Jan. 19, 1945: NY Times Reports K.R.’s Hospital Stay

As technology has improved and become more accessible to the mass, how one receives their news has expanded from the newspaper only to the internet (computer and phone), TV (cable and network), newspaper (online or print; independent or conglomerate), Twitter, and Facebook (I include the last two apart from the internet as they seem to be “news reporters” in their own right; ABC’s “Good Morning, America” even has a segment in which they report news from Twitter and/or other social media).  With the glut of news sources, the media resorts to pandering to their audience by “reporting” on issues their audience find important.  Issues that, in the grand scheme of things, are unimportant and superfluous. For instance, does it really matter what someone wore to the Grammy Awards?  And when a “news item” hits a nerve with the audience, the news outlet harps on that issue, regardless of the fact that there may be no real news to report.  Such is the world we live in today – a world in which the news we receive is mundane and over-hyped.

While it is easy to view today’s news as over-hyping the mundane, it appears that the same can be said of the news outlets of the past.  On January 19, 1945 the NY Times reported Kenneth Roberts’ stay at the New England Baptist Hospital in Boston.  According to the very brief article (p. 26, 1/19/45 edition, NY Times), Roberts was admitted to the hospital to undergo treatments for a neck infection.  As of the time the article was written, Roberts’ condition “was described as satisfactory.”  He had been ill for ten days prior to being admitted to the hospital.

Apparently, the news of yesterday included the mundane as well, which leads me to think that perhaps the mundane has its place in the news.  If the NY Times had not reported on Kenneth Roberts’ stay at a Boston hospital in January of 1945, we would not be able to know more of Kenneth Roberts’ life.  So, despite my complaints, I guess the tendency of today’s media serves a purpose, at least to provide fodder for the historians of tomorrow.

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A Blast from the Past: NY Times Review of “Lydia Bailey” the Movie

Lydia BaileyHere’s a nice blast from the past – a movie review (NY Times, May 31, 1952) on the movie “Lydia Bailey” based upon Kenneth Roberts’ novel with the same title.  The movie starred Dale Robertson as Albion Hamlin (main character) and Anne Francis (Lydia Bailey).  (See NY Times overview of the movie here or IMBD’s overview here.)

Apparently, the reviewer did not like the movie; the reviewer accuses Roberts of ignoring historical fact when writing this novel:

The strite-ridden out colorful history of Haiti’s struggle for independence, which has attracted such noted writers as Eugene O’Neill and Kenneth Roberts, has been fancifully warped in “Lydia Bailey,” Twentieth Century-Fox’s Technicolor version of Mr. Roberts’ novel, which turned up at the Roxy yesterday. Neither Mr. Roberts—whose canvas, incidentally, encompassed a much wider area than just Haiti—nor the scenarists were interested in documenting facts. Thus, this period adventure, which merely nods to history on occasion, succeeds in being a briskly paced, swashbuckling yarn in which an American lawyer’s search for and romance with a beautiful heiress is a prop for plots, warfare, hairbreadth escapes and multi-hued jungle scenery (emphasis mine).

I admit, Lydia Bailey is not my favorite K.R. novel; I felt the romance aspect was a bit forced and was given too much attention.  Nevertheless, the accusation that Kenneth Roberts occasionally gives a nod to history is quite a strong claim considering the detail and attention Roberts’ gave to historical fact in his research and earlier writings – so, in light of the fact the reviewer gave no support for his claim, I find it an unfair accusation against Roberts, finding the claim more of an opinion of someone who did not like the movie.

Interesting: here’s a link to a Lydia Bailey movie poster on ebay.

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