Sunday Sign: Birthplace of Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley died August 16, 1977. Here's to the King: This is the fifth post in my weekly series, the Sunday Sign. Click here for other Sunday Signs  on The Ben Franklin Follies. I was spending the night with a friend the night the TV announcers came on to inform us that Elvis was dead. I still remember it vividly. My friend's mom was quite distressed. … [Read more...]

I’ve Always Loved Lucille Ball

Today is the 100th birthday of Lucille Ball, the iconic comedy legend. I've loved Lucy for as long as I can remember, although I'm pretty sure my introduction began with the earliest incarnation of The Lucy Show, rather than I Love Lucy.  I was a kid in the days before multichannel cable TV, so I grew up with three network affiliates and a PBS station. We lived in the country where the 12-33 … [Read more...]

Social Media & The Bluebonnets in Austin

One year ago this week, the last week of July, I was driving through Texas en route to Colorado. During my trip, I had the great fortune of spending three nights in Austin, where I got to hang out with my good friend, DeDe and her daughter, Heather, and see The Bluebonnets perform live—twice—at two legendary venues. More on those performances in just a few paragraphs. I started writing this post … [Read more...]

Jane Russell Obituary in The Economist

Before reading this obituary in The Economist, the only thing I really knew about Jane Russell is that she pitched the "Jane Russell 18-Hour Bra" on TV when I was growing up and that she was a top pin-up girl in World War II. Over the weekend, I was skimming through a few issues of The Economist that I'd not had to time to really look at earlier this year and ran across The Economist's … [Read more...]

Julie Klausner Name-Drops Benjamin Franklin (and gets more than a RT)

Anyone in my Twitter stream who name-drops Benjamin Franklin to get a retweet deserves more than a RT. Julie Klausner gets a blog post. Think of it as a birthday present. Happy Birthday, Julie. If you aren't listening to Julie Klausner's How Was Your Week podcasts, you're definitely missing out. She delivers up cutting-edge humor and pop culture commentary and she riffs on the (mostly) inane … [Read more...]

Why the Go-Go’s matter in rock history

I happen to believe in historical and factual accuracy. So did Ben Franklin. Spin is one thing. We can argue all day about "who" is most influential in rock music history. But it's simply ludicrous to completely ignore the as-yet-unduplicated album chart success of the Go-Go's, the first all-female band to write their own songs, play the music AND hit #1 on the Billboard album charts. In … [Read more...]

Martha Washington, Emma Peel and ideas

In 1998, I published an essay titled "Martha Washington, Emma Peel and ideas." At the time, Martha Washington was a popular subject for biographers and historians and my childhood TV hero, Mrs. Emma Peel, ever-popular among cult-TV types, was back in the spotlight. Given the theme of my most recent post ("Celebrate the Power of an Idea"), I thought it might be interesting to revisit the … [Read more...]

My memories of Lynn Redgrave

I’m not much inclined to follow the daily doings of celebrities but there are a few who, for varying reasons, hold a special place in my life. Lynn Redgrave was one such person. The announcement of Lynn Redgrave’s death on May 2, 2010 took me by surprise and left me with a melancholy that lingered for several days. I had intended to write this post immediately after I learned of her death but … [Read more...]