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Archive for October 29th, 2012

by Judy Geater

It was a film made at a Poverty Row studio, in just four weeks and on a shoestring. Clark Gable was forced to star in it as a punishment, according to some accounts, and turned up drunk and angry to meet director Frank Capra. At the end of filming, Claudette Colbert said “I just finished the worst picture in the world.” Yet, somehow, It Happened One Night, the tale of a runaway heiress who joins forces with an unemployed journalist on a long-distance bus trip, ended up as a smash hit and multi-Oscar winner. It touched a nerve in the Great Depression – and still does so now, in our own hard times nearly 80 years on. I was lucky enough to see it on the big screen during a rerelease in the UK two years ago, and the audience’s reaction showed just how well this early screwball tale of a couple travelling on a late-night bus has worn.

The legend has it that Capra came across the original short story, Night Bus by Samuel Hopkins Adams, by chance in a copy of Cosmopolitan. He asked Columbia to buy it for him, which the studio managed to do cheaply, and he and writer Robert Riskin then set about turning it into a script. However, they quickly found that nobody had much faith in the project. Robert Montgomery was originally offered the part of the hero, down-at-heel, hard-drinking journalist Peter Warne, but turned it down because he felt there had already been ‘too many bus pictures’. Gable was loaned by MGM in his place, possibly as a punishment – he had recently been ill and taken time off, which didn’t go down well in that high-pressure era, as well as asking for more money. The role of the heroine, spoilt Ellen “Ellie” Andrews, was rejected by Miriam Hopkins, Myrna Loy and Margaret Sullavan in turn. Constance Bennett, Bette Davis and Carole Lombard were also suggested and then fell by the wayside for various reasons. Colbert only accepted the part at the last minute, in return for a bumper pay cheque and the promise of a quick shoot. (more…)

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Lucille Juliano and sister Elaine Lampmann flank Rutgers University freshman Eric Lampmann, a saxophonist and music major in front of Nicholas Music Center on Douglas campus in New Brunswick, New Jersey

by Sam Juliano

Gifted Rutgers University music major and saxophonist, freshman Eric Lampmann performed in concert at the Nicholas Music Center of the Mason Gross Performing Arts Center at the Douglas College campus on Thursday evening.  The young Lampmann, 18,  played with the prestigious Rutgers Symphony Band, led by conductor Darryl J. Bott during the second half of a program in which the ensemble was paired with the Ridgewood Concert Band.  Eric is the third of three children -all boys- born to James Lampmann and Elaine Lampmann of Butler.  His older brothers James Jr. and Craig, ages 21 and 19, respectively, are presently working towards degrees in communication and civil engineering at Hofstra and the University of Maryland.  (As a remarkable side note James was seen on national television last week as he helped to set up the sound and video for the Obama-Romney presidential debate at the David Mack Arena on the Hofstra campus in Hempstead, Long Island)  The Rutgers’ Symphony Band’s membership is drawn primarily from the finest undergraduate instrumental music majors at the Mason Gross School of the Arts.  Included in the program was a stirring performance of Ronald LoPresti’s “Elegy for a Young American” which was dedicated to the memory of President John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated the year before the work’s initial appearance.  The solemn composition,  largely fueled by the woodwinds, exudes a melancholic underpinning, and unfolds in the form of an adagio.  The longest piece in the line-up was Symphony No. 3 “JFK” written by Andrew Boysten Jr.,  which is likened to an interdisciplinary study in how music formulates connections to historical events in a literal and programmatic fashion.  The movement is meant to simulate the continuity of a memorial service, and contains four moving memories from JFK’s life: the war hero events on ‘P.T. 109.’ the famed inaugural speech that began with “Ask not what your country…”, the assassination on November 22, 1963, and the wrenching image of young John-John saluting his father’s progression as it moves by, an image that broke the hearts of  a nation and the world.  Eric Lampmann was one of the seven sax players, who gave this concert a distinct woodwind flavor and soaring lyricism.  Lucille’s sister Elaine and her husand James live in a specious home in a rural cul-de-sac in Butler, New Jersey, which has been the location of Thanksgiving dinners for all of us for every one of the past 17 years.  As the hosts of well-attended Christmas parties and owners of a dream home, the Lampmanns are about the classiest of acts.  Watching Eric perform was quite the exhilarating experience. (more…)

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