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Did the historic events behind the film The Big Short happen under Glass Steagall?

Did the historic events behind the film The Big Short happen under Glass Steagall?


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In this episode of Planet America, the former House of Representatives member Barney Frank made the statement:

Sanders has one proposal, enact an 80 year old law, re-enacted called Glass Steagall.

Had Glass-Stegall been in effect, well Glass-Steagal was in effect, people may have seen The Big Short, [movie The Big Short] Glass Steagal was fully in effect for almost all of that period. All of the abuses the mortgages being granted to people who shouldn't get them, the leveraging of derivatives, Glass Steagal did not touch on those things.

My question is: Did the historic events behind the film The Big Short happen under Glass Steagall?


Ummm… no.

As a bit of background, Glass Steagall was passed in the wake of the Great Depression to prevent commercial banks, or entities affiliated with commercial banks, from speculating in securities. This was viewed as a cause for the financial bubble that kicked off the crash of 1929. Investigations found that banks were doing a lot of underwriting of bad loans, and then pooling them into financial instruments*. Afterwards a bank could be a commercial bank or an investment bank, but not both.

Glass Steagall's "Affiliation provisions" were repealed in 1999 (although to be fair it was being loosely interpreted and worked around as early as the '60's).

The Housing Bubble whose burst was depicted in The Big Short, complete with underwriting of bad home loans and pooling them into financial instruments started in… 1999. Call it a coincidence if you want.


* - Now normally a bank would of course lose money on a bad loan. However, if it is allowed to turn its own loan into a security, particularly by pooling it with other loans, some of which may be better, then it can leach off of the securities market with this bad loan that is still theoretically worth face value.

If you get in a situation where securities values are going up, and more and more people start noticing that and start demanding more of them, then their price will go up almost no matter what's in them. That's a "bubble." In this situation the demand for securities will keep going up, so the investment side of the bank will be putting an immense amount of pressure on the commercial side to generate more loans for the investment side to pool and sell. Few loanees are going to turn down money from their bank, so nobody has any incentive to make sure the individual loans themselves are repayable (or even legit).


It does depend on what you mean by "under Glass Steagall" as it was only partially in place in 2007-8.

As the wikipedia page for the Glass-Steagall legislation mentions, the Glass-Steagall provisions were partially undone by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act also known as the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999. This Act repealed two of the four Glass-Steagall provisions, of the Banking Act of 1933, which restricted affiliations between banks and securities firms. So at the time in which the film was set, part of the original 1933 legislation was still in effect.


No.

The whole point of repealing Glass Steagall was to allow financial institutions to engage in the risky (and initially profitable) practices depicted in the Big Short. This, after decades of lobbying by the banks.

It may not be a coincidence that the two sets of events happened over 70 years apart, after everyone who had a personal recollection of Glass Steagall went to "the big trading floor" in the sky. (Today's "old people" like Alan Greenspan and Warren Buffett were young children when Glass-Steagall was passed in 1932.)

I am writing as the author of "A Modern Approach to Graham and Dodd Investing," a (Wiley, 2004) book that warned of the 2008 crash.


12 Hugely Important Moments in the History of Photography

As humans we seem to have an insatiable need to document life — our actions, the actions of other species of animals, anything and everything around us. While the ever present, universally accessible nature of the camera in the modern world makes this all too easy, the drive to produce a permanent record of life’s meaningful — and not so meaningful — events is not at all a concept borne of recent technological achievement. Consider, for example, cave paintings dating back to 40,000 years ago, commonly depicting scenes involving wild animals and outlines of human hands. And you only have to go back to about the 4th and 5th centuries BCE to realize that the great ancient Chinese and Greek minds had already grasped the basic principles of optics and were quite familiar with the pinhole camera, or camera obscura. Unbeknownst to the ancients, their simple device would eventually give rise to what is arguably the single most compelling means of documenting our lives — photography.

What follows is a list of 12 events (out of, perhaps, thousands) that mark the technological, social, and cultural path of photography's evolution.

Joseph Nicéphore Niépce’s Very Long Exposure – Joseph Nicéphore Niépce is credited with producing the first permanently fixed photographic image from nature when, in 1826, he used a camera obscura outfitted with a lens and a bitumen coated pewter plate to cast an image of the view of the courtyard outside his window. The 8 hour exposure was then washed with a mixture of oil of lavender and white petroleum, rendering a view of the surrounding buildings, courtyard, and at least one tree, as seen from Niépce’s upstairs bedroom. He called his process “heliography.”

Louis Daguerre and the Daguerreotype – In 1829 French painter and physicist Louis Daguerre partnered with Niépce in an effort to reduce the excessive exposure time needed to render an image. Niépce died in 1833, but Daguerre continued the work and eventually developed a more effective method he discovered that by exposing silver coated copper plates for shorter periods, the faint latent image that was captured could then be chemically developed into a distinct visible image. Daguerre named the process after himself and the Daguerreotype was presented to the general public in 1839.

Negative/Positive – Three weeks after the Daguerreotype made its debut, British scientist Fox Talbot reported that he had devised a “photogenic drawing” process — which he had already been experimenting with for several years — based on the use of light sensitive paper as opposed to metal plates. Talbot would eventually — and accidentally — discover that a short exposure time and the right chemicals turned his paper into a negative that could be used to make multiple positive prints. Talbot called his process “calotype” and introduced it to the world in 1841.

Roger Fenton: War Photographer – Roger Fenton rose to fame in England during the “golden age” of photography in the 1850s. Originally recognized for his architecture and landscape photography, Fenton was dispatched to cover the Crimean War in 1855, thus becoming the world’s first war photographer. Because of the unwieldy nature of his equipment and its inherent technological limitations, Fenton was unable to photograph moving subjects and instead focused on posed portraits and landscapes. He chose not to photograph dead or injured soldiers.

Crossing the Niagara – On June 30, 1859, William England, chief photographer with the London Stereoscopic Company, gathered with 5000 other spectators to watch Jean Francois Gravelet (performing under the name Charles Blondin) attempt to cross from Canada to the United States by walking a tightrope suspended above the Niagara River. England captured Blondin’s successful 1100-foot (335-meter) trek across the river his stereoscopic images were among the first to be licensed for international commercial use.

The Roll Standard – In 1889, a year after introducing a simplified camera suitable for the general public (the Kodak Number 1), George Eastman transparent roll film made of nitrocellulose. Later that year, Thomas Edison took Eastman’s 70mm Kodak film roll, slit it down the middle, and cut transport perforations down both sides. This 35mm format would become the international standard for motion picture cameras and, eventually, still cameras.

Stark Realism – Reinhold Thiele is often cited among the founders of photojournalism, having covered major events in Britain including the opening of the Tower Bridge and Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. In 1899, the London Daily Graphic commissioned Thiele to cover the Second Boer War. Many of the photographs made by Thiele were considered so graphic that the newspaper refused to run them.

‘Wounded men lying on the floor of a British field dressing station probably immediately after the Battle of Modder River.'

35mm – German engineer Oskar Barnack had a problem: he was an avid amateur photographer who had become disillusioned by the weight of the photographic equipment of the time, an issue that became increasingly significant in light of Barnack’s failing health. His goal was to design a small, portable film camera. 35mm film was already in regular use for motion pictures in 1913, Barnack developed the prototype of a camera designed to make use of 35mm film for the purpose of still photography. In 1925, the Leitz camera company began marketing the first portable 35mm camera under the trade name Leica. Cameras could now be taken anywhere and photography became even more accessible to the general public.

Instant Gratification – In 1947, American physicist Dr. Edwin Land invented a one-step process for developing and printing photos by applying the principle of diffusion transfer, which reproduces the image captured by the camera’s lens onto a photosensitive surface serving as both film and photo. 57 of Land’s cameras went on sale before Christmas 1948 and thus the Polaroid instant camera revolution was born, with Ansel Adams as one of Polaroid’s greatest proponents.

The Decisive Moment – Widely considered to be the father of modern photojournalism, Henri Cartier-Bresson’s work revealed the lofty potential of street photography. In 1947, after escaping a German POW camp four years prior, Cartier-Bresson teamed up with four other photographers, including famed wartime photojournalist Robert Capa, to form Magnum Photos — one of the world’s premier photo agencies. His 1952 book The Decisive Moment is a powerful testament to “the photographer with a heart” and an amazing record of 20 years’ worth of work from one of the world’s greatest documentary photographers, who was intent on revealing both tragedy and triumph in all its forms. Cartier-Bresson documented the Spanish Civil War, the Chinese Revolution, and George VI’s coronation he captured such personalities as Truman Capote, Gandhi, Marilyn Monroe, Sartre, and Che Guevara.

Digitize Me – In 1974, Gareth Lloyd, a supervisor at Kodak, presented electrical engineer Steven Sasson with a question — he wanted to know whether a type of high speed semiconductor known as a charge-coupled device (CCD) could be used to fashion a camera image sensor. A year later, Sasson had invented a big blue contraption that could capture an image, convert that information into an electronic signal, then digitize the signal and store it in memory. This first digital camera, which weighed 8 pounds (3.6kg), captured a black and white image with a resolution of .01 megapixels. It took 23 seconds to record the image onto the storage medium — a cassette — and an additional 23 seconds to read the image and display it on a television screen. Sasson received the National Medal of Technology and Innovation in 2012.

The Death of Film? – Building upon Steven Sasson’s landmark invention of the digital still camera, Kodak released the first commercially available digital SLR in 1991. Known as the Kodak DCS-100 it was essentially a modified Nikon F3 body equipped with a 1.3 megapixel sensor and an external storage unit with a capacity of 200 MB, capable of storing 156 uncompressed images. The DCS-100 wasn’t an overwhelming commercial success sporting a retail tag of $13,000USD, it sold 987 units. More significant, however, was that it marked the inevitability of the dominance of digital photography.

What We Recommend to Improve Your Photography Fast

It's possible to get some pretty large improvements in your photography skills very fast be learning some fundamentals. Consider this the 80:20 rule of photography where 80% of the improvements will come from 20% of the learnable skills. Those fundamentals include camera craft, composition, understanding light and mastering post-production. Here are the premium guides we recommend.

  1. Easy DSLR – Friend of Light Stalking, Ken Schultz has developed this course over several years and it still remains the single best source for mastering your camera by identifying the main things that are holding you back.
  2. Understanding Composition – As one of the core elements of a good photograph, getting your head around composition is essential. Photzy's guide to the subject is an excellent introduction. Their follow-up on Advanced Composition is also well worth a read.
  3. Understanding Light – Also by Photzy, the other essential part of photography is covered in this epic guide and followed up in Understanding Light, Part 2. This is fundamental stuff that every photographer should aim to master.
  4. 5 Minute Magic Lightroom Workflow – Understanding post production is one of the keys to photographs that you will be proud of. This short course by one of the best in the business will show you how an award-winning photographer does it.

20 Mel Gibson Was Almost Crushed By A Horse During Filming

Horses were such an important aspect of warfare before World War I that it's impossible to make historical films without their inclusion. This is especially true of movies that deal with warfare, due to how important that mounted cavalry was for many armies throughout history. The problem with using horses during filmmaking is that they can be dangerous animals, regardless of how well they are trained. Mel Gibson almost suffered a terrible injury on the set of Braveheart when his horse nearly crushed him.

It was during a scene where he had fallen off the horse and it reared up in surprise. The problem was that the horse turned the wrong way and almost landed on Gibson.

It was only due to the fact that his stunt double rushed in and pulled him to safety that Mel Gibson escaped without injury.


“They Got the Wrong Envelope!”: The Oral History of Oscar’s Epic Best Picture Fiasco

One year after the craziest, most improbable and downright embarrassing moment in Academy Awards history, 29 key players open up (many for the first time) about the onstage chaos, backstage bickering and who's really to blame for Envelopegate and the two minutes and 23 seconds that 'La La Land' beat 'Moonlight.'

Scott Feinberg

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Since the first Academy Awards ceremony in 1929, Hollywood’s biggest night has produced its share of drama. But nothing &mdash nothing &mdash can hold a candle to the otherworldly insanity that unfolded at the very end of the 89th Oscars on Feb. 26, 2017, when the wrong best picture winner was announced. Ahead of the one-year anniversary of “ Envelopegate ,” THR spent months interviewing dozens of key players from that ceremony to document the incredible series of events that led the teams behind two films, Moonlight and La La Land, to collide on the same stage. A few of them said they would prefer to leave that awkward (and, for some, painful) night in the past many, however, were willing to look back and laugh at an Oscars that neither they, nor anyone else, will ever forget.

*All subjects were interviewed for this story with the exception of Beatty (whose comments were on The Graham Norton Show), Gosling (Entertainment Tonight), De Luca ( KCRW’s The Business), Bening (Jimmy Kimmel Live!) and Natoli (The Wrap).

1. THE COUNTDOWN

A few weeks before the show, Oscars producers Michael De Luca and Jennifer Todd recruit Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway to present the best picture Oscar.

JENNIFER TODD, Producer, 89th Oscars Being that it was the 50th anniversary of Bonnie and Clyde, we thought, “These two people would be so spec­tacular to get!”

PEGGY SIEGAL , Publicist, hosted events for La La Landand Moonlight Warren and Faye have not had the greatest relationship over the years. This is common knowledge. It’s a strained pairing because Faye is impossible.

Brian Cullinan and Martha Ruiz of PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accounting firm that has overseen the Oscars since 1934, are brought back as “balloting leaders,” a role that includes tabulating ballots and handing presenters envelopes. Concerns are raised even before the show.

TENI MELIDONIAN , Managing director, publicity and corporate communications, the Academy I met Brian four years ago when he first became a balloting leader. Very dedicated, loved the Oscars, enjoyed being there. Sometime that week [of the show], my department had told PwC’s PR department that Brian was not allowed to do any social media backstage because he was very engaged with social media during the week leading up to the show.

DAWN HUDSON, CEO, the Academy It was brought to my attention.

TODD I had several exchanges with PwC about them wanting to know how much we could feature them during the broadcast. Brian did a bit at the end in the Neil Patrick Harris year [2015], so he was curious to see if there was anything on the show this year.

JIMMY KIMMEL, Host I think the primary issue at rehearsal &mdash and this was something that was in my head when that envelope moment happened &mdash was how well [Beatty and Dunaway ] could see the teleprompter.

GLENN WEISS, Telecast director I’d just call it “an interesting dynamic” between the two of them.

LISA TABACK, Awards consultant, worked on both La La Landand Moonlight campaigns I saw Faye the day before the Oscars at the Sally Hershberger salon on La Cienega. She’d been driving the staff crazy for the past three days, trying to get her blond hair just right. When I walked in, the staff was ready to throw her out the window.

2. THE BIG DAY

By the day of the ceremony, almost all indicators pointed to a big night for La La Land.

TODD On Sunday morning, our three art deco tower set pieces fell down. It sounded like somebody set a bomb off. We had to bring in 60 stagehands to repair everything before the show. We had to push the opening of the theater &mdash they usually open the doors at 4 p.m., but we didn’t open them until 4:45. And we never got to rehearse the back half of the show.

MELIDONIAN We were thinking, “OK, this is the worst that it’s going to be. We’re good.”

HUDSON “Blue skies from here.”

The show starts with a performance of “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” by Justin Timberlake, followed by Kimmel’s well-received monologue.

HUDSON Everyone in that whole theater was dancing. Things couldn’t have gone better.

KIMMEL If you get through the monologue successfully, you’re like 75 percent of the way there. It went very well.

NICOLETTE AIZENBERG, Executive at A24, which financed and distributed Moonlight Mahershala [Ali] won best supporting actor early on, and I was so happy for him. Then Barry [Jenkins, Moonlight‘s director and co-writer] and Tarell [Alvin McCraney, who also wrote the play upon which Moonlight is based] won best adapted screenplay. Those were the two awards we were expected to win.

TABACK I was sitting next to [La La Land director] Damien [Chazelle]’s parents, so I had to play it cool when La La Land lost a number of categories it was expected to win. They kept saying, “Is this a bad thing?” [But] after Damien’s win [for director], I was able to relax. I was sure that La La Land was going home with best picture.

CHERYL BOONE ISAACS, Then-president, the Academy Mike and Jen did what they said they’d wanted to do &mdash an incredibly entertaining show that moved along.

TODD [ABC] likes you to hit the last commercial before midnight [ET]. When Emma Stone walked offstage [with the best actress Oscar] and it went to black and we cut to commercial, it was 11:59:59, so we were like, “We made it!” Somebody put a glass of champagne down in front of me.

3. THE FINAL AWARD

BUSY PHILIPPS, Actress, guest of nominee Michelle Williams We almost missed it. Michelle and I almost left early because we really had to pee &mdash because we’re veteran Oscar attendees, we know that the line right after the ceremony is insane for the women’s room. But we stayed. Thank God!

MARA BUXBAUM, Publicist, guest of Casey Affleck We were sitting right in front of Matt Damon and his wife. She moved because Jimmy was going to close the show doing a comedy bit with Matt.

KIMMEL Matt said, “What are you gonna say?” I hadn’t quite figured that out, but I was just going to recap the fact that he didn’t win any awards.

BUXBAUM Because Jimmy was seated behind us, there was a stage manager with a headset standing right next to Casey on the aisle.

Beatty and Dunaway walk out.

JORDAN HOROWITZ, Producer, La La LandWe [the La La Land producers] had drawn straws very early on [to determine the order in which we would speak if we won].

JOHN LEGEND, Actor/songwriter, La La Land I had a good feeling about our chances to win.

Beatty opens the envelope, sees the card and hesitates.

KIMMEL I thought, “Oh, maybe they can’t see. Maybe that’s the problem.”

HOROWITZ I remember there being a really long pause and thinking it was a gag.

SIEGAL I thought, “Oh my God. He’s milking it. What is he doing?!”

WEISS It really didn’t occur to me that anything was out of order.

Beatty squints, looks flustered, briefly peers offstage and hands the card to Dunaway.

WARREN BEATTY, Actor and presenter I thought, “Well, maybe this is a misprint.” And then, “I shouldn’t foul up the show just because someone made a little error.”

HUDSON I thought he was being chivalrous and he was showing the card to let Faye read the winner.

Dunaway takes the card and exclaims, “La La Land!”

MELIDONIAN I sipped my champagne. We felt the evening had been so successful.

HOROWITZ I remember being really excited and cheering, and then looking at my wife. She gave me a kiss and said, “Just take a breath.”

CHRISSY TEIGEN, Model and Legend’s wife John stood up. I gave him a kiss. I was so excited and proud. I immediately grabbed my phone and took to tweeting.

PwC’s balloting leaders are required to memorize the winners and spring into action if a wrong name is announced. Cullinan quietly tells a stage manager, John Esposito, that he thinks the wrong winner has been announced, but does nothing further. Esposito then shares this information over his headset, prompting head stage manager Gary Natoli, crouched beside Kimmel, to instruct another stage manager to have PwC’s Ruiz (who has not reacted to the incorrect announcement) open the second best picture envelope and confirm which film won.

WEISS I hear on the headset, “The accountant says he thinks the wrong winner was announced.”

BUXBAUM All of a sudden, the stage manager next to Casey [Natoli] was saying, “Get them off the stage! Moonlight won!” The stage manager left and went up there.

PHILIPPS I could hear him say, “Moonlight is the winner!” We clearly heard him say, “Moonlight is the winner! Moonlight is the winner!”

Meanwhile the three La La Land producers take the stage and begin giving their acceptance speeches. Horowitz goes first. Then while Marc Platt is speaking, Horowitz and Fred Berger notice Natoli, wearing a headset, rushing toward them.

GARY NATOLI, Head stage manager John [Esposito] was trying to get Brian to go onstage, and he wouldn’t go. And Martha wouldn’t go. We had to push them onstage, which was just shocking to me.

HOROWITZ As I stepped back, I noticed that somebody with a headset was running onto the stage, and you could just feel something starting to turn.

KEVIN O’CONNELL, Sound rerecording mixer, Hacksaw Ridge There’s a guy who stands in front of the teleprompter, wearing white gloves, who tells everybody when to wrap it up after 45 seconds. And this guy was trying to stop everything.

TABACK I thought there was a police action or something, maybe a terrorist attack happening.

RYAN GOSLING, Actor, La La Land I felt like someone had been hurt. I thought there was some kind of medical situation.

PHILIPPS Then I’m like, “I’m sitting next to Ben Affleck &mdash he can stop the show because he’s fucking Batman!” I kind of grabbed his arm &mdash we’re not friends, but I was like, “You have to do something! Do something!”

JUSTIN HURWITZ, Composer/songwriter, La La Land A stage manager came up onstage and grabbed the envelope out of my hand &mdash I was holding the envelope for the score award [one of two Oscars he won that night]. When he took it I said, “That’s my envelope.” And he said, “I need all the envelopes!”

HOROWITZ That person was going around saying, “Where’s the envelope? Where’s the envelope?!” And I said, “I have the envelope.” This was while Marc was speaking. He came over to me, opened the envelope and it said Emma’s name on it. I knew Emma had her envelope because I’d seen it. I remember thinking that someone had somehow, like, stopped time.

LEGEND Then people start whispering, “Moonlight won.” For some reason, I thought they were saying it was a tie between Moonlight and La La Land and we were sharing the award.

TODD I put my headset on and I heard Glenn, the director, saying forcefully, “They got the wrong envelope! It’s not the right winner!”

MELIDONIAN I said “It’s OK, we’ll fix it.” Because I’m thinking it’s a misspelling on the graphics.

TODD I said, “Oh, my God, we’re having the Steve Harvey Oscars!”

MELIDONIAN We’re all like, “Fuck!”

KIMMEL I said to Matt [Damon], “What’s happening up there?” He said, “I think they announced the wrong winner.” I started laughing because that was ridiculous.

MAHERSHALA ALI, Actor, Moonlight I looked up on the monitor. When I saw that people at home could see security onstage, I literally said, “Oh. We won.” I don’t know what made me think that. Honestly, I can’t tell you.

MELIDONIAN I remember saying, “Oh my God, I have to get on that stage. I have to do something.”

KIMMEL Then it hit me that I was the only one wearing a microphone, and I should probably go up there to sort it out.

Among those who follow Natoli onto the stage, in full view of the audience and TV cameras, are Cullinan, Ruiz and Melidonian.

DAVID OYELOWO, Actor and presenter When [Cullinan] came on, he looked like Matt Damon, so I thought it was all part of Jimmy Kimmel’s bit.

KIMMEL They do look a lot alike.

MELIDONIAN Brian was just kind of staring through me, and I remember tapping him and saying, “Hey, Brian &mdash what’s going on?!” Remember, we’re on air! And he was not responsive. So then I approached Gary, the stage manager, and he said to me, “Go to Warren and get the envelope.”

TODD It was disappointing that the accountants froze and didn’t do any of the protocols, but I’m not surprised. Gary was more equipped to deal with the problem.

WEISS I couldn’t be more proud about how quickly Gary acted.

MELIDONIAN I approached Mr. Beatty and asked for the envelope. He said, “You may see the envelope. You may not have the envelope.” The envelope clearly said, “Emma Stone, La La Land.” And I’m thinking, “Oh God. How did this happen?!”

TODD I wasn’t upset. I was just captivated by it. It was like bad reality TV.

WEISS Instinctually, when something’s not going as you expected, your years of television experience say, “Go wide. Cover up.” But my instinct this time said, “You need to do the opposite.”

Everyone &mdash including Horowitz, Berger and Beatty &mdash is watching Natoli as he hunts the stage for the correct envelope. An unaware Platt finishes his speech and insists Berger give his. Berger hesitantly steps up to the mic while Cullinan, behind him, appears to realize what he has done and mouths, “Shit.”

HOROWITZ I remember looking over at Warren and he’s holding another envelope, and he says, “This is the [actual] envelope!” And then the stage manager goes over to him, and I follow behind, and he opens it and sees it’s the best picture card. It says “Moonlight.”

Berger, looking dejected, closes by saying, “We lost, by the way.” Two minutes and 23 seconds after Dunaway had declared that La La Land was the best picture Oscar winner, Horowitz jumps back to the mic &mdash just in front of Beatty &mdash and says, “Guys, guys, I’m sorry, no. There’s a mistake. Moonlight &mdash you guys won best picture. This is not a joke. Come up here.”

AIZENBERG I just started screaming, “What the fuck is going on?!” We were all in shock. We started hugging each other, but we were just stunned.

ANNETTE BENING, Actress, wife of Warren Beatty I was at home watching the show with my daughter. It was sort of like a dream, and my daughter and I both just started screaming, basically. We were stunned.

ALI Probably the most awkward moment in Oscars history.

TEIGEN I was laughing hysterically because I just thought it was the funniest thing.

TABACK Now I stand up and Damien’s parents are looking at me with confusion: “What should we do? Now what?!” I said, “Don’t worry &mdash Damien got his Oscar. It’s OK. I’m going backstage.”

A photograph snapped by Al Seib, which runs on the front page of the Los Angeles Times the next day, captures the mouths-agape reaction of those sitting in the front rows as they process what is happening.

PHILIPPS That picture’s incredible. I actually do have it blown up and framed. My husband bought it from the photographer &mdash he got one for me and one for Michelle.

MICHELE ROBERTSON, Awards consultant, Sully There was a rush of those expressions throughout the whole auditorium. Everyone looked like The Scream.

As the audience gasps in disbelief, Beatty is fiddling with the correct card. Horowitz grabs it and holds it up to the audience. A TV camera zooms in on it as he reads aloud: “Moonlight, best picture.”

WEISS I said, “OK, Camera 10 [operated by David Carline] &mdash I just want you to go onto that card and stay there until somebody holds it up.”

HOROWITZ I think people needed real, tangible proof &mdash because I needed it, too. I remember looking out at that big broadcast camera in the back and thinking, “I hope this cameraperson knows what to do.” And then I grabbed the card and held it out.

WEISS In my head, that shot was the most important thing of the night at that point.

Most of the audience rises to its feet in applause and disbelief. Samuel L. Jackson whips out his smartphone to record the moment. Onstage, Kimmel says to Horowitz, “I think you guys [from La La Land] should keep it anyway,” before adding to the audience, “Guys, this is very unfortunate, what happened. Personally, I blame Steve Harvey.”

STEVE HARVEY, Comedian/TV host, announced the wrong Miss Universe in 2015 I was watching live and I probably knew what had happened before anybody else &mdash ’cause I saw the panic-stricken look on the producer’s face. When he walked out there and snatched that card out of Warren’s hand, that’s when I knew redemption was mine. I was finally off the hook. Yeah, OK, I had to live that down: “Oh, how could he,” “That’s a bonehead,” “Nobody’s ever done that in the history of Miss Universe.” But the Oscars is the biggest night in Hollywood, and when they did it, I lit a cigar and drank a glass of scotch and celebrated. I was free! Thank you, God!

Horowitz replies to Kimmel, “I’m going to be really proud to give this to my friends from Moonlight.” Kimmel says, “That’s nice of you. That’s very nice.”

HOROWITZ I remember the Oscar being really heavy. In the moment when I realized we hadn’t won, I remember it got even heavier. And then I remember handing it to Barry.

HUDSON Jordan Horowitz had a beautiful moment of grace onstage.

The shocked Moonlight team hesitantly make their way toward the stage.

NAOMIE HARRIS, Actress, Moonlight Our producer Jeremy Kleiner actually came and lifted me out of the seat and was like, “Come on, Naomie!”

HUDSON I was just thinking, “How could this possibly happen?” It would be as crazy as if everyone were suddenly floating.

KIMMEL I shouted something to the effect of, “Warren, what did you do?!” Because I still had it in my head that Warren’s vision wasn’t great and maybe it was his fault.

Beatty asks Kimmel, “May I say something?” He addresses the audience, “I want to tell you what happened. I opened the envelope and it said, ‘Emma Stone, La La Land.’ That’s why I took such a long look at Faye and at you. I wasn’t trying to be funny.”

KIMMEL Denzel Washington did a little bit of traffic-cop work from the audience. I think he looked at me and pointed at Barry, motioning for us to let Barry speak, and I thought, “Oh, yes, he’s right. That should happen.”

Moonlight director Barry Jenkins and producers Adele Romanski and Jeremy Kleiner give short speeches. Jenkins shouts out the La La Land team: “My love to La La Land, my love to everybody. Man.”

HARRIS I thought [the Moonlight team was] so elegant and gracious and loving, in keeping with the people I came to know on this whole journey. They remained centered, thanked the people they needed to thank, and were also inclusive of the people from La La Land.

ALI It never quite felt like we won, even though we won, in part because we were so connected with the La La Land people. In that moment, I don’t think we could be as joyous. It wasn’t what it should have been.

KIMMEL It was very awkward, but I revel in awkwardness. I wrapped up the show and left Matt Damon sitting alone in the audience.

4. THE AFTERMATH

TODD The Moonlight and the La La Land people walked through the backstage, kind of arm-in-arm.

HOROWITZ I hopped off the stage and my wife was standing there. There was heaviness everywhere.

KEVIN BROCKMAN, Executive vp global communications, Disney/ABC No one died. But barring anything terrible happening to a person, this was probably the worst thing, just situationally, that could have happened.

TODD I didn’t realize I was going to be talking about Brian from PwC for the rest of my life.

TABACK I must have looked like a ghost, because in the lobby, they were like, “Are you OK?” [Netflix vp global creative marketing] Steve Bruno said, “At least Harvey [Weinstein, their former boss, who was behind best picture nominee Lion] wasn’t involved.” Which made me laugh.

HOROWITZ My wife was like, “What do you want to do?” I was like, “I want to go to the Governors Ball. I want to see Barry and Adele and Mahershala.” I remember wanting to find them to talk about what happened. I was in a daze.

Meanwhile, Beatty begins to take steps to ensure that he will not be scapegoated. Backstage, an investigation is quickly launched.

KELLY BUSH NOVAK, Publicist, repped Beatty’s 2016 film Rules Don’t Apply When they said “La La Land,” I got up and left. As I exited the garage my phone started ringing. I learned what had happened and that Warren had the envelopes in his hand and wasn’t giving them to anyone. I just counseled, “Everybody needs to get into the producers’ office immediately to figure out what happened.”

BROCKMAN It was like, “OK. We’re going to have to issue a statement. But we can’t say anything until we know the truth.”

TABACK I went backstage, and I see a security guard with Warren Beatty. Warren is really tall, and he was holding his arm up as high as he could &mdash which must be about seven and a half feet off the ground &mdash because in his hand was the envelopes. He was saying into the phone, I believe to his wife, “I’m not giving it up to anybody!” It was dead quiet.

BENING My impulse was to call him right away. And I did. And he picked up the phone. And I said, “Oh my God. You did a great job, but what happened?!” And he said, “I have the envelopes, and I’m not giving them to anyone!”

BUXBAUM I was backstage with Casey and there was a logjam by the elevator. I don’t know if it was the PwC people, but they were trying to get the envelopes from Warren, and he was like, “No, I need to make sure that everybody knows what this envelope says.” Warren is really smart, and he’s the first to be careful for new narratives to take over, so he would not let go of the envelopes.

KIMMEL I walked backstage with Mike and Jen and Gary. Warren, I think, was already backstage, and Faye was gone &mdash she was probably at home sleeping by that time. She wisely got the hell out of there.

HUDSON I said, “Let’s go to the green room.” Someone said, “Bonnie left, Clyde stayed!”

MELIDONIAN It was ABC people, too &mdash [ABC’s vp communications] Richard Horrmann. It was a bunch of us.

Dunaway actually goes to the Governors Ball, where she tells THR, “I’m not going to speak about it.”

BOONE ISAACS We were like, “What happened, dudes?!”

MICHAEL DE LUCA, Producer, 89th Oscars Like a Murder, She Wrote.

KIMMEL Brian kind of stood in the corner and watched it all play out. I think maybe he was secretly hoping that this would get blamed on Warren.

TODD Warren had both of the envelopes, and was explaining what happened. This was probably 10 to 15 minutes after the show had ended.

WEISS Jimmy took charge of the conversation. It was a little bit of making light, making fun. We weren’t there to lynch anyone. We just wanted to know what happened.

MELIDONIAN Jimmy tried to convince Warren to be on his show.

KIMMEL Warren said, “That would be great &mdash for you.” Cullinan looked guilty.

HUDSON I think he said, “Warren somehow got the wrong envelope.” Warren was saying, “I have what was given to me right here.”

Each accountant has one envelope for each category, as a backup, and so presenters can enter from either side of the stage.

MELIDONIAN The lead actress envelope, which Leo [DiCaprio] handed to Emma Stone, came from Martha, so it made sense that Brian would have had the extra lead actress envelope. The pro­tocol was that he would have it out until the winner was called, and then he would put it back in his suitcase &mdash which he failed to do because he was distracted by tweeting [the photo that he had taken of Emma Stone backstage with her new Oscar].

TODD Glenn came with an iPad and showed us a photo of the wrong envelope in Warren’s hand [when he was on stage]. Then we knew what happened.

HUDSON I was like [to Brian], “Your one job was to give Warren the right envelope.” He was in such shock that he just said, “No.”

NATOLI I’m sure they’re very lovely people, but [the accountants] just didn’t have the disposition for this.

DE LUCA We didn’t, in our wildest dreams, think we had to have a conversation about what if the worst thing that could ever happen, happens. I think they said the same thing about the Titanic and icebergs: “It’s never gonna happen, don’t worry about it.”

TODD A bunch of them went off to draft a PwC apology, and I went to the Governors Ball and then the Vanity Fair party. I needed a drink very badly.

WEISS Did I go to the Governors Ball? Yes. I felt like a sports guy limping off the field after taking some hits, even though he won the game.

Newly minted Oscar winners from La La Land and Moonlight now find themselves together backstage, trying to figure out how best to approach the rest of the night &mdash from the press rooms to the Governors Ball and other parties. In the interview room, Stone pushes back against Beatty’s claim that he had been handed the best actress envelope, not realizing there were two. (“I don’t mean to start stuff, but I had that card &mdash so I’m not sure what happened.”)

TABACK [La La Land songwriters] Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who had Oscars, and Justin Hurwitz, who had two, said something like, “Is it OK if we’re happy?” Emma Stone was there, and she said, “I have my envelope!” Everyone was very concerned with having their envelopes. It felt like a game of Clue. Then I saw Damien. He was white as a ghost.

ALBERT TELLO, Publicist, works with Taback There was a weird energy in that room.

TABACK All of the La La Land and Moonlight people were huddled with their personal publicists. Nobody from the Academy was there to help, except for a woman who runs the backstage named Dina Michelle [the Academy’s director of talent relations].

AIZENBERG We went up to the Governors Ball. We just started drinking, to be honest with you.

TABACK I strongly encouraged Jordan and Barry to make an appearance at the Governors Ball &mdash to walk in together &mdash because that would allow everything to move forward. Once that moment happened, everything seemed OK. There was a release.

HOROWITZ I remember going inside and seeing Barry and Mahershala and hugging them.

SIEGAL I was standing at the entrance to the Governors Ball when Warren walked in with the envelopes. I said, “So, what happened?” His phone rang, and I could hear that it was Annette’s voice, and she said, “Come home! Warren, come home!” And he said to her, “I did nothing wrong.”

TODD I was walking around in a haze. People were like, “Great show! Sorry &hellip” I felt like, “Ugh.”

KIMMEL When I came up for air and realized that the screw-up at the end was going to be the headline, I was a little bit bummed out.

TABACK I went from the Governors Ball to the La La Land party [hosted by Lionsgate] at Soho House. A lot of people were carrying around Oscars, but it was a little subdued. There were lots of conspiracy theories.

HURWITZ I was mostly in the corner with my family eating because I was so hungry. I put one of the Oscars down on a blue cheese crumble and then all I could think about was going home to clean the felt on the bottom so that it wouldn’t smell like cheese.

HOROWITZ I remember being awake at like 4 a.m. in the hotel room, just looking at my phone. I had a million emails and 2 million text messages. It was emotional &mdash a lot of stuff I had never felt before.

As the parties go on as planned, the Academy leadership grills PwC into the night.

HUDSON We all decided we’d better get out of the green room and go where it’s more private &mdash into the bowels of the Dolby.

MELIDONIAN Brian and Martha wanted to see video of what happened, so we pulled video.

HUDSON Brian was still in shock &mdash he looked red-faced, glazed-over. And Martha looked worried.

MELIDONIAN Brian’s wife was there for a bit. And Martha’s husband. Just hanging out. Then they left.

HUDSON Brian kept saying, “I couldn’t have given him the wrong envelope.”

MELIDONIAN We were working together to get a statement from PwC. It took a while. The first version of their statement was not an accurate description of what had transpired.

BROCKMAN It was maddening. We woke up their press person. They weren’t paying attention because they never had to.

MELIDONIAN Tim Ryan [PwC’s U.S. chairman and senior partner, who had been at the show] eventually came down and took charge.

The PwC statement, posted to the Academy’s website at 12:30 a.m. on Monday morning, reads: “We sincerely apologize to Moonlight, La La Land, Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway and Oscar viewers for the error that was made during the award announcement for best picture. The presenters had mistakenly been given the wrong category envelope and when discovered, was immediately corrected. We are currently investigating how this could have happened, and deeply regret that this occurred. We appreciate the grace with which the nominees, the Academy, ABC and Jimmy Kimmel handled the situation. &mdash PwC”

HUDSON I went home and we all kept talking all night. I have no memory of thinking of anything else for the next month, basically. It was a terrible time.

Over the next few days, Cullinan is front-page news: The New York Daily News features a photo of him on its cover alongside the headline “And the Loser Is &hellip” The long-married father of three comes under a media microscope &mdash it is discovered that he had hosted a party the night before the Oscars &mdash and The Daily Mail posts a photo of his home, prompting PwC to hire security for him and his family.

HUDSON People were following his wife to doctor appointments, and his kids. It was quite awful.

HARVEY Oh nah, the dude at Pricewaterhouse &mdash he ain’t endured nothing. See, the mistake I made was against a country named Colombia. They have some people down there &mdash they are in a different business &mdash so when you get threats, you gotta take it a little bit differently.

Everyone else tries to get on with their lives.

HOROWITZ Warren and I spoke on the phone. We had a really lovely conversation. Jimmy was awesome in the aftermath of it. He wrote me a note I think he wrote everybody a note.

HUDSON Brian did not come in here [to the Academy headquarters], but Tim Ryan did. He canceled his plane and came in the next day.

Photographs emerge showing Cullinan on his phone just before the envelope screw-up.

HUDSON Scott Miller, our attorney, looked at backstage footage over and over. We talked a lot with Tim Ryan about Brian and Martha. We said, “That trust has been broken,” and Tim said, “We understand. They will not be balloting leaders going forward.”

A couple of weeks later, Cullinan reaches out to the Academy.

HUDSON Brian said, “I’m so, so sorry. I’m so sorry I did this to the Academy.” I said, “I know, I know.”

MELIDONIAN I have not seen Brian and Martha since.

BENING [Warren] took the envelopes home, but he gave Barry Jenkins his for winning for Moonlight. [As for the other one,] I don’t know. Maybe it’s still in my house.

On March 28, the Academy’s board of governors extends Hudson’s contract for three years and decides to continue to work with PwC, opting not to sever an 83-year relationship over a human error, provided Cullinan and Ruiz do not return to the ceremony and stricter protocols are installed. On May 12, news breaks that Boone Isaacs will not seek reelection to the board or presidency. And on Sept. 12, Weiss wins an Emmy for outstanding directing for a variety special for his work on the Oscars telecast, saying, “My hat is off to every single person on headsets in the Dolby Theatre that night.” Kimmel, Todd, De Luca, Weiss and Natoli all are set to return for the 90th Oscars on March 4.

TABACK In retrospect, it feels funny to be making such a big deal out of an envelope. We’ve been through so much over the past year, when you think about my former boss [Weinstein]. #MeToo and Time’s Up feel so much more important.

HOROWITZ I affected that moment, but that moment affected me, too, and both of those things are very positive. I’m not glad that it happened, but I’m glad that that’s the result of it happening.

HARRIS It makes me have faith in the voters and the system.

KIMMEL To this day, there are people who think I caused that envelope problem. Hopefully history will be kind to me in that regard, because one thing I definitely didn’t screw up was that.

MELIDONIAN It’s one of the greatest moments on live television. Ever.

This story appears in the Feb. 28 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.


7 Mustapha Cons His Way To Freedom

Of course, escaping from slavery was easier said than done, particularly for slaves who lived in the American South, miles from safety in the North. Field slaves often had little in the way of cash to sustain them through an escape like the one pictured, not to mention the bands of bounty hunters that would surely be hot on their heels. Henry &ldquoBox&rdquo Brown solved the problem by mailing himself to safety, but perhaps the most satisfying escape was made by a slave known only as Mustapha, who teamed up with a white hunchback named Arthur Howe and conned his way to freedom.

The plan was simple, the pair traveled through North Carolina and Virginia, telling anyone they met that Mustapha was Howe&rsquos slave. Since Howe was famous for his fearsome appearance, &ldquoexpressive of dark angry passions,&rdquo few decided to ask any more questions. Whenever they reached a town, Howe would sell Mustapha for a tidy fee. After a few days recuperating, Mustapha would escape again and the partners would resume their journey. Not only did this help avoid bounty hunters&mdashwho would be looking for an escaped slave, rather than a current one&mdashit netted a tidy profit as well. It also says something about Mustapha that he had no worries about his ability to escape from everyone he was sold to. Most slaves struggled to escape once Mustapha did it every week.

The pair apparently planned to part ways after reaching Petersburg or Richmond, leaving Mustapha free to make his escape north. Since he was not apprehended, this is presumably what happened, although the duo drop out of history after that. Still, why hasn&rsquot Hollywood jumped all over the story of a crazy-eyed hunchback and an escape-artist former slave forming an odd-couple partnership to rip off every slave owner on the road to freedom?


What’s True and False in “Lincoln” Movie

Did Lincoln really do that? Was Mary Todd really there? Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer, author of Lincoln: How Abraham Lincoln Ended Slavery in America: A Companion Book for Young Readers to the Steven Spielberg Film Lincoln, and a consultant on the movie, picks out what’s true and false in Spielberg’s movie—and says in the end it’s not the details that matter.

Harold Holzer

David James, SMPSP / Everett

When the House of Representatives finally, dramatically votes to approve the 13th Amendment to the Constitution abolishing slavery, Washington erupts in celebration. Members of Congress weep, throw themselves into each other’s arms, and begin singing “Battle Cry of Freedom.” Men parade through the streets and church bells chime.

And then, at least according to Steven Spielberg’s new film Lincoln, the widely despised old liberal lion of the House, Thaddeus Stevens, limps home through the throngs on his malformed club foot, serenely enters his house, removes an extravagant black wig to reveal a shiny bald dome, and then crawls into bed with his African-American housekeeper—clearly, we are meant to infer, his mistress—where they kiss and exult in the historic events of the day. Spielberg’s Thaddeus Stevens summarizes the extraordinary events of the day with this remarkable quote: the most liberating constitutional amendment in history, he alleges, had been “passed by corruption, aided and abetted by the purest man in America”—meaning Abraham Lincoln.

With the widely praised film overflowing with such startling scenes, it is little wonder that scholars, nitpickers, trivial pursuit pursuers, and history buffs have all been crowding their local movie theaters this week, many armed with legal pads, in a massive competition to unearth and report every factual error that has crept into the film.

To be sure, there is no shortage of small historical bloopers in the movie. First Lady Mary Lincoln, for example, never planted herself in the House Gallery to observe the final tally on the amendment. (Michelle Obama may routinely attend the State of the Union address each year, but such a visit would have been unthinkable in 1865.) Nor did congressmen vote by state delegations—a device that conflates the traditions of national political conventions with those of the House of Representatives. (Until the advent of machine voting, the House voted alphabetically by name this I know from experience—I once worked for Representative Bella Abzug, number two on the roll call, and it was always a challenge to move her considerable frame from her congressional office to the House floor in time to answer the roll right after James Aboureszk.)

Lincoln’s presidential office was never adorned with a lithographic portrait of William Henry Harrison, of all people, the old Whig president who died in 1841, just a month after delivering the windiest inaugural address on the windiest inaugural day in American history. Lincoln may have given short, unmemorable speeches at countless flag-raising ceremonies in Washington, but never was he ever seen, as he is in the movie, fetching his manuscript from the lining of his top hat, or for that matter using a crank, not a system of ropes, to pull the flag up a pole. (At one such real-life ceremony, the halyards got tangled and Lincoln said he hoped it wasn’t a bad sign for the future of the country.)

The list of such oops-moments can easily go on. In one of the movie’s most riveting scenes, a trio of smarmy political operatives tells Lincoln they are having a hard time bribing undecided Congressmen to vote “yes” on the amendment because so many 50-cent pieces of the day bear the president’s unpopular likeness. Good joke, to be sure, but Lincoln’s face did not actually appear on 50-cent currency until four years after his death, and even then on paper notes, not coins. In yet another scene, Lincoln’s young son Tad plays with glass negatives on loan from photographer Alexander Gardner’s gallery. But Gardner would never have sent one-of-a-kind, fragile plates to the rambunctious little “sprite” of the White House. Not long before, Tad had shown his contempt for photography by locking a camera operator out of a White House closet where he was developing portraits of the president, angry that he had appropriated one of his private hiding places without permission. By the time Lincoln fetched the key, the images had been all but ruined. Tad liked photos all right—paper prints—and his souvenir picture of Fido, the pet dog the family left behind when they headed to Washington, was, shall we say, dog-eared.

As for the Spielberg movie’s opening scene, in which a couple of Union soldiers—one white, one black—recite the words of the Gettysburg Address to the appreciative Lincoln, who is visiting the front toward the end of the war—it is almost inconceivable that any uniformed soldier of the day (or civilians, for that matter) would have memorized a speech that, however ingrained in modern memory, did not achieve any semblance of a national reputation until the 20th century. Finally, Lincoln’s last moments—in a deathbed at the Peterson House across the street from Ford’s Theatre on April 15, 1865—look little like period descriptions of the gripping scene. Spielberg places his character in a nightgown, lying in what appears to be fetal position. In fact the tall victim was placed diagonally in the too-small bed, and was under a cover, naked, when he breathed his last (doctors had removed his clothes to search for other possible wounds). Perhaps Daniel Day-Lewis does not do nude scenes.

Point of full disclosure. I served not only as author of the young-adult companion book to the movie (also called Lincoln), but as a “Content Consultant” for the Spielberg film, as the director himself graciously acknowledged earlier this week as he delivered the Dedication Day Address at the National Soldier’s Cemetery in Gettysburg on the 149th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address. But he was far too generous. The book tries to tell the real story of passage of the 13th Amendment, but where Tony Kushner’s extraordinary, beautiful screenplay was concerned, not all of my suggestions were adopted. Not all of my advice was taken. And with my name up there on the credits (albeit nine minutes into the scrolling list), I know I’m going to be held to account for some of the bloopers.

For a few weeks, I haven’t known quite how I would respond. But yesterday at Gettysburg, Steven Spielberg provided the eloquent answer. “It’s a betrayal of the job of the historian,” he asserted, to explore the unknown. But it is the job of the filmmaker to use creative “imagination” to recover what is lost to memory. Unavoidably, even at its very best, “this resurrection is a fantasy . a dream.” As Spielberg neatly put it, “one of the jobs of art is to go to the impossible places that history must avoid.” There is no doubt that Spielberg has traveled toward an understanding of Abraham Lincoln more boldly than any other filmmaker before him.

Besides, those soldiers who recite the Gettysburg Address may simply represent the commitment of white and black troops to fight together for its promise of “a new birth of freedom.” Mary Lincoln’s presence in the House chamber may be meant to suggest how intertwined the family’s private and public life have become. The image of “Old Tippecanoe” Harrison in Lincoln’s office may be an omen for his own imminent death in office. In pursuit of broad collective memory, perhaps it’s not important to sweat the small stuff. From time to time, even “Honest Abe” himself exaggerated or dissembled in pursuit of a great cause. Just check out the shady roads he took to achieve black freedom as “imagined” so dazzlingly in the movie.

As for that most audacious of scenes—a bald-headed Thaddeus Stevens in bed with his African American mistress, and acknowledging that Lincoln had made corrupt bargains to win passage of the 13th Amendment. Not a false note. He may not have pronounced those words to his housekeeper, but pronounce them he absolutely did. And his “housekeeper” indeed doubled as his common law wife—perhaps the worst kept secret in Washington. Sometimes real history is as dramatic as great fiction. And when they converge at the highest levels, the combination is unbeatable.


It wasn’t until the iPhone made its debut in 2007 that cellphones began transitioning from their role as a means for communication to a tool relied on daily for all sorts of tasks. According to History Cooperative , with the first iPhone, Apple introduced touchscreen functions, internet access through Safari, a virtual keyboard, and full rich-text email access.

Although at the time the iPhone was revolutionary, the BlackBerry eclipsed the new release, maintaining popularity. With BBM instant messaging, everyone from teens to businessmen and rappers were obsessed with the Blackberry.


Here's The Real Story Of The ɼool Runnings' Bobsled Team That The Movie Got Wrong

"Cool Runnings" is one of the most popular Olympics movies of the past few decades, and it's mostly made up. It's based on a true story, but a member of the unlikely Jamaican bobsled team that inspired the popular Disney film says it's largely fiction.

Dudley "Tal" Stokes, who was on the 1988 Olympic team that inspired "Cool Runnings," took to Reddit in October to set the record straight about what the movie got wrong. "It's a feature Disney film, not much in it actually happened in real life," Stokes said on Reddit.

"Cool Runnings" has a cast of fictional characters who don't bear much resemblance to the real-life Jamaican bobsledders. The Jamaican bobsled team that competed at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Canada was not composed of track sprinters, as the movie might lead you to believe. The team members were actually recruited from the Jamaican army.

The movie also depicts the Jamaican bobsledders as outcasts, but in real life they were welcomed warmly at the 1988 Olympics, as ESPN points out.

Here's the rest of the real story of how Jamaicans learned to bobsled — a sport that athletes from the country will still compete in this winter Olympics:

It all started when two American businessmen living in Jamaica were inspired by a local pushcart derby, according to the Jamaican Bobsleigh Federation. The men, George Fitch and William Maloney, thought the sport looked like bobsledding. They took their idea for a Jamaica bobsled team to the country's Olympic association.

Stokes said he got into bobsledding because a colonel in the Army told him to. From the Reddit AMA:

I got into bobsledding because I was told to go. I was in the Army at the time. The Colonel made the suggestion to me and because I was a Captain, you do as your told and obey orders.

There were two Americans, George Finch and William Maloney who were big into push cart racing and thought it translated well to bobsledding. You mix that with the Jamaican athleticism and they thought it could work with some of our track athletes.

They couldn’t get anyone to actually do the sport, so they went to the Army and my Colonel. So that’s how I became involved in it. Once there, I was hooked.

Coaches who were recruited from the U.S. and Austria helped teach the team how to bobsled. They trained in Austria and Lake Placid, N.Y.

Stokes had very little training before the Olympics. He said he saw a bobsled for the first time in September 1987, and by February, he was competing in the Winter Olympics.

The team was immensely popular at the Olympics. The bobsledders couldn't leave Olympic Village for fear of getting mobbed, according to the Jamaican Bobsleigh Federation, and they got a lot of attention from the American media.

It wasn't easy for the team to compete. They were using borrowed equipment, and one of their teammates got injured during training. On the team's first run during the four-man event, part of Stokes' sled collapsed. On the second day, he fell and injured his shoulder.

They got a fast start that day, but Stokes lost control of the sled at 85 miles per hour and crashed, according to The Guardian. The teammates were trapped underneath the sled. Unlike the inspirational scene in "Cool Runnings," the team did not lift the sled over their heads to carry it across the finish line. One of the teammates, Devon Harris, told The Guardian they "did what any team would have done" and pushed the sled to the end of the track before lifting it.

A popular quote from the movie — "Feel the Rhythm, feel the rhyme, get on up, it’s bobsled time!" — was also made up for the movie, according to Stokes.

Jamaica's two-man bobsled team will compete in the Winter Olympics this year at Sochi.


In the original credits, two major characters weren&rsquot mentioned

During the first season of the show, the opening credits ended with the lyrics, &ldquothe moo-vie star,&rdquo and a photo of Ginger, with the words, &ldquoand also starring Tina Louise as &lsquoGinger,&rsquo&rdquo written at the bottom. The theme song ended with a rushed, &ldquoand the rest.&rdquo The reason for this was that Tina Louise&rsquos contract stated no one would follow her name in the credits.

Image by Gladysya Productions, United Artists Television, CBS Television Network

The only other cast member who was mentioned in the credits was Jim Backus, who was a show-business veteran. It was during the show&rsquos second season that Bob Denver approached producers and asked for Russell Johnson and Dawn Wells to be added to the opening credits. He argued that their characters were just as significant as the other characters in the show, and they should be mentioned.


A History of Women’s Swimwear

From the eighteenth century to the present day, women’s swimwear has undergone an unparalleled transformation. Changes in women’s swimwear throughout history have reflected sociological and technological factors, thus the garment acts as a barometer of time.

S wimwear is loosely defined as a category of garment often worn when participating in aquatic activities, such as swimming or bathing. Swimwear is expected to fulfil varying requirements. For competitive swimmers, a streamlined and tight-fitting garment which reduces friction and drag in the water is favoured to enhance propulsion and buoyancy. For recreational use, swimwear needs to be fashionable whilst also maintaining its functionality, for example protecting the wearer’s modesty and withstanding the effects of elements such as water and sunlight. Exploring the history of female swimwear, tracing how it has evolved through time and across continents, not only gives an insight into fashion trends and technological advancements in materials and design, but also an exploration of female liberation.

18th Century

In the eighteenth century, sea bathing became a popular recreational activity. It was believed that there were considerable health benefits to bathing in the sea, thus it was encouraged for both women and men (Kidwell). However, immersing oneself completely was discouraged. This was deemed particularly important for women as activity in water was not seen as sufficiently feminine. For bathing, women would wear loose, open gowns, that were similar to the chemise (Kidwell). These bathing gowns were more comfortable to wear in the water, especially when compared to more restrictive day clothes.

The bathing gown in figure 1 is from 1767 and belonged to Martha Washington, the wife of then-Continental Army commander, and later the first US president, George Washington. The blue and white checked gown is made from linen and is in an unfitted shift style. Small lead weights are sewn into each quarter of the dress, just above the hem. This was to ensure the dress did not float up in the water, helping women to maintain their modesty. It is known that Martha Washington travelled in the summers of 1767 and 1769 to the famed mineral springs in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, to absorb the apparent health benefits.

Fig. 1 - Maker unknown (American). Bathing gown, ca. 1767-1769. Linen, lead. Mount Vernon: George Washington’s Mount Vernon, W-580. Gift of Mrs. George R. Goldsborough, Vice Regent for Maryland 1894. Source: George Washington’s Mount Vernon

19th Century

In the 19th century, the popularity of recreational aquatic activities surpassed the desire to bathe for health benefits. With this, the loose-fitting chemise gowns became increasingly fitted and more complex, replicating the silhouettes of women’s fashion.

The number one priority for women who took part in water-based activities was to maintain their modesty. Whilst bathing for health benefits fell out of fashion, women still tended to bathe or paddle in water. This was because vigorous exercise in water was not considered ladylike. Women’s swimwear had to reflect this notion of remaining proper, as defined by contemporary society. Bathing outfits would consist of a bathing dress, drawers and stockings, often made of wool or cotton. These fabrics would become heavy when wet and were hardly suitable for any vigorous activities. In this case, it can be said that women’s swimwear, which prohibited ease of movement in water, reflected and maintained the social and physical constraints on women in nineteenth-century patriarchal society.

Fig. 2 - William Heath (British, 1794-1840). Mermaids at Brighton, 1825-1830. Etching. London: The British Museum, 1868,0808.9134. Purchased from Edward Hawkins (estate of). Source: British Museum

Fig. 3 - Designer unknown (American). Bathing suit, 1870s. Wool. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1979.346.18a, b. Gift of The New York Historical Society, 1979. Source: The Met

During the Victorian period, known for its strict moral values, women frequently used bathing machines, as pictured in figure 2, when getting in and out of the sea. Bathing machines were little houses on wheels that would be drawn in and out of deeper water by horses. They provided women with a place to change in privacy before making their way directly into the sea.

Into the 1880s, women continued to wear bathing dresses, as seen in figures 3 and 4. These garments had high-necks, long-sleeves, and knee-length skirts. Linen and wool fabrics were still used. Women often wore belts at the waist to replicate the popular silhouette of the time. Under the bathing dress, women would wear bloomer-like trousers to maintain their modesty.

An alternative female swimwear garment, popularised towards the end of the Victorian era, was the Princess suit (Kennedy 23). These were one-piece garments where the blouse was attached to the trousers. On top, women wore a mid-calf length skirt which diverted attention from the wearer’s figure. The garments tended to be dark colours, which meant onlookers could not tell if the garment was wet. The suits were not the most practical, restricting the wearers’ arm movements and weighing them down in the water.

The Princess suit was a catalyst for the considerable changes to women’s swimwear that was to come. Most obviously, the Princess suit was the beginning of the one-piece swimsuit for women (Fig. 5). Changes began to happen quickly as women’s activities in water began to be more socially acceptable. Firstly, by the 1890s, the trousers of the Princess suit were shortened so they could not be seen under the skirt. The material that was used to create a Princess suit moved away from flannel, which became heavy when wet, towards serge and other knitted materials (Kidwell).

Fig. 4 - Artist unknown. Bathing Costume, from The Delineator, July 1884. Washington D.C.: The Smithsonian Institution, photo 58466. Source: Alamy

Fig. 5 - Maker unknown (American). Bathing suit, 1890-95. Wool, cotton. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1975.227.6. Gift of Theodore Fischer Ells, 1975. Source: The Met

1900-1945

During the twentieth century women’s swimwear underwent significant transformations as a result of the material advancements and increasingly liberal fashion trends.

In the early nineteenth century swimming emerged as a competitive sport. However, its popularity was not solidified until its first appearance at the Olympic Games in 1896. Women were permitted to compete in swimming for the first time at the 1912 Olympics. Annette Kellerman (Fig. 6), a swimmer from Australia, can be credited for shifting social attitudes towards acceptance of female participation in swimming and beginning the modernization of female swimwear. Kellerman was dubbed “the Australian Mermaid” because of her swimming capabilities. She was known for swimming the English Channel and famed for her performances in Hollywood movies (Schmidt and Tay).

In 1905, Annette Kellerman was invited to perform in front of the British Royal Family, however her swimsuit was prohibited as it was tight-fitting and revealed the lower half of her legs. Kellerman refused to compete in an inconvenient and ill-fitting garment which would meet their modesty standards, so she instead sewed black stockings onto her swimsuit, as seen in figure 6. Kellerman encountered trouble again when she competed in Boston. Her swimsuit was deemed to be of indecent exposure however, this was overruled in her favour as the judge agreed that heavy and ill-fitting swimsuits were impractical garments for swimming. This incident was widely publicised in the media, and whilst Kellerman’s action could have had a liberating effect on female swimwear, it unfortunately led to a crackdown on female immodesty in some parts of the world, with police working to enforce strict clothing conduct policies.

Fig. 6 - George Grantham Bain (American, 1865-1944). Miss Annette Kellerman, ca. 1905. Glass negative. Washington D.C.: Library of Congress, LC-B2- 738-5 [P&P]. Source: LOC

Fig. 7 - Jantzen (1910-). Jantzen 1910-2010, 2010. Source: Lingerie Talk

In the 1910s, Jantzen, originally known as the Portland Knitting Company, was the leading producer of bathing suits (Fig. 7). This was the start of technological advancements in the materiality of swimwear. At first, Jantzen produced what they referred to as ‘woollen suits’ for rowing clubs. This became very popular and so Jantzen marketed it to a wider audience. It was not until 1921 that Jantzen referred to the garment as a swimsuit. Speedo, the Australian clothing company, started to experiment with swimwear in 1914. For both sexes, the all-in-one garments tended to have short sleeve or vest style tops with long legs. Whilst social reform had begun, the commercial sector lagged behind. Therefore, both Jantzen and Speedo continued to market their all-in-ones as bathing suits throughout the 1910s.

Following the First World War, women’s swimwear trends began to differ across continents. In America and Europe women wore knitted swimwear which replaced the bathing suit, however there were slight tweaks depending on where you lived. In America, women favoured a practical and sporty look whilst European women opted for sleeker swimsuits which cut closely to the body. Another key difference between the two fashion trends was that women’s swimsuit fashions were accessible to a very large middle class in America, whereas in Europe there were clear class divisions on what women could or could not afford to buy for wearing to the beach. An affluent woman could set herself apart by wearing a silk jersey swimming suit, instead of a knitted one (Kidwell). Kennedy reiterates this when she wrote:

“Both sides of the Atlantic favoured the practical one-piece ‘maillot’, but in France the costume’s legs were shorter in length, the knitted ribwork was more finely woven and the decoration was kept to a minimum.” (34)

Whilst the maillot costumes worn by women were improvements on what they had to wear before the turn of the century, they still had their impracticalities. Due to the materiality of the garment, the knitted swimsuits tended to become misshapen when wet. The fabric absorbed a great deal of water resulting in the elongation and sagging of the swimsuit. These issues often jeopardised the modesty of the women’s swimsuits which concerned inter-war society.

Fig. 8 - Photographer unknown. Vogue Cover, July 1932. Source: Vogue Archive

Fig. 9 - Neyret (French). Bathing Costume, 1937. Machine-knitted wool. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, T.293-1971. Source: V&A

During this period, swimwear began to feature in magazines as fashionable garments (Fig. 8) as fashion designers turned a hand to creating swimwear. Coco Chanel created a one-piece swimsuit, woven from a boucle fabric, that could have almost passed as unisex (Kennedy 48). Chanel’s foray into swimwear brought it into modern fashion. Jean Patou, who worked with his sister Madeleine, was probably the best-known sportswear designer at the time. Swimwear could also be found in the Cannes boutiques of Lanvin, Molyneux, Schiaparelli and Poiret (Kennnedy 53).

The 1930s gave way to the health and fitness movement which favoured fit and healthy female physiques. To maintain their figures, women were encouraged to participate in exercise, though only in ways that were deemed lady-like. Swimming was one of these exercises, which also gave women the opportunity to experiment with tanning. Towards the end of the 1920s, tanned skin was no longer a marker of the working class, but instead became fashionable and conveyed that one holidayed, and was therefore affluent. So much so, in 1932, Elsa Schiaparelli patented a backless swimsuit with a built-in brassiere for the sole purpose of avoiding tan lines from swimsuit straps whilst sunbathing (Snodgrass 566).

The boyish silhouettes were a thing of the past as women sought more shapely figures. The swimsuit in figure 9 is a machine-knit, woollen garment from 1937. Wool was favoured for its slightly elasticated qualities. The swimsuit has thin straps allowing women to catch the sun on their shoulders. There is a ribbed midriff panel which would have provided extra support and enhanced the female figure. The brief-like bottoms maintain the wearer’s modesty.

1945-1999

Lastex yarn (Fig. 10) was invented in 1931 (Kennedy 71). This was a game changer for swimwear once it was regularly used in production. Typically knitted swimsuits were made from wool which would lose its shape when wet. The introduction of Lastex yarn into women’s swimwear meant the garments would hold their form in and out of the water. Lastex would often be combined with artificial fibres such as rayon resulting in a stretchy and shiny fabric (Kennedy 71). Swimsuits could now be produced in a much larger range of colours and prints (Kennedy 71). Furthermore, at the end of the 1940s, Christian Dior launched his New Look which consisted of nipped in waists and full skirts, accentuating the female form. This exciting design shifted the trend to feminine and hourglass figures for women, including in swimwear. In this Lastex yarn advertisement from ca. 1950 (Fig. 10), the figure-hugging swimsuits reflect the fashionable feminine post-war silhouettes.

One of the most significant moments in the history of women’s swimwear was the creation of the bikini in 1946. The design of the bikini is credited to two separate designers who introduced the revolutionary garment at the same time. Jacques Heim, a French fashion designer, created a minimalist two-piece swimming garment in May 1946, called the Atome. Heim’s Atome featured a bra-like top and bottoms which covered the bottom and navel. Later that year, in July 1946, Louis Réard, an engineer turned designer, created what he called the bikini. Réard’s skimpy design, pictured in figure 11, consisted of only four triangles of material that were held together with string. The two designs competed for public attention and whilst Heim’s garment was the first to be worn on a beach, it was the term bikini, as coined by Réard, that stuck.

The rise of the film industry and Hollywood glamour, which celebrated the female form in its entirety, had a big impact on the swimwear industry. In 1952, Bridget Bardot starred in the French film Manina, The Girl in the Bikini. At just 17, Bardot was one of the first women to sport a bikini on the big screen. Towards the end of the decade, in 1956, Bardot appeared bikini-clad again in And God Created Women. These appearances brought the bikini into mainstream media, thus beginning the garment’s transition from outrageous and shocking to everyday. According to Vogue, by the mid-1950s swimwear was seen more as a “state of dress, not undress” (Delis Hill 63), illustrating how liberated fashion trends were gradually being accepted, even if society was not quite ready for the bikini.

Fig. 10 - Artist unknown. Before the bikini: ‘To flatter your figure this summer choose a swimsuit that has the long-lasting elasticity which Lastex yarn provides…’, ca. 1950s. Source: Alamy Stock Photos

Fig. 11 - Photographer unknown (French). Bikini At The Molitor Swimming Pool, 1946. Source: Getty Images

Fig. 12 - Willy Rozier (French, 1901-1983). Bridget Bardot, 1952, Manina, The Girl in the Bikini, with Jean-Francois Calve, Ullstein Bild Dtl, 1952. Source: Getty Images

In terms of competitive swimming, Speedo first introduced nylon into swimwear in 1956 (Kennedy 10). For the Melbourne Olympics in 1956, Speedo created the well-known male Speedo shorts (Kennedy 10). Perhaps unsurprisingly, the technological advances in materiality were prioritised for use in male competitive swimming before female competitive swimming. However, it was not long before women’s competitive swimwear also utilised the hydrodynamic qualities of nylon. In the 1970s Speedo introduced elastane into their swimwear. The combination of elastane and nylon significantly reduced water drag and improved the durability of swimwear.

Fig. 13 - Rudi Gernreich (American, born Austria, 1922–1985). Bathing Suit, 1964. Wool, elastic. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1986.517.13. Gift of Betty Furness, 1986. Source: The Met

Fig. 14 - William Claxton (American, 1927-2008). Peggy Moffit, monokini by Rudi Gernreich, 1964. Source: Feature Shoot

Designers continued to experiment with swimwear throughout the second half of the twentieth century. Emanuel Ungaro, André Courrѐges, Giorgio Armani, Oscar de la Renta and Calvin Klein all started selling ready-to-wear swimwear in the 1960s (Snodgrass 567). In 1964, the designer Rudi Gernreich launched his iconic monokini (Figs. 13-14). The first topless garment, the one-piece consisted of slim-fitting high-waisted bottoms which were held in place by thin halter-neck straps. Gernreich’s monokini thus juxtaposed conservative dress with immodesty.

Fig. 15 - Photographer unknown. Nicolette Sheridan at the 1988 Kauai Lagoons Celebrity Sports Invitational, 1988. Source: Getty Images

Fig. 16 - Photographer unknown. Pamela Anderson, Baywatch, 1995. Source: Harper's Bazaar

Towards the end of the twentieth-century, women’s swimwear became increasingly bold and colourful, a reflection of the fashion trends at the time. Bikinis and swimsuits were still the go-to swimwear, which now featured high-cut legs, strapless bandeau bikini tops and even matching sarongs (Fig. 15). The television show Baywatch, which first aired in 1989, became known for its characters’ bright red, high-cut swimsuits (Fig. 16). This style of swimwear re-popularised the one-piece in this new shape.

21st Century

Competitive swimming in the twenty-first century has continued to benefit from technological advancements in shapes and materials. In 2008 Speedo launched the LZR Racer, pictured in figures 17 and 18. The body-length swimsuit is made from elastane-nylon and polyurethane. These swimsuits were controversial as many felt the materials being used gave an unfair advantage due to their hydrodynamic properties. Following their use in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where athletes who wore the LZR performed exceptionally well, the regulations for swimwear in the Olympic games were revised. It was concluded that women’s swimwear could only be shoulder to knee-length.

Since the 2000s, many female swimwear trends from the twentieth century are being revisited due to the cyclical nature of fashion. 1950s one-pieces, high-cut Baywatch swimwear and itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny bikinis will often be spotted on the same beach. Women’s swimwear continues to be more than just a functional garment, it must also be fashionable. Something that is new in female swimwear in the twenty-first century is swimwear brands being more inclusive of female sizing. The pressure to look a certain way when poolside is slowly dwindling. Whilst the twentieth-century sought to eradicate laws controlling women’s modesty, perhaps the twenty-first century will be the era when women’s swimwear becomes inclusive for all.

Fig. 17 - Photographer unknown. Speedo Launch Worlds Fastest Swimsuit, 2008. Source: Getty Images

Fig. 18 - Mike Stobe (American). Speedo Swimsuit Launch, 2008. Source: Getty Images

References:
  • Delis Hill, Daniel. As Seen in Vogue. Texas: Texas Tech University Press. 2007. https://www.worldcat.org/oclc/1027144384
  • Kay, Fiona and Storey, Neil. R. 1940s Fashion. England: Amberley Publishing, 2018. https://www.worldcat.org/oclc/100792685
  • Kennedy, Sarah. Vintage Swimwear: A History of Twentieth Century Fashions. London: Carlton. 2010. https://www.worldcat.org/oclc/1089738980
  • Kidwell, Claudia Brush. Women’s Bathing and Swimming Costume in the United States. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press. 1968. https://www.worldcat.org/oclc/249672621
  • Schmidt, Christine and Tay, Jinna. Undressing Kellerman, Uncovering Broadhurst: The Modern Women and “Un-Australia”, Fashion Theory, Volume 13, Issue 4. https://doi.org/10.2752/175174109X467495
  • Snodgrass, Mary Ellen. World Clothing and Fashion: An Encyclopaedia of History, Culture and Social Influence. London, England: Routledge. 2014. https://www.worldcat.org/oclc/881384673

About The Author

Fiona Ibbetson

Fiona Ibbetson is a London-based researcher in fashion studies and design history. She is a recent graduate of MA Fashion Critical Studies at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, and has a BA in Anthropology from the University of Exeter.


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