Thursday, June 24, 2010

Trouble Along The Way (1953)

Fellow classic cinemaphile Don McKeon recently told me about another classic film that mentions Scranton in passing. The film is 1953's Trouble Along The Way.

Directed by Michael Curtiz (Casablanca, Mildred Pierce, White Christmas), Trouble Along The Way stars John Wayne as Steve Williams, a down-on-his-luck football coach and single father who is recruited by struggling St. Anthony's College in New York City to produce a winning team. Along the way, Steve falls in love with Alice Singleton (Donna Reed), the social worker fighting to get Steve's ex-wife legal custody of their daughter. The film also features an uncredited James Dean as a "football spectator".

About an hour into the film, John Wayne's character Steve Williams (who also says "Wilkes-Barre" several times in the 1942 film Reunion In France) is watching 16 mm films of potential football recruits for St. Anthony's football team with his buddies Stan Schwegler (Chuck Connors) and Moose McCall (Bill Nadovich):

Stan: We've been over these films ten times, Steve. We've got everything but a passer.

Steve: What happened to that kid from Scranton?

Moose: One of the California schools got to him first.

Unfortunately, Trouble Along The Way is not available to borrow from the Lackawanna County Library System. But you can purchase a copy for less than $10 from

Much thanks again to the ever-groovy movie buff Don McKeon for this reference.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Broadway's "Next Fall" To End Run July 4, 2010; Includes Reference to Scranton

It has been announced that the Broadway run of the play Next Fall, which features a brief reference to Scranton, will end on Sunday, July 4, 2010 after 26 previews and 132 regular performances.

Next Fall, which opened on March 11, 2010, is a new play written by actor Geoffrey Nauffts (Broadway's A Few Good Men) and produced by Elton John and David Furnish. It tells the humorous and touching story of a gay couple whose five-year relationship is put to the test when an accident changes both their lives and the lives of those around them.

At some point in the play, one of the characters describes another's appearance as "looking like a lesbian from Scranton."

To purchase tickets, click here.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Gasland, Directed by Wayne County Native Josh Fox, To Have TV Premiere on HBO Monday, June 21st

It has been announced that the documentary Gasland, written and directed by Wayne County native Josh Fox, will air on HBO on Monday, June 21st at 9 PM as part of a summer-long documentary series on the cable channel. The acclaimed documentary, which will also air June 24, 26, and 30, and July 5 and 9 on HBO, won a Special Jury Prize at this year's Sundance Film Festival.

In Gasland, Josh Fox received an offer to drill for natural gas under his property in Pennsylvania; in response, he did what few landowners think to do--he conducted his own research into the drilling process.

The Associated Press published an article titled "New HBO Documentary Exposes Gas Drilling Hazards" by AP writer Michael Rubinkam. To read the article, click here.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Michael Kuchwara (1947-2010)

We would like to acknowledge the recent passing of renowned reporter and critic Michael Kuchwara, a native of Scranton who died May 22, 2010. Mr. Kuchwara reviewed more than 200 theatrical productions a year throughout his career.

Mr. Kuchwara was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania on February 28, 1947 and was attracted to the theater at a very early age, when he saw his first show at the Pocono Playhouse.

The Reference Department offers its deepest sympathies to his family.

To read Mr. Kuchwara's obituary in the New York Times, click here.

Much thanks to Evelyn Gibbons for this reference.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

When Did I Get Like This? by Scranton Native Amy Wilson (2010)

My groovy colleague Michele L., an avid reader like myself (occupational hazard; after all, we're librarians) and a regular contributor to the Entertainment blog, told me about a book she loved written by a Scranton native that was the basis of a hit Off-Broadway show The Mother Load, which continues to tour the country (yes, even Scranton). The book is When Did I Get Like This? The Screamer, The Worrier, the Dinosaur-Chicken-Nugget Buyer & Other Mothers I Swore I'd Never Be and it features several reference to Scranton and even a couple of landmarks in Scranton; furthermore, its author Amy Wilson is a Scranton native.

Before venturing in the the world of theater and writing, Amy Wilson was familiar to television viewers for her role as Molly Carver on The Norm Show (1999-2001). Amy also made appearances in TV shows such as Felicity, Daddio, and Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Her film credits include Kinsey and Kissing Jessica Stein. She also starred on Broadway in the Tony and Pulitzer winning play The Last Night of Ballyhoo.

In 1996, Amy was one of the writers and stars of the sketch comedy show Live on Tape.

A mother of 3, Amy used her experiences to write and perform the show The Mother Load, which was a hit off-Broadway and continues to tour the US.

On April 6, 2010, Amy Wilson published her first book titled When Did I Get Like This? The Screamer, The Worrier, The Dinosaur-Chicken-Nugget Buyer & Other Mothers I Swore I'd Never Be. Not only is the book hilarious, but it features lots of reference to her hometown of Scranton, PA.

Page 22
"So we took the two-hour drive to Scranton that weekend, and sat David's parents, then mine, down at their kitchen tables."

Page 56
"Like the majority of my peers, I had not been breastfed. I may have been a '70s baby, but that hippie stuff did not fly in Scranton, Pennsylvania."

Pages 79-80
"Granted, this was a particularly bad weekend, since we had taken our possessed child out of his element to our hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, to attempt an exorcism."

Page 80
"(We had, of course, deflated and packed the ball for our trip to Scranton; I would sooner have left Connor behind than the ball.)"

Page 96
"Growing up in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where everyone is Catholic."

Page 104
"In Scranton, Pennsylvania, when I had just turned four..."

Page 109
"Manhattan moms in the know plan their conceptions to occur sometime just after Chinese New Year, so that their children will have an ultra-desirable autumn birthday. Like I said, I'm from Scranton, so I don't know about that."

Page 142
"Each student at St. Clare School (K-6 school located in the Green Ridge section of Scranton) would be send home with a checkbook-green account of his or her progress."

Page 142
"Before I was old enough to get graded on actual subjects, the assessment scale at St. Clare School had a very simple rating system."

Page 172
"Those were the girls at St. Paul's School (Grades 6-8 school in the Green Ridge section of Scranton) who had their act together."

Pages 204-205
"If you needed help, your mother lived next door; at least that's how it happened in Scranton."

When Did I Get Like This?
is available to borrow from the Lackawanna County Library System. To place a hold, click here.

Click here to follow Amy on Twitter.

Much thanks to Michele L. for another great reference.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Double Wedding (1937)

Eagle-eyed Don McKeon, who has regularly contributed wonderful Scranton and Wilkes-Barre references to the movie blog, recently told me about a hilarious screwball romantic comedy from the mid-30s, starring Myrna Loy and William Powell (The Thin Man film series), that prominently features a sign reading "YOU ARE NOW LEAVING WILKES-BARRE. COME AGAIN" throughout the film. The film is 1937's Double Wedding and it was produced by Wilkes-Barre native Joseph L. Mankiewicz, who added references to Wilkes-Barre to almost every film he was a part of---from films he wrote/directed such as Oscar winners A Letter To Three Wives to All About Eve , to films he produced such as Reunion in France.

Double Wedding is the story of dress shop employee Margit (Myrna Loy), who is a major overbearing control freak over her sister Irene's (Florence Rice) life--even over Irene's fiance Waldo's (John Beal) life. When Irene, an aspiring actress, falls under the spell of eccentric film director and painter Charles Lodge (William Powell) and suddenly breaks off her engagement to Waldo, Margit is furious and will do everything in her power to make the wedding happen and distance her sister from the crazy director who lives in an auto trailer with a sign reading "YOU ARE NOW LEAVING WILKES-BARRE. COME AGAIN." pasted on the side.

The final 10 minutes of the film are some the funniest scenes I've ever seen in a movie.

Below are several screen shots taken from the film where the "YOU ARE NOW LEAVING WILKES-BARRE. COME AGAIN." sign is prominently displayed in the scene. There are several other scenes in the film where the sign is displayed but partially obscured. Click on any onf the images below for a closer view.

3:33 Irene (Florence Rice) and Waldo (John Beal) leave Charles Lodge's auto trailer after a rehearsal.
23:10 Margit (Myrna Loy) stares at the curious sign on Charles Lodge's auto trailer as she prepares to confront him about her sister.
31:21 Charles Lodge(William Powell) exits his auto trailer in the rain to answer a phone call at a neighboring business (he is alerted to all calls for him by a gong in his auto trailer).
37:14 Slowly warming up to each other, Margit (Myrna Loy) and Charles (William Powell) have a picnic in front of his auto trailer.
40:32 As Charles lay sleeping outside after the picnic, Margit (Myrna Loy) hops into his car and drives off with it and the attached auto trailer.
45:44 Margit (Myrna Loy) angrily storms into Charles's auto trailer after seeing him with her sister, after he promised to stay away from her.

Double Wedding is included on the DVD box set The Myrna Loy and William Powell Collection and is available to borrow from the Lackawanna County Library System. To place a hold, click here.

Much thanks again to Don McKeon for another great reference.