You Go Big Or You Go Home: An Oral History Of The Creation And Evolution Of ‘Parks And Recreation’

I am going to miss this show SO MUCH.


Parks and Rec oral history main

It’s very fitting that Parks and Recreation began as a show about a hole that needed to be filled. After seven seasons and 125 episodes, Leslie Knope and the lovable, bizarre and often crazy residents of the fictional town of Pawnee, Ind. are saying goodbye with a two-part finale on NBC. It will be hard for any other comedy to achieve what Parks and Recreation did, creating and developing characters that were both unique and absurd, but also some that felt like they were real enough to be our friends and family.

If you look back at the debut episode that aired on April 9, 2009, you might not even recognize Leslie, Ron Swanson, Tom Haverford and April Ludgate, as these characters have changed so much since the first season. In order to understand how Parks and Rec grew from a small cast of characters with opposing personalities into an…

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George Harrison: Born on February 25, 1943

George Harrison

georgewguitarAs a songwriter, Harrison was continually out-gunned by Lennon-McCartney. The intense trio of songs he contributed to Revolver — “Taxman,” “I Want to Tell You,” and “Love You To” — would be his most significant contribution to a single Beatles album. He had other classics to his credit, including “Here Comes the Sun” and “Something,” his first Beatles A-side, a track which would top the charts in America. (Both came off 1969’s Abbey Road) But Harrison also funneled his creativity into the guitar, a suitably introspective pursuit. From his raw, early rock-and-roll influences he extrapolated a wide-ranging and poetic style. In the late sixties, he helped introduce the slide guitar to prominence; he also popularized the 12-string Rickenbacker guitar and its ultra-distinctive sound on 1964’s A Hard Day’s Night.




Enrico Caruso: Born February 25, 1873

‘The Great Caruso’ or ‘King of Tenors’ was born in Naples in 1873. He was his parents’ 18th child and the first to survive infancy. Music was his escape from the wretched reality that surrounded him. He sang in Neapolitan cafes and restaurants. By 1895 he was singing leading roles at the Opera House in Naples. From there he went to the major Italian opera houses and then became an international star. ‘Who has sent you to me? God?’ exclaimed Puccini on first hearing him sing.

The White Album Cover

Richard Hamilton* – The Beatles White Album Cover design – from Turnbull Studio
In one of Richard Hamilton’s last filmed interviews, he tells the story of how he designed the Beatles White Album cover. Together with Paul McCartney, they decided that the next Beatles cover should be the total opposite of the Sgt Pepper’s design, which is packed full of Peter Blake’s now iconic imagery, and Richard created a minimalist white double cover sleeve. The Beatles record label, EMI had concerns, but Paul McCartney, who commissioned Richard to design the cover, persuaded EMI to allow the design to go ahead. This Beatles White Album is probably the first album to be known by the cover design and not the actual name of the album, which is simply, “The Beatles”.

White Album

*Richard Hamilton (February 24, 1922 – September 13, 2011) was an English painter and collage artist.

pinThanks to the outstanding Facebook page A Mighty Girl, I learned today about the Civil Rights Movement Veterans website:  Their stated purpose: “This website is created by Veterans of the Southern Freedom Movement (1951-1968). It is where we tell it like it was, the way we lived it, the way we saw it, the way we still see it. With a few minor exceptions, everything on this site was written, created, or spoken by Movement activists who were direct participants in the events they chronicle.”

The site contains a wealth of letters, diary entries, interviews, personal narratives, essays, and more. They also have a large collection of photographs taken during that era, allowing us to see history as it was being made.Selma