What Didn’t Make The Cut: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

What Didn’t Make The Cut: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

It is no secret that Marilyn Monroe continues to make headlines today just as she did when she made her debut on the big screen back in 1953. Marilyn in fact may be one of the most if not the most celebrated Hollywood actresses to ever have graced the silver screen. Many of her films are well known and continue to entertain audiences today just as they did 66 years ago such as: How To Marry a Millionaire, The Misfits, Niagara and the Seven Year Itch, yet none has been as iconic as Howard Hawks’ Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

Who could forget the famous musical sequence “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend” sung by Marilyn Monroe? The lavish sets, lighting, jewelry and lastly the infamous pink dress; as some of you may know this was the signature work of famed Hollywood costume designer William Travilla. However, it should be noted that this was not his intended design the timeless musical we all have come to know and love today.

Above: The timeless and finished work by Travilla.

Originally, Travilla had designed and executed an all diamond encrusted showgirl outfit. Both the top and bottom portions of the costume consisted of diamond broaches that had been set into place by a professional jeweler as Monroe was wearing the costume. The costume cost nearly $4,000, a whopping sum at that time, yet due to an earlier photo shoot in which Monroe posed nude for a calendar, this irreplicable work would never grace the big screen.

Above: The original costume set to debut before the resurfacing of Monroe’s nude calendar.

In 1949 a pressed for cash Monroe had posed nude for a calendar in order to make ends meet. During the period of filming Gentlemen Prefer Blondes the nude calendar resurfaced forcing the studio to abandon their original concept. Much to Travilla’s dismay, Fox was not going to take any chances on potentially jeopardizing the career their new found starlet. Disappointed, Travilla redesigned the costume so that it would cover up Monroe enough to show she was a lady yet accentuate her curves enough to show she was all woman.

Above: An intermediate design by Travilla that featured black gloves, shoes, and a lighter bodice. Eventually, this concept also was scrapped for an all pink ensemble.

Continue reading “What Didn’t Make The Cut: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”

Curbing Access to E-Books?

The policies of the major publishing houses are probably not something the average reader thinks about all that often and, in general, there is no real reason that they should.  Until now.  If you are an e-book reader or an e-audiobook listener, you are among the growing trend in library circulation statistics and you are going to need to sit up and take notice.  MacMillan Publishing Company recently announced a new and extremely restrictive policy regarding the sale of bestseller e-books and e-audiobooks to public libraries and public library systems.

For a thorough understanding (in layman’s terms) of how MacMillan’s policy will affect public libraries and their patrons’ extended wait time, please read either or both of these articles.  The first article was written for CNN by Jessamyn West, a librarian from Central Vermont and the second article appeared in Publishers Weekly and was written by Sari Feldman, executive director of the Cayahoga County Public Library System.

According to Alan Inouye, senior director of Public Policy and Government Relations in ALA’s (American Library Association) Public Policy and Advocacy Office, Macmillan is expected to make an announcement about its ebooks by the end of this summer.  He goes on to say, “An embargo policy is contradictory to the library mission of equitable access to information, and ALA is unequivocally opposed to the practice.” You can find his article here. And read The American Library Association (ALA) president Wanda Brown’s statement here.  ALA urges you to tweet why we need #eBooksForAll. “Limiting access to new titles for libraries means limiting access for readers who are most dependent on libraries. @MacmillanUSA’s new policy is unacceptable, John Sargent. Cancel the embargo. #eBooksForAll.”

It is easy to think that e-books are free.  They are not.  Libraries pay huge money for e-materials so that you, the reader, can have access to the best sellers for free in a reasonably timely fashion and are happy to do it.  This policy would turn reasonably timely into impossibly long in addition to further burdening your local library’s already stretched budget.  Read these articles or any of the others on the Internet and make your feelings known if e-books are important to you.  Or, at the very least, tell someone you know and tell them to tell someone else.  The word needs to be spread among the readership, not just the libraries.  While Tor Publishing was MacMillan’s test case, MacMillan could well be the other publishing giants’ test case.  Don’t let this happen.  https://twitter.com/hashtag/ebooksforall



Congratulations to the Women!

As I expect absolutely everyone knows, the U.S. Women’s team won the World Cup. We’ve got some terrific items to help you celebrate the victory, starting with a book about the women’s team of 1999.


On a blazing hot day in July, the United States and China face off in the World Cup. The review on Amazon states: “In The Girls of Summer, Jere Longman tells the story of the women’s team, their rise to world dominance, and their struggle with the United States Soccer Federation (U.S.S.F.) for the support, respect, and salary they deserve.”


Tony Di Cicco and Colleen Hacker were the head coach and the Sports Psychology Consultant to the 1996 Gold Medal Olympic team and also the 1999 World Cup team. Here, they tell how they coached the team to victory. Not only an inspiring story, but a useful book for adults coaching kids’ teams–and for everyone shooting for a difficult goal in life.


Another remarkable coach is Luma Mufleh, an immigrant from Jordan. When she moves to Georgia, Luma notices young teenage refugees playing soccer barefoot in a small suburb of Atlanta. She decides she’s going to help. This is the story of her team–boys from a dozen countries and different faiths, all of whom are escaping war, extreme poverty, or both. Their team is the Fugees, and they play, at first, without uniforms or even a soccer pitch.


And here’s something just for fun! 18-year-old Jess loves soccer, but her strict Indian parents won’t hear of her playing on a team. She’s supposed to cook, find a husband, and do what a good Indian daughter should–even though the family lives in London. One day, while she’s practicing in the park, another teen girl, Jules, asks Jess to play on her semi-pro team. Complications ensue! A heartwarming film about girl power.





Display Shelves in the Library

“Display Shelves” are one more thing that keep us librarians busy here at the North Castle Public Library.  We are constantly on the lookout for relevant subjects to highlight our materials to give our patrons a better idea of books, materials, and hidden gems they didn’t even know they were looking for!

The next time you come in, look around at some of our displays.  We are currently featuring a gardening display of many of our beautiful themed gardening books to get you thinking about your own yards or containers now that the nice weather is (finally) here.  May is Asian Pacific American Heritage month and we are displaying books and videos from that part of the world.  There is a display of photography books and an excellent display on Endangered Species for Endangered Species Day, May 19th.

Our last display is a rapidly expanding display of adult graphic novels, a hugely popular genre in the publishing world right now.  Our brand new collection includes fiction and non-fiction, comics, biographies and more.  Come in and tell us what you think!  And if you have a favorite genre or a cause or subject that is important to you, tell us and we can work up a display just for you (and all of our other patrons too!).

It’s Teacher Appreciation Day!

Give flowers or hugs or chocolate to the teachers in your life! Here are some classic stories written by teachers.

reading patrick

Kuo, an idealistic young teacher, and her relationship with one of her students–which continued after he was sent to jail. Library journal says, “A reminder of how literacy changes lives. Highly recommended.”

water is wide

Here, Pat Conroy recounts his experience teaching impoverished African-American students on an isolated Sea Island off the South Carolina coast.

one childA young special education teacher struggles to reach a little girl. A gripping story written in a clear, conversational style. Torey discovers the wild, filthy, angry little girl, Sheila, is brilliant–and has been abused.


In this book, Sylvia Ashton Warner takes us through one year in a classroom of five-and six-year-old children in rural New Zealand. Some of the children are white, some are Maori. Ms. Ashton Warner devised her own books and teaching method in order to reach her Maori students.

To sirThe classic story of a young man’s first year teaching in a high school in London’s dockland slums. This classic film is based on the autobiographical book by Richard Braithwaite, an engineer from Guyana who ended up teaching in the East End in the 1950s.

These are only a few of the films and books about teaching and learning you can find in the library. Don’t forget to check for streaming materials, too! All you need is your library card. 🙂