Must Be Santa – my latest short story!

Announcing my latest short story just in time for the holidays! Available on Kindle!

Must Be Santa

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https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N79WUS0

A murder late on Christmas Eve brings Detective Merrick Wade onto the case. The man who found the victim wants to help solve the mystery by lending a hand … a right jolly old elf …

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Thanks for the Memories!  A National Adoption Month/Veteran’s Day Spotlight on Bob Hope

Three of the most famous – and funny – comedians of the 20th Century were George Burns, Jack Benny and Bob Hope. They and their wives adopted all their children.

November is National Adoption Month. November 11th is Veteran’s Day. Who else would make the perfect Spotlight?

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Really? You want to know about Bob Hope? There have been as many words written about Bob Hope as there are miles he travelled entertaining the world. Okay, here goes:

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From Wikipedia:

Bob Hope, (born Leslie Townes Hope, May 29, 1903 – July 27, 2003) was an English-American comedian, vaudevillian, actor, singer, dancer, athlete, and author. With a career spanning nearly 80 years, Hope appeared in over 70 films and shorts. In addition to hosting the Academy Awards 19 times (more than any other host), he appeared in many stage productions and television roles and was the author of fourteen books. The song “Thanks for the Memory” is widely regarded as Hope’s signature tune.

Born in London, England, Hope arrived in America with his family at the age of four and grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. He began his career in show business in the early 1920s, initially on stage, and began appearing on the radio and in films in 1934. He was praised for his comedy timing, specializing in one-liners and rapid-fire delivery of jokes—which were often self-deprecating, with Hope building himself up and then tearing himself down. Celebrated for his long career performing United Service Organizations (USO) shows to entertain active service American military personnel—he made 57 tours for the USO between 1941 and 1991—Hope was declared an honorary veteran of the United States Armed Forces in 1997 by act of the U.S. Congress.  He also appeared in numerous specials for NBC television, starting in 1950, and was one of the first users of cue cards.

He was married to performer Dolores Hope (née DeFina) for 69 years. Hope died at the age of 100 at his home in Toluca Lake, California.

From Legacy.com:

The nation’s most-honored comedian, a millionaire many times over, was a star in every category open to him — vaudeville, radio, television and film, most notably a string of “Road” movies with longtime friend Bing Crosby. For decades, he took his show on the road to bases around the world, boosting the morale of servicemen from World War II to the Gulf War.

He perfected the one-liner, peppering audiences with a fusillade of brief, topical gags: “I want to tell you, I was built like an athlete once – big chest, hard stomach. Of course, that’s all behind me now.”

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All four Hope children were adopted from The Cradle in Evanston, Illinois. A brief search of the internet is confusing: one site says Nora Hope was born in 1930 and another that she was adopted in 1946. This could make her 16 when she was adopted by the Hopes. Family photos dispute this. I will thus avoid dates:

Linda Hope is the holder of her father’s legacy – producing many of his last specials and controlling the releases of his work for home viewing.

William Kelly Francis Hope, an actor.

Anthony J Hope died June 28, 2004. He worked in Washington as an attorney.

Eleanora (“Nora”) Avis Hope.

 

frontcover

The cover of Abby’s Road

“Abby’s Road, the Long and Winding Road to Adoption and how Facebook, Aquaman and Theodore Roosevelt Helped” leads a couple through their days of infertility treatments and adoption. It is told with gentle (and sometimes not-so-gentle) humor from the perspective of a nerdy father and his loving and understanding wife.

Join Mike and Esther as they go through IUIs and IFVs, as they search for an adoption agency, are selected by a birth mother, prepare their house, prepare their family, prepare themselves and wait for their daughter to be born a thousand miles from home.

WINNER: 2015 Reader’s Favorite Book Award Finalist, Non-Fiction Humor

WINNER: Honorable Mention, 2015 New York Book Festival!

 WINNER: Honorable Mention, 2014 Great Midwest Book Festival!

 

Abby’s Road is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and at Smashwords.

 

 

Copyright 2016 Michael Curry

 

 

Well! A National Adoption Month Spotlight on Jack Benny

Three of the most famous – and funny – comedians of the 20th Century were George Burns, Jack Benny and Bob Hope. They and their wives adopted all their children.

From http://www.biography.com:

For more than 50 years, comedian Jack Benny was a star of radio, the stage and screen. His radio show, The Jack Benny Program, was a forerunner of the sitcom genre.

Jack Benny was born on February 14, 1894 in Chicago, Illinois. Benny came of age during WWI. He developed an ear for music and played the violin. He enjoyed entertaining people and in the 1920s became a successful vaudeville player with a knack for comedy. By the late 1930s, he had become the king of radio with his own show, The Jack Benny Program. In 1950, he started appearing on a television version, which alternated weekly with his radio show. The TV show ended 15 years later, after which Benny made guest TV appearances until he died, on December 26, 1974 in Beverly Hills, California.

His first radio program was in 1932; his last television program was 1965. Always with good to excellent ratings. Such a 33-year run seems unimaginable today.

From the blog “A Shroud of Thoughts” – http://mercurie.blogspot.com/2014/02/the-120th-birthday-of-jack-benny.html

Jack Benny would leave behind a legacy that only a very few other comedians could match. The Jack Benny Program was pivotal in the development of the situation comedies of radio and television, evolving from the sketch and variety format familiar from vaudeville into the sitcom format we recognize today. What is more, it is one of the few radio sitcoms that successfully made the transition from radio to television, running for fifteen years on the new medium.

Jack Benny would also have a lasting impact on future generations of comedians. The influence of Jack Benny can be seen in comics and actors as diverse as Johnny Carson, Phil Hartman, Eugene Levy, Kelsey Grammar, and Jerry Seinfeld.

Of course, Jack Benny’s greatest legacy may well be the works he left behind. His radio show is still widely available, on CDs, in digital form, and through streaming media on the internet. His television show is also widely available, with possibly the entire run available on DVD and many episodes available through streaming media. While many classic radio and television stars have long been forgotten, Jack Benny remains recognizable even to people who were born long after his death. One hundred and twenty years after his birth, Jack Benny is still regarded as one of the greatest comics of all time.

                                                  ***

Actually, Jack Benny left two legacies: his comedy and his daughter.

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Joan Benny was born in 1934 as Joan Naomi in New York City. She was adopted by Jack Benny and his wife Mary Livingston at the age of three months in September of that year. They decided to adopt after Mary’s second miscarriage.  From Joan’s book Sunday Nights at Seven, 1990, Warner Books:

“I became curious and asked the obvious questions: Who were my real parents? Why didn’t they want me? (My adoptive parents answered) “We don’t know who they are, we don’t know where they are now, and they couldn’t keep you because they couldn’t afford a baby and wanted you to have a good home … Besides, you are luckier than other children – most parents can’t pick the child they want, but we chose you and we wanted you very much.”

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“Abby’s Road, the Long and Winding Road to Adoption and how Facebook, Aquaman and Theodore Roosevelt Helped” leads a couple through their days of infertility treatments and adoption. It is told with gentle (and sometimes not-so-gentle) humor from the perspective of a nerdy father and his loving and understanding wife.

Join Mike and Esther as they go through IUIs and IFVs, as they search for an adoption agency, are selected by a birth mother, prepare their house, prepare their family, prepare themselves and wait for their daughter to be born a thousand miles from home.

WINNER: 2015 Reader’s Favorite Book Award Finalist, Non-Fiction Humor

WINNER: Honorable Mention, 2015 New York Book Festival!

WINNER: Honorable Mention, 2014 Great Midwest Book Festival!

 

Abby’s Road is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and at Smashwords.

 

Copyright 2016 Michael Curry

 

 

Oh God … George Burns adopted two children! A National Adoption Month Spotlight

Three of the most famous – and funny – comedians of the 20th Century were George Burns, Jack Benny and Bob Hope. They and their wives adopted all their children.

From Wikipedia:

George Burns (born Nathan Birnbaum; January 20, 1896 – March 9, 1996) was an American comedian, actor, singer, and writer. He was one of the few entertainers whose career successfully spanned vaudeville, radio, film and television. His arched eyebrow and cigar-smoke punctuation became familiar trademarks for over three-quarters of a century. He and his wife, Gracie Allen, appeared on radio, television, and film as the comedy duo Burns and Allen.

When Burns was 79, he had a sudden career revival as an amiable, beloved and unusually active comedy elder statesman in the 1975 film The Sunshine Boys, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Burns, who became a centenarian in 1996, continued to work just weeks before his death of a cardiac arrest at his home in Beverly Hills.

The man even had hit records in the 1970s and successful books in the 1980s.

His popularity never faded – because of his caustic, timely and timeless wit.

If you want to see how funny a 93 year old man can be – google “George Burns Johnny Carson 1989”.

***

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No bio of comedian George Burns would be complete without a brief word or two of his partner Gracie Allen (July 26, 1895 – August 27, 1964).  George Burns said he asked Gracie “How is your brother?” and it gave them a 20-year career. She burned the Thanksgiving turkey because the instructions said to cook twenty minutes per pound and she weighed 120 and …

Say goodnight, Gracie…

***

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Burns & Allen adopted two children:

Sandra Jean was adopted by Burns and Allen in 1934 at 13-months old. She died in 2010.

Ronnie Burns was five weeks old when he was adopted in Chicago on September 27, 1935.  George Burns said he was the sickliest baby up for adoption from the agency, and Gracie chose him because she thought he needed their help (per Burn’s excellent book Gracie: A Love Story). He died November 14, 2007.

frontcover

The cover of Abby’s Road

“Abby’s Road, the Long and Winding Road to Adoption and how Facebook, Aquaman and Theodore Roosevelt Helped” leads a couple through their days of infertility treatments and adoption. It is told with gentle (and sometimes not-so-gentle) humor from the perspective of a nerdy father and his loving and understanding wife.

Join Mike and Esther as they go through IUIs and IFVs, as they search for an adoption agency, are selected by a birth mother, prepare their house, prepare their family, prepare themselves and wait for their daughter to be born a thousand miles from home.

 

WINNER: 2015 Reader’s Favorite Book Award Finalist, Non-Fiction Humor

 

WINNER: Honorable Mention, 2015 New York Book Festival!

 

WINNER: Honorable Mention, 2014 Great Midwest Book Festival!

 

Abby’s Road is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and at Smashwords.

 

A Funny Thing About Adoption …

November is National Adoption Month. This blog series focuses on three legendary comedians connected not only by fame and their craft, but also because of their children …

For most of the twentieth century if you asked who were the best (or at least most famous) comedians you would be told, not necessarily in this order, George Burns, Jack Benny and Bob Hope.

Each one would be a face on a comedian’s Mount Rushmore.

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Each one garnered success in every venue of their careers: vaudeville, radio, television and film (don’t let Benny’s self-deprecation fool you – he parleyed his filmography into comic gold. And “To Be or Not to Be” is actually a great film!).

Each was, to some extent, ignored, forgotten or even vilified by the generations after them. Despite this, their brand of comedy has survived the test of time. Watching each of them at their peak (and George Burns had more than one) still provides genuine laughter.

Each of them adopted their children. Their wives – Gracie Allen (who at one point was more famous – and funnier – than her husband), Mary Livingston and Dolores Hope – had no children naturally with their husbands, and each couple decided to adopt.

This three-part blog series will not go into the “why” they adopted. In those pre-internet and 24/7 celebrity days the reasons were personal and remained so. Were there health reasons – were one or both unable to conceive? Gracie’s Wikipedia entry says they were unable to conceive, but there is not citation.

They were all very close friends (the Benny/Burns friendship would nowadays be called a “bromance”) – did they ever discuss it? When the first one to adopt a child did so, did the other two jump on the bandwagon? Celebrities adopting children in the 1930s was trendy. …

We may never know. What we DO know is that these three legends of comedy brought laughter and joy to millions for over three-quarters of a decade in the twentieth century; and also gave children who did not share their DNA a family and a home.

More to come …

frontcover

“Abby’s Road, the Long and Winding Road to Adoption and how Facebook, Aquaman and Theodore Roosevelt Helped” leads a couple through their days of infertility treatments and adoption. It is told with gentle (and sometimes not-so-gentle) humor from the perspective of a nerdy father and his loving and understanding wife.

Join Mike and Esther as they go through IUIs and IFVs, as they search for an adoption agency, are selected by a birth mother, prepare their house, prepare their family, prepare themselves and wait for their daughter to be born a thousand miles from home.

WINNER: 2015 Reader’s Favorite Book Award Finalist, Non-Fiction Humor

WINNER: Honorable Mention, 2015 New York Book Festival!

 WINNER: Honorable Mention, 2014 Great Midwest Book Festival!

Abby’s Road is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and at Smashwords.

 

Copyright 2016 Michael Curry