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“Marshall” — Civil Rights and Old-Fashioned Shul Jews

by Elliot B. Gertel Discussed in this essay: Marshall, a film directed by directed by Reginald Hudlin and written by Michael and Jacob Koskoff. THE WELL-WRITTEN and finely-acted movie Marshall may have taken some liberties in depicting Thurgood Marshall (Chadwick Boseman) and Samuel Friedman (Josh Gad), the Bridgeport, Connecticut Jewish attorney who helped out with a noted […]

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Gold in Oklahoma!

The soundtrack to Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! became the first album certified as gold by the Recording Industry of America (RIAA) on this date in 1958. The musical was the first written together by the Broadway team and earned them a Pulitzer Prize in 1944. The original production opened on March 31, 1943 and ran for 2,212 performances before becoming an Oscar-winning […]

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The Master of Radio Drama

Norman Corwin, one of the most popular radio writers during the Golden Age of radio drama in the 1930s and ’40s, was born in Boston on this date in 1910. Corwin brought culture, historical consciousness, and progressive patriotism to the airwaves, with such radio plays as  Spoon River Anthology (1939), We Hold These Truths (1941), […]

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It’s a Wonderful Life

Lyricist, screenwriter, and playwright Jo Swerling, who wrote or co-authored dozens of Hollywood screenplays in the 1930s and ’40s, including It’s a Wonderful Life, Lifeboat, Pennies from Heaven, Platinum Blonde, and The Pride of the Yankees, was born in Berdichev, Ukraine on this date in 1897. He grew up on New York’s Lower East Side […]

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August 30: Paul Lazarsfeld and the Art of Asking Why

Sociologist Paul Lazarsfeld, founder of Columbia University’s Bureau of Applied Social Research and of modern empirical sociology, died at 75 on this date in 1976. Lazarsfeld was a son of Vienna and received his doctorate in mathematics there (his dissertation dealt with the math of Einstein’s gravitational theory). He came to the U.S. in 1933 […]

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January 2: Jo Sinclair

Jo Sinclair (Ruth Seid), a novelist and short story writer who wrote about immigrant families, race relations, homophobia, and gender identity in America, won the biennial Harper and Brothers contest for the best novel about American life on this date in 1946 for her manuscript, The Wasteland. Sinclair had been employed by the WPA writers […]

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