Posts Tagged ‘Groucho Marx’
There is, to be sure, a great deal of change swirling around us. It is tempting to conclude that we are, in fact, entering a New Age. But what does that mean?
Readers can devote themselves to study… or they can utilize tools readily available on the web to craft their own comforting wisdom: your correspondent might recommend “Wisdom of Chopra” (a site the randomly assembles words from the guru’s tweets) and “New Age Bullshit” (just click “randomize electrons” at the top of the page).
[TotH to @martykrasney]
* James “The Amazing” Randi
As we align our chakras, we might recall that it was on this date in 1897 that Grant’s Tomb was dedicated. The final resting place of Ulysses S. Grant (1822–1885), the 18th President of the United States, and his wife, Julia Dent Grant (1826–1902), it is located in Riverside Park in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of Upper Manhattan, across the street from the monumental Riverside Church.
It is probably best known via Groucho Marx, who asked contestants on his radio and television show You Bet Your Life, “Who was buried in Grant’s Tomb?” The riddle turns on the word “buried”: the correct answer is “no one,” since Grant and his wife are entombed in sarcophagi above ground in an atrium.
Candy Barr (July 6, 1935 – December 30, 2005) was an American stripper, burlesque exotic dancer, actress in one pornographic movie, and model in men’s magazines of the mid-20th century.
Born Juanita Dale Slusher in Edna, Texas, the youngest of five children, at age 16, she appeared in one of the first [full length] pornographic movies, Smart Alec (1951). Later, Barr established herself in burlesque and striptease with her trademark costume—cowboy hat, pasties, scant panties, a pair of pearl handled cap six-shooters in a holster strapped low on her shapely hips, and cowboy boots. Married three times, and widowed once when she shot her second husband, she was also involved with Jack Ruby and Mickey Cohen. Later in her life, she was honored by Texas Monthly as one history’s “perfect Texans,” and was inducted into the Hall of Fame of Exotic World Burlesque Museum.
Ms. Barr shares another distinction with the likes of Groucho Marx, Truman Capote, Frank Zappa, and rapper Eazy-E: they were all posthumously baptized into the Mormon Church.
Some time in 1842, the prophet Joseph Smith introduced to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints a temple ceremony called Baptism for the Dead, followed shortly by a full complement of salvific ordinances-by-proxy for dead ancestors, which he justified again in 1844:
A man may act as proxy for his own relatives; the ordinances of the Gospel which were laid out before the foundations of the world have thus been fulfilled by them, and we may be baptized for those whom we have much friendship for.
Joseph Smith on May 12, 1844
History of the Church, 6:365–66
But the original spirit of the ordinances seems to have given way to a general enthusiasm for conversion, and members of the Church began trying to ‘redeem’ everyone they could identify. Some members took a shortcut and performed proxy baptisms and other ordinances for any name they could find– which meant that a lot of famous people got baptized. Indeed, it appears that some time in the early 1990’s there was a fad, or at least a hobby, of finding famous people to baptize.
Famous Dead Mormons is both a tribute to the practice and a catalogue of celebrity souls– like Candy’s– saved after the fact.
As we wonder if this amounts to an E Ticket to the Rapture, we might wish a patriotic birthday to George M. Cohan; he was born on this date in 1878. A playwright, songwriter, dancer, actor, theater owner, and producer, Cohan is best remembered as the composer and lyricist of songs including “Yankee Doodle Dandy” and “You’re a Grand Old Flag” (which may explain why some sources strain to locate his birthday tomorrow– on July 4). Cohan is not believed to be a baptized Mormon.
source: Library of Congress
I wouldn’t want to belong to any club that would have me as a member…
– Groucho Marx
Since 1967, Disney’s Exclusive Club 33: Walt Disney felt that he needed a special private place where he could entertain sponsors and other guests. After he had died Disney Land decided to make Club 33 open only to special members and their guests. Located at at the heart of New Orleans Square at Disney Land, it gives the members and their guests exclusive access to the club’s restaurant, and the premises which are not open to the public at large. After Disney’s death Club 33 had opened itself with special limited memberships to the public. As of June 2007, the membership waiting list was 14 years, and membership interest list was closed to new inquiries as of April/May 2007.
Metro-2 in Moscow: Russia has a secret underground metro system which parallels the public Moscow Metro. The length of Metro-2 is rumored to exceed even that of the “civil” (i.e. public) Metro. (It is said to have 4 lines and lie 50 to 200 m deep. It is said to connect the Kremlin with the FSB headquarters, the government airport at Vnukovo-2, and an underground town at Ramenki, in addition to other locations of national importance. In the late 1940s Stalin had created the tunnels in the event of a nuclear war. In 1994, a group of urban diggers had stumbled on to the underground system. Though not much more information is known known to the public about this.
See the other eight– from the Vatican’s Archive to Area 51– here.
As we manage our aspirations, we might frame a close-up of D.W. Griffith, a father of cinema, who arrived in Los Angeles on this date in 1910 in search of a sunny climate and a range of scenery. With a stock company that he brought with him (including such future luminaries as Mary Pickford and Lillian Gish), Griffith began producing one- and two-reelers for Biograph. After shooting over 450 shorts for Biograph, Griffith struck out on his own to make his powerfully-influential– but equally-powerfully controversial– Birth of a Nation (1915). On the heels of the criticism (and in some quarters, riots) that greeted this history of the Civil War and the Ku Klux Klan, Griffith made Intolerance (1916), meant to prove his opposition to racism; at $2.5 million, it was by far the most expensive film ever made– and ruined Griffith financially. But he rebounded, and in 1919 co-founded United Artists with Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and Charlie Chaplin. To this day, the highest honor bestowed by the Directors’ Guild of America is “The D.W. Griffith Award.”