Barbra Streisand - January 17, 2014

The next time you visit the American Treasure Tour and take the tram ride through the Toy Box, keep your eyes peeled for the photographs of the actors, athletes and musicians that hang on walls and columns throughout the space.  The blog has already talked about some favorites, and today we will spend a little time with Barbra Streisand!

Probably best known for her singing career, Barbra Streisand has established herself in many, many different ways, and has won awards as an actor (winning the Academy Award AND the Golden Globe for Funny Girl), eight Grammy Awards, five Emmy Awards, an Honorary Tony Award, and a number of other prizes for her work as a songwriter, actor, director, writer, and film producer.  Really, we could go on about the multiple talents of this gifted New Yorker (she was born in Brooklyn in 1942), but instead, just pull out your favorite one of her performances and enjoy....


When Barbra Streisand won her Academy Award for Funny Girl in 1968, it was the one time in Academy history where the Best Actress award was shared by two performers.  With whom did she share the award, and for what movie?

a)  Ruth Gordon, Rosemary's Baby

b)  Katherine Hepburn, The Lion In Winter

c)  Faye Dunaway, The Thomas Crowne Affair

d)  Lucille Ball, Yours, Mine, and Ours

e)  Judy O'Dea, Night of the Living Dead

Answer Below.


In a refreshingly non-violent exchange of property, on this day in 1917, the United States' purchase of the Virgin Islands from Denmark was finalized.  Control of the Virgin Islands, composed of Saint Thomas, Saint John, Saint Croix, and a number of smaller islands, officially changed hands on March 31st of 1917, recognized as a holiday in the islands known as Transfer Day.  The inhabitants were not recognized as legal citizens of the United States until 1927.  So, if you're ever looking to take a nice vacation but want stay within the United States, consider going to the Virgin Islands!

The incredibly popular radio program The Goldbergs was a comedy/serial about a Jewish family living in the Bronx, New York City.  It incorporated traditional family situations, while also addressing topical issues - such as airing a special radio episode that addressed the atrocities enacted by the Nazis during Kristallnacht in 1939.  But it was on this day in 1949 when the show made its debut on television, becoming the first sitcom to ever air on American television.  It stayed on the air for seven years, and has recently been revamped by ABC (with, of course, a different cat - and in color!).


We at the blog would be remiss if we did not at least acknowledge the birthday of the great American writer, scientist, well - pretty much everything he wanted to be - Benjamin Franklin.  Born on January 17th, 1706, Franklin became the poster child for the rags-to-riches American success story.  Apprenticed to his domineering older brother in Boston, Franklin skipped town and ran to Philadelphia, where he made a name for himself as an independent printer, writer, philosopher, inventor, scientist, militia leader, politician, and far too much more to recount here.  Really, read anything about Philadelphia, the United States, and almost anything else during the second half of the 18th century, and his name will likely pop up.  Happy birthday, Ben, and thanks for everything!

Another famous American who celebrates a January 17th birthday has quite a different resume:  Alphonse Gabriel Capone was an ambitious Brooklyn boy who saw an opportunity and seized it during the 1920s.  Born in 1899, the young bootlegger became one of the most powerful men in the Chicago crime syndicate of the Prohibition era.  I think we are better off celebrating Mr. Franklin, personally.


Why does a woman work ten years to change a man's habits and then complain that he's not the man she married? - Barbra Streisand

Answer:  b)  Katherine Hepburn, The Lion In Winter