Click to search the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library Skip Navigation

All NYPL locations will close at 3 PM on December 31, 2014 and will be closed on January 1,  2015.

Your Library Needs You!

Posts by Stephen Kiss

Who is Harpo Marx?

Who is Harpo? How does one describe him? What is his role in the Marx Brothers' films? What is his role in the universe? Sometimes he is a hero; sometimes an anti-hero. He is always unique, on par with the greats: Chaplin, Red Skelton, Emmet Kelly. He is spontaneous, in continuous action, even when he freezes or stares (which are actions in themselves). He's a part of a group, but sometimes stands alone. Is he everyman, or the product of a long line of clowns?

Harpo can't read, so he takes pleasure in burning books. Perhaps he can read and it's all a pretense. He 

... Read More ›

On TV Westerns of the 1950s and '60s

Question: What phenomenon occured in 1949, exploded in 1959, and more or less faded in the late '60s? Answer: The TV western.

On June 24, 1949, Hopalong Cassidy, played by William Boyd, and his horse Topper, rode across the small screen and into the homes of western film lovers. Soon other TV western series such as Gunsmoke, Cheyenne, The Lone Ranger and The Rifleman would follow. By 1959, westerns became so popular that they dominated other prime time TV series. From 1949 to the late '60s, there were over 100 western series that aired on the networks.

Before 

... Read More ›

Magic, a Fantasy... Plus Some Sources

[Note: The following is an imaginative work of fiction. For some decidedly non-fiction resources for your own fantastic feats, see below.]

The opening article in the 1836 edition of the Magician's Yearly Trust, published then by a British organization of the same name, entitled "On performing magic in the most frozen parts of the world" caught my eye. It was the word "frozen" in the title that made me wonder what the article really was about. So I began reading the article and learned that there was a small group of professional 

... Read More ›

Chat with a librarian now