November 23 in history:

One of the most famous American magazines ever came to life on November 23rd, 1936.  It was Life, a photo-magazine created by Time magazine publisher Henry Luce.  The first issue of Life featured a cover photo of the Fort Peck Dam in Montana.  The magazine was published weekly for 36 years, and has been brought back to life in different forms since then.

“To Life” is a famous song from the musical “Fiddler on the Roof.”  Jerry Bock, who wrote the music for “Fiddler” as well as “She Loves Me” and “The Apple Tree,” was born November 23rd, 1928.

When Dr. Frankenstein shouted “It’s alive!” in the 1931 movie “Frankenstein,” actor Boris Karloff was bringing the monster to life.  Karloff — who started life as William Pratt — is famous for many monster movie roles, and for starring as the narrator and the Grinch in the 1966 TV special “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”  He was born November 23rd, 1887.

Karloff said little as the monster in the original “Frankenstein” film.  He shared a November 23rd birthday with an actor who made a career of not speaking on stage or screen:  comedian Arthur “Harpo” Marx (born 1888).  Some men who are famous for writing words for actors also celebrate a birthday today:  Robert Towne (1934), an Oscar winner for “Chinatown,” and Joe Eszterhas (1944), who wrote “Basic Instinct” and “Flashdance.”


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