Marlene Wagman-Geller

"As far back as I can remember, it was always on my bucket list, even before the term bucket list was coined,
to be a writer. It was a natural progression to want to go from reading books to writing one."
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“Boop-Oop-a-Doop!”                    (1930)

“Boop-Oop-a-Doop!”                    (1930)
Mar 24, 2021 by Marlene Wagman-Geller
 No one would have any trouble picking out the ageless “It Girl” from a line-up due to her signature garter, skimpy dress, and kewpie doll eyes. And yet few would be able to name the woman who served as Betty Boop’s prototype, the original lewdie toon. 

“Jars of Hope”         (1946)

“Jars of Hope”         (1946)
Mar 03, 2021 by Marlene Wagman-Geller

Hamlet railed at Ophelia, “God hath given you one face and you make yourselves another.” Although the Prince of Demark viewed makeup as female duplicity, a twentieth century woman used cosmetics to create a billion-dollar blue empire. Although the tycoon became a household name to millions of women, few are privy to her saga. 

From Raggedy to Riches                   (1915)

From Raggedy to Riches                   (1915)
Feb 22, 2021 by Marlene Wagman-Geller
Who is the most fabulous fictitious redhead: Wilma Flintstone, Pippi Longstocking, Princess Ariel? Such a list must include the icon who has been going strong for a century. Her creator named her after a flesh and blood girl who was also an entertainment juggernaut.

“The Daughter of My People”                (1912)

“The Daughter of My People”                (1912)
Feb 18, 2021 by Marlene Wagman-Geller
 An investigation into the name of the largest women’s philanthropic organization in North America would reveal a biblical queen, a twentieth century visionary, the birth of a country that became a key chess player in world history. 

“The Hope of Spring” (1957)

“The Hope of Spring”    (1957)
Feb 08, 2021 by Marlene Wagman-Geller
Boris Pasternak’s Dr. Zhivago depicts a romantic triangle set against the backdrop of the Russian Revolution. What makes the epic more evocative is the realization that the tragic Lara was the author’s muse who paid a terrible price for her forbidden love. 

The Pink Queen Bee     (1963)

The Pink Queen Bee     (1963)
Feb 07, 2021 by Marlene Wagman-Geller
The color pink brings to mind Barbie, Disney Princesses, Hello Kitty, and pussy cat hats. A woman whose fascination with pink left her rolling in the green, and her name became beauty’s calling card. 

“Maybe She’s Born With It” (1915)

“Maybe She’s Born With It” (1915)
Feb 03, 2021 by Marlene Wagman-Geller
What is lime green and bubble-gum pink with a black interior? Hint: It has been a staple cosmetic for over a century. Women the world over own the iconic mascara; however, what is buried behind its brand name is a tapestry that involves money, murder, and mayhem. 

“Huff and Puff” (2005)

“Huff and Puff” (2005)
Jan 27, 2021 by Marlene Wagman-Geller
Jim Morrison of The Doors remarked, “Whoever controls the media controls the mind.” The Greek baroness of the media became a household name when her website made her a contemporary Colossus of Rhodes. 

“Il Figlio Mio”  (1929)

“Il Figlio Mio”  (1929)
Jan 25, 2021 by Marlene Wagman-Geller
The Victorian adage of children should be seen and not heard embodies the traditional educational system. Teachers serve as the sage on the stage, pupils empty vessels needing filling. The paradigm shift came about through a twentieth century miracle worker whose name, if not her biography, spread throughout the world.

Tikkun Olam           (1980)

Tikkun Olam           (1980)
Jan 21, 2021 by Marlene Wagman-Geller
 In the olden, perhaps more golden days, the colors associated with October were the yellow and red of autumnal leaves, gourds of orange. The month is also related to pink, the favorite shade of a woman who succumbed to a dreaded killer.   

Is There Still Sex?      (1994)

Is There Still Sex?      (1994)
Jan 18, 2021 by Marlene Wagman-Geller

Before the four female Musketeers cut a swath of men, money, and Manolos in Manhattan, there was the real-life party girl who used her nightly escapades as fodder for her column. While the sexual anthropologist is not as famous as her fictional alter ego, she nevertheless experienced her fair share of beddings, breakups, and B.F.F.s.

“Love’s the Lamb”   (1830)

“Love’s the Lamb”   (1830)
Jan 13, 2021 by Marlene Wagman-Geller

The crown jewel of the nursery rhyme treasure chest is the tale involving a schoolhouse prank. The nineteenth-century story also encompasses three eminent Americans: the journalist who established the national holiday of Thanksgiving, the creator of a classic car, the scientist who invented the phonograph. Behind the tapestry was a young girl and her beloved pet. 

“Artist Laureate” (1930)

“Artist Laureate” (1930)
Jan 11, 2021 by Marlene Wagman-Geller
The painting, American Gothic, is as emblematic of America as the bald eagle, the stars and stripes, and the Statue of Liberty. Yet many would be stumped as to the identity of the man and the woman who stand in front of the country’s second most famous white house. 

Roe v. Roe    (1973)

Roe v. Roe    (1973)
Jan 08, 2021 by Marlene Wagman-Geller
 If one were to name a Supreme Court ruling, chances are the answer would be Roe v. Wade. However, if questioned as to the identity of the anonymous plaintiff, many would draw a blank. The flesh-and-blood Roe was as complicated as her judicial namesake.

“Ef You Don’t Watch Out”   (1886)

“Ef You Don’t Watch Out”   (1886)
Jan 04, 2021 by Marlene Wagman-Geller

Oliver Twist is British literature’s most endearing orphan; America’s counterpart is Orphan Annie, the little girl who went on a quest for her missing mother and father. The difference between the two is while Charles Dickens based his novel on a fictional boy, James Whitcomb Riley based his poem on an actual girl. 

A Tale of Two Cities   (1835)

A Tale of Two Cities   (1835)
Dec 30, 2020 by Marlene Wagman-Geller
Only under one roof can guests rub elbows with the game-changers of history: the artists and activists, the saints and sinners. And fascinating as the lives of these individuals may be, the most intriguing member of the gathering is its hostess.  

As If Alive    (1903)

As If Alive    (1903)
Dec 26, 2020 by Marlene Wagman-Geller
If these walls could talk what a tale they would tell, and if a Viennese painting could do likewise, it would serve up a bouillabaisse of genocide, moguls, and love. The iridescent canvass, Lady in Gold, is a world-renowned icon, but through artifice, the identity of the raven-haired woman in the portrait vanished. 

Butterfly        (1871)

Butterfly        (1871)
Dec 23, 2020 by Marlene Wagman-Geller
While the Italian Mona Lisa’s enigmatic smile has beguiled the ages, the American Mona Lisa’s formidable expression hints of a woman who held little patience for humor. The Victorian painting is entitled, Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 1, though its colloquial name is Whistler’s Mother. The elderly lady’s prim clothes and staid pose hints at one who did not spend her years whistling Dixie. 

Must Go On   (1947)

Must Go On   (1947)
Dec 21, 2020 by Marlene Wagman-Geller
CatsThe Lion KingHamilton share a commonality other than being immortal musicals: they all won Broadway’s highest accolade: The Tony. But who was the namesake behind theater’s most coveted prize? 

Glinda (1900)

Glinda (1900)
Dec 16, 2020 by Marlene Wagman-Geller
In the 1939 classic, The Wizard of Oz, an orphaned girl wistfully sings of a magical world, one far afield from her sepia-colored Kansas farm. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer based the film on the novel by L. Frank Baum, the wizard behind America’s first fairy-tale. Tragically, the non-literary Dorothy never experienced the land over the rainbow.