Bride of James Whale

James WhaleOn this day in 1651, the Austrian composer Ferdinand Tobias Richter was born. I’m not that fond of him. But 51 years later Alessandro Besozzi was born in 1702. He was one of the great oboists of his time. In addition, he was a fine composer of Classical period music. Here is his Sonata Number 4 for 2 Oboes and Continuo in A Minor:

Designer of the Pantheon, Jacques-Germain Soufflot was born in 1713. The great mathematician Friedrich Bessel was born in 1784.

The great painter Edward Hopper was born in 1882. It is extremely sad that I cannot give the day to him. I love his work. Especially when he includes people, his stuff seems heartbreakingly lonely. My favorite has long been Automat, which I originally saw at the Reprint Mint in Berkeley and bought for a girl friend:

Automat - Edward Hopper

And Kennedy matriarch Rose Kennedy was born in 1890—and lived to 104!

The great soprano Licia Albanese is 100 today. Novelist Tom Robbins is 77. Badass who looks great in a dress, Terence Stamp is 74. “Tell him I’m fucking coming!”

Alex Trebek is 73. It’s amazing what make-up and cue cards can do. The great George Clinton is 72. Actor Danny Glover and wacko director Paul Schrader are both 67. Comedian Albert Brooks is 66. I can’t mention him without showing this which is one of the funniest things ever:

Don Henley is also 66. I don’t much like him, that’s why I love Mojo Nixon’s classic, “Don Henley Must Die”:

The great guitarist Al Di Meola is 59. Actor Willem Dafoe is 58. And Rufus Wainwright is 40. Here he is doing his excellent version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”:

But while this day could have gone to any number of people, it goes to the great director James Whale who was born on this day in 1889. He directed a lot of films I really love like Claude Rains as The Invisible Man and the great The Old Dark House. But he will live forever in paradise at the right hand of the father because of Bride of Frankenstein. Look, Frankenstein was a great picture too. But Bride is something more—especially since it gives Karloff so much more to do. Also: I totally have a crush on Elsa Lanchester. And, of course, the film has so many classic scenes. This is campy but deeply affecting film making. “She hate me. Like others”:

Happy birthday James Whale!

Update (22 July 2012 9:28 pm)

I can’t believe I forgot Bob Dole! I even put it on my calender. He’s 90 today and just like Bush the Elder, I don’t figure he’s going to make it to 91. I hope he does. He seems like a nice enough guy. But he doesn’t seem to be doing well and modern medicine can only take you so far. People have a far higher death rate after major life events. That’s why I’m predicting a death. But I’m pleased to see him make it this far.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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