John William Tuohy lives in Washington DC

Life is short, so don't worry, be happy

John William Tuohy is a writer who lives in Washington DC. He holds an MFA in writing from Lindenwood University.
He is the author of No Time to Say Goodbye: Memoirs of a Life in Foster Care and Short Stories from a Small Town. He is also the author of numerous non-fiction on the history of organized crime including the ground break biography of bootlegger Roger Tuohy "When Capone's Mob Murdered Touhy" and "Guns and Glamour: A History of Organized Crime in Chicago."
His non-fiction crime short stories have appeared in The New Criminologist, American Mafia and other publications. John won the City of Chicago's Celtic Playfest for his work The Hannigan's of Beverly, and his short story fiction work, Karma Finds Franny Glass, appeared in AdmitTwo Magazine in October of 2008.
His play, Cyberdate.Com, was chosen for a public performance at the Actors Chapel in Manhattan in February of 2007 as part of the groups Reading Series for New York project. In June of 2008, the play won the Virginia Theater of The First Amendment Award for best new play.
Contact John:


Petulant  \PET-chuh-lunt\ 1 : insolent or rude in speech or behavior 2 : characterized by temporary or capricious ill humor : peevish. Petulant is one of many English words that are related to the Latin verb petere, which means "to go to," "to attack," "to seek," or "to request." Petere is a relative of the Latin adjective petulans ("impudent"), from which petulant was derived. Some other words with connections to petere are compete and appetite. Competere, the Late Latin precursor to compete, is a combination of the prefix com- and the verb petere. The joining of ad- and petere led to appetere ("to strive after"), and eventually to Latin appetitus, the source of our appetite. Additional descendants of petere are petition, perpetual, and impetus.

                    I'm a big big Fan of Bukowski

We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.  Charles Bukowski

                 Sculpture this and Sculpture that

Alexander Calder
Celebrated as the inventor of the mobile, Calder created works that combine European modernist abstraction with American ingenuity and a playful sensibility. Calder was particularly interested in exploring the interaction of form and movement. His elegantly devised mobiles hang in delicate balance, continually shifting shape and scale as their interlocking parts rotate. Equally memorable is how his creations bring to mind natural forms, ranging from plant life to the constellations.
"29 Discs" (1958) on view in#HirshhornMasterworks


Exner Judith Campbell: Mob mistress. Born Judith Katherine Inmoor January 11, 1934. Died September 25, 1999. Campbell was born to an upper middle class family in New York and settled in California while in her childhood.  In 1952, she married actor
Bill Campbell but divorced him in 1959. (The couple had been separated since 11955)
Campbell claimed to have been working as an actress when Frank Sinatra introduced her to US Senator and Presidential hopeful John F. Kennedy on February 7, 1960 in Palm Springs California. She denied allegations and rumors from local law enforcement that prior to the Kennedy meeting she was working as a professional escort. 
According to her statements before the 1975 U.S. Senate intelligence committee, Campbell said she had an 18-month affair with Kennedy before and after he entered the White House, and that she later had an affair with Sam Giancana while Giancana was boss of the Chicago Outfit. She also claimed to have been involved with Johnny Roselli, Giancana’s man on the West Coast.  In 1959 Campbell met singer Frank Sinatra, and they engaged in a brief affair. A year later, on February 7, 1960, Sinatra introduced Campbell to Kennedy and shortly before that, to Sam Giancana.
She swore under oath that there was no connection between Kennedy and Giancana, that her relationship with Kennedy was personal and not business and that she had no knowledge of any relationship between Giancana and Kennedy.  Later, in her December 1975 press conference and again in her autobiography, she made the same denials and repeatedly accused the media of "wild-eyed speculation" for suggesting that she was an intermediary between Kennedy and Giancana.
In 1997, 20 years after the publication of My Story, Campbell changed her story. She unveiled new sensational allegations including a story that she was a conduit between the President of the United States and the Chicago Mob. She claimed that for 18 months, in 1960 and 1961, that she was the president's link with the Chicago Outfit and that she zipped across the country carrying envelopes between the president and Giancana, (concerning the Mafia-White-CIA plot to assassinate Cuban leader Fidel Castro.) and arranged about 10 meetings between the two, one of which, she thought, took place inside the White House.
Campbell, a long troubled woman with deep emotional instability, (Depression and paranoia) changed her story several times in a decade. It appears that virtually all of what Campbell wrote was concocted in order to sell a book and by the time she completed her autobiography in 1977, Kennedy, Giancana, and Roselli were safely dead.
In 1988 People magazine interview Campbell said   "I lied when I said I was not a conduit between President Kennedy and the Mafia. I lied when I said that President Kennedy was unaware of my friendships with mobsters. He knew everything about my dealings with Sam Giancana and Johnny Roselli because I was seeing them for him. I wouldn't have been seeing them otherwise."
When pressed to explain why she had lied before the United States Senate she replied that she feared for her life if she told the truth "If I'd told the truth, I'd have been killed. I kept my secret out of fear." In fairness, it’s not a completely groundless defense.
Giancana was killed just before he was set to testify before the Senate committee and Roselli was kidnapped and killed right after he testified. However, it makes almost no sense for Kennedy to have chosen Campbell as his conduit to Giancana especially considering the vast numbers of more capable persons he could have chosen for the job including several mob-controlled US Congressmen. What makes her claims so outrageous is that the wily Kennedy chose Campbell to act as her Mafia contact after having known her for less than two weeks. Conversely, she had known the paranoid Sam Giancana for less than a month before he supposedly agreed to accept White House messages from her. The strangest thing about Campbell’s take is that Murray Humpreys, the Chicago Mob political contact and corruption expert, appears no where on the landscape.   
Campbell said that her first assignment as courier was suggested by Kennedy at the dinner in his Georgetown townhouse on April 6, 1960. During the conversation Kennedy turned to her and said, "Could you quietly arrange a meeting with Sam [Giancana] for me?"  Campbell said that the she called Giancana the next morning and arranged a meeting “I arrived at 8:30 a.m. on April 8th and talked to Sam at a Chicago club," said Exner. "I told Sam that Jack wanted to meet with him because he needed his help in the campaign." Giancana agreed, and the meeting was set four days later at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach. "I called Jack to tell him, and then I flew to Miami because Kennedy wanted me to be there."
On April 12 Kennedy met with Giancana at the Fontainebleau. "I was not present," Exner said, "but Jack came to my suite afterward, and I asked him how the meeting had gone. He seemed very happy about it and thanked me for making the arrangements."
Kennedy, a notorious skinflint, then paid Campbell $2,000 in cash. Writer Kitty Kelley, who assisted Campbell in writing her stories about Kenney and Giancana, speculated that the April 12 meeting concerned the West Virginia primary.
After Kennedy entered the White House, Campbell said, Kennedy continued to use her as a courier. A few days after the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in April 1961, Kennedy called her in California and asked her to fly to Las Vegas, pick up an envelope from Roselli and deliver it to Giancana in Chicago. Then she was to arrange a meeting between the President and the Mafia boss, one that took place in her suite at the Ambassador East on April 28, 1961.
Describing her role in arranging contacts between Kennedy and Giancana, she said "As a rule I would just call Sam. I learned to almost speak in a kind of code. I would usually say, `Have him call the girl from the West.' And if something was happening in Florida, it was, `Can you meet him in the South?' Sam always knew that `him' was Jack. I really became very adept. I think that I was having a little bit of fun with this also."
Campbell claimed that FBI Director Hoover had agents tailing her so he could blackmail Kennedy with the evidence. However, according to Joe Pignatello, a Las Vegas restaurateur, mob insider and close personnel friend of Sam Giancana, the agents were assigned to follow Campbell only because of her involvement with Giancana and Sinatra and that agents had confirmed to Giancana Robert Kennedy had asked the Director to place a lock step on Campbell as part of his scheme to blackball Sinatra.
Pignatelo claimed that Campbell had worked as a paid escort on the Los Angeles-Las Vegas circuit and was hired by Sinatra to entertain Kennedy during their first meeting in Palm Springs on February 7, 1960 while Kennedy was a presidential candidate. 
It was Pignatelo’s contention that Giancana had paid hush money to Campbell to protect Sinatra’s career and not Kennedy’s. “Sam” said Pignatelo “Wouldn’t have pissed in the sink to help Kennedy. Why would help Kennedy with anything?”  According to Pignatelo, after the Kennedy’s had cut themselves lose from Sinatra they attempted to distance themselves from him. According to Pignatello, the hush money used to bribe Campbell was taped to the inside casing of an old and no longer used oven in his restaurant in Vegas.
 Campbell died of breast cancer (some reports called it lung cancer) in 1999 at age 65. 

In conversation the game is to say something new with old words. And you shall observe a man of the people picking his way along step by step using every time an old boulder yet never setting his foot on an old place.
300 quotes from Emerson
To view more Emerson quotes or read a life background on Emerson please visit the books blog spot. We update the blog bi-monthly  emersonsaidit.blogspot.com

What Love is…..
Love is but the discovery of ourselves in others, and the delight in the recognition. Alexander

No legacy is so rich as honesty.
Visit our Shakespeare Blog at the address below


The Orange

by Wendy Cope
At lunchtime I bought a huge orange—
The size of it made us all laugh.
I peeled it and shared it with Robert and Dave—
They got quarters and I got a half.
And that orange, it made me so happy,
As ordinary things often do
Just lately. The shopping. A walk in the park.
This is peace and contentment. It's new.
The rest of the day was quite easy.
I did all the jobs on my list
And enjoyed them and had some time over.
I love you. I'm glad I exist.

There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind. C.S. Lewis

You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage—pleasantly, smilingly, nonapologetically, to say “no” to other things. And the way you do that is by having a bigger “yes” burning inside. The enemy of the “best” is often the “good.” Stephen R. Covey

I have often regretted my speech, never my silence. – Xenocrates

An unexamined life is not worth living. Socrates

Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content. And Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate. Something interesting is happening. Tom Goodwin

Morning is God’s way of saying one more time, go make a difference, touch a heart, encourage a mind, inspire a soul and enjoy the day.

The Persian Empire
(Just thought you might want to know)

President Mīrzā Kūchik Khān and his men, of the short-lived Soviet Republic of Gilan, in Iran, ~1920

AND HERE'S SOME ANIMALS FOR YOU...................

A rare blue lobster. It is a genetic mutation that causes a lobster to produce too much protein, causing the lobster to turn blue. It is estimated that one in every two million lobsters are blue.

AND NOW, A BEATLES BREAK..............

Francis of Assisi

“All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.”

“Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love,
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved, as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”

 “Start by doing what is necessary, then what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”

 “He who works with his hands is a laborer.
He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.
He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.”

 “The deeds you do may be the only sermon some persons will hear today”

“For it is in giving that we receive.”

“Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take with you nothing that have received--only what you have given.”

 “I have been all things unholy. If God can work through me, He can work through anyone.”

 “While you are proclaiming peace with your lips, be careful to have it even more fully in your heart.”

 “If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.”

 “True progress quietly and persistently moves along without notice.”

 “We have been called to heal wounds, to unite what has fallen apart, and to bring home those who have lost their way.”

 “A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows.”

 “No one is to be called an enemy, all are your benefactors, and no one does you harm. You have no enemy except yourselves.”

 “Above all the grace and the gifts that Christ gives to his beloved is that of overcoming self.”

 “Sanctify yourself and you will sanctify society.”

 “Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. Where these is hatred, let me sow love.”

 “Nor did demons crucify Him; it is you who have crucified Him and crucify Him still, when you delight in your vices and sins. ”

 “We should seek not so much to pray but to become prayer.”

“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
when there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand,
to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying [to ourselves] that we are born to eternal life.”

 “Blessed is the servant who loves his brother as much when he is sick and useless as when he is well and an be of service to him. And blessed is he who loves his brother as well when he is afar off as when he is by his side, and who would say nothing behind his back he might not, in love, say before his face.”

 “What we are looking for is what is looking.”

 “O Divine Master, grant that I may not seek to be consoled, as to console. To be understood, as to understand. To be loved, as to love. For it is in giving that we receive. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned. It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”


The Visit, Abram Arkhipov


Pie Counter, Wayne Thiebaud


Jane Fonda sitting on a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun during her 1972 visit to the country

Diane Arbus, Woman Carrying a Child in Central Park, N.Y.C., 1956.

Louis Faurer Boardwalk, Atlantic City, NJ, 1937-38


Dmitry Dorokhov - Bolshoi Ballet

15 Teddy Roosevelt quotes on courage, leadership, and success

Drake Baer and Richard Feloni

Theodore Roosevelt is widely regarded by historians as one of the greatest American presidents.
Born to a wealthy Manhattan family in 1858, Roosevelt grew up both sickly and pampered, but decided that he would not only overcome his debilitating asthma and become a cowboy but serve the American people through politics rather than relax with his father's money. This resilience and drive would inspire his distant cousin and future president Franklin D. Roosevelt decades later.

Teddy Roosevelt served as a New York assemblyman, the New York City police commissioner, lieutenant colonel in the Spanish-American War, assistant secretary of the Navy, the governor of New York, and then President William McKinley's vice president. After McKinley was assassinated in 1901, he became the country's youngest president at age 43.

Roosevelt brought the US into the Progressive Era, breaking up corporate monopolies, forming the conservation movement, and greatly increasing American influence around the world. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906 for brokering the end of the Russo-Japanese War.

He was also a master orator and prolific writer. We've gone through speeches, interviews, and letters for a few of his most memorable insights.

On effort: "Nothing in this world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty."

On inaction: "To sit home, read one's favorite paper, and scoff at the misdeeds of the men who do things is easy, but it is markedly ineffective. It is what evil men count upon the good men's doing."

On courage: "A soft, easy life is not worth living, if it impairs the fibre of brain and heart and muscle. We must dare to be great; and we must realize that greatness is the fruit of toil and sacrifice and high courage... For us is the life of action, of strenuous performance of duty; let us live in the harness, striving mightily; let us rather run the risk of wearing out than rusting out."

On work: "I don't pity any man who does hard work worth doing. I admire him. I pity the creature who does not work, at whichever end of the social scale he may regard himself as being."

On daily life: "We must show, not merely in great crises, but in the everyday affairs of life, the qualities of practical intelligence, of courage, of hardihood, and endurance, and above all the power of devotion to a lofty ideal, which made great the men who founded this Republic in the days of Washington, which made great the men who preserved this Republic in the days of Abraham Lincoln."

On self-knowledge: "Unless a man is master of his soul, all other kinds of mastery amount to little."

On diversity: "I cannot consent to take the position that the door of hope — the door of opportunity — is to be shut upon any man, no matter how worthy, purely upon the grounds of race or color. Such an attitude would, according to my convictions, be fundamentally wrong."

On being American: "Much has been given us, and much will rightfully be expected from us. We have duties to others and duties to ourselves; and we can shirk neither. We have become a great nation, forced by the fact of its greatness into relations with the other nations of the earth, and we must behave as be seen as a people with such responsibilities."

On corporations: "Our aim is not to do away with corporations; on the contrary, these big aggregations are an inevitable development of modern industrialism. ... We are not hostile to them; we are merely determined that they shall be so handled as to subserve the public good. We draw the line against misconduct, not against wealth."

On striving: "You often hear people speaking as if life was like striving upward toward a mountain peak. That is not so. Life is as if you were traveling a ridge crest. You have the gulf of inefficiency on one side and the gulf of wickedness on the other, and it helps not to have avoided one gulf if you fall into the other."

On success: "It is a bad thing for a nation to raise and to admire a false standard of success; and there can be no falser standard than that set by the deification of material well-being in and for itself."

On conflict: "The unforgivable crime is soft hitting. Do not hit at all if it can be avoided; but never hit softly."

On virtue: "No nation deserves to exist if it permits itself to lose the stern and virile virtues; and this without regard to whether the loss is due to the growth of a heartless and all-absorbing commercialism, to prolonged indulgence in luxury and soft, effortless ease, or to the deification of a warped and twisted sentimentality."

On history: "It is of little use for us to pay lip-loyalty to the mighty men of the past unless we sincerely endeavor to apply to the problems of the present precisely the qualities which in other crises enabled the men of that day to meet those crises."

On critics: "It is not the critic who counts. ... The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly ... who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat."

The art and joy of cinematography

The Birds

Filmsite Movie Reviews
The Birds (1963)

  The Birds (1963) is a modern Hitchcock thriller/masterpiece, his first film with Universal Studios. It is the apocalyptic story of a northern California coastal town filled with an onslaught of seemingly unexplained, arbitrary and chaotic attacks of ordinary birds - not birds of prey. Ungrammatical advertising campaigns emphasized: "The Birds Is Coming." This Technicolor feature came after Psycho (1960) - another film loaded with 'bird' references.
Novelist Evan Hunter based his screenplay upon the 1952 collection of short stories of the same name by Daphne du Maurier - Hitchcock's third major film based on the author's works (after Jamaica Inn (1939) and Rebecca (1940)). In du Maurier's story, the birds were attacking in the English countryside, rather than in a small town north of San Francisco. It was shot on location in the port town of Bodega Bay (north of San Francisco) and in San Francisco itself.
The film's technical wizardry is extraordinary, especially in the film's closing scene (a complex, trick composite shot) - the special visual effects of Ub Iwerks were nominated for an Academy Award (the film's sole nomination), but the Oscar was lost to Cleopatra (1963). Hundreds of birds (gulls, ravens, and crows) were trained for use in some of the scenes, while mechanical birds and animations were employed for others.
The film's non-existent musical score is replaced by an electronic soundtrack (including simulated bird cries and wing-flaps), with Hitchcock's favorite composer Bernard Herrmann serving as a sound consultant. Hitchcock introduced a 'fascinating new personality' for the film - his successor to Grace Kelly - a cool, blonde professional model named 'Tippi' Hedren, in her film debut in a leading role. [Hedren reprised her character in a minor supporting role, in an inferior made-for-TV sequel, The Birds II: Land's End (1994), set in the New England fishing town of Land's End. The director was Rick Rosenthal, although the standard generic pseudonym 'Alan Smithee' is found in the credits. Leads Rod Taylor and Tippi Hedren are replaced by Brad Johnson and Chelsea Field.]
Initially, critics were baffled when they attempted to interpret the film on a literal level and measure it against other typical disaster/horror films of its kind. The typical Hitchcock MacGuffin was the question: Why do the strange attacks occur? The main inspiration for the film's bird attacks came from mysterious, real-life avian deaths occurring in the summer of 1961. Thousands of disoriented seagulls suicidally flew into houses along the Monterey Bay coast line, further south of San Francisco. Scientists at LSU finally discovered that the deaths happened because the birds had been poisoned by a nerve-damaging toxin called domoic acid found in the birds' natural diet of anchovies and squid (that had both eaten plankton with concentrated levels of domoic acid). Scientists discovered that toxin-making algae was present in 79% of the plankton that the creatures ate. The acid caused bird brain damage, or at the least, created confusion, dizzyness and seizures. The acid had possibly come from leaky domestic septic tanks in the area rather than from suspected farm fertilizers.
But the film cannot solely be interpreted in a scientific manner, because as the actors in the film discover in the long discussion scene in the Tides Restaurant, there is no solid, rational reason why the birds are attacking. They are not seeking revenge for nature's mistreatment, or foreshadowing doomsday, and they don't represent God's punishment for humankind's evil.
When this is understood, the symbolic film's complex fabric makes more sense, especially if interpreted in Freudian terms. It is about three needy women (literally 'birds') - and a fourth from a younger generation - each flocking around and vying for varying degrees of affection and attention from the sole, emotionally-cold male lead, and the fragile tensions, anxieties and unpredictable relations between them. The attacks are mysteriously related to the mother and son relationship in the film - anger (and fears of abandonment or being left lonely) of the jealous, initially hostile mother come to the surface surface when her bachelor son brings home an attractive young woman. Curiously, the first attack has symbolic phallic undertones - it occurs when the man and woman approach toward each other outside the restaurant in the coastal town.
On an allegorical level, the birds in the film are the physical embodiment and exteriorization of unleashed, disturbing, shattering forces that threaten all of humanity (those threatened in the film include schoolchildren, a defenseless farmer, bystanders, a schoolteacher, etc.) when relationships have become insubstantial, unsupportive, or hurtful. In a broader, more universal sense, the stability of the home and natural world environment, symbolized by broken teacups at the domestic level, is in jeopardy and becoming disordered when people cannot 'see' the dangers gathering nearby, and cannot adequately protect themselves from violence behind transparent windows, telephone booths, eyeglasses, or facades. Numerous allusions to blindness are sprinkled throughout the film (the farmer's eyes are pecked out, the children play blindman's bluff at the birthday party, the broken glasses of the fleeing schoolchild, etc.), giving the hint that the camera's voyeuristic lens (and its screen-viewing audience) is also being subjected to assault.
The Story
The film commences on a white background, as dark black, silhouetted bird-shapes rush through and destroy the robin's egg-blue credits as they appear, accompanied by upsetting noises of screeching flapping sounds and bird cries. The action of the film occurs over a five-day period, from a Friday through a Tuesday morning.
[Friday] The story officially begins in downtown San Francisco with a view of a cable car, as an attractive, elegantly-dressed (obviously rich) and coiffed, high-heeled blonde woman with a black suit crosses the street at Union Square. She passes a newstand with a poster of the city's landmark, the Golden Gate Bridge. After hearing a sexist 'wolf-whistle' [or more appropriately, a bird-whistle!] directed her way, she vainly turns in its direction and appears self-consciously pleased rather than insulted. However, one look upward and she becomes uneasy as she sees ominous, menacing swarms of seagulls beginning to darken the sky. On her way into the Davidson's Pet Shop, she passes an exiting customer [Alfred Hitchcock himself in his customary cameo] being guided and pulled along by a pair of terriers [Hitchcock's own dogs Geoffrey and Stanley] on leashes. Inside the shop, caged birds in ornamental cages are screeching and cheeping.
On the upstairs second floor where the squawking increases in volume, Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) asks the fussy shopkeeper Mrs. MacGruder (Ruth McDevitt) about the phenomenon she witnessed outside:
Melanie: Have you ever seen so many gulls? What do you suppose it is?
Mrs. MacGruder: Well, there must be a storm at sea. That can drive them inland, you know.
Although the spoiled, rich-girl heiress/heroine Melanie is promptly there at 3 pm, her full-grown talking-capable mynah bird, on order [for her Aunt Tessa], hasn't arrived yet: "They are so difficult to get, really they are. We have to get them from India when they're just baby chicks...You'll have to teach him to talk." She instructs the clerk to deliver the bird when it arrives. As she writes down her address, a handsome, virile, bachelor attorney named Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor) [Mitch's name recalls the director's own name, Hitch] bounds up the shop's stairs and mistakes Melanie for a salesclerk: "I wonder if you could help me?" She plays along accommodatingly as an employee. He flirts back and inquires about lovebirds [and the human varieties of 'birds'], specifying his need for birds that are neither too "demonstrative" or "aloof" - "just friendly":
Melanie: Lovebirds, sir?
Mitch: Yes, I understand there are different varieties. Is that true?
Melanie: Oh yes there are.
Mitch: Well, these are for my sister, for her birthday see, and uh, as she's only going to be eleven, I, I wouldn't want a pair of birds that were too demonstrative.
Melanie: I understand completely.
Mitch: At the same time, I wouldn't want them to be too aloof either.
Melanie: No, of course not.
Mitch: Do you happen to have a pair of birds that are just friendly?
The playgirl walks around the store searching for a cage containing lovebirds, but he demonstrates that he is more of an expert: "Those are canaries." And then he brashly lectures her, [using tactics from his legal profession] on imprisoning birds in their cages. She counters, explaining how chaos (sexual) would be unleashed upon the orderly world if they were released - besides, birds have always been caged, eaten, shot, and abused throughout human history:
Mitch: Doesn't this make you feel awful...having all these poor little innocent creatures caged up like this?
Melanie: Well, we can't just let them fly around the shop, you know.
Mitch: No, I suppose not. Is there an ornithological reason for keeping them in separate cages?
Melanie: Well certainly, it's to protect the species.
Mitch: Yes, I suppose that's important, especially during the moulting season.
Melanie: That's a particularly dangerous time.
Mitch: Are they moulting now?
Melanie: Some of them are.
Mitch: How can you tell?
Melanie: Well, they get a sort of hang-dog expression.
When he asks to "see" a canary and outstretches his hand, she obliges him, but accidentally releases the bird into the air - a foreshadowing of the unleashing of birds later in the film. Melanie's (and the salesclerk's) hands are helplessly extended to the ceiling as the bird flies around the store. When the bird lands in an ashtray, Mitch covers it with his hat and slips it back into its cage, remarking that she is a pampered bird that is imprisoned:
Back in your gilded cage, Melanie Daniels.
When she is personally affronted by the sarcastic, denigrating remark, he responds, "I was merely drawing a parallel," and explains to the perplexed lady how he knows her name - from a courtroom appearance after a destructive, expensive practical joke. His own "practical joke" was designed to give her a taste of her own medicine - and to put her "on the other end of a gag" [a foreshadowing of the film's plot]:
Mitch: We met in court...I'll rephrase it. I saw you in court...Don't you remember one of your practical jokes that resulted in the smashing of a plate-glass window?...The judge should have put you behind bars.
Melanie: What are you, a policeman?
Mitch: I merely believe in the law, Miss Daniels...I just thought you might like to know what it's like to be on the other end of a gag. What do ya think of that?
Melanie: I think you're a louse.
Mitch: I am.
Although she is exasperated by him, she is also curiously attracted and impulsively decides to run after him - glimpsing his Ford Galaxie license plate number: WJH 003 as he drives away. Imperiously using the pet shop phone, she calls Charlie - a journalist/acquaintance at the Daily News, who works at the City Desk (and for her father, an executive). With her sophisticated feminine wiles ("Why, Charlie darling, would I try to pressure you?"), she coaxes him into calling the Department of Motor Vehicles to identify the owner of the car. Forgetting her own mynah bird order, she orders a pair of lovebirds that Mitch wanted to buy - and leaves.
[Saturday] In the next scene, Melanie (viewed from the waist down and wearing an elegant, full-length beige mink coat) carries a gold birdcage with two green, yellow-headed lovebirds into an apartment elevator where the camera remains stationary on the feet of a man in the elevator (Richard Deacon). While the elevator ascends, the camera pans up the length of his body, and catches him looking down at the two caged creatures and then pans over to her tense, bird-like posture. [She is blonde-headed with a green dress - parallel to the colors of the lovebirds.] On the same floor, he follows her down the hallway - suspensefully - and watches her place the cage next to an apartment door, with an envelope addressed to: "Mr. Mitchell Brenner." The elevator occupant, Mitch's across-the-hall neighbor, informs Melanie that "he's not home...he won't be back until Monday, I mean if those birds are for him...I don't think you should leave them in the hall, do you?" Customarily, he spends his weekends in Bodega Bay - "up the coast about sixty miles north..." Her idea was to give Mitch a gift of something that would remind him of her (from their encounter in the shop and his labeling of her as a bird in a gilded cage) - and possibly to avenge his insulting treatment. But now that he's unpredictably absent, Melanie - on impulse - drives the winding Pacific Coast country road - with the lovebirds on the floor of her convertible sports car tilting in unison through turns - as she accelerates northward.
In the General Merchandise/Post Office store in Bodega Bay, she mimics Mitch's first words to her: "I wonder if you could help me" when asking the friendly, accommodating postal clerk (John McGovern) (in a caged-off, claustrophobically-cluttered section of the store) where Mitchell Brenner can be located. She is told that he lives "right across the bay there...in the white house...that's where the Brenners live." Melanie is relieved to learn that Mitch isn't married. He lives in the house with his mother Lydia, and his sister: "just Lydia and the two kids...Mitch and the little girl." Rather than taking the road "around the bay to the front door," Melanie wants to take the more direct route "to surprise them," so she decides to soon rent an outboard boat by the Tides Restaurant and "cut right across the bay to their dock." He asks, dubiously: "Have you ever handled an outboard boat?" She responds confidently: "Oh, of course."
When she asks for "the little girl's name" - "her exact name," she is told two conflicting names: Alice by the one merchandise-enclosed storekeeper, and Lois from another unseen proprietor/storekeeper behind more stacks of products. For her to be certain of the name, the postal clerk directs her to the home of the town's schoolteacher to verify it - describing locations that will become prominent in later portions of the film:
You go straight through town until you see a little hotel on your left. Then you turn right there...Near the top of the hill, you'll see the school and just beyond a little house with a red mailbox. That's where Annie Hayworth, the schoolteacher lives. You ask her about the little Brenner girl.
Melanie drives her silver sports car from the main village center to the Hayworth house marked by a red mailbox on the top of the hill beyond the elementary school. In the midst of weeding in the back, Annie Hayworth (Suzanne Pleshette), characterized by a reddish-maroon sweater and marked by dirt on her face, appears through a side gate. They introduce themselves. [The contrast between the artificially-coiffed, cool-green dressed, glove-wearing blonde and the earthy, dark-haired woman is striking.] After learning the little girl's name is actually Cathy, Annie shares her cigarettes and asks knowingly: "Are you a friend of Mitch's?" During their conversation - which tiptoes gingerly and anxiously around the subject of their shared interest - Mitch, Annie's former boyfriend, the schoolteacher speaks of her gardening to fill her spare time:
This tilling of the soil can become compulsive, you know...Well, it's something to do in your spare time. There's a lot of spare time in Bodega Bay.
As Melanie prepares to go on her way, Annie asks if she met Mitch in San Francisco, hears a positive answer, and then muses: "I guess that's where everyone meets Mitch...I'm an open book, I'm afraid, or rather a closed one." The chirping of the "pretty" lovebirds, significantly positioned between Mitch's former and future "lovebirds," rouse Annie's jealousy and/or suspicion even further (the emotional feelings of both women are caged-up and unrevealed):
Annie: (noticing the birds) Oh pretty! What are they?
Melanie: Lovebirds.
Annie: I see. (pregnant pause) Good luck, Miss Daniels.
She stands behind her red mailbox and watches pensively as Melanie drives away.
During a slow dissolve between scenes, a sharp-tipped fountain pen in Melanie's left hand on the left of the screen, while she writes "To Cathy" on an envelope, is pointed directly toward Annie's face on the fading right side of the screen. After she parks at the waterfront dock (license plate RUJ 655 - an obvious bird pun: "Are you Jay?"), covered with fish-catching cages/nets, she rents a skiff from a quizzical fisherman (Doodles Weaver) who holds her birdcage as the inappropriately-dressed young woman from the city descends into the motorboat. Large, billowing clouds fill the sky as the tiny boat crosses the open bay (back-projected scenery behind Melanie's figure looks unnatural and unreal). A flock of gulls rest on the water's surface in the distance, and faint bird sounds appear on the soundtrack. To avoid detection, she switches off the motor and paddles in, watching Mitch enter a large red barn on his land's property.
At the Brenner's landing-stage, the camera presents restless, point-of-view tracking shots as she sneaks up into the house to deposit the cage of lovebirds in the living room. She tears in half the envelope to Mitch and leaves the card for Cathy perched next to the gift. Stealthily, she returns to the boat at the dock, as the scene reverses itself and tracks backward. Melanie paddles out a bit, crouches down in the boat next to the metallic outboard motor to hide so that she cannot be detected, and voyeuristically watches Mitch enter the house and quickly run back out - perplexed by the appearance of the lovebirds. Melanie's practical joke is undetected so far! When he notices the boat, he races into (and then out of) the house. Squawking seagulls swoop down between them as he raises the gigantic field-glass binoculars to his eyes to see more clearly. He grins when he sees and recognizes her, jumps into his car, and races her speeding motorboat back to Bodega Bay on the open, vulnerable water.
As she travels along, smiling smugly and watching his car take the circuitous route around, he beats her to the dock and waits there, resting non-chalantly for her arrival and their reunion. [ATTACK # 1] Suddenly, as she tilts her head to the side (as she did in the elevator) in a bird-like pose, a gull "deliberately" and abruptly sweeps down from the cloudy sky and viciously pecks her in the forehead, upsetting her affected pose, and messing up her hairdo. The right index finger of her gloved hand is spotted with blood from the ripped-open gash. Reacting immediately, he climbs down to assist the stunned, shaken woman, as she shuts off the engine and drifts into the jetty. As they walk to the nearby Tides Restaurant, a trickle of blood runs down the side of her forehead.
When they enter the cafe/bar, the locals check out the couple. When Mitch seats her, she is positioned - not coincidentally - directly under a yellow sign that reads: PACKAGED GOODS SOLD HERE. The owner Deke Carter (Lonny Chapman) and his wife Helen (Elizabeth Wilson) provide cotton and antiseptic (peroxide) to cleanse the wound. Although the owner is fearful of being sued, the expert lawyer assures him: "I don't think Miss Daniels is going to sue anybody." Melanie upturns her head as he treats her in a booth [the camera angle uneasily tilts a shelf of bar bottles in the background], commending him for his occupation and tendency to imprison offenders in jail cages:
Melanie: So you're a lawyer.
Mitch: That's right. Of course I usually defend people, Miss Daniels, but if I were prosecuting...
Melanie: Do you practice here?
Mitch: (No) San Francisco....
Melanie: What kind of law?
Mitch: Criminal.
Melanie: (playfully and teasingly) Is that why you want to see everyone behind bars?
Mitch: Oh, not everyone, Miss Daniels.
Melanie: Only violators and practical jokers.
To avoid appearing too forward or interested, Melanie claims that she came up to Bodega Bay "anyway," to visit and stay with her friend Annie Hayworth - a bold lie that is extremely transparent to his astute reasoning. She is internally conflicted about her emotional feelings for him:
Mitch: Well, small world...How do you know Annie?
Melanie: We went to school together - college...
Mitch: So you came up to see Annie, huh?
Melanie: Yes.
Mitch: I think you came up to see me.
Melanie: Now why would I want to see you of all people?
Mitch: I don't know. You must have gone to a lot of trouble to find out who I was and where I lived.
Melanie: No, it was no trouble at all. I simply called my father's newspaper. Besides, I was coming up anyway. I've already told you that.
Mitch: You really like me, huh?
Melanie: I loathe you. You have no manners, you're arrogant, and conceited, and I wrote you a letter about it, in fact. I tore it up.
Behind Mitch, his widowed mother Lydia (Jessica Tandy) [an elderly version of Melanie with a similar French-twist hairdo, although greyed] enters the cafe door, positioning herself between her son and his new friend. She learns that Mitch had to "acknowledge a...delivery...Miss Daniels brought us some birds from San Francisco...for Cathy for her birthday." To both Melanie's and his mother's surprise, Mitch explains that Melanie (who hasn't been invited yet) is expected for dinner. Clearly disapproving, Mrs. Brenner is concerned that love-birds are the reason that her son has become associated with a new female acquaintance:
Lydia: You did say birds.
Mitch: Yes, lovebirds.
Lydia: Oh, I see. [Almost the same words Annie used in her reaction to the lovebirds.]
Later at Annie's front door, Melanie convinces Annie to rent her a room for just one evening, holding up a "utilitarian" brown paper bag with things she picked up for the night at the general store, and hinting that things are developing positively with Mitch:
Melanie: I hadn't planned on staying very long.
Annie: (wryly) Yes, I know. Did something unexpected come up?
Melanie: Yes.
As Annie gestures for Melanie [a 'migrating' bird?] to enter her domicile, more birds gather and fly across the sky, prompting an exasperated Annie to ironically note:
Don't they ever stop migrating?
Melanie drives to the Brenner's home for dinner, and vainly looks at her small mirror to wipe excess lipstick from the corners of her mouth. Bird sounds are again heard. At the side of the home as the family walks in from the barn, young Cathy (Veronica Cartwright) rushes up to "Miss Daniels" and gratefully hugs her for the new lovebirds in her life [thankful that she now has a loving, surrogate couple that she can care for]: "Oh, they're beautiful. They're just what I wanted. Is there a man and a woman? I can't tell which is which." Lydia listens attentively as Melanie answers: "Well, I suppose so." According to Mitch, "something seems to be wrong with...the chickens (they) won't eat" - Lydia disagrees with his worried assessment.
In the living room, Lydia remains in the foreground as she phones the chicken feed salesman and complains about the "no-good" quality of the feed that the chickens won't eat. Melanie remains in the background and is attended to by Mitch. During the domineering, loud phone conversation, the only words deciphered from Melanie toward Mitch are from her question: "Is that your father?" (She has been standing and staring at his framed painting on the wall.) [The question is extremely significant, since it is later learned that all of Mitch's relationships have been poisoned by his domineering mother Lydia, especially after the death of his father.] After Mitch serves drinks, Lydia is centered between him and Melanie. She comes to a realization of what has happened with the words, "Oh, I see," when told that her chickens may indeed be sick, since other chickens in town "won't eat either." She asks Mitch: "You don't think they're getting sick, do you Mitch?"
After dinner, Mitch and his mother attend to domestic duties like a husband-and-wife in the background, as Melanie plays a Debussy piano piece with Cathy nearby in the foreground, who derisively refers to the violent "hoods" in cells that her brother defends in the city:
Cathy: Mitch knows a lot of people in San Francisco. Of course, they're mostly hoods.
Lydia (rebuking): Cathy!
Cathy: Well, Mom, he's the first to admit it. He spends half his day in the detention cells at the Hall of Justice.
Lydia: In a democracy, Cathy, everyone is entitled to a fair trial. Your brother's practice...
Cathy: Oh, Mom! Please! I know all that democracy jazz. They're still hoods.
Cathy pleads with Melanie and is upset that she cannot attend her "surprise" birthday party the next day - feeling unloved and lacking a "female" or maternal figure in her life:
Cathy: Are you coming to my party tomorrow?
Melanie: I don't think so. I have to get back to San Francisco.
Cathy: Don't you like us?
Mitch is dependent upon his mother in Bodega Bay: "Mitch likes it very much. He comes up every weekend, you know, even though he has his own apartment in the city. He says San Francisco is like an anthill at the foot of a bridge." Their close relationship is revealed in the kitchen as they clean up, and Mitch lovingly calls his old-fashioned, protective mother "dear" and "darling," even though she cattily speaks about Melanie's notorious reputation. His mother recollects that the "charming...certainly pretty...very rich," jet-setting socialite's name often appears in the newspaper columns, including one scandalous report about her cavorting naked (as a jaybird?) into a fountain (birdbath?) in Rome the previous summer:
Lydia: Of course it's none of my business, but when you bring a girl like that...
Mitch: Darling.
Lydia: Yes.
Mitch: I think I can handle Melanie Daniels by myself.
Lydia: Well, as long as you know what you want, Mitch. (He kisses her)
Mitch: I know exactly what I want.
The film dissolves from a pensive look on Lydia's neurotic face concerned about the interference Melanie will provide, to a shot of the couple walking toward Melanie's car as she leaves. From a high, slightly overhead camera angle, Mitch physically dominates the frame, looking down on Melanie in her car and inquisitively and aggressively questioning her (as if she were a defendant in a courtroom's witness chair) about the Rome fountain incident - his mother's information intrudes upon their flirtatious, defensive, friction-filled conversation (and so do bird noises):
Mitch: Will I be seeing you again?
Melanie: (coyly) San Francisco's a long way from here.
Mitch: Oh, I'm in San Francisco five days a week with a lot of time on my hands. I'd like to see you. Maybe we could go swimming or something. Mother tells me you like to swim.
Melanie: How does mother know what I like to do?
Mitch: I guess we read the same gossip columns.
Melanie: Oh that! Rome.
Mitch: Yeah. I really like to swim. I think we might get along very well.
Melanie: In case you're interested, I was pushed into that fountain.
Mitch: Without any clothes on?
Melanie: With all my clothes on. The newspaper that ran that story happens to be a rival of my father's paper.
Mitch: You're just a poor, innocent victim of circumstances, aren't you?
Melanie: Well, I'm neither poor nor innocent, but the truth of that particular...
Mitch: The truth is, you're running around with a pretty wild crowd, isn't it?
Melanie: Oh yes, that's the truth, but I was pushed into that fountain and that's the truth too.
But Melanie does admit that she was "lying" about her association with Annie, and that she wrote him a "stupid and foolish" letter (that she subsequently tore up) that said: "I think you need these lovebirds after all. They may help your personality." Their squabbling and chatter - at continual cross-purposes, ends in rejection and sarcasm:
Melanie: I don't give a damn what you believe.
Mitch: I'd still like to see ya.
Melanie: Why?
Mitch: I think it might be fun.
Melanie: Well, it might have been good enough in Rome, but it's not good enough now.
Mitch: It is for me.
Melanie: Well not for me.
Mitch: What do you want?
Melanie: I thought you knew. I want to go through life jumping into fountains naked. Good night.
Refusing his stubborn, further interest in her, she roars off into the darkness. He turns and with a perplexed look, he notices that flocks of birds are amassed on the telephone pole wires along the country road.
When Melanie arrives at Annie's home to spend the night, she finds her host wearing a robe and pajamas, and reading the newspaper while reclining on her sofa. In Annie's living room are glimpses of her appreciation of culture: art reproductions hanging on the wall, an LP record of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, and shelved books next to her desk. Noticing that Melanie appears bothered by her encounter with Mitch, Annie offers a drink of brandy. Although Melanie "despises" the town, Annie relates the history of how she came to the isolated "little hamlet" of Bodega Bay - "...a collection of shacks on a hillside. It takes a bit of getting used to."
As Melanie had suspected, Annie followed "a friend" (Mitch) there from San Francisco when their affair ended "to be near him" - filling her time, as she mentioned earlier, with "compulsive...tilling of the soil." According to Annie, there are ambiguous reasons for their breakup - possibly because of Lydia's displeasure and interference with any other women who would love her son, or because of her fear as a widow "of being abandoned" after her husband's death - or maybe due to Mitch's basic unresponsiveness. From hints during their conversation (in which she alternatively sits and stands in a restless mood), Annie hasn't recovered from losing him:
Annie: Well, you needn't worry. It's been over and done with a long time ago.
Melanie: Annie, there's nothing between Mr. Brenner and me.
Annie: Isn't there? Well, maybe there isn't. Maybe there's never been anything between Mitch and any girl.
Melanie: And what do you mean?
Annie: ...I was seeing a lot of him in San Francisco. Then one weekend, he invited me up to meet Lydia.
Melanie: When was this?
Annie: Oh, four years ago shortly after his father died. Of course, things may be different now.
Melanie: Different?
Annie: With Lydia. Did she seem a trifle distant?
Melanie: A trifle.
Annie: Well then, perhaps things aren't quite so different. You know, her attitude nearly drove me crazy. When I got back to San Francisco, I spent days trying to find out exactly what I'd done to displease her.
Melanie: What had you done?
Annie: Nothing. I simply existed. So, what's the answer? Jealous woman, right? Clinging, possessive mother? Wrong! With all due respect to Oedipus, I don't think that was the case.
Melanie: Well then, what was it?
Annie: Lydia liked me. That's the strange part. Now that I'm no longer a threat, we're very good friends.
Melanie: Why did she object to you?
Annie: Because she was afraid..
Melanie: Afraid you'd take Mitch?
Annie: Afraid I'd give Mitch..
Melanie: I don't understand.
Annie: ..afraid of any woman who would give Mitch the one thing Lydia can't give him - love.
Melanie: That adds up to a jealous, possessive woman.
Annie: No, I don't think so. You see, she's not afraid of losing Mitch. She's only afraid of being abandoned.
Melanie: Someone ought to tell her she'd be gaining a daughter.
Annie: No, she already has a daughter.
Melanie: What about Mitch? Didn't he have anything to say about this?
Annie: Well, I can understand his position. He'd just been through a lot with Lydia after his father died. He didn't want to risk going through it all again...
Melanie: Oh, I see.
Annie: ...though it ended - and not right then, of course. We went back to San Francisco, saw each other now and then, but we both knew it was over.
Melanie: And what are you doing here in Bodega Bay?
Annie: I wanted to be near Mitch. Oh, it was over and done with and I knew it, but I still wanted to be near him. You see, I still like him a hell of a lot and I don't want to lose that friendship.
Furthermore, a phone call from Mitch to Melanie positions Annie in two poses: she pensively listens to their discussion in the foreground, and in a second side-view, she stares off into space while smoking a cigarette. After apologizing for his rude behavior, Mitch persuades Melanie to remain for Cathy's party. When Melanie accepts his invitation after the words "I see," Annie closes her eyes to accentuate her feelings of being lonely and abandoned:
Well I couldn't, I have to get back to San Francisco. (pause) No, I wouldn't want to disappoint Cathy, but... (pause) I see. Alright yes, I'll be there.
The two discuss her decision to remain - and possibly become more involved with Mitch in a relationship. Annie permits and encourages Melanie to attend:
Melanie: Oh, it seems so pointless!...Do you think I should go?
Annie: Well, that's up to you.
Melanie: No, it's really up to Lydia, isn't it?
Annie: Never mind Lydia. Do you want to go?
Melanie: Yes.
Annie: Then go.
Melanie: Thank you, Annie. (A thud sounds)
[ATTACK # 2] Significantly - and ominously, at that exact moment, a seagull is found dead on the porch next to the front door (the moon-lit road and setting in front of her house are illuminated):
Annie: Poor thing. Probably lost his way in the dark.
Melanie: But it isn't dark, Annie. There's a full moon. (Annie turns to look at Melanie and the film fades to black.)
[Sunday] The next day during Cathy's outdoor party, while the children are playing games on a lawn enclosed by a protective white fence, a formally-dressed Mitch and Melanie walk together up to the top of a sand dune and nearby hillside, surrounded by coastal mountains and water. He is carrying a martini pitcher and each of them carry a cocktail glass. As he pours her a drink, she demurs that she shouldn't drink: "Now I really shouldn't have any more. I'm driving." When he pressures her to stay through dinner, she declines: "I have to get back," due to her "several jobs...I do different things on different days." Shallow, lacking depth of emotion and "lost," she busily and compulsively fills gaps of time (like Annie) after her disastrous trip to Rome with superficial, distant work including volunteer work and classes: on Mondays and Wednesdays helping ("misdirecting") travelers at the airport's Traveler's Aid before they fly away, on Tuesdays studies in "general semantics" at UC Berkeley "finding new four letter words," and on Thursdays meetings for raising money for "sending a little Korean boy through school."
Melanie: You see, Rome, that entire summer, I did nothing but - well, it was very easy to get lost there. So when I came back, I thought it was time I began, oh I don't know, finding something again. So on Mondays and Thursdays, I keep myself busy...Fridays, they're free. I sometimes go to bird shops on Fridays.
Mitch: I'm very glad you do. A nice innocent little day.
Melanie describes her "very prim and strait-laced" Aunt Tessa, to whom she is giving a talking mynah bird when she returns from a trip to Europe - a bird that speaks shockingly and improperly. Abruptly, the conversation turns to the subject of the child-woman's abandoning, unloving mother who "ditched" Melanie when she was eleven - the age that Cathy is celebrating at her birthday party!:
Melanie: Mynah birds talk, you know. Can you see my Aunt Tessa's face when this one tells us one or two of the words I've picked up at Berkeley?
Mitch: You need a mother's care, my child.
Melanie: (She turns her back - her upturned dress collar hides her expression) Not my mother's.
Mitch: Oh, I'm sorry.
Melanie: What have you got to be sorry about? My mother? Don't waste your time. She ditched us when I was eleven and ran off with some hotel man in the East. You know what a mother's love is.
Mitch: Yes, I do.
Melanie: You mean it's better to be ditched?
Mitch: No, I think it's better to be loved. Don't you ever see her?
Melanie: (She turns away again, and begins weeping with distress in her voice) I don't know where she is. (She turns back, now composed.) Well, maybe I ought to go join the other children.
As they return to the party, the camera pans from them on the hillside across to where Annie guides one of the games - blindfolding Cathy in a children's game of blind-man's bluff [emphasizing the recurring theme of 'seeing' and the film's overall theme of the danger of shallow relationships]. Both Annie and Lydia (carrying a festive birthday cake) stop in their tracks and anxiously watch the couple. At that instant, one of the children cries out: "Look! Look!" as a seagull pecks at Cathy's forehead - an attack that has an eerie resemblance to the one upon Melanie. [ATTACK # 3] Other birds swoop down, causing the victimized children to scream and run for cover. At first, Melanie and Mitch are frozen with paralyzing disbelief, then toss down their glasses after realizing what is happening. In the frightening scene, colorful party balloons burst, as both Mitch (and then Melanie) pry pecking birds from the heads of two innocent girls, one helplessly prostrate on the ground and flailing her arms. They assist everyone to run for cover behind double doors in the house. As Mitch and Melanie look up into the sky, she enumerates the three instances of gull attacks:
Annie: That makes three times.
Melanie: Mitch, this isn't usual, is it? The gull when I was in the boat yesterday. The one at Annie's last night, and now...
Mitch: Last night? What do you mean?
Melanie: A gull smashed into Annie's front door. Mitch - what's happening?
She is easily convinced to stay for something to eat at the Brenner home, to make Mitch "feel a lot better."
The scene dissolves from the faces of two fearful children (framed between Mitch and Melanie) gazing toward the heavens, to a similar pose of Lydia, later that evening, gazing out of a darkened window and pulling the drapes to protectively shield her family. To silence the chatter of the lovebirds in their cage, she covers them with a cloth, exclaiming: "What's the matter with all the birds?" They eat their dinner in the intimate setting of the living room, with their plates on their laps, although Lydia sits at the distant, opposite end of the same sofa from Melanie - their figures are separated by the back of Mitch's upper torso and head in the foreground.
After a high-angle, profiled shot of Melanie's forehead (centering on where she was wounded), she notices one out-of-place sparrow jumping around in front of the fireplace. [ATTACK # 4] Before she can calmly warn Mitch, a stream of hundreds of sparrows and other birds infiltrate the room and fly out of the chimney. Mitch screams out to everyone: "Cover your faces! Cover your eyes!" as he opens the drapes and windows to direct the swirling birds outside. While Melanie protectively shields Cathy on the sofa, Lydia covers her eyes and claws at the birds amassing on her head. Aggressively taking charge, Mitch overturns the coffee table, blocks the fireplace entrance, and beats at the birds in flight. Melanie guides Cathy and Lydia out of the room in one direction, and Mitch leaves from another door - a reversal of defensive tactics from the previous attack. The birds completely engulf the evacuated room - a foreshadowing of their conquest of the entire town.
After the attack, the town's ineffectual sheriff Al Malone (Malcolm Atterbury) visits the disastrous scene of the incident, dumbfoundedly mentioning the obvious: "That's a sparrow, alright," and blaming light in the house for attracting the birds. Stooping down, Lydia gathers shattered pieces of a broken tea cup and other porcelain items from the floor that were smashed when Mitch blocked the fireplace with the table - seemingly dismayed by the destructive forces that have upset her tranquil, domestic life. The skeptical sheriff refuses to call any of the reported bird incidents 'attacks': "Attack's a pretty strong word, don't you think? I mean, birds just don't go around attacking people without no reason, you know what I mean?" When Lydia adjusts the crooked wall painting of her late husband, a dead feathered bird falls from the top of the picture and causes her fright. Melanie volunteers to take Cathy up to bed - and to stay for the night (with Mitch's approval), provoking another reaction from Lydia. As the sheriff leaves, he comments upon the entire scenario: "It sure is peculiar."
[Monday] After a dissolve to black, the next scene views a distant Mitch through the yard's trellis and white fence as he rakes and tends a fire by the side of the bay - possibly burning the dead birds that had invaded during the party. As Lydia calls to him, Melanie (in an old-fashioned, granny nightgown) applies lipstick and listens to her drive off (with Cathy) in their Ford pickup truck toward neighbor Dan Fawcett's farm, to discuss their problems with chickens. After dropping Cathy off at school, she drives up to the farm where hired farm hand George (Bill Quinn) welcomes her in the yard and encourages her to find Dan Fawcett inside. After Lydia enters alone into the unlocked kitchen door when there is no answer, she calls out: "Dan, are you home?" Again, a row of neatly-broken teacups dangling from hooks under the kitchen cabinet catch her shocked attention.
[ATTACK # 5] As she walks down the empty, deathly silent, narrow and tunneling corridor to a bedroom, she discovers a dead seagull impaled in a broken window and an upturned, bric-a-brac plastic bird sculpture. From another angle, there are more signs of chaotic damage in the room - bird feathers, two more dead birds, and a disordered bed. On the floor are two bloodied, bare feet sticking out from a pair of shredded pajama pants. In three jump shots that zoom forward to his face, Lydia witnesses Dan Fawcett's lifeless body propped in the corner of the room. Both of his bloody, darkened eye sockets are empty - plucked out during the bird attack. [Her reaction to the mutilation of his eyes - coupled with the film's theme of seeing - is beautifully realized.] She turns and flees down the hallway with her hands in the air and her mouth gaping open - wide-eyed and gasping for air, she is unable to verbalize the unspeakable horror to the bewildered farm hand. [She resembles the distorted, terrorized figure in the famous, haunting Edvard Munch painting The Scream.] Her truck backfires - 'screaming' in its own way - and its path churns up dust as she roars back at top speed to the Brenner home.
In a point-of-view shot from inside the truck, she is destructively aimed at Mitch and Melanie, who are standing together in the driveway. Veering away from them at the last moment, the distraught and despairing woman clambers out of the truck, violently pushes both of them to either side, and runs into the house. Melanie prepares tea (!) in the kitchen for Lydia, while Mitch asks her permission to join the sheriff at the Fawcett place. He kisses her lightly on the back of the neck and they both caution each other to be careful:
Melanie: Oh, be careful, please. (They embrace.)
Mitch: And you be careful. (She nods, and they tenderly kiss as he leaves.)
After their first intimate kiss, Melanie smiles contentedly to herself about the promising development of their relationship. Melanie carries a tea tray into Lydia's yellow-painted bedroom (pictures of her children are lined up on the mantle), where the suspicious, nervous woman asks for Mitch. With a tea-cup in her hand, she worries about Cathy's well-being at school where the big windows are vulnerable to further bird assaults - [windows are like eyes - openings into the world]:
Lydia: Do you think Cathy's alright at the school?...Do I sound very foolish to you?
Melanie: Oh no.
Lydia: I keep seeing Dan's face. And they have such big windows at school. All the windows are broken in Dan's bedroom. All the windows!
Melanie: Try not to think about that.
She also seeks reassurance from recent, unresolved torments she has experienced, including the loss of her husband, and her dependence upon his life. She expresses her affection for him, but dreads a life of powerlessness and loneliness, without meaning or purpose, after abandonment by her children following his death. Further, she reveals her ambivalent feelings about Melanie's intrusion:
I wish I were a stronger person. I lost my husband four years ago, you know. It's terrible how you, you depend on someone else for strength and then suddenly all the strength is gone and you're alone. (She closes her eyes and her head tilts back) I'd love to be able to relax sometime. I'd love to be able to sleep...I'm not like this, you know, not usually. I don't fuss and fret about my children. When Frank died, you see, he understood the children, he really understood them. He had the knack of entering into their world and becoming part of them. That's a very rare talent...Oh, I wish, I wish, I wish I could be like that. I miss him! Sometimes even now, I wake up in the morning and I think: 'I must get Frank's breakfast.' And I get up, and there's a very good reason for getting out of bed until, of course, I remember. I miss talking to him. Cathy's a child, of course, and Mitch, well, Mitch has his own life. I'm glad he stayed here today. I-I feel safer with him here...Don't go. I feel as if I don't understand you at all and I-I want so much to understand...because my son seems to be very fond of you and I don't know quite how I feel about it. I don't even know if I like you or not...Mitch is important to me. I want to like whatever girl he chooses...Mitch has always done exactly what he wanted to do. But, (she loses control of herself) you see, I don't want to be left alone. I don't think I could bear to be left alone. (Upset, she covers her eyes with her hands.) Oh, forgive me...This business with the birds has upset me. I don't know what I'd do if Mitch weren't here...I wish I was stronger.
After Melanie comforts her, Lydia is grateful and calmed when Melanie suggests going to check on Cathy at school - and she calls Melanie by her name for the first time: "I'd feel so much better...Melanie - thanks for the tea."
Lydia's fear of losing her children is not without some merit, as the next scene, one of Hitchcock's most brilliant, believably frightening, hallucinatory and memorable, demonstrates. As Melanie drives up in front of BODEGA BAY SCHOOL, she hears the children singing a sad, roundelay-type sing-song tune:
She combed her hair but once a year
Ristle-te, rostle-te, now, now, now
With every stroke she shed a tear...
He walked her home by the light of the moon... She swept up her floor but once a year
Ristle-te, rostle-te, now, now, now
Inside the schoolroom, Annie (positioned significantly in front of various symbols of cultural learning: a blackboard covered with math problems, the flag, a world map, and a painting of 'father of our country' George Washington) leads the children in the nonsense-song that sounds like it may end - but doesn't [the song is a warning!]. After signaling to Annie inside the classroom, Melanie walks out of the imposing school doors and waits on a bench in front of a white fence next to the school. A chilling wind blows in the scene. In a cutaway shot, a single blackbird flutters and settles on the children's playground jungle-jim behind her. After a change of perspective and a shot of an unawares Melanie lighting her cigarette, four blackbirds are perched on the apparatus. A fifth bird lands, and she looks over her left shoulder - in the wrong direction, but sees nothing. Afterwards, the birds seem to steadily multiply like storm clouds, as Melanie looks twice more to her left without spotting them. Then, her eyes notice a single bird flying across the sky - her gaze follows it toward the jungle gym, now covered by hundreds of birds, with dozens of others perched on a fence and structure behind.
Speechless and frantic (paralleling Lydia's reaction), Melanie swiftly returns to the interior of the schoolhouse and warns Annie to close the side door just opened for recess. They 'look' out of one of the large school windows at the threat: "We've got to get the children out of here." Annie instructs the complaining children to prepare for an orderly fire drill evacuation: "We're going out of school now...And I want those of you who live nearby to go directly home...I want the rest of you to go down the hill all the way to the hotel...I want you to go as quietly as possible. Do not make a sound until I tell you to run. Then run as quickly as you can." The children quietly file outside, where the semi-agitated birds are packed tightly together on the playground equipment.
[ATTACK # 6] Hearing the sound of the children's feet frantically running on the pavement down the hill, the flock of birds fly after them - filling the sky by rising up behind the school. The whooshing, flapping sound of the crows intensifies the awe and terror, as they descend on the screaming, fleeing children and peck at their heads. One red-sweatered schoolgirl (Morgan Brittany) falls, shatters her eyeglasses (shown in close-up), and desperately calls out for Cathy to help her. Melanie, Cathy and her friend seek shelter in a nearby parked car. After honking the horn and waiting a minute, the birds dissipate.
After a dissolve, Melanie speaks to her father on the restaurant's phone, as other patrons listen to her intriguing conversation: "Oh Daddy, there were hundreds of them...Just now, not fifteen minutes ago...at the school...the birds didn't attack until the children were outside the school...crows, I think...Oh, I don't know, Daddy, is there a difference between crows and blackbirds?...I think these were crows, hundreds of them...Yes, they attacked the children. Attacked them!" A beret-wearing, tweed-suited, cigarette-smoking, self-acknowledged ornithologist expert Mrs. Bundy (Ethel Griffies) defends the birds, explaining how they never unite to attack:
There is very definitely a difference, Miss...They're both fetching birds, of course, but quite different species...I would hardly think that either species would have sufficient intelligence to launch a massed attack. Their brain pans are not big enough...Birds are not aggressive creatures, Miss. They bring beauty into the world. It is mankind, rather...
Significantly, a waitress disrupts Mrs. Bundy's lecture with a loud food order to the cook - for cooked bird: "Sam, three Southern fried chicken. Baked potato on all of 'em." When Mrs. Bundy continues, she castigates humans instead of birds:
Mrs. Bundy: It is mankind, rather, who insists upon making it difficult for life to exist on this planet. Now if it were not for birds...
Mr. Deke Carter (the bartender): Mrs. Bundy, you don't seem to understand. This young lady said there was an attack on the school.
Mrs. Bundy: Impossible!
Melanie: (on the phone to Mitch) Mitch? Oh I'm glad I caught you. Something terrible...
A drunk (Karl Swenson) at the end of the bar presents an opposing view, exclaiming: "It's the end of the world!" The waitress interjects a timely drink order: "Two Bloody Marys, Deke." The persistent drunk quotes the Biblical reference for his simplistic, dire apocalyptic warning:
Drunk: 'It's the end of the world.' Thus sayeth the Lord God unto the mountains and the hills, and the rivers and the valleys. Behold I, even I shall bring a sword upon ya. And I will devastate your high places. Ezekiel, chapter six.
Waitress: Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning that they may follow strong drink.
Drunk: Isaiah, chapter five. It's the end of the world.
Mrs. Bundy: I hardly think a few birds are going to bring about the end of the world.
Melanie: These weren't a few birds.
Deke Carter: I didn't know there were many crows in Bodega Bay this time of year.
Mrs. Bundy: The crow is a permanent resident throughout his range. In fact, during our Christmas count, we recorded...
Boat owner Sebastian Sholes (Charles McGraw) in a corner booth has had gulls attacking his fishing boats: "How many gulls did you count, Mrs. Bundy?...The ones that have been playing devil with my fishing boats....Oh, a flock of gulls nearly capsized one of my boats. Practically tore the skipper's arm off." Mrs. Bundy rationalizes the attacks: "The gulls went after your fish, Mr. Sholes. Really - let's be logical about this." A mother (Doreen Lang) having lunch (the Southern fried chicken orders) with her two small children is increasingly becoming alarmed. Melanie tells Mrs. Bundy the purpose of the birds' attack on the schoolchildren: "I think they were after the children...to kill them," but the old lady argues, in an academic tone that denies Melanie's evidence, that birds couldn't possibly start "a war":
Birds have been on this planet, Miss Daniels, since Archaeopteryx, a hundred and forty million years ago. Doesn't it seem odd that they'd wait all that time to start a, a war against humanity.
An angry, business-suited salesman (Joe Mantell) orders a strong drink: "Scotch, light on the water" and interjects himself into the discussion with an extreme solution - "kill 'em all":
Salesman: Your captain should have shot at them...Gulls are scavengers anyway. Most birds are. Get yourselves guns and wipe them off the face of the earth.
Mrs. Bundy: That would hardly be possible...Because there are eight thousand, six hundred and fifty species of birds in the world today, Mr. Carter. It is estimated that five billion, seven hundred and fifty million birds live in the United States alone. The five continents of the world...
Salesman: Kill 'em all. Get rid of them. Messy animals.
Mrs. Bundy: ...probably contain more than a hundred billion birds.
Drunk: It's the end of the world.
Sholes: Those gulls must have been after the fish.
Mrs. Bundy: Of course.
The mother attempts to shield her children, as her young boy wonders: "Are the birds gonna eat us, Mommy?" Mrs. Bundy explains that birds of different species never flock together: "The very concept is unimaginable. Why, if that happened, we wouldn't have a chance! How could we possibly hope to fight them?" Now hysterical, the mother accuses them of frightening her children "half out of their wits." She anticipates further attacks with the ornithologist's prediction, and scares her own daughter: "What do you want 'em to do next? Crash into that window? Why don't you all go home? Lock your doors and windows." The salesman offers to lead the concerned family to the freeway on their way to San Francisco.
Mitch finally arrives at the bar with the sheriff after visiting the murder scene at Dan Fawcett's farm: "And he was killed last night by birds." The sheriff (and Santa Rosa police) are skeptical - downplaying the theory that the birds were responsible. Instead, they believe it was a felony murder: "They think a burglar broke in and killed him...(The birds) got in after the old man was killed." The crazy drunk offers another Biblical verse: "Look at the birds of the air. They do not sow or reap. Yet your Heavenly Father feeds them." The salesman and Mrs. Bundy both recall a similar incident the previous year in another coastal California town, Santa Cruz:
The town was just covered with seagulls...A large flock of seagulls got lost in the fog and headed into the town where all the lights were. And they made some mess too. Smashing into buildings and everything. They always make a mess. The point is that no-one seemed to be upset about it. They were all gone the next morning just as though nothing at all had happened. Poor things.
The dubious, 'foggy' conversation about the causes of the current attacks leaves unanswered questions. Mitch is alarmed and worried and proposes to make war on the birds with a "fog" counter-attack, but he has difficulty convincing Sholes - as gull noises intrude on the soundtrack:
I think we're in real trouble. I don't know how this started or why, but I know it's here and we'd be crazy to ignore it...The bird war, the bird attack, plague - call it what you like. They're amassing out there someplace and they'll be back. You can count on it...Unless we do something right now, unless we get Bodega Bay on the move, they...Mrs. Bundy said something about Santa Cruz, about seagulls getting lost in a fog and then flying in towards the lights...Make our own fog...we can use smoke pots the way the Army uses 'em.
Through the restaurant's window, Melanie notices that seagulls are swooping down on a gas station attendant at the nearby Capitol Oil Co and cries out: "Look!" [ATTACK # 7] After one pass, they strike him and knock him to the ground, along with the gasoline hose/nozzle with flowing gasoline. As the men run out of the restaurant to help the man, the mother fights her way in the door as they exit. They assist the fallen individual, ignoring a stream of gasoline running downhill on the pavement. Melanie and other patrons-spectators watch helplessly and passively from the window in the restaurant - she is the first to notice the bellicose traveling salesman [his car's license plate is DMN 078 - "demon"] lighting a cigar, and suspensefully anticipates his horrible fate: "Look at the gas. That man's lighting a cigar." When they slide open the window, their symphony of warning screams is misunderstood. He burns his fingers with the lighted match, drops it in the path of flammable liquid, sets off an explosion at his car, and is suddenly engulfed by flames. [His violent demise was foreshadowed earlier, when he proposed to wipe the birds off the face of the earth.] As everyone watches with fearful paralysis, the fire streaks back toward the service station and explodes in an inferno.
From a bird's point of view, a shot high above Bodega Bay, a single seagull (joined shortly by others) floats into the foreground, looking down on the fire below that has spread through the entire town square. They noisily screech in triumph and gather together for an attack. Everyone evacuates from the restaurant, rushing into a frantic scene of flames and flapping, screeching birds. Melanie seeks shelter in a telephone booth as she did earlier into a car, where she is trapped and powerless in a mechanism of communication - like a bird in a cage. A brilliant overhead shot captures her terror-stricken position as she beats her arms around (bird-like) in the enclosure, with birds assaulting her from every direction. A man blinded by the birds (that attack him as he drives his car) plows into parked cars and it bursts into flames. Firefighters arrive bringing firehoses - one out-of-control hose spews water toward the booth enclosing Melanie and obscures her vision. Two horses pulling a wagon without a driver gallop and careen through the street. One individual with a bloodied face and birds attacking his face leans against the outside of the booth where Melanie is entrapped. Two seagulls aim for her - they smash into and break the glass on two sides of the booth. Mitch saves her and protectively leads her into the now-empty restaurant.
They find the waitresses, other female customers (including a shamed Mrs. Bundy hiding with her back to the camera) and the mother with her two children - all huddled in the back hallway with accusatory stares directed toward them. The mother rises hysterically, and speaks directly into the camera (implicating the audience), blaming an "evil" Melanie for causing the bird attacks and bringing punishment into their midst:
Why are they doing this? Why are they doing this? They said when you got here, the whole thing started. Who are you? What are you? Where did you come from? I think you're the cause of all this. I think you're evil. (Shrieking) EVIL!
After being brutally accosted with verbal insults, Melanie slaps the woman to silence her inappropriate, irrational outburst. After slapping sense into the woman, she turns to find some solace in Mitch's grasp. Appropriately, Deke runs in with a report: "I think they're going." Flocks of birds are viewed flying away.
Mitch and Melanie run on foot up the hill to Annie's house to get Cathy. Blackbirds still hover on the rooftop of the schoolhouse, line the telephone wires, and blanket the jungle-jim in the playground. Stealthily, they creep slowly by and reach Annie's house. [ATTACK # 8] As they walk by the front fence, the point-of-view camera sees Annie's body sprawled on her front steps, with her legs slightly splayed apart and elevated as if she had been raped. Melanie cries with a mortified scream, as Mitch shields Annie's bloody face from her view. Cathy is inside behind a window in the house - safe but crying and deathly frightened. In an impotent gesture, Mitch angrily picks up a rock from the garden to heave at the birds on the roof, but Melanie (now shielding Cathy in her arms) screams for him to drop it: "Mitch! Don't!" Instead, he covers Annie's body with his coat jacket. Melanie pleads for him to not leave her there, so he carries her body into the house, and then guides them past the watchful birds to Melanie's car. During their drive to the Brenner house across the bay, Cathy tearfully recalls in broken sobs what happened - how Annie sacrificed herself to save her life:
When we got back from taking Michelle home, we heard the explosion and went outside to see what it was. All at once, the birds were everywhere. All at once, she pushed me inside and they covered her. Annie, she pushed me inside.
On a ladder, Mitch nails boards - with Melanie's assistance - on all of the attic windows to barricade the fragile windows from further assaults, ultimately making the house a caged prison. In the distance, the birds have been gathering for fifteen minutes and darkening the sky, repeating a pattern: "They strike, then disappear, and then start massing again." To hamper further communication, "the phone's dead," and Mitch asks Melanie - in a clever double entendre: "We've still got power, haven't we?" Lydia calls out to them about a radio broadcast from San Francisco. They walk in the door between a framed scene with Lydia on the left and Cathy on the right. Mitch blocks (or shields) the view of Melanie as he walks forward - Mitch joins the side of his mother, while Melanie chooses the right side with Cathy. They hear the announcer's first word, identifying Mitch as "the suspect" when he enters:
...the suspect...and the work of a team of professionals. End quote. In Bodega Bay early this morning, a large flock of crows attacked a group of children who were leaving the school during a fire drill. One little girl was seriously injured and taken to the hospital in Santa Rosa, but the majority of children reached safety. We understand there was another attack on the town. But this information is rather sketchy. So far, no word has come through to show if there have been further attacks.
The report reveals that the outside world has only "sketchy" information on Bodega Bay's (and their) perilous situation. Mitch builds a fire to keep the birds from entering through the chimney. Increasingly anxious and hysterical, Lydia questions Mitch with unanswerable questions and finally screams in panic as she expresses her ultimate Achilles heel - "If only your father were here!":
Lydia: When do you think they'll come?
Mitch: I don't know.
Lydia: If they're bigger birds, Mitch, they'll get into the house.
Mitch: Well, it's just a chance we'll have to take.
Lydia: Maybe we ought to leave.
Mitch: No, not now. Not while they're massing out there.
Lydia: When?
Mitch: We'll just see what happens.
Lydia: Where will we go?
Mitch: I don't know. We're safe here for the time being...
Lydia: What happens when you run out of wood?
Mitch: I don't know. We'll break up the furniture.
Lydia: You don't know. You don't know. When will you know? When we're all dead? (Cathy bursts into tears) If only your father were here! (pause) I'm sorry. I'm sorry, Mitch.
Mitch: Make us all some coffee, huh, dear? (As he walks away, Melanie is revealed behind them, with her back to the camera)
Outside again to fetch firewood, Mitch and Melanie watch as flocks of birds fly by to "somewhere inland," Mitch speculates. Later, the family members are distantly separated from each other. Lydia is tensely positioned in the corner by the piano and the portrait of her husband. Melanie is huddled with Cathy on the sofa, and Mitch is testing one of the boards/barricades. When Mitch moves to Lydia's side of the room, the subject of the lovebirds, forgotten for most of the film, is re-opened. He affirms his mother's objection:
Cathy: Mitch, can I bring the lovebirds in here?
Lydia: No!
Cathy: But Mom, they're in a cage.
Lydia: They're birds, aren't they?
Mitch: Let's leave them in the kitchen, huh honey?
While testing more barricades in the kitchen, Mitch glances at the two harmless lovebirds. When he returns, Cathy asks more difficult questions about the reasons for the attacks:
Cathy: Mitch, why are they doing this, the birds?
Mitch: We don't know, honey.
Cathy: Why are they trying to kill people?
Mitch: I wish I could say.
To fulfill her routine domestic duty, Lydia rises and removes a tray of teacups and saucers from the room, pauses by the lovebirds in the kitchen, comes back, and returns to her seat - her hands nervously clenched. Feeling sick and deathly pale, Cathy leaves with Melanie rather than her mother for a brief time. An abrupt camera angle emphasizes Lydia's captured pose and sense of futility in the corner, with the portrait filling the space between her and her son.
[ATTACK # 9] Bird chirping and rustling sounds grow stronger - Lydia stands and grabs a wall pillar for support. Cathy runs into her mother's arms. Mitch stokes the fire, and Melanie backs up with her arms outstretched to a sofa against a wall, squirming and attempting to hide from the scrutiny of the unknown, screeching forces. As she presses herself back and cowers prostrate on the sofa with her legs up (still wearing her pressed green outfit), she can hardly bear the intolerable intensity of the approaching conflict. Mitch grabs a bird that has smashed through a window and intruded, and struggles to push it out. The wood is slowly being damaged on the inside of one of the doors from bird pecks. An overhead shot emphasizes Melanie's engulfing terror as she backs further against the wall and upsets a lamp-shade. Pecking birds draw blood from Mitch's hand as he reaches to pull the shutter closed - he eventually secures the shutter with a lampcord. He comforts Lydia and Cathy, who have been terrified and seen scurrying around the room to find some shelter from the horror, and leads them to an armchair. Although his anguished mother wants him to remain with them, he seeks out Melanie on the other side of the room. He rejects her wish to bandage his bloodied, ripped-up hand.
In another room where he swathes his own hand with a bandage, he notices the shredded damage to the door. To block the birds' entry, he places a heavy piece of hall furniture (with a long mirror) to blockade the door and nails it firmly in place. [As he props it against the door, his image is reflected back at himself - a symbol of the soul-searching and reassessment he and the other characters are facing.] Suddenly, the lights go out - and the pecking appears to cease for no apparent reason - Mitch exclaims: "They're gone." Three identically-shot close-ups each begin with a view of the ceiling above or upper wall, and then the heads of Mitch, Melanie, and Lydia - each rising in a low-angle from the bottom of the screen. Each appears mesmerized while listening expectantly to the abrupt silence. After Lydia's close-up, the camera slowly tracks backward, diagonally adding the figures of Melanie and Mitch spatially located a distance away on the left.
After a dissolve [early Tuesday in AM, probably], the logs in the fireplace in the next shot are super-imposed on the fading figures of Melanie and Mitch. Lydia is slumped down in rest on the piano bench. Panning right, Melanie is wide-eyed and awake, Cathy is curled up on the sofa asleep, and Mitch's head is propped up by his bandaged left hand - his other hand rests in his lap. Melanie is startled by the sound of the fluttering of a few bird's wings, but she cannot rouse Mitch. Taking charge, she reaches for a large-handled, wide-headed flashlight [potent male phallic symbol?] and goes to investigate for herself, checking first on the peaceful lovebirds in the kitchen. She turns her uneasy beam of light on the stairs and approaches - filmed subjectively from her point-of-view perspective as she ascends. At the bedroom doorknob, she lingers.
[ATTACK # 10] Once the door is slowly pushed open, she looks up and sees a gaping hole in the roof - her own mouth widens and she gasps - she raises her flashlight and its wide beam illuminates hundreds of birds - almost erotically blinding her and paralyzing her with fear. As she defensively shields her eyes and face with upraised arms and hands, the birds swoop down on her and begin cutting into her flesh. Ineffectually, she reaches for the doorknob to escape. The flashlight waves uselessly as a weapon against them. The overpowering, brutal attack, similar to the one in Hitchcock's infamous shower sequence in Psycho, intensifies as, in anguish and pain, she breathes heavily and surrenders to their tearing and pecking. Her cool-green outfit is torn apart as she collapses unconscious next to the door, exclaiming: "Is Cathy in the...?" Mitch calls out for her at the top of the stairs, but struggles to open the door, now blockaded by her body. Both Lydia and Mitch fight off the birds as Mitch claws for her arm and pulls her to safety. He cradles her in his arms and carries her downstairs, as Lydia carries a lantern to light the way and compassionately pities her suffering: "Oh, poor thing." [Earlier in the film, Annie called the dead bird at her doorstep a "poor thing," and Mrs. Bundy spoke of the birds that died in a Santa Cruz incident "poor things." Now, Lydia sympathically identifies Melanie as a "poor thing."]
Downstairs on the sofa after waking up, Melanie frantically flails and claws at imaginary birds - directly toward the camera - until Mitch controls her terror, grabs her hands, and her fears subside: "No, it's alright." As he folds her arms passively across her chest, they look into each other's eyes trustingly. He cups his hand behind her head as she sips brandy. Worried for her state of lifelessness, blank stare, speechlessness and broken spirit, Mitch determinedly insists that they take her to a hospital for healing: "We have to try...We can't stay here, she needs help." Lydia dabs Melanie's injured face with cotton soaked in antiseptic and soon wraps bandages around her forehead and head. She is hesitant and "terribly frightened - I don't know what's outside there" - a perfect summation of the fear of the unknown.
It is now early dawn on Tuesday with shafts of sunlight streaming down, as Mitch opens the pecked door and discovers masses of birds - thousands of them gathered, seated, surrounding and watching the house. Cautiously, he steps through them, and is pecked by a large raven, but the birds remain fairly calm. Proceeding into the garage where Melanie's car is parked, he breathes a large sigh of relief. He slips into her car, and scans the radio for an announcer's report:
The bird attacks have subsided for the time being. Bodega Bay seems to be the center, though there are reports of minor attacks on Sebastopol and a few on Santa Rosa. Bodega Bay has been cordoned off by roadblocks. Most of the townspeople have managed to get out, but there are still some isolated pockets of people. No decision has been arrived at yet as to what the next step will be but there's been some discussion as to whether the military should go in. It appears that the bird attacks come in waves with long intervals between. The reason for this does not seem clear as yet.
He opens the garage door, carefully drives the car to the front door, and returns inside. Lydia is supportively cradling an expressionless, blank-staring Melanie (now re-dressed in her mink coat) in her arms on the sofa. They both guide Melanie (between them) outside, passing through a dark shadow on the way. When the front door is opened, their faces are illuminated by the shocking sight of birds tyrannically claiming their home. Melanie is startled and hesitates, crying out: "No! No!" But the birds let their human prey through and Melanie is put in the car. Innocent to the dangers and forever hopeful, Cathy asks permission to carry the covered cage of lovebirds out to the car - the last spoken lines of dialogue: "Can I bring the lovebirds, Mitch? They haven't harmed anyone." Melanie's hand, with chipped nails, grasps Lydia's wrist for strength - optimistically, Melanie looks up with gratitude toward her new 'maternal' figure - and they smile at each other. They drive away from the house toward an uncertain future, surrounded on the left by the barn, in the foreground by threatening birds amassing for their next attack, and on the right by a tree. The triumphant birds appear to chatter and applaud their conquest. [The final image is a complex shot involving 32 different pieces of film.]

The unsettling ending - an open-ended one of continuing terror - is not accompanied by a customary "THE END" title.



Montmarte’s small side streets, Paris, France

HUMAN NATURE....the good side

MISH MOSH..........................................

Mish Mash: noun \ˈmish-ˌmash, -ˌmäsh\ A : hodgepodge, jumble “The painting was just a mishmash of colors and abstract shapes as far as we could tell”. Origin Middle English & Yiddish; Middle English mysse masche, perhaps reduplication of mash mash; Yiddish mish-mash, perhaps reduplication of mishn to mix. First Known Use: 15th century

Spontaneous Human Combustion is, according to Wikipedia, “the death from a fire originating without an apparent external source of ignition; the fire is believed to start within the body of the victim.”. In other words, cases of SHC are often unexplained, and the victims often perish by randomly becoming engulfed in flames. Cases have been documented here and there throughout history, but few are as well documented as Mary Reeser. The elderly woman’s landlady discovered the horrific scene in 1951. Mrs. Reeser didn’t answer her calls, so she tried to open her door. She noted that the handle was unusually warm, as if it had been heated up. She could not open the door and grew suspicious, so she called the police.
When police finally kicked down the door, they found Reeser’s remains. They were shocked to discover her in a pile of ashes, apart from the bottom of her leg with her slipper still on, and her spine. A hole had been burnt through the floor, but apart from that, the room was remarkably spotless: There was no evidence that there had been a fire. Mary Reeser’s death remains unexplained, and the baffled head of police issued this final statement: “We urgently request any information or theories that could explain how a human body could be so destroyed and the fire confined to such a small area and so little damage done to the structure of the building and the furniture in the room not even scorched or damaged by smoke. Thank you all.”

From Wikipedia

Mary Hardy Reeser (1884–1951) of St. Petersburg, Florida was a suspected victim of spontaneous human combustion.

On July 2, 1951, at about 8 a.m., Reeser's landlady, Pansy Carpenter, arrived at Reeser's door with a telegram. Trying the door, she found the metal doorknob to be uncomfortably warm to the touch and called the police.

Reeser's remains, which were largely ashes, were found among the remains of a chair in which she had been sitting. Only part of her left foot (which was wearing a slipper) and her backbone remained. Plastic household objects at a distance from the seat of the fire were softened and had lost their shapes.

Reeser's skull had survived and was found among the ashes, but shrunken (sometimes with the added descriptive flourish of 'to the size of a teacup'). The extent of this shrinkage was enough to be remarked on by official investigators and was not an illusion caused by the removal of all facial features (ears, nose, lips, etc.). The shrinking of the skull is not a regular feature of alleged cases of SHC, although the 'shrunken skull' claim has become a regular feature of anecdotal accounts of other SHC cases and numerous apocryphal stories. However, this is not the only case in which the remains featured a shrunken skull.

On July 7, 1951, St. Petersburg police chief J.R. Reichert sent a box of evidence from the scene to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. He included glass fragments found in the ashes, six "small objects thought to be teeth," a section of the carpet, and the surviving shoe.

Even though the body was almost totally cremated, requiring very high temperatures, the room in which it occurred showed little evidence of the fire.

Reichert included a note saying: "We request any information or theories that could explain how a human body could be so destroyed and the fire confined to such a small area and so little damage done to the structure of the building and the furniture in the room not even scorched or damaged by smoke."

The FBI eventually declared that Reeser had been incinerated by the wick effect. As she was a known user of sleeping pills, they hypothesized that she had fallen unconscious while smoking and set fire to her nightclothes. "Once the body starts to burn," the FBI wrote in its report, "there is enough fat and other inflammable substances to permit varying amounts of destruction to take place. Sometimes this destruction by burning will proceed to a degree which results in almost complete combustion of the body."

At the request of the Chief of Police, St. Petersburg, Florida, the scene was also investigated by physical anthropologist Wilton M Krogman. Professor Krogman, of the University of Pennsylvania's School of Medicine, had spent some time in the 1930s experimenting and examining the remains of such incidents, in order to aid in the detection of crimes.

Krogman was frequently consulted by the FBI for this reason but after examining the scene and reading the FBI's report, he strongly disputed the FBI's conclusions concerning Reeser. However, the full circumstances of the death—and Krogman's objections to the FBI's version of events—would not become known publicly for a decade.
This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (March 2014)
In a 1961 article for The General Magazine and History Chronicle of the University of Pennsylvania, Krogman wrote extensively about the Reeser case. His remarks included:

"I find it hard to believe that a human body, once ignited, will literally consume itself -- burn itself out, as does a candle wick, guttering in the last residual pool of melted wax [...] Just what did happen on the night of July 1, 1951, in St. Petersburg, Florida? We may never know, though this case still haunts me."
With regard to Reeser's shrunken skull, Krogman wrote:

"[...]The head is not left complete in ordinary burning cases. Certainly it does not shrivel or symmetrically reduce to a smaller size. In presence of heat sufficient to destroy soft tissues, the skull would literally explode in many pieces. I have never known any exception to this rule."
Krogman concluded:

"I cannot conceive of such complete cremation without more burning of the apartment itself. In fact the apartment and everything in it should have been consumed. [...] I regard it as the most amazing thing I have ever seen. As I review it, the short hairs on my neck bristle with vague fear. Were I living in the Middle Ages, I'd mutter something about black magic."

Later, having put this statement on the record, Krogman moved away from this position. He instead put forward the theory that Reeser had been murdered at another location. Her murderer had access to crematorium-type equipment and had incinerated her body. The hypothetical murderer had then transported the results of the partial cremation back to the apartment and used portable heat-generating equipment to add the finishing touches, such as the heat-buckled plastic objects and the warm doorknob.
Panta rhei — motion in the Milky Way  Source  by Hubble Space Telescope  ESA

THE ART OF WAR............

I was browsing Google Maps. Suddenly, I found nothing.

The Observation and Appreciation of Architecture

Detail of a Ceiling, Le Louvre, Paris.


Mysterious “Music” Spooked Apollo 10 Astronauts
By Danny Lewis
Just a few months before Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made their historic moon landing, three NASA astronauts circled the moon as part of the Apollo 10 mission. This was a dress rehearsal of sorts for the actual moon landing mission, and as far as most people knew it went fairly smoothly. Yet the internet has recently been abuzz about the audio recorded during the mission, which captures the three startled crew members taking in the eerie sounds emanating from their radios.
One of Apollo 10’s main missions was to test the technology that allowed the spacecraft’s lunar lander module to detach and re-attach to the command module. But while the modules were separated for several hours, the crew members began hearing strange sounds, Bec Crew reports for ScienceAlert. The sounds were captured on an audio recording.
"You hear that? That whistling sound?" Apollo 10 astronaut Eugene Cernan asked his crewmates, according to a transcript of the mission. "Boy, that sure is weird music."
It’s not surprising that Cernan and his fellow crewmembers Thomas Stafford and John Young were freaked out when they suddenly heard eerie noises coming from their instruments, James Griffiths reports for CNN.
At the time, the Apollo 10 spacecraft was on the far side of the moon, out of contact with Mission Control and the farthest that any human has ever been from Earth. And the odd, high-pitched whine sounds like a stereotypical alien sound effect from a 1950s science fiction flick.
"You know that was funny,” Cernan said in the transcript. “That's just like something from outer space, really. Who's going to believe it?"
"Nobody,” Young answered. “Shall we tell them about it?"
"I don't know,” Cernan replied. “We ought to think about it some."
For decades, the freaky moment and audio clips went unnoticed until recently, when it made its way into a Science Channel program called NASA’s Unexplained Files, which dramatizes stories and small details from NASA mission files. While the transcripts and audio have been publicly available at the National Archives since the early 1970s, NASA only recently scanned and digitized the materials to publish on the internet, according to a recent statement.
Hearing weird, unexplained noises in orbit around the moon seems like something that would have been quite newsworthy at the time. But as Sean O’Kane writes for The Verge, it makes sense that the three astronauts would have downplayed the phenomenon. One of NASA’s highest priorities is keeping its astronauts safe, and this includes their mental health. At the time, astronauts and test pilots typically took a “lie to fly” policy towards any crack in their resolve, as any hint of psychological trouble could scrap a mission and ground an astronaut forever.
Decades later, it’s still unclear what caused the strange sounds. One possible explanation is that charged particles interfered with the radio communications between the separated modules, as scientists observed when the Cassini spacecraft passed by Saturn. However, unlike the ringed planet, the moon doesn’t have an atmosphere, ruling it out as a source for these particles. Of course, as Cernan says in a recent statement, it could have been something as simple as radio interference.
“I don’t remember that incident exciting me enough to take it seriously,” Cernan says in a statement. “Had we thought it was something other than that we would have briefed everyone after the flight. We never gave it another thought.”

Dualism versus Monism.

This is an illustration of the Ontologies of Dualism versus Monism showing how Physical Substance relates to Mental Substance (i.e. Body and Mind) as either Fundamental or Derivative. Monism is further divided into Physicalism, Idealism, or Neutral Monism where the Physical and Mental are both Derivative of a third substance that is neither Body nor Mind. An alternative term for Derivative is Emergent. For example, a typical Ontology held by physicists is that the Physical Realm is Fundamental, and the phenomenon of Consciousness is Emergent from that (Physicalism). Likewise, a typical Ontology held by many in religion is that Spirit is Fundamental, with both Mind and Matter being Emergent from that (Neutral Monism).
Self - The Monistic Philosophy holds that there is no difference between Self and the Supreme Creator. Only ignorance creates the impression in Mind that they are different, and one of the important objectives of Monistic Philosophy is to remove this ignorance. Dualists believe that Individual Self and Supreme Creator are different.
Power of Individual Souls - Monism believes that Individual Souls are as Divine and powerful as the Supreme Soul, and serving an Individual Soul is as good as serving the Supreme Soul. Dualism refuses to accept powerfulness of Individual Souls. Dualists believe the Supreme Soul is much more Divine and powerful than Individual Souls.
Oneness of Supreme Soul - Monism advocates that all living beings are created from one Supreme Soul; and as such, all Souls ultimately unify with the Supreme Soul. This Supreme Soul consists of Time, Matter, and Spirit. Reincarnation is part of such a process by which the Souls are purified before getting unified with the Supreme Soul. The idea of Dualism stands at the opposite pole of Monism.
Reality - Monism advocates that everything in the Universe is an Illusion or Maya, as nothing is true other than the Supreme Soul. According to this concept, anything that is finite, temporal, and needs to be explained by attributes is Unreal. Spirit is without attributes and, hence, Real. Dualism postulates that the Universe and all those happenings in the Universe are real and not Illusion.


Greetings NYCPlaywrights


BEST PLAY $2,500
Best Short Play $1,500

Best Director, Actress, Actor and Singer $500 each

Best Musical Score $300

Best Original Play, Stage Manager and Set Designer $200.

All genres are welcome, including MUSICALS.


SUBMISSIONS FOR SHORT PLAYS - 10 to 20 Minutes max.

Our 10th  Festival Season
There is no question why Venus/Adonis has taken the world of playwrighting festivals by storm, becoming one of the largest festival in the country in just 6 years.

for more info


NOW ENROLLING: Fall 2016 classes at Primary Stages ESPA! Start a FIRST DRAFT, embark on a SECOND DRAFT, or tackle a REWRITE. Try your hand at SCREENWRITING, TELEVISION WRITING, or a WEB SERIES. Faculty includes A. REY PAMATMAT (House Rules), ANNIE MACRAE (Associate AD, Atlantic Theater Company), MELISSA ROSS (Of Good Stock), MICHAEL WALKUP (Producing Director, Page 73), BESS WOHL (Small Mouth Sounds), and many other award-winning faculty members who provide practical skills and expert guidance in a collaborative atmosphere.
Full list of classes: http://primarystages.org/espa/writing. Payment plans available.


Shakespeare in the ‘Burg is pleased to announce our third annual one-act playwriting competition, in conjunction with our Shakespeare in the ‘Burg theater festival scheduled for March 31-April 2, 2017 in Middleburg, VA. There is no fee for this competition. The winning play will be performed during the Shakespeare in the ‘Burg festival.


Calling all writers! Creators of horror! Macabre storytellers! Nightmare sculptors!
Following the success of last year’s short play competition ‘It’s Not What It Seems…’, which crowned the beautifully disturbing psychological thriller ‘CHEW’ by Sarah Tejal Hamilton the winner, we are once again calling for playwrights of all abilities to submit a 10-15 minute script.
This year’s theme … BADASS WOMEN!


It is that time of year again. We have chosen our artwork for the 2016 Playwrights and Artists Festival. We, as always, extend first look to those who have submitted to our festival in years previous. The artwork will follow a refresher on the rules.
The play length needs to be between 15 – 20 minutes
Cast size maximum, 5 characters. Set should be implied.

*** FOR MORE INFORMATION about these and other opportunities see the NYCPlaywrights web site at http://www.nycplaywrights.org ***


The number and range of people who work in a theatre depends upon its size and type. Today, theatres can generally be divided into two types: a producing theatre or a presenting theatre, but some do both.
Producing theatres have creative teams who develop productions. They include artistic directors, designers of sets, props, costume, lighting and audio-visual media, as well as musical directors and choreographers. Additional specialists are brought in when needed. In these theatres the performers are auditioned and rehearse under the artistic director.
Presenting theatres, sometimes referred to as ‘receiving houses’, host visiting companies whose productions have been developed elsewhere.



You Want a Diverse Theatre? Prove it.

This week on HowlRound, ten rising leaders from TCG's SPARK Leadership Program examine leadership, vision, diversity, inclusion, and equity, as well exciting trends and trend makers in our field. Find the full series here.
The plates are shifting in America, and, unless we want to fall through the cracks into oblivion, our theatre culture needs to shift along with it. An equitable theatre that reflects the plurality and diversity of American culture is a relevant theatre. Let’s look at some stats: According to the US Census Bureau, by 2043 people of color will become the majority group in the United States. This will be the first time ever that non-Hispanic/Latino whites are not the majority in the US. By 2060, it is projected that 57 percent of the US population will be made up of people of color (roughly 241.3 million people). A recent US Census Bureau report shows that millennials—those born between 1982 and 2000—outnumber the baby boomers and “represent more than one quarter of the nation’s population.” Their numbers matter as “overall, millennials are more diverse than the generations that preceded them, with 44.2 percent being part of a minority race or ethnic group (that is, a group other than non-Hispanic, single-race white).”
Are we committed to building an equitable industry together? Yes? Awesome. Let’s prove it. Recruitment, retainment, and casting practices are first steps to explore as we pursue creating an equitable and inclusive culture at our theatres.

Job Descriptions
Job postings are the window into the soul of an organization. It takes real art to craft a job description that not only lays out the job duties but also articulates your organization’s vision, purpose, and culture. To attract the best candidates, we need to invest time in our written job descriptions, which is an organization’s public declaration of its commitment to its most desired workforce. Companies across the country are becoming more sophisticated with explaining their commitment to inclusion in their job descriptions. Simply writing that our organization is an “Equal Opportunity Employer,” or shortening it even further to “EOE,” is no longer acceptable, and may actually deter those candidates whom the EOE statement is protecting from applying.



Roles Required To Produce A Play

Theatre is a place where magical things can happen — the lights come up, a mist rolls across the stage, imaginative sets come into focus and finally actors emerge in exciting costumes to tell their stories of a different time and place.
But there is so much more required to bring a story to life on the stage.  Here are the many and varied roles required to deliver a quality production.



There's A Big Gender Gap In Key Theater Jobs -- Can Boston Change The Story?

Certain circles in the nation’s professional theater world have taken to an unofficial ritual in recent years — watching for the annual wave of season announcements from theater companies, and then publicly bemoaning the lack of female playwrights. And directors. And, for that matter, artistic directors.
Thinkpieces are written. Tweets are fired off. But change comes slowly, if at all.
Anecdotal observations are backed up by some stark statistics. A study released by the League of Professional Theatre Women in October, focusing on New York City theaters, found that divisions of labor at theater companies appear to be highly gendered. In the past five years, women accounted for 72 percent of the stage managers and assistant stage managers tallied; just 33 percent of directors were female.



Glossary of Technical Theatre Terms – Jobs

Theatrecrafts.com > Topics > Job Titles in the Theatre > Glossary of Technical Theatre Terms – Jobs
(From French) Facilitator of a community, education or group event (social, cultural or artistic). The Animateur may be a group leader, or may have initiated a project. She or he is responsible for running the event.

The Department in a large producing theatre which deals with the maintenance and storage of prop weapons.

Usually shortened to ASM, the assistant stage manager is the most junior member of the Stage Management team, and is often in charge of sourcing and running Properties during the run of a show. She or he is also a member of the stage 'crew'. See also STAGE MANAGER and DSM.



Study: Diversity in New York Theater Roles Rose in 2014-15 Season

Minority actors, long underrepresented on New York’s stages, are winning an increasing percentage of roles, according to a new study by the Asian American Performers Action Coalition.
During the theater season of 2014 to 2015, about 30 percent of roles at the city’s most prominent theaters went to minority actors, up from 24 percent the previous season, the organization said. That is the highest percentage in the nine years that the group has been studying the issue.
But much of the diversity was at nonprofit theaters, which hired a significantly higher percentage of minority performers than did commercial Broadway shows. And, for Asian-American actors, a single Broadway show, the Lincoln Center Theater revival of “The King and I,” was responsible for half of all jobs that season.




Company Manager
This is THE boss. Even the director does as the company manager says. The Company Manager takes care of the daily business of a company. Typical tasks include administrative work, legal and contractual work and paying performers and crew. They need to have strong budgeting, people and problem-solving skills as they oversee and manage an entire production.



10 Musical Theatre Jobs Essential For A Production

Let’s not sugarcoat it: it isn’t easy to break into the musical theatre industry, and nobody is going to hand you a leading role in a Broadway show on a silver platter…
… but there’s more than one way to skin a cat.
Below you’ll find a breakdown of numerous professional jobs in musical theatre (along with their ballpark salary expectations, career paths and difficulty of attaining paid work). The good news is that many of them lead into one another, creating a multitude of routes into the musical theatre job you’re aiming for.
Some require prior training at musical theatre school while others rely more on on-the-job experience (and a little bit of hustle). Learn more as we explore:

Jobs in Musical Theatre: Work, Salaries & Career Paths

Front of House

We figured it would be sensible to start with front of house roles given that it’s often the starting block for many a good career in musical theatre. It’s often menial work – selling tickets or refreshments and/or showing people to their seats, for instance – but hey, it’s a start.
Front of House Career Path: See a job listing calling for front of house staff, prove you’re capable of serving patrons, and away you go.
Pros: In some cases, you get to see the show for free (or at least get discounted tickets.)
Cons: Doing the same thing, ad infinitum, often without pay.

Difficulty: 1/10

Front of House Salary: It depends on the theatre (and its location), but the hourly rate can vary from being totally voluntary to $15 or $20 at the top end. A front of house manager earns around $35,000 on salary.



Infographic: Who Designs in LORT Theatres by Gender



Job Listings Playbill



Architecture for the blog of it

Art for the Blog of It

Art for the Pop of it

Photography for the blog of it

Music for the Blog of it

Sculpture this and Sculpture that

The art of War (Propaganda art through the ages)

Album Art (Photographic arts)

Pulp Fiction Trash (The art of Pulp Fiction covers)

Admit it, you want to Read this Book (The art of Pulp Fiction covers)

The Godfather Trilogy BlogSpot

On the Waterfront: The Making of a great American Film

Absolutely blogalicious

The Wee Book of Irish Recipes (Book support site)

Good chowda (New England foods)

Old New England Recipes (Book support site)

And I Love Clams (New England foods)

In Praise of the Rhode Island Wiener (New England foods)

Wicked Cool New England Recipes (New England foods)

Old New England Recipes (New England foods)

Foster Care new and Updates

Aging out of the system

Murder, Death and Abuse in the Foster Care system

Angel and Saints in the Foster Care System

The Foster Children’s Blogs

Foster Care Legislation

The Foster Children’s Bill of Right

Foster Kids own Story

The Adventures of Foster Kid.

Me vs. Diabetes (Diabetes education site)

The Quotable Helen Keller

Teddy Roosevelt's Letters to his children (Book support site)

The Quotable Machiavelli (Book support site)

Whatever you do, don't laugh

The Quotable Grouch Marx

A Big Blog of Irish Literature

The Wee Blog of Irish Jokes (Book support blog)

The Wee Blog of Irish Recipes

The Irish American Gangster

The Irish in their Own Words

When Washington Was Irish

The Wee Book of Irish Recipes (Book support site)

Following Fitzgerald


The Blogable Robert Frost

Charles Dickens

The Beat Poets of the Forever Generation

Holden Caulfield Blog Spot

The Quotable Oscar Wilde

The Quotable Thoreau

Old New England Recipes

Wicked Cool New England Recipes


The New England Mafia

And I Love Clams

In Praise of the Rhode Island Wiener

Watch Hill

York Beach

The Connecticut History Blog

The Connecticut Irish

Good chowda

God, How I hated the 70s

Child of the Sixties Forever

The Kennedy’s in the 60’s

Music of the Sixties Forever

Elvis and Nixon at the White House (Book support site)

Beatles Fan Forever

Year One, 1955

Robert Kennedy in His Own Words

The 1980s were fun

The 1990s. The last decade.

The Russian Mafia

The American Jewish Gangster

The Mob in Hollywood

We Only Kill Each Other

Early Gangsters of New York City

Al Capone: Biography of a self-made Man

The Life and World of Al Capone

The Salerno Report

Guns and Glamour

The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre

Mob Testimony

Recipes we would Die For

The Prohibition in Pictures

The Mob in Pictures

The Mob in Vegas

The Irish American Gangster

Roger Touhy Gangster

Chicago’s Mob Bosses

Chicago Gang Land: It Happened Here

Whacked: One Hundred years of Murder in Gangland

The Mob Across America

Mob Cops, Lawyers and Front Men

Shooting the Mob: Dutch Schultz

Bugsy& His Flamingo: The Testimony of Virginia Hill

After Valachi. Hearings before the US Senate on Organized Crime

Mob Buster: Report of Special Agent Virgil Peterson to the Kefauver Committee (Book support site)

The US Government’s Timeline of Organized Crime (Book support site)

The Kefauver Organized Crime Hearings (Book support site)

Joe Valachi's testimony on the Mafia (Book support site)

Mobsters in the News

Shooting the Mob: Dead Mobsters (Book support site)

The Stolen Years Full Text (Roger Touhy)

Mobsters in Black and White

Mafia Gangsters, Wiseguys and Goodfellas

Whacked: One Hundred Years of Murder and Mayhem in the Chicago Mob (Book support site)

Gangland Gaslight: The Killing of Rosy Rosenthal (Book support site)

The Best of the Mob Files Series (Book support site)

It’s All Greek Mythology to me

Psychologically Relevant

The Rarifieid Tribe

Perfect Behavior

The Upscale Traveler

The Mish Mosh Blog

DC Behind the Monuments

Washington Oddities

When Washington Was Irish

Litchfield Literary Books. A really small company run by writers.


The Day Nixon Met Elvis
Paperback 46 pages

Theodore Roosevelt: Letters to his Children. 1903-1918
Paperback 194 pages

The Works of Horace
Paperback 174 pages

The Quotable Greeks
Paperback 234 pages

The Quotable Epictetus
Paperback 142 pages

Quo Vadis: A narrative of the time of Nero
Paperback 420 pages

The Porchless Pumpkin: A Halloween Story for Children
A Halloween play for young children. By consent of the author, this play may be performed, at no charge, by educational institutions, neighborhood organizations and other not-for-profit-organizations.
A fun story with a moral
“I believe that Denny O'Day is an American treasure and this little book proves it. Jack is a pumpkin who happens to be very small, by pumpkins standards and as a result he goes unbought in the pumpkin patch on Halloween eve, but at the last moment he is given his chance to prove that just because you're small doesn't mean you can't be brave. Here is the point that I found so wonderful, the book stresses that while size doesn't matter when it comes to courage...ITS OKAY TO BE SCARED....as well. I think children need to hear that, that's its okay to be unsure because life is a ongoing lesson isn't it?”
Paperback: 42 pages

It's Not All Right to be a Foster Kid....no matter what they tell you: Tweet the books contents
Paperback 94 pages

From the Author
I spent my childhood, from age seven through seventeen, in foster care.  Over the course of those ten years, many decent, well-meaning, and concerned people told me, "It's okay to be foster kid."
In saying that, those very good people meant to encourage me, and I appreciated their kindness then, and all these many decades later, I still appreciate their good intentions. But as I was tossed around the foster care system, it began to dawn on me that they were wrong.  It was not all right to be a foster kid.
During my time in the system, I was bounced every eighteen months from three foster homes to an orphanage to a boy's school and to a group home before I left on my own accord at age seventeen.
In the course of my stay in foster care, I was severely beaten in two homes by my "care givers" and separated from my four siblings who were also in care, sometimes only blocks away from where I was living.
I left the system rather than to wait to age out, although the effects of leaving the system without any family, means, or safety net of any kind, were the same as if I had aged out. I lived in poverty for the first part of my life, dropped out of high school, and had continuous problems with the law.
 Today, almost nothing about foster care has changed.  Exactly what happened to me is happening to some other child, somewhere in America, right now.  The system, corrupt, bloated, and inefficient, goes on, unchanging and secretive.
Something has gone wrong in a system that was originally a compassionate social policy built to improve lives but is now a definitive cause in ruining lives.  Due to gross negligence, mismanagement, apathy, and greed, mostly what the foster care system builds are dangerous consequences. Truly, foster care has become our epic national disgrace and a nightmare for those of us who have lived through it.
Yet there is a suspicion among some Americans that foster care costs too much, undermines the work ethic, and is at odds with a satisfying life.  Others see foster care as a part of the welfare system, as legal plunder of the public treasuries.
 None of that is true; in fact, all that sort of thinking does is to blame the victims.  There is not a single child in the system who wants to be there or asked to be there.  Foster kids are in foster care because they had nowhere else to go.  It's that simple.  And believe me, if those kids could get out of the system and be reunited with their parents and lead normal, healthy lives, they would. And if foster care is a sort of legal plunder of the public treasuries, it's not the kids in the system who are doing the plundering.
 We need to end this needless suffering.  We need to end it because it is morally and ethically wrong and because the generations to come will not judge us on the might of our armed forces or our technological advancements or on our fabulous wealth.
 Rather, they will judge us, I am certain, on our compassion for those who are friendless, on our decency to those who have nothing and on our efforts, successful or not, to make our nation and our world a better place.  And if we cannot accomplish those things in the short time allotted to us, then let them say of us "at least they tried."
You can change the tragedy of foster care and here's how to do it.  We have created this book so that almost all of it can be tweeted out by you to the world.  You have the power to improve the lives of those in our society who are least able to defend themselves.  All you need is the will to do it.
 If the American people, as good, decent and generous as they are, knew what was going on in foster care, in their name and with their money, they would stop it.  But, generally speaking, although the public has a vague notion that foster care is a mess, they don't have the complete picture. They are not aware of the human, economic and social cost that the mismanagement of the foster care system puts on our nation.
By tweeting the facts laid out in this work, you can help to change all of that.  You can make a difference.  You can change things for the better.
We can always change the future for a foster kid; to make it better ...you have the power to do that. Speak up (or tweet out) because it's your country.  Don't depend on the "The other guy" to speak up for these kids, because you are the other guy.
We cannot build a future for foster children, but we can build foster children for the future and the time to start that change is today.

No time to say Goodbye: Memoirs of a life in foster 
Paperbook 440 Books

On the Waterfront: The Making of a Great American Film
Paperback: 416 pages


Scotish Ghost Stories
Paperback 186 pages

The Book of funny odd and interesting things people say
Paperback: 278 pages

The Wee Book of Irish Jokes

Perfect Behavior: A guide for Ladies and Gentlemen in all Social Crises


You Don’t Need a Weatherman. Underground 1969
Paperback 122 pages

Baby Boomers Guide to the Beatles Songs of the Sixties

Baby Boomers Guide to Songs of the 1960s

The Connecticut Irish
Paper back 140 pages

 The Wee Book of Irish Jokes

The Wee Book of Irish Recipes 
 The Wee Book of the American-Irish Gangsters

 The Wee book of Irish Blessings... 

The Wee Book of the American Irish in Their Own Words

Everything you need to know about St. Patrick
Paperback 26 pages

A Reading Book in Ancient Irish History
Paperback 147pages

The Book of Things Irish

Poets and Dreamer; Stories translated from the Irish
Paperback 158 pages

The History of the Great Irish Famine: Abridged and Illustrated
Paperback 356 pages


The New England Mafia

Wicked Good New England Recipes

The Connecticut Irish
Paper back 140 pages

The Twenty-Fifth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers
Paperback 64 pages

The Life of James Mars
Paperback 54 pages

Stories of Colonial Connecticut
Paperback 116 pages

What they Say in Old New England
Paperback 194 pages


Chicago Organized Crime

The Mob Files: It Happened Here: Places of Note in Chicago gangland 1900-2000

An Illustrated Chronological History of the Chicago Mob. Time Line 1837-2000

Mob Buster: Report of Special Agent Virgil Peterson to the Kefauver Committee

The Mob Files. Guns and Glamour: The Chicago Mob. A History. 1900-2000

Shooting the Mob: Organized crime in photos. Crime Boss Tony Accardo

Shooting the Mob: Organized Crime in Photos: The Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre.

The Life and World of Al Capone in Photos

AL CAPONE: The Biography of a Self-Made Man.: Revised from the 0riginal 1930 edition.Over 200 new photographs
Paperback: 340 pages

Whacked. One Hundred Years Murder and Mayhem in the Chicago Outfit
Paperback: 172 pages

Las Vegas Organized Crime
The Mob in Vegas

Bugsy & His Flamingo: The Testimony of Virginia Hill

Testimony by Mobsters Lewis McWillie, Joseph Campisi and Irwin Weiner (The Mob Files Series)

Rattling the Cup on Chicago Crime.
Paperback 264 pages

The Life and Times of Terrible Tommy O’Connor.
Paperback 94 pages

The Mob, Sam Giancana and the overthrow of the Black Policy Racket in Chicago
Paperback 200 pages

When Capone’s Mob Murdered Roger Touhy. In Photos
Paperback 234 pages

Organized Crime in Hollywood
The Mob in Hollywood

The Bioff Scandal
Paperback 54 pages

Organized Crime in New York
Joe Pistone’s war on the mafia

Mob Testimony: Joe Pistone, Michael Scars DiLeonardo, Angelo Lonardo and others

The New York Mafia: The Origins of the New York Mob

The New York Mob: The Bosses

Organized Crime 25 Years after Valachi. Hearings before the US Senate

Shooting the mob: Dutch Schultz

Gangland Gaslight: The Killing of Rosy Rosenthal. (Illustrated)

Early Street Gangs and Gangsters of New York City
Paperback 382 pages

The Russian Mafia in America

The Threat of Russian Organzied Crime
Paperback 192 pages

Organized Crime/General
Best of Mob Stories

Best of Mob Stories Part 2


Mob Recipes to Die For. Meals and Mobsters in Photos

More Mob Recipes to Die For. Meals and Mobs

The New England Mafia

Shooting the mob. Organized crime in photos. Dead Mobsters, Gangsters and Hoods.

The Salerno Report: The Mafia and the Murder of President John F. Kennedy

The Mob Files: Mob Wars. "We only kill each other"

The Mob across America

The US Government’s Time Line of Organzied Crime 1920-1987

Early Street Gangs and Gangsters of New York City: 1800-1919. Illustrated

The Mob Files: Mob Cops, Lawyers and Informants and Fronts

Gangster Quotes: Mobsters in their own words. Illustrated
Paperback: 128 pages

The Book of American-Jewish Gangsters: A Pictorial History.
Paperback: 436 pages

The Mob and the Kennedy Assassination
Paperback 414 pages


The Last Outlaw: The story of Cole Younger, by Himself
Paperback 152 pages

Chicago: A photographic essay.
 Paperback: 200 pages

Boomers on a train: A ten minute play
Paperback 22 pages

Four Short Plays
By John William Tuohy

Four More Short Plays
By John William Tuohy

High and Goodbye: Everybody gets the Timothy Leary they deserve. A full length play
By John William Tuohy

Cyberdate. An Everyday Love Story about Everyday People
By John William Tuohy

The Dutchman's Soliloquy: A one Act Play based on the factual last words of Gangster Dutch Schultz.
By John William Tuohy

Fishbowling on The Last Words of Dutch Schultz: Or William S. Burroughs intersects with Dutch Schultz
Print Length: 57 pages

American Shakespeare: August Wilson in his own words. A One Act Play
By John William Tuohy

She Stoops to Conquer

The Seven Deadly Sins of Gilligan’s Island: A ten minute play
Print Length: 14 pages

OUT OF CONTROL: An Informal History of the Fairfax County Police

McLean Virginia. A short informal history


The Quotable Emerson: Life lessons from the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson: Over 300 quotes
HERE'S WORD FROM EMERSON.....................

Concentration is the secret of strength in politics in war in trade in short in all the management of human affairs.
The only prudence in life is concentration.

I can reason down or deny everything except this perpetual Belly: feed he must and will and I cannot make him respectable.

Let the stoics say what they please we do not eat for the good of living but because the meat is savory and the appetite is keen.

The Quotable John F. Kennedy

The Quotable Oscar Wilde

The Quotable Machiavelli

The Quotable Confucius: Life Lesson from the Chinese Master

The Quotable Henry David Thoreau

The Quotable Robert F. Kennedy

The Quotable Writer: Writers on the Writers Life

The words of Walt Whitman: An American Poet
Paperback: 162 pages

Gangster Quotes: Mobsters in their own words. Illustrated
Paperback: 128 pages

The Quotable Popes
Paperback 66 pages

The Quotable Kahlil Gibran with Artwork from Kahlil Gibran
Paperback 52 pages
Kahlil Gibran, an artist, poet, and writer was born on January 6, 1883 n the north of modern-day Lebanon and in what was then part of Ottoman Empire. He had no formal schooling in Lebanon. In 1895, the family immigrated to the United States when Kahlil was a young man and settled in South Boston. Gibran enrolled in an art school and was soon a member of the avant-garde community and became especially close to Boston artist, photographer, and publisher Fred Holland Day who encouraged and supported Gibran’s creative projects. An accomplished artist in drawing and watercolor, Kahlil attended art school in Paris from 1908 to 1910, pursuing a symbolist and romantic style. He held his first art exhibition of his drawings in 1904 in Boston, at Day's studio. It was at this exhibition, that Gibran met Mary Elizabeth Haskell, who ten years his senior. The two formed an important friendship and love affair that lasted the rest of Gibran’s short life. Haskell influenced every aspect of Gibran’s personal life and career. She became his editor when he began to write and ushered his first book into publication in 1918, The Madman, a slim volume of aphorisms and parables written in biblical cadence somewhere between poetry and prose. Gibran died in New York City on April 10, 1931, at the age of 48 from cirrhosis of the liver and tuberculosis.

The Quotable Dorothy Parker
Paperback 86 pages

The Quotable Machiavelli
Paperback 36 pages

The Quotable Greeks
Paperback 230 pages

The Quotabe Oscar Wilde
Paperback 24 pages

The Quotable Helen Keller
Paperback 66 pages

The Art of War: Sun Tzu
Paperback 60 pages

The Quotable Shakespeare
Paperback 54 pages

The Quotable Gorucho Marx
Paperback 46 pages