March 14, 2015

Even a true artist does not always produce art.
Carroll O'Connor

"Bill's thirty-two. He looks thirty-two. He looked it five years ago, he'll look it twenty years from now. I hate men."
— Margo Channing (Bette Davis), All About Eve (1950)

It is dangerous to be sincere unless you are also stupid."
Bernard Shaw

Ben-Hur (1959) (part 17 of 17)
  • When Ben-Hur confronts a dying Messala after the chariot race, William Wyler insisted on multiple takes. He wanted Ben-Hur to show complete indifference to his dying former friend, something that Charlton Heston found hard to deliver.
  • The chariot race segment was co-directed by legendary stuntman Yakima Canutt (with veteran director Andrew Marton). Joe Canutt (Yak's son) doubled for Charlton Heston. During one of the crashes, in which Judah Ben-Hur's horses jump over a wrecked chariot, the younger Canutt was thrown from his chariot onto the tongue of his chariot because he failed to heed Yakima Canutt's instructions as to how to grip the railing as the chariot hit the top of the hidden ramp leading up to the debris. He managed to climb back into his chariot and bring it back under control. The sequence looked so good that it was included in the film, with a close-up of Heston climbing back into the chariot. Canutt got a slight cut on his chin, but it was the only injury in the incredibly dangerous sequence. Stuntman Nosher Powell, who worked on the film, states in his biography, that Yakima Canutt went pale as a ghost when the chariot crashed. The crash was not planned, and everybody - including Yakima Canutt - believed that Joe Canutt had died.
  • The rumor that Stephen Boyd's double was killed during the chariot race is false. According to second-unit director Yakima Canutt, the "Messala" that was run over, a Roman soldier standing on the center island who was hit by a chariot and the driver of a spilled rig who jumped out of the way of one chariot but was immediately run over by another one were all articulated and weighted dummies (made with movable arm and leg joints), so when they were hit they "reacted" the way a normal human body would in that situation. A combination of adroit placement and expert editing made the dummies look like real people being run over.

  • "Cruel is the strife of brothers."

  • Month after month, the little Bell Company lived from hand to mouth. No salaries were paid in full. Often, for weeks, they were not paid at all. In Watson's notebook there are such entries during this period as "Lent Bell fifty cents," "Lent Hubbard twenty cents," "Bought one bottle beer—too bad can't have beer every day."
  • When Bell's patent was sixteen months old, there were 778 telephones in use.
  • The first "Hello" badge used to identify guests and hosts at conventions, parties, etc. was traced back to September 1880. It was on that date that the first Telephone Operators Convention was held at Niagara Falls and the "Hello" badge was created for that event.

  • What falls but never breaks?
    What breaks but never falls?

    A man is very apt to complain of the ingratitude of those who have risen far above him.

    “Body and soul cannot be separated for purposes of treatment, for they are one and indivisible. Sick minds must be healed as well as sick bodies”

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