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March 9: Splash

Lawrence Bush
March 8, 2017
Three Jewish writers -- Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel, and Bruce Jay Friedman -- wrote the Oscar-nominated screenplay for Splash, a romantic comedy film that was released on this date in 1984 and introduced Tom Hanks and Darryl Hannah (neither of them Jewish) to stardom. The movie, about a powerful romantic bond between a mermaid and a man, was enormously popular and today receives a rating of 92 percent “Fresh” rating online at Rotten Tomatoes. According to Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner’s 2006 book, Freakonomics, the film also popularized the name “Madison” for girls (the mermaid chooses it randomly from a street sign); according to the Social Security Administration, “Madison” expanded from the 216th most popular name in the United States for girls in 1990 to the the 29th most popular in 1995 to the 3rd most popular in 2000. To watch the trailer, look below. “I don’t understand. All my life I’ve been waiting for someone and when I find her, she’s... she’s a fish.” --Allen (Tom Hanks), from Splash

​​​​Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.