Hear 20 Minutes of Mark Frost’s New Secret History of Twin Peaks, the Book Fans Have Waited 25 Years to Read

We live in a good time to be a Twin Peaks fan. Amid the buzz of a third sea­son of David Lynch and Mark Frost’s inno­v­a­tive­ly sur­re­al prime­time dra­ma pre­mier­ing on Show­time next year, we’ve enjoyed the emer­gence of con­tem­po­rary Twin Peaks-relat­ed mate­ri­als (David Lynch’s hand-drawn map of the tit­u­lar small-town set­ting, the Japan­ese cof­fee com­mer­cials he set there) as well as new­er Twin Peaks-themed projects from oth­er cre­ators (an Atari game, an ele­men­tary school play). And now we can read Frost’s nov­el The Secret His­to­ry of Twin Peaks, billed by its pub­lish­er as “the sto­ry mil­lions of fans have been wait­ing to get their hands on for 25 long years.”

The nov­el­’s “362 pages cov­er what hap­pened to some of the peo­ple of that icon­ic fic­tion­al town since we last saw them 25 years ago, but the time­line starts as ear­ly as the 1800s with the jour­nals of Lewis and Clark,” says fan site Wel­come to Twin Peaks. It also “also offers a deep­er glimpse into the cen­tral mys­tery that was only touched on by the orig­i­nal series, and will include over 100 four-col­or illus­tra­tions and pho­tographs.” The near­ly ten-hour audio­book ver­sion fea­tures the voic­es of orig­i­nal cast mem­bers like Michael Horse as Deputy Hawk, Russ Tam­blyn as Dr. Lawrence Jaco­by, and most Twin Peaks of all, Kyle MacLach­lan as FBI Spe­cial Agent Dale Coop­er.

In the video and audio clips at the top of the post, you can sam­ple The Secret His­to­ry of Twin Peaks’ audio­book expe­ri­ence and get a sense of how it dif­fers from that of a nor­mal audio­book — and how the text itself dif­fers from that of a stan­dard nov­el. It takes the form not of a straight-ahead nar­ra­tive but a thor­ough FBI dossier, the print ver­sion of which Mered­ith Bor­ders of Birth.Movies.Death. describes as “an attrac­tive mul­ti-media hodge­podge, with Xerox­ed mani­la fold­ers and sticky notes, arrest reports, book cov­ers, pho­tos and sketch­es and maps and news­pa­per clip­pings.” The longer excerpt here delves into the sto­ry of Josie Packard, the wid­owed own­er of Packard Sawmill and a par­tic­u­lar­ly mys­te­ri­ous char­ac­ter in a cast of mys­te­ri­ous char­ac­ters. Not to give too much away, but her past involves a fash­ion empire, a Hong Kong drug tri­ad, and a “leg­en­dar­i­ly beau­ti­ful pros­ti­tute.”

As always in Twin Peaks, the more you learn, the stranger things get. But a true fan wants just that, and they can have it and then some by pick­ing up their own copy of the book or audio­book, the lat­ter of which they can get for free if they take audio­book provider Audi­ble up on their 30-day tri­al offer.

via Wel­come to Twin Peaks

Relat­ed Con­tent:

David Lynch Draws a Map of Twin Peaks (to Help Pitch the Show to ABC)

David Lynch Directs a Mini-Sea­son of Twin Peaks in the Form of Japan­ese Cof­fee Com­mer­cials

Play the Twin Peaks Video Game: Retro Fun for David Lynch Fans

Ele­men­tary School Stu­dents Per­form in a Play Inspired by David Lynch’s Twin Peaks

David Lynch’s Twin Peaks Title Sequence, Recre­at­ed in an Adorable Paper Ani­ma­tion

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities and cul­ture. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer, the video series The City in Cin­e­ma, the crowd­fund­ed jour­nal­ism project Where Is the City of the Future?, and the Los Ange­les Review of Books’ Korea Blog. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

Hear Vincent Price, Horror Film Legend, Read 8+ Hours of Scary Stories


Image via Wiki­me­dia Com­mons

Here’s a good way to inject a lit­tle fright into your Hal­loween cel­e­bra­tion. Below, we’ve pulled togeth­er a playlist fea­tur­ing Vin­cent Price, the icon of so many clas­sic hor­ror films, read­ing 8+ hours of scary sto­ries. The read­ings, avail­able for free on Spo­ti­fy, come from albums record­ed decades ago. The col­lec­tion includes:

  • Tales of Witch­es, Ghosts and Gob­lins (1972)
  • Witch­craft — Mag­ic: An Adven­ture In Demonolo­gy (1969)
  • A Horn­book For Witch­es, Sto­ries And Poems For Hal­loween (1976)
  • Vin­cent Price and Basil Rath­bone Read Edgar Allan Poe Sto­ries & Poems (1954)


If you don’t have Spo­ti­fy’s soft­ware, down­load it here. This Vin­cent Price playlist will be added to our col­lec­tion, 1,000 Free Audio Books: Down­load Great Books for Free.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Watch Vin­cent, Tim Burton’s Ani­mat­ed Trib­ute to Vin­cent Price & Edgar Allan Poe (1982)

Watch Vin­cent Price Turn Into Edgar Allan Poe & Read Four Clas­sic Poe Sto­ries (1970)

5 Hours of Edgar Allan Poe Sto­ries Read by Vin­cent Price & Basil Rath­bone

by | Permalink | Make a Comment ( 1 ) |

What Makes a Good Horror Movie? The Answer Revealed with a Journey Through Classic Horror Films Clips

A few min­utes with Lewis Bond’s first video essay, “Let’s Dis­cuss Hor­ror,” above, was all it took to scup­per my care­ful avoid­ance of cer­tain film fran­chis­es—Saw, Hos­tel, The Human Cen­tipede

Bond’s cin­e­mat­ic pre­oc­cu­pa­tions usu­al­ly come with far few­er explod­ing heads. Lat­er entries on his Chan­nel Criswell Youtube chan­nel explore such Cri­te­ri­on Col­lec­tion-wor­thy top­ics as “Colour in Sto­ry­telling,” “The French New Wave,” and “Stan­ley Kubrick.”

Clear­ly, he cares about the hor­ror genre, as well as the more rar­i­fied stuff. He opines that hor­ror movies have lost their capac­i­ty to scare. The industry’s quest for ever more trans­gres­sive shocks and gore (many of which are on dis­play above) has left view­ers desen­si­tized. Bond likens the phe­nom­e­non to hit­ting a brick wall and “try­ing to break it down by adding more bricks.”

Part of the prob­lem, Bond sug­gests, is an indus­try onus to deliv­er wall-to-wall deprav­i­ty, the gross­er, the bet­ter. Tor­ture porn may have cor­nered a siz­able piece of the mar­ket, but lack of fore­play is killing the sus­pense. Slow builds such as Dan­ny Torrence’s end­less Big Wheel rides past Room 237 or Rosemary’s uneasy preg­nan­cy are a thing of the past. Today’s film­mak­ers have the meat hooks out from the get go.

When audi­ences become inured to the non-stop buf­fet of burst­ing entrails and the rot­ting zom­bies  who feast on them, film­mak­ers grow even more reliant on jump scares. These pop-go-the-weasel moments invari­ably get a rise out of me, but Bond, like most hor­ror purists, views them with dis­dain. Too easy.

“Let’s Dis­cuss Hor­ror” con­tains a pletho­ra of them, but they seem sil­ly, divorced from the nar­ra­tive and the req­ui­site scary music.

(Speak­ing of which, “Tubu­lar Bells” under­scores a good por­tion of Bond’s breezy nar­ra­tion.)

When­ev­er Bond makes a point with a longer scene from more cel­e­brat­ed fare such as JAWS, Don’t Look Now, or Audi­tion, he includes a click­able link that will deposit view­ers on the oth­er side of spoil­ers. Depend­ing on your sat­u­ra­tion point, you may find your­self wish­ing those links would drop you off in Linus’ pump­kin patch.

Hap­py Hal­loween!

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The First Hor­ror Film, George Méliès’ The Manor of the Dev­il (1896)

Watch the Cult Clas­sic Hor­ror Film Car­ni­val of Souls (1962)

Mar­tin Scors­ese Names the 11 Scari­est Hor­ror Films: Kubrick, Hitch­cock, Tourneur & More

Time Out Lon­don Presents The 100 Best Hor­ror Films: Start by Watch­ing Four Hor­ror Clas­sics Free Online

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine.  Her play Zam­boni Godot is open­ing in New York City in March 2017. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

Isaac Newton’s Recipe for the Mythical ‘Philosopher’s Stone’ Is Being Digitized & Put Online (Along with His Other Alchemy Manuscripts)


In his 1686 Prin­cip­ia Math­e­mat­i­ca, Isaac New­ton elab­o­rat­ed not only his famous Law of Grav­i­ty, but also his Three Laws of Motion, set­ting a cen­turies-long trend for sci­en­tif­ic three-law sets. Newton’s third law has by far proven his most pop­u­lar: “every action has an equal and oppo­site reac­tion.” In Arthur C. Clarke’s 20th cen­tu­ry Three Laws, the third has also attained wide cul­tur­al sig­nif­i­cance. No doubt you’ve heard it: “Any suf­fi­cient­ly advanced tech­nol­o­gy is indis­tin­guish­able from mag­ic.”

Clarke’s third law gets invoked in dis­cus­sions of the so-called “demar­ca­tion prob­lem,” that is, of the bound­aries between sci­ence and pseu­do­science. It also comes up, of course, in sci­ence fic­tion forums, where peo­ple refer to Ted Chiang’s suc­cinct inter­pre­ta­tion: “If you can mass-pro­duce it, it’s sci­ence, and if you can’t, it’s mag­ic.” This makes sense, giv­en the cen­tral impor­tance the sci­ences place on repro­ducibil­i­ty. But in Newton’s pre-indus­tri­al age, the dis­tinc­tions between sci­ence and mag­ic were much blur­ri­er than they are now.

New­ton was an ear­ly fel­low of the British Roy­al Soci­ety, which cod­i­fied repeat­able exper­i­ment and demon­stra­tion with their mot­to, “Noth­ing in words,” and pub­lished the Prin­cip­ia. He lat­er served as the Society’s pres­i­dent for over twen­ty years. But even as the fore­most rep­re­sen­ta­tive of ear­ly mod­ern physics—what Edward Dol­nick called “the clock­work uni­verse”—New­ton held some very strange reli­gious and mag­i­cal beliefs that we would point to today as exam­ples of super­sti­tion and pseu­do­science.

In 1704, for exam­ple, the year after he became Roy­al Soci­ety pres­i­dent, New­ton used cer­tain eso­teric for­mu­lae to cal­cu­late the end of the world, in keep­ing with his long-stand­ing study of apoc­a­lyp­tic prophe­cy. What’s more, the revered math­e­mati­cian and physi­cist prac­ticed the medieval art of alche­my, the attempt to turn base met­als into gold by means of an occult object called the “Philosopher’s stone.” By Newton’s time, many alchemists believed the stone to be a mag­i­cal sub­stance com­posed in part of “soph­ick mer­cury.” In the late 1600s, New­ton copied out a recipe for such stuff from a text by Amer­i­can-born alchemist George Starkey, writ­ing his own notes on the back of the doc­u­ment.

You can see the “soph­ick mer­cury” for­mu­la in Newton’s hand at the top. The recipe con­tains, in part, “Fiery Drag­on, some Doves of Diana, and at least sev­en Eagles of mer­cury,” notes Michael Greshko at Nation­al Geo­graph­ic. New­ton’s alchem­i­cal texts detail what has long been “dis­missed as mys­ti­cal pseu­do­science full of fan­ci­ful, dis­cred­it­ed process­es.” This is why Cam­bridge Uni­ver­si­ty refused to archive Newton’s alchem­i­cal papers in 1888, and why his 1855 biog­ra­ph­er won­dered how he could be tak­en in by “the obvi­ous pro­duc­tion of a fool and a knave.” New­ton’s alche­my doc­u­ments passed qui­et­ly through many pri­vate col­lec­tors’ hands until 1936, when “the world of Isaac New­ton schol­ar­ship received a rude shock,” writes Indi­ana University’s online project, The Chym­istry of Isaac New­ton:

In that year the ven­er­a­ble auc­tion house of Sotheby’s released a cat­a­logue describ­ing three hun­dred twen­ty-nine lots of Newton’s man­u­scripts, most­ly in his own hand­writ­ing, of which over a third were filled with con­tent that was unde­ni­ably alchem­i­cal.

Marked “not to be print­ed” upon his death in 1727, the alchem­i­cal works “raised a host of inter­est­ing ques­tions in 1936 as they do even today.” Those ques­tions include whether or not New­ton prac­ticed alche­my as an ear­ly sci­en­tif­ic pur­suit or whether he believed in a “secret the­o­log­i­cal mean­ing in alchem­i­cal texts, which often describe the trans­mu­ta­tion­al secret as a spe­cial gift revealed by God to his cho­sen sons.” The impor­tant dis­tinc­tion comes into play in Ted Chiang’s dis­cus­sion of Clarke’s Third Law:

Sup­pose some­one says she can trans­form lead into gold. If we can use her tech­nique to build fac­to­ries that turn lead into gold by the ton, then she’s made an incred­i­ble sci­en­tif­ic dis­cov­ery. If on the oth­er hand it’s some­thing that only she can do… then she’s a magi­cian.

Did New­ton think of him­self as a magi­cian? Or, more prop­er­ly giv­en his reli­gios­i­ty, as God’s cho­sen ves­sel for alchem­i­cal trans­for­ma­tion? It’s not entire­ly clear what he believed about alche­my. But he did take the prac­tice of what was then called “chym­istry” as seri­ous­ly as he did his math­e­mat­ics. James Voelkel, cura­tor of the Chem­i­cal Her­itage Foun­da­tion—who recent­ly pur­chased the Philoso­phers’ stone recipe—tells Live­science that its author, Starkey, was “prob­a­bly American’s first renowned, pub­lished sci­en­tist,” as well as an alchemist. While New­ton may not have tried to make the mer­cury, he did cor­rect Starkey’s text and write his own exper­i­ments for dis­till­ing lead ore on the back.

Indi­ana Uni­ver­si­ty sci­ence his­to­ri­an William New­man “and oth­er his­to­ri­ans,” notes Nation­al Geo­graph­ic, “now view alchemists as thought­ful tech­ni­cians who labored over their equip­ment and took copi­ous notes, often encod­ing their recipes with mytho­log­i­cal sym­bols to pro­tect their hard-won knowl­edge.” The occult weird­ness of alche­my, and the strange pseu­do­nyms its prac­ti­tion­ers adopt­ed, often con­sti­tut­ed a means to “hide their meth­ods from the unlearned and ‘unwor­thy,’” writes Dan­ny Lewis at Smith­son­ian. Like his fel­low alchemists, New­ton “dili­gent­ly doc­u­ment­ed his lab tech­niques” and kept a care­ful record of his read­ing.

“Alchemists were the first to real­ize that com­pounds could be bro­ken down into their con­stituent parts and then recom­bined,” says New­man, a prin­ci­ple that influ­enced Newton’s work on optics. It is now acknowl­edged that—while still con­sid­ered a mys­ti­cal pseudoscience—alchemy is an impor­tant “pre­cur­sor to mod­ern chem­istry” and, indeed, as Indi­ana Uni­ver­si­ty notes, it con­tributed sig­nif­i­cant­ly to ear­ly mod­ern phar­ma­col­o­gy” and “iatro­chem­istry… one of the impor­tant new fields of ear­ly mod­ern sci­ence.” The suf­fi­cient­ly advanced tech­nol­o­gy of chem­istry has its ori­gins in the mag­ic of “chym­istry,” and New­ton was “involved in all three of chymistry’s major branch­es in vary­ing degrees.”

Newton’s alchem­i­cal man­u­script papers, such as “Artephius his secret Book” and “Her­mes” sound noth­ing like what we would expect of the dis­cov­er­er of a “clock­work uni­verse.” You can read tran­scrip­tions of these man­u­scripts and sev­er­al dozen more at The Chym­istry of Isaac New­ton, where you’ll also find an Alchem­i­cal Glos­sary, Sym­bol Guide, sev­er­al edu­ca­tion­al resources, and more. The man­u­scripts not only show Newton’s alche­my pur­suits, but also his cor­re­spon­dence with oth­er ear­ly mod­ern alchem­i­cal sci­en­tists like Robert Boyle and Starkey, whose recipe—titled “Prepa­ra­tion of the [Socph­ick] Mer­cury for the [Philoso­phers’] stone by the Antin­o­mi­al Stel­late Reg­u­lus of Mars and Luna from the Man­u­scripts of the Amer­i­can Philosopher”—will be added to the Indi­ana Uni­ver­si­ty online archive soon.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

In 1704, Isaac New­ton Pre­dicts the World Will End in 2060

Sir Isaac Newton’s Papers & Anno­tat­ed Prin­cip­ia Go Dig­i­tal

Isaac New­ton Cre­ates a List of His 57 Sins (Cir­ca 1662)

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

The 14-Hour Epic Film, Dune, That Alejandro Jodorowsky, Pink Floyd, Salvador Dalí, Moebius, Orson Welles & Mick Jagger Never Made

Frank Her­bert, David Lynch, and Ale­jan­dro Jodor­owsky sure­ly all rank among the most imag­i­na­tive cre­ators of the sec­ond half of the twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry. It made sense to film pro­duc­ers to turn Her­bert’s Dune into a movie, but they had a dev­il of a time find­ing the right direc­tor to bring that epic nov­el of the feu­dal inter­stel­lar future to the screen. Lynch, as all his fans know and most regret, wound up with the job, and soon after the botched result hit the­aters in 1984, it made his­to­ry as one of the all-time clas­sic mis­match­es between film­mak­er and project, and at $40 mil­lion, one of the most expen­sive. Les­son learned: don’t hire the direc­tor of Eraser­head to helm your big-bud­get sci-fi block­buster.

But what about the direc­tor of the even stranger and more ambi­tious The Holy Moun­tain? In 1975, almost a decade before Lynch’s Dune, Jodor­owsky announced his own adap­ta­tion of Dune, fund­ed by a French con­sor­tium and made in col­lab­o­ra­tion with artists like Chris Foss, H.R. Giger, and Moe­bius, writer and spe­cial effects design­er Dan O’Ban­non (who’d just made the low-bud­get space com­e­dy Dark Star with John Car­pen­ter), and actors like Orson Welles, Glo­ria Swan­son, and David Car­ra­dine.

He also cast such icons not known pri­mar­i­ly for act­ing as Mick Jag­ger and Sal­vador Dalí. “Jodorowsky’s mid­night audi­ences were noto­ri­ous for being high,” writes The Hol­ly­wood Reporter’s Chris O’Falt, “but with Dune the direc­tor set out to make a film that fab­ri­cat­ed the effects of LSD for a sober audi­ence, com­plete with a sound­track by Pink Floyd.”

Or as Dalí once declared, “I don’t do drugs. I am drugs.” This cin­e­mat­ic expe­ri­ence of expand­ed con­scious­ness would have run approx­i­mate­ly four­teen hours, as Her­bert dis­cov­ered when he checked in on the pre-pro­duc­tion to find $2 mil­lion of the film’s $9.5 mil­lion bud­get already spent and a script “the size of a phone book.” Unable to find a stu­dio to bankroll the Dune he and his col­lab­o­ra­tors had envi­sioned, Jodor­owsky ulti­mate­ly dropped the project, but its mate­ri­als — and the stag­ger­ing breadth as well as depth of its vision — pro­vid­ed the basis for the 2014 doc­u­men­tary Jodor­owsky’s Dune, whose trail­er you can watch above.

“Almost all the bat­tles were won, but the war was lost,“Jodorowsky writes in an essay on his expe­ri­ence with the project. “The project was sab­o­taged in Hol­ly­wood. It was French and not Amer­i­can. Its mes­sage was not ‘enough Hol­ly­wood.’ There were intrigues, plun­der­ing. The sto­ry-board cir­cu­lat­ed among all the large stu­dios. Lat­er, the visu­al aspect of Star Wars resem­bled our style. To make Alien, they invit­ed Moe­bius, Foss, Giger, O’Ban­non, etc.,” to say noth­ing of its traces vis­i­ble in Blade Run­ner and The Matrix. While the 87-year-old Jodor­owsky has made a return to film­mak­ing in recent years, his Dune will most like­ly remain on the lists of the great­est movies nev­er made. But its influ­ence, if not its scale, will no doubt con­tin­ue to man­i­fest in gen­er­a­tions of sci-fi cin­e­ma to come.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Moe­bius’ Sto­ry­boards & Con­cept Art for Jodorowsky’s Dune

Mœbius & Jodorowsky’s Sci-Fi Mas­ter­piece, The Incal, Brought to Life in a Tan­ta­liz­ing Ani­ma­tion

The Glos­sary Uni­ver­sal Stu­dios Gave Out to the First Audi­ences of David Lynch’s Dune (1984)

Napoleon: The Great­est Movie Stan­ley Kubrick Nev­er Made

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities and cul­ture. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer, the video series The City in Cin­e­ma, the crowd­fund­ed jour­nal­ism project Where Is the City of the Future?, and the Los Ange­les Review of Books’ Korea Blog. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

Huge Archive of American Films–From Casablanca to Gigli–Are Protected & Preserved in a Nuclear Bunker

We’ve been giv­en to under­stand how impor­tant it is that our top elect­ed offi­cials dis­ap­pear into bunkers if the coun­try is attacked. But in the event of a cat­a­stroph­ic nuclear bomb­ing, what hap­pens to the country’s cul­ture, its shared lit­er­ary and artis­tic arti­facts? What hap­pens to nov­els like Rid­dley Walk­er (a favorite of Antho­ny Burgess) or films like the Mad Max series, both of which describe post-apoc­a­lyp­tic land­scapes near­ly wiped clean of the traces of hun­dreds of years of human civ­i­liza­tion? Maybe it’s a depress­ing ques­tion, but in the case of Amer­i­can cinema—as campy as Mad Max Beyond Thun­der­dome or as clas­si­cal­ly smooth as Casablan­ca—learn­ing the answer will not bum you out.

You’ll like­ly find your­self riv­et­ed by the video above from Great Big Sto­ry, a quick tour of the Library of Con­gress’ Packard Cam­pus. The Culpeper, Vir­ginia com­pound, orig­i­nal­ly designed to pre­serve gold and maybe the Pres­i­dent, is now pressed into ser­vice as a bomb-proof film archive.

You may be relieved to learn from film archivist George Wille­man that a post-cat­a­stro­phe U.S. will not have to rebuild with­out clas­sic Bog­a­rt per­for­mances to draw from. Per­haps that new soci­ety could do with­out copies of Gigli or the films of Adam San­dler, but that’s an opin­ion the future is free to dis­re­gard, should such ter­ri­ble things ever come to pass.

But be not bummed, the Packard Cam­pus does much more than pre­pare for the worst. Archivists and tech­ni­cians there spend their days sav­ing the best of film his­to­ry, “pre­serv­ing and restor­ing film reels,” reports Indiewire: “The bunker has a suite where tech­ni­cians do noth­ing but repair films, it also has spe­cial­ized rooms for print­ing, film pro­cess­ing Dat­aCine trans­fers and cylin­der record­ing. There are also video play­ers that can play any sort of for­mat that they need.” The com­pound will also hold par­tic­u­lar appeal for fans of Bru­tal­ist archi­tec­ture that appears to be aban­doned to the ele­ments. Hav­ing dri­ven by the bunker many times—and only recent­ly learn­ing what it was—I can tes­ti­fy to the impos­ing bulk and seem­ing ruina­tion of its above-ground floors, which we only get a glimpse of in the first few min­utes of the video. Inside, it’s a film his­to­ri­an and archivist’s dream.

For more films that would hope­ful­ly sur­vive an apoc­a­lypse, see our col­lec­tion: 4,000+ Free Movies Online: Great Clas­sics, Indies, Noir, West­erns, Doc­u­men­taries & More

via Indiewire

Relat­ed Con­tent:

New Archive Makes Avail­able 800,000 Pages Doc­u­ment­ing the His­to­ry of Film, Tele­vi­sion & Radio

The His­to­ry of Stop-Motion Films: 39 Films, Span­ning 116 Years, Revis­it­ed in a 3‑Minute Video

Free: British Pathé Puts Over 85,000 His­tor­i­cal Films on YouTube

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

Hear Marilyn Monroe’s Acting Teacher, Lee Strasberg, Deliver a Moving Eulogy at Her Funeral (1962)

Good­bye, Nor­ma Jean…

Mar­i­lyn Monroe’s star­dom is tru­ly leg­endary. Her image gen­er­ates mil­lions of dol­lars annu­al­ly. From high-end mem­o­ra­bil­ia to lunch­box­es, fridge mag­nets, and oth­er cheap trin­kets, the world still can’t get enough of her, near­ly fifty-five years after her death.

Her act­ing tal­ent was con­sid­er­able, but by and large that is not what she’s cel­e­brat­ed for. Speak­ing at her funer­al, her men­tor Lee Stras­berg, the Artis­tic Direc­tor of the Actors Stu­dio, lament­ed that “the pub­lic who loved her did not have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to see her as we did, in many of the roles that fore­shad­owed what she would have become.” In his opin­ion, the movie star’s true des­tiny pegged her to become “one of the finest Amer­i­can stage actress­es of all time.”

Actor Mar­tin Lan­dau remem­bered Mon­roe steel­ing her­self to get up in front of her Actors Stu­dio class­mates for the first time, in a scene from Eugene O’Neill’s Anna Christie with Mau­reen Sta­ple­ton.

Alas, this is not the sort of Mon­roe moment pos­ter­i­ty pre­serves on a beach tote or sequined t‑shirt.

Strasberg’s mov­ing 1962 eulo­gy, above, acknowl­edged both the 31 inti­mates invit­ed to her final send off, and the crowds out­side the gate. Frank Sina­tra, Ella Fitzger­ald, and Sam­my Davis, Jr. were among the lumi­nar­ies denied entry. Monroe’s for­mer hus­band, base­ball great Joe DiMag­gio banned a whole pan­theon of Hol­ly­wood movers and shak­ers, along with the pub­lic.

If it was­n’t for them, she’d still be here,” he told her lawyer, Mick­ey Rudin.

Stu­dio execs had lit­tle regard for the actress’ well­be­ing, but Stras­berg was both teacher and father fig­ure, allow­ing her beyond the usu­al pro­fes­sion­al bound­aries to become a de fac­to, if prob­lem­at­ic, mem­ber of the fam­i­ly. As his daugh­ter, Monroe’s friend, actress Susan Stras­berg wrote:

Mar­i­lyn broke all the rules I was expect­ed to fol­low. She was unpre­dictable, but he didn’t yell at her. He con­stant­ly val­i­dat­ed her. With her, Pop was vul­ner­a­ble, pater­nal, per­mis­sive. With me he was imper­son­al, crit­i­cal, for­bid­ding. What was I doing wrong? Why didn’t he give me per­mis­sion to be myself as he did her?”

DiMag­gio had orig­i­nal­ly hoped that poet Carl Sand­burg might be avail­able to orate at Monroe’s funer­al. When Sand­burg declined due to ill health, the sad duty fell to Stras­berg, who turned out to be unique­ly pre­pared to ful­fill this role.

The com­plete text of Lee Strasberg’s eulo­gy for Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe is below, as is a short doc­u­men­tary on her involve­ment with the Actors Stu­dio.

Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe was a leg­end.

In her own life­time she cre­at­ed a myth of what a poor girl from a deprived back­ground could attain. For the entire world she became a sym­bol of the eter­nal fem­i­nine.

But I have no words to describe the myth and the leg­end. I did not know this Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe. We gath­ered here today, knew only Mar­i­lyn – a warm human being, impul­sive and shy, sen­si­tive and in fear of rejec­tion, yet ever avid for life and reach­ing out for ful­fill­ment. I will not insult the pri­va­cy of your mem­o­ry of her – a pri­va­cy she sought and trea­sured – by try­ing to describe her whom you knew to you who knew her. In our mem­o­ries of her she remains alive, not only a shad­ow on the screen or a glam­orous per­son­al­i­ty.

For us Mar­i­lyn was a devot­ed and loy­al friend, a col­league con­stant­ly reach­ing for per­fec­tion. We shared her pain and dif­fi­cul­ties and some of her joys. She was a mem­ber of our fam­i­ly. It is dif­fi­cult to accept the fact that her zest for life has been end­ed by this dread­ful acci­dent.

Despite the heights and bril­liance she attained on the screen, she was plan­ning for the future; she was look­ing for­ward to par­tic­i­pat­ing in the many excit­ing things which she planned. In her eyes and in mine her career was just begin­ning.

The dream of her tal­ent, which she had nur­tured as a child, was not a mirage. When she first came to me I was amazed at the star­tling sen­si­tiv­i­ty which she pos­sessed and which had remained fresh and undimmed, strug­gling to express itself despite the life to which she had been sub­ject­ed.

Oth­ers were as phys­i­cal­ly beau­ti­ful as she was, but there was obvi­ous­ly some­thing more in her, some­thing that peo­ple saw and rec­og­nized in her per­for­mances and with which they iden­ti­fied. She had a lumi­nous qual­i­ty – a com­bi­na­tion of wist­ful­ness, radi­ance, yearn­ing – to set her apart and yet make every­one wish to be a part of it, to share in the child­ish naïveté which was so shy and yet so vibrant.

This qual­i­ty was even more evi­dent when she was in the stage. I am tru­ly sor­ry that the pub­lic who loved her did not have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to see her as we did, in many of the roles that fore­shad­owed what she would have become. With­out a doubt she would have been one of the real­ly great actress­es of the stage.

Now it is at an end. I hope her death will stir sym­pa­thy and under­stand­ing for a sen­si­tive artist and a woman who brought joy and plea­sure to the world.

I can­not say good­bye. Mar­i­lyn nev­er liked good­byes, but in the pecu­liar way she had of turn­ing things around so that they faced real­i­ty – I will say au revoir. For the coun­try to which she has gone, we must all some­day vis­it.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe Recounts Her Har­row­ing Expe­ri­ence in a Psy­chi­atric Ward in a 1961 Let­ter

A Look Inside Mar­i­lyn Monroe’s Per­son­al Library

Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe Explains Rel­a­tiv­i­ty to Albert Ein­stein (in a Nico­las Roeg Movie)

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine.  Her play Zam­boni Godot is open­ing in New York City in March 2017. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

Hear Marshall McLuhan’s The Medium is the Massage (1967)


Image via Wiki­me­dia Com­mons

Briefly not­ed: In 1967, Mar­shall McLuhan teamed up with graph­ic design­er Quentin Fiore to write The Medi­um is the Mas­sage, a short 160-page book that offers a con­densed, effec­tive pre­sen­ta­tion of his ideas on the nature of media, com­mu­ni­ca­tion and tech­nol­o­gy. The book was soon accom­pa­nied by an album bear­ing the same name, which Wikipedia describes like this:

An audio record­ing based on the book was made by Colum­bia Records in the late 1960s, pro­duced by John Simon but oth­er­wise keep­ing the same cred­its as the book. The record­ing con­sists of a pas­tiche of state­ments made by McLuhan inter­rupt­ed by oth­er speak­ers, includ­ing peo­ple speak­ing in var­i­ous phona­tions and falset­tos, dis­cor­dant sounds and 1960s inci­den­tal music in what could be con­sid­ered a delib­er­ate attempt to trans­late the dis­con­nect­ed images seen on TV into an audio for­mat, result­ing in the pre­ven­tion of a con­nect­ed stream of con­scious thought. Var­i­ous audio record­ing tech­niques and state­ments are used to illus­trate the rela­tion­ship between spo­ken, lit­er­ary speech and the char­ac­ter­is­tics of elec­tron­ic audio media. McLuhan biog­ra­ph­er Philip Marc­hand called the record­ing “the 1967 equiv­a­lent of a McLuhan video.

One review­er on Ama­zon describes it as “more of a per­for­mance piece than a trea­tise.” And thanks to Spo­ti­fy, you can hear it below, in full. Also find it on YouTube.

The Medi­um is the Mas­sage–yes, it was orig­i­nal­ly spelled that way–will be added to our list: 1,000 Free Audio Books: Down­load Great Books for Free

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Mar­shall McLuhan, W.H. Auden & Buck­min­ster Fuller Debate the Virtues of Mod­ern Tech­nol­o­gy & Media (1971)

Mar­shall McLuhan on the Stu­pid­est Debate in the His­to­ry of Debat­ing (1976)

The Vision­ary Thought of Mar­shall McLuhan, Intro­duced and Demys­ti­fied by Tom Wolfe

McLuhan Said “The Medi­um Is The Mes­sage”; Two Pieces Of Media Decode the Famous Phrase

by | Permalink | Make a Comment ( 2 ) |

More in this category... »
Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.