Monday, February 4, 2019

Flashback Film Review: Fantastic Voyage 1966

Film: Fantastic Voyage
Year: 1966
Director: Richard Fleischer
Writer: Harry Kleiner (screenplay)
Stars: Stephen Boyd, Raquel Welch
Genre: Science Fiction
Fun Fact: To create a swimming effect, the cast was suspended from wires and shot at double speed, which was then played at normal speed.

Made in 1966, Fantastic Voyage joined the genre of exploratory science-fiction movies inspired by the Space Race. Only, this voyage didn’t lead to the final frontier. It turned inward.

Set vaguely in the 1990s, but with no attempts to make the world or it’s political issues look any different than the 1960s, the movie follows Soviet scientist who defects, and in so doing he nearly dies. A team of scientists rushes to serve their country and science by getting miniaturized and going into the scientist’s body to blast a blood clot with a laser.

Of course, the voyage goes wrong quickly. They end up off course and forced to travel through delicate and dangerous parts of the body where they find themselves under siege from antibodies and corpuscles. Also, the entire crew may not be trustworthy.

The plot is straightforward and predictable while also being full of holes. The characters are more types than people -- the handsome hero, the dutiful scientist, the possibly mad scientist, the sexy assistant. The movie even tries to weigh in on Cold War fears and vague political issues, but isn’t at all successful.

That said, this is still in a worthwhile watch over 50 years later. Directed by Richard Fleischer, known for Doctor Dolittle, Conan the Destroyer, 2000 Leagues Under the Sea and Soylent Green, Fantastic Voyage delivers the promised fantastic visuals. Many of the set pieces and sound effects are reused from other productions and showcase a great deal of imagination. The visual effects may not be much to look at by today’s standards, but the production goes to great lengths to create colorful, varied, intricate scenery for the various parts of the body. Even though the effects have little basis in reality, the film took home two Oscars for these efforts, one for Art Direction and another for Visual Effects.

The trip into a human body fresh, though very fictional, look at scientific developments. Space was an exciting new place to explore, but it had been well covered by science fiction of the era. Audiences hadn’t yet experienced 2001: A Space Odyssey or Star Wars, but they’d seen plenty of alien monster movies and space exploration. Fantastic Voyage explores a future of medical advancements and what might be possible someday.

Fantastic Voyage also serves as the basis for many future miniaturization themes in media. A military official refers to this as “inner space” exploration. That phrase would later become the title of a 1987 film starring Dennis Quaid, Meg Ryan and Martin Short. The idea of “inner space” travel plays out in TV shows and movies like Futurama; Family Guy; The Simpsons; Sabrina the Teenage Witch; Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves and more. The film also spawned a novelization for Isaac Asimov and as well a several comic book adaptations.

Fantastic Voyage may not be the greatest classic sci-fi film ever made, but it holds an important place in the development of the genre and the use of visual effects. It’s also worth a watch because there have been several high-profile attempts to remake it. Less than a decade ago James Cameron was in talks for a remake, and more recently Guillermo del Torro has considered taking on the project, which could be quite the visual treat.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Flashback Film Reivew: Dark Passage 1947

Film: Dark Passage
Year: 1947
Director: Delmer Daves
Writer: Delmer Daves (screenplay)
Based on: Dark Passage by David Goodis (serialized novel)
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Becall 
Genre: Noir, Thriller
Fun Fact: This is the third of four Bogie & Becall films. 

*Note: Mild storyline spoilers ahead, no plot twist spoilers

Dark Passage tells the story of Vincent Parry, played by Humphrey Bogart, who escapes from prison so he can prove his claim that he's been wrongly accused of killing his wife. Lauren Becall is there too, playing Irene Jansen, an heiress eager to get herself mixed up in the whole tawdry affair. 

Dark Passage uses first-person perspective at the beginning of the film, meaning we can only see what our main character sees. It came out a year after Lady In the Lake, which is credited as the first film to use the first person point of view. Despite being an early experiment in this technique, Dark Passage uses it well. For the first hour, we, the audience, see everything through Parry's eyes. He's on the run, having escaped from San Quentin, and everything is terrifying. 

The limited perspective forces us to share his fear, feeling just as terrified about what's around the next corner. We meet new characters through his eyes, wary of how each person might recognize him, might figure him out, might send him back where he came from. Not only do we see things from his point of view, but we also hear his thoughts, in Bogart's distinct voice, letting us even further into the mind of this frightened, determined fugitive. 

The first person viewpoint is also a clever way to keep us from seeing a pre-plastic surgery Parry. We see a photo of Parry through his own eyes, but we do not yet get a look at our main character, who we will later see as Bogart. It isn't until he has said surgery and his face is wrapped in bandages that we get a look at him. We still can't see what's under the bandages, and we're thrust further outside our previous perspective because we can't hear his thoughts anymore, and he can't talk. 

Eventually, we get a glimpse of Bogart's mug, but the film is half over by that point. The audience is hooked, the suspense is in full swing and the mystery is far from solved. From here the film plays out like a textbook noir thriller with plenty of fights, chases, fast talking and reveals. 

Without the excellent use of the first person viewpoint, I doubt Dark Passage would stand out much from other noir thrillers. It isn't the best of it's kind. However, the first person viewpoint, which could have easily become a cheap gimmick, turns a slightly unbelievable story into a truly thrilling ride. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Why we must remember the Armenian Genocide

Photo of death marches
Today is Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day.

On April 24, 1915, officials in Ottoman Turkey rounded up over 200 Armenian intellectuals and deported them. Most of them were eventually murdered. This is considered the beginning of the Armenian Genocide and is now the day we remember what happened. That massacre kicked off a nearly decade-long period when Armenians living in Ottoman Turkey were arrested, deported and killed.

Decapitated heads on stakes
From 1914 to 1923, an estimated 1.5 million* Armenians were killed. Some were massacred, hung or shot. Some were beheaded, their heads placed on stakes and paraded through town. Some were sent to concentration camps, which were mostly holding cells for the nearly dead and, eventually, mass graves. Some were trapped in their villages, which were burned. Some women and children were put on boats, taken out to sea and thrown overboard to drown. Some men were forced into work camps or sent on fatal missions for the Turkish army. Some woman were sold as slaves and concubines. Some were exposed to toxic gas. Some were given intentional morphine overdoses or purposely injected with typhoid by Turkish doctors. Many were sent on death marches through the desert where the lack of food and water paired with harsh conditions killed them slowly.

Armenian woman being sold
Some escaped. Some survived.

Those who lived and the descendants of those who lived have a responsibility. We must remember. We must tell the story.

History is full of atrocities. It is much more comfortable to forget these terrors or to view them as part of a distant past than it is to remind ourselves of such horrors. It may seem unnecessary to hold on to events that happened a century ago. But memory is a powerful thing.

In a 1939 memo, outlining his plans to attack Poland, Hitler surmised that his brutal activity would cause little consequence. He rationalized this saying, "Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?"

Not even two decades after the end of the Armenian Genocide, Hitler was sure the event was forgotten to history. With that knowledge, he rationalized that his own horrific plans would cause little stir.

Slain Armenians
Remembering, telling the stories, again and again, lets those who would attempt to commit such crimes again know that someone today does speak of the annihilation of the Armenians and of the countless other people groups who have been subjected to such attacks.

Remembering also honors those who died and those who survived. It acknowledges our identity as the Armenian diaspora, those of us scattered around the world where our ancestors took refuge.

This act of memory for Armenians isn't simple. The Armenians Genocide goes unacknowledged in most of the world. The current Turkish government still denies it ever happened, and Turks who publicly acknowledge that it did, face criminal charges for insulting "Turkishness."

In remembering each year and throughout our years, we are educating and enlightening. The world is not a safe place for those who are different. The world is not a safe place for those without power. The world is not a safe place just because we choose to ignore or forget the pain it contains. Avoiding history, even history that is happening right now will only ensure we repeat it.

Genocide, massacres, ethnic and religious cleansings and whatever else we want to call them continue to happen, and we must continue to remember. We must continue to tell the stories and honor the victims. We must also challenge ourselves to not only acknowledge but also respond to the terrors happening in the world around us.

Today is Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day. Today, I remember with my fellow Armenians the plight of our ancestors. Today, we tell their stories. Today, we are proud of their courage. Today, we remind the world that we were not destroyed. Today, we create new Armenias wherever we are.

Learn more:

*This is a highly disputed number. Estimates range from 800,000 to 2.5 million.

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Saturday, March 31, 2018

Women's History Month 2018: Zabel Yesayan

In 1915, the Ottoman Young Turk government rounded up Armenian intellectuals. Some were deported, some escaped, some were relocated, some were killed, some were sent to detention centers. The list of people rounded up included leaders, scholars, journalists, physicians, clergy and teachers. Only one woman was named among them: Zabel Yesayan.

Zabel was born in Constantinople in 1878. In 1895*, she moved to Paris to study at the Sorbonne. While there, she made two major life decisions: to be a writer and to marry Dickran Yesayan. During her time in Paris, she also wrote her first novel, The Waiting Room.

In 1902*, Zabel returned to Turkey. She balked at the only acceptable role for literary women, teaching, and chose instead to work as a writer. This was not considered an acceptable role for women at this time, but she did it anyway. She wrote for women's publications and continued to pen essays and novels. She also caused quite a stir by publishing Phoney Geniuses, which took a satirical look at the Armenian writing community.

Zabel achieved prominence in the Armenian community in Turkey. She fought for women's education and rights. Many Armenian leaders found her too forward-thinking and disagreed with her radical ideas. It's unclear if the Turkish government read Zabel's work or just know of her influence in the community, but she was one of the intellectuals targeted in that first raid on April 24, 1915. She escaped capture by going into hiding in the city before sneaking out of the country under a false name. After escaping, she traveled throughout that region documenting the events of the Armenian Genocide and taking testimonies from survivors. She served as a spokesperson for the plight of her people and wrote about it extensively.

After her husband died in 1922, Zabel settled with her daughters in Paris and continued to write. By 1933, she had decided to relocate to Soviet Armenia, which was the newly formed state for the Armenian people. She continued to write and became a lecturer at the Yerevan State University. Her outspoken nature, once again, landed Zabel at odds with the men in charge. Stalin's officers hounded her for her radical opinions and political views. In the late 1930s, she was arrested as a public enemy. Her official death records state she died in 1937, but her daughter has uncovered evidence that she lived much longer than that in various prisons. According to secondhand reports, it's possible that Zabel drowned in 1943 in Siberia.

Though Zabel's life was marked by tragedy and difficulty, she continued her life's work of writing. She wrote both nonficion and fiction, not hesitating to tell fictional stories packed with just as much truth as her journalist reports of what was going on in her world. She advocated for women's rights and Armenian rights to such an extent she found herself challenging Armenian leadership, Turkish leadership and Soviet leadership. She lived boldly, and never let threat of arrest or harm stop her from writing the truth.

Recently, Zabel has seen a revival. Several organizations have sought to translate and republish her work. A documentary was even made about her a few years ago. A new generation will have the work of Zabel Yesayen to learn about the Genocide, the writing and art of Amernians and the perseverance of an amazing woman.

Learn more:

*Dates differ across sources

Friday, March 30, 2018

Women's History Month 2018: Louise Chéruit

Louise and her daughter, 1907
Before Coco Chanel or Elsa Schiaparelli, there was Louise Chéruit, often incorrectly referred to as Madeleine Chéruit. Louise was the first women to control a major French fashion house in the early 20th century.

Little is know of Louise's early life. She was born in 1866 and was the daughter of a seamstress. In the 1880s she studied dressmaking at Raudnitz & Cie in Paris. In 1895, Lousie married Prosper Chéruit who supported her endeavors in fashion. By 1900 the labels in Raudnitz's clothing read "Raudnitz & Cie, Huet & Chéruit Srs., 21, Place Vendôme, Paris." By 1905, they read "Huet & Chéruit, Mon. Raudnitz & Cie ('Huet and Chéruit, formerly Mr. Raudnitz and Co.')" By 1906, Louise was fully in charge of the fashion house of over 100 employees.

By 1910, the House of Chéruit became one of the most celebrated brands in Paris. All of Louise's collections were closely followed by the press. Louise created wearable yet beautifully ornamented clothing that helped transition fashion from the world of couture to the forthcoming world of ready-to-wear.

Louise's talent wasn't limited to fashion alone. She launched the careers of many other artists including designers, illustrators and photographers. She also produced a high-end fashion magazine made with beautiful illustrations and fancy papers.

When World War I hit, most fashion houses closed. Louise's, however, remained open. She continued to serve her clientele until she retired in 1923. Her brand continued until 1935. Elsa Schiaparelli took up residence in at the same address and remains there today.

While Lousie isn't one of the biggest names remembered by fashion, she opened the doors for the likes of Coco Chanel. She also helped transition fashion through an age of great change, especially in women's lives and attire.

Learn more:

  • Read about one of Louise's garments that has fallen into disrepair and is currently owned by the Museum of London. 
  • See these pictures and illustrations of her studio and designs. 

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Women's History Month 2018: Jeannette Rankin

Jeannette Rankin was the first American congresswoman. She was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1916, four years before women were granted the right to vote by the 19th Amendment.

Jeannette was born near Missoula, Montana in 1880. She was the oldest of six children and spent much of her young life helping to care for her siblings. She graduated high school in 1898 and went on to earn a bachelor of science from the University of Montana in 1902. She took a job working as a social worker in San Francisco then traveled to New York to attend the New York School of Philanthropy. After this, she attended the University of Washington where she became involved in the women's suffrage movement.

In 1911, Jeannette became the first one to speak before the Montana legistlature. She championed women's suffrage and called for a change. By 1914, Montana had granted women the right to vote. In 1916 she ran for one of Montana's two open seats in the House of Representatives. She rallied support across the state and won the seat making her the first woman in Congress.

During her first term in Congress, Jeannette had the privilege to vote for the women's suffrage amendment. Because of changes in districts, Jeannette's second term in Congress wouldn't come until 1940. Jeannette was a pacifist and maintained this belief when she voted against a declaration of war on Japan. She said, "As a woman, I can't go to war, and I refuse to send anyone else." She abstained from similar votes for declarations of war that came after this. Her pacifist attitudes during World War II were hugely unpopular and effectively ended her political career. She said she did not regret her choices and maintained that war was not the solution to the world's problems.

Jeannette never married or had children. When she died in 1973, she left her entire estate for the aid of "mature, unemployed women workers." Today, the Jeannette Rankin Women's Scholarship Fund provides educational scholarships to low-income women 35 and older. To date, the fund has awarded more than $1.8 million in scholarships to over 700 women.

She is remembered best for her pacifism, but said, "If I am remembered for no other act, I want to be remembered as the only woman who ever voted to give women the right to vote."

Learn more:

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Women's History Month 2018: Sarah Winnemucca

Sarah Winnemucca, a Northern Paiute author, activist and interpreter, was born in around 1844 in Nevada. She was the daughter of Cheif Winnemucca. Her family was influential in trying to create peaceful relationships with the Anglo-American settlers. 

Sarah attended a Catholic school in California where she learned to speak both Enligh and Spanish. Sarah also became fluent in many Native American languages. These skills would allow her to bridge the gap between the Native groups and the settlers.

Sarah returned to Nevada when white families grew uncomfortable with her presence in the school. Initially, her family had good standing with the settlers and was called on to perform and tour the area billed as the "Paiute Royal Family." However, worsening racial tensions led to violence that killed many members of Sarah's family.

In 1869, she began working as an interpreter for the U.S. Army at Camp McDermit. She carried on her families goals of peacemaking. Despite Sarah's hard work, her people were relocated to a reservation in Oregon in 1872. Sarah and her remaining family moved to the reservation in 1875

By 1876, a new "Indian Agent" was put in charge of the reservation, causing distress among the people there. The Bonnock war broke out when conditions on the reservation became unbearable. During the war, Sarah served as interpreter, scout and messenger. Thankfully, the war had few casualties because the two armies got along well and rarely attacked each other.

When Sarah's people were relocated again, she followed. She held an official job as a translator and was not required to reside on the reservation. When she saw the poor conditions her people lived in, she became to tour the country speaking about the plight of the Native Americans. In 1883, she published the first book written by a Native American woman, Life Among the Piutes, which detailed the struggle she and her people faced. Her speaking and writing earned enough attention and petition signatures to convince Congress to pass a bill granting many of their requests. Sadly, nothing ever came of this bill.

The end of Sarah's life was plagued with illness and financial trouble. Her husband died of tuberculosis in 1887. She passed away of the same illness in 1891. Her advocacy didn't get her people all of their demands during her life, but she set in motion many things to help better the lives of Native Americans. In 1993, she was inducted into the Nevada Writer's Hall of Fame and in 2005, Nevada placed a statue of Winnemucca in the National Statuary Hall Collection in the U.S. Capitol.

Learn more:

  • Watch this video about the making of the statue honoring Sarah
  • Read Sarah's book, which is still in print. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Women's History Month 2018: Madam C.J. Walker

Madam C.J. Walker went from being an orphan at the age of seven to being the first self-made female millionaire. She was one of the wealthiest African American women of her time and used her wealth and power to make change for women and the black community.

She was born Sarah Breedlove in 1867. She was the first child in her family born into freedom. Her parents and older siblings had been plantation slaves before the Emancipation Proclamation. After losing both of her parents by the age of seven, Sarah moved to Vicksburg, Mississippi. By age ten she began working as a domestic. During this time she lived with her older sister and her sister's husband.

In 1882, when she was only 14-year-old, Sarah married Moses McWilliams. It is suspected that Sarah did this to escape an abusive situation living with her brother-in-law. Their daughter was born in 1885. Moses died in 1887, and Sarah moved her and her daughter to Saint Louis. There she found work doing laundry to support herself and her daughter. She married again, but left her husband in 1903 and moved to Denver.

Due to poor working and living conditions, Sarah developed a scalp condition and began to lose her hair. She learned about hair care and started working as a salesperson for a company that would soon become her rival. During this time, she started to experiment with the cleaning products she used for laundry work to see if she could create some sort of tonic for her hair loss. Ultimately, she made something that worked beautifully. She marketed it as a hair regrowth tonic, but it really worked to heal her damaged scalp so her hair could grow healthily once again.

In 1906, she married Charles Joseph Walker and became known as Madam C.J. Walker. She became an independent hair care professional and started going door to door to give women hair treatments and teach them about proper hair care. She started bottling and selling her product, and it took off. Soon, Sarah put her daughter in charge of the mail order business and set up a new headquarters in Indianapolis. To expand even further, Sarah trained a team of saleswomen to sell her hair treatments door to door the same way she had at the beginning.

Not only did Sarah create a great business model, she understood the need for targeted advertising and found ways to reach new customers with newspaper and magazine ads. She also cultivated a strong brand awareness with branded packaging and well-trained saleswomen. By 1920, Sarah's products were sold outside of the United States in places like Cuba and Jamaica.

Sarah also knew how to manage her money, and passed that along to her employees and independent representatives. She provided training about personal grooming, budgeting and becoming financially independent. This lead to the creation of the National Beauty Culturists and Benevolent Association of Madam C. J. Walker Agents, which had annual conventions to train and inspire the women selling her products. The first conference, held in 1917, hosted 200 attendees and is thought to be the first national meeting of female entrepreneurs.

As Sarah's wealth grew, so did her desire to give back. She became involved in the NAACP, gave to scholarship funds for African American students, funded community services in black communities and toured regularly speaking about her success and speaking out against racism.

Sarah passed away in 1919 but left behind a legacy of empowerment and change. She started from nothing and became one of the wealthiest women of her era. She shared her wealth and created change by giving women and African Americans better opportunities and resources. Her legacy and brand continue today.

Learn more:
  • Check out the current products being sold under the Madam C.J. Walker brand
  • Watch this video of Sarah's granddaughter telling her story
  • Read this book written by Sarah's granddaughter 

Monday, March 26, 2018

Women's History Month 2018: Artemisia Gentileschi

Possible self-portrait of Artemisia Gentileschi
Artemisia Gentileschi became the first woman ever admitted into the Accademia dell’Arte del Disegno in Florence. She is now recognized as one of the most accomplished painters of her generation, but her work as an artist has long been overshadowed by the high profile rape case that mostly defined her life for centuries.

Artemisia, born in 1593, was the eldest daughter of Orazio Gentileschi. He encouraged his daughter to learn to paint at a young age. She showed great promise so her father hired Agostino Tassi to tutor his daughter. Agostino raped Artemisia when she was 19.

Her father did not let the matter go, and brought Agostino up on charges. The court case was brutal and lasted seven months. Artemisia faced in-court medical examinations to confirm her story. When she testified against her attacker, she was tortured to make sure she was telling the truth. Agostino was convicted but never served his sentence. Orazio married his daughter to one of his debtors after the trial, and they moved to Florence.

Artemisia's work is known for its accurate depiction of the nude female form. Male painters of this era were prohibited from using fully nude female models, but Artemisia did not face this restriction. She also broke barriers in her time by painting narrative scenes. Most female painters only did portrait and still life work. Artemisia's oldest surviving painting, Susanna and the Elders, was completed when she was only 17. It featured the contorted nude body of Susanna and proved Artemisia would be a powerful force in the art world.

For many years, Artemisia's works were either overlooked or attributed to her father. However, interest in her work and rediscovery of some of her paintings and techniques has corrected these mistakes over the past century. Initially, her work was mostly viewed through the lens of her rape. Much of what she did was seen as a commentary on the rape, and she was perceived primarily as a victim.

However, as her work continues to gain prominence, critics have come to see more beyond that single story. What was often seen as women carrying out revenge on men in Artemisia's work, is not viewed by some as Artemisia's way of glorifying story female figures. This female artist, while still very young, broke barriers for women painters, pursued prosecution of her rapist, sought out powerful women as the centerpieces for her paintings and didn't let any of the sexism or sexual assault stop her from creating a vast body of work up until her death sometime in the 1650s.

Learn more:

  • See a list of Artemisia's works on Wikipedia
  • Listen to NPR's coverage of a 2017 showcase of Artemisia's work
  • Read Susan Vreeland's novel, The Passion of Artemisia, based on Artemisia's life and work.
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Sunday, March 25, 2018

Women's History Month 2018: Sue Sarafian Jehl

Sue Sarafian Jehl served in the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC), which would become the Women's Army Corps (WAC), as one of it's most prominent members during World War II. 

Born in Armenian immigrants in 1917 in Massachusetts, Sue was the oldest of five daughters. The family relocated to the Detroit era, where Sue attended school and graduated from Highland Park Highschool in 1934. She was also a charter member of the Armenian Youth Federation's Detroit chapter. 

In 1942, Sue became one of the first women from Detroit to enlist in the WAAC, which at the time provided secretarial, switchboard and culinary services to the military. Sue felt it her duty to join the war effort as the oldest of five daughters in a family with no sons. 

While serving in North Africa during the war, Sue became General Dwight D. Eisenhower's secretary. Women's roles were limited at first, but Sue knew that her roles was only the beginning for women in the military. In the book, Triumph and Glory: Armenian World War II Heros, Sue said:
"[WAC] paved the way for women in the military. We were the first. Today they have army officers, marines, even fighter pilots. A lot of people doubted that women could do the job, but [General Eisenhower] was confident. He pushed for it. He said in his book that after we were proven, many of those who doubted us were calling WACs to work with." 
Sue became a prominent member of General Eisenhower's core team. In fact, the Orlando Sentinal reported, “Few people in the American military had as much insight into Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower’s thoughts and moods during World War II as Sue Sarafian Jehl.” In addition to Sue's many U.S. Military decorations, the Government of Brazil awarded her the Brazilian Medal of War (Medalha de Guerra) in 1946. 

In 1947, Sue married Roland Roy Jehl, a military pilot. This marked the end of her military career. The couple had three children. In 1994, Sue appeared on Good Morning America to share her experience with General Eisenhower and his statue of mind leading up to and during the Normandy invasion. She passed away in 1997 at the age of 80. 

Sue's career in the military opened doors for women, and her dedication and competence helped prove that women were valuable to war efforts. 

Learn more: 
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Saturday, March 24, 2018

Women's History Month 2018: Marie Van Brittan Brown

Marie Van Brittan Brown
Not a lot is recorded about the personal life of Marie Van Brittan Brown, but her inventiveness changed the future of both home and commercial security.

In 1922, Marie was born in Jamaica, Queens, New York where she lived her life. She worked as a nurse, which meant she often kept unconventional hours and found herself home alone. Crime rates in her neighborhood worried Marie and made her wish for a way to stay safer and more secure in her home.

Marie came up with an idea for a surveillance system. Her idea involved creating a closed-circuit television system and a motorized camera that looked through a set of peepholes. Her husband, Albert Brown, was an electronic technician. With his help, Marie was able to bring her idea to life. In 1966, the pair applied for a patent on their home security system, which was granted them in 1969.

The system Marie came up with still sounds modern. Not only did it have a closed circuit camera system, but it also featured a microphone so she could talk to anyone on the other side of the camera. It even featured a remote control lock so she could lock and unlock the door from the comfort and safety of another room.

The timing was perfect. No one else was creating this kind of security system in or before the 1960s outside of military applications, which gave Marie's idea an edge. There's no evidence that Marie and her husband tried to market their idea to others after receiving the patent, but their patent was cited by most other security system inventors that came after them. It is unclear when, but Marie did receive a National Scientists Committee award for her invention.

Marie and her husband created a system that became the basis for most modern security systems. It continues to influence security today. The most recent patent that cites Marie's was filed in 2013.

Learn more:

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Flashback Film Review: Fantastic Voyage 1966

Film: Fantastic Voyage Year: 1966 Director: Richard Fleischer Writer: Harry Kleiner (screenplay) Stars: Stephen Boyd, Raquel Welch Ge...