Jane Russell - Tuesday, November 17, 2015

There are numerous head shots of actors on display in the American Treasure Tour's Music Room; however, there are only two that could be defined as truly larger than life, which are over three feet tall each.  We would like to talk about one of the women who inspired this honor today - Jane Russell.  Unlike many actors from the 1940's and 1950's, that is actually her real name.  Okay, part of it.  Her full name was Ernestine Jane Geraldine Russell.  We would argue she kept the best parts of it (no offense intended to all of our readers named Ernestine or Geraldine).  She was born in 1921 in the Northern Minnesota town of Bemidji, although the family moved to Southern California when Jane was young.

Jane's mother was a performer, and wanted the same for Jane, getting her into music, dancing, modelling and acting as a teenager.  Her first movie was filmed in 1940.  It was called The Outlaw and it was produced by the famous mogul Howard Hughes.  Few people saw the movie prior to its 1946 debut, but in that time Jane became a star.  Her natural sex appeal became the draw for a film few people remember for its telling of the Billy the Kid story.  The Outlaw took six years to be released because it caused quite a stir, with seductive images of Jane causing demands for censorship.  It definitely kick-started her career, though, which lasted through the 1950's.  She retired from cinema for all intents and purposes by 1960, though, focusing instead on her music career and efforts to help underprivileged children. She established the World Adoption International Fund in 1955, and promoted the cause of adoption throughout her life.  When asked why she stopped acting, she claimed there were no good parts for women over the age of thirty.
QUESTION:  In what 1953 film did Jane Russell star opposite Robert Mitchum?
A)  Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
B)  Road to Bali
C)  Macao
D)  Montana Belle

WE RECOGNIZE YOU!  So, the United States of America is truly a great country.  It is the first modern republic in the world, and has inspired countless imitators with its representative government.  Great pride and great responsibility come with that, and Americans tend to - and should - take it very seriously.  The challenge comes when other countries do not necessarily agree with what Americans know is the best government.  The Soviet Union was established in 1922 as a communist association of a number of Eastern European and Western Asian countries.  They had their own revolution, but the people America wanted to win didn't.  So we were unprepared to even acknowledge them as their own country.  For eleven years.  It was on this day in 1933 that we finally conceded that the Soviet Union was a country, and that we would recognize them as such.  Of course, we all (hopefully) know how that turned out.  Long live the Republic!

A FOOTE ABOVE THE REST.  Few historians ever gain national prominence, and today we celebrate the birthday of one of those few:  Shelby Foote of Mississippi.  An expert in southern culture and the American Civil War, Foote was born on this day in 1916 and published a number of books, both nonfiction and novels dedicated to telling the story of the war from the perspective of the slaveholders who fought to retain their way of life.  What made him most famous, though,  was his appearance in the 1990 Ken Burns documentary on The Civil War.    He passed away in 2005.

QUOTE:  I abhor the idea of a perfect world.  It would bore me to tears. - Shelby Foote

ANSWER:  C)  Macao