Minnie Driver - April 2, 2014

We here at the American Treasure Tour blog can't go very long without a good dose of our "Faces of the Tour" series.  Today, we are going to return to the plaques hanging in the Toy Box that are dedicated to actors, musicians and athletes.  Our subject today is the talented Londoner Minnie Driver.

The daughter of World War II flying ace and Distinguished Flying Medal recipient Ronnie Driver, Minnie grew up in Barbados.  Born in 1970, she was 21 years old when she appeared in her first television commercial, advertising Right Guard deodorant.  In short order, she was acting on stage, in television, and starring in films.  Her first movie was the 1995 drama Circle of Friends.  Not one to be typecast, she has since starred in movies of all genres - from 1997's Good Will Hunting to South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut two years later, and Barney's Version in 2010.  She also performs in her own rock band.  She currently stars in the first season of NBC's movie-inspired sitcom About A Boy. And you can see this accomplished woman here at the American Treasure Tour, practically in person.  If you consider an 8x10 glossy photo in a plaque, hanging on a wall, as 'practically in person.'

QUESTION:

Which Oscar-Winning Actor was in the film version of About A Boy, released in 2002?

a)  Hugh Grant

b)  Jason Statham

c)  Helen Hunt

d)  Linda Hunt

e)  Rachel Weisz

Answer Below

HISTORY TODAY:

The Civil War was a tragic episode in United States history.  For four years, Americans did horrible things to Americans.  The country is currently deep in the heart of the sesquicentennial 'celebration' of the horror of this great trial, and today we recognize 151 years since the start of the Richmond Bread Riot. The Confederate capitol was a place of much struggle two years into the war, as Union forces persisted in blockading ports and trying to get their armies into the city.  The scarcity of food and supplies was bad enough for civilians, but inflation made what was available impossible for most people to afford. The women of the city had had enough by April 2nd, 1863, and so they rioted.  They broke into stores and stole food, clothing, and pretty much anything they could get their hands on until the city's militia showed up to stop them.  Other bread riots broke out in cities across the South, but this was one of the worst.

In 1956, television was still a relatively young technology.  It really only became accessible to the average American after World War II ended.  And yet there were already quality programs available on the three networks.  CBS, the Columbia Broadcasting Network, started two series on the same day - today - that would be around for decades:  As The World Turns enjoyed 54 seasons, telling the story of men and women involved in medical and legal careers, with their family dramas and career conflicts, in literally hundreds of episodes.  The Edge of Night only enjoyed 28 seasons and had a focus on crimes and the people who solved them.  The era of the soap opera was in full swing!

BIRTHDAYS:

The ATT blog is aware of your concern that the birthdays we celebrate are rarely of prominent businessmen.  We tend towards politicians, actors, inventors, and the occasional criminal to spice things up a little. Well, today, we are going to honor a man whose last name is familiar to everyone, even if you didn't know he was an actual person: Walter Chrysler was born in Ellis, Kansas today in 1875.  He started out modestly, working in a machine shop for the railroads.  He must have done a good job, because he was recruited in 1911 to manage production at the Buick Company.  After only eight years, Chrysler left Buick as one of the richest men in America, and he eventually started his own car manufacturing company.  He bought Dodge in 1928 and started construction on his famous skyscraper in Manhattan the same year.  From a modest beginning, Chrysler wanted for nothing by the time of his death in 1940.

California native Jack Webb was born in 1920 and grew up without a father, since dad had abandoned the family before Jack's birth.  Nevertheless, Jack knew what he wanted, and started his radio career, surprisingly enough, in comedy.  When that didn't take off for him, he stumbled into cop drama, inspired by the 1948 film He Walked By Night.  The film was a true crime tale of murder in Los Angeles, told dramatically yet precisely.  It inspired him to create the radio program Dragnet, later to be adapted for television  He presented honest, hard working cops keeping the streets safe for good, honest citizens  His show proved popular, and it was on the air for over twelve years (nothing like the soaps we discussed earlier, but arguably farther reaching).  And, despite his other performances in films of varying genres, his skill playing jazz music, and his occasional efforts at comedy, Jack Webb will always be remembered as Joe "Just the fact, ma'am" Friday.

QUOTE:

Hollywood is portrayed in this super glamorous way, but when I see pictures of actresses going off the rails, it doesn't surprise me at all. - Minnie Driver

Answer:  e)  Rachel Weisz.  She won her Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the 2005 film The Constant Gardener, but she starred in About A Boy as the creatively-named Rachel.  Hugh Grant has yet to win his first Oscar.