In the Shadows of the 60’s 

Shadows of the 60's

It has been said that there has never been a time in history as tumultuous as the 1960’s.  I was in the midst of my formative years, and yes, was exposed to (in no particular order) the questioning of our status quo, a change in the ethnicity and idealism of the Kennedy Presidency, the Bay of Pigs invasion, the fear of nuclear war by “the Ruskies,” the cultural change to hippie free love, flower power, the use of mind-altering drugs, the re-introduction of bell-bottomed jeans, the race riots of the South, the Vietnam War, Kent State, an explosion of musical talent from Great Britain influencing  American culture and music, Woodstock  Music Festival and the Watergate break-in, the start of the downfall of President Nixon.

How is it possible with this former explosion of change, we dare to rant and rave about the political events of 2017?

No movie is perfect in its storytelling pitted against factual events. It can’t be, for movies are by nature entertainment vehicles. But, I believe if you stay true to the spirit of the time, capturing major events and people’s lives with integrity and send a message from which audiences can learn in the technological multimedia world of today, you may have created a timeless work for all to endlessly enjoy!

This is all to introduce the spectacular movie, “Hidden Figures,” The untold story of the brilliance of three women who just happen to be women of color, who were the real movers and shakers of our space program who NEVER got the credit! The human drama; the discrimination of the 60s and the integrity and class of these women is unmatched. The acting and story were so moving! John Glenn and many others owe their careers to them.

This narrative is not meant to give away the story as a whole, the plot or the most emotional moments of the film, of which there are many. Rather, it is meant to say that these women played very non-traditional roles in compassion to those white women who rose through the ranks through the usual channels in a man’s world featured in my previous blog, Success and Trauma-Three Women in Space.

Katherine Johnson, (1918-__) a brilliant mathematician, who ultimately with her analytical mind, enabled NASA to excel in many ways, including providing trajectory analysis for space missions  (including at  John Glenn’s request in 1962);

Mary Jackson, (1921-2005) began as a school teacher and later convinced a judge in a groundbreaking ruling to allow her to obtain pre-requisite courses in an all white school in Virginia;

Dorothy Vaughn, (1910-2008)  a math teacher who dutifully supervised “colored colleagues” in the colored computer unit for years without the title and pioneered the use of Fortran, an initial computer language as an expert programmer.

The definition of oppression – Prolonged cruel or unjust treatment or control. Prolonged oppression can lead to frustration, depression, anger and violence. There were many examples in “Hidden Figures.” The lack of recognition for women, particularly those of color, demeaning comments, lack of sufficient bathroom facilities, lack of inclusion, lack of respect,  lack of humanity, and very low wages, just to name a few.

Can we now say that we have come so far from that era? In some ways yes, however, take it from one who has experienced much discrimination, there is still much discrimination in our country, both subtle and blatant.  Perhaps we have just chosen to focus on other types of discrimination in 2017. The prime example, Katherine was called a “computer” throughout, as in Noun – person, place, THING. How more demeaning can you get? If not for amazing resiliency, patience and standing up and acting like an “uppity colored” in a few instances, Katherine, Mary and Dorothy NEVER would have made it.

Below I share two scenes, simply to contrast the typical versus a pivotal ground breaking moment in this film.

Trailer # 1-

Bathroom Scene

Do go to your nearest movie theater to see it!  “Hidden Figures” will horrify, amaze and delight!

Post Script – If you are curious – What’s Next for NASA?  Read this –


References –



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The Evolution of the Classic Movie “the Blob” to Today’s True Crime


I had barely gotten my start on life, merely 4 years old when the classic horror, science fiction movie “The Blob” took hold like wildfire with audiences in 1958. In that era, people were concerned with aliens coming to earth, the possibility of nuclear war and “the Ruskies.” The anti-communist debate swept through Hollywood with screenwriter, producers and actors in the late 1940 and early 1950’s for alleged “Un-American Activities, rumors of communist ties generating a blacklist and prison that lasted though 1960. 

With all of these threats and innuendo, the public needed a “fake blob” to distract them from reality. What was this all about?

It all started in a Pennsylvania based studio in Valley Forge known for 250 religious films.  A group of devout Christians, “wanting to spread the Word” came up with this idea on a shoestring budget.  What?? The exact origin of the Blob is best left to speculation. The creators were ministers. They were long on visual effects and short on money. But the $110,000 budget, combined with red vegetable dye and silicone came to be one of the most successful “monsters” ever!   The blob’s purpose was to consume everything in its path.

Steve McQueen, an unknown actor at the time, took a comparative  paltry sum up front, playing the part of teenager Steve Andrews  and was never able to cash in later, due to his decision as a starving actor. Ahhh… the errors we make in life out of desperation!  In fact, before I even began the spark of an idea for this blog, lo and behold, there was already a cold war connection made from a comic book writer-

There’s also a subtle, weird, political message in the original Blob. Joe McCarthy had just been disgraced, and the Cold War was very much a fact of life … That’s what the Blob is – a creeping red menace – the Cold War.”

The Plot-Just the bare facts, as you really should rent this one!

A teenage boy and his girlfriend are on Lover’s Lane in a small town when they observed a meteor crash to earth over the hill. They investigate, and unfortunately an old man ‘pokes it with a stick” unleashing its ravenous appetite for the man and others in its path, including the local doctor, nurse, movie projectionist etc. In the meantime, no one pays attention to poor Steve Andrews who is treated like the “Boy Who Cried Wolf”. What can stop the blob from it’s all consuming horror? A few things seemingly slow it down…. But, you’ll have to watch it and see for yourself!    Just a taste of the original Blob-

The Blob as Compared to True Crime:

This film could very well be a metaphor for crime in 2016.  What can stop the all consuming terror of mass homicide shootings, intimate partner violence, human trafficking, and death from opiate addiction that plague us? I don’t know.

In recent times the initial deadliest mass shooting occurred in July 1984 a  in San Diego suburb in which a gunman killed 21 people on a crowded McDonald’s Restaurant near the Mexican border-and it has continued as “nearly commonplace” to the present day, whether it is a lone disgruntled worker or a foreign terrorist, the “blob of crime” consumes all. 

We go to the movie theater now and are forced to think about our surroundings instead of buying popcorn! We are in Active Shooter stance. Refer to this former blog-

Maybe the Blob that ate everyone wasn’t so bad after all in comparison.

You be the judge!


Without A Trace – The Original Movie


They Find Horses, Don’t They? What about Children?

National resources for missing children began in the mid 1980’s. The formation of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children was conceived and created following some high profile child abductions.

Approximately 33 years ago, 6 year old Etan Patz was abducted from New York City from a Manhattan street on his way to the school bus. Thirty years later in 2012, his abductor, a former stock clerk living in his neighborhood was finally identified and arrested for the kidnapping–murder. These missing children preceded the founding of the Community United Effort (CUE) Center for Missing Persons ~ 21 years ago.

In 1981, the abduction and murder of 6 year-old Adam Walsh from a shopping mall in Hollywood, Florida was the next in a series of abductions to really bring this issue to the forefront of the American public with his parents starting a wave of national publicity and advocacy for the rights of children.

Can you imagine that prior to these horrific incidents, police had the ability to record and track information about stolen cars, stolen guns, and even stolen horses with the FBI’s technology at the time… but nothing for child abductions!

In 1984, the U.S. Congress passed the Missing Children’s Assistance Act, establishing a National Resource Center and Clearinghouse on Missing & Exploited Children. On June 13, 1984, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children was formed by President Ronald Reagan in order to maintain those resources. A national 24-hour toll-free hotline was also initiated at that time -1-800-THE-LOST.

The reason I raise this issue, is my great fondness for a former movie, filmed in Canada in 1983 which likely was written to closely illustrate the abduction of Ethan. This film, (unrelated to the former TV show) was called “Without a Trace.” It starred Judd Hirsch as the caring and persevering detective and Kate Nelligan as Alex Selky’s mother, separated from her husband.

I have not seen this movie in years, but it always stuck with me for the quality of the acting, and the pull on my heartstrings.  When I compare it with the advanced resources and technology of today, well, there simply is no comparison.

Using the telephone as a resource and “waiting sufficient time to act” in those days just increased the anguish of all parents. This story took place in New York City and the abductor was finally located in Bridgeport, CT.  It has a heart tugging and amazing ending with regard to rescue efforts, resolution and the incredible reason for the abduction in the first place!  Beyond that, I will not reveal details, in this blog.

However, it is a mystery, why this movie is such a “hot property.” On, you can find very few DVD copies for about $75.00 each!  (What?) (All 5 starreviews , irrespective of unavailability.)  I did just locate one for $19.95 from Movie Night

Do grab hold of this movie if you get the opportunity! It is well worth a spot in your most prized collection.

MV5BMTIwMTU5OTM5MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTA3MDgyMQ@@._V1_SY317_CR5,0,214,317_AL_Product Details

  • Actors: Kate Nelligan, Judd Hirsch, David Dukes, Stockard Channing, Jacqueline Brookes
  • Directors: Stanley R. Jaffe
  • Writers: Beth Gutcheon
  • Producers: Stanley R. Jaffe, Alice Shure
  • Format: Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
  • DVD Release Date: March 22, 2005
  • Run Time: 120 minutes

Additional References;

“Near Murder” by the Reverend Mother



A “scathingly brilliant idea” was the operative term for a wonderful movie said to be for adolescents… but really meant for adults as well, known as “The Trouble with Angels.”(AlthoughLadyjustice isn’t of the Catholic faith, she has a soft spot for movies set in the convent, as she formerly consulted as a speech pathologist in a school convent setting for a few years, “in a former life.”)

Take a few veteran actresses, including Roslyn Russell, the flawless comedic timing of a young Hayley Mills and June Harding; mix in your local castle turned convent, add your standard yellow school bus, many mischievous pranks and you have an entertaining comedy-drama that is timeless!  However, under the surface, there are adult themes and lessons to be learned.

This 1966 re-mastered Columbia pictures movie with its lively musical score pulls at your heartstrings, makes you care about the characters … and respect the Catholic church in one big breath…  It’s really a coming of age tale…

How many girls, afraid of gym class, thought of ailment after ailment to avoid the pain?  It’s in this movie…  How many adolescents push the limits or experienced the world through misguided parents, only to be sent to private schools to “set them straight?” It’s in this movie.  The topic of death is also dealt with in a respectful and poignant manner in The Trouble with Angels.”  A variety of pranks that would be considered “good clean fun” by today’s standards result in no shooting, stabbings or name calling.  Instead, punishment includes, washing pot, janitorial service and doing penance with the Stations of the Cross.  (Whatever that means exactly, Ladyjustice doesn’t know…)

It is in the relationship between the characters of Mills, Harding and Russell as the Reverend Mother that Haley (Mary Clancy) – the wayward rebellious ringleader begins to see that her life choices are broadened by the experience of St. Francis Academy.  Mary sees an opportunity to use her “scathingly brilliant ideas” to serve others… including God. The film shows her peeking around corners and hiding in the shadows in awe of the sisters’ devotion and discipline.

Running gags and quirky personalities keep the story line moving such as:

The temperamental boiler becomes a character in itself at the Academy and spurs them into action to try to win a band competition to fix the broken down antiquated equipment; “Playing the silent piano;” The loveable and unique character of “Sister Legory” – Mother ‘s Assistant and Math Teacher Extraordinaire who uses horse racing “The Last Race at Pimlico”  (Baltimore’s premier destination and home of the Preakness stakes) as her motivation along with doling out saintly metals for good grades;   “Marvel Ann-“ Mary Clancy’s ne’er do well, gullible cousins. “Charlotte-“another student who faints on other students at the drop of a hat…. Pranks including unauthorized tours, havoc in the sister’s private dining room, near fires, “immortalizing” gullible students with plaster casts…bring  the characters portrayed by Roslyn Russell, Mary Wicks and Marge Redmound to the brink of contemplating  expulsion or homicide… if it wasn’t for  Mary and Rachel’s questionable family ties… and a great deal of tolerance.

An “all nighter” is pulled by June/Rachael and Reverend Mother in an attempt to enter a dress design contest.  This particular scene is touching and may have been the deciding factor in Haley/Mary’s coming of age…..    Perceived betrayal at the end of the movie among the two inseparables leaves a lump in your throat (if you have ever experienced rejection!)  Who hasn’t?    Ladyjustice won’t spoil the surprise ending….

So, try it, you’ll like it.  It’s a scathingly brilliant form of escapism and a nice change of pace from cops and robbers.  By the way, there is a sequel minus Hayley Mills and June Harding.

Some key scenes:  WATCH HERE

Scathingly Brilliant Ladyjustice”