We’ve all been working hard, and it’s time to have a bit of fun for its own sake. Of course, knowing me, you realize the fun will have a literary touch.
I’ve just discovered a new book by Hy Brett, an author well-known for his quirky sense of humor. His latest is “WISHFUL WEDDINGS: From Casablanca to Titanic, Star-crossed Lovers United at Last.” (e-book available for most readers. I read it on my Nook.)
Whether Hamlet and Ophelia, Lois Lane and Superman, Perry Mason and Della Street, Nancy Drew and Ned Nickerson, Sam Spade and Brigid O’Shaughnessy, Mimi and Rudolpho, or (I told you this was quirky), Barbie and Ken, Brett gives us the happy endings our hearts wished for, no matter what the original plots told us. Since I know of few people who are as widely read as Hy Brett, his re-structured happy endings for fifty-six well-known couples give satisfaction for every taste, from “trash?” to literary. And, there are smiles and giggles throughout.
The endings are written as reports from the happy couples’ local newspapers, whether the New York Times, the Wuthering Heights Evening Breeze, the Metropolis Daily Planet, the Elsinore Castle Herald-Chronicle, or one of many more. (Brett knows the format. Though he wasn’t I suppose, on the wedding beat, he worked as a newspaper reporter for many years.) All reports contain imagined family histories with touches of truth, plus an account of current events.
Here are a few snippets to enjoy:
“Juliet Capulet, the sheltered daughter of Lord and Lady Capulet of fair Verona, was married yesterday to Romeo Montague, the ardent and impetuous son of Lord and Lady Montague, also of Verona …The ceremony was performed at the Church of the Annunciation by Friar Lawrence. … Originally the bride and groom had expressed a strong desire for a moonlight ceremony on their special spot, the balcony outside her bedchamber, but when they, Friar Lawrence, and their immediate families all stepped out upon it for a rehearsal, it immediately crashed to the ground. Rushed to Verona for his estimate of the damage, Papal architect Michelangelo Buonarotti said a new balcony of equal beauty could not possibly be built in time for the nuptual day.
“The bride, 14, studied singing, flirting, and gossiping with her nurse . . . etc. (Did you know that one of the distinguished ancestors of Lord Capulet was Lord Luciano Capulet who introduced the famous watercraft that still bears the name of his wife, the Lady Gondola . . . ?)
I guess we knew that Barbara Ellen Doll was employed as a model, but did you know that Kenneth Spencer Doll began his modeling career after an injury while playing football for Toyland University put him in the hospital? A fellow patient at the Massachusetts General Doll Hospital in Boston saw him in a striped orange bathrobe over a pair of blue silk pajamas with yellow hearts, and the resulting photo appeared on the cover of the J.C. Penney catalogue! (See how much you can learn just having fun?) By the way, the happy couple required six trunks and twenty-two color-coordinated suitcases to hold garments for their “fun-in-the-sun” honeymoon at the Hawaii Hilton.
Did you know? Francesca Johnson married Robert Kincaid when she was 55, and a widow? (Her cooking skills are noted, as well as his photography.) Or that she appeared, briefly, in an “On the Road” segment hosted by Charles Kuralt?
Or that Catherine E. Linton and Heathcliff Walpole had to postpone their honeymoon until a session in the Court of Libel and Slander fairly settled the lawsuit brought by the groom against the West Murdoch Enquirer? The proprietor of that rag had hinted at dark doings in Walpole’s past. (See the book for delicious details.)
Did you know that Ophelia was a champion swimmer and could not possibly have drowned in a little bitty creek? Or that, when Clark Kent disappeared with the wedding ring intended for Lois Nancy Lane in her wedding to Superman, Mr. Batman, of Gotham City, retrieved the missing ring? How about the fact that, after meeting over the grave of Jacob Marley, friendship blossomed into love for Marley’s widow, Fanny, and the honored philanthropist, Sir Ebenezer Scrooge? Want to read about the nuptials of Sonia Verefskaya and Rodion Raskolnikov? (Laugh-bringing details of earlier events included.)
There is more, so much more, but I’ve run out of time. Oh, but, must mention one of my favorites–the wedding of Elizabeth Doolittle and Henry Higgins. There’s a gem. And you learn so much more than the original story told you.
You owe a “time out” to yourself. Read WISHFUL WEDDINGS by Hy Brett. (It’s a quick read, but even taking time to read one wedding report a day will lift your spirits.)