First Nights

First Night Hartford

Multicultural and alcohol-free, this celebration features ice skating in Bushnell Park, professional musicians, performance groups, horse-drawn carriage rides and exhibits. The fireworks go off at 6 p.m. and midnight in Bushnell Park. Venues include the Bushnell Carousel, City Hall, Charter Oak Cultural Center, the Old State House and Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. Cost is $10 for adults, $2 ages 3 to 15 and free for age 2 and younger. Information: or 860-727-0050.

‘Middnight On Main’In Middletown

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Middletown celebrates its first New Year’s Eve festival from 3 p.m. to midnight in the downtown area with Brazilian music, cooking demos, crafts, a Balinese performance, speed dating and more. The fireworks are at 6 p.m. Button admission, which is good for all events, is $20 for adults, $10 for children 2 to 10. Track events through Middnight on Main’s smartphone app at

‘Looking Up MovingForward’ In Danbury

A 5K run down Main Street starting at 3 p.m. kicks off the festivities and a fireworks display at 8:30 p.m. wraps it up. The alcohol-free event offers performers and entertainment, including magic, stilt walkers, gospel singing, hat making, salsa dance classes and African dancing. Highlights of this New Year’s Eve gala include the Airborne Jugglers from Branford, Boston comedian Peter Gross and Israel’s Natalia Paruz’s vaudeville “The Saw Lady.” Buttons, which provide admission to all events, are $7.50. Information: or 203-792-1711.

First Night Westport/Weston

Hit the streets of downtown for at celebration featuring storycrafters Barry Marshal and Jeri Burns, the rockability music of Squeaky Clean, Jumbo Shrimp Circus with Philip Briggs, hands-on drumming programs and horse drawn carriage rides. Children’s fireworks will heat up the sky at 8:30 p.m. and midnight. Buttons that provide entrance to all events are $15. Children 2 and under free. Information:

First Night Northampton

This celebration offers 12-hours of family-friendly activities and entertainment at 20 downtown venues. Buttons, which grant access to all events, can be purchased for $16 by Friday, Dec. 30, and $20 on the day of the event. Information: http://www.firstnight

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In which I pretend to be above passing along Derek and Minka news even though I’m really not

I got an email from a publicist a little while ago linking me to a report in “Life Style Weekly” about Derek Jeter and Minka Kelly being back together. The email said that whoever writes about it “MUST CREDIT LIFE STYLE WEEKLY.”  So this is credit. Here’s the story over there.  Though, really, you probably want to buy the paper copy, so you can learn why Pippa Middleton is “undateable.”

I mocked all of this on Twitter, but I shouldn’t have. There are people who care about this stuff. And I’m not above getting the page views for linking it, so we’re all a part of the same ugly little celebrity-chasing culture. I’ll own it.

Anyway, in case you care:

… they were seen strolling around the prestigious Musée d’Orsay in Paris on Dec. 29. ”They had a guide taking them around on the fifth floor, and they were looking at Monet and the works of other French impressionists,” Pepperdine University student Jaime Olaez, who saw the couple at the art museum, tells Life Style. “They went to all the different floors; they looked at Van Gogh. Derek was very low-key and was wearing a black-and-gray sweater. Minka looked very pretty. She was wearing white jeans, a brown jacket and boots.”

The Pepperdine student also got audio of their conversation:

Derek: Minka, you’re doing a great job showing me the museum, the Vermeer is quite good, simple, vibrant, but his work definitely fell off as he got older.
Minka: Remind you of anyone?
Derek: And I always confuse Monet and Manet. Now which one married his mistress?
Minka: Monet.
Derek: Right, and then Manet had syphilis.
Minka: They also painted occasionally.

Can I go home yet?  Oh, wait.


Direct2Consumer Launches Pawmins Pet Vitamins Line

Direct2Consumer is launching Pawmins, a new pet supplement line for dogs and cats. Pawmins features a pet health quiz that recommends the right supplement for your pet, taking the guesswork out for pet owners.

West Hollywood, CA (PRWEB) December 29, 2011

In this recession, many pet owners are buying lower quality pet foods to save money. An inexpensive way to make sure pets don’t miss out on nutrition is adding pet vitamins to their diet, but it is often confusing for owners to pick the right ones out.

Direct2Consumer has provided the solution to better health for pets through customized supplement suggestions. Direct2Consumer launched Pawmins, a new pet supplement line for dogs and cats. Pawmins features a pet health quiz that recommends the right supplement for pets, taking the guesswork out for pet owners at

“I’m a pet owner and I want to keep my pets in top health,” commented Ted Dhanik, President of Direct2Consumer. “Pawmins makes it easy because I don’t have to figure out the right vitamins for all their different breeds and problems. Pawmins does all the work for me.”

The high-quality all-natural formula makes Pawmins pet supplements stand out from the crowd.

“Pets can be even more sensitive to artificial ingredients than humans. Why make your pet sicker with bad vitamins” said Direct2Consumer Chief Scientist Michele Noonan. “Pawmins has pure human grade ingredients and no artificial additives so your pet can get back to its peak health fast.”

Pawmins pet supplements are available in five formulas:

Digestive Enzymes in K9 Formula and Cat Formula: Increases food digestion so pets absorb more nutrients in their diet. A pet may need Pawmins Digestive Enzymes if it suffers from diarrhea, eats its own feces or is underweight.

Mobility Formula for Dogs Cats: Contains proven ingredients like glucosamine to support healthy joints and cartilage. Pets may need Pawmins Mobility Formula if they are lethargic, suffers from arthritis, or have trouble walking up stairs.

Vitamins for Dogs Cats: Contains high levels of zinc, vitamin C, vitamin E and more than 70 vitamins to help pets grow and improve the health of your pet’s bones, teeth, nails and coat. Pets may need Pawmins Vitamins if they are overweight or have a coat or nails that are in poor condition.

FishOil for Dogs Cats: Contains heart, brain and eye healthy omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Pets may need Pawmins FishOil if they have itchy skin, have a dry coat or is moody.

About Pawmins:

Visit the website at, Twitter at and Facebook page at Pawmins pet supplements are available exclusively online and carry a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

# # #

Rashid Umar
(310) 954-0751 713
Email Information

BC-US–Car Sales Scheme,123

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Entertainment News: National Film Registry Makes Annual Additions

The National Film Registry announces the latest additions to its library and it’s a diverse mix ranging from the obscure silent ” A Cure for Pokeritis” to the early Disney Classic “Bambi” to the overrated “Forrest Gump.”

The United States National Film Preservation Board is a federal agency located within the Library of Congress. Each year it selects films for preservation in the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry. The National Film Registry names up to 25 “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant films” each year, showcasing the range and diversity of American film heritage to increase awareness for its preservation.” Inclusion on the list, however, is not a guarantee of actual preservation. To be eligible, a film must also be at least ten years old.

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington today selected 25 films, spanning the period 1912-1994, to be preserved as cultural, artistic and historical treasures in the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress. The films include Hollywood classics, documentaries, animation, avant-garde shorts, and even home movies and experimental movies.

“These films are selected because of their enduring significance to American culture,” said Billington in a press release. “Our film heritage must be protected because these cinematic treasures document our history and culture and reflect our hopes and dreams.”

Some of these film additions are no-brainers like “Bambi,” Charlie Chaplin’s “The Kid,” the screwball classic “Twentieth Century,” and “Porgy and Bess.” In fact I wonder why it’s taken so long to add them. Others are wonderful surprises, like the Nicholas Brothers’ home movies. The brothers were amazing dancers in the 30s and 40s. Kudos to the Registry for adding indies like John Cassavetes’ “Faces” and Robert Rodriguez’s “El Mariachi,” and genre films like “War of the Worlds” and “Silence of the Lambs.” However, I would advocate for the destruction of every print of “Forrest Gump.”

These Amazing Shadows,” a documentary about the National Film Registry, will air nationally as part of the PBS series “Independent Lens” on Thursday, Dec. 29, at 10 p.m (check local listings).

Here are the titles added this year with the descriptions provided from the National Film Registry’s press release.

“FilmAllures” (1961)

Called the master of “cosmic cinema,” Jordan Belson excelled in creating abstract imagery with a spiritual dimension that featured dazzling displays of color, light, and ever-moving patterns and objects. Trained as a painter and profoundly influenced by the artist and theorist Wassily Kandinsky, Belson collaborated in the late 1950s with electronic music composer Henry Jacobs to create elaborate sound and light shows in the San Francisco Morrison Planetarium, an experience that informed his subsequent films. The film, Belson has stated, “was probably the space-iest film that had been done until then. It creates a feeling of moving into the void.” Inspired by Eastern spiritual thought, “Allures” (which took a year and a half to make) is, Belson suggests, a “mathematically precise” work intended to express the process of becoming that the philosopher Teilhard de Chardin has named “cosmogenesis.”

Poster for the Disney film Bambi.

Walt Disney

Above: Poster for the Disney film “Bambi.”

“Bambi” (1942)

One of Walt Disney’s timeless classics (and his own personal favorite), this animated coming-of-age tale of a wide-eyed fawn’s life in the forest has enchanted generations since its debut nearly 70 years ago. Filled with iconic characters and moments, the film features beautiful images that were the result of extensive nature studies by Disney’s animators. Its realistic characters capture human and animal qualities in the time-honored tradition of folklore and fable, which enhance the movie’s resonating, emotional power. Treasured as one of film’s most heart-rending stories of parental love, “Bambi” also has come to be recognized for its eloquent message of nature conservation.

“The Big Heat” (1953)

One of the great post-war noir films, “The Big Heat” stars Glenn Ford, Lee Marvin and Gloria Graham. Set in a fictional American town, “The Big Heat” tells the story of a tough cop (Ford) who takes on a local crime syndicate, exposing tensions within his own corrupt police department as well as insecurities and hypocrisies of domestic life in the 1950s. Filled with atmosphere, fascinating female characters, and a jolting—yet not gratuitous—degree of violence, “The Big Heat,” through its subtly expressive technique and resistance to formulaic denouement, manages to be both stylized and brutally realistic, a signature of its director Fritz Lang.

“A Computer Animated Hand” (1972)

Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios, renowned for its CGI (computer generated image) animated films, created a program for digitally animating a human hand in 1972 as a graduate student project, one of the earliest examples of 3D computer animation. The one-minute film displays the hand turning, opening and closing, pointing at the viewer, and flexing its fingers, ending with a shot that seemingly travels up inside the hand. In creating the film, which was incorporated into the 1976 film “Futureworld,” Catmull worked out concepts that become the foundation for computer graphics that followed.

“Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment” (1963)

Robert Drew was a pioneer of American cinema-verite (a style of documentary filmmaking that strives to record unfolding events non-intrusively). In 1963, he gathered together a stellar group of filmmakers, including D. A. Pennebaker, Richard Leacock, Gregory Shuker, James Lipscomb, and Patricia Powell, to capture on film the dramatic unfolding of an ideological crisis, one that revealed political decision-making at the highest levels. The result, “Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment,” focuses on Gov. George Wallace’s attempt to prevent two African-American students from enrolling in the University of Alabama—his infamous “stand in the schoolhouse door” confrontation—and the response of President John F. Kennedy. The filmmakers observe the crisis evolve by following a number of participants, including Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, Gov. Wallace and the two students, Vivian Malone and James Hood. The film also shows deliberations between the president and his staff that led to a peaceful resolution, a decision by the president to deliver a major address on civil rights and a commitment by Wallace to continue his battle in subsequent national election campaigns. The film has proven to be a uniquely revealing complement to written histories of the period, providing viewers the rare opportunity to witness historical events from an insider’s perspective.

“The Cry of the Children” (1912)

Recognized as a key work that both reflected and contributed to the pre-World War I child labor reform movement, the two-reel silent melodrama “The Cry of the Children” takes its title and fatalistic, uncompromising tone of hopelessness from the 1842 poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. “The Cry of the Children” was part of a wave of “social problem” films released during the 1910s on such subjects as drugs and alcohol, white slavery, immigrants and women’s suffrage. Some were sensationalist attempts to exploit lurid topics, while others, like “The Cry of the Children,” were realistic exposés that championed social reform and demanded change. Shot partially in a working textile factory, “The Cry of the Children” was recognized by an influential critic of the time as “The boldest, most timely and most effective appeal for the stamping out of the cruelest of all social abuses.”

“A Cure for Pokeritis” (1912)

Largely forgotten today, actor John Bunny merits significant historical importance as the American film industry’s earliest comic superstar. A stage actor prior to the start of his film career, Bunny starred in over 150 Vitagraph Company productions from 1910 until his death in 1915. Many of his films (affectionately known as “Bunnygraphs”) were gentle “domestic” comedies, in which he portrayed a henpecked husband alongside co-star Flora Finch. “A Cure for Pokeritis” exemplifies the genre, as Finch conspires with similarly displeased wives to break up their husbands’ weekly poker game. When Bunny died in 1915, a New York Times editorial noted that “Thousands who had never heard him speak…recognized him as the living symbol of wholesome merriment.” The paper presciently commented on the importance of preserving motion pictures and sound recordings for future generations: “His loss will be felt all over the country, and the films, which preserve his humorous personality in action, may in time have a new value. It is a subject worthy of reflection, the value of a perfect record of a departed singer’s voice, of the photographic films perpetuating the drolleries of a comedian who developed such extraordinary capacity for acting before the camera.”

“El Mariachi” (1992)

Directed, edited, co-produced, and written in two weeks by Robert Rodriguez for $7,000 while a film student at the University of Texas, “El Mariachi” proved a favorite on the film festival circuit. After Columbia Pictures picked it up for distribution, the film helped usher in the independent movie boom of the early 1990s. “El Mariachi” is an energetic, highly entertaining tale of an itinerant musician, portrayed by co-producer and Rodriguez crony Carlos Gallardo, who arrives at a Mexican border town during a drug war and is mistaken for a hit man who recently escaped from prison. The story, as film historian Charles Ramirez Berg has suggested, plays with expectations common to two popular exploitation genres—the narcotraficante film, a Mexican police genre, and the transnational warrior-action film, itself rooted in Hollywood Westerns. Rodriguez’s success derived from invigorating these genres with creative variants despite the constraints of a shoestring budget. Rodriguez has gone on to direct films for major studios, becoming, in Berg’s estimation, “arguably the most successful Latino director ever to work in Hollywood.”

“Faces” (1968)

Writer-director John Cassavetes described “Faces,” considered by many to be his first mature work, as “a barrage of attack on contemporary middle-class America.” The film depicts a married couple, “safe in their suburban home, narrow in their thinking,” he wrote, who experience a break up that “releases them from the conformity of their existence, forces them into a different context, when all barriers are down.” An example of cinematic excess, “Faces” places its viewers inside intense lengthy scenes to allow them to discover within its relentless confrontations emotions and relations of power between men and women that rarely emerge in more conventionally structured films. In provoking remarkable performances by Lynn Carlin, John Marley and Gena Rowlands, Cassavetes has created a style of independent filmmaking that has inspired filmmakers around the world.

“Fake Fruit Factory” (1986)

An expressive, sympathetic look at the everyday lives of young Mexican women who create ornamental papier măché fruits and vegetables, “Fake Fruit Factory” exemplifies filmmaker Chick Strand’s unique style that deftly blends documentary, avant-garde and ethnographic techniques. After studying anthropology and ethnographic film at the University of California, Strand, who helped noted independent filmmaker Bruce Baillie create the independent film distribution cooperative Canyon Cinema, taught filmmaking for 24 years at Occidental College. She developed a collagist process to create her films, shooting footage of people she encountered over several decades of annual summer stays in Mexico and then editing together individual films. In “Fake Fruit Factory,” Strand employs a moving camera at close range to create colorfully vivid images often verging on abstraction, while her soundtrack picks up snatches of conversation to evoke, in her words, “the spirit of the people.” “I want to know,” Strand wrote, “really what it is like to be a breathing, talking, moving, emotional, relating individual in the society.”

“Forrest Gump” (1994)

As “Forrest Gump,” Tom Hanks portrays an earnest, guileless “everyman” whose open-heartedness and sense of the unexpected unwittingly draws him into some of the most iconic events of the 1960s and 1970s. A smash hit, “Forrest Gump” has been honored for its technological innovations (the digital insertion of Gump seamlessly into vintage archival footage), its resonance within the culture that has elevated Gump (and what he represents in terms of American innocence) to the status of folk hero, and its attempt to engage both playfully and seriously with contentious aspects of the era’s traumatic history. The film received six Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

Growing Up Female.

Julia Reichert

Above: “Growing Up Female.”

“Growing Up Female” (1971)

Among the first films to emerge from the women’s liberation movement, “Growing Up Female” is a documentary portrait of America on the brink of profound change in its attitudes toward women. Filmed in spring 1970 by Ohio college students Julia Reichert and Jim Klein, “Growing Up Female” focuses on six girls and women aged 4 to 34 and the home, school, work and advertising environments that have impacted their identities. Through open-ended interviews and lyrical documentation of their surroundings, the film strived, in Reichert’s words, to “give women a new lens through which to see their own lives.” Widely distributed to libraries, universities, churches and youth groups, the film launched a cooperative of female filmmakers that bypassed traditional distribution mechanisms to get its message communicated.

“Hester Street” (1975)

Joan Micklin Silver’s first feature-length film, “Hester Street,” was an adaption of preeminent Yiddish author Abraham Cahan’s 1896 well-received first novel “Yekl: A Tale of the New York Ghetto.” In the 1975 film, the writer-director brought to the screen a portrait of Eastern European Jewish life in America that historians have praised for its accuracy of detail and sensitivity to the challenges immigrants faced during their acculturation process. Shot in black-and-white and partly in Yiddish with English subtitles, the independent production, financed with money raised by the filmmaker’s husband, was shunned by Hollywood until it established a reputation at the Cannes Film Festival and in European markets. “Hester Street” focuses on stresses that occur when a “greenhorn” wife, played by Carol Kane (nominated for an Academy Award for her portrayal), and her young son arrive in New York to join her Americanized husband. Silver, one of the first women directors of American features to emerge during the women’s liberation movement, shifted the story’s emphasis from the husband, as in the novel, to the wife. Historian Joyce Antler has written admiringly, “In indicating the hardships experienced by women and their resiliency, as well as the deep strains assimilation posed to masculinity, ‘Hester Street’ touches on a fundamental cultural challenge confronting immigrants.”

“I, an Actress” (1977)

Underground filmmaker George Kuchar and his twin brother Mike began making 8mm films as 12-year-old kids in the Bronx, often on their family’s apartment rooftop. Before his death in 2011, George created over 200 outlandish low-budget films filled with absurdist melodrama, crazed dialogue and plots, and affection for Hollywood film conventions and genres. A professor at the San Francisco Art Institute, Kuchar documented his directing techniques in the hilarious “I, an Actress” as he encourages an acting student to embellish a melodramatic monologue with increasingly excessive gestures and emotions. Like most of Kuchar’s films, “I, an Actress” embodies a “camp” sensibility, defined by the cultural critic Susan Sontag as deriving from an aesthetics that valorizes not beauty but “love of the unnatural: of artifice and exaggeration.” Filmmaker John Waters has cited the Kuchars as “my first inspiration” and credited them with giving him “the self-confidence to believe in my own tawdry vision.”

“The Iron Horse” (1924)

John Ford’s epic Western “The Iron Horse” established his reputation as one of Hollywood’s most accomplished directors. Intended by Fox studios to rival Paramount’s 1923 epic “The Covered Wagon,” Ford’s film employed more than 5,000 extras, advertised authenticity in its attention to realistic detail, and provided him with the opportunity to create iconic visual images of the Old West, inspired by such master painters as Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell. A tale of national unity achieved after the Civil War through the construction of the transcontinental railroad, “The Iron Horse” celebrated the contributions of Irish, Italian and Chinese immigrants although the number of immigrants allowed to enter the country legally was severely restricted at the time of its production. A classic silent film, “The Iron Horse” introduced to American and world audiences a reverential, elegiac mythology that has influenced many subsequent Westerns.

“The Kid” (1921)

Charles Chaplin’s first full-length feature, the silent classic “The Kid,” is an artful melding of touching drama, social commentary and inventive comedy. The tale of a foundling (Jackie Coogan, soon to be a major child star) taken in by the Little Tramp, “The Kid” represents a high point in Chaplin’s evolving cinematic style, proving he could sustain his artistry beyond the length of his usual short subjects and could deftly elicit a variety of emotions from his audiences by skillfully blending slapstick and pathos.

“The Lost Weekend” (1945)

A landmark social-problem film, “The Lost Weekend” provided audiences of 1945 with an uncompromising look at the devastating effects of alcoholism. Directed by Billy Wilder and co-written by Wilder and Charles Brackett, the film melded an expressionistic film-noir style with documentary realism to immerse viewers in the harrowing experiences of an aspiring New York writer willing to do almost anything for a drink. Despite opposition from his studio, the Hays Office and the liquor industry, Wilder created a film ranked as one of the best of the decade that won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Direction, Screenplay and Actor (Ray Milland), and established him as one of America’s leading filmmakers.

“The Negro Soldier” (1944)

Produced by Frank Capra’s renowned World War II U.S. Army filming unit, “The Negro Soldier” showcased the contributions of blacks to American society and their heroism in the nation’s wars, portraying them in a dignified, realistic, and far less stereotypical manner than they had been depicted in previous Hollywood films. Considered by film historian Thomas Cripps as “a watershed in the use of film to promote racial tolerance,” “The Negro Soldier” was produced in reaction to instances of discrimination against African-Americans stationed in the South. Written by Carlton Moss, a young black writer for radio and the Federal Theatre Project, directed by Stuart Heisler, and scored by Dmitri Tiomkin, the film highlights the role of the church in the black community and charts the progress of a black soldier through basic training and officer’s candidate school before he enters into combat. It became mandatory viewing for all soldiers in American replacement centers from spring 1944 until the war’s end.

“Nicholas Brothers Family Home Movies” (1930s-1940s)

Fayard and Harold Nicholas, renowned for their innovative and exuberant dance routines, began in vaudeville in the late 1920s before headlining at the Cotton Club in Harlem, starring on Broadway and performing in Hollywood films. Fred Astaire is reported to have called their dance sequence in “Stormy Weather” (1943) the greatest movie musical number he had ever seen. Their home movies capture a golden age of show business—with extraordinary footage of Broadway, Harlem and Hollywood—and also document the middle-class African-American life of that era, images made rare by the considerable cost of home-movie equipment during the Great Depression. Highlights include the only footage shot inside the Cotton Club, the only footage of famous Broadway shows like “Babes in Arms,” home movies of an all African-American regiment during World War II, films of street life in Harlem in the 1930s, and the family’s cross-country tour in 1934.

“Norma Rae” (1979)

Highlighted by Sally Field’s Oscar-winning performance, “Norma Rae” is the tale of an unlikely activist. A poorly-educated single mother, Norma Rae Webster works at a Southern textile mill where her attempt to improve working conditions through unionization, though undermined by her factory bosses, ultimately succeeds after her courageous stand on the factory floor wins the support of her co-workers. The film is less a polemical pro-union statement than a treatise about maturation, personal willpower, fairness and the empowerment of women. Directed by Martin Ritt, “Norma Rae” was based on the real-life efforts of Crystal Lee Sutton to unionize the J. P. Stevens Mills in Roanoke Rapids, N.C., which finally agreed to allow union representation one year after the film’s release.

“Porgy and Bess” (1959)

Composer George Gershwin considered his masterpiece “Porgy and Bess” to be a “folk opera.” Gershwin’s score reflected traditional songs he encountered in visits to Charleston, S.C., and in Gullah revival meetings he attended on nearby James Island. Controversy has stalked the production history of the opera that Gershwin created with DuBose Heyward, who had written the original novel and play (with his wife Dorothy) and penned lyrics with Gershwin’s brother Ira. The lavish film version was produced in the late 1950s as the civil rights movement gained momentum and a number of African-American actors turned down roles they considered demeaning. Harry Belafonte, who refused the part of Porgy, explained, “in this period of our social development, I doubt that it is healthy to expose certain images of the Negro. In a period of calm, perhaps this picture could be viewed historically.” Dissension also resulted when producer Samuel Goldwyn dismissed Rouben Mamoulian, who had directed the play and musical on Broadway, and replaced him with Otto Preminger. Produced in Todd-AO, a state-of-the-art widescreen and stereophonic sound recording process, with an all-star cast that included Sidney Poitier, Dorothy Dandridge, Sammy Davis, Jr., Pearl Bailey and Diahann Carroll, “Porgy and Bess,” now considered an “overlooked masterpiece” by one contemporary scholar, rarely has been screened in the ensuing years.

“The Silence of the Lambs” (1991)

Jodie Foster, Sir Anthony Hopkins and director Jonathan Demme won accolades for this chilling thriller based upon a book by Thomas Harris. Foster plays rookie FBI agent Clarice Starling who must tap into the disturbed mind of imprisoned cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter in order to aid her search for a murderer and torturer still at large. A film whose violence is as much psychological as graphic, “Silence of the Lambs”—winner of Academy Awards for Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress and Adapted Screenplay—has been celebrated for its superb lead performances, its blending of crime and horror genres, and its taut direction that brought to the screen one of film’s greatest villains and some of its most memorable imagery.

“Stand and Deliver” (1988)

Based on a true story, “Stand and Deliver” stars Edward James Olmos in an Oscar-nominated performance as crusading educator Jaime Escalante. A math teacher in East Los Angeles, Ca., Escalante inspired his underprivileged students to undertake an intensive program in calculus, achieve high test scores, and improve their sense of self-worth. Co-produced by Olmos and directed by Cuban-born Ramón Menéndez, “Stand and Deliver” became one of the most popular of a new wave of narrative feature films produced in the 1980s by Latino filmmakers. The film celebrates in a direct, approachable, and impactful way, values of self-betterment through hard work and power through knowledge.

“Twentieth Century” (1934)

A satire on the theatrical milieu and its oversized egos, “Twentieth Century” marked the first of director Howard Hawks’ frenetic comedies that had leading actors of the day “make damn fools of themselves.” In Hawks’ words, the genre became affectionately known as “screwball comedy.” Hawks had writers Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur, who penned the original play, craft dialogue scenes in which lines overlapped as in ordinary conversations, but still remained understandable, a style he continued in later films. This sophisticated farce about the tempestuous romance of an egocentric impresario and the star he creates did not fare well on its release, but has come to be recognized as one of the era’s finest film comedies, one that gave John Barrymore his last great film role and Carole Lombard her first.

The sci-fi film War of the Worlds also made the National Film Registry's list today.

Paramount Home Video

Above: The sci-fi film “War of the Worlds” also made the National Film Registry’s list today.

“War of the Worlds” (1953)

Released at the height of cold-war hysteria, producer George Pal’s lavishly-designed take on H. G. Wells’ 1898 novel of alien invasion was provocatively transplanted from Victorian England to a mid-20th-century Southern California small town in this 1953 film version. Capitalizing on the apocalyptic paranoia of the atomic age, Barré Lyndon’s screenplay wryly replaces Wells’ original commentary on the British class system with religious metaphor. Directed by Byron Haskin, formerly a special effects cameraman, the critically and commercially successful film chronicles an apparent meteor crash discovered by a local scientist (Gene Barry) that turns out to be a Martian spacecraft. Gordon Jennings, who died shortly before the film’s release, avoided stereotypical flying saucer-style creations in his Academy Award-winning special effects described by reviewers as soul-chilling, hackle-raising and not for the faint of heart.

"ABC World News" Cuts Viewing Gaps with NBC; Stands as #1 Evening Newscast …

via press release:


During the 4th Quarter of 2011, “ABC World News with Diane Sawyer”

Substantially Narrowed the Viewership Gaps with “NBC Nightly News” Year-to-Year

Slashing Total Viewer Gap by 19% and Demo Gap by 25%


For the Week of December 19, “World News” Cut the Total Viewing and Demo Gaps with

“NBC Nightly News” — Marking the Smallest Gap, 87,000 Adults 25-54, in 2 Years


On Wednesday, “ABC World News” was the #1 Evening Newscast Among Adults 25-54


For the 4th Quarter 2011, “ABC World News with Diane Sawyer” averaged 7.78 million Total Viewers and a 1.7 rating/6 share/2.10 million among Adults 25-54.  “World News” delivered increases over the year-ago quarter in both measures (4Q10 – 7.59 million and 2.09 million). In addition, “World News” was up over the previous quarter (3Q11) in both Total Viewers (+7%) and Adults 25-54 (+8%), posting its best quarter performance in 3 quarters – since 1Q11.


Compared to the year-ago quarter (4Q10), “World News” decreased its margins with “NBC Nightly News” by double-digits in both overall viewers (-19% – 937,000 vs. 1.15 million) and in the key adult news demo (-25% – 318,000 vs. 422,000), scoring its smallest news demo margin during a 4th quarter in 3 years – since 4Q08.  


For the 2nd quarter in a row, “World News” narrowed its Adults 25-54 margin with “NBC Nightly News” versus the previous quarter (-22% – 318,000 vs. 409,000 for 3Q11), turning in its smallest news demo margin in 6 quarters – since 2Q10.


“World News” outperformed the “CBS Evening News” during 4Q11 by 1.60 million Total Viewers and by 309,000 Adults 25-54 viewers.



For the week of December 19, 2011, “ABC World News with Diane Sawyer” averaged 8.18 million Total Viewers and a 1.9 rating/6 share/2.24 million among Adults 25-54, according to Nielsen Media Research. Improving on the previous week by 5% in Total Viewers and by 11% in Adults 25-54 (7.78 million and 2.02 million, respectively, on w/o 12/12/11), “World News” delivered its 2nd-best performance of the season in the key adult news demo.   


The ABC evening newscast built on the year-ago week in both Total Viewers (+3%) and Adults 25-54 (+5%), growing its overall audience year-to-year in 12 of 14 weeks this season.  Additionally, “World News” stood as the only evening newscast to grow over the same week last year in Adults 25-54 (NBC was down -14%; CBS was down -8%).


On Wednesday (12/21/11), “ABC World News” was the No. 1 evening newscast in the key adult news demo outperforming “NBC Nightly News” by 15,000 Adults 25-54 (2.31 million vs. 2.16 million).


“World News” slashed its year-to-year gaps with “NBC Nightly News” among both Total Viewers (-70% – 459,000 vs. 1.53 million) and Adults 25-54 (-84% – 87,000 vs. 558,000), representing the 7th time in the last 8 weeks “World News” has narrowed the Total Viewing gap and the 8th time in 8 weeks that ABC has narrowed the demo gap.


In addition, for the 4th week in a row the ABC evening newscast  cut its margins with “NBC Nightly News” among both Total Viewers (-53% – 459,000 vs. 970,000) and Adults 25-54 (-70% – 87,000 vs. 287,000) week-to-week, delivering the smallest news demo margin with the NBC program in over 2 years – since w/o 9/7/09.


“ABC World News” topped the “CBS Evening News” by 1.75 million Total Viewers and by 419,000 Adults 25-54, drawing its largest Total Viewer advantage in 6 weeks – since w/o 11/7/11.


Season to date, “World News” is up in both Total Viewers (+2%) and Adults 25-54 (+1%) compared to the same point last season.  Additionally, “World News” has cut its season-to-date gaps with “NBC Nightly News” by double-digits in both Total Viewers (-19%) and Adults 25-54 (-25%), posting its smallest news demo margin (318,000) with the NBC program in 3 years – since the 2008-09 season.


Note: Due to the Christmas holiday, “World News” was re-titled “Wrld News Tonite” on Friday (12/23/11) and is excluded from the average. NBC “Nightly News” and CBS’ “Evening News” are based on 5 days.


“ABC World News with Diane Sawyer” airs at 6:30 p.m., (ET) on the ABC Television Network.  Michael Corn is the executive producer of the broadcast.


EVENING NEWS (4th Quarter, 2011)


EVENING NEWS (Week of December 19, 2011)


Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI Total Viewers and Adults 25-54 Live + SD weeks of 12/19/11, 12/12/11 12/20/10.  Most Current – 4Q11: 9/19/11 – 12/25/11.  3Q11: 6/27 – 9/18/11. 4Q11: 9/20/10 – 12/26/10.  2011-2012 Season (9/19 – 12/25/11) and 2010-2011 Season (9/20 – 12/26/10).


Amy D. Shojai, CABC: Pet Health:How To Keep Pets Safe Through The Cold Winter

People fight the cold with heavy coats, long underwear and wooly mittens. And if it’s too cold for people, a fur coat won’t protect pets from weather extremes, either. Just like people frostbite and human hypothermia, pets also can suffer from cold weather dangers, including frostbite and hypothermia.

Dogs and cats protect themselves by curling up in small shelters that can be warmed by their own body heat. Fluffed fur insulates the body the same way clothing protects people — by trapping warm air next to the skin.

But wind strips away the protective layer of warm air trapped by fur. Getting wet makes the cold worse, when fur can’t fluff to hold warm air. Even moderately cool temperatures can be dangerous. A 20 mph wind makes 40 degree weather feel like 18 degrees.

How Pets Stay Warm

Adult dog and cat body temperature ranges from about 100 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Puppies and kittens, though, have trouble maintaining body temperature. Huddling together shares warmth and reduces wind loss of heat, and shivering generates heat.

Short-haired pets have less protection but even wooly cats and dogs are at risk. Thinly-furred areas or body parts exposed to the wind or that come in contact with the icy ground have little protection from the cold.

Pets conserves heat by diverting blood circulation from the ear tips, toes and tail to protect the vital organs in the central part of the body. But reduced circulation to these extremities increases the chance for frostbite.

What Is Frostbite?

Tissue is 90 percent water. When frozen, cells rupture when the water expands just like ice cubes overflowing the tray. The resulting damage — termed frostbite — can be painful and severe.

Frostbite turns the skin pale white, gray or blue. Fur may hide the damage, but you’ll notice pets limp from frozen toes, frozen ear tips or tails droop, and the skin will be very cold, hard and nonpliable.

Redness, blisters and serious infection develop days later. If it’s really severe, the affected tissue turns leathery and insensitive to sensation. If not removed surgically, those areas fall off. All cases of frostbite need veterinary attention after first aid.

Frostbite First Aid

Pet first aid is similar to first aid for human frostbite. Thaw frozen toes or tails by dunking them in lukewarm water. Thaw frozen ear tips or scrotum with a warm wet towel held against the skin. Don’t rub as that makes the damage worse and reduces any chance of recovery.

Tissue that’s completely frozen may take up to 20 minutes to thaw. Less deeply-frozen areas turn bright red as they thaw. Apply an antibiotic ointment like Neosporin to the oozing area to help protect against infection, until your veterinarian can treat the pet.

Mild frostbite usually resolves within a week or so. Antibiotics, pain medication, bandages or even surgery to removed damaged or dead tissue may be necessary. It may take several weeks for the damage to completely heal.

What Is Hypothermia?

While frostbite causes discomfort and damage to the extremities, hypothermia happens when overall body temperature falls below normal. In people hypothermia is defined as body temperature lower than 95 degrees, and treatment is vital to survival. When body temperature falls too low in pets, they can die.

Hypothermia First Aid

Mild hypothermia happens if body temperature drops to between 95 to 99 degrees Fahrenheit. Pets act a bit sluggish and lethargic, and you’ll see muscle tremors and shivering that serves to rewarm the body. Just bringing the dog or cat inside where it’s warm usually allows him to recover.

Moderate hypothermia is more serious when the temperature falls to 91 to 95 degrees. Offer warm chicken broth to heat up the pet from the inside out. Wrap him in a towel or blanket heated in the clothes drier. It takes pets longer to recover from moderate hypothermia, but if he’s able to shiver, he should recover.

Severe hypothermia is body temperature 90 degrees or less, and is an emergency — take your pet to the veterinarian as soon as possible! Pets lose the ability to shiver if their body temperature falls to 90 degrees or below, so that’s a warning sign. They may fall unconscious, and rescue breathing may be necessary. Veterinary treatment may include warm intravenous fluids, warm water enemas or airway rewarming using oxygen.

The best protection against people frostbite and hypothermia is to provide shelter from the wet and cold. The same holds true for pets. Bring cats and dogs inside during severe cold. Why not snuggle together, share body heat and protect each other safe from Old Man Winter’s dangers?

Amy D. Shojai, CABC, is a certified animal behavior consultant and the award-winning author of 23 pet care books. She also writes for and and appears on Animal Planet’s CATS-101 and DOGS-101. Check out Amy’s latest book, “Pet Care in the New Century: Cutting-Edge Medicine for Dogs Cats” and on Red Room, where you can read her blog and buy her books.

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