The Columbia Inn in Pine Tree, Vermont did not bear much of a resemblance to a Catskills’ hotel of that era, and Dean Jagger’s General Tom Waverly was definitely not much like a Sullivan County hotel owner, but the movie “White Christmas” has a strong local flavor nonetheless. [Read more…] about Sullivan County’s ‘White Christmas’ Connection
The Universal Newsreel Collection is the largest donated newsreel collection in the Moving Image and Sound Branch at the National Archives. The popular collection includes nearly 4,000 edited releases which were originally shown in movie theaters, as well as 8,500 reels of unedited outtakes. [Read more…] about Universal Newsreels In The National Archives
On the September 2022 episode of Crossroads of Rockland History, we turned our attention to the life and legacy of the actor Burgess Meredith, who lived in the village of Pomona, in Ramapo, NY for thirty years.
Meredith’s son, Jonathan Meredith, joined Clare Sheridan to share memories of his father, growing up in Rockland County, and his father’s eclectic group of creative friends and neighbors, including Charles Addams, Maxwell Anderson, Alan Jay Lerner, and more. [Read more…] about Burgess Meredith & Rockland County History
The late 1920s and 1930s were crucial years in New York’s rise as an international artistic center. Cultural contacts between Europe and the United States multiplied. American artists who had studied in Paris returned with fresh ambitions; dollar rich patrons were willing to finance new initiatives; the First World War had unsettled European artists and gallerists, many of whom settled in New York. They were joined by others who fled the Nazi threat. Manhattan was turning into a Mecca of modernism where a multi-national cohort of artists, dealers and investors mixed and mingled.
By our standards the art world was relatively small. At any one time in that epoch, there were probably fewer than fifteen galleries active in New York with only a handful concentrating on contemporary art. A pioneering role was played by Alfred Stieglitz’s 291 Gallery on Fifth Avenue. Operational since 1905, the gallery introduced the Parisian avant-garde to an American audience. In modernist Manhattan, Stieglitz was the Godfather. [Read more…] about Julien Levy & Art at the Heart of Manhattan
The new book Vintage Babes of Broadway: Through the 20th Century Lens of Murray Korman (The One Big Name Publishing, 2022) by Clyde Adams and Maureen McCabe includes hundreds of never-before-seen photographs and short biographies about the many celebrities and other theatrical aspirants that 20th century publicity photographer Murray Korman took during his long and successful career. [Read more…] about New Book On 20th Century Broadway Photographer Murray Korman
Joseph Urban may be a somewhat forgotten figure in America’s annals of culture, but during his lifetime he enjoyed an almost legendary reputation. An all-round creative talent, Urban was a prolific Gilded Age illustrator, set designer, and architect of private dwellings, theaters, and a university building in the city of New York. His Gingerbread Castle was built for a fairy tale themed amusement park in Hamburg, New Jersey.
His feeling for color and choice of materials did much to revitalize American stage design and architecture. The contrast between two of Urban’s extant buildings shows the range of his talent as an architect. It goes beyond that: the marked stylistic difference seemed to foreshadow the divisiveness of contemporary society. [Read more…] about The Architecture of Joseph Urban: Mar-a-Lago & The New School
One of the top-grossing American films of 1940 was the western Santa Fe Trail, the seventh Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland collaboration. The story concerns John Brown’s campaign against slavery just before the outbreak of the Civil War. Starting out on an acting career, young Ronald Reagan appeared in the story line as George Armstrong Custer. [Read more…] about Wilhelm Grosz: The Red Sails of Forced Migration
The Brooklyn Museum has announced nearly five hundred new acquisitions that span from the sixth century to today and include Korean objects, Italian Renaissance portraiture, and contemporary works by John Edmonds, Jeffrey Gibson, KAWS, Rick Lowe, Amy Sillman, and Kara Walker, as well as forty significant, rare objects and masterworks that expand the Arts of Korea collection. [Read more…] about Brooklyn Museum Announces Nearly 500 Recent Acquisitions and Gifts
Washington Irving was the son of immigrants. His father was a Presbyterian Scot, his mother Cornish. He was born on April 3rd, 1783, the same week that New Yorkers celebrated the ceasefire that ended the American Revolution. His parents named their son after George Washington. They had settled at 131 William Street, Manhattan, and were part of the city’s merchant class.
Washington began writing letters to the New York Morning Chronicle in 1802. He gained recognition as a satirical author in 1809 with A History of New York using the pseudonym Dietrich Knickerbocker. He riveted readers with his irreverent combination of fact and fancy. [Read more…] about Andalusian Allure: From Washington Irving to Thomas Edison
A few people sitting on the front porch of a Barryville home on the Delaware River last weekend learned firsthand what movie makers in the region discovered more than 100 years ago. There is a light that sweeps down the river valley shortly before dusk that is pure magic.
G.W. “Billy” Bitzer, the master cameraman who accompanied influential director D.W. Griffith to Cuddebackville, in western Orange County, NY, in the early part of the last century, dubbed it magic hour, and “the light Mr. Griffith waited for.” It brought Griffith and his crew back to the area year after year before he discovered the advantages of filming in California and became known as “the man who invented Hollywood.” [Read more…] about D.W. Griffith’s Orange County ‘Magic Hour’ Discovery