Monday, March 22, 2010

First Edith, now Teddy

As the multitudinous followers of The Mount's Blog already know, this year The Mount is presenting a new exhibit all about film adaptations of works by Edith Wharton. There already have been a few biopics about Wharton, and in one of those, Looking Back, produced for PBS in 1981, Wharton, played by Kathleen Widdoes, makes an imaginary return to The Mount. The Mount does not play itself, it is played by The Elms in Newport!! A later biopic, Songs from the Heart, at least has The Mount in its rightful place playing Wharton's home, but the time is ripe for The Mount to claim center stage at the heart of our own, as yet unwritten, unsold, and probably, alas, never to be produced, Edith Wharton biopic!

We have sent out a casting call for Edith Wharton, and today it is the turn of her husband. Edward Robbins Wharton, known as Teddy, will be a difficult role to fill. He was by all accounts a charming, friendly, playful, and kind man, certainly in the early years of his relationship with Edith Jones. Thirteen years older than Edith, he went to Harvard with one of her older brothers. They had little in common except for a love of animals. In fact, we are told that one of the reasons that The Mount was a failure as a working farm is that Teddy grew so fond of each of the pigs that he would never send them away for slaughter!

Teddy was of average height, had dark hair and a dark moustache, and hazel eyes. A number of candidates have been put forward, Tom Selleck and Tom Cruise being two, but we at The Mount feel that both of the Toms would be more suited to the cad of the piece, Morton Fullerton.

The first real contender in your blogger's opinion is the ever charming Burt Reynolds. We know that Teddy Wharton was a keen motorist, and anyone who has seen Mr. Reynolds's work in The Cannonball Run or Smokey and the Bandit can see that he would do justice to many aspects of Mr. Wharton's personality.

Meaning in no way to disparage Mr. Reynolds's abilities, the difficulty for an actor in playing Teddy arises from his mental state, which worsened greatly after he and his wife moved into The Mount. It is generally assumed nowadays that he suffered from bipolar disorder, or manic depression. We feel that our next contender, Robert Downey, Jr. has proven his versatility time and again, and he looks good with a moustache as well (see above).

Our last contender has done stalwart work in every genre of the cinema. Teddy Wharton's extreme mood swings lead to great difficulty in their marriage, and though his wife tried to find the best possible care for him, both he and other members of his family resisted. Although it was never reported that there was any physical violence, there were a number of very unfortunate scenes here at The Mount. Many of these took place near the doorway to the Whartons's adjoining bedrooms, and visitors like Henry James wrote of these terrible encounters in letters. We therefore put forth Jack Nicholson as our own favorite to play Teddy Wharton. After all, he has done something very similar before!

Please continue to help us by suggesting your own favorites in the comments section of the blog!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Saving Save America's Treasures part 3

We must continue the campaign for Save America's Treasures. WAMC, NPR for the Northeast, broadcast a story about the threat to this program yesterday, and have posted the story online. Listen to it here. WAMC: Landmark Restoration Funding on the Chopping Block in DC (2010-03-17) Then follow this link and contact your member of Congress. According to the program Save America's Treasures costs approximately $25 million. This is peanuts compared to so many other budget items, and the shortsightedness of cutting this program from the budget is baffling to those of us who care at all about places like The Mount. Put it on Facebook, tweet it, blog it, make as much of a fuss as is necessary. The Mount, and (let us be honest, perhaps even more crucially) The Mount's Blog would certainly not be here without Save America's Treasures!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Saving Save America's Treasures part 2

Just in case there are those out there who think that our argument for saving Save America's Treasures needs bolstering, here are a few "before and after" pictures ...

Follow the link above and act now, before it is too late to save this vital program!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

To all who care about our history, our culture, historic preservation, and, of course, The Mount

All of us at The Mount are horrified at the proposed budget cuts which now threaten to completely eliminate the crucial program Save America's Treasures. This program has created thousands of jobs and helped to preserve hundreds of sites that otherwise would have been lost forever. It is nothing but the truth to say that without Save America's Treasures The Mount would simply not be here today. We cannot express our distress and dismay strongly enough and we ask that everyone who cares not only about The Mount, but about America's heritage and historic preservation please take whatever steps that they can to prevent its destruction. Watch the video below, then follow this link.

Write your congressman, make a donation to the campaign, blog it, facebook it, tweet it, do whatever it takes! Is there somewhere near you that is like The Mount only a decade ago, a near ruin, facing demolition, development, and destruction? Remember what could have and would have happened to The Mount without Save America's Treasures, and act now!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Wharton hits a home run!

One had to use the baseball analogy for this excellent news! The New York Library Association has announced the list of authors who will be the first inducted into the recently established New York State Writers Hall of Fame. Of course, Edith Wharton is on the list, and we salute the NYLA for this initiative. The Hall of Fame will initially be physically located at the Albany Public Library, just a hop, skip, and jump away from Lenox, so if one finds oneself there, there is no excuse not to visit The Mount as well!

The picture above is by local hero Norman Rockwell, and comes to us courtesy of the Norman Rockwell Museum's website. As a matter of fact, one would think that the visit mentioned above could well include a stop there as well, as it is just around the corner.