CLOSE
Original image
Stacy Conradt

Jimmy Stewart

Original image
Stacy Conradt

For years, every time we so much as touch a toe out of state, I’ve put cemeteries on our travel itinerary. From garden-like expanses to overgrown boot hills, whether they’re the final resting places of the well-known but not that important or the important but not that well-known, I love them all. After realizing that there are a lot of taphophiles (cemetery and/or tombstone enthusiasts) out there, I’m finally putting my archive of interesting tombstones to good use.

Cliche as it may be, Jimmy Stewart really did have a wonderful life. You already know about his illustrious acting career that garnered him a Golden Globe, an Academy Award, and parts in some of the most iconic movies in Hollywood history. But Stewart was also an accomplished Brigadier General in the Air Force, rising from private to colonel in just four years and flying missions during WWII that earned him the Croix de Guerre, the Air Medal, and the Distinguished Flying Cross. He dated many of the most beautiful and accomplished women in Hollywood before settling down with wife Gloria at the age of 41. He adopted Gloria’s two sons; they later had twin daughters. Later in life, Stewart’s investments in real estate, oil wells, and aviation made him a multimillionaire. And that’s just the CliffsNotes version!

Though he lived a long and eventful life, it could have been even longer. After a long string of ailments ranging from blood clots to irregular heartbeats, Stewart was due to have his pacemaker changed in December 1996. His beloved wife of 44 years had died of lung cancer less than two years prior, leaving him utterly heartbroken. Stewart told his doctor not to bother with the pacemaker, preferring to let things happen naturally. They did—on July 2, 1997, a blood clot lodged in his lungs, causing a heart attack that would kill him instantly.

Despite his icon status and immeasurable contributions to the film industry, Jimmy Stewart’s grave is quiet and unassuming. There’s no grand mausoleum or ostentatious statue—just a simple marker, set in the ground, with a verse from Psalms. As a humble man who wanted to be remembered as someone who ''believed in hard work and love of country, love of family and love of community," it's no doubt exactly what he would have wanted.

See all entries in our Grave Sightings series here.

Original image
John Gooch/Keystone/Getty Images
arrow
entertainment
The Time Douglas Adams Met Jim Henson
Original image
John Gooch/Keystone/Getty Images

On September 13, 1983, Jim Henson and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy author Douglas Adams had dinner for the first time. Henson, who was born on this day in 1936, noted the event in his "Red Book" journal, in characteristic short-form style: "Dinner with Douglas Adams – 1st met." Over the next few years the men discussed how they might work together—they shared interests in technology, entertainment, and education, and ended up collaborating on several projects (including a Labyrinth video game). They also came up with the idea for a "Muppet Institute of Technology" project, a computer literacy TV special that was never produced. Henson historians described the project as follows:

Adams had been working with the Henson team that year on the Muppet Institute of Technology project. Collaborating with Digital Productions (the computer animation people), Chris Cerf, Jon Stone, Joe Bailey, Mark Salzman and Douglas Adams, Jim’s goal was to raise awareness about the potential for personal computer use and dispel fears about their complexity. In a one-hour television special, the familiar Muppets would (according to the pitch material), “spark the public’s interest in computing,” in an entertaining fashion, highlighting all sorts of hardware and software being used in special effects, digital animation, and robotics. Viewers would get a tour of the fictional institute – a series of computer-generated rooms manipulated by the dean, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, and stumble on various characters taking advantage of computers’ capabilities. Fozzie, for example, would be hard at work in the “Department of Artificial Stupidity,” proving that computers are only as funny as the bears that program them. Hinting at what would come in The Jim Henson Hour, viewers, “…might even see Jim Henson himself using an input device called a ‘Waldo’ to manipulate a digitally-controlled puppet.”

While the show was never produced, the development process gave Jim and Douglas Adams a chance to get to know each other and explore a shared passion. It seems fitting that when production started on the 2005 film of Adams’s classic Hitchhiker’s Guide, Jim Henson’s Creature Shop would create animatronic creatures like the slovenly Vogons, the Babel Fish, and Marvin the robot, perhaps a relative of the robot designed by Michael Frith for the MIT project.

You can read a bit on the project more from Muppet Wiki, largely based on the same article.

Original image
arrow
Art
Get Crazy With the Official Bob Ross Coloring Book
Original image

If you watched Bob Ross's classic series The Joy of Painting for hours on end but didn’t come away a terribly capable artist, you can still enjoy replicating the amazing public television personality’s work. You can now pretend you’re painting along with the late, great PBS star using a brand-new adult coloring book based on his art.

The Bob Ross Coloring Book (Universe) is the first authorized coloring book based on Ross’s artistic archive. Ross, who would have turned 75 later this year, was all about giving his fans the confidence to pursue art even without extensive training. “There’s an artist hidden at the bottom of every single one of us,” the gentle genius said. So what better way to honor his memory than to relax with his coloring book?

Here’s a sneak peek of some of the Ross landscapes you can recreate, all while flipping through some of his best quotes and timeless tidbits of wisdom.

An black-and-white outline of a Bob ross painting of a mountain valley

A black-and-white outline of a Bob Ross painting shows a house nestled among trees.

A black-and-white outline of a Bob Ross painting shows a farm scene.

And remember, even if you color outside the lines, it’s still a work of art. As Ross said, “We don’t make mistakes. We just have happy accidents.”

You can find The Bob Ross Coloring Book for about $14 on Amazon. Oh, and if you need even more Ross in your life, there’s now a Bob Ross wall calendar, too.

All images courtesy of Rizzoli.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios