Friday, September 21, 2018

Tracking the 1938 Hurricane

This is the path of the 1938 Hurricane that devastated New England and other areas on the Eastern Seaboard.
Eighty years ago, on Sept. 21, 1938, the devastating Hurricane of 1938 made landfall in New England. RoundtablePictures has compiled reports from various news outlets that tell the story of this event. 


An editorial from The New York Times, published Sept. 21, 1938, the day the hurricane hit New England. praising the forecasting prowess of what was then called the U.S. Weather Bureau:

Every year an average of three such whirlwinds sweep the tropical North Atlantic between June and November. In 1933, there was an all-time record of twenty. If New York and the rest of the world have been so well informed about the cyclone, it is because of an admirable, organized meteorological service.

The storm began on Sept. 9 (a Friday, although some reports say the storm formed as early as Sept. 4) near the Cape Verde Islands in the eastern Atlantic. About a week later, the captain of a Brazilian freighter sighted the storm near Puerto Rico and radioed a warning to the U.S. Weather Bureau and it was expected that the storm would make landfall in south Florida where preparations frantically began. By Sept. 19, however, the storm suddenly changed direction and began moving north, parallel to the eastern seaboard. It had been many decades since New England had been hit by a substantial hurricane and few believed it could happen again. The storm picked up tremendous speed as it moved to the north following a track over the warm Gulf waters.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Why the films of the 1970s were even greater, stranger, livelier than we thought

Janis Joplin, left, with Dick Cavett and Gloria Swanson. 
This is the first in a two part series. 

By Lars Trodson

On Aug. 3, 1970, Dick Cavett hosted the following guests on his nighttime talk show: Janis Joplin, Gloria Swanson, Margot Kidder, and football player Dave Meggyesy, who had just published an exposée on the sport.

Joplin had been making music since 1962, and had become a star in 1966. Kidder had done some television in her native Canada, had acted in only two American films at that time, but would become famous for playing Lois Lane in the “Superman” franchise that launched in 1978. (It was the 1970s, after all, that brought comic book heroes back to the big screen in a big-budgeted, special-effects way.) Meggyesy's career had started in 1963, but by the time of the broadcast he had quit due to what he felt was the violent nature of the game.

Gloria Swanson, of course, was one of the great, glamorous stars of the silent era, born in the final moments of the 19th century. By 1916, almost 55 years prior to this broadcast, she had become a charter member of the club that became known as The Hollywood Movie Star.

These guests on the Cavett show are emblematic of the decade in movies that was about to play out, an unprecedented mix of emerging talent who worked alongside artists that started as far back as the silent era. This generational mixing, with its differing sensibilities and styles, their competing approach to technologies, and tentative (at first) embrace of the new freedoms, provided movie-going audiences in the 1970s with a gorgeous array of pictures unlike anything that had been seen before.

The 1970s, in movies, is in fact far more exciting when looked at holistically, rather than just the era of Coppola, Peckinpah, Lucas, Spielberg, DePalma, Scorsese, and Cassavetes. It was also the era of Huston, Welles, Zinneman, Hitchcock, and Wilder. It was not just the time of Nicholson, Hoffman, Jane Fonda, Streisand, and Dunaway, but also of Henry Fonda, John Wayne, Katharine Hepburn, Bette Davis, and Robert Mitchum.

It was the 70s, and when they were over, the movies slowly, inexorably, began their journey to what movies are today: special effects-laden spectacles that are deliberately detached from the hard life realities and emotions that movie-makers had spent decades trying to explore on screen.