Poor Donna Reed: Her Mary would have ended up working in a library<em> — shudder — </em>if not for the matrimonial intervention of Jimmy Stewart's George Bailey. Happily, 1946's <em>It's a Wonderful Life </em>isn't the only lens through which pop culture assesses the worth of the institution and those who make it tick.
When I was 9, I spent a lot of time at a public library just down the street; I was already a theater nerd, and it had a well-stocked theater section. Not just books, but original cast albums for Broadway shows old and new. One day, an addition: The Music Man, about a salesman who was crazy about a girl named, as one song put it, "Marrrrrrrion, madam librarian."
When Robert Klein was a busboy in the Catskills, he saw the best Jewish comedians of the day. From Rodney Dangerfield and Mel Brooks, to comedy in its modern form, Klein was there to see the evolution of what makes us laugh. It made him the perfect person to narrate the documentary that opened this week in New York City, When Comedy Went to School. It's a look back at how many famous comedians got their start by spending their summers in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York.
In this age of cyber-crime and online espionage, here's a good old-fashioned story about cops and robbers: Smash & Grab, a new documentary film opening in New York on Wednesday, details the exploits of the "Pink Panthers" — a group of international jewel thieves that, for the past decade, has targeted high-end jewelry shops across Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
According to the international police agency, Interpol, the Pink Panthers have stolen nearly a half a billion dollars worth of jewels over roughly 500 robberies.