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Book Notes

July 3, 2013

'Read My Lips' may not be a memoir for everyone

Sometimes an actor or actress can be defined by a singular performance. Everyone remembers Vivian Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara in “Gone With the Wind,“ but most people would be hard pressed to name any of her other films (I can name one, “Caesar & Cleopatra,” only because I saw it for a class in college). This type of “one hit wonder” usually occurs when the actor or actress is cast in an unforeseen blockbuster and is forever identified with a certain character.

Sally Kellerman is a good example of that. She is now 76 years old (hard to believe!) and has enjoyed a highly successful acting career spanning over half a century. Her film credits include the epic “M*A*S*H” in 1970, the adorable “A Little Romance” in 1979 and the hilarious “Back to School” with Rodney Dangerfield in 1986. She also appeared in the second pilot of “Star Trek” in 1966, but I couldn’t tell you another film or television show in which she took part.

“M*A*S*H” was the film that made her. It’s one of the greatest comedy classics of all-time, and inspired the long-running hit television series. “M*A*S*H,” which stands for Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, covers the hi-jinx and surgical exploits of a medical unit during the Korean War. The surgeons are all top-notch but enjoy having over-the-top fun during their down time. 

Kellerman was cast as the blonde bombshell head nurse, Major Margaret “Hot Lips” Hoolahan, who is a straight-arrow, by-the-book Army officer. When asked where she is from she replies she likes to think of the Army as her home. We witness her transformation from a stickler for Army regulations to becoming part of the wild side of the “M*A*S*H” unit. Hoolahan is probably the most memorable character in the movie.

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Book Notes
  • Film examines Lance Armstrong's fall There's nothing more heartwarming than someone overcoming impossible odds and achieving the pinnacle of success. The last thing you want is for that story to fall apart. When it happens to an icon like Lance Armstrong it's even more difficult to accept. He is someone you'd want to admire since he was both a champion and a do-gooder. How does the public react when it all comes crashing down?

    April 24, 2014

  • Libraries provide vital services Some people think that libraries are becoming obsolete due to the Internet and the growing popularity of e-books. Nothing could be further from the truth. Libraries are a repository for more than just the written word and reference materials. They provide a basic need for every community and will for the foreseeable future.

    April 17, 2014

  • WWII collection grows with 'Those Angry Days' The main lesson history teaches us is to learn from our mistakes and not repeat them. There’s also an old saying that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Perhaps the two notions have something in common because we continually prove that history does indeed repeat itself.

    April 10, 2014

  • 'Blue Jasmine' shows talent of troubled Allen It's a shame that Woody Allen is caught up in controversy in his personal life because it deflects from his talent as a filmmaker. You can see the brilliance in his most recent release, "Blue Jasmine" now available for rental at the Cooperstown Library.

    April 3, 2014

  • 'Nebraska' helps give Dern his due Bruce Dern has been a character actor for over half a century yet hadn't really gotten the acclaim he deserves.

    March 27, 2014

  • Book captures both sides of 'Splended Splinter' Ted Williams is an American icon. As the mainstay of the Boston Red Sox from 1939-1960 he was one of baseball’s all-time greats, a first ballot Hall-of-Famer, and perhaps the greatest hitter the sport has ever known. He was admired for his devotion to the game, his service to his country, and his support for children with cancer. But there was an ugly side to him too. Williams’ life was a set of contradictions where his talent and humanity were offset by fits of rage and cold-heartedness.

    March 20, 2014

  • Wouk has amazing body of epic work One of the problems with eulogies is that they only seem to occur posthumously. I often wonder why people who have produced something noteworthy aren't honored until after they die and don't get to hear the acclaim they deserve. In that vein I want to recognize an aging classic novelist while he is still with us.

    March 13, 2014

  • 'Miracle' shows when Olympics were pure The Winter Olympics ended recently and somehow they seemed to have lost their luster. It wasn’t so much that they were in Sochi where most of the events were on tape delay. It was more due to the new events (many we have never heard of) that have diluted the games. The Winter Olympics have gone from an intimate edition of their summer counterpart to one where it appears medal counts and commercialism is all that matters.

    March 6, 2014

  • Sometimes bad films, books called 'Classic' About 40 years ago a movie was made that set the standard for overhyped and underwhelming films. It was "The Great Gatsby" starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow. Redford was the hottest thing in Hollywood at the time and Time Magazine ran a cover story on the film. When it was finally released it completely bombed.

    February 27, 2014

  • British films that will warm your heart With all the snow and sub-zero temperatures this winter there are enough nights where the easiest thing to do is hunker down and enjoy a good movie. I thought I’d offer a few suggestions with a British twist. These are films with Americans that are filmed in England. The one thing they all have in common is that they’ll warm your heart in the end.

    February 20, 2014

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