Christmas All-Time All-Stars – WIF Pop Culture

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 People Who

Helped Define

Modern Christmas

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Christmas All-time

 

All-Stars

Gotta-Go Go-To Go-There(s) – WIF Travel

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Tourist Destinations

Made Famous

Through Pop Culture

Someone who is enjoying a book, a song, a movie, or a television show is enriching his or her inner world by imagining new physical, intellectual, and emotional possibilities. Sometimes, however, the world a person creates in his or her art isn’t imaginary at all. All of the places on this list are actual places that a tourist could visit. All of them have been popularized because of their associations with certain books, music, movies, and television shows.

10. Graceland (Home Of Elvis Presley)

When the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Elvis Presley, bought his Memphis estate, Graceland, in 1957 it was one of the most costly properties in the area. Unable to afford the expense of caring for the estate after Elvis’ death, Elvis’ former wife, Priscilla Presley, opened it to the public in 1982. Now, roughly 600,000 people visit Graceland each year to pay homage to their favorite rock and roll royalty.

Graceland is a tourist destination because of its sociocultural significance. Elvis spent 20 years of his life there. However, Graceland also has artistic significance, as it has served as a muse for successful songwriters. In “Walking In Memphis,” singer/songwriter Marc Cohn sings about seeing the ghost of Elvis Presley while touring Graceland. In “Graceland,” a song from an album of the same name, singer/songwriter Paul Simon sings about the creative and personal redemption he finds while visiting his idol’s home.

9. Lyme Park And Sudbury Hall (Pride And Prejudice)

Mr. Darcy, the hero of Jane Austen’s 1813 novel Pride and Prejudice, was mentioned more in 1995 than at any time since 1900. This is partially because when screen and teleplay writer Andrew Davies adapted the novel into a six hour miniseries for the BBC, he put a handsome face to the famous name.

When the novel’s heroine, Elizabeth Bennet (played by Jennifer Ehle in the miniseries) tours the estate of Mr. Darcy (played by Colin Firth), whose marriage proposal she has rejected because she thinks him haughty, she realizes that the man she has turned down is very well endowed… with property. His estate, Pemberley, consists of lush woodlands and a stately manor. When they unexpectedly meet at Pemberley, Elizabeth and Darcy better understand both each other and the nature of their own romantic feelings.

The Pemberley of the 1995 miniseries is actually two places. The exterior shots of Pemberley were filmed at Lyme Park in the Peak District in Cheshire. When the cast and crew were ready to film the interior shots for Pemberley, Lyme Park — which is open to the public — was no longer available. The interior shots for Pemberley, including the elegant, long gallery, were shot in Sudbury Hall, an estate in Derbyshire. Tour guide Maddy Hall says that when she takes tourists who are using P and P Tours to Lyme Hall, she doesn’t go inside herself. She wants to keep her vision of Pemberley (literally) intact. Says Hall, “In our minds we think we have seen Jennifer Ehle [as Elizabeth Bennet] looking out of the windows and seeing the lake [on the grounds of Pemberley] – but in fact it’s all down to skillful editing.”

8. Middle-earth (The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy)

While he was writing the The Lord of the Rings, British fantasy author J.R.R. Tolkien meticulously created the vivid details of Middle-earth, the setting for his trilogy. Tolkien produced a colorful, annotated map of Middle-earth, now housed in the Bodleian Libraries at Oxford University. Tolkien also made sketches of his fantasy realm.

When movie director Peter Jackson acquired the rights for his movies based on Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy, he knew exactly which location would best represent Middle-earth: Jackson’s homeland, New Zealand. Jackson used 150 locations in New Zealand during the making of his movies. Each movie in the trilogy grossed an average of $970 million, and the third film was the highest grossing film for 2003. New Zealand embraces its identity as Middle-earth in its tourism marketing. On its tourism website, it’s called “the perfect Middle-earth.” Many people must see New Zealand’s sloping hills, majestic mountains, and limpid bodies of water as the perfect features for Middle-earth. Roughly 47,000 Tolkien fans per year visit film locations in New Zealand.

7. The Empire State Building (King Kong)

Since it opened in 1931, the Empire State Building has been featured in over 250 movies. One of the building’s earliest scene-stealing cameos was in the 1933 movie King Kong. In the film, the behemoth ape King Kong escapes from an exhibit and kidnaps the character portrayed by Fay Wray, with whom he is smitten. He carries her to the top of the Empire State Building, where she’s rescued when the gorilla is shot repeatedly by airplane gunners.

In 1933, the scene served as an homage to the sociocultural relevance of the (relatively new) Empire State Building. In 2019, the Empire State Building paid an homage to the film. As part of $165 million worth of renovations, designers built a gallery with interactive exhibits on the second floor of the world-famous tower. As visitors walk through a 1930s newsroom, King Kong’s fingers pierce the walls as he dangles from the rooftop, dodging airplanes. In another exhibit, visitors can step into King Kong’s arms.

6. The Iron Throne (Game Of Thrones)

A Song of Ice and Fire, the fantasy series author George R.R. Martin began writing in 1991, hasn’t been completed yet. The HBO series based on Martin’s books, however, premiered in 2011 and ended in 2019. The series earned 12 Emmy awards for its final season, the most wins for any individual show. The finale was watched by over 13 million viewers, the most viewers for any HBO show, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Since the show was filmed in 10 countries, fans of both the books and the miniseries have many tourist destinations from which to choose. Arguably, the most contested site in the series is King’s Landing, home of the Iron Throne that inspires the brutal succession “game” that gives the series its title. In 2019, HBO hid six Iron Thrones throughout the world and awarded prizes to fans who found them using clues posted on the Game of Thrones Twitter account. The scenes in King’s Landing featuring the “real” Iron Throne — the one built by the show’s set designers — were filmed in Dubrovnik, Croatia. In 2015, the mayor of Dubrovnik claimed HBO was gifting the Iron Throne to his city. HBO denied the mayor’s claim. Dubrovnik does not have the Iron Throne yet, but it does have a museum honoring Game of Thrones.

5. Llanddewi Brefi (Little Britain)

One of the recurring characters on Matt Lucas and David Walliams‘ 2003 BBC sketch comedy television series, Little Britain, is Daffyd (a misspelling of the Welsh “Dafydd”) Thomas, a flamboyant, inexperienced youth who doggedly insists he’s the only gay man in his village of Llanddewi Brefi, Wales.

The sketches are actually shot in Buckinghamshire, England. Still, the popularity of Lucas’ character has strengthened the tourism industry in Llanddewi Brefi. Shop owner Neil Driver, who owns Siop Brefi in partnership with his wife, Glesni, says tourists come to have their photos taken while they’re standing in front of the sign at the town’s entrance, and sometimes they steal the signs. In 2005, Driver told Wales News he had sold roughly 40 shirts with a line from one of Daffyd’s sketches on them to visiting tourists.

4. Highclere Castle (Downton Abbey)

Sam Wallaston, a television critic for the British newspaper The Guardian, called Julian Fellowes’ series Downton Abbey “a posh soap opera [but] a pretty bloody splendid posh soap opera.” The series dramatizes the interpersonal relationships of the Crawley family, the owners of the estate Downton Abbey, and the servants who attend the Crawleys. The Crawleys’ story also intersects with important sociocultural and sociopolitical events in England at the turn of the 20th century.

Highclere Castle is where the interior shots (most notably the dining hall, the entrance room, and the staircase) and the exterior shots for the series were filmed. In a way, Highclere Castle is the titular character, since the show is named for the Crawleys’ estate. The popularity of the show has increased the popularity of Highclere Castle, Downton Abbey’s real world counterpart. George “Geordie” Herbert, the eighth earl of Carnarvon and Lady Fiona Carnarvon, who own Highclere Castle, say the tourism created by the show has assisted them in paying for the castle’s necessary repairs. As of 2015, 1,250 tourists per day visited Highclere Castle. In 2019, Airbnb offered two sweepstakes winners an overnight stay in order to promote the newly released Downton Abbey movie.

3. King’s Cross Station (Harry Potter)

In 2018, author J.K. Rowling’s seven book Harry Potter series became the bestselling book series in history. Rowling’s series has sold over five hundred million copies worldwide. Rowling’s work is appealing — especially for her most devoted fans — partially because of how deftly she depicts Hogwarts, the wizard training school where Harry seeks to master his craft.

In the book, Harry travels to Hogwarts by taking the train at platform 9 ¾ in King’s Cross Station. Boarders must reach the platform by running through a brick wall between platforms nine and ten. At the actual King’s Cross Station, platforms nine and ten are separated by tracks. Luckily for Harry Potter fans, there is still a platform 9 ¾… sort of. A luggage trolley is embedded in a wall in the station concourse. Above the trolley is a sign that says Platform 9 ¾. Tourists may have professional photos taken grasping the trolley. A nearby gift shop offers tourists the option to further personalize the photo by wearing a scarf in the Hogwarts house colors of their choice. The photo and the scarf are available for purchase. King’s Cross Station’s platform 9 ¾ welcomes over one million visitors each year. Rowling, for her part, said she immediately knew she would locate platform 9 ¾ at King’s Cross Station, because it has emotional significance for her. Her parents met on a trolley there.

2. The Hollywood Sign

In 1923, Los Angeles Times publisher Harry Chandler invested in an upscale housing development. The housing development was called Hollywoodland. In order to advertise, Chandler bought 45-foot high white letters that spelled out the name of his development, located on the south side of Mount Lee in the Hollywood Hills. He anchored the letters to telephone poles, and attached a total of 4,000 illuminated lights to his lettering.

The word “land” was removed from the sign in 1949, long after Hollywoodland had gone out of business. The sign has received regular maintenance checks since the 1970s, and its sociocultural significance continues to be confirmed. The Hollywood sign, or at least a studio set replica of it, has appeared in over a dozen movies.

1. Abbey Road (The Beatles)

When rock and roll’s most famous quartet, The Beatles, crossed Abbey Road in the cover photo for their 1969 album of the same name, they elevated the significance of their recording studio, Abbey Road Studios. Now linked inextricably with the success of a band ranked Number One in the 2010 Rolling Stone list “100 Greatest Artists,” Abbey Road is a symbolic home for any musical artist who desires creative freedom.

Sam Smith, Lady Gaga, and Adele, for example, have recently recorded at Abbey Road Studios. While Abbey Road Studios isn’t open for tours, Abbey Road Crossing — the crossing on The Beatles’ album cover — is usually crowded with tourists taking photographs.


Gotta-Go Go-To Go-There(s)

WIF Travel

Celebrating Thanksgiving – WIF Style

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Thanksgiving Extravaganza

In the United States

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The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth By Jennie A. Brownscombe (1914)

In the United States, the modern Thanksgiving holiday tradition is commonly, but not universally, traced to a poorly documented 1621 celebration at Plymouth in present-day Massachusetts. The 1621 Plymouth feast and thanksgiving was prompted by a good harvest.Pilgrims and Puritans who began emigrating from England in the 1620s and 1630s carried the tradition of Days of Fasting and Days of Thanksgiving with them to New England. Several days of Thanksgiving were held in early New England history that have been identified as the “First Thanksgiving”, including Pilgrim holidays in Plymouth in 1621 and 1623, and a Puritan holiday in Boston in 1631. According to historian Jeremy Bangs, director of the Leiden American Pilgrim Museum, the Pilgrims may have been influenced by watching the annual services of Thanksgiving for the relief of the siege of Leiden in 1574, while they were staying in Leiden.In later years, religious thanksgiving services were declared by civil leaders such as Governor Bradford, who planned a thanksgiving celebration and fast in 1623. The practice of holding an annual harvest festival did not become a regular affair in New England until the late 1660s.

Thanksgiving proclamations were made mostly by church leaders in New England up until 1682, and then by both state and church leaders until after the American Revolution. During the revolutionary period, political influences affected the issuance of Thanksgiving proclamations. Various proclamations were made by royal governors, John Hancock, General George Washington, and the Continental Congress each giving thanks to God for events favorable to their causes. As President of the United States, George Washington proclaimed the first nation-wide thanksgiving celebration in America marking November 26, 1789, “as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favours of Almighty God”.

In modern times the President of the United States, in addition to issuing a proclamation, will “pardon” a turkey, which spares the bird’s life and ensures that it will spend the duration of its life roaming freely on farmland.

“Thank you Wikipedia!”

I am thankful for a God who loves us.

I am thankful I’m not a vegetarian.

My Granddaughter Norah is thankful that Mommy doesn’t humiliate her like this.

Thankful I did not have this nightmare.

Somebody’s Thanksgiving Dream

“You know you’re a Redneck when you order out KFC.”

“Where did I put that turkey?”

Cats and Dogs are thankful

Yep!


Celebrating Thanksgiving

– WIF Style

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #233

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #233

…after fifteen afternoon and evening performances of the play, A Kiss For Cinderella, fate intervenes when laryngitis strikes the title character, meaning Abigail Ferrell is pressed into action…

Fairy Tale-001

At the same time, bad things happen to good people. Take Cinderella, for instance. What did she do that was so wrong? Her mother died and her father, the baron, marries a social climbing hag with two insecure and demanding daughters. Is it her fault that her father spinelessly ignores the fact his own daughter is dominated and subjugated, left to obey the whims of virtual strangers? Of course it isn’t, but C.S. Evan’s story is a fairy tale, improbable in its cruelty and enchanting in its ending.

And after fifteen afternoon and evening performances of the play, A Kiss For Cinderella, fate intervenes when laryngitis strikes the title character, meaning Abigail Ferrell is pressed into action; poised to ride in a pumpkin carriage, with a 12 o’clock midnight curfew. She has been waiting in the wings low these twenty days, watching Barrie’s actors work at their craft, memorizing all their moves and lines for just an occasion as this.

Abigail Smythwick

Abigail Ferrell-Ferrell

“You will do just fine, lassie,” Barrie assures, who secretly had hoped she would get the opportunity to get more than the one scheduled understudy performance onstage. He has come to know his late cousin’s daughter/daughter-in-law well, taken with her charming demeanor and graceful abidance — in a fatherly way, with an eye to missing her help when he returns to Scotland. There is an inexplicable bonding of people of the theater, perhaps due in part of doing the same thing night after night, from the first performance to the last, with small differences known only to those onstage and behind the scenes. “I can see how beautiful you are going to be in Cinderella’s gown! You and Matthew will make a charming couple, absolutely brightening the stage.”

“Thank you for the kind words Sir James, but it is only make-believe… imagine me playing the part of a girl in her teens.”

That last line is heard in passing by Agnes Ferrell, who is looking forward to abusing Abbey, as is her right as cruel step-sister, Euphronia. “Scrub the floors, get water from the well, feed the chickens, and press my green jersey dress,” she orders in a mocking tone. Her resentment of Abbey has faded over the years, coinciding with a more reasonable aligning of her love for her brother, likely tempered by the ongoing courtship of her by Gadsden County Sheriff Cyril Odz.

“Why do you hate me so, Euphronia? I work my fingers to the bone, wear your tattered hand-me-downs and you still treat me so much dirt beneath your feet.”

Abbey’s ad-lib to Agnes’ exaggerated ordering does not go unnoticed. “That is not one of your lines, Abigail, but I do believe it would be a good addition. I will find the right spot for it before the next performance,” states the producer/director/playwright, who is always open to spontaneity, fully aware that certain of the audience are repeat patrons and they enjoy subtle changes in the script.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Cinderella scene

Episode #233


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #226

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #226

… Hosea brags of his ill-gotten gains and tales of outfoxing all manner of authority, none of which A.O is to tell their mother…

Atlantic City-001

“Well, things turned out anyways, dint they.” You could say so, in a perverse way. “I’m goin’ to give you the gran’ tour – we’ll do the town right!” If anyone knows all the nooks and crannies, surely Hosea Campbell does, and what he doesn’t know, Flo does. What a trio they make, Hosey with his flashy duds and big floppy hat, Flo wrapped in a short white mink coat (and who knows what, if anything, underneath), and A.O. in yet another dapper three piece suit, replete with pocket watch and fob; promenading down the Boardwalk like they own it.

And they nearly do, which is a shame, for a shot of warm air has blown in from the south and thousands of New Yorkers are wasting their weekend in their dingy houses and crowded streets; 60 degrees and sunny, when it was freezing the day before. It is perfect weather for strolling down the forty-some foot wide wooden path, even enjoying lunch on a patioed cafe.

Board3        After a time, A.O. actually finds out that Flo is a real person, perhaps because she away from her workplace, out and doing normal things. The one question he wants to ask her the most: how she got hooked up, so-to-speak, with his audacious brother, will go unanswered. Instead, he hears of a troubled childhood, a failed marriage, and what size brassiere she wears.

Hosea brags of his ill-gotten gains and tales of outfoxing all manner of authority, none of which A.O is to tell their mother. ‘He is a businessman of some success,’ will be his half-told truth.

    “Where your bags at? I’d luv ta have you stay here tonite,” Hosey urges, after they complete a pleasantly pleasant day.

“They’re back at my room.” Well not his room.

“Say, we could all go there and play some cards, you know, part with some of that doctorin’ money.”

“Oh no… I have to get up early, takin’ the first train south you know.” If it is up to him, no one will ever find out about his soon-to-be two evenings with Camille. “It would be nice if you came to Tallahassee for a visit. The folks would be joyed to see you.”

“Just might do that, Alfrey. Have a good trip back.” The three embrace warmly.

“You sure we can’t make a night of it?” asks the third. The doctor doffs his chapeau.

Memories of New Jersey will abide in the doctor always; careless whispers echoing in the recesses of his mind.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Fralingers Saltwater Taffy Store on Atlantic City Boardwalk

Episode #226


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #217

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #217

…“No, I’m afraid I must return to the real world,” tells Judith Eastman…

Variety Pickford-001

 “Bravo! What a scene!” Mary cannot contain herself. “Oh, I wish there were a way to record that scene with every little sound, all that raw emotion.”

The movie’s director is almost in tears, of the joyful variety. He has witnessed Judith’s steady improvement, the way she has started to use body language and that face; able to express a full compliment of moods.

Her final scene even impresses the not easily impressible Harry Langdon.  His last words to her, “I will work with you any time”, are different from his first, “I will not work with an untrained, unknown East Coast frump.” He lied about the frump part, eating those words faster than he can chew.

“Thank you all. I really enjoyed the experience and I am going to miss you. My magazine work will surely now seem boring.”

“You are going to stay until we are done shooting aren’t you?” Mary half asks half urges.

“No, I’m afraid I must return to the real world. I am surprised I was able to concentrate with my husband on the other side of the world.”

“My people will arrange for your return train, and I’ll instruct payroll to cut you a check for your performance.” Businesswoman Pickford takes control. “And please promise me that if I have a role tailor-made for you, that you will answer my call.”

“I cannot promise you absolutely, but I will do almost anything for a friend.”

The pair embraces warmly, but briefly. “Scene 84 to set 5 please, places everyone,” barks the director.

“That’s me, Judith. Have a safe trip and give your husband my best. He is a lucky man.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #217


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #215

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #215

…California is so different from New York on the 7th of October when fall is firmly entrenched in the East…

Silent Movie Subtitle-001

As the convoy containing her husband limps into New York, Judith Eastman has already shot four scenes in four days. By all accounts, she is doing a credible, if not inspired job. The majority of her scenes are with Mary/Rebecca, providing for a comfort zone, for a stranger in a strange land.

Silent Movie Subtitle-001  California is so different from New York. It is the 7th of October; fall is firmly entrenched in the East, when a sixty degree day is a treat. In Los Angeles people wear heavy jackets when it’s sixty degrees. Back in Rochester, you are considered flaky if you don’t dress like a normal person and have a full-time job; there are Californians who don’t wear shoes, do wear tropical shirts and do nothing but surf the waves of the Pacific Ocean all day.

The remainder of Judith’s scenes is shot with Harry Langdon, someone she considers a boorish lout, who gives her no help whatsoever and seems to take great pleasure in embarrassing her. But his spiteful actions come to a screeching halt, when Mary catches him in the act, calling Judith names behind her back. From then on, Harry sticks to playing the role of Mr. Adam Ladd.

     Judith will never find out that it was Mary who was the cause of a sudden change in the way he treated her. Mary Pickford has great clout in the industry, even rumored to be setting up a consortium of actors and actresses and directors, including D.W. Griffith, matinee idol Douglas Fairbanks and Charley Chaplin. You do not want to mess with little Miss Mary.

Pickford now pauses to watch the following pivotal scene. She hears what the movie going audience will read on the bottom of the screen.

Silent Movie Subtitle-001


Alpha Omega M.D.

Film Reel #9 by The Artwork Factory

Episode #215


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