Red Buttons was an American actor and comedian. He won a Golden Globe for his supporting role in the 1957 film Sayonara. Red Buttons was born Aaron Chwatt on February 5, 1919, in Manhattan, to Jewish immigrants Sophie and Michael Chwatt. At sixteen years old, Chwatt got a job as an entertaining bellhop at Ryan's Tavern in City Island, Bronx; the combination of his red hair and the large, shiny buttons on the bellhop uniforms inspired orchestra leader Charles "Dinty" Moore to call him "Red Buttons," the name under which he would perform. That same summer Buttons worked on the Borscht Belt. Buttons was working at the Irvington Hotel in South Fallsburg, New York, when the Master of Ceremonies became incapacitated, he asked for the chance to replace him. In 1939 Buttons started working for Minsky's Burlesque; the show was a farce set in Pearl Harbor, it was due to open on December 8, 1941. It never did. In years Buttons would joke that the Japanese only attacked Pearl Harbor to keep him off Broadway.
In September 1942 Buttons made his Broadway debut in Vickie with Uta Hagen. That year he appeared in the Minsky's show Wine and Song; this was the last classic Burlesque show in New York City history, as the Mayor La Guardia administration closed it down. Buttons was on stage. Drafted into the United States Army Air Forces, Buttons in 1943 appeared in the Army Air Forces' Broadway show Winged Victory, along with several future stars, including Mario Lanza, John Forsythe, Karl Malden and Lee J. Cobb. A year he appeared in Darryl F. Zanuck's movie version of Winged Victory, directed by George Cukor. Buttons entertained troops in the European Theater in the same Jeep Show unit as Mickey Rooney. After the war Buttons continued to do Broadway shows, he performed at Broadway movie houses with big bands. In 1952, Buttons received his own variety series on television, The Red Buttons Show, which ran for three years on CBS, it was the #11 show in prime time in 1952. In 1953 he recorded and had a two-sided hit with Strange Things Are Happening/The Ho Ho Song, with both sides/songs being the same.
His role in Sayonara was a dramatic departure from his previous work. In this film, co-starring with Marlon Brando, he played Joe Kelly, an American airman stationed in Kobe, Japan during the Korean War, who marries Katsumi, a Japanese woman, but is barred from taking her back to the United States, his moving portrayal of Kelly's calm resolve not to abandon the relationship, the touching reassurance of Katsumi, impressed audiences and critics alike. Buttons won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and Umeki won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for the film. After his Oscar-winning role Buttons performed in numerous feature films, including the Africa adventure Hatari! with John Wayne, the adventure Five Weeks in a Balloon, the war epic The Longest Day, the biopic Harlow, the disaster film The Poseidon Adventure, the dance-marathon drama They Shoot Horses, Don't They?, the family comedy Pete's Dragon, the disaster film When Time Ran Out with Paul Newman and the age-reversal comedy 18 Again! with George Burns.
In 1966 Buttons again starred in his own TV series, a spy spoof called The Double Life of Henry Phyfe, which ran for one season. Buttons made memorable guest appearances on several TV programs including The Eleventh Hour, Little House on the Prairie, It's Garry Shandling's Show, Knots Landing and Roseanne, his last TV role was in ER. He became a nationally recognisable comedian, his "Never Got A Dinner" routine was a standard of The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast for many years, he was number 71 on Comedy Central's list of the 100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time. Another of his catchphrases was "I did not come here to be made sport of,", taken up by radio talk show host Howie Carr. Buttons received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for television, his star being located at 1651 Vine Street. Buttons married actress Roxanne Arlen in 1947, he married Helayne McNorton on December 8, 1949. They divorced in 1963, his last marriage was to Alicia Pratts, which lasted from January 27, 1964, until her death in March 2001.
Buttons had two Amy Buttons and Adam Buttons. He was the advertising spokesman for Florida, a retirement community. Buttons was an early member of the Synagogue for the Performing Arts, at the time Rabbi Jerome Cutler was the Rabbi. Buttons died of complications from cardiovascular disease on July 13, 2006, at age 87 at his home in Century City, Los Angeles, he was with family members when he died. His ashes were given to his family after cremation. Interview with Red Buttons' Television Writer, August 2012 Red Buttons on IMDb Red Buttons at the TCM Movie Database Red Buttons at the Internet Broadway Database Red Buttons at AllMovie Interview on YouTube by Leon Charney on The Leon Charney Report "Red Buttons on Dean Martin Roast" on YouTube, video, 4 minutes Actor Red Buttons dead at 87
William Randolph Hearst
William Randolph Hearst Sr. was an American businessman, newspaper publisher, politician known for developing the nation's largest newspaper chain and media company, Hearst Communications. His flamboyant methods of yellow journalism influenced the nation's popular media by emphasizing sensationalism and human interest stories. Hearst entered the publishing business in 1887 with Mitchell Trubitt after being given control of The San Francisco Examiner by his wealthy father. Moving to New York City, Hearst acquired the New York Journal and fought a bitter circulation war with Joseph Pulitzer's New York World. Hearst sold papers by printing giant headlines over lurid stories featuring crime, corruption and innuendo. Acquiring more newspapers, Hearst created a chain that numbered nearly 30 papers in major American cities at its peak, he expanded to magazines, creating the largest newspaper and magazine business in the world. Hearst controlled the editorial positions and coverage of political news in all his papers and magazines, thereby published his personal views.
He sensationalized Spanish atrocities in Cuba while calling for war in 1898 against Spain. He was twice elected as a Democrat to the U. S. House of Representatives, he ran unsuccessfully for President of the United States in 1904, Mayor of New York City in 1905 and 1909, for Governor of New York in 1906. During his political career, he espoused views associated with the left wing of the Progressive Movement, claiming to speak on behalf of the working class. After 1918 and the end of the Great War, Hearst began adopting more conservative views, started promoting an isolationist foreign policy to avoid any more entanglement in what he regarded as corrupt European affairs, he was at once a militant nationalist, a fierce anti-communist after the Russian Revolution, suspicious of the League of Nations and of the British, French and Russians. He was a leading supporter of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932–34, but broke with FDR and became his most prominent enemy on the right. Hearst's empire reached a peak circulation of 20 million readers a day in the mid-1930s.
He was a bad manager of finances and so in debt during the Great Depression that most of his assets had to be liquidated in the late 1930s. Hearst managed to keep his magazines, his life story was the main inspiration for Charles Foster Kane, the lead character in Orson Welles's film Citizen Kane. His Hearst Castle, constructed on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean near San Simeon, has been preserved as a State Historical Monument and is designated as a National Historic Landmark. William R. Hearst was born in San Francisco to George Hearst, a millionaire mining engineer, owner of gold and other mines through his corporation, his much younger wife Phoebe Apperson Hearst, from a small town in Missouri; the elder Hearst entered politics, served as a US Senator, first appointed for a brief period in 1886 elected that year. He served from 1887 to his death in 1891, his paternal great-grandfather was John Hearst of Ulster Protestant origin. John Hearst, with his wife and six children, migrated to America from Ballybay, County Monaghan, Ireland, as part of the Cahans Exodus in 1766, settled in South Carolina.
Their immigration to South Carolina was spurred in part by the colonial government's policy that encouraged the immigration of Irish Protestants, many of Scots origin. The names "John Hearse" and "John Hearse Jr." appear on the council records of October 26, 1766, being credited with meriting 400 and 100 acres of land on the Long Canes, based upon 100 acres to heads of household and 50 acres for each dependent of a Protestant immigrant. The "Hearse" spelling of the family name never was used afterward by the family members themselves, or any family of any size. A separate theory purports that one branch of a "Hurst" family of Virginia moved to South Carolina at about the same time and changed the spelling of its surname of over a century to that of the immigrant Hearsts. Hearst's mother, née Phoebe Elizabeth Apperson, was of Scots-Irish ancestry, she was appointed as the first woman regent of University of California, donated funds to establish libraries at several universities, funded many anthropological expeditions, founded the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology.
Hearst attended prep school at St. Paul's School in New Hampshire, he enrolled in the Harvard College class of 1885. While there he was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon, the A. D. Club, the Hasty Pudding Theatricals, of the Lampoon before being expelled, his antics had ranged from sponsoring massive beer parties in Harvard Square to sending pudding pots used as chamber pots to his professors. Searching for an occupation, in 1887 Hearst took over management of his father's newspaper, the San Francisco Examiner, which his father had acquired in 1880 as repayment for a gambling debt. Giving his paper a grand motto, "Monarch of the Dailies," William R. Hearst acquired the best equipment and the most talented writers of the time, including Ambrose Bierce, Mark Twain, Jack London, political cartoonist Homer Davenport. A self-proclaimed populist, Hearst reported accounts of municipal and financial corruption attacking companies in which his own family held an interest. Within a few years, his paper dominated the San Francisco market.
Early in his career at the San Francisco Examiner, Hearst envisioned running a large newspaper chain, "always knew that his dream of a nation-spanning, multi-paper
Hawthorne, New York
Hawthorne is a hamlet and census-designated place located in the town of Mount Pleasant in Westchester County, New York. The population was 4,586 at the 2010 census; the village was known as Hammond's Mills, was part of Frederick Philipse's estate Philipsburgh. On September 23, 1780, Major John André stopped here on his way to New York to ask directions after meeting with Benedict Arnold. After the Revolutionary War, the name of the village changed to Unionville; the hamlet's population consisted of farmers. The Reformed Church of Unionville was built here in 1818. In 1832, a one-room school house was built. In 1847, a railroad station was established on New York Central's Harlem Division, with the name Unionville. A post office was established on February 10, 1851, was designated Neperan after the Indian name for the Saw Mill River. In the early 1890s, real-estate developer Louis Smadbeck began buying up the area farms to subdivide into parcels, which were sold to working- and middle-class people looking to live outside the city.
In 1901, Rose Hawthorne Lathrop known as Mother Mary Alphonsa, O. P. a convert to Catholicism and daughter of Nathaniel Hawthorne, founded Rosary Hill Home in Sherman Park for those suffering from incurable cancer. Mother Mary Alphonsa founded a Dominican Order now known as the Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne. Shortly after the opening of the cancer home, the hamlet was renamed Hawthorne in Mother Mary Alphonsa's honor. Rosary Hill Home is still operated by the Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne and is located on a hilltop on Linda Avenue. Hawthorne is the final resting place of Babe Ruth, James Cagney, Billy Martin, Malachi Martin, Dorothy Kilgallen, Ernesto Lecuona and many other notables interred at Gate of Heaven Cemetery; the Hammond House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. Hawthorne and neighboring Valhalla are densely packed with cemeteries, albeit not as densely as Colma, California. Hawthorne is located at 41°6′13″N 73°47′45″W. According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 1.1 square miles, all land.
Bounded by Route 9A to the west, the Taconic State Parkway to the east, split in the middle by the Sprain Brook Parkway, Hawthorne lies near the geographic center of Westchester County. Corporate parks and nurseries line Hawthorne's Route 9A corridor. Commerce Street, the main commercial thoroughfare serving both Hawthorne and Thornwood, runs north to south, parallel to Metro-North's Harlem Line tracks, it is a 40-minute train ride from the Hawthorne station to Grand Central Terminal. The majority of Hawthorne consists of small businesses. Stores on Elwood Avenue include The Lock House, the Hawthorne Station Deli, Pop's Deli, Office Dynamics, Hawthorne Pizzeria. On July 12, 2006, an F2 tornado struck the hamlet, causing major damage to the California Closets Warehouse and minor injuries to three people, it was the strongest tornado. Hawthorne's residents are served by the Mount Pleasant Central School District, which includes the Hawthorne Elementary School, Columbus Elementary School, Westlake Middle School and Westlake High School.
The Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services runs two residential schools in Hawthorne, the Hawthorne Cedar Knolls School and the Linden Hill High School. Hawthorne Cedar Knolls School with less than thirty students eligible to play varsity sports boasted numerous championship teams in the varsity sports during the sixties and seventies. HCKS went undefeated in all three varsity sports and winning the championships in 1972-1973 and again in 1974-1975). Hawthorne's residents are served by the Mount Pleasant Police Department, the Hawthorne Volunteer Fire Department, the Mount Pleasant 37 Medic; as of the census of 2000, there were 5,083 people, 1,581 households, 1,258 families residing in the hamlet. The population density was 3,006.0 per square mile. There were 1,590 housing units at an average density of 940.3/sq mi. The racial makeup of the hamlet was 87.13% White, 4.34% African American, 0.02% Native American, 1.48% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.16% from other races, 0.83% from two or more races.
Hispanic or Latino of any race were 11.02% of the population. There were 1,581 households out of which 35.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 69.1% were married couples living together, 7.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 20.4% were non-families. 16.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.2% had someone living alone, 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.97 and the average family size was 3.36. In the hamlet the population was spread out with 26.9% under the age of 18, 6.3% from 18 to 24, 28.1% from 25 to 44, 24.8% from 45 to 64, 14.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 99.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.7 males. The median income for a household in the hamlet was $71,370, the median income for a family was $82,042. Males had a median income of $52,477 versus $39,142 for females; the per capita income for the hamlet was $28,664. About 1.4% of families and 3.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.3% of those under age 18 and 1.3% of those age 65 or over.
Etzler, Kay "1835 newcomer to Hawthorne found city unfit for children", Patent Trade
Boob McNutt was a comic strip by Rube Goldberg which ran from 1915 to September 1934. It was syndicated by the McNaught Syndicate from 1922 until the end of its run. Comics historian Don Markstein traced the history of the strip: Goldberg launched Boob McNutt in 1915, but it wasn't picked up for syndication. On June 9, 1918, the Star Company began distributing it nationwide. Boob McNutt started as a series of oneshot gags, which ended with Boob being tortured to death for his innocently destructive ways. In 1922, he met the love of his life and the focus shifted to his quest to win her hand in marriage; the task was accomplished in 1926. They went through a few more cycles of courtship and divorce. Mike & Ike, stars of an earlier Goldberg strip, became supporting characters for a time in the late 1920s, as did Bertha the Siberian Cheesehound. In the late 1920s and early'30s, the topper's star was a likeable but shiftless young man named Bill, while in the main part of the page and Pearl carried on a zany, over-the-top soap opera—but the feature seemed to be running out of steam.
Or maybe Goldberg was tiring of it. Boob blundered into a fortune in 1932. At the beginning of 1934, Bill took on a co-star—Prof. Lucifer Gorgonzola Butts, thus adding the famous Goldberg devices to the page's appeal. So, it folded in September of that year. Boob McNutt was a clumsy, buffoonish fellow, quite friendly and attempted to be helpful in his incompetent way, he was entrusted with tasks like caring for priceless works of art and the Elixir of Immortality, tasks in which he failed in a destructive manner. From 1922 to 1926, the strip focused on Boob's pursuit of his true love Pearl, whom he married divorced married again and divorced again. Goldberg inserted supporting characters from his other strips, including Mike and Ike and Bertha the Siberian Cheesehound. In 1934, he brought in Professor Lucifer Gorgonzola Butts, inventor of those famed Rube Goldberg machines, for a brief sojourn before the strip was cancelled. In his seminal 1923 essay, "The Seven Lively Arts", Gilbert Seldes called Boob McNutt "the least worthy of Rube Goldberg's astonishing creations".
Boob was vindicated, when he was featured on the front cover of Nemo #24. Strickler, Dave. Syndicated Comic Strips and Artists, 1924-1995: The Complete Index. Cambria, California: Comics Access, 1995. ISBN 0-9700077-0-1
National Cartoonists Society
The National Cartoonists Society is an organization of professional cartoonists in the United States. It presents the National Cartoonists Society Awards; the Society was born in 1946. They decided to meet on a regular basis. NCS members work in many branches of the profession, including advertising, newspaper comic strips and syndicated single-panel cartoons, comic books, editorial cartoons, gag cartoons, graphic novels, greeting cards and book illustration. Only has the National Cartoonists Society embraced web comics. Membership is limited to established professional cartoonists, with a few exceptions of outstanding persons in affiliated fields; the NCS is not a labor union. The organization's stated primary purposes are "to advance the ideals and standards of professional cartooning in its many forms", "to promote and foster a social and intellectual interchange among professional cartoonists of all types" and "to stimulate and encourage interest in and acceptance of the art of cartooning by aspiring cartoonists and the general public."
The National Cartoonists Society had its origins during World War II when cartoonists Gus Edson, Otto Soglow, Clarence D. Russell, Bob Dunn and others did chalk talks at hospitals for the USO in 1943. Edson recalled, “We played two spots. Fort Hamilton and Governor’s Island, and we quit the USO.” They were lured away by former Rockette Toni Mendez. When she learned of these chalk talks, she recruited the cartoonists to do shows for the Hospital Committee of the American Theatre Wing. Beginning with a performance emceed by humor columnist Bugs Baer at Halloran Hospital on Staten Island, these shows were produced and directed by Mendez; the group expanded to junkets on military transport planes, flying to military bases along the southeastern seaboard. On one of those flights, Russell proposed a club to Rube Goldberg and others so the group could still get together after WWII ended. Mendez recalled: He said, "Everybody has a club or an association or some kind—lumber jacks, rug weavers garbage collectors—so I don’t see why we can’t have one, too."
All during the flight, Rube kept saying, "No—leave us alone. C. D. turned to me and he said, "And no girls. Only boys." And he went down the aisle of the plane, repeating that this club would be just for boys. The Society was organized on a Friday evening, March 1, 1946, when 26 cartoonists gathered at 7pm in the Barberry Room on East 52nd Street in Manhattan. After drinks and dinner, they voted to determine a name for their new organization, it was known as The Cartoonists Society. Goldberg was elected president with Russell Patterson as vice president, C. D. Russell as secretary and Milton Caniff, treasurer. Soglow was added as second vice president. Mendez functioned as the Society's trouble-shooter and became an agent representing more than 50 cartoonists; the 26 founding members came from the group of 32 members who had paid dues by March 13, including strip cartoonists Wally Bishop, Martin Branner, Ernie Bushmiller, Milton Caniff, Gus Edson, Ham Fisher, Harry Haenigsen, Fred Harman, Bill Holman, Jay Irving, Stan MacGovern, Al Posen, Clarence Russell, Otto Soglow, Jack Sparling, Raeburn Van Buren, Dow Walling and Frank Willard.
Among the early 32 members were syndicated panel cartoonists Dave Breger, George Clark, Bob Dunn and Jimmy Hatlo. Yardley. More members joined by mid-May 1946, including Harold Gray and the Society’s first animator, Paul Terry, followed in the summer by letterer Frank Engli, Bela Zaboly, Al Capp and Ray Bailey. By March 1947, the NCS had 112 members, including Bud Fisher, Don Flowers, Bob Kane, Fred Lasswell, George Lichty, Zack Mosley, Alex Raymond, Cliff Sterrett and Chic Young, plus editorial cartoonists Reg Manning and Fred O. Seibel and sports cartoonist Willard Mullin. Marge Devine Duffy, a secretary in King Features public relations department, had been helping Russell handle correspondence to the NCS, in 1948, she was installed as the official NCS secretary and given the title Scribe of the Society, her name was on all the Society’s publications, her address was the permanent mailing address of the NCS for more than 30 years. As the organizing secretary, she handled agendas and publicity.
“She ran the damn thing,” Caniff recalled. “A real autocrat, everyone was delighted to have her be an autocrat because that’s what we needed.”In the fall of 1949, the NCS cooperated with Treasury Department to sell savings bonds, engaging in a nationwide tour to 17 major cities with a team of 10 to 12 cartoonists and a traveling display, 20,000 Years of Comics, a 95-foot pictorial history of the comic strip. Despite the contributions of Duffy and Mendez, there were no female
New York City
The City of New York called either New York City or New York, is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2017 population of 8,622,698 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles, New York is the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world's most populous megacities, with an estimated 20,320,876 people in its 2017 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 23,876,155 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural and media capital of the world, exerts a significant impact upon commerce, research, education, tourism, art and sports; the city's fast pace has inspired the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.
Situated on one of the world's largest natural harbors, New York City consists of five boroughs, each of, a separate county of the State of New York. The five boroughs – Brooklyn, Manhattan, The Bronx, Staten Island – were consolidated into a single city in 1898; the city and its metropolitan area constitute the premier gateway for legal immigration to the United States. As many as 800 languages are spoken in New York, making it the most linguistically diverse city in the world. New York City is home to more than 3.2 million residents born outside the United States, the largest foreign-born population of any city in the world. In 2017, the New York metropolitan area produced a gross metropolitan product of US$1.73 trillion. If greater New York City were a sovereign state, it would have the 12th highest GDP in the world. New York is home to the highest number of billionaires of any city in the world. New York City traces its origins to a trading post founded by colonists from the Dutch Republic in 1624 on Lower Manhattan.
The city and its surroundings came under English control in 1664 and were renamed New York after King Charles II of England granted the lands to his brother, the Duke of York. New York served as the capital of the United States from 1785 until 1790, it has been the country's largest city since 1790. The Statue of Liberty greeted millions of immigrants as they came to the U. S. by ship in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and is an international symbol of the U. S. and its ideals of liberty and peace. In the 21st century, New York has emerged as a global node of creativity and entrepreneurship, social tolerance, environmental sustainability, as a symbol of freedom and cultural diversity. Many districts and landmarks in New York City are well known, with the city having three of the world's ten most visited tourist attractions in 2013 and receiving a record 62.8 million tourists in 2017. Several sources have ranked New York the most photographed city in the world. Times Square, iconic as the world's "heart" and its "Crossroads", is the brightly illuminated hub of the Broadway Theater District, one of the world's busiest pedestrian intersections, a major center of the world's entertainment industry.
The names of many of the city's landmarks and parks are known around the world. Manhattan's real estate market is among the most expensive in the world. New York is home to the largest ethnic Chinese population outside of Asia, with multiple signature Chinatowns developing across the city. Providing continuous 24/7 service, the New York City Subway is the largest single-operator rapid transit system worldwide, with 472 rail stations. Over 120 colleges and universities are located in New York City, including Columbia University, New York University, Rockefeller University, which have been ranked among the top universities in the world. Anchored by Wall Street in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan, New York has been called both the most economically powerful city and the leading financial center of the world, the city is home to the world's two largest stock exchanges by total market capitalization, the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ. In 1664, the city was named in honor of the Duke of York.
James's older brother, King Charles II, had appointed the Duke proprietor of the former territory of New Netherland, including the city of New Amsterdam, which England had seized from the Dutch. During the Wisconsinan glaciation, 75,000 to 11,000 years ago, the New York City region was situated at the edge of a large ice sheet over 1,000 feet in depth; the erosive forward movement of the ice contributed to the separation of what is now Long Island and Staten Island. That action left bedrock at a shallow depth, providing a solid foundation for most of Manhattan's skyscrapers. In the precolonial era, the area of present-day New York City was inhabited by Algonquian Native Americans, including the Lenape, whose homeland, known as Lenapehoking, included Staten Island; the first documented visit into New York Harbor by a European was in 1524 by Giovanni da Verrazzano, a Florentine explorer in the service of the French crown. He named it Nouvelle Angoulême. A Spanish expedition led by captain Estêvão Gomes, a Portuguese sailing for Emperor Charles V, arrived in New York Harbor in January 1525 and charted the mouth of the Hudson River, which he named Río de San Antonio.
The Padrón Rea
Gremlins is a 1984 American comedy horror film directed by Joe Dante and released by Warner Bros. The film is about a young man who receives a strange creature called a mogwai as a pet, which spawns other creatures who transform into small, evil monsters; this story was continued with a sequel, Gremlins 2: The New Batch, released in 1990. Unlike the more satirical tone of the sequel, Gremlins opts for more black comedy, balanced against a Christmastime setting. Both films were the center of large merchandising campaigns. Steven Spielberg was the film's executive producer, with the film being produced by Michael Finnell and written by Chris Columbus, drawing on legends of gremlins in the RAF going back to World War II; the film stars Zach Galligan and Phoebe Cates, with Howie Mandel providing the voice of Gizmo, the main mogwai character. Gremlins received positive reviews from critics. However, the film was heavily criticized for some of its more violent sequences. In response to this and to similar complaints about Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Spielberg suggested that the Motion Picture Association of America alter its rating system, which it did within two months of the film's release, creating a new PG-13 rating.
Randall Peltzer, a struggling inventor, visits a Chinatown antique store in the hope of finding a Christmas present for his son Billy. In the store, Randall encounters a furry creature called a mogwai; the owner, Mr. Wing, refuses to sell the creature to Randall. However, his grandson secretly sells the mogwai to Randall, warning him to remember three important rules that must never be broken—do not expose the mogwai to bright lights or sunlight which will kill it, do not let it get wet, never feed it after midnight. Randall returns home to Kingston Falls. Billy works in the local bank, where he fears his dog Barney will be captured and killed by the elderly Mrs. Deagle. Randall names the mogwai “Gizmo” and Billy makes sure to treat him well; when Billy’s friend Pete spills a glass of water over Gizmo, five more mogwai spawn from his back, a more troublemaking sort led by the aggressive Stripe. Billy shows one of the mogwai to his former science teacher, Mr. Hanson, spawning another mogwai, on whom Hanson experiments.
Back at home, Stripe’s gang tricks Billy into feeding them after midnight by severing the power cord to his bedside clock. They make cocoons. Shortly after, the cocoons hatch and they emerge as mischievous, reptilian monsters that torture Gizmo and try to murder Billy’s mother, while Hanson is killed by his'gremlin'. All of the Gremlins are killed except Stripe, who escapes to a local YMCA and jumps into a swimming pool, spawning an army of gremlins who wreak chaos around Kingston Falls. Billy tries to warn the police. Many people are injured or outright killed by the gremlins' rampage, including Mrs. Deagle, launched out of her house on a stair lift, sabotaged by the creatures. At the local bar, the gremlins have fun until the barmaid Kate Beringer, Billy’s girlfriend, flashes them with a camera and escapes into the bank with Billy and Gizmo. While hiding, she reveals. Billy and Kate discover the town has fallen silent and the Gremlins are watching Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in the local theater.
They set off an explosion. Billy chases Stripe into a Montgomery Ward store, where Stripe climbs into a water fountain and tries to spawn more gremlins. Gizmo opens a skylight, exposing Stripe to sunlight and melting him. In the aftermath of the rampage, Mr. Wing arrives to collect Gizmo, scolding the Peltzers for their carelessness, thinking the Western world is not ready but comments that Billy might some day be ready to care for Gizmo properly. Gizmo believes so, having become attached to Billy. Mr. Wing departs with Gizmo. Gremlins was produced at a time when combining horror and comedy was becoming popular. According to Professor Noël Carroll, released the same weekend as Gremlins, the comic strip The Far Side followed this trend. Carroll argued that there was now a new genre emphasizing sudden shifts between humorous and horrific scenes, drawing laughs with plot elements that have been traditionally used to scare; the notion of gremlins was first conceived during World War II when mechanical failures in RAF aircraft were jokingly blamed on the small monsters.
The term "gremlins" entered popular culture as children's author Roald Dahl published a book called The Gremlins in 1943, based on the mischievous creatures. Walt Disney considered making a film of it. A Bugs Bunny cartoon of the era, Falling Hare, has him battling a gremlin on an airplane. Joe Dante said that the book was of some influence on his film. In 1983, Dante publicly distanced his work from earlier films, explaining, "Our gremlins are somewhat different—they're sort of green and they have big mouths and they smile a lot and they do really nasty things to people and enjoy it all the while"; the story of Gremlins was conceived by Chris Columbus. As Columbus explained, his inspiration came from his loft, when at night "what sounded like a platoon of mice would come out and to hear them skittering around in the blackness was creepy", he wrote the original screenplay as a spec script to show potential employers that he had writing abilities. The story was not intended to be filmed until Steven Spielberg took an interest in turning it into a film.
As Spielberg explained, "It's one of the most original things I've c