Classic  Leading Ladies     Part 2

Barbara Stanwyck (July 16, 1907- January 20, 1990)

Stanwyck could be considered as the first real mainstream lead actress in early Hollywood.  Probably her most noted accomplishment is her role as Victoria Barkley on the TV series; The Big Valley. She brought a very elegant look to the screen. Some would say that she was just on the borderline of being a bombshell.  There was a bit of sex appeal about her, but with a definite touch of class and grace. Like Bette Davis, Stanwyck has a number of great films to her credit. She played a lot of strong feminine roles that the audience wanted to root for, and also had some razor-sharp roles as well.

Night Nurse (1931)  As the title indicates, she plays a new nurse that has to work the tough night shift in a hospital where there are some unsavory activities afoot, and she tries to bring them to light. She stars alongside a super young Joan Blondell, who was also one of the first ladies on the big screen during that time. Blondell plays a strong and feisty support to Stanwycks’ character. Also in this picture is a guy from Cadiz, Ohio who once worked at Goodyear named Clark Gable.  This movie was well before Gable was a great leading man. He had only a bit role as a chauffeur that has a run in with Stanwyck, and it’s definitely not romantic.

Double Indemnity (1944) Also co-starring in this movie is a not so warm and fuzzy Fred MacMurray, who is best known for his role as the single, easy going dad of 3 boys in the hit TV sit-com My Three Sons. This one of Stanwycks’ best roles, as she plays the femme fatale widow who conspires with the Insurance salesman MacMurray by trying to collect a hefty sum of cash upon the “accidental” death of her husband.  Edward G. Robinson, who was a headliner at the time, plays a great supporting role as this twisted web of a story unfolds. This is a Film Noir classic, with Stanwyck being quite sultry and evil, with her constant lady-like and innocent demeanor. The “stairs” scene and then the grocery store rendezvous with Stanwyck sporting the cool chic sunglasses are just part of the fine job done in making this film one of Hollywoods’ best pictures.

Barbara Stanwyck Blog

Books about Barbara Stanwyck


Spring Storytimes at Ellet


Ellet Branch Story Times are resuming for Spring:

Join us at the Ellet Branch Library for story time.  This spring we will be offering the following programs:

Baby Time

Mondays, 6:30 pm

March 10 – April 28

For ages 6-24 months and their caregiver. Join Miss Sarah for stories, songs, rhymes, and activities geared for babies followed by group playtime.  No registration necessary.

Toddler Time

Tuesdays, 10:30 am

March 11 – April 29

For ages 2-3 years and their caregiver. Join Miss Sarah for toddler appropriate books, songs, rhymes, and activities.  Toddler time is followed by a simple craft and group playtime.  No registration necessary.

Let’s Play

Thursdays at 10:30 am

March 6, March 20, April 3, April 17, May 1, May 15

For ages 1-4 years. Children and their favorite caregiver are invited to join us on the first and third Fridays of the month as we play together. We will learn while playing with our library friends and expand our minds and senses with fun crafts and activities. Caregivers will have a supportive environment to bond and discuss issues related to young children.  No registration necessary. 

Story Time

Mondays, 10:30 am

Thursdays, 6:30 pm

March 10 – May 1

For ages 2-6 years.  Ms. Laurie will use books, flannel boards, puppets, props and songs to engage children in stories.  Your children will be active participants in Story Time.  Each session will conclude with a craft.  No registration necessary.


The Adventures of Jacky Faber


NOT just for kids and tweenagers! Everyone can enjoy this incredible audio book series from L.A Meyer. Katherine Kellgren performs superbly as “Jacky Faber”. Listen and feel your heart cheer and cry for Jacky as she goes from adventure to adventure in 18th century London and beyond.

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. The tale of Mary, an 18th-century London street urchin who dresses as a boy, renames herself Jacky and goes to sea as a ship’s boy, soars to new heights in the audio format. Mary’s distinctive Cockney dialect is tailor-made for reading aloud. And with award-winning narrator Kellgren at the helm, the result is pure magic. She creates authentic character voices, switching effortlessly among Mary’s Cockney, the melodic Irish lilt of sailor Liam, the educated American voice of schoolmaster Tilden, the chillingly sinister, leering tone of Jacob Sloat and many other voices without missing a beat. Her acting is also first-rate: her tone of pride as Mary boasts of her achievements, her tenderness as she speaks of Jaimy, the boy she secretly falls in love with, and the sheer terror in her voice during scenes of violence and danger will have listeners on the edge of their seats. For tweens and teens caught up in this summer’s Pirate Fever, Bloody Jackis the perfect audiobook to make those long family car trips fly by. Ages 12-up. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Bloody Jack Adventures


1. Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary ‘Jacky’ Faber, Ship’s Boy (2002)

2. Curse of the Blue Tatoo: Being an Account of the Misadventures of Jacky Faber, Midshipman And Fine Lady(2004)

3. Under the Jolly Roger: Being an Account of the Further Nautical Adventures of Jacky Faber (2005)

4. In the Belly of the Bloodhound: Being an Account of a Particularly Peculiar Adventure in the Life of Jacky Faber (2006)

5. Mississippi Jack: Being an Account of the Further Waterborne Adventures of Jacky Faber, Midshipman, Fine Lady, And Lily of the West (2007)

6. My Bonny Light Horseman (2008)

7. Rapture of the Deep (2009)

8. The Wake of the Lorelei Lee (2010)

9. The Mark of the Golden Dragon: Being an Account of the Continuing Adventures of Jacky Faber, Wending Her Way Back from Botany Bay (2011)

10. Viva Jacquelina!: Being an Account of the Further Adventures of Jacky Faber, Over the Hills and Far Away (2012)

11. Boston Jacky: Being an Account of the Further Adventures of Jacky Faber, Taking Care of Business (2013)


12. Wild Rover No More: Being the Last Recorded Account of the Life & Times of Jacky Faber (2015)


Ohio’s New Kindergarten Readiness Assessment


Ohio’s New Kindergarten Readiness Assessment

Presenters: Stephanie Siddens, Director, ODE Office of Early Learning and School Readiness; Sophie Hubbell, RttT Early Learning Challenge Grant Assessment Coordinator, ODE Office of Early Learning and School Readiness; Tamara Otto, Senior Program Coordinator and Instructor, Johns Hopkins University Center for Technology in Education

Pictured (from left to right): Sophie Hubbell, Stephanie Siddens, Tamara Otto

Pictured (from left to right): Sophie Hubbell, Stephanie Siddens, Tamara Otto

Summary: Ohio’s new Kindergarten Readiness Assessment will measure many aspects of a child’s growth.  This work is being completed through a partnership between Maryland and Ohio. The resulting work will culminate in a new Early Childhood Comprehensive Assessment System that includes a Kindergarten Entry Assessment, formative assessments (for ages 36-72 months) and recommended developmental screening instruments. As part of the Early Childhood Comprehensive Assessment System, this new test will capture information about social foundations, physical well-being and motor development, language and literacy, mathematics, science, social studies and the arts. The system is aligned to both states’ guidelines and standards for young children.
The system is designed to be maximally accessible to young children with a wide range of background experiences and developmental needs.  These needs include students with disabilities and English language learners.
Benefits of the system include its measurement of growth over time and, in the future, its delivery to be partially delivered via technology.
There are three item types for the Kindergarten Entry Assessment:
  1. Observation Rubrics
  2. Performance Tasks – These have an element of observation, but will be more scripted.  It involves setting up a scenario for the child.
  3. Selected Response – A child is provided with manipulatives. For example, a child may be asked to identify a set of shapes.
Data collected will be used to:
  • Inform prior early learning and development stakeholders
  • Identify individual children’s needs and provide necessary supports to children and teachers
  • Assist teachers in data-driven instructional decision making at the child and classroom level
  • Provide families with information about their children’s learning and development
Kindergarten Assessment Timeline
Kindergarten Assessment Timeline
Administration Timeline 
  • Required Fall & Spring administration model
  • Optional continuous use model throughout year
  • Only required in preschool. It is optional in Kindergarten.
Kindergarten Entry Assessment
  • Administration Window: First day of school through Nov. 1
For More Information: Visit the Early Childhood Ohio website here. Additional information on Early Childhood programs is available here.



Ray’s Surface Noise



When I was growing up in East Canton in the mid 1960s, my father worked out of town during the week.  WAY out of town.  Indiana, to be exact.  That meant he would leave early Monday morning and come home late Friday evening, usually after us kids (myself and my older brother and sister) were in bed asleep.  So, the following morning I would always get up, run into my parents’ bedroom and  a) make sure my dad had come home the night before, and/or  b) wake him up.  On one particular morning in 1967 I ran into the bedroom and found, much to my surprise, an album I had been wanting by The Monkees.  He had brought it home for me and propped it up on the night stand, knowing I would see it when I came into the room the next morning.

This particular album was called Headquarters, and it was a kind of a big deal when it came out because it was played and sung entirely by The Monkees themselves.  As it turns out, the Monkees only sang on their first two albums, even on the songs written by Monkee Mike Nesmith.  Being five years old at the time, I wasn’t aware of this, and couldn’t have cared less.  I loved the show’s manic energy, and great music.  The problem was, they were apparently being passed off as a real band, which angered and embarrassed two of the Monkees in particular, Mike Nesmith and Peter Tork.  After an infamous incident at the Beverly Hills Hotel where Nesmith put his fist through the wall and threatened a Screen Gems executive, they were allowed to record their next album themselves.  And so they did.  It went straight to number one for one week, after which they were knocked down to second place by The Beatles Sgt. Pepper—but hey, EVERYBODY was second to The Beatles that summer (and for good reason).

After spotting this album on my dad’s night stand, I jumped up and down and squealed (something I still do when it comes to listening to certain albums, much to the embarrassment of my wife and the members of her couponing club), grabbed the album, woke my siblings and ran downstairs to put it on my mother’s record player.  It was one of those early 60s floor model types, with a big lift-up lid, revealing a record changer and a radio inside.  It also had a giant speaker that woofed out bass like nobody’s business.  You could really rattle the house when you cranked that sucker up.

I put the record on, and we gave it a listen.  Needless to say, I loved it.  Even at age five, I was reading the liner notes to see who played what.  Mike Nesmith played guitar and pedal steel, although I had no idea what that was at the time.  Peter Tork played guitar, bass and organ.  Mickey Dolenz played drums and guitar.  Davy Jones played percussion, and “jawbone”, whatever THAT was.

Three of the Monkees contributed original songs to this album.  Mike Nesmith’s three tunes included You Just May Be The One, which turned out to be a genuine Monkees classic, and Peter Tork’s For Pete’s Sake wound up being the closing theme for the second series of their television show.  Mickey Dolenz not only learned to play drums for this album, he also wrote Randy Scouse Git (the title being British slang for, er, “lustful Liverpuddlian jerk”), a song that MOJO magazine recently named one of the best songs of the psychedelic era.  Unfortunately, none of these tracks were released as a single, except for Randy Scouse Git, which was a hit in—wait for it—Britain (although the title was changed to…Alternate Title).  In fact, the band’s label didn’t think any of the tracks were worthy of release as a single, which is a shame because it’s a pretty good album.  In retrospect, Headquarters is one of the first examples of country rock that would later be popularized by bands like The Byrds.  Several tracks, including songs like Shades Of Grey, Early Morning Blues And Greens and the aforementioned original tracks, have become what would now be referred to by music geeks (like myself) as “deep cuts”.

The album also had its share of silliness.  Zilch was a minute long track comprised of each member chanting different sayings over and over.  Despite the fact that you could skip this track and not miss much, Zilch has been sampled by hip hop artists, and They Might Be Giants have performed it in their live shows.  The other bit of nonsense is Band 6 which is, believe it or not, the Monkees attempt to perform The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down—i.e. the Looney Tunes theme song.

Mickey Dolenz has said that The Monkees becoming a real rock band was like Leonard Nimoy actually becoming a Vulcan—a comparison that irks Peter Tork to this day.  TV Guide referred to the Monkees playing their own music as “The Great Revolt of 1967”.  Despite the fact that most pop bands at the time made records the same way (i.e. studio musicians played for them—that’ll be a future blog entry) the Monkees were roundly criticized for admitting it, often by bands that did the same thing.  Nonetheless, the album went on to sell over two million copies within the first two months of its release, and has since gone on to sell over twelve million copies.

Again, I can thank my dad for buying what is to this day one of my favorite albums of all time.  I later found out my dad liked both The Monkees (esp. Mike Nesmith’s country rock tunes), and The Mamas And The Papas for their harmonies.  I also recall him buying Roxy Music’s first album at a used record store once, although I never found out whether or not he liked it…

Headquarters is included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.  And you must.  So…go here:

Akron-Summit County Public Library

More Monkee blogs:

The Monkees Live Almanac

The Monkees Album by Album


Classic Cinema 101


Classic Cinema 101

Famous Leading Ladies

Bette Davis

(click on blue links for more information)

Bette Davis (April 5, 1908- October 6, 1989).  Davis was one of the first and greatest leading ladies in Hollywood history.  She is best known with classic cinema fans for her big, beautiful doll eyes and her scathing, sharp-edged performances.  She has a list of great films, too many to mention. The following selections may not be some of her most famous works, but are very noteworthy just the same.

The Petrified Forest (1936) was a film that put her on the radar. She was only twenty eight and played a sweet, cutesy, innocent waitress at a roadside diner in the middle of the Arizona desert.  It’s fun to see her in this soft, meek role compared to some of her other movies where she’s spitting fire and taking no prisoners, or playing a crazed lunatic. Also starring in this film was Leslie Howard, who was a solid leading man at the time. One of Howards’ biggest films was Gone with the Wind, where he played the civil war soldier Ashley Wilkes. There was another up and coming actor in this film named Humphrey Bogart.  Bogie played the bad guy on the run. This movie was an early success in Bogie’s climb to fame as well. Things really begin to crackle when Bogie shows up. This film was first a stage play, with Howard and Bogart starring in their roles. When it went to film, the studio picked the popular Howard for his part, but wanted to use someone other than Bogie for his role because he was not a legitimate star at the time. Howard threatened not to be in the film at all if they did not use Bogie as the bad guy.

Now Voyager (1942) is another film where Davis plays a mellow, low key character. It’s a romantic drama that co-stars Claude Rains as a psychiatrist that helps the Davis character come out of her shell and blossom into a new and confident woman. Paul Henreid stars the romantic heavy who is capturing the heart of Davis. The romantic scenes and background music with these two provides great cinema, and gives an excellent example of the acting range Davis had in that stage of her career. She is a swooning sweetheart in the arms of Henreid. There is a moment in the film where Henreid lights two cigarettes at the same time and gives one to Davis. That scene has been noted as a Hollywood classic. If you are a fan of Looney Tunes, which was also produced by Warner Brothers, the music in this film was used in a few of their cartoons as well.

Click Here for a Bette Davis blog




Reduced hours begin Monday, January 6


Our reduced hours become effective Monday, January 6.
Here they are for your convenience:

Branch Library Hours of Operation
Monday – Tuesday – Thursday: 10 am – 8 pm
Wednesday – Friday: 12 pm – 6 pm
Saturday: 10 am – 5 pm
Sunday: Closed

Main Library Hours of Operation
Monday – Thursday: 10 am – 8 pm
Friday: 10 am – 6 pm
Saturday: 10 am – 5 pm
Sunday: 1 pm – 5 pm

Program times may have changed so we encourage you to call the branch library before attending.


Ray’s Surface Noise


(The Beatles)


(Click on the blue links for more info)

Sunday, December 8, 2013 was the 33RD anniversary of the death of John Lennon.  Like many other folks, I suppose, I thought about that night in 1980 when my dad and I were watching TV, and a news item scrolled across the bottom of the screen announcing that Lennon had been shot outside the Dakota in NYC.  All I can remember is just feeling numb, much like I did when my parents passed away in 1997.  Which reminds me of a Beatles-related story concerning my parents (insert watery, out-of-focus dissolve here)…

Although I was born in Akron, I grew up in East Canton.  Sometime during the mid-1970s the Mellet Mall Cinema held a midnight showing of the Beatles’ film Let It Be (they also once had a midnight showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which was the first time I ever had toast thrown at me–in a theater, anyway–but that’s another story).  I begged my father to take me.  I was in my early teens, so I couldn’t drive.  My mother didn’t drive, and we only had one car, so if I was going to go, my dad would have to be the one to take me.  He very graciously agreed to, even though he had to go to work later that morning.

I had never seen Let It Be, so this was a special occasion for me.  I loved every minute of it, despite the fact that in one scene Paul McCartney and George Harrison got into an argument on screen, and every so often I would have to tell my dad which Beatle was which, and who that little girl pounding on Ringo’s drums during a rehearsal at Apple Studios was (that was Paul’s adopted daughter Heather, for those of you keeping score at home…).

That night is one of my most cherished memories of my father.  Despite the fact that he didn’t have an interest in the Beatles (being a WWII veteran, his music preferences were geared more towards big band music), he willingly took me to see a Beatles film, knowing full well he’d have to be at work in a few short hours.

As for my mother, she’s the one that I can thank for my interest in the Beatles in the first place.  Like me, she was a real music fan, and in fact spent the early 1950s attending numerous shows here in Akron, including witnessing an early Elvis show at the Akron Armory during his Louisiana Hayride days.  She also got autographs from everybody from Minnie Pearl–who talked to my mother on the phone for over an hour one night after my mother saw her perform–to Grandpa Jones (who, I would discover many years later, played music on the radio with my wife’s paternal grandfather) and Carl Smith, who was June Carter Cash’s first husband.  My mom was also a huge Beatles fan, and she had all the early Beatles albums, including a budget label Beatles imitation album called The Beetle Beat by The Buggs, which my father got for her one night thinking it actually was The Beatles.  Oh, how my mother laughed!  Actually, I think she was pretty annoyed, but it’s a really funny story.  She was such a Beatles fan that when I was about 4 years old, she suffered an aneurysm and when they performed surgery they had to cut all her hair off.  So…she bought a Beatles wig.

(NOT the Beatles.)

Growing up, I listened to my mom’s Beatles records constantly, along with records by my other favorite 60s band, The Monkees (those were mine—or, rather, my parents bought them for me).  To this day, they are still my two favorite bands.  Yes, you can argue that technically one of them wasn’t a real band, but that’s for the Rock Hall to sit around and argue about.

John Lennon was shot and killed  outside the Dakota in 1980.  My parents both died in 1997, both from cancer.  My mom died first, and my dad went three weeks later.

I miss all three of them, tremendously.

 -   Ray Carmen

Here are some more great blogs on the Beatles….

Beatles Blog

Beatle Photo Blog

Blogging the Beatles


Holiday Open House at Ellet


Join us Thursday, December 5th 6pm-8pm for our

Annual Holiday Open House


Music of the Season with choirs from St Matthew Parish School

Pre-Kindergarten and Ellet High School Madrigals

Crafts for all ages

Holiday Card Exchange

Free Picture with Santa Claus


and a

Gingerbread Contest


Library Closed on Nov 11th!


All Library locations will be closed Monday, November 11, Staff Development Day.