Category Archives: Learning from the Past
More Glorious Times Anon
In June of 1771, the travelling attorney, John Adams, then thirty-five years old, had this to record in his journal about a day on the circuit court:
Overtook Judge Cushing in his old curricle and two lean horses, and Dick, his negro, at his right hand, driving the curricle. This is the way of travelling in 1771;— a judge of the circuits, a judge of the superior court, a judge of the King’s bench, common pleas, and exchequer for the Province, travels with a pair of wretched old jades of horses in a wretched old dung-cart of a curricle, and a negro on the same seat with him driving. Continue Reading »
If you’ve been following Courage, you’ve been watching the exploits of one Reverend “Silence Laud,” marvelously portrayed by Rutgers-educated actor Donal Thoms-Cappello. Quite a few fans have demanded this particular villain receive some heavy measure of justice, and one fan has even detailed the precise methods of retribution, many of which I cannot share with a family audience, except to say they were inventive and prolonged.
From the very beginning of the Courage project, we wanted to mirror some of the spiritual conflict faced by our ancestors in both the 17th and 18th centuries. Continue Reading »
It’s time to do yours!
Disclaimer: If you are one of the faithful who have already contributed, ignore this message — unless you have a friend who needs to ante up!
It all starts with culture, with story.
If you don’t like what is going on around you, blame it on art. We are what we mythologize. We might even be what we leave running on the television.
I just took a network at random. ABC. Continue Reading »
When we look back on the great accomplishments of the late 18th century — embattled farmers standing their ground at Lexington and Concord, the timeless language of the Declaration, the homage the centuries have paid to the Bill of Rights — we tend to see the victories and not the character of the people who achieved them.
We know they won, but we rarely study how or why.
If we found ourselves somewhere in New England on a Sabbath morning, in 1771, even the most devout among us might find the traditions strange. Continue Reading »
Not Every Order Should be Obeyed
The Brittany Rebellion of 1771
Most enlisted soldiers cringe at the very thought of disobeying a superior officer. As Washington wrote, “the soul of the army is discipline,” and the very enterprise of war can’t move forward if every battle strategy required a vote. Certainly, even rogue drill sergeants need to be obeyed, on most every routine occasion.
Having had a few friends, however, who graduated from West Point, and another who served as a combat Marine officer in Vietnam, I can tell you that the more educated the soldier, and the more familiar he is with western history, the more likely he is to debate which orders need to be obeyed, which need to be ignored, and which need to be openly and publicly defied. Continue Reading »
Hi, everyone. Your director here, James Riley, asking those of you who are able to contribute to “Courage, New Hampshire” to do so, TODAY, if possible.
I have publicly chided what I call the “smart money” set, who give you a funny look when you talk about pooling resources to create better entertainment. The fact is, of course, entertainment will never be a sure bet. It’s something like betting on your uncle’s next joke. Some of them have been hilarious, others just earn an awkward silence and staggered exits to the kitchen. Continue Reading »
Courage Made Plain! The First Two Minutes of Episode #1 Translated from the Baroque (sub-titles)
This was fun. We’ve always tried to make the language of Courage, New Hampshire authentic to the journals, letters, and newspaper usage we’ve seen in 18th century primary texts. Most of us are used to this language, but occasionally, someone will stop, pause, and re-wind.
Here’s a little primer on what Courage might look like if we tooled it up to suburban American English:
..An appeal from Jim Riley, Creator of Courage, New Hampshire
If Facebook is any guide, we are getting new fans every day from every walk of life, from every corner of the world. As a long time lover of American history, I was very tickled to get this email from a resident of that shrine of liberty — Concord, Massachusetts:
Courage, NH came on my radar via Facebook, I think. I have genealogy and history interests in NH. I just watched Episode 1 and liked it. Continue Reading »
I would love to have you read this blog, but if you
don’t have time I NEED you to contribute here.
Talking about a film project with business people is not for the faint of heart. Be prepared to be sneered at. A few months ago, I chatted with a seasoned executive, a Fortune 100 type who had that bull-dog-in-cuff-links command presence of a former CEO. He was the very sort of guy one of my father’s salesmen would describe as “mentally tough, loved and feared.” Actually, I’m not sure about the “loved” part. Continue Reading »
We’re very deep into 3rd episode planning and writing, so the blog gets sent to the high meadow for summer grazing. I did discover a little 18th century television you might like while you’re waiting for more Courage. It’s called Garrow’s Law and it tells the “true story [of] William Garrow, who acted as counsel for the accused, introducing the concept of ‘innocent until proved guilty’ at London’s Old Bailey.”
Like most BBC period pieces, it’s pretty lush on the art direction front, with loving attention to wigs, wardrobe, the look of 18th century books and documents, and the routine of the trial, complete with court attendants gracing the room in the early morning with what looked like aromatic censers. Continue Reading »