Liberace - Friday, February 20, 2015

The American Treasure Tour blog, as you may know, is where we have the opportunity to highlight exciting elements of the massive collection you will see when you visit us in Oaks, PA. One of the fun things about the ATT is that we continue to grow and change.  We cannot always dedicate time to all the new additions, but that's not because we don't want to.  We try.  Oh, how we try.  Today, we are going to talk about a very special piece that a woman named Florence received in 1981.  Now, twenty-four years later, it is on display here, with us.  It is....

A framed picture of the much-celebrated pianist Liberace!  Wladziu Valentino Liberace was born  in 1919, the son of Italian immigrants who raised their family in Wisconsin.  He was a child prodigy.  By the age of four, his skill at piano was very evident.  Jump forward a few decades, and he became a consummate entertainer wearing outlandish costumes and drawing crowds not only because of his talent but because of his personality.  By the 1950s, he was one of the highest-paid entertainers in the country.  The talented Liberace was hardly a classical pianist.  Rather, he was a self-described showman, and he knew how to entertain.  Millions loved him, including a woman named Florence who, in 1981, was able to meet the man himself and get him to sign this picture. He passed away six years later, but his memory remains alive and well.

QUESTION:  What is considered Liberace's best-selling song?
A)  "Thriller"
B)  "Ave Maria"
C)  "Yesterday"
D)  "Beethoven's Fifth Symphony

BRIDGE OVER HappyWATER.  Advances in transportation tend to be taken for granted today.  Most of the big rivers have been crossed already, and the Federal Highway System links the east and west coasts.  But each road and every bridge started one day.  Someone pitched the need for it, others approved it.  Money was obtained, engineering designs created, materials amassed.  Today, we celebrate the beginning of the process for the San Francisco - Oakland Bay Bridge, which gained the necessary approvals for construction in 1931 and took almost six years to complete.  As its name suggests, it links the peninsula of San Francisco with 'mainland' California via Oakland, and is the best way to get from the city to wine country.  It is currently rated the widest bridge in the world by the good people at Guinness.

MASH!!!!  Love his work or hate it, there is no denying the impact Robert Altman's films had on American cinema.  Born today in 1925, Altman directed his first feature film in 1957, called The Delinquents, telling the story of no-good hoodlums getting into knife fights and other bad dealings.  No one would have expected the director of an exploitation film would, thirteen full years later, change the way people saw comedy with his war film M*A*S*H, which not only made him a celebrity director, but created an incredibly popular television sitcom.  Until his death in 2006, Altman continued to make movies of all types, incorporating friends and major talents.  Happy birthday, Mr. Altman!

QUOTE:  If you don't have a leg to stand on, you can't put your foot down. - Robert Altman

ANSWER:  B)  "Ave Maria."  It has sold over 300,000 copies!