat Sep 16 2000 International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer United Nation day  
Sun Sep 16 2001 International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer United Nation day  
Mon Sep 16 2002 International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer United Nation day  
Tue Sep 16 2003 International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer United Nation day  
Thu Sep 16 2004 International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer United Nation day  
Fri Sep 16 2005 International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer United Nation day  
Sat Sep 16 2006 International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer United Nation day  
Sun Sep 16 2007 International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer United Nation day  
Tue Sep 16 2008 International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer United Nation day  
Wed Sep 16 2009 International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer United Nation day  
Thu Sep 16 2010 International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer United Nation day  
Fri Sep 16 2011 International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer United Nation day  
Sun Sep 16 2012 International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer United Nation day  
Mon Sep 16 2013 International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer United Nation day  
Tue Sep 16 2014 International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer United Nation day  
Wed Sep 16 2015 International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer United Nation day  

SOURCE

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

INTERNATIONAL DAY OF DEMOCRACY: SEPTEMBER 15, 2010

International Day of Democracy

Quick Facts

The United Nations’ (UN) International Day of Democracy is observed on September 15 each year.

Local names

Name Language
International Day of Democracy English
Día Internacional de la Democracia Spanish

International Day of Democracy 2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

International Day of Democracy 2011

Thursday, September 15, 2011
See list of observations below

The United Nations’ (UN) International Day of Democracy is annually held on September 15 to raise public awareness about democracy. Various activities and events are held around the world to promote democracy on this date.
Definition of democracy typed on a typewriter.
The International Day of Democracy aims to raise public awareness about democracy – its meaning and importance. ©iStockphoto.com/Richard Goerg

What do people do?

Many people and organizations worldwide, including government agencies and non-government organizations, hold various initiatives to promote democracy on the International Day of Democracy. Events and activities include discussions, conferences and press conferences involving keynote speakers, often those who are leaders or educators heavily involved in supporting and endorsing democratic governments and communities.

Leaflets, posters and flyers are placed in universities, public buildings, and places where people can learn more about how democracy is linked with factors such as freedom of expression and a tolerant culture. Organizations, such as the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), organize activities such as public opinion surveys about democracy and political tolerance.

There has been a campaign, known as the Global Democracy Day Initiative, which involves a petition being made to the UN and heads of states to officially adopt October 18 as Global Democracy Day to support International Day of Democracy.

Public life

The International Day of Democracy is a UN observance day but it is not a public holiday.

Background

The UN strives to achieve its goals of peace, human rights and development. It believes that human rights and the rule of law are best protected in democratic societies. The UN also recognizes a fundamental truth about democracy everywhere – that democracy is the product of a strong, active and vocal civil society.

The UN general assembly decided on November 8, 2007, to make September 15 as the annual date to observe the International Day of Democracy. The assembly invited people and organizations, both government and non-government, to commemorate the International Day of Democracy. It also called for all governments to strengthen their national programs devoted to promoting and consolidating democracy. The assembly encouraged regional and other intergovernmental organizations to share their experiences in promoting democracy.

The International Day of Democracy was first celebrated in 2008. The UN general assembly recognized that the year 2008 marked the 20th anniversary of the first International Conference of New or Restored Democracies, which gave people a chance to focus on promoting and consolidating democracy worldwide.

Symbols

The UN logo is often associated with marketing and promotional material for this event. It features a projection of a world map (less Antarctica) centered on the North Pole, enclosed by olive branches. The olive branches symbolize peace and the world map represents all the people of the world. It has been featured in black against a white background.

International Day of Democracy Observances

Weekday Date Year Name Holiday type Where it is observed
Mon Sep 15 2008 International Day of Democracy United Nation day  
Tue Sep 15 2009 International Day of Democracy United Nation day  
Wed Sep 15 2010 International Day of Democracy United Nation day  
Thu Sep 15 2011 International Day of Democracy United Nation day  
Sat Sep 15 2012 International Day of Democracy United Nation day  
Sun Sep 15 2013 International Day of Democracy United Nation day  
Mon Sep 15 2014 International Day of Democracy United Nation day  
Tue Sep 15 2015 International Day of Democracy United Nation day  

SOURCE

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

INTERNATIONAL LITERACY DAY: SEPTEMBER 8, 2010

       
Other titles on literacy  from UNBISnet  
UN  •   Non-UN
Literacy Day
  International Literacy Day8 September


Literacy is a cause for celebration since there are now close to four billion literate people in the world. However, literacy for all – children, youth and adults – is still an unaccomplished goal and an ever moving target. A combination of ambitious goals, insufficient and parallel efforts, inadequate resources and strategies, and continued underestimation of the magnitude and complexity of the task accounts for this unmet goal. Lessons learnt over recent decades show that meeting the goal of universal literacy calls not only for more effective efforts but also for renewed political will and for doing things differently at all levels – locally, nationally and internationally. In its resolution A/RES/56/116, the General Assembly proclaimed the ten year period beginning 1 January 2003 the United Nations Literacy Decade. In resolution A/RES/57/166, the Assembly welcomed the International Plan of Action for the Decade and decided that Unesco should take a coordinating role in activities undertaken at the international level within the framework of the Decade.

Links to UN and UN System sites:

Unesco

United Nations

UNICEF

United Nations Development Programme

World Bank Group

Additional resources:

The additional resources links on this page are provided for information purposes only and do not necessarily represent an endorsement by the United Nations.

Asia-Pacific Literacy Database

Center for Literacy Studies

Commonwealth of Learning

Education International

International Reading Association
—   International Literacy Day

Literacy Online

Proliteracy Worldwide

SIL International – Literacy

StoryPlus Foundation

SOURCE

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

ON THIS DAY IN BLACK MUSIC HISTORY: AUGUST 30

#1 R&B Song 1986:  “Love Zone,” Billy Ocean

Born:  Luther “Georgia Boy” Johnson, 1934

**************************************************************************************

1963   New York disc jockey Murray the K held his annual Labor Day spectacular at the Brooklyn Fox Theater, featuring the Miracles, the Chiffons, the Shirelles, the Tymes, the Drifters, Ben E. King, Little Stevie Wonder, jay & the Americans, Randy & the Rainbows, and many others.

1963   After six years of weekday shows, Dick Clark’s American Bandstand held its last weekday shindig and became a Saturday-only affair. The show had been in the forefront of promoting Black artists and their music since its 1957 inception.

1970   Jimi Hendrix performed at what would be his last British concert when he appeared on-stage at 3:00 a.m. at the Isle of Wright Festival.

1972   Stevie Wonder performed at a benefit for Willowbank Hospital at Madison Square Garden in New York with John  Lennon and Yoko Ono.

1975   Natalie Cole bounced onto the Hot 100 with “This Will Be” (#6 pop), her first of eighteen hits through 1997.

1990   The Neville Brothers performed as guests of their longtime fan Linda Rondstat at her concert at Jones Beach Theater in Long Island, NY.

1994   Gangsta rapper, former member of N.W.A. (Niggaz With Attitude), and all-around bad influence Dr. Dre (born Andre Young) was sentenced to five months in a Los Angeles jail for violating his probation in a 1992 assault on a TV show host during a brawl.

1997   James Brown performed in Beirut, Lebanon, at the Hotel Albustan. Soon after he would leave for Moscow to perform at the Kremlin Palace.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

IN REMEMBRANCE: 8-29-2010

JACKSON GILLIS, PROLIFIC TV WRITER

By BRUCE WEBER

Published: August 28, 2010
Cops and detectives, doctors and lawyers, spies and cowboys, heroes, superheroes and semi-superheroes. These are staples of television drama, and one of the unsung people who stapled them was Jackson Gillis, a prolific slogger in the trenches of television writing whose career spanned more than four decades and whose scripts put words in the mouths of Superman, Perry Mason, Columbo, Wonder Woman, Zorro, Tarzan, Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin, Jessica Fletcher and, in a manner of speaking, Lassie.
 
August 29, 2010    

Jackson Gillis

Mr. Gillis died of pneumonia in Moscow, Idaho, on Aug. 19, his daughter, Candida, said. He was 93.

Mr. Gillis was not an award winner — he was nominated for a single Emmy, in 1972, for an episode of “Columbo” — but his résumé traces a remarkable path through the evolution of prime time. His niche was the plot-driven tale of distress, in which danger disturbs the serene status quo, is cranked up to crisis dimensions and is resolved with dispatch by the protagonist, all in a neat half-hour, or, more often, an hour.

The formula, of course, stayed remarkably consistent during his career — and it has remained so — but Mr. Gillis showed he could adapt to the tenor of the times.

In the 1950s, his dialogue, in “The Adventures of Superman” and “Lassie,” for example, was replete with homespun clichés (if sometimes winkingly so) and not especially subtle repartee. In the 1960s, when he wrote for shows like “I Spy” and “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” with their wisecracking secret agents, he incorporated the hip lingo that television, however tentatively, invoked to reflect the decade. Later, in “Columbo,” he helped define the low-key nature of the title character (played by Peter Falk), with lines that were understated and wry.

Jackson Clark Gillis was born in Kalama, Wash., on Aug. 21, 1916. His father, Ridgway, a highway engineer, moved the family to California when Jackson was a teenager; his mother, the former Marjorie Lyman, was a piano teacher. He went to Fresno State University and graduated from Stanford. He acted after college, working in Britain and at the Barter Theater in Virginia. (Gregory Peck was also in the company at the time.)

“One play he did was by George Bernard Shaw, who came to see the play and sent him a postcard afterward criticizing his exit,” his daughter wrote in an e-mail. “I have the postcard.”

Mr. Gillis served as an Army intelligence officer in the Pacific during World War II. After his discharge, he and his wife moved to Los Angeles, and he began writing for radio, including the mysteries “The Whistler” and “Let George Do It.”

He shifted to television in the early 1950s; his first regular assignment was for a cop show, “I’m the Law,” which starred George Raft as a New York City police detective. He wrote numerous episodes of “The Adventures of Superman,” beginning in 1953, and from 1954 to 1960 he was a frequent contributor of heroic canine feats and communicative barks for “Lassie.”

He spent several years writing for “Perry Mason,” beginning in 1959. He also wrote popular serials for children that appeared on “The Mickey Mouse Club”: “The Adventures of Spin and Marty,” about boys living on a ranch, and two adventures featuring the teenage amateur detective brothers the Hardy Boys, “The Mystery of the Applegate Treasure” and “The Mystery of the Ghost Farm.”

Mr. Gillis’s 62-year marriage to Patricia Cassidy, whom he met when they were fellow actors at the Barter Theater, ended with her death in 2003. In addition to his daughter, who lives in Moscow, he is survived by a brother, William, of Walnut Creek, Calif., and a grandson.

Candida Gillis said in a telephone interview that as she was growing up, the soundtrack of the house was the constant rat-a-tat of her father’s typewriter, and certainly what is most impressive about Mr. Gillis’s career is its sheer breadth. He worked on “Racket Squad,” “Sugarfoot,” “The Fugitive,” “Lost in Space,” “The Wild, Wild West,” “Mission: Impossible,” “Mannix,” “The Mod Squad,” “Bonanza,” “Ironside,” “Land of the Giants,” “Hawaii Five-O,” “Medical Center,” “Starsky and Hutch,” “Police Woman” and “Murder, She Wrote.”

His daughter described him as a freelance worker bee who was never a Hollywood insider. When he brought her to the studio, he would warn her not to stare at anyone she recognized.

“He was not impressed by the business,” she said, adding that he didn’t watch much television himself.

“He watched football,” Ms. Gillis said. “He thought most of what was on TV was junk.”

SOURCE

*************************************************************************************

GLORIA WINTERS, ACTRESS IN 1950s’ ‘SKY KING’

Published: August 27, 2010
Gloria Winters, who personified youthful, clean-cut American innocence in the 1950s children’s television series “Sky King,” died on Aug. 14 at her home in Vista, Calif., just north of San Diego. She was in her late 70s.
August 28, 2010    

ABC, via Photofest

Gloria Winters with Kirby Grant, center, and Ron Hagerthy, two of her co-stars in the children’s television series “Sky King.”

The cause was complications of pneumonia, her family told The Los Angeles Times.

“Sky King” was a contemporary western about an Arizona rancher and pilot, the title character, who ran into the likes of jewel smugglers, bank robbers and gangsters. Ms. Winters played Sky’s blond, baby-faced, perky but earnest and unfailingly helpful teenage niece, Penny, who often became involved in the adventures.

She played the role in 72 episodes from 1952 to 1959. (Kirby Grant, who played Sky King, died in 1985.)

Although she retired from show business after “Sky King” went off the air, during its run Ms. Winters also did guest acting roles in numerous 1950s series, including “Richard Diamond, Private Detective,” “Racket Squad” and “Death Valley Days.” She had made her credited television debut as Babs, the dreamy-eyed teenage daughter, in the first season (1949-50) of the working-class sitcom “The Life of Riley,” when Jackie Gleason played Riley. William Bendix played the role in later seasons.

Ms. Winters was born in Los Angeles on Nov. 28 — sources disagree on whether the year was 1931 or 1932 — and began acting as a child. She found love through her most famous role, marrying Dean Vernon, a sound engineer on “Sky King.” He died in 2001.

Some five years after the series ended, Ms. Winters wrote an etiquette book for young girls, “Penny’s Guide to Teenage Charm and Personality.” That book led to a more recent claim to fame.

In the mid-1990s the alternative rock group Nada Surf used text from the book for its song and video “Popular.” Along with advice on breaking up with a boy (if you are straightforward, he’ll “respect you for your frankness”), Ms. Winters declared, “Being attractive is the most important thing there is.”

SOURCE

**************************************************************************************

ROBERT INGERSOLL, WHO SERVED AS ENVOY TO JAPAN

By DENNIS HEVESI

Published: August 28, 2010

August 29, 2010    

Associated Press

Robert S. Ingersoll was named ambassador to Japan in 1972.

His daughter Nancy Ingersoll Foster confirmed his death.

Mr. Ingersoll was chairman and chief executive of the Chicago-based Borg-Warner Corporation when President Richard M. Nixon appointed him ambassador to Japan in 1972. He was the first business executive named to the post since World War II; all but one of the others had been career diplomats.

The appointment came at a time of strained relations between Washington and Tokyo, primarily over economic issues. Mr. Ingersoll’s company had long had joint ventures and licensing arrangements with major Japanese companies.

With Japan’s economy booming, the primary source of tension was its $3.5 billion trade surplus with the United States. In 1972, after negotiations with Mr. Ingersoll, Japan agreed to import $750 million in American manufactured goods and another $390 million in agricultural products.

Mr. Ingersoll was promoted to assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs in 1974 and a year later was named deputy secretary of state, a post he held for two years.

He was the State Department’s lead voice in 1976 when foreign governments sought the identities of officials in their countries who were suspected of receiving millions of dollars in bribes from the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation. Mr. Ingersoll said the accusations had done “grievous damage” to United States foreign relations and promised to provide information about the payoffs.

The scandal led to the resignations, but not prosecutions, of two top Lockheed officials; the resignation of a Dutch prince from his military and business positions; and the conviction of a Japanese prime minister.

As head of Borg-Warner, Mr. Ingersoll presided over a diversified corporate empire that in 1972 had $1.15 billion in annual sales and 38,000 workers in 22 countries. The company primarily manufactures automotive products, including transmissions. As American automakers turned from Borg-Warner to their own subsidiaries for transmissions, the company expanded its sales to foreign companies, and its transmission business jumped from 42,000 units in 1962 to 487,000 in 1971.

Robert Stephen Ingersoll was born in Galesburg, Ill., on Jan. 28, 1914, one of four children of Roy and Lulu Ingersoll. He graduated from Yale in 1937. In 1939, after working at another company, Mr. Ingersoll joined the Ingersoll Steel and Disc Company, which was owned by his father and later merged with Borg-Warner. He was selected to succeed his father as chairman and chief executive in 1961.

Mr. Ingersoll’s wife of 63 years, the former Coralyn Reed, died in 2001. In addition to his daughter Nancy, he is survived by two other daughters, Gail Ingersoll Ransom and Elizabeth Ingersoll Carroll; a brother, James; 11 grandchildren; and 21 great-grandchildren.

Before and after his diplomatic career, Mr. Ingersoll served on the boards of numerous corporations, foundations, and arts and educational institutions. He also taught Sunday school at the Winnetka Congregational Church.

 

**************************************************************************************

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized