DCS: louisa moritz

ditzy...not!

In her native Cuba, Luisa Cira Castro Netto worked as an accountant. She left Cuba amid the political upheaval of the early 1960s, arriving in New York City with aspirations of a career in acting. Wanting to disassociate herself from Fidel Castro, a distant relative, she adopted the surname “Moritz,” from the Hotel St. Moritz.

Louisa made her motion picture debut in the low-budget exploitation film The Man from O.R.G.Y., playing the first of a long line of ditzy blondes she would portray throughout her career. She was cast as a prostitute in the Oscar-winning film One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in 1975. She took small, but similar roles in The Happy Hooker Goes to Washington, Up In Smoke, The Last American Virgin and a dozen more. Louisa appeared in various television series including Love American Style, Happy Days, One Day at a Time and M*A*S*H.

Louisa later attended law school, graduating at the top of her class at Abraham Lincoln University in Los Angeles. She had an active law practice until she was disbarred by the state of California.

Louisa was one of the first women to accuse Bill Cosby of sexual assault, claiming the comedian forced her to perform oral sex in a dressing room at the Tonight Show in 1971. She sued for defamation when Cosby accused her of lying.

Louisa passed away in January 2019 from injuries suffered as a result of a fall. Her age was disputed.

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DCS: roger williams jr.

scoop

On September 30, 2019, The Waycross Journal-Herald ceased publication. Its publisher, Roger Williams Jr. made the announcement to his distraught staff.

The paper had been in the Williams family since Roger’s grandfather Jack purchased it in 1916. Roger Williams Sr., Jack’s son, served as publisher until his death in 1957. Jack Williams Jr. took over as publisher for the next 35 years until he was succeeded by his son Roger Williams Jr.

Facing rising costs and diminishing circulation, Roger had the difficult task of informing those in his employ, including his brother, Jack Williams III who served as editor-in-chief, that the beloved paper would print its last issue on the final day of September 2019, bringing the family business to a halt after 105 years. Roger explained that the newspaper had become a financial burden on his family, affecting their personal savings.

In the second week of October, sports editor Rick Head announced plans to resurrect The Waycross Journal-Herald as a weekly publication.

On October 23, however, Roger Williams Jr. was found dead in his office of an apparent suicide. He was 71 years old.

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DCS: bill macy

God'll get you for that, Walter

Bill Macy earned a living as a Brooklyn cab driver for over a decade until he landed a spot on Broadway. Well… sort of. He was cast as Walter Matthau’s understudy in the 1958 production of Once More, With Feeling. In the 60s, he landed a small role of a cab driver in the soap opera The Edge of Night.

He joined the controversial off-Broadway musical Oh Calcutta! from 1969 until 1971, later performing in the 1972 filmed version of the risque production.

Noted television producer Norman Lear spotted Bill on Broadway and brought him to Hollywood. He cast Bill in a small role as a uniformed police officer in an episode of All in the Family. Lear was so pleased with the performance that he offered Bill the supporting part of “Walter Findlay,” the long-suffering husband of the outspoken “Maude” on the popular sitcom starring Bea Arthur. Bill stayed with the series for its entire six-season run. Afterwards, he appeared in guest roles on episodic television, both comedy and drama. He appeared in a memorable story arc of Seinfeld as a resident of Del Boca Vista, regularly butting heads with Barney Martin and Liz Sheridan as Jerry’s parents.

Bill also costarred in a number of successful films including Mel Brooks’s original The Producers in 1967, Serial, The Jerk with Steve Martin, My Favorite Year and Analyze This. His last film was Mr. Woodcock in 2007.

Bill passed away in October 2019 at the age of 97.

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inktober 2019: week five

inktober 2019 week five

Inktober 2019 comes to an end and the final week’s illustration is Curt Siodmak. He was a novelist and screenwriter, best known for writing the screenplay for the 1941 Universal Studios horror classic The Wolf Man. Curt’s work created a lot of the legends associated with werewolf ethos, including the sign of the pentagram and the use of a silver bullet to dispose of the monster, as well as the verse that has been used in many werewolf films:

Even a man who is pure in heart,
And says his prayers by night
May become a Wolf when the Wolfbane blooms
And the autumn Moon is bright

These important parts of werewolf lore were purely products of Curt Siodmak’s imagination, despite being revered as centuries-old. Siodmak also wrote the novel on which Donovan’s Brain was based, as well as a number of screenplays in — and out — of the horror genre.

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DCS: emperor norton

by royal decree

Joshua Norton came to the United States during the Gold Rush of 1849. He landed in San Francisco and dove headfirst into the real estate business. He was successful at first, but he got greedy. He hatched a plan to take advantage of a rice shortage in 1853. However, when huge shipments of the grain arrived in San Francisco, prices plummeted and Joshua Norton was financially ruined. He disappeared for several years until he showed up at the offices of the San Francisco Bulletin one day in 1859. With a royal decree in his hand, Joshua proclaimed himself “Emperor Norton I of the United States.”

The new and “exalted” Emperor Norton would parade daily through the streets of San Francisco. He was met with bows and revered greetings from the citizens, who got a kick out of playing along with the charade. The newspapers took great pleasure in publishing Emperor Norton’s decrees, including a proclamation dissolving the United States and naming himself sole monarch, all while the country was teetering on the brink of the Civil War. When the French invaded south of the border, Norton added “Protector of Mexico” to his title.

Emperor Norton’s popularity grew. He was adopted as a sort of mascot for the city of San Francisco, despite his lack of formal governmental power. Emperor Norton dolls were sold in shops across the city. Theater owners saved him a seat at the opening night of every play. Train and ferry companies let him ride free of charge. Some of the city’s restaurant allowed him to dine free of change in exchange for the right to post an imperial seal of approval that read: “By Appointment to His Imperial Majesty, Norton I.” He still remained poor, but people would offer him alms under the guise of “paying their royal taxes.” Army officers supplied him with a replacement when his trademark epaulet-clad uniform began to get shabby. One of the most famous mandates came in the early 1870s, when Emperor Norton announced that the city should appropriate funds for construction of a bridge between San Francisco and Oakland. Ignored initially, Norton I’s decree eventually came to fruition in 1936 with the opening of the Bay Bridge. Emperor Norton was immortalized by author Mark Twain in the novel “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” as the inspiration for the eccentric character “The King.”

Emperor Norton I passed away in January 1880 at the age of 61. The San Francisco Chronicle‘s front page headline announced: “Le Roi Est Mort” (“The King is Dead”). Ten thousand “loyal subjects” attended his funeral.

Just after the publication of this blog post, I was contacted by the Emperor’s Bridge Campaign, an online entity devoted (in their words) “to honor the life and advance the legacy of Emperor Norton.” They asked for permission to include my illustration among the other illustrations appearing in their online gallery, some dating back to the 19th Century. I happily gave them my blessing. You can see my illustration in good company here.  Actually you can see my illustration at the top of this page, but there are some other pretty good ones here too.

 

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inktober 2019: week four

inktober 2019 week four

Week Four of Inktober 2019 brings demure Mary Shelley, the unlikely author of arguably the most famous horror novel of all time, Frankenstein (or The Modern Prometheus). On a summer vacation with family and friends in 1816, 19-year old Shelley conceived the story of a doctor experimenting with dead tissue. The completed novel was published in 1818 and has since spawned an abundance of movies, plays, television series and related stories.

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inktober 2019: week three

inktober 2019 week three

Wow! Is it Week Three of Inktober 2019 already? Then here’s the modern Master of Horror Stephen King. One of the most prolific and consistently popular authors of all time, King has published 58 novels and over two hundred short stories. And it all started when his wife fished his first manuscript — Carrie — out of the trash.

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inktober 2019: week two

inktober 2019 week two

It’s Week Two of Inktober 2019 and here’s Bram Stoker, the British author who brought the world the classic vampire tale Dracula in 1897. Stoker was the manager of the 2100-seat Lyceum Theatre in London’s West End, a position he held for 27 years. Inspired by a trip to the Northern English town of Whitby, Stoker penned his Gothic yarn about an ancient vampire making plans to move to London seeking fresh blood and bent on spreading his curse of the undead. His story, in turn, inspired countless films, plays, television shows and books.

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