Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Everything You Didn't Need to Know About the USA

I picked up Karen Farrington's Everything You Didn't Need to Know About the USA. It was entertaining but had a few flaws.

Points of Interest

Best Years of Hollywood: according to a survey of movie critics, the following years produced the best American movies:

1939: Beau Geste, Gone with the Wind, Goodbye Mr. Chips, Gunga Din, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Ninotchka, Of Mice and Men, Stagecoach, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Wizard of Oz, Wuthering Heights

1974: Chinatown, The Godfather II, Murder on the Orient Express, The Man with the Golden Gun

1946: The Best Years of Our Lives, The Big Sleep, It's a Wonderful Life, The Killers, My Darling Clementine, Notorious, The Postman Always Rings Twice, Song of the South

1941: Citizen Kane, How Green Was My Valley, The Lady Eve, The Maltese Falcon, Sullivan's Travels, Suspicion

1957: The Bridge on the River Kwai, The Enemy Below, Sayonara

1971: A Clockwork Orange, The French Connection, The Last Picture Show, McCabe and Mrs. Miller

1940: Fantasia, The Grapes of Wrath, The Great Dictator, Rebecca, Pinocchio

1962: Lawrence of Arabia, The Manchurian Candidate, To Kill a Mockingbird

1942: Casablanca; Cat People; The Magnificent Ambersons; Now, Voyager; To Be or Not To Be; Yankee Doodle Dandy; Bambi

1955: Kiss Me Deadly, The Night of the Hunter, Rebel Without a Cause, Lady and the Tramp, Marty, Mr. Roberts

U.S. Shark Attacks:

USA (fatal) FLA HA CA
1990 19 10 2 4
1991 25 (1) 13 4 (1) 4
1992 24 (1) 12 8 (1) 1
1993 21 10 5 4
1994 32 (1) 24 4 2(1)
1995 45 31 1 3
1996 20 13 2 3
1997 31 25 1 1
1998 29 (1) 22 1 2
1999 37 25 5 2
2000 54 (1) 38 (1) 2 3
2001 53 (3) 37(1) 3 1
2002 47 29 6 4

Damn heathensTheodore Roosevelt was the only president not sworn into office with a Bible (according to the recollection of witness Ansley Wilcox). Franklin Pierce was "affirmed" with a Bible.

Some mistakes

The book claims Disney's The Three Caballeros was the first film to mix animation and live action in 1944. Not true: Winsor McCay's Gertie the Dinosaur depicted a live actor interacting with an animated dinosaur in 1912 and even Citizen Kane included a scene blending live action and animation (Kane and the bat).

The category of songs about states includes "West Nashville Boogie" "City of New Orleans," "Streets of Philadelphia," and songs about "New York" that clearly refer to the city. This appears to be a real mistake because there is a separate category of songs about cities (which does not include "The Cockroach that Ate Cincinnati" or the theme of WKRP).

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