Friday, November 4, 2011

Fabulous blogiversary prizes!

Eight years.

I have kept Thrilling Days of Yesteryear, my online nostalgia blog about classic films, vintage TV and old-time radio, going for eight years.  My first post was on November 4, 2003—the neighborhood where it was erected has been razed, unfortunately, but I managed to rescue it and move it here if you’re interested.

Faithful readers of course know the origins of the blog by now—my pal Laura, who blogs at Oh Crap, I Have a Crush on Sarah Palin, asked me one day when I was planning to start a blog…and then later, after reading some of the side-splitting snark at s.z. and Scott C.’s World O’Crap, I said to myself: “I can do that.”  And so, Number One, I made it so.  (Actually, since the two bloggers who inspired me to start one of my own feature the word "crap" in their titles perhaps I should change that to "Number Two, I made it so.")

To be honest, I’m often puzzled at how I’ve managed to keep it going for so long.  There are boxes of Hostess Twinkies with longer shelf lives than most blogs.  But it really shouldn’t be such a head-scratcher; I have an awful lot of fun doing it.  I’m a fairly introverted person by nature, but if you get me started on any of the subjects I used to describe TDOY’s content I’m liable to talk your ear off.  I’ve always enjoyed writing, and since an English teacher at my alma mater of Ravenswood Penitentiary High School constantly drilled into my mush-filled noggin “Write what you know” it just seems to make sense that I would gravitate towards chronicling my passions in life.  I’ve loved TV ever since I was old enough to walk over unsteadily on toddler legs and turn it on; I discovered OTR, “the theatre of the mind,” when I was twelve years old and found myself transfixed by its power.  I cherish and revere old movies because…well, the characters and stories are miles and away superior than the pap they're using to lure people into the googolplexes nowadays.  (Here's where I start yelling at kids to stay off my lawn.).

I must, however, caution those of you out there considering a dip in Lake Blog that the financial rewards for blogging are practically non-existent.  (The only way I’m ever going to deposit checks with “Thrilling Days of Yesteryear” as my employer is if I start some money-laundering operation.)  But there are other benefits: I was asked—first by First Generation Radio Archives (now just Radio Archives) and then Radio Spirits—to contribute liner notes for their old-time radio releases, and have gratefully received financial recompense for my efforts.  I've also been afforded the privilege of seeing my jotted-down ramblings grace other online blogs like The LAMBMovie Fan Fare and my good friends at Edward Copeland on Film...and More.  Most of the time, though, I divine genuine satisfaction just if someone e-mails me to tell me how much they enjoy the blog or thanks me for recommending a movie that they might have otherwise avoided like the plague.  (“Uncle” Donnie Pitchford, Lum & Abner expert, once told me that when someone had words of praise for something he scribbled down he’d say to himself: “There’s your pay.”  It certainly applies here.)

And on rare occasions, I even get the opportunity to give away free swag.  Christina Foxley at Crown/Random House was generous enough to send me two copies of Learning to Live Out Loud, the just-released memoirs of Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning actress Piper Laurie…and I’m going to give the TDOY faithful the opportunity to score a copy.  Here are the “deets,” as my BBFF Stacia would say:

In the glory days of movie making, Piper Laurie was living every little girl’s dream. Her name emblazoned marquees across America in hit movies of the era such as The Prince Who Was a Thief, The Mississippi Gambler, and Ain’t Misbehavin’Her beauty was admired by the likes of Ronald Reagan, Howard Hughes, Paul Newman, Tony Curtis, as well as dozens of directors and legions of fans. But Piper discovered early on that the little girl’s dream was not her own—she didn’t want to be a movie star. She wanted to be an actor with the freedom and the fulfillment of her own artistic yearnings. LEARNING TO LIVE OUT LOUD: A Memoir (Crown Archetype; November 1, 2011) is the inspiring, intimate tale of Piper’s perseverance to overcome a troubling childhood, break from tradition, and to practice her craft at the highest level.

When she was six years old, Piper (born Rosetta Jacobs) and her sister were sent to live in a children’s asylum, where she remained for three years, almost entirely mute. In LEARNING TO LIVE OUT LOUD she recounts how she overcame this period of parental neglect and almost total verbal silence and discovered her gift of acting. At age seventeen she signed a contract with Universal Studios and at eighteen had her first affair with a co-star. Piper’s deeply personal stories from this time include love affairs with well-known actors and movie moguls, a brief engagement to G. David Schine, marriage to acclaimed Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Joe Morgenstern, and encounters with Elvis, Charlie Chaplin, and many others. Her vivid recollections of her first meetings with Rita Hayworth, Shirley Temple, Joe McCarthy, Sissy Spacek, and George Clooney offer a new perspective on part of Hollywood’s A-List.

After years in the studio system where she was paraded around and consistently cast in the “bimbo” role, shy Piper found her voice and the courage to burn her contract. Only then did she begin to star in the TV shows, stage productions, and films that truly became the hallmarks of her remarkable career: The Glass Menagerie on Broadway, the original Days of Wine and Roses, The Hustler with Paul Newman, the iconic Carrie, and Twin Peaks. She grew into a three-time Oscar-nominated actress (for The Hustler, Carrie, and Children of a Lesser God), won an Emmy and a Golden Globe, and remains active to this day as both as performer and director as well as an accomplished sculptor. With LEARNING TO LIVE OUT LOUD, she recounts her many professional highlights in vivid detail and shares a range of difficult, delightful, and juicy stories—some never before told—about:

• Her lonely childhood years in an asylum and struggles with acute anxiety disorder.

• Losing her virginity to Ronald Reagan following the filming of her very first movie—where Piper was playing Reagan’s character’s16-year-old daughter!

• A tender affair with a young Mel Gibson while filming Tim.

• The casting and filming of The Hustler (celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2011) and Carrie (celebrating its 35th anniversary).

• Bizarre meetings with a Howard Hughes on the verge of his period of extreme isolation and illness, her friendship with Rock Hudson, her “intimacy with the perfect President Ronnie, who disappointed,” working with Brian de Palma, and much, much more.

A stirring memoir of one of Hollywood’s most gifted and memorable actresses, LEARNING TO LIVE OUT LOUD is an honest, refreshing departure from the typical celebrity memoir and a must-read this fall.

Two lucky people will be able to read this book this fall…all you need to do is e-mail me at igsjrotr(at)gmail(dot)com with your name and snail-mail address (if you’d rather wait to see if you’re notified that you’re a winner, that’s ginger-peachy as well) and “Piper Laurie Giveaway” in the subject header.  You have until midnight EST on Thursday, November 11 (Veterans’ Day) to enter, and then Friday morning I shall award two individuals (via the prizes.  Again, many thanks to Crown/Random House’s generosity in letting me give away these swell books…and thanks to everyone who’s made churning out Thrilling Days of Yesteryear posts for the past eight years an indescribable delight.  I often appropriate the words of The Great One when I tell people, “Oooh, you’re a good group.”

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Mythical Monkey said...

Happy blog-a-versary! Eight years, huh. I admit, that's probably three years before I even knew what a blog was, but then I've always been behind the technology curve. But I've been a fan of Thrilling Days of Yesteryear since I discovered it (like if Columbus had discovered America in 1936) and you gave me an excuse to blog about The Dick Van Dyke Show, so you rank high in my book.

Keep up the good work.

Bill Crider said...

Congrats on the blogoversary and thanks for the shout-out!

T.L. Bugg said...

Congratulations, Ivan. Eight years is very impressive, and I look forward to 8+ more!

Yvette said...

Congratulations, Ivan! 8 years and counting - wow! I hope I make it as far.:)

You know how much you make me laugh, I've told you often enough. Love your blog.

Brandie said...

Congratulations on eight years of blogging spectacular-ness! (Yeah, I just made up a word.)

Caftan Woman said...

Eight years? Not surprising. You give the people what they want and they/we keep coming back for more.

PS: I'm starting to quote you to my family. Don't let fame go to your head.

Vince said...

Congratulations, Ivan! Many happy returns.

Stacia said...

Congrats, baby! You've been writing one of the best blogs in the business for 8 years, and we're all glad you're still here. Actually, if you even TRIED to stop blogging I'd lead the pitchfork and torch brigade myself.

Losing her virginity to Ronald Reagan following the filming of her very first movie—where Piper was playing Reagan’s character’s 16-year-old daughter!

This gives me Dr. Girlfriend face.

Scott said...

I always looked forward to your comments on the Old World O' Crap, and well remember when you first ventured off on your own, like the adolescent Leonidas going out to meet the wolf in 300, except I assume you were wearing pants -- although it's blogging, so who really knows? The important thing is, I can honestly say I've been reading TDOY for about as long as you've been writing it, and one thing is clear: you've only gotten better with each passing year.

Happy blogiversary, Ivan, and here's to 8 more (at least).

KC said...

Eight years? Really?! Wow, I'm impressed. It's not like you've just kept it plodding along; you've been doing great content all this time! Congratulations and here's to many more years of blogging.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

I want to thank each and everyone of you for your enthusiastic comments on the blog’s anniversary. Particularly the one from MM, in which he compared the discovery of my blog to Columbus’ discovery of America. (And to think I did it without all that unpleasant genocide.)

Our Lady of Great Caftan admitted that she’s starting to quote me—which has me a little concerned because there’s going to be an eventual scenario when her family has her committed. (“I told her I wasn’t going to hear ‘Irony can be pretty ironic sometimes’ out of her mouth any more!”) And Brandie demonstrates that word creation (“spectacular-ness”) is not just the bailiwick of my BBFF Stacia.

Speaking of Stacia, the “Dr. Girlfriend face” is still making me emit tee hee sounds. (What the heck was she thinking when she wrote this thing? “Here’s the part where I announce I was deflowered by Reagan…”)

For the benefit of my “godfather” Scott, I’m writing this response to the comments sans pants. So I’ll just let KC have the last word:

Eight years? Really?!

If you listen closely, you can hear that being repeated throughout the blogosphere. Thanks again, everybody.

Laura said...

A very happy bloggiversary to you, Ivan -- eight years is really impressive!! May you enjoy classic movies and TV and blog for many, many more years to come!

Best wishes,

Pam said...

Well, I'm late to this party. As usual. Congrats! Keeping this going is no small feat. Keeping it good is even harder. Pat yourself on the back!

I can't believe it has been eight years. I can't believe it because that means we have been poking and prodding and haunting each other for ... what 12 years?

Stacia said...

the bailiwick of my BBFF Stacia

Why, I never! I will have you know, sir, that I am a married woman!