Just a thought

My Mother’s Romance With King Kong

Posted on

via The Daily Beast This month marks the 86th anniversary of the 1933 world premiere of King Kongin New York. Klieg lights swept the skies over Radio City Music Hall and the RKO Roxy across the street, where a combined audience of 9,000 filled every seat, that night and for weeks to come. Two weeks later, […]

Just a thought

Set the Record Straight

Posted on

A grave injustice has occurred. Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary has failed to identify the etymology of the verb “to doodle.” They correctly define the word, “to scribble mindlessly,” but trace the origin to a 16th century noun, a doodle or dolt, or other roots. Poppycock. “To doodle” was the invention of Robert Riskin and comes from the […]

Just a thought

Fire and Flood

Posted on

A little more than a year ago, as I was completing my manuscript, a fire – the largest in California history – swept the hills immediately above my Santa Barbara home. The authorities ordered mandatory evacuation and taking time only to put into the car the family dog, my manuscript and computer, and a few […]

Just a thought

The Incomparable Carole Lombard

Posted on

Barbara Stanwyck said Carole Lombard was “…so alive, modern, frank, and natural that she stands out like a beacon on a lightship in this odd place called Hollywood.” My father agreed. I first learned of my father’s romance with Carole as I was doing research for my book. She had just lost her great love […]

Just a thought

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town

Posted on

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936) is the quintessential Robert Riskin film and one of my favorites. Written with warmth and humor, not to mention romance, it’s steeped in my father’s philosophy that we should all help each other and especially those in need — the so-called “little people,” an expression my father never would […]

Just a thought

Meet John Doe

Posted on

Meet John Doe – which airs December 8th on Turner Classic Movies – represents a departure from usual Riskin-Capra films in several respects. John Doe was made after my father had gone on vacation to Europe in 1939. On his trip, he had seen first-hand evidence of the euphoria Hitler had created in Germany and the […]

Just a thought

You Can’t Take It With You.

Posted on

“Pulitzer Prize plays do not grow on bushes, a circumstance which is bound to complicate their grafting to the cinema.” Frank Nugent, New York Times, 1938. The fact that You Can’t Take It With You, the George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart madcap smash hit, was made into a film at all by Columbia Pictures was […]

Just a thought

Will Our Democracy Still Be Bright?

Posted on

This week I was surprised and moved to discover in my mother’s papers, a speech she had given at a rally in late October 1944 in Rochester, New York for the reelection of President Roosevelt. She was encouraging women to get out and vote, especially when “so many of our men are overseas.” Her words are eloquent […]

Just a thought

The Eternal King Kong and Ann Darrow

Posted on

It may never have occurred to the creators of King Kong – producers and directors Merion C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack, and screenwriter Ruth Rose – nor to my mother, Fay Wray, the damsel in distress in the iconic 1933 movie, that the giant ape would still be captivating, and capturing, New York audiences 85 […]