Most folks know the ridiculously catchy instrumental theme song for the 1960s classic TV comedy “I Dream of Jeannie.” But how many can recite its lyrics — “Jeannie, fresh as a daisy! / Just love how she obeys me” — or even knew it had any?
The theme for “Bewitched,” another ’60s favorite, briefly had its day: Peggy Lee, among others, recorded a jazzy vocal version in 1965. The lyrics weren’t used in the series, however, and over many decades of reruns faded from public consciousness.
The original lyrics for both songs, and countless others, are preserved in Library collections as submissions to the U.S. Copyright Office, which is part of the Library. Such submissions for registration help preserve mostly forgotten stories about pop culture staples: They chronicle the creators’ original ideas and, sometimes, the subsequent histories of their works.
Elizabeth Brown is a reference librarian in the Researcher and Reference Services Division. This article appears in the Library of Congress Magzine, Nov.-Dec. 2
Perhaps the most beloved Christmas film of all time got its start during a morning shave. Philip Van Doren Stern, while getting ready for work one day in 1938, had an idea for a story: A stranger appears from nowhere to save a husband and father from a suicide attempt on Christmas Eve, restoring his joy of living by helping him realize his value to others. Stern, an author and editor, eventually wrote a draft that he polished periodically and, in 1943, shared with his literary agent. It didn’t sell.
Editor’s Note: Read more, see link below for original item…
Not surprisingly, Jerry Lee Lewis (who passed away last month at age 87) was a very early addition to the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry. For his song “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” recorded in 1957 and added to the NRR in 2005, author Joe Bonomo wrote for the LC the following essay on/tribute to this seminal recording and its groundbreaking creator.
Not surprisingly, Jerry Lee Lewis (who passed away last month at age 87) was a very early addition to the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry.
For his song “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” recorded in 1957 and added to the NRR in 2005, author Joe Bonomo wrote for the LC the following essay on/tribute to this seminal recording and its groundbreaking creator. The opening two minutes of Jerry Lee Lewis’s “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” are so striking and irrepressible that they all but guaranteed the song would be a major hit. The second half ensured that the song, and “The Killer,” would become unforgettable.
1,3,7-trimethylxanthine (C8H10N4O2), also known as caffeine, is the most commonly used psychoactive drug in the world. Potentially, you’ve consumed more than 100 mg by the time you’re reading this post. While the average is about 135 mg per day according to Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health, that amount varies depending on the vehicle.
Caffeine is most associated with coffee and was first isolated from the coffee bean by Ferdinand Runge in 1819. The Library of Congress recently acquired Neueste Phytochemische Entdeckungen (Latest Phytochemical Discoveries), the 1820 publication that contains his experimental results, which is currently in process with a catalog record forthcoming. In these experiments (pgs. 144-159), Runge applied a variety of reagents to both raw and roasted beans in order to determine what chemical compounds were present.
Eighty-three years ago, on October 19, 1939, the Capra classic “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” had its debut in–where else?–Washington, DC. Named by the Librarian of Congress to the Library’s National Film Registry in 1989, “Mr. Smith” is, for better or worse, as timely today as it ever was. In the essay below, the late film scholar Robert Sklar looks back at one of America’s greatest films.
In the late 1930s, more securely atop the pinnacle of American cinema than the Hollywoodland sign, Frank Capra could afford to be bold. Over a five–year span he had won three Academy Awards as best director, for “It Happened One Night” (1934), “Mr. Deeds Goes to Town” (1936) and “You Can’t Take It With You” (1938). The First and last of these titles had also been picked as best picture. In 1939 he ended a four–year term as Academy president and assumed leadership of the new Screen Directors Guild. Ambitious and apparently unassailable, he was able to launch a project that others had tried but failed to get off the ground: a controversial story involving corruption in the United States Senate, released in 1939 as “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.”
Years later, in his 1971 autobiography “The Name Above the Title,” Capra related a tale about a visit he supposedly received, when he had fallen ill follow[sic] his first Academy Award, from a mysterious “little man … completely bald, wearing thick glasses” who admonished him to his artistry for higher purposes than screwball comedy. “Mr. Deeds” was the first of the more serious endeavors that followed. Then came, among others, “Mr. Smith,” “Meet John Doe” (1941) and “It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946). These are among the most honored and cherished works in America’s film heritage. Yet they also strike many viewers as ambiguous and troubling.
Among Hollywood’s most significant filmmakers, Capra’s reputation is surely the most contested. His four major titles on political and social themes – “Deeds,” “Smith,” “Doe,” and “It’s a Wonderful Life” – are instantly recognizable for similarities of style, story, and character that, taken together, add up to a unique signature. What some call “Capraseque,” however, others not so flatteringly label “Capricorn.” The films feature naïve, small–town idealists fighting against the ruthless power of political machines, media barons, capitalist predators, and urban elites. Defeated and humiliated, these over-matched innocents are rescued by the moral might on an aroused community, but the otherwise powerless little people whose united support acclaims the downcast heroes as natural leaders. Uplifting and sentimental, Capra’s political films seem to offer a consoling myth of national character that has captivated audiences over generations. At the same time, they’ve been attacked as conformist, demagogic, manipulative, phony.
Editor’s Note: Read more, see link below for original item…
The late Robert Sklar was a member of the National Film Preservation Board as well as a film scholar and author of the 1975 book “Movie-Made America.”
For the first time since 2004, the Library of Congress National Book Festival featured a Science Fiction & Fantasy stage highlighting how expansive and introspective imaginative fiction can be. Today, we’re releasing the footage for this stage — sponsored by General Motors — on our site and our YouTube channel. Here’s what you’ll find among the otherworldly and speculative conversations that took place on the Science Fiction & Fantasy stage at the recent Festival:
In the afternoon, bestselling author Holly Black talked about her first adult novel, “Book of Night,” with Megan Labrise, editor at large of Kirkus Reviews. As author of the Folk of the Air series and co-author of the Spiderwick series, Black lit the way for readers growing up on her dozens of books for younger readers.
Closing out the day was B.L. Blanchard and Lucinda Roy’s conversation with Derrick Young, co-owner and co-founder of MahoganyBooks. In Blanchard’s debut, “The Peacekeeper,” Europeans never colonized America, and in Roy’s near-future “Flying the Coop,” slavery is gut-wrenchingly normalized.