On this day in 1939, one of the most famous scenes in movie history is filmed--Rhett Butler and Scarlett O'Hara parting in Gone with the Wind. Director Victor Fleming also shot the scene using the alternate line, "Frankly, my dear, I just don't care," in case the film censors objected to the word "damn." The censors approved the movie but fined producer David O. Selznick $5,000 for including the curse.
The filming of the famous epic was itself an epic, with two and half years elapsing between Selznick's purchase of the rights to Margaret Mitchell's novel and the movie's debut in Atlanta in December 1939. Selznick had balked at paying an unprecedented $50,000 for the rights to a first novel, but Mitchell stuck to her asking price and Selznick agreed in July 1937. He hired director George Cukor immediately, and casting began in the fall. Selznick launched a nationwide talent search, hoping to find a new actress to play Scarlett. Meanwhile, he set writers to work on the script.
A year later, Selznick still hadn't found an actress or received a satisfactory script. In May 1938, running low on funds, Selznick struck a deal with MGM. He sold the worldwide distribution rights for the film to the studio for $1.5 million, and MGM agreed to lend Clark Gable to Selznick.
Filming finally began on December 10, 1938, with the burning of Atlanta scene, although Scarlett still hadn't been cast. British actress Vivien Leigh, newly arrived from London, dropped by the set to visit her agent, Myron Selznick, brother of the producer. David O. Selznick asked her to test for Scarlett. In January, Leigh signed on as Scarlett and Leslie Howard as Ashley Wilkes, and at last, principal filming began. By February, however, there was trouble on the set. Gable clashed with the director, and by February 14, Victor Fleming replaced George Cukor. Principal filming ended on June 27, 1939.
The film debuted in Atlanta on December 15, 1939, and became an instant hit, breaking all box office records. The film was nominated for more than a dozen Oscars, and won nine, including Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Actress, and Best Supporting Actress (which went to Hattie McDaniel, the first African American actress to win the award). The movie was digitally restored and the sound re-mastered for its 1998 re-release by New Line Pictures.
The Rev. John C. Raphael Jr., a New Orleans police officer who became a pastor and led an anti-violence crusade that included paying for a billboard bearing the commandment "Thou Shalt Not Kill," died Tuesday of cancer at his Harvey home. He was 60.
"My heart is heavy," New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said when he learned of Pastor Raphael's death. "I have personally relied on the wisdom and counsel of Pastor Raphael over the years, not just because of what he said but because of how he lived. Pastor Raphael was consistent and responsible in challenging us all to do our part to reflect the love of God and improve our city."
"Pastor Raphael, who came to New Hope Baptist Church in 1988 after 14 years as a New Orleans police detective, delivered eulogies at funerals of victims of violence, his sister Aurora Carter said. Every year, she said, her brother dramatized his commitment to end violence by camping out at South Claiborne Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and fasting from the day after Christmas until New Year's Eve, she said
"His passion for people fueled his compassion for people," she said. "He truly loved the Lord, and he wanted everybody to know they could also love the Lord and be blessed."
The son of a police officer, Pastor Raphael studied at Loyola University and Southern University and earned a bachelor of theology degree at Union Baptist Theological Seminary. He also received an honorary doctor of divinity degree from Christian Bible College of New Orleans.
His passion for people fueled his compassion for people." Aurora CarterIn addition to being active in New Orleans, Pastor Raphael did missionary work overseas, helping to build an orphanage in Haiti and an orphanage, a polytechnical college and a hospital in Ghana, Carter said.
Pastor Raphael also worked with people whom others deemed beyond redemption, she said. One such person was a young man whom Pastor Raphael sent to Africa to work with children. The experience transformed the man, Carter said. "He taught orphans how to play basketball, and he painted an orphanage. He was a mentor, something he had never been in his life."
That experience exemplified Pastor Raphael's philosophy, his sister said: "He always thought there was something you could do to reach people."Survivors include his wife, Catherine Raphael; a son, John C. Raphael III of New Orleans; a stepson, Therron Glover of New Orleans; a brother, Benjamin Raphael of New Orleans; five sisters, Aurora Carter, Keely Bowen and Janna Raphael, all of New Orleans, Sharon Cole of Sterling, Va., and Miriam Montgomery of Montgomery, Ala.; and a grandchild.
A funeral will be held July 2 at 7 p.m. at New Hope Baptist Church, 1807 LaSalle St. Visitation will begin at 3 p.m.
A second service will be held July 3 at 11 a.m. at the Mahalia Jackson Theater of the Performing Arts. Visitation will begin at 9 a.m.Burial will be in Providence Memorial Park, 8200 Airline Drive, Metairie.Heritage Funeral Directors is in charge of arrangements.
By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says he’s deeply disappointed with a Supreme Court decision halting the use of a key provision in the Voting Rights Act.
Obama says in a statement Tuesday that voting discrimination in the U.S. still exists. He says the high court’s ruling is a setback but that efforts to end voting discrimination will continue.
Obama says the decision overturns well-established practices that for decades have helped making voting fair in places where historically there has been discrimination. He’s calling on Congress to pass laws to ensure every American has equal voting access.
The justices said in a 5-4 ruling Tuesday that the provision can’t be enforced until Congress comes up with a new way of determining which states and localities require close federal monitoring of elections.
On this day in 1956, the U.S. Congress approves the Federal Highway Act, which allocates more than $30 billion for the construction of some 41,000 miles of interstate highways; it will be the largest public construction project in U.S. history to that date.
Among the pressing questions involved in passing highway legislation were where exactly the highways should be built, and how much of the cost should be carried by the federal government versus the individual states. Several competing bills went through Congress before 1956, including plans spearheaded by the retired general and engineer Lucius D. Clay; Senator Albert Gore Sr.; and Rep. George H. Fallon, who called his program the "National System of Interstate and Defense Highways," thus linking the construction of highways with the preservation of a strong national defense.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower had first realized the value of a national system of roads after participating in the U.S. Army's first transcontinental motor convoy in 1919; during World War II, he had admired Germany's autobahn network. In January 1956, Eisenhower called in his State of the Union address (as he had in 1954) for a "modern, interstate highway system." Later that month, Fallon introduced a revised version of his bill as the Federal Highway Act of 1956. It provided for a 65,000-km national system of interstate and defense highways to be built over 13 years, with the federal government paying for 90 percent, or $24.8 billion. To raise funds for the project, Congress would increase the gas tax from two to three cents per gallon and impose a series of other highway user tax changes. On June 26, 1956, the Senate approved the final version of the bill by a vote of 89 to 1; Senator Russell Long, who opposed the gas tax increase, cast the single "no" vote. That same day, the House approved the bill by a voice vote, and three days later, Eisenhower signed it into law.
Highway construction began almost immediately, employing tens of thousands of workers and billions of tons of gravel and asphalt. The system fueled a surge in the interstate trucking industry, which soon pushed aside the railroads to gain the lion's share of the domestic shipping market. Interstate highway construction also fostered the growth of roadside businesses such as restaurants (often fast-food chains), hotels and amusement parks. By the 1960s, an estimated one in seven Americans was employed directly or indirectly by the automobile industry, and America had become a nation of drivers.
Legislation has extended the Interstate Highway Revenue Act three times, and it is remembered by many historians as Eisenhower's greatest domestic achievement. On the other side of the coin, critics of the system have pointed to its less positive effects, including the loss of productive farmland and the demise of small businesses and towns in more isolated parts of the country.
In a fiery concurring opinion Monday, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said the University of Texas at Austin’s admissions policy amounted to discrimination and compared the school’s affirmative action program to slavery and segregation, reports the Huffington Post.
“Slaveholders argued that slavery was a ‘positive good’ that civilized blacks and elevated them in every dimension of life,” Thomas wrote in his separate opinion on Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin. “A century later, segregationists similarly asserted that segregation was not only benign, but good for black students.”
Thomas cited Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark 1954 Supreme Court case that led to the desegregation of public schools, in drawing a comparison between segregation and affirmative action.
“Following in these inauspicious footsteps, the University would have us believe that its discrimination is likewise benign. I think the lesson of history is clear enough: Racial discrimination is never benign,” he wrote in the 20-page opinion. “The University’s professed good intentions cannot excuse its outright racial discrimination any more than such intentions justified the now-denounced arguments of slaveholders and segregationists.”
UT-Austin’s admissions policy grants the top 10 percent of graduating Texas seniors a spot in the freshman class, and then fills out the class using a race-conscious system. Abigail Fisher, the plaintiff in the case, claims the policy constitutes racial preference.
Thomas said the policy hurts those black and Hispanic students who are admitted more than those who are not. “Although cloaked in good intentions, the University’s racial tinkering harms the very people it claims to be helping,” he wrote.
He also rejected the idea that racial diversity had any educational benefit. “As should be obvious, there is nothing ‘pressing’ or ‘necessary’ about obtaining whatever educational benefits may flow from racial diversity,” he wrote.
The only sitting African-American justice and a member of the court’s conservative wing, Thomas is the court’s most notable critic of race as a factor in college admissions.
From the Blackberry Records CD Real (2012) www.pastortimothyrogers.com
2013 Stellar Award nominee Tim Rogers & The Fellas move from introspective musing to gut-wrenching testifying on “Real,” their newest single and the title track of their 2012 album.
For the Blytheville, Arkansas quartet, Jesus is the eternal friend, and it's a friendship based on faith. Rogers sings, “I can’t see him and I can’t touch him/Every now and then, I can feel him moving.” He directs the listener to call on Jesus when there’s nobody else around. “Won’t he rock you to sleep at night.”
Rogers, who pastors Blytheville’s Prince of Peace Church, organized the Fellas in 2005. They are among a new generation of gospel quartets.
On this day in 2009, Michael Jackson, one of the most commercially successful entertainers in history, dies at the age of 50 at his home in Los Angeles, California, after suffering from cardiac arrest caused by a fatal combination of drugs given to him by his personal doctor.
Michael Joseph Jackson was born on August 29, 1958, in Gary, Indiana, the seventh of Katherine and Joe Jackson’s nine children. At the age of 5, Jackson began performing with his older brothers in a music group coached by their steelworker father. In 1968, Motown Records signed the group, which became known as the Jackson 5, and Michael Jackson, a natural showman, emerged as the lead singer and star. The Jackson 5’s first album, released in 1969, featured the hit "I Want You Back," and the group’s brand of pop-soul-R&B music made them an immediate success. Their musical popularity even led to their starring in their own TV cartoon series in the early 1970s.
Jackson released his first solo album, "Got to Be There," in 1972, while continuing to sing with his brothers. Six years later, in 1978, he made his big-screen debut as the Scarecrow in "The Wiz," an adaptation of the Broadway musical of the same name. Directed by Quincy Jones, the film starred an all-black cast that included singer Diana Ross as Dorothy. Jones collaborated with Jackson on his 1979 album “Off the Wall,” which sold some 7 million copies worldwide. The pair teamed up again for Jackson’s now-iconic 1982 album, "Thriller," which went on to sell 50 million copies around the globe, making it the best-selling studio album of all time. "Thriller" is credited with jump-starting the era of music videos and playing a key role in the rise of then-fledging cable TV network MTV, which launched in 1981.
In 1983, Jackson created a massive sensation on a live Motown anniversary TV special when he performed his now-signature Moonwalk dance step while wearing a black fedora and a single white glove covered with rhinestones. According to The Los Angeles Times critic Robert Hillburn, the performance served as Jackson’s "unofficial coronation as the King of Pop. Within months, he changed the way people would hear and see pop music, unleashing an influence that rivaled that of Elvis Presley and the Beatles."
Jackson’s next solo effort, "Bad," debuted in 1987. It sold 8 million copies and featured a music video from acclaimed movie director Martin Scorsese. By this time, however, Jackson had paid a high price for his massive success. According to The Los Angeles Times: "He became so accustomed to bodyguards and assistants that he once admitted that he trembled if he had to open his own front door."
By the 1990s, Jackson’s life was near-constant tabloid fodder. In 1993, he was accused of molesting a 13-year-old boy who had been a sleepover guest at his home. Jackson denied the allegations and the criminal investigation was dropped; however, the singer later settled a civil lawsuit with the boy’s family for a reported $20 million. In 2003, Jackson was accused of molesting another boy. Following a highly publicized trial in 2005, he was acquitted of all charges. During these years, Jackson also faced intense media scrutiny over his radically altered physical appearance, which included an ever-lighter complexion (which he attributed to a skin condition) and multiple plastic surgeries. Although Jackson himself was mostly close-mouthed on the topic, media sources alleged that Jackson developed an obsession with cosmetic surgery, in part, following an accident he suffered in January 1984 while shooting a Pepsi commercial. During filming, a pyrotechnics mishap set the singer’s hair on fire, and he suffered burns on his head and face that required reconstructive surgery. In the aftermath of the surgery, Jackson reportedly suffered from an addiction to prescription painkillers.
Jackson also made headlines with his brief marriage (1994-1994) to Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of singer Elvis Presley. From 1996 to 1999, he was wed to Debbie Rowe, the former assistant of his dermatologist and the mother of two of his three children. (Jackson’s youngest child, a boy, was reportedly born via a surrogate.)
On June 25, 2009, Jackson, who after a lengthy time away from the public spotlight was preparing for a series of summer concerts in London, was discovered unconscious in his Los Angeles mansion. The Los Angeles coroner’s officer later ruled the pop star’s death a homicide after lethal levels of the powerful sedative propofol, as well other drugs, were found in his system. Jackson’s personal physician, who was at the singer’s home when he died, had been giving him propofol as a sleep aid for a period of weeks.
On July 7, 2009, more than 20,000 fans attended a public memorial for Jackson at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Over 30 million viewers tuned in watch the event on cable TV, while millions more viewed it online.
By The Associated Press
GRENADA, Miss. (AP) — Bobby “Blue” Bland, a distinguished singer who blended Southern blues and soul in songs such as “Turn on Your Love Light” and “Further On Up the Road,” died Sunday. He was 83.
Rodd Bland said his father died due to complications from an ongoing illness at his Memphis, Tenn., home. He was surrounded by relatives.
Bland was known as the “the Sinatra of the blues” and was heavily influenced by Nat King Cole, often recording with lavish arrangements to accompany his smooth vocals. He even openly imitated Frank Sinatra on the “Two Steps From the Blues” album cover, standing in front of a building with a coat thrown over his shoulder.
“He brought a certain level of class to the blues genre,” said Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell, son of legendary musician and producer Willie Mitchell.
Bland was a contemporary of B.B. King’s, serving as the blues great’s valet and chauffer at one point, and was one of the last of the living connections to the roots of the genre. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992 and was an influence on scores of young rock ‘n’ rollers.
Born in Rosemark, Tenn., he moved to nearby Memphis as a teenager and became a founding member of the Beale Streeters, a group that also included King and Johnny Ace. Upon his induction, the Rock Hall of Fame noted Bland was “second in stature only to B.B. King as a product of Memphis’ Beale Street blues scene.”
After a stint in the Army, he recorded with producer Sam Phillips, who helped launch the careers of Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash, in the early 1950s with little to show for it. It wasn’t until later that decade Bland began to find success.
He scored his first No. 1 on the R&B charts with “Further On Up the Road” in 1957 and it was around this time he got his nickname, taken from his song “Little Boy Blue” because his repertoire focused so closely on lovelorn subject matter. Beginning with “I’ll Take Care of You” in early 1960, Bland released a dozen R&B hits in a row. That string included “Turn On Your Love Light” in 1961.
Some of his best-known songs included “Call on Me” and “That’s the Way Love Is,” both released in 1963, and “Ain’t Nothing You Can Do” in 1964.
“Lead Me On,” another well-known song, breaks the listener’s heart with the opening lines: “You know how it feels, you understand/What it is to be a stranger, in this unfriendly land.”
Bland wasn’t as well known as some of his contemporaries, but was no less an influential figure for early rock ‘n’ roll stars. Many of his songs, especially “Further On Up the Road” and “I Pity the Fool,” were recorded by young rockers, including David Bowie and Eric Clapton.
“He’s always been the type of guy that if he could help you in any way, form or fashion, he would,” Rodd Bland said.