[VIDEO] Martin & Lewis: Ed Sullivan Parody

Jerry Lewis performs an Ed Sullivan parody, with help from co-host Dean Martin. Of course the sketch is followed by one of the amazing song and dance performances that were part of every episode.

[PHOTO] Election night, November 3, 1964


Election night, November 3, 1964, inside some kind of broadcast room at the Democratic Headquarters at the Mayflower Hotel, in Washington, D.C.

Via the Library of Congress, U.S. News & World Report Magazine Photograph Collection


Jerry Lewis Never-Released Holocaust Film ‘The Day the Clown Cried’ Inches Closer to a Possible Screening


Not much is known about the film’s plot except that Lewis plays a German circus clown named Helmut Doork who is sent to a concentration camp during World War II and ordered to entertain children.

Joe McGovern reports: Lovers of film history and legendary movies — even ones supposedly so tasteless that they’ve never been released—had their interest piqued this week when a piece of exciting news was dropped in the 21st paragraph of an Los Angeles Times articleThe Day the Clown Cried, Jerry Lewis’ notorious unreleased Holocaust drama in which he stars as a clown playing with children before they are sent into gas chambers, has been acquired by the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

“After I’m gone, who knows what’s going to happen? …The only thing that I do feel, that I always get a giggle out of, some smart young guy…is going to come up with an idea and he’s going to run the f—ing thing. I would love that. Because he’s going to see a hell of a movie!”

What does this mean? Well, that we might finally see the film, though we shouldn’t hold our collective breath. According to the article, Rob Stone, the moving-image curator at the library, received the one known print of the film as part of a larger collection of Jerry Lewis work. Stone did not respond to EW’s requests for comment, but told a group of movie buffs at a festival of “lost” movies that the library has agreed not to screen the film for at least a decade.

See clips from The Day the Clown Cried, as seen in a 1972 TV documentary that aired in Belgium, below:

[Also see – interview with Jerry about the film]

Lewis, now 89, made The Day the Clown Cried in Sweden in 1971. Read the rest of this entry »

150 Years Ago Today: Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address, March 4, 1989


Weeks of wet weather preceding Lincoln’s second inauguration had caused Pennsylvania Avenue to become a sea of mud and standing water. Thousands of spectators stood in thick mud at the Capitol grounds to hear the President. As he stood on the East Portico to take the executive oath, the completed Capitol dome over the President’s head was a physical reminder of the resolve of his Administration throughout the years of civil war. Chief Justice Salmon Chase administered the oath of office. In little more than a month, the President would be assassinated.


At this second appearing to take the oath of the Presidential office there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement somewhat in detail of a course to be pursued seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public lincolndeclarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation, little that is new could be presented. The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself, and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured.

On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it, all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war—seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came.

One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. “Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.” If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”  Read the rest of this entry »

This Day In History: July 21, 1925: Scopes Found Guilty in ‘Monkey Trial’


On this day in 1925, a Tennessee high school science teacher, John Thomas Scopes, was found guilty for allegedly teaching evolution, which violated Tennessee state law. The Scopes Trial, known as the “Monkey Trial,” lasted only a week, but ignited conversation and debate over whether to teach Creation or Evolution in the classroom.e_drugstore

The court acquitted Scopes on a technicality but upheld the constitutionality of the state law which was eventually overturned in 1967.

[Explore American Experience’s timeline of the Scopes “Monkey” Trial]

Image:  John Thomas Scopes, Library of Congress.


Read the rest of this entry »

This Day In History: The Statue of Liberty Arrives in America, June 17, 1885


On this day in 1885, the Statue of Liberty arrived in New York. France’s gift to America crossed the Atlantic dismantled in crates aboard the French steamer Isère, which nearly sank in a storm during the voyage.

It took a year to completely assemble the statue on Bedloe’s Island, now called Liberty Island. On October 28, 1886, President Grover Cleveland presided over the dedication ceremony. Read the rest of this entry »

This Day in History : Library of Congress Established April 24th, 1800, by President John Adams for $5000


President John Adams approves legislation to appropriate $5,000 to purchase “such books as may be necessary for the use of Congress,” thus establishing the Library of Congress. The first books, MTE1ODA0OTcxMjc3MzIxNzQxordered from London, arrived in 1801 and were stored in the U.S. Capitol, the library’s first home. The first library catalog, dated April 1802, listed 964 volumes and nine maps. Twelve years later, the British army invaded the city of Washington and burned the Capitol, including the then 3,000-volume Library of Congress.

Former president Thomas Jefferson, who advocated the expansion of the library during his two terms in office, responded to the loss by selling his personal library, the largest and finest in the country, to Congress to “recommence” the library. The purchase of Jefferson’s 6,487 volumes was approved in the next year, and a professional librarian, George Watterston, was hired to replace the House clerks in the administration of the library. In 1851, a second major fire at the library destroyed about two-thirds of its 55,000 volumes, including two-thirds of the Thomas Jefferson library. Congress responded quickly and generously to the disaster, and within a few years a majority of the lost books were replaced. Read the rest of this entry »

This Day In History: December 6, 1865, The 13th Amendment is Ratified

Image: Scene in the House on the passage of the proposition to amend the Constitution, wood engraving, 1865 (Library of Congress).

Image: Scene in the House on the passage of the proposition to amend the Constitution, wood engraving, 1865 (Library of Congress).

On this day in 1865, the institution of slavery legally ended with the ratification of the 13th Amendment, just seven months after the end of the Civil War. The House passed the measure in January 1865, yet it became official almost a year later when Georgia’s ratification completed the constitutionally required approval by three quarters of the states. Georgia was the 27th state to ratify out of 36 at the time.


5 things to know about the Gettysburg Address


So where was Lincoln, exactly?

Where in Gettysburg, exactly, did Lincoln actually deliver his Gettysburg Address on Nov. 19, 1863? A prominent, 1912 monument to the speech by the entrance of the town’s National Cemetery leads casual observers to believe it happened there. But look closely: A nearby, vintage plaque says the speech occurred 300 yards away on the spot of another cemetery monument (to fallen soldiers). Except . . . that’s not right, either, modern research has found. The true spot, according to research backed by the National Park Service, lies along the crest of a hill just outside the gates of the cemetery, on the grounds of an older, private cemetery.

Lincoln wasn’t the keynote speaker

The dignitary who spoke before Lincoln, Edward Everett, delivered what was scheduled as the main speech of the day. The former Massachusetts governor and onetime Secretary of State took two hours navigating its 13,607 words.


The speech was really, really short

Lincoln’s speech, a mere 271 words if you use the version that’s attributed to Lincoln, took only two minutes. The New York Times reported of the Gettysburg Address: “It was delivered (or rather read from a sheet of paper which the speaker held in his hand) in a very deliberate manner, with strong emphasis, and with a most business-like air.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Cronyism and Abuse: ‘Librarian of Congress’ Bans Phone Unlocking, Sparks WH Petition


Derek Khanna writes:  As of 2003, consumers have had the right to change providers while keeping their wireless number. Since 2007, consumers have also had the right to “unlock” their wireless device. But the Librarian of Congress recently made a bureaucratic ruling eliminating consumers’ right to use their own device after their contract expires.

Unlocking is a simple technique where a patch is installed on the phone. Essentially, it lets a phone be used on a different phone carrier. This technology, while lawful in other countries and acknowledged by market experts as beneficial, is now illegal for Americans. This ruling hurts consumers, hinders competition, and stifles innovation and makes millions of average Americans felons punishable by 5 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

Overall, it’s a classic example of crony-capitalism, where a few market dominant companies, each with significant lobbying assets (two of which are in top 10 in lobbying dollars in D.C.), succeeded in changing the “law” for their own pecuniary benefit, thereby creating higher barriers to entry for their competitors.

Read the rest of this entry »

Why Do Libraries Have That Smell?

Greg Friedler/Getty Images

Greg Friedler/Getty Images

Popular Science has the answer: The musty smell is most likely cellulose decay. Since the mid-19th century, when papermakers began using groundwood pulp in place of cotton or linen, most paper has contained an unstable compound called lignin, which breaks down into acids and makes paper very brittle. Since 2001, the Library of Congress has treated at least 250,000 books every year with magnesium oxide. The chemical deacidifies paper and slows decay.

Lorraine Gibson, a chemist at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland, runs a project called Heritage Smells that will identify decay in its earliest stages. She is working on a handheld mass spectrometer, a sort of artificial nose that locates the molecules that cause the musty smell.

Molecules move down a flight tube, and the movement through the tube helps identify the mass of the molecule. Once researchers have identified the molecules that speed decay, they can work to stop it.