Ronald Hawkins is the founder of the RDH Great Stories business. He has been an award-winning reporter, writer, editor, columnist, interviewer, videographer and more for newspapers, trade publications and others in New York, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Mr. Hawkins also has given presentations on science fiction, the Beatles and other subjects at libraries and science fiction conventions. Most recently, he has written for Radius Indiana and Ready Set Quit Tobacco. He also has volunteered as a literacy coalition tutor.
RDH Great Stories can be hired for a variety of projects. If interested, he may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or by sending a written inquiry to:
At long last, The Beatles have announced plans for a release of Let It Be and a new film to be put together by the great Peter Jackson. Here’s the Apple Corps. announcement:
London – January 30, 2019 – Apple Corps Ltd. and WingNut Films Ltd. are proud to announce an exciting new collaboration between The Beatles and the acclaimed Academy Award winning director Sir Peter Jackson.
The new film will be based around 55 hours of never-released footage of The Beatles in the studio, shot between January 2nd and January 31st, 1969. These studio sessions produced The Beatles’ Grammy Award winning album Let It Be, with its Academy Award winning title song. The album was eventually released 18 months later in May 1970, several months after the band had broken up.
The filming was originally intended for a planned TV special, but organically turned into something completely different, climaxing with The Beatles’ legendary performance on the roof of Apple’s Savile Row London office — which took place exactly 50 years ago today.Peter Jackson said, “The 55 hours of never-before-seen footage and 140 hours of audio made available to us, ensures this movie will be the ultimate ‘fly on the wall’ experience that Beatles fans have long dreamt about – it’s like a time machine transports us back to 1969, and we get to sit in the studio watching these four friends make great music together.” Although The Beatles were filmed extensively during the 1960s – in concerts, interviews and movies – this is the only footage of any note that documents them at work in the studio.The Let It Be album and movie, having been released in the months following The Beatles’ breakup, have often been viewed in the context of the struggle the band was going through at that time.
“I was relieved to discover the reality is very different to the myth,” continues Jackson, “After reviewing all the footage and audio that Michael Lindsay-Hogg shot 18 months before they broke up, it’s simply an amazing historical treasure-trove. Sure, there’s moments of drama – but none of the discord this project has long been associated with.
“Watching John, Paul, George, and Ringo work together, creating now-classic songs from scratch, is not only fascinating – it’s funny, uplifting and surprisingly intimate. …I’m thrilled and honored to have been entrusted with this remarkable footage – making the movie will be a sheer joy.”
Jackson will be working with his They Shall Not Grow Old partners, Producer Clare Olssen and Editor Jabez Olssen. The footage will be restored by Park Road Post of Wellington, New Zealand, to a pristine standard, using techniques developed for the WW1 documentary film which has been nominated for a BAFTA for best documentary.
The untitled film is currently in production and the release date will be announced in due course. This film is being made with the full co-operation of Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono Lennon, and Olivia Harrison. The Executive Producers are Ken Kamins for WingNut Films and Jeff Jones and Jonathan Clyde for Apple Corps.
Following the release of this new film, a restored version of the original Let It Be movie directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg will also be made available.
The great All You Need is Love from Belleville, Canada, performs a Beatles song May 28, 2018, at Abbey Road on the River in Jeffersonville, Ind. The audio isn’t the best, but the video shows what dynamic performs these guys are. Video by Ronald Hawkins.
If you live in or near Morgan County, Ind., the event at 6:30 p.m. May 31 in the Monrovia Branch of the Morgan County Public Library, 145 S. Chestnut St., Monrovia, Indiana may be of interest to you and could assist you in preventing the youth around you from taking up smoking or helping them stop if they have already started.
The message below about the event described below iis from Jennifer Walker, executive director of Ready Set Quit Tobacco.
Have you ever wondered why youth start smoking, given all the scientific data we know about the harm from tobacco use? Surely, our youth are receiving messages about not using tobacco from their teachers and school administrators, little league teams, scouts and 4-H leaders, right? Indeed, they are!
While no doubt today’s youth are warned about the harm from tobacco use, including smoking cigarettes, chewing tobacco and now electronic cigarettes, we have to wonder, “how do they get started using?”
With all the social issues we face today, why are we concerned about a seemingly insignificant thing like a youth smoking?
Here are a few little-known facts…
o Morgan Co. youth use electronic cigarettes at rates higher than state rates, with increases reported in 2016.
· o Electronic cigarette solutions can have very high concentrations of nicotine leading to impaired adolescent brain development, including susceptibility to addiction.
·o Tobacco use is a gateway drug, much like alcohol and marijuana. It works on the brain receptors of an adolescent’s brain that is not fully developed, leading that youth down the path to addiction, starting with nicotine addiction.
o Among current smokers in the U.S., 24.1% report illicit drug use compared with 5.4% of nonsmokers. www.in.gov/…/MH_and_Substance_Use_Disorders_October_2015.pdf
o If smoking continues at the current rate among U.S. youth, 5.6 million of today’s Americans younger than 18 years of age are expected to die prematurely from a smoking-related illness. This represents about one in every 13 Americans aged 17 years or younger who are alive today.
Tobacco use is still the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, killing more than AIDS, alcohol, car accidents, illegal drugs, murders and suicides COMBINED.
You are encouraged to attend a Community Conversation about Tobacco Marketing to Youth
Keynote presenter: Kristinia Love, Executive Director, Morgan County Substance Abuse Council
Moderator: Ronald Hawkins, RDH Great Stories
Panel: Annabelle Hadley, 8th grade Student, Monrovia Middle School
Ted & Shelley Voelz, Co-Directors, St. Thomas More Free Clinic
Tina Jacob, C.H.E.S., Health Education and Volunteer Manager, Little Red Door Cancer Agency
Questions? Call Jennifer Walker at 317-306-1282 or email: Jennifer@readytoquit.org
One of the positive things about people knowing you are an enthusiast (we prefer that to “fan”) of a particular subject, team or band is that your friends from a long time ago or even recently sometimes give or send you something they’ve found gathering dust in their home or have recently bought.
Beatles fans are about the best when it comes to this. Pete Dicks of Beatles and Beyond in England has been great and sent us several books a few years ago. Others have sent me music that we wouldn’t have found elsewhere.
RDH Great Stories collection has grown substantially since we have been giving Beatles presentations and have had Beatles exhibits at several locations in central Indiana.
Today, we received a particular treat. We’re going to send you even back further into our past first though. In the summer after finishing the 6th grade, Richard Thompson and Ronald Hawkins put together an imaginary baseball magazine, clipping items from real magazines and writing stories to go with them.
Years later, Hawkins was the editor of the Thomas Jefferson High School newspaper and Thompson was the sports editor and cartoonist.
Until he retired, Thompson was a great educator, artist and more, following a track that he moved toward in high school. Hawkins went on to work for more than 40 years on newspapers, magazines and other media.
Mr. Thompson sent Mr. Hawkins a package that arrived today. It was a wonderful surprise. Mr. Thompson knows Mr. Hawkins is a Beatles presented and collector.
The item was a magazine from December 1965. Here are few images from it:
The “Baseball Dreams and Memories” exhibit at the Martinsville main branch of the Morgan County Public Library is now open and is scheduled to there through March 31. The library is open seven days per week, but the hours vary depending on the day of the week. For more information about the library, http://morgancountylibrary.info/
Here’s a taste of what of what the exhibit looks like:
The RDH Great Stories month long Baseball exhibit is scheduled to open today at the Martinsville, Ind., main branch of the Morgan County Public Library.
The library is open seven days per week, but the hours vary depending on the day of the week. For details about library at 110 S. Jefferson St., Martinsville, Ind., go to http://morgancountylibrary.info/
The exhibit includes items related to multiple major league and minor league professional teams.
Four of the five best picture Oscar winners between 1958-1962 were big picture productions, including two musicals. The fifth was a comedy.
Gigi, 1958, directed by Vincente Minnelli.
Thank heaven for musicals like “Gigi,” the 1958 winner of the Oscar for best picture.
And for director Vincente Minnelli it meant another Oscar for best picture.
The story surrounds young a Parisian girl being trained to be a “courtesan,” but finds herself drawn to a man known to be a womanizer.
The New York Times reviewer in 1958 wrote, “There won’t be much point in anybody trying to produce a film of ‘My Fair Lady’ for awhile because (producer) Arthur Freed has virtually done it with ‘Gigi.'” Actually, “My Fa Lady” became a film and won an Oscar for best picture in 1964. More about that movie in a future post.
Aside from the similarity to “My Fair Lady,” “Gigi” was one of the first MGM films to be shot on location. The film is filled with tributes to the French lifestyle.
The memorable songs for this movie include “Thank Heaven for Little Girls,” “I’m Glad I’m Not Young Anymore” and “I Remember It Well.”
The cast includes Leslie Caron, Maurice Chevalier, Louis Jourdan, Hermione Gingold and Eva Gabor. The screenplay’s music by Frederick Loewe and lyrics and screenplay by Alan Jay Lerner.
Other competitors for the 1958 Oscar included “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” and the Defiant Ones.”
Ben Hur, 1959, directed by William Wyler
Though many watch this just for the chariot race or watch it as their Easter weekend tradition, “Ben Hur” also is a powerful, deeply religious, nearly four-hour long movie that is rich enough in detail to merit several viewings.
Although this movie is largely a Christian movie, agnostics, Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, and others can find meaning in this William Wyler-directed extravaganza. It’s about learning to forgive, being loyal to one’s family, the healing power of belief and, of course, about the story of Jesus Christ as viewed by the author, and about the clashes between the Jews and the occupying Romans.
Although based on Civil War Gen. Lew Wallace’s novel, the story had previously been produced on stage (no kidding) and in films. But this version was the most spectacular yet.
For this writer growing up in Louisville, Ky., this move was such a spectacular for our family that we had to see it in one of the fancy downtown movie theaters, not one of the usual drive-ins where we could bring our beverages and homemade popcorn. If we wanted popcorn, we would have to buy it at the Brown Theater concession stand.
The outstanding cast for this movie included Charlton Heston, Stephen Boyd, Jack Hawkins, Sam Jaffee, Haya Harareet, and Hugh Griffith.
Other 1959 competitors for the honor included “Anatomy of a Murder,” “The Diary of Anne Frank” and “Room at the Top.”
The Apartment, 1960, directed by Billy Wilder.
“The Apartment,” the 1960 Academy best picture is both a comedy and a morality tale about assisting others’ infidelity.
Under the direction of “all-star” director Billy Wilder, the film involves a bachelor (Jack Lemmon) who turns over the key to his apartment to the hierarchy of his employers, a situation he doesn’t like. When gives the key to one boss (Fred MacMurray), he finds that the woman (Shirley MacLaine) he brings is someone Lemmon’s character knows and is attracted to.
Lemmon drew high praise for his performance in this part, following his starring role in “Some Like it Hot.” A New York Times critic wrote Lemmon “takes precedence as our top comedian by virtue of his work in this film.”
This was quite a different role for MacMurray, whom some of us were just getting to know as the dad in “My Three Sons.”
Other contenders for best picture in 1960 included “The Alamo,” “Elmer Gantry” and “The Sundowners.”
West Side Story, 1961, directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins.
Academy Award winning best picture “West Side Story” is one of the best-loved musicals even by those shaking their heads at ballet-style dancing gang members.
Loosely based on William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” the story is about gang and ethnic conflicts on New York City’s West Side. A ground-breaking musical, the story follows the Jets and the Sharks as they fight for their turf while Maria and Tony fight for love.
The magnificent music is by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim. The cast includes Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Rita Moreno and Russ Tamblyn.
Other films nominated for the 1916 best picture Oscar were “Fanny,” “The Hustler,” and “Judgment at Nuremberg.”
Lawrence of Arabia, 1962, David Lean
While based on a true story, David Lean’s Academy Award best-picture winning “Lawrence of Arabia” is about a descent into madness even though the basic story is a action-filled tale regarding how Brit T. E. Lawrence helped Bedouins in their battle against the Turks during World. War I.
This spectacular movie needs to be seen on a big screen. The cinematography by David Lean’s crew is spectacular showing the beauty and terrors of the desert. It’s truly one of my favorite movies to watch, an intelligent and visual delight as nearly all of David Lean’s films were.
The descent into madness by Lawrence is exemplified by his increasingly dangerous tactics and even his seeming loss of identity. The movie is loosely based on T. E. Lawrence’s “The Seven Pillars of Wisdom.” Although Lawrence is very heroic, he eventually starts to lose his British identity, takes more and more chances, wears Arab garb and takes on action in the desert that few would chance.
Lawrence is played marvelously by Peter O’Toole in his first major film. Others in this great cast include Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins, Omar Shariff, Anthony Quinn, Claude Rains
Films competing with this Lean masterpiece for the 1962 best picture honor included “The Longest Day,” “The Music Man” and “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
Coming soon: 1963-1967, the age of “They call me Mr. Tibbs,” “The Rain in Spain” and much more.
The new RDH Great Stories Beatles Memories and Memorabilia exhibit at the Avon-Washington Township Public Library, 498 Avon Ave., Avon, Ind., is now open and will be on display throughout August. The theme is “The Continuing Magic of the Beatles.”
On Sept. 13 in that library, Ronald Hawkins will give his next Beatles’ presentation. This one will be on the continuing magic theme and will begin at 5:30 p.m..
The event will include videos, live music, a discussion of items Hawkins’ collection, and a trivia contest with prizes. The live music will be provided by Martinsville High School student Tyler Russell.
Longtime Abbey Road on the River favorites Hal Bruce and Jay Goeppner entertained Friday, June 26, with a variety of John Lennon tunes during their acoustic set. Among them was the early Lennon song “If I Fell.” Video by Ronald Hawkins.