Here are 10 things you should know about James Cagney, born 121 years ago today. He was a silver-screen tough guy whom actress Gloria Stuart once described as “an intellectual…very reserved….He wasn’t the gangster type or anything like that.”
Director William Wellman was a leap year baby, born on February 29, 1896. “Wild Bill” enjoyed a long and prolific career, directing such classics as Wings (1927), The Public Enemy (1931), the original A Star Is Born (1937) and The Ox-Bow Incident (1942), among many others.
One of our personal hard and fast rules goes as follows: If it’s a pre-code picture and it’s directed by William Wellman, watch it. It’s an approach that every movie buff could benefit from.
Ernie Pyle, a hero of ours, was born 117 years ago today on a farm near Dana, Indiana, on August 3, 1900. He’s best remembered today as a war correspondent during World War II. Pyle repeatedly put himself in harm’s way, positioning himself with the troops at the front lines so that he could tell the stories of the common soldiers, sailors and airmen who were fighting the war. His courageous approach to reportage made him beloved by folks back home who were eager to have some sense of what their loved ones were experiencing overseas.
But even before he devoted himself to covering the war, Pyle was a groundbreaking journalist. In the early thirties, he was the most respected writer in the country who covered the aviation beat, and from the mid-’30s through the United States’ entrance into World War II, he traveled the country’s back roads and byways, writing a syndicated column for Scripps-Howard about the people he met while traveling and the things he saw.
Here’s a story we wrote for the Guideposts magazine website about Pyle’s life and career.
Happy birthday, Ernie, wherever you may be…