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The Day the Fugitive Stopped Running

The-Fugitive-posterI was eleven when I moved from the city to the suburbs in the East Bay Area west of San Francisco. I left all the city streets behind – in the 1880s Berkeley had been designed as a grid that easily and efficiently moved from the Bay waters to the golden hills above. Those foothills rose across to the Sierra in the distance.

Moving as a pre-teen, I also abandoned all of my elementary school friends and started afresh in a town where the valleys and grassy rolling hills were situated next to the freeway that headed to Sacramento and Nevada.

There were three or four floor plans in the houses of this post-World War II development of Pinole Valley Estates. Houses were lined up on the streets that were tucked among the ravines. The outside paint color and landscaping distinguished one home from another, but the interiors were eerily similar. Spending the night in a classmate’s home was always a bit surreal when the pink or green porcelain sink in the twin, back-to-bath baths matched those in my own home. Each kitchen had the modern miracle of a dishwasher; each garage was built for two cars.  One was usually a station wagon. The small, manicured yards were fenced and lines with wild, red berried pyracantha and tall, resilient oleander bushes.

Luckily, during this baby boom, nearly every home on my street housed a family with two to six kids. Summer days were spent building rafts on Pinole Creek or navigating the miles of golden hills yet to be developed.  Early evenings into dusk, there were perhaps ten to twenty of us playing Kick the Can. This was a California childhood in the 60s where black-and-white televisions sported rabbit ears and garages were emptied for Friday night neighborhood dances.

It took a few weeks after we moved into our new home for the neighborhood girls to welcome me with open arms. However, kids are kids and it didn’t take long for my new next-door neighbor to become my new best friend. She had two brothers the same ages as my younger brothers. Her house was two-storied, mine was only one. We spent hours in her upstairs room upstairs reading Teen and Ingénue magazines and listening to her extensive collection of 78s. In my house, we learned to sew and type and watch my stay-at-home mother in awe as she made Jell-O parfaits and cut-up cakes.

Because her dad worked the graveyard shift at the Southern Pacific Railroad, he was home during the day and the television was always on. Or so it seemed to me. In my home, the television was strictly managed by my step-father. It was only on Sunday nights that the family watched our black-and-white TV – the Wonderful World of Disney and the Ed Sullivan Show.

Therefore, my memories of many television shows of the 60s are of watching them along with my adopted next-door family.  Bewitched, Bonanza, Gomer Pyle, Route 66, Mr. Ed and countless other television shows (and their reruns) were on back to back at the Campbell house. One that intrigued me the most, I think, was The Fugitive.  Dark and brooding David Janssen was running from the law every episode. There was no need to see them in any order because each episode was another town, another cast of characters, and another chase by Indiana State Police Detective Lt. Gerard.

Years later, of course, Harrison Ford starred in the movie version in 1993 (now twenty-five years past!) A fan of Mr. Ford, I’ve seen the movie countless times. The details are changed in the movie, but the premise remains the same. Dr. Kimble’s wife was murdered by a one-armed man and Dr. Kimball must prove his innocence.

Many people surmise that the Fugitive was based on the story of real Dr. Sam Sheppard who was accused of murdering his wife in their home on Lake Erie, Ohio. Although Sheppard was convicted of the crime – second-degree murder – and given a sentence of life in prison, he always professed his innocence. He claimed his wife was murdered by a bushy-haired man. He was acquitted ten years later in a retrial. The creator and writer of the Fugitive series, however, denied the connection to Sam Sheppard.

The Fugitive ran for four years with thirty 51-minutes episodes produced each year. They were aired on Tuesday nights at 10. Knowing this, it was obviously summer reruns I watched next door – probably beginning in 1965 or 1966. The first three seasons were filmed and aired in black and white; the last and fourth season (1966-1967) was in color.  The last season began in September 1966 and 28 episodes were aired through mid-April.

Producers and writers of The Fugitive wanted to leave Dr. Richard Kimble forever running. However, they realized that their audience needed a conclusion.  ABC’s vice president of programming, Leonard Goldberg claimed in a Vanity Fair article (Aug. 29, 2017) “I realized we were going to leave viewers empty-handed, and that was wrong.”

However, audiences, who had seen the fourth season end in April 1967, were made to wait until August for the finale. The Judgment Part 1 and Part 11 were aired on August 22 and 29, 1967.  Because it was aired in the summer, I may have seen those episodes. I know for sure that the Campbell family would have watched them on August 22 and 29. A record 78 million viewers, or 72% of the homes that had televisions, watched The Judgment – Part II.  For more than ten years afterward, the final episode of The Fugitive held the record for being the most-watched in television history. The Fugitive was a television milestone.

I am struck by the names of actors who were cast as one, two, three or four-time guest characters: Ronnie Howard, Bruce Dern, Brian Keith, Charles Bronson – the list is well over one-hundred of well-known names. Because each episode of the Fugitive stood on its own, stars often played different characters in several episodes.

The Morrill Memorial Library has the four seasons of the Fugitive in its collection. You just might want to binge-watch along with me and travel back to the 60s again – or for the first time.

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte’s column in the May 24, 2018 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.


A Surprise Royal Watcher

prince-harry-and-meghan-markleAfter my one column about space turned into two I did not think I would be writing more anytime soon. However, when I discovered my colleagues did not share my level of excitement over the upcoming royal nuptials I knew I had found something else to write about. For those of you who attended our “Real Hollywood Royalty” film series featuring Grace Kelly (m. Prince Rainier III of Monaco) and Rita Hayworth (m. Prince Aly Kahn), I hope you enjoyed my attempt to build excitement for when American actress Meghan Markle marries Prince Harry on May 19.

As a child I was fascinated by Queen Victoria because we shared a first name. She was my go to option for any assignment on a historical figure where she could be made to fit the requirements. Given that interest in the British royal family, the marriage of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer in 1981 was very exciting for nine year old me. It came as no surprise, to my mother at least, that I wanted to get up early enough to not only see the 11:20 am BST ceremony (6:20 am EDT) but also the procession to St. Paul’s and guests entering the Cathedral. Fortunately it was summer so I didn’t need to worry about missing school, but I never voluntarily got up that early! Like many young girls I was taken with Princess Diana’s seemingly fairy tale marriage and so impressed by the spectacle that I decided I would require female guests to wear hats when I got married. I outgrew that fascination before I got married, much to the relief of my female relatives and friends, though not until after I graduated from college.

Of course I was excited to read about the births of Prince William in 1982 and Prince Harry in 1984. The 1996 divorce of the Prince and Princess of Wales four years after their separation made it clear the marriage was not a fairy tale. 4 am EDT was too early for me to watch the entire thing live but I did get up early to watch part of the funeral of Princess Diana after her tragic death in 1997. The 2006 film The Queen depicts the royal family’s response to this event.

When Sarah Ferguson married Prince Andrew in 1986 I was a teenager and we had a VCR so I had my dad record it and watched it at a more reasonable time of day. I had not been at my first professional job for very long when Prince Edward got married, and for some reason wasn’t very interested anyway.

When the engagement of Prince William and Kate Middleton was announced in 2010, my previous workplace had some lunchtime conversations about reusing an engagement ring from a wedding that ended so unhappily. The general consensus was that we’d be happy to have to such a beautiful piece of jewelry, but not as an engagement ring. In the months leading up to the wedding, whenever I was in a waiting room I devoured People, Us Weekly, and the like for photos of the couple and information about their wedding plans. I took the day of the wedding off so I could watch it on TV. Although I watched the repeat broadcast rather than the live version, I was up early making British scones and cakes to eat with my friend who came to watch it with me. I was not alone in having a wedding watching party. In fact, serious royals fans would consider me an amateur since I didn’t watch it live and we didn’t dress up or wear hats. I did get some awesome swag though: a commemorative tea tin and china mug. The births of their children has also been exciting and I eagerly awaited the arrival and naming of Prince Louis last month.

While I’m sure there are many people who will find it easier to watch Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding on a Saturday, I would prefer a workday since my family would be busy at school and work leaving the TV, and my time, free for binge watching the wedding. My understanding is the British would have preferred a work day as well so they could get a Bank Holiday. Unfortunately my friend who watched the 2011 wedding with me will be working, and my other potential watching partners live elsewhere, so I probably won’t spend much time creating a special menu just for me.

I was too young to pore over gossip magazines when Princes Charles and Andrew got married and am not a committed reader of them now, but if you are, Morrill Memorial Library’s Flipster app gives you access to several of them. I prefer to look at a few blogs that follow the royal family. My favorite is written by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan. Each week they do a “Royals Round-Up” with links to articles about and photos of European royals from the preceding week. When the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge travel, the site often has daily posts with photos from the trip. The two also wrote book The Royal We about an American who goes to college in England where she falls in love with the heir to the British throne. What Kate Wore has fashion coverage of the Duchess of Cambridge and an offshoot called What Kate’s Kids Wore has information about what the young princes and princess wear. Meghan’s Mirror covers Ms. Markle’s style including an entire page about her handbags (a weakness of mine).

I know some of my coworkers were surprised to learn just how interested I am in the British royals.  I am clearly not a slave to fashion, do not watch reality TV shows, and generally have very little interest in celebrities. The truth is I love some of the fashion worn by the Duchess of Cambridge and Miss Markle but my practical nature means that even their off the rack styles aren’t likely to be found in my closet since my lifestyle doesn’t call for cocktail dresses or high heels. But now you know I’ll be glued to the TV next Saturday morning!

Victoria Andrilenas is an Adult and Information Services Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, MA. Look for Victoria’s column in the May 10th edition of the Norwood Transcript & Bulletin.


Confessions of a True Crime Fanatic

Crime-scene-tapeGuilty as charged- I am an avid reader of books about murder and serial killers. At the moment, I can’t put down Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery, by Robert Kolker, about the homicides of five women who advertised as escorts on Craigslist. While most know John Grisham for his novels, I preferred his foray into non-fiction with The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town, the account of the exoneration of a death row inmate wrongfully convicted of murder.

I finally read Ann Rule’s classic, The Stranger Beside Me, a chronicle of a crime spree involving the homicide of at least 30 women. In an utterly remarkable coincidence, the true crime author landed the contract to write a book about a serial killer on the loose in the 1970s, only to find out that the murderer was her friend and former coworker, Ted Bundy. Rule later wrote Green River Running Red, about the “Green River Killer” in the Pacific Northwest. After finishing that one I checked out Green River Killer: A True Detective Story, a graphic novel about the same subject.

When not reading books about true crime, I spend my free time watching shows and movies and listening to podcasts in the same genre. To anyone else who binge-watched The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst, or Making a Murderer, I recommend the series The Staircase, about Michael Peterson, the crime author accused of murdering his wife.

In the feature length category, I enjoyed both the documentary Team Foxcatcher, and movie Foxcatcher, about John du Pont’s murder of wrestler Dave Schultz. Recently released, the film My Friend Dahmer, based on a graphic novel by the same name, chronicles the young life of the cannibal killer, before he began taking lives.

During my daily commute I listen to Casefile, with its mesmerizing and anonymous Australian host, and Criminal, which extends to crimes including Venus flytrap theft and the abuse of the Tennessee Walking Horse. For lighter fare, My Favorite Murder combines true crime and comedy, as the hosts chat about real-life horrors not as experts but as fellow true crime fans. They end each episode with their catch phrase, “stay sexy and don’t get murdered!” Real Crime Profile digs deep into cases in the media spotlight thanks to TV series such as The Case of: JonBenét Ramsey and The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, looking at them through the lens of behavioral analysts and FBI criminal profilers.

Please do not judge me or accuse me of voyeurism or gawking at others’ tragedy! It turns out I am not alone in this fascination with the macabre. The true crime genre is extremely popular, among women in particular. Prolific crime writer Ann Rule estimated that 85% of her readers were female, according to an article about this phenomenon in Cosmopolitan.

Why, though, do women gravitate toward the sick and twisted? These are some reasons, I suspect, behind our guilty pleasure:

Relatability: Margaret Atwood once said, “Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.” With some exceptions like Aileen Wuornos, whose crimes are recounted in the movie Monster, women are the victims of male serial killers. Men simply can’t identify with these stories the same way that women can.

Cautionary tales: Given that some risks disproportionally impact women, true crime tales teach us what to do and what not to do in the face of an attack, and how to protect ourselves. Memorize license plates. Preserve DNA evidence. Notify others about where you are going, and with whom. Don’t get into cars with strangers. Never hitchhike.

History: I mainly read non-fiction. I love constantly learning about historical events, and thinking about how they inform the future. The serial murders recounted in true crime narratives really happened. I feel it is important to know about the “summer of Sam” and Pogo the Clown, should things like this come up. The history of scientific progress encompasses the evolution of forensic investigation, including fingerprint, ballistics, and DNA analysis.

Justice: Although some perpetrators elude capture, most true crime stories follow a similar arc in which a reign of terror and frustrating hunt for a killer culminate in the discovery and apprehension of a “bad guy.” Usually evidence abounds and the murderer goes to trial, gets convicted, and ends up behind bars, or even sentenced to death. This “happy ending” provides comfort, sending the message that bad guys get punished, and justice prevails.

Lydia Sampson is the Technical Services department head at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Lydia’s column in the May 3, 2018 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

Cinderella at the Library!

Wednesday, May 23rd
11:00 am
Ages 6 and under
Registration required

Join Miss Amy from K&M Dance Studios as she comes dressed as Cinderella! She’ll read us stories, show how to dance at the ball, and stay for hug, high-fives, and photos. Please call the Children’s Room at  781-769-0200 x225 or use the contact form below to register  your child today!




Being the Mom Versus Being a Librarian

Everyone assumes that if you work with children professionally, you’ll be a natural in the parenting department. There definitely are some overlaps that help with the adjustment to family life, but some things are harder to translate.

Working as a children’s librarian has kept me abreast of current issues in the parenting world and in particular, in the world of early literacy. I know all the stages and signs of pre-literacy and how to build to a good foundation for lifelong readers. I encourage and advise parents about this topic regularly as part of my job at the library.

Now it is time for my great confession: I find it easier to read to other people’s children than my own. Dear reader, please don’t be too shocked. Of course I still read to my child often.

Every two weeks, I bring my daughter’s giant canvas library bag to work and fill it with books as I imagine the two of us snuggled on the couch, reading away the hours. And sometimes that does happen. But sometimes, my daughter gets frustrated with me when I leave off the last word of a sentence and look at her expectantly to fill it in, as I advise so many parents to do when they read in order to facilitate children’s ability to predict a rhyme or what will happen in a story.

Sometimes I get frustrated with her when she doesn’t love a story or my delivery of it as much as the kids in story time did. Sometimes I’m annoyed when she’s overtired and can’t sit still during bedtime stories. Sometimes she doesn’t like the books I choose.

In contrast, reading to kids during story time provides constant positive feedback. I know what books will work with toddlers in a group setting. I know what new silly story will get the preschoolers giggling or how to find the perfect long picture book to read aloud with grade school kids. I know how to get their attention, how to get their wiggles out, and how to keep the flow going.

We clap for ourselves after I finish reading and I tell them what good listeners they are. And when I see kids enjoying themselves while learning something and parents who are happy, I know I’m a good librarian. It’s extremely enjoyable and much less fraught than being a mom.

Let’s be real; there is no applause as a parent. There is often no immediate reward for the things we do but we do them because we want the best for our children. Reading to your kids is pretty much like the experience of parenting itself: it’s occasionally amazing, occasionally horrible but most of the time it’s pretty good. Above all, it has to be done.

This has been written about extensively but it bears repeating: reading aloud to your children is the greatest way to build early literacy skills and encourage a lifelong love of reading. And when it goes well, it’s a great way to bond and relax together as a family. With that in mind, here are my best tips for a smooth read-aloud from my combined experience as a librarian and a mom:

Mix it up: Kids love books with characters they know. We get tons of requests from kids for books with well-known TV characters. I used to cringe at this in my pre-child years but now I know that acceptance is the price of freedom. Bring home a few Paw Patrol and Barbie books along with Make Way for Ducklings or The Velveteen Rabbit. Everyone will be happy.

Find the right time: We usually think of bedtime as the best time for stories. For some families, that works. For many of us, bedtime is a time when we are tired, stressed, and almost out of patience. Save the longer stories for when everyone is at their best and read a few short books to get the job done before bed.

Audiobooks: if you have trouble reading aloud, it could be time to bring home one of our picture books with a CD or one of our new Vox books and let someone else do the reading. These have saved my sanity and let me enjoy the book along with my daughter.

Bookmarks: Know when it’s time to stop and introduce the concept of the bookmark. If reading with your children isn’t going well or you don’t have much time, pop a bookmark in the book you’re reading and tell your kids you’ll save it for later. Sometimes kids and adults are relieved to know we don’t have to finish a book in one sitting.

Try nonfiction: We don’t always have to read our kids fictional stories. If you can find a nonfiction book on a topic you both enjoy, reading to your child will be enjoyable and informative!

In the library world, librarians are always striving for children and families to have a perfect experience at the library. It’s our job to read all the right books and sing all the silly songs and be cheerful all the time. In the real world, perfection is the enemy of happy families. Once I learned to leave my expectations as a librarian at the library, reading to my child became much easier and more enjoyable. Of course, when all else fails, I go back to one of my tried and true mom strategies and let dad handle it.

Kate Tigue is a children’s librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read Kate’s column in the April 26, 2018 issue of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

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