KC Public Library Blog

All Library locations will be closed on Sunday, April 20, in observance of the Easter holiday.

Program Notes: Jesse James (1939)

Jesse James movie poster

You don’t watch the Tyrone Power/Henry Fonda version of Jesse James for an accurate history lesson. Back in 1939, though, audiences were all about a romantic Jesse James, and this Henry King-directed Western delivered.

Library Life

Kush Sharma Wins Memorable Jackson County Bee

Kush Sharma (at left) and Sophia Hoffman (right)

After 95 rounds and nearly six hours of competition, Kush Sharma emerged Saturday as champion of the Jackson County Spelling Bee at the Kansas City Public Library.

Coming Up

Pronouncer, Like Spellers, Must Be Perfect

Bernie Norcott-Mahany (at right) at the Jackson County Spelling Bee

Saturday may not be quite what Bernie Norcott-Mahany imagined when he said yes three years ago to serving as the pronouncer for the Jackson County Spelling Bee.

Katz in the Cradle

Isaac Katz

March 8, 1879: Isaac Katz, who, along with his brother Mike, will found the Katz Drug Co. in Kansas City, is born in western Ukraine.

Book Reviews

The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder

I figured the cover of a book couldn't be so deceiving. Laura and Carrie seem to be having a grand time in the snow. The publisher obviously didn't want to give a sense of how hard the long winter of 1880-1881 really was.

Program Notes: Drums Along the Mohawk (1939)

Drums Along the Mohawk movie poster

Drums Along the Mohawk often gets overlooked among John Ford's films. Which is a real shame, since it’s a strong effort that dovetails seamlessly with Ford’s recurring theme of what it means to be an American.

Learn Something

Hidden Gems of Hoopla: The Candidate

The Candidate

I’m not sure whether to be depressed or comforted by the Oscar-winning 1972 Robert Redford film The Candidate. This depiction of a California race for a U.S. Senate seat suggests that when it comes to politics, very little changes.

Book Reviews

The Glass Key by Dashiell Hammett

The Glass Key

From what I hear, The Glass Key was Dashiell Hammett’s personal favorite among the books he wrote. That said, it is something of an outlier.

Library Life

The Bee Goes into OT!

An extraordinary Jackson County Spelling Bee — down to two students who’ve survived 66 championship rounds — will resume Saturday, March 8, at the Library.

Separate but Equal?

Dr. Thomas C. Unthank (1866-1932)

March 2, 1930: After much political maneuvering over its location, the new—and remarkably high-quality, albeit segregated—General Hospital No. 2 opens to serve Kansas City's African American community.

Program Notes: Dodge City (1939)

Dodge City movie poster

Depending upon how you choose to view it, Dodge City is either a quintessential Western or a shameless collection of cowboy clichés. Most of all it features the cinematic three-way of director Michael Curtiz and stars Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland.

Conventional Wisdom

The first Convention Hall

February 22, 1899: Local leaders celebrate as Kansas City gets a building large enough to accommodate large crowds with the opening of Convention Hall, built at a cost of $225,000.

Program Notes: Gulliver’s Travels (1939)

Gulliver’s Travels movie poster

Nobody remembers who came in second. Perhaps that explains why just about everyone has forgotten Gulliver’s Travels. Released in 1939, it was only the world’s second feature-length animated film.

Library Life

Hoopla Digital is Here

hoopla digital

The Kansas City Public Library is offering a new, refreshingly quick — and free — way to get music, television shows, movies, and audiobooks.

Program Notes: Wuthering Heights (1939)

Wuthering Heights movie poster

Happy sets do not always result in happy movies. Nor do miserable sets invariably produce cinematic dreck. For proof of that one need look no further than the career of William Wyler, one of the most prolific and honored filmmakers ever.