Margot Robbie receives the Harmony Cousins treatment in The Guardian and she sounds like incredible company:
"When Robbie got her gig in Pan Am, which was broadcast for a few months before its cancellation in 2012, she found it “lonely. You were supposed to be all segregated into different departments, which felt weird. I remember knocking on other people’s doors and saying: ‘Uh, do you want to hang out?’ ” She liked the informal nooks where the runners and makeup deputies and third-rung assistant directors (the third ADs) killed time. “I don’t know, I was closer in age to them. They seemed more like my friends from back home.”" [The Guardian]
This Collider article repeats what I've been saying for years. Streaming is no substitute for a physical disk.
"I started collecting DVDs in my senior year of high school, and continued to collect them throughout college, which, in retrospect, was not the smartest idea since at the end of every school year I would have to pack up boxes and boxes of DVDs to either send home or store with family who lived near campus. And yet I don’t regret collecting these DVDs because it gave me a valuable resource and a way to dive into movies. The age of DVDs was a bit of a renaissance for film fans since A) we finally got our movies in the correct aspect ratio as opposed to the days of pan-and-scan on VHS; B) there could be a wealth of special features that sometimes functioned like film school in a box; and C) there was an easy way to share movies I loved with friends." [Collider]
My Two favourite non-fictional Rachels together at last.

The 23111963 Diaries:
A Country Diary.

Nature A Country Diary was first published in The Guardian in November 1906

For a few paragraphs those of us stuck in cities are provided with a window into rural areas and landscapes most of us can only imagine.

The column covering the weekend of the 23rd to 27th published on the 30th November is attributed to a writer E.D. and I'd welcome any help in identifying who that is.


Conway, November 27

Snow was reported on the higher parts of Denbigh moors some ten days ago but in the three days it had disappeared. The Snowdonia range, viewed from to of Bryn Euryn, has not yet been capped with snow or hail, nor has the frost blighted the gardens on this strip of the North West coast. One could say it has been a very mild autumn, and spring bulbs are already showing on my rockery and the beds around the lawn.  They include anemones and hyacinths, with bluebells well on the way.  There has been more rain and wind than average this November but this does not delay the bulbs.  In spite of the high winds odd sycamore trees still blaze with bright yellow, and gorse is now adding to the colour on the hills.

The gulls seem to enjoy the high winds, and their mastery of swooping flight is wonderful to watch.  This morning a few rooks joined the common and herring gulls in the fantastic flying exhibition.  They, too, seemed to be filled with the spirit of spring even before winter officially starts.  This feeling is underlined by the call of the great tit which has been sounding for the last week.  Maybe this coming winter will not be too bad, although fieldfare and redwing are still missing from their usual haunts.

The newest columns are here.

January Is Finally Over.

About New month. Welcome to February, Tennessee.

The 231163 Diaries:
Drew Pearson.

Politics Andrew Russell "Drew" Pearson was one of the best-known American columnists of his day, noted for his syndicated newspaper column “Washington Merry-Go-Round,” in which he criticized various public persons.

The New Yorker has a long profile which outlines how his column was directed at various Presidents across the year, especially Kennedy, and Johnson, with whom he had been a friend and ally to since the 1930s.

I've included entries for both Friday and Saturday to show how close some people were to be being a direct eyewitnesses to history.  


Having worked until about one, I set my alarm for five thirty, got up and wrote one column on the Bobby Baker oil scandal, said good- bye to [grandsons] Lyndon and Danny, and caught a 9:00 a.m. plane to Dallas. En route [to the airport] Tyler told me I should accept an invitation from the Lyndon Johnsons to stay all night tomorrow after the president and Jackie have left the [LBJ] ranch. I am scheduled to speak at Southwestern Teachers College at San Marcos, where Lyndon graduated, and the next day at Wichita Falls, so it would be very difficult for me to go to the ranch.

We arrived at Austin [from Dallas] at approximately one thirty, twenty minutes late. The Braniff [airline] manager met me at the steps of the plane to tell me that President Kennedy had been shot and killed in Dallas; that Governor Connally had been severely wounded . . . At first I thought he was joking. Only when he repeated the information did I realize that he was not. Three students from San Marcos met me, together with the AFL- CIO representative, and they confirmed the news. We drove to the Hotel Driskill, where the lobby was full of Texans, also silent, also helpless. I went to my room and started dictating a column to Washington in tribute to John F. Kennedy. It was not easy to do. It was easy to pay tribute because I think he deserved great tribute. But to remember the high points in his life in fifteen minutes was difficult.

. . . San Marcos canceled my lecture, which was a relief, and the Wichita Falls people canceled too. The nation is stunned.

. . . The news came in that a man had been apprehended named Oswald, who had been a Castroite and had gone to Moscow to live for five years. He has a Russian wife. It looks to me a little bit too much as if the Dallas police, who are not known either for their efficiency or their lack of prejudice, are taking the easy way out.


Bess and I arrived at Dulles Airport, having flown from Dallas, with a raft of luggage belonging to the new president and the new first lady. The White House car met us, and for the first time I realized that the new president of the United States was in office who had been an old and very dear friend of mine and that possibly I might now have some entrĂ©e at the White House. I have been thirty- seven years in Washington and still have never been really in the good graces of any president. Probably I won’t be in Lyndon’s graces very long. We dined at the Averell Harriman’s. George Baker, Averell’s old manager, was there, together with Clayton Fritchey . . . when Ken Galbraith, former ambassador to India, came in after dinner, we talked in a most intimate manner about Johnson.

At his [Johnson’s] first cabinet meeting, held today, Ken said that Johnson had made the point that he was for civil rights as a general principle of human achievement, not merely because it was part of the Kennedy program.

And here is the aforementioned column which was published on the 23rd November:

Drew Pearson


The Washington Merry-Go-Round

-- Texans Stunned by Assassination --

Austin -- Texans gathered in little groups at the airport and the hotel lobbies.  They were very quiet.  The President of the United States had been killed on their soil.  He has been killed just as they were preparing to give him an all-out texas welcome.  And he had been killed by one of their own.

One of their own had now become President, but they didn't think of that.  They only thought of a gay, smiling young man with his beautiful wife, who had come to see them and they had returned his warmth, his friendship, by shooting him down.

What made it worse -- the Dallas news had carried a full-page ad that morning castigating Kennedy -- a rightwing welcome full of hate which the majority of Texans did not share.  How could Texas ever live down this shame?

At first, people who gathered in little groups in the horal lobbies couldn't really believe it.  Finally the grim, awesome truth sank in.

What was the President really like?  they asked me.

He was wise for his age, I said, wise in the ways of government.  He was one of the rare combinations of youth, wisdom, devotion, gaiety, and humor.  He worked hard, yet played hard.  He enjoyed his job.  He had great ambitions for the peace of the world -- and if he had loved I think he would have achieved that peace.

We studied as few other Presidents have studied; he knew the intimate details of government.  He had the ability to absorb figures, to read like lightening; his memory was phenomenal.  Yet, with it all, the milk of human kindness flowed flush in his veins.  There was nothing metallic about him.  He was methodical without being mechanical.

-- Acknowledge Mistakes --

Yes, he made mistakes, but he never ducked responsibility for them -- as after the Bay of Pigs fiasco.  And he grew with the mistakes.

His greatest growth came last summer with his speech at American University -- a Woodrow Wilson masterpiece -- charting the course of the United States toward the only possible goal in this atomic age -- coexistence.

And his sense of humor?  No other President since Franklin D. Roosevekt has had one like his.  It was fresh, spontaneous and natural.

I remember introducing him before about 800 people at a Big Brothers dinner with the usual introduction, "Ladies and Gentlemen, the President of the United States."

Quick as a flash he came back:

"I trust," he said, "that the brevity of Drew's introduction was dictated by the convention.  I was hoping to get him on the record."

Naturally, one remembers the incidents that are personal.  I recall another incident when I was dining at the White House at a State Function in honor of President Betencourt of Venezuela.

Afterward, the Vice President, now President Johnson, told me of a little conversation which took place upstairs between Presidents Kennedy and Betancourt.

"When we go downstairs," Kennedy told Betancourt, "You will meets a newspaperman who has been a great friend of yours -- Drew Pearson.  I wish that he was as friendly to me as he is to you."

"In Venezuela," replied Betancourt, "You have a much better press than I do too."

Then there was the wisecrack Kennedy enjoyed telling when Prime Minister Lester Pearson of Canada was about to come see him at Hyannis Port.

Kennedy, talking to a group of radio and TV executives, got off this quip:

"I know you'll be interested in the meeting with the new Canadian Prime Minister, Lester Pearson, at Hyannis Port.  This meeting almost didn't come off.

"Serious complications arose when the Canadian Ambassador came to see me.  He was shuffling through some papers on my desk, managed to decipher some rather illegible handwriting, and noticed a notation which read, 'What will we do with this S.O.B. Pearson?'

"I had a hard time," President Kennedy said, "Explaining that this was a paper left over from the Truman Administration and that the Pearson referred to was Drew."

--- Suffering Brought Understanding --

There was an important difference between Jack Kennedy and his brother Bobby.  If anything, Rober Kennedy is more efficient than his late brother.  He works even harder, knows government extremely well.  But Bobby lacks the warmth, the understanding of human nature that featured his elder brother.

It was this great understanding of humanity that prompted Kennedy's drive for civil rights and his championship of the underdog.  Some people wondered how a young man so full of life, who loved gaiety, who enjoyed his friends from Hollywood, could be so serious, so determined in his crusade for the negroes and the less privileged.

I am sure it was the long period he spent in hospitals, recovering from his back injury, when he had nothing to do but reflect on the problems of mankind.

Sometimes I have thought that the thing that give the late President his depth of understanding was his suffering in World War II.  Before that, he was like the young and debonair Franklin D. Roosevelt before his attack of polio.  But with great human suffering, Roosevelt took on stature that eventually made him one of the great Presidents of the United States.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy, with similar human suffering in the South Pacific, had acquired the same sympathy and understanding, and if a Texas assassin had not shot him down, he too would have become one of our great presidents.

The 231163 Diaries:
Alistair Cooke.

Radio Alistair Cooke was a British-American journalist, television personality and broadcaster (he's pictured above in New York in the late 1960s with his wife Jane).

The edition of his Letter from America broadcast at 7:30pm the 24th November inevitably considers the assassination of JFK and is available to listen to on the BBC website.

There is also a transcript and although its too long to be copied here, this section addresses directly what it must have been like in the US over that weekend.

If we pause and run over the record of the very slow translation of these ideals into law – the hairbreadth defeat of the medical care for the aged plan, the shelving (after a year of strenuous labour) of the tax bill, the perilous reluctance of the Congress to tame the negro revolution now with a civil rights law – we have to admit that the clear trumpet sound of the Kennedy inaugural has been sadly soured down three short years.

Any intelligent American family sitting around a few weeks ago would have granted these deep disappointments, and many thoughtful men were beginning to wonder if the president’s powers were not a mockery of his office, since he can be thwarted from getting any laws passed at all by the simple obstructionism of a dozen chairmen of Congressional committees, most of them by the irony of a seniority system that gives more and more power to old men who keep getting re-elected by the same states, most of them from the south.

But that same American family sitting around this weekend could live with these disappointments, but not with the great one, the sense that the new generation born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage, unwilling to witness or permit was struck down lifeless, unable to witness or permit or not to permit anything.

When it’s possible to be reasonable, we will all realise, calling on our everyday fatalism, that if John Kennedy was 46 and his brother in his late thirties, most of the men around him were in their fifties and some in their sixties, and that therefore we fell for a day or two in November 1963 into a sentimental fit. However, we are not yet reasonable. The self-protective fatalism, which tells most of us that what has been must be, has not yet restored us to the humdrum course of life.  [Source.]

Cooke would later be an eyewitness to the murder of Bobby Kennedy in 1968 while he was The Guardian's Chief US Correspondent.  The paper has published his dispatch along with related archive materials.

The 231163 Diaries:
Sir John Gielgud.

Theatre Gielgud's entry, a letter to his long term partner, is a reminder that despite the backdrop of a Presidential assassination, most people did just get on with their lives, that it didn't preclude the usual weekend hedonism. 

 The actor would later give a Shakespeare recitation, of sonnets, at the groundbreaking of the Kennedy Center in 1964 in the presence of Lady Bird Johnson (see the Kat Graham entry), during his run in Hamlet on Broadway (see above).

To Paul Anstee

26 November, Sydney

Had a mad weekend at a seaside bungalow. Visited various rich queens in the neighbourhood (Whale Beach). Rather exhausting altogether, but quite fun too. They all have wonderful views out of huge glass pseudo-modern houses, but no space round. Everyone seems to build on top of everyone else. Pretty hideous furnishings - bars the central feature of every sitting room. Most of them have good pictures - the locals are very expensive (I mean the artists' pictures) and everyone vies to have a good collection before they go to England and become top price best sellers like Sidney Nolan.

Most of the gentlemen in Sydney wear shorts with white stockings - only successful on the young and slim of course. John [Perry] is thrifty as a bead bag and won't let me fritter money, so I dare say I shall return quite a wealthy old lady.

[Source: GIELGUD, Sir John. 2004. Sir John Gielgud: A Life in Letters. Arcade Publishing.]

The 231163 Files:
Thomas Merton.

Religion Thomas Merton, O.C.S.O. was an American Catholic writer, theologian and mystic. A Trappist monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani, Kentucky, he was a poet, social activist, and student of comparative religion. In 1949, he was ordained to the priesthood and given the name Father Louis.

Notice how this entry must have been written before the full facts were made available and just as is the case now, people were scrambling for explanations.  The next entry in the volume is from the 1st December so we can't be sure how he felt about Oswald's death on the day this entry was apparently written.

James W. Douglass, a successor in the field of theology would use Merton's writing as a prism in his own meditation on JFK's assassination.

November 23rd, 1963

When I came in from the woods yesterday, Brother Aidan met me in the door of the novitiate and told me the president had been shot and died, in Texas, an hour and a half before.

The whole thing leaves one bewildered and slightly sick.  Sick for the madness, ferocity, stupidity, aimless cruely that is the mark of so great a part of this country.  Essentially the same blind, idiot destructiveness and hate that killed Medgar Evers in Jackson, the Negro children in Birmingham.  I do not know what was the motive of this absurd assassination - whether it was over the race question or not, or just fanaticism.  The country is full of madness, and we are going to know this more and more.

[Source: MERTON, Thomas.  2001.  The Intimate Merton: His Life from His Journals.  Bravo Ltd.]
Barry Norman interviews Hugh Grant in typically brutal fashion on Film 97: "I hate to re-open old wounds but your misadventures on Sunset Boulevard...."