Perhaps the show’s boldest comment concerning television came near the end of their run in episode 52 “The Devil and Peter Tork” (Kaufman and Gardner and Caruso). In visualizing hell as the place Peter may be sent since he sold his soul for the ability to play the harp, every time they say “Hell” they are bleeped. This elicits the comment from Micky, “You know what’s even more scary? You can’t say (bleep) on television.”
Flamboyant feminist leader Bella Abzug, or “Battling Bella,” served three terms in Congress, first representing New York City’s 19th District and then after redistricting the 20th District from 1971 to 1977. Although Abzug’s political career came to an end after an unsuccessful bid for a Senate seat, her efforts on behalf of countless liberal causes made her as famous as her penchant for hats.
Singer, songwriter, and the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Aretha Louise Franklin was born on March 25, 1942, in Memphis, Tennessee. The fourth of five children, Aretha Franklin was raised in Detroit, Michigan, where her father was the head of the congregation of the New Bethel Baptist Church. Often in the presence of popular singers, both gospel and secular, she was influenced by performers such as Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson, and Dinah Washington. Gospel great Mahalia Jackson was also a visitor to the Franklin household. Franklin was first recorded as a gospel artist at age 14.
Mathematician and U.S. Navy rear admiral Grace Murray Hopper was a pioneer in computer science. Hopper was one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer and developed the first compiler for computer programming language. She helped to create UNIVAC I, the first commercial electronic computer, and the naval applications for COBOL, or com- mon business-oriented language. She is credited with popularizing the term “debugging.” Her nickname “Amazing Grace” came from the scope of her accomplishments and her naval rank.
I teach several classes for the Stephens College Low-Residency MFA in Screenwriting, including History of Screenwriting. In fact, I created the curriculum for that course from scratch and customized it to this particular MFA in that it covers ‘Screenwriting’ (not directors) and even more specifically, the class has a female-centric focus. As part History of Screenwriting I, the first course in the four-class series, we focus on the early women screenwriters of the silent film era who male historians have, for the most part, quietly forgotten in their books. In this series, I share with you some of the screenwriters and films that should be part of any screenwriters education. I believe that in order to become a great screenwriter, you need to understand the deep history of screenwriting and the amazing people who created the career. — Dr. Rosanne Welch
Annabelle (Whitford) Moore performs one of her popular dances. For this performance, her costume has a pair of wings attached to her back, to suggest a butterfly. As she dances, she uses her long, flowing skirts to create visual patterns.
Civil rights and labor activist Dolores Clara Fernandez Huerta has made a life’s work of advocacy for farmworkers, immigrants, women, and the American Hispanic (Latino/a) community. Huerta is the co-founder of three major civil rights organizations, including the Stockton, California, chapter of the Community Service Organization (1955); the Agricultural Workers Association (1960); and the National Farm Workers Association (1962) with Cesar Chavez (1927–1993), which later became the United Farm Workers (UFW).
The first woman to break the sound barrier and the director of the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots (WASPS), Cochran was born near Muscogee, Florida, and orphaned as an infant. Raised in northern Florida by a poverty-stricken foster family of migrant sawmill workers, she went to work in the mills early in life.
Gypsy Rose Lee is the most renowned striptease artist in the golden age of burlesque. Classy and intellectual, she talked as she disrobed, peppering her act with literary references and witticisms. She became a favorite with New York’s intelligentsia, moving beyond the world of burlesque. The musical Gypsy, based on her 1957 autobiography, has kept her in the public eye decades after her death.
As the show was winding down this second season, the occasions for recognizing themselves as actors in a television program, often referenced as being trapped inside the program, become more pronounced, giving evidence of the growing conflict between the artists and the front offices of the studio and network.
Frances Perkins, the first woman appointed to a U.S. presidential cabinet, served during Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s administration as his secretary of labor, piloting both the New Deal and the creation of the Social Security Administration. Perkins was the primary force behind unemployment insurance, minimum wage, a shorter workweek, and federal laws that regulate child labor and worker safety.