Madonna - May 12, 2014

(Please Note: Due to a silly human error, this blog was posted on April 16th, in an effort to avoid a cold spell that the blog writers knew would be over by May.  If it looks familiar, that's why. But read it again, just in case you forgot something.  Thank you and have a happy May 12th!)

It seems like ages since we last discussed the "Faces of the Tour" on display in the American Treasure Tour Toy Box, so let's start with the pop diva of the 80s herself - Madonna!  It's difficult to believe that the Material Girl herself is 55 years old, but what a legacy she has left behind her, as she continues her many ventures.

Born in Bay City, Michigan, Madonna Ciccone's father worked in the automotive industry in and around Detroit while she proved herself a superior intellect in school.  A straight-A student, Madonna dreamed of greatness so she dropped out of college and moved to New York City at the age of twenty in 1978.  Her first job in the city was at a Dunkin' Donuts, which she worked while taking classes in modern dance.  Then, she concentrated on making music, writing and recording her own songs.  In 1983, she released her first album to commercial success, and she has never stopped since.  Often controversial, she has consistently pushed the boundaries for what is considered acceptably in pop culture.  During a career that has lasted over thirty years, Madonna has sold over 300 million records, making her one of the most successful musicians of all time.  She has also starred in a number of films to mixed reviews (most notably 1996's Evita, for which she won a Golden Globe Award) and has managed to re-invent herself so many times it is difficult to keep track of her.

QUESTION:

Madonna starred in a film in 1990 that inspired her to record an album of music that complemented the film.  The album was called I'm Breathless.  What was the movie?

a)  A League of Their Own

b)  Dick Tracy

c)  Shanghai Surprise

d)  Desperately Seeking Susan

e)  Swept Away

Answer Below

HISTORY TODAY:

Chief Tamanend of the Lenni-Lenape Native American tribe is little remembered today, but he served two significant roles in European-American society.  First, he welcomed William Penn to the land that would become Philadelphia peacefully - one of very few Indian leaders to accept settlers into their land.  Second, he became an emblem for peace and goodwill.  His name was borrowed for an organization that was founded on this day in 1789 known as the Society of St. Tammany.  The New York City chapter would more familiarly become known as Tammany Hall, and it represented a political machine in the city known to embrace incoming immigrant populations to the city, which ensured it a strong, virtually unbreakable power base for nearly 150 years. Tammany Hall, like most political machines, proved efficient at taking care of its own, and quite corrupt, most famously under the leadership of the scandalous William "Boss" Tweed in the mid-19th century.  

The American Treasure Tour blog is going to dedicate today's entry to a Broadway musical that very few people ever had the opportunity to see.  It opened on the stage in England before its Broadway debut on this day in 1988, but it never really had a chance.  Twelve years prior, the Stephen King novel upon which the play was based had been turned into a popular film starring Sissy Spacek and John Travolta as high school students.  Carrie was the book and film, and it was about a mistreated young woman with telekinetic powers.  It seemed to the producers like a good idea to turn this into a live musical production, but they were the only ones.  The critics hated it and the audience responded little better.  After only 16 previews and 5 performances, the producers cut their losses and shut down the play, making it one of the biggest disasters to ever hit the stage.  

BIRTHDAYS:

Every now and again, a celebrity birthday comes along that simply needs recognition.  Today's is for Katherine Hepburn, born in 1907, who is widely considered to have been the best female star to ever perform in film and on stage.  She currently stands as the only actor to have won four Academy Awards - first in 1934 for Morning Glory, then 1968 for Guess Who's Coming To Dinner, the next year for The Lion In Winter (she shared it this year with Barbra Streisand), and in 1982 for On Golden Pond.  She was also nominated nine other times.  Not only was Hepburn a talented performer, but she was an outspoken advocate for causes associated with helping women for much of her life.  For example, one radical protest she made early on in her career:  she publicly wore trousers instead of dresses!

In the unlikely event that you are unfamiliar with the name Burt Bacharach, we here at the American Treasure Tour blog certainly hope you at least know some of the music he has written and composed.  Bacharach celebrates his 86th birthday today, and the world celebrates his songs on an almost daily basis.  He often worked with wordsmith Hal David to create Grammy and Oscar winning songs including: "Baby, It's You" (played by the Beatles, among others), "Anyone Who Had A Heart" (Dionne Warwick), "Wives and Lovers" (Jack Jones), "What's New, Pussycat?" (Tom Jones), "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head" (B.J. Thomas), and "That's What Friends Are For" (Rod Stewart), as well as far too many to list here.  

QUOTE:  Life is to be lived.  If you have to support yourself, you had bloody well better find some way that is going to be interesting. - Katherine Hepburn

Answer:  b)  Dick Tracy.  Her character's name was Breathless Mahoney.