Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Ghosts and Other Characters

On Sunday Laureen joined me for a viewing of the 1963 classic The Haunting. (See Laureen above with 2 of her fans, as well as Claire Bloom and Julie Harris.)  In a good (or even great) ghost story, the ghost is not merely something that says "boo," but a real (dead) character with psychological connections to the other characters.
 The Haunting is one of my favorite spook-flicks.  Every time I watch it I notice little things I'd missed before.  Of course, I can't think of an example now.

I continue to probe the mysteries of old TV shows.  I just finished seeing several episodes of Biff Baker, U.S.A. featuring character actor Alan Hale (aka "The Skipper").  Though still in his early 30s, Hale's signature character had already jelled into a hearty, jolly, joking, unpolished regular guy.  In this case, he was a regular guy defending American interests all over the world accompanied by his equally jolly wife.  It isn't very good, but it's a source for American post-war psychology.

Of course, when dealing with Alan Hale, the question that always comes up is whether he is related to Barbara Hale (aka "Della Street"). mentions nothing, but nothing mentioned is not proof of nothing being there.  The fact that they both appeared in The Giant Spider Invasion suggests a blood connection: why else would they act in that turkey of a flick?

Speaking of character, recently a research assistant approached our ref desk with a strange request.  Her boss wanted to do some kind of scientific psychological measurement of people who had just read various kinds of literature, such as fiction with characters and fiction without characters.  She needed to find some examples of fiction without characters: no human characters, no animal characters, no alien characters, and no anthropomorphized objects.  No characters.  Not surprisingly, she couldn't find any examples.

For the benefit of Science, I wish to fill this literary lacuna...

The House
A piece of fiction
There's a house on Maple St. with white aluminum siding and a dark green pitched roof.  It has a front door in the front and a back door in the back.  It has a front yard in front and a back yard in back.

Furthermore, it looks just like every other house on Maple St.  This house has no character.

Monday, February 27, 2012

CD Creep

Somebody has let his CDs creep all over the office.  It's a stealthy way to take over!