Wisecracking Wit: An Array of Facts about Mark Twain

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Samuel Langhorne Clemens, also known as Mark Twain, is considered one of America’s foremost writers.  His works have influenced generations of writers and classics like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn are read in high schools and universities across the country.  Perhaps, best known for his characteristic (and sometimes irreverent) wit, Mark Twain is one of the most beloved writers of all time.  The following offerings relate fascinating facts and trivia about this notable author’s life and career.

Twain was born in Florida, Missouri (two months early) to parents John and Jane Clemens in 1835 during the presidency of Andrew Jackson.  Soon after, his parents purchased a home on the town’s Main Street, but by 1839 the family had moved to Hannibal, Missouri.  The boys could see the Mississippi river from their upstairs bedroom window.
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Dream Big: The Levi Strauss Story

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JeansAmerica is filled with ‘rags to riches’ stories but not all are as comical as the Levi Strauss story. Necessity truly is the Mother of invention. Just ask Levi Strauss!

Practically the entire world is familiar with the brand of Levi Strauss, but not everyone knows that the name belonged to an actual person who lived back in the 1800’s. Nor does anyone know just how many pairs of jeans were worn before the right ones were finally made to fit perfect.

There’s Gold Out Yonder!

In 1853 Levi Strauss, a German immigrant, set his sights on the California gold rush. He traveled to California from New York with a load of dry goods, mainly fabrics for his brother, and he planned on opening a store out west.
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Elvis Presley – Did You Know?

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Elvis Presley is known for his music, like “Blue Suede Shoes” and “Jailhouse Rock”, among many early movies and shows, and provocative dance moves.  Many people think they know everything there is to know about Elvis, and his life, but I bet I know a few things they don’t know.

Did you know that Elvis Presley did not make the cut for his high school glee club?  Nope, the instructor did not think Elvis sang well enough to be a part of the choir.  He did, however, sing well enough to make him a millions of dollars throughout his singing career.

Elvis Presley received many Co-writing credits, but did you know he never wrote any of his songs?  Really, it is true.  He did not even write, or assist in writing, one single hit.  His manager, Tom Parker, would tell the song writers that Elvis wouldn’t record their music unless he got Co-writing credit, along with half the royalties for each song.  There were very few song writers, if any, who refused Elvis’ request.
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Quentin Tarantino Facts & Quotes

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Quentin Jerome Tarantino is one of the most influential director-writers working today. He was born on March 27, 1963 in Knoxville Tennessee and moved to the Los Angeles area in 1965 with his mother. Later he attended Hawthorne Christian School and Narbonne High School before dropping out at the age of 16. Shortly after, he enrolled in acting classes at the James Best Theatre Company. 

In 1984 Tarantino took a job at The Video Archives, a video store in Manhattan Beach, California, where he watched (and studied) thousands of films and developed an almost encyclopedic knowledge of well-known movies, as well as more obscure films.

His first movie script, written at the age of 22, was titled Captain Peachfuzz and the Anchovy Bandit. A few years later he sold another script, Natural Born Killers, to a makeup company for $1,500 dollars and a promise to do the makeup work for his first movie. Later he sold a script titled True Romance for $50,000 and decided to use the money to make his first film, Reservoir Dogs. After meeting Harvey Keitel through Lawrence Bender, Keitel read the Reservoir Dogs script and was impressed enough to help finance the film and also agree to act in it. For the next year Tarantino traveled around to various film festivals promoting Reservoir Dogs, which was moderately successful. His next movie, Pulp Fiction went on to win an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, as well as the Palme D’Or award at the Cannes Film Festival while also grossing over $100 million, making Tarantino a household name. The last movies he released were Kill Bill (Vol. 1 2003, Vol. 2 2004), both films together grossing $136 million. He recently worked with Eli Roth on the 2006 film, Hostel, which was controversial for its many disturbing scenes of violence and torture. 
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James Bond Facts & Trivia

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Although the first James Bond film appeared in 1962, our favorite spy had already been capturing imaginations on the pages of Ian Fleming’s novels.  Even today, the Bond phenomenon continues with books and movies galore!  The following offerings are bits of Bond facts and trivia about a British hero with timeless appeal.

Beginning with the first film, Dr. No, Bond became a fashion connoisseur sporting a tuxedo created specially for him by Pierre Lorillard of New York’s Tuxedo Park fame along with his classy tailored shirts with turnback cuffs by Turnbull and Asser.

Sean Connery played the first screen Bond to popular acclaim. 
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Golden Sunsets and Black Storms: The Story of Laurence Olivier

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“Living is strife and torment, disappointment and love and sacrifice, golden sunsets and black storms,” Laurence Olivier once said.  This great actor’s life with its brilliant successes, passionate love affairs, and dark disappointments certainly lived up to his statement.

The dark, handsome and suave English actor is considered to be the greatest actor of the twentieth century.  Noted for his playing of romantic heroes and his Shakespearian roles, he won two Academy Awards but was nominated twelve times, and he was also given two special Oscars.

Born in Surrey, England in 1907, Olivier was the son of an Anglican clergyman, who wanted him to become an actor.  Perhaps the young ‘Larry’s’ talent shone even then.  After attending the Central School of Speech and Drama, Olivier joined the Birmingham Repertory Company and acted on Broadway.  He starred on the London stage in Noel Coward’s Private Lives (1930) and in Romeo and Juliet (1935) and leaped to international fame as the difficult Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights (1939).  He was nominated for an Academy Award for his impressive acting. 
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The Libertarian Actor: Clint Eastwood

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The tall, lean and laconic ‘Man with No Name’ remains mostly famous for his spaghetti Westerns and ‘Dirty Harry’ movies.  In recent years, however, he has become a highly acclaimed director.

Born in 1930, Eastwood, the son of a steel worker, grew up during the dark days of the Depression and attributes his Republicanism partly to being raised without material comforts.  He thinks that that tends to make people more conservative. 

The patriotic young man was drafted into the army during the Korean War and was due to be sent there, but his Navy plane home to Seattle developed engine trouble and was forced to make a water landing near San Francisco.  The intrepid actor swam over a mile to shore.  The Navy was highly impressed and gave him a job as a swimming instructor.
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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Trivia – The Actors

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1) Mark Metcalf, who played the Master, was born in Findlay, Ohio, in 1946. He has had numerous roles in TV and film, most notably in National Lampoon’s Animal House as Niedermayer and as The Maestro in Seinfeld.

2) Buffy’s sister Dawn was introduced at the very end of the fourth season and played a crucial role in the fifth. She was actually a vessel known as the key. And was the key to defeat Glory. Once Glory was defeated, Dawn stayed as Buffy’s sister. Dawn was played by Michelle Trachtenberg, who got her start in films as Harriet the Spy.

3) Robia LaMorte played teacher/gypsy, Jenny Calendar. She was also a love interest for Buffy’s mentor, Giles. Robia played the character of “Pearl” in Prince’s Diamonds & Pearls video. She left home at the age of 16 to become a dancer. Her first music video was Debbie Gibson’s Shake Your Love. Now, that’s horrifying!
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