• January Musings

    The temps are falling and the long quiet season has arrived.  After the  excitement of the release of Parallel Lives in November, the Victorian house tour in December and virtually a year’s worth of Lizzie suspense, we’re all looking for January adventures.  Many of us are reading the massive volume, Parallel LivesDown on Second Street, the B&B is only open weekends for overnighters although the day tours continue through the week. The B&B web site has had an overhaul.  Re-runs of last year’s paranormal sessions at #92 are in full tilt on television, no update on the Chloe Sevigny HBO mini-series has been released yet, and the historical society is closed for the winter.

    “Axed”, two one-act plays has debuted and will be running this month http://www.pressherald.com/life/go/on-the-case_2012-01-05.htm   No new ideas here, but a fresh treatment.  January is a great time for catching up on our Lizzie reading and some new entries in the historical crime arena.  W&W recommends Murder and Mayhem in Essex County by Robert Wilhelm. Murder and mischief was alive and well in Massachusetts long before Miss Lizzie! http://www.murder-in-essex.com/  If the name sounds familiar, Mr. Wilhelm also publishes the popular vintage crime blog, Murder by Gaslight and The National Nightstick, all great reading for the amateur armchair sleuth on a cold winter’s night.  http://murderbygasslight.blogspot.com/  and http://www.snakeoilgraphics.com/NightStick/  Stay tuned for reviews.  Here’s wishing you a cozy January by the fire and a good wallow in crimes of the Past.

  • A Red Letter Day in Fall River

    Christmas came early this year for those who enjoy Fall River history and have an interest in the Borden case and the enigmatic Miss Lizzie.  Parallel Lives was released this morning to the public. By 11: 30 a.m. a long line snaked its way down the pavement toward Maple Street and there was a feeling of restless expectation in the air as the noon hour approached. .  A man came around the corner bearing two copies of the coveted tome as heads swiveled to catch a glimpse.  A spontaneous outburst of appreciation went up from the crowd followed by many comments as to the  SIZE of the massive tome.

    No preview copies were released for reviewing to anyone, so it was with enormous excitement today’s release was anticipated.  Beginning on Friday, the benefactors of the publication enjoyed a special gathering, followed by Saturday night’s annual Christmas Open House for members, and capping off an extraordinary weekend with today’s public release of the book, viewing of a special exhibit of materials featured in the book (cards, letters, gifts Lizzie presented to friends, etc.) and a tour of the Christmas decorations, always an annual treat.

    The authors held court in the front parlor at a beautifully decorated table with a red rose Christmas arrangement, signing autographs and having photographs taken with visitors.  On the lawn, on the stairs, and anywhere one could sit, people clutched their volume, looking eagerly through the pages. From all corners came appreciative little shrieks of excitement as never-before-seen photos were discovered, especially those showing Lizzie herself. Even those who vowed not to ruin the surprise until they could sit at leisure soon gave way to overwhelming curiosity and were soon leafing furiously through the pages. Some had driven hours to pick up their copies.

    It would be presumptuous to attempt any sort of review of this major work until the whole was digested, therefore the Warps & Wefts review will be forthcoming in the near future.  Suffice it to say, Parallel Lives is as plummy a Christmas pudding as anyone could ever wish for, chock full of juicy morsels, delicious facts and photos, fascinating history, surprises and many hours of enthralled reading.  To reveal too much would be to ruin your own Christmas surprise- so-

    Just spring to your sleigh, to your team give a whistle,

    To Rock Street fly like the down of a thistle.

    Parallel Lives is the gift sure to please, so take heed,

    Happy holidays to all, and to all a good read!

  • Come and Get It!

    Put on your best bonnet and race to the corner of Rock and Maple Streets on Sunday, November 20th between noon and 3 p.m

      It’s Here!

    Have your copy of Parallel Lives autographed. Pre-ordered your copy? Not to worry, pick it up Sunday at the Fall River Historical Society Book Signing!  Don’t let your friends beat you to the punch!  1000 pages and over 500 photos.  You just may have to take your vacation next week! Come back over the holidays to see a very special exhibit of ephemera and other items discovered while researching for the book: notes, cards, letters and more from Lizzie’s own hand.  Who could ask for anything more?

  • Looks like more of the same

    There’s always a silent hope among Borden case fans, when a new Lizzie film is announced, that somebody might get it right this time.  Most know that sticking to the thrilling TRUE story of the crime will not be enough for Hollywood.  Box office is the prime motivator, sad but true.  Too bad that the “suits” feel they must dumb down the real deal and offer schlock that follows a tried and true formula.  Audiences are underestimated.  Even diehard “cheesy horror fans”  deserve first class special effects, good casting and costuming and a decent script.  There are surely elements in the Borden saga that would work very well for the horror movie genre, put in the hands of capable horror-thriller writers.  Sadly none of these writers have been brought on board and the newest schlock-shocker in the arena, Lizzie The Movie, promises to be no improvement on the last endeavors, Curse of Lizzie Borden and  Prom Night.

    The trailer has been released, and pretty much says it all.  Nothing new here.  The web site and blog are still in development but have a little information to check out.  Gary Busey and Corbin Bernsen are the “names” to draw the audience.  Busey has had some brilliant onscreen moments, and Bernsen has good acting chops on TV and some big screen.  Actors have bills to pay- that must be the reason for taking on the role in this latest Lizzie flick. 

    Someday, somebody will get over using black and red, hatchets, dripping blood, and other cliche tricks and see the real potential of the Borden case.  Hold out hopes for the proposed Chloe Sevigny-Tom Hanks project.  Maybe NEXT time. . . .

    Lizzie: The Movie trailer at http://lizziethemovie.com/

  • Bad news day

    The front page of the Fall River Herald for August 4th featured a large colored photo of Kathleen Troost-Cramer and Barbara Morrissey as Lizzie and Emma Borden on the day of the infamous murders re-enacting the news about the killing of their father and stepmother.  The front page also featured a headline of the Dow down to the lowest point since 2008 and news of bacteria levels in the Taunton River. At least one of the stories was old news from 1892.

     

    Ray Mitchell as city marshal Rufus Hilliard.  Story by Deborah Allard.

  • Taking a Whack at Lizzie

    This year the August 4th production at the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast will debut a new leading lady.  She is no stranger to the part.  The photos here are taken from an episode filmed last summer for the Travel Channel.  Kathleen Troost-Cramer, day manager at the famous B&B in Fall River, may be remembered for performances in years past as Irish maid, Bridget Sullivan.  This year, having gotten in a few practice whacks with a hatchet, Kathleen is ready to take on the legendary Lizzie Borden, probably the most difficult role of the lot as expectations are so varied and anticipated by the sold-out crowd which assembles every year on the 4th to re-live the Borden tale of mystery.

    Mild-mannered mother of two, and Bible scholar, this role is quite a stretch, but anyone who has been “under the hatchet”to Kathleen can testify- she means business!

    Congratulations and “break-a-leg” to Kathleen as we wait to see her unique spin on the unforgettable Lizzie Borden!

    First performance on August 4th at 10:30 a.m., last performance at 3:30 p.m.

  • Coming July 19th- A Guide to Oak Grove

    Just in time for Lizzie’s birthday:  the guide to Borden-related graves in Oak Grove Cemetery.  The booklet contains maps, biographies of people connected with the case who are buried at Oak Grove, three walking tours with maps of how to locate both minor and major personalities in the Borden story, a history of the cemetery, fun facts and trivia, who is NOT buried at Oak Grove connected to the Borden case, and articles on the Victorian celebration of death, symbolism on funerary statuary and much more!  Designed in a black and white “Edward Goreyesque” style, the publication will go on sale July 19th. Pricing and outlets which will stock the guide will be finalized and announced here on July 15th.

  • Get your Tickets Now !

     As posted yesterday, Miss Lizzie is coming home for two performances August 5th and 6th at the Nagle Auditorium at B.M.C. Durfee High School in a production by the Covey Theatre Company of Syracuse, N.Y., according to the Fall River Herald News http://www.heraldnews.com/entertainment/x2108626470/Latest-Lizzie-Borden-play-to-be-staged-Aug-5-6-in-Fall-River

    For reviews of the play and some color stills, visit this link http://www.thecoveytheatrecompany.com/production-archives.html

    Tickets may be purchased online at the link and word is out that this new treatment of the case promises to satisfy the most ardent Bordenite.  Snag a ticket early!

  • She’s Back for August!

    In addition to anticipating the upcoming release of the historical society’s Parallel Lives, August will welcome a new play about the famous case.  The Herald News reports:

    A new play, “Lizzie Borden Took an Axe,” depicting the well known Lizzie Borden case will be staged in Fall River for the 119th anniversary of the hatchet murders of Andrew and Abby Borden.

    There will be two performances on Aug. 5 and 6 at the Nagle Auditorium at B.M.C. Durfee High School by the Covey Theatre Company of Syracuse, N.Y.
    Fresh from winning two Syracuse Area Live Theatre awards for Best Original Play and Best Costumes, as well as the Gloria Peter Playwright competition from Aurora, NY, “Lizzie Borden Took an Axe” left critics enthralled and Bordenophiles raving.

    “Lizzie Borden Took an Axe” will be staged Friday and Saturday, Aug. 5 and 6 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased by calling 315-420-3729 or online at”  www.thecoveytheatrecompany.com.

    Read more: http://www.heraldnews.com/archive/x2108614302/-Lizzie-Borden-Took-an-Axe-to-be-staged-at-Durfee-High-School#ixzz1QatgYTzn 

    The annual costumed recreation of August 4th will take place as usual at the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast on the 4th, which this year, will be a Thursday, just as it was in 1892.

    Plenty of Lizzie on the way for August!

  • Not Guilty! 118 Years ago

    The Gazette had an article marking Lizzie’s acquittal anniversary on June 20th.

    http://www.tauntongazette.com/news/x536836292/Lizzie-Borden-found-not-guilty-118-years-ago-today

    A welcome home party was given for Lizzie at the home of Charles and Marianna Holmes on Pine Street on the day of the acquittal.  Their house is still standing.  Those waiting outside the murder house on Second Street, hoping for a glimpse of Lizzie, were disappointed.

    Below:  The Holmes house on Pine Street today, the scene of Lizzie’s triumphant return to Fall River, a free woman.  It is now subdivided into several apartments.  In the background, steeple of the Episcopal Church of the Ascension on Rock St. (now called Holy Spirit).

  • Lizzie’s Easter bonnet

    Although Fall River may not have enjoyed the annual Easter Parade famous to Fifth Avenue, New York, Easter Sunday morning was a grand opportunity for ladies to promenade down the aisle in their new chapeau at church, and later in the many parks in the city.  Hats were de rigeur during Lizzie’s entire lifetime and she no more would have left the house without a hat on, than have left uncorseted.  Hats and gloves were the mark of a lady.  Lizzie even mentions that on August 4th, the day of the murders, when she returned from the barn loft looking for lead to make sinkers, she put her hat down in the diningroom before discovering her father on the sofa.

    Lizzie could easily afford a personal milliner when she moved to Maplecroft.  Mr. Bump, accompanied by his little daughter, would visit Maplecroft with trims and hat forms when Lizzie needed something new and stylish. She may have subscribed to The Delineator to keep up with all the styles.  Fun to think of Lizzie smiling over French ribbon, Italian straw boaters, felt cloches, and boxes of silk flowers and feathers in the comfort of her beautifully-appointed home on the Hill and making her choices for the season’s head adornments.