Cowlamity Jane - Monday, October 26, 2015

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Yes, you read that right.  Cowlamity Jane is one of the celebrities we have on display here at the American Treasure Tour, prominent in our life-sized menagerie in the Toy Box.  She is made out of resin (the dictionary definition of resin is this:  a brownish substance obtained from the gum or sap of some trees and used in some varnishes and medicines - that's a tough one to translate into a cow!) and kind of explains herself.  She looks serious, but has a definite sense of humor.  It's difficult to say whether her inspiration, "Calamity Jane," has the same.

Martha Jane Canary was born in Princeton, Missouri in 1852.  She moved west with her family as a young girl, during which time both of her parents died and she wound up providing for her five younger brothers and sisters, using her exceptional skills as a hunter to provide food for them. No one can say for certain when she got the nickname "Calamity," but once she got it she couldn't shake it.  By 1876, her arrival in the gold mining town of Deadwood, South Dakota made the news.  She was there with Wild Bill Hickok, the famous gunman, with whom rumors abound she may (or may not) have had a child.  After his death, she did what she could to make a living - she ran an inn, worked as a cook in a brothel, and performed for Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show.  She died in 1903 while in Deadwood, an alcoholic but generous to a fault, always ready to help those in more need than her.  She has since become one of the most famous characters to live during the time of the Old West.
QUESTION:  Which of the following actors did not portray Calamity Jane on either film or television?
A)  Jane Seymour
B)  Frances Farmer
C)  Jean Arthur
D)  Doris Day
ANSWER BELOW

WIRETAP!  The tragic events of September 11, 2001 must never be forgotten.  The destruction of the World Trade Center in New York City, the crashing of United Flight 93, and the attack on the Pentagon cost thousands of innocent lives.  They also changed the way Americans lived their lives.  It was on October 26th of that year that President George W. Bush compelled the passage of the USA PATRIOT Act into law.  The name is actually an acronym that spells out its intentions:  Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism.  The Act was intended to give the government permission to use secret surveillance to monitor suspicious characters to ensure the safety of the country.  A highly controversial law, parts of it remain in effect to this day.  

UNCLE FESTER.  Jackie Coogan, born on this day in 1914, became one of the most famous children in the world when he starred opposite Charlie Chaplin in the silent film The Kid at the age of seven.  Unfortunately, none of the money he made for the film was actually put aside for him.  His parents spent it all on themselves.  So he sued them.  And won.  His parents spent approximately $4 million in 1920's money (an estimated $50 million today), and he won a settlement of $125,000 in 1938, but he put into place protections for child actors to come in what is now known as the Coogan Act.  Later on in life, Jackie's fame would be rekindled when he starred in the 1960's monster sitcom The Addams Family as Uncle Fester.

QUOTE:  So then you have to say to yourself, Do I want to be rich, or do I want to do good work? - Jackie Coogan

ANSWER:  A)  Jane Seymour.  The other women played them in the following films:  The Badlands of Dakota (Frances Farmer), The Plainsman (Jean Arthur), and the musical Calamity Jane (Doris Day).