Donald Sobol, creator of beloved children's character, Encyclopedia Brown, has died

Donald Sobol, who created Encyclopedia Brown, one of the most beloved of classic children's characters, died today.

Sobol's writing career began as a copyboy and then reporter for the New York Sun newspaper back in the 50s. In 1963, he published the first Encyclopedia Brown book, Encyclopedia Brown: Boy Detective. In each of the 39 books in the series, Leroy (a.k.a. Encyclopedia) Brown, is a 10-year old genius. The format for each book is that Brown faces ten mysteries. The reader is given a chance to solve the mystery, before consulting with the answers in the back of the book.

This formula has worked for nearly 40 years. In 1997, Sobol updated Brown's wardrobe, dressing him out in a work shirt and jeans in Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of Pablo's Nose. Six years later, Sobol marked Brown's 40th anniversary with the release of Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Jumping Frogs.

Sobol also penned a popular syndicated newspaper feature, his Two-Minute Mysteries.

Mr. Sobol's death (he was 87) immediately began trending on Twitter as news spread and fans of all ages mourned his passing with tender tributes about what their books meant to them.

Bus riders! TransitTime + has added AATA's The Ride to its app

The Ann Arbor Transportation Authority just announced that the award-winning app, TransitTimes + has added Ann Arbor to its list of more than 50 cities that provide details about their transportation modes to this popular app.

Now you can easily locate The Ride's bus schedules, the location of your particular bus and its arrival time, or map out and save a route to a new location.

To see how easy this app is to use, check out TransitTimes' YouTube channel here.

For more information about this app and to see the growing list of U.S. and international cities being added all the time, click here.

Ernest Borgnine, Oscar winner, has died

Ernest Borgnine, who moved audiences to tears with his sweet, nuanced portrayal of a common man in love in Marty (1955), died yesterday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Ironically, Borgnine's first notable role was anything by sweet. He played Fatso Judson, a murderous sergeant in From Here to Eternity (1953).

Borgnine's wide-ranging acting chops took another big turn when he moved over to television and starred in the 1960s ABC sitcom, McHale's Navy. In this popular series, Borgnine was the lovable rapscallion, Lieutenant Commander Quinton McHale.

His acting resume is enormous -- The Dirty Dozen (1967), ice Station Zebra (1968), The Wild Bunch (1969) are among some of his more notable roles -- as is his list of awards (including the above-mentioned Oscar, as well as Emmys, and Golden Globes, among others).

He filmed his last movie, The Man Who Shook the Hand of Vicente Fernandez, last year. It is scheduled to be released some time this year.

Mr. Borgnine was 95.

University of Michigan Wolverine Great Bob Chappuis

One of the Wolverine's great football players died June 14 in Ann Arbor. A Wolverine MVP, Collier's All-American and member of the College Football Hall of Fame, Chappuis also served in WWII. Shot down over Italy, he spent three months hidden in plain sight from the Nazis.

Old News has gathered together a selection of articles from the Ann Arbor News that cover his career at Michigan. Chappuis joined the Wolverines in 1942, served in WWII from 1943 ~ 1945 and rejoined the Wolverines in 1946, setting records in offensive play. In the undefeated 1947 season, Chappuis finished second for the Heisman Trophy and was featured on the cover of Time Magazine. Michigan went on to win the Rose Bowl with such a decisive win over Southern California, 49 - 0, that AP put out a post-bowl game poll that moved them back in to first place over season-ending first place Notre Dame. We'll be adding stories about Chappuis to the Old News site so keep checking back to read more about one of Michigan's great players.

June's Books to Film

Snow White and the Huntsman. In this retelling of the most beloved fairy tales of all times, Snow White by the Brothers Grimm, Snow White (Kristen Stewart) must join forces with the fierce Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth), who was recruited by the evil Queen (Charlize Theron) obsessed with being the fairest woman in the land. Meanwhile, a handsome prince (Sam Claflin) falls hopelessly under Snow White's spell.

Bel Ami Guy de Maupassant's classic tale of passion in late18th-century Paris is adapted in a scintillating erotic drama starring Twilight's Robert Pattinson as a destitute young soldier who plots to gain power by seducing the mistresses of the city's most influential men. Christina Ricci, Uma Thurman, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Colm Meaney co-star.

In The Woman in the Fifth, adopted from the novel by Douglas Kennedy, American professor and novelist Tom Ricks traveled to Paris to see his young daughter, hoping also to reconnect with his estranged wife. After being robbed, he was forced to work in a seedy hotel as a night watchman, until he met a sophisticated woman named Margit at a literary event. Margit encouraged Tom to write again but he was unsettled by a series of murders taking place around him. Starring Ethan Hawke, and the very busy Kristin Scott Thomas (MPAA Rating: R)

The multifaceted Seth Grahame-Smith - novelist/producer/cinematographer has adopted his own novel for the big screen in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Benjamin Walker plays Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, who discovers vampires planning to take over the United States. He makes it his mission to eliminate them.

Longmire is the new A&E television series based on the popular mystery series by Craig Johnson. Robert Taylor plays Walt Longmire, the charismatic, dedicated and unflappable sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyoming. Widowed only a year, Longmire is a man in psychic repair, trying to bury his pain behind a brave face and dry wit. Often turning to close friend and confidant Henry Standing Bear (Lou Diamond Phillips) for support, he sets out to rebuild both his personal and professional life, one step at a time.

Happy Birthday, Bob.


Today marks the 78th birthday of Robert Moog, founding father of electronic music and inventor of the Moog synthesizer. If you've ever listened to Here Comes the Sun by the Beatles, or watched A Clockwork Orange then you've heard one of the earliest Moog synthesizers in action. You can stream a documentary on the life of Bob Moog here, and don't miss the incredibly fun Moog Google Doodle. Here's a handy Doodle Guide to get you started.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #331


Wife 22 * * is "smart, fresh, entertaining, moving and incredibly funny" (I can't say it any better) and perhaps, one of the best Women's Fiction titles this year.

Let's see how YOU would answer the following questions:

#10 Do you believe love can last?
#44 What do you believe should NOT be done in public?
#50 If your spouse gave you one free pass to have sex with another person, who would you choose?
#80 Define passion in one sentence
#88 Has your life turned out the way you would hoped it would?

Like these? Thankfully, debut novelist Melanie Gideon (author of The Slippery Year: A meditation on happily ever after: a memoir, and 2 YA novels: Pucker and The Map That Breathed) provides in an appendix these 110 questions - some survey-generic, some philosophical & probing, some downright invasive but all seriously provocative.

Alice Buckle: spouse of William, mother to Zoe and Peter, part-time drama teacher and Facebook chatter, downloader of memories and Googler of solutions is also "Wife 22". Readers will be privy to her honest and witty response to an anonymous survey on marital satisfaction. Over time, her correspondence with Researcher 101 has taken an unexpectedly personal turn, and soon, she comes dangerously close to making a decision that will affect more than her happiness.

Rights sold to 19 countries and optioned for film. Perfect escapism and a breezy, delightful summer read.

* * = starred reviews

May's Books to Film

The Avengers (PG-13) is based on the Marvel comic series by Stan Lee, first published in 1963 and remains a bestseller. A Super Hero team featuring iconic Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow must face an unexpected enemy that threatens global safety and security. With Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, and Samuel L. Jackson.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (PG-13) follows a group of British retirees who decide to “outsource” their retirement to less expensive and seemingly exotic India. Enticed by advertisements for the newly restored Marigold Hotel and bolstered with visions of a life of leisure, they arrive to find the palace a shell of its former self. Though the new environment is less luxurious than imagined, they are forever transformed by their shared experiences, discovering that life and love can begin again when you let go of the past. The script is based on a novel by Deborah Moggach, previously published in the UK as These Foolish Things.

Starring Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Dev Patel, Tom Wilkinson, and Maggie Smith, it is my pick for our girls' night out.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting (PG-13) is adapted from Arlene Eisenberg's (written with her daughters Heidi Eisenberg Murkoff and Sandee Eisenberg Hathaway) perennial bestseller. It is a hilarious and heartfelt big screen comedy about five couples whose intertwined lives are turned upside down by the challenges of impending parenthood. Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, Elizabeth Banks, Chace Crawford, Brooklyn Decker complete the cast.

Bruce Conforth wins the Golden Apple

Bruce Conforth, professor of American Culture at the University of Michigan and former curator of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, has won the 2012 Golden Apple Award. The Golden Apple is given each year to an instructor who "strive[s] not only to disseminate knowledge but to inspire and engage students in its pursuit." Students nominate and vote on which professor should win the award, focusing on teachers who bring subjects to life and make learning a process in which everyone is involved.

Bruce shared some of his expertise with us last year when participating in Freeing John Sinclair. Bruce hosted our panel discussion with members of the Hill Street commune/Rainbow People's Party and brought both a depth of knowledge and an ability to keep the conversation accessible for those unfamiliar with the time period. Bruce also did a podcast on the topic with us, putting the John Sinclair Freedom Rally into context both within Ann Arbor and the larger cultural atmosphere of the early 1970's.

Dick Clark, America's "oldest teenager," has died at 82

Dick Clark, host of American Bandstand for 30 years and THE face of New Year's Eve in Times Square since 1972, died today.

American Bandstand debuted in 1952. What began as a radio program in which teens could vote for their favorite song of the week, quickly morphed into a hit TV show where teens danced and critiqued the songs ("I give it a 20 -- I like the words, but it's hard to dance to."). Record producers paid a lot of attention to the music Clark highlighted, although the kids didn't always get it right. (One of their biggest 'fails' was The Beatles' She Loves You). For an in-depth history of this history-making show, check out John A. Jackson's American Bandstand: Dick Clark and the Making of a Rock 'n' Roll Empire (1997).

His media empire expanded to include beauty pageants, Daytime Emmys, the Golden Globe Awards, The $10,000 Pyramid and endless Bloopers shows.

Dick Clark, America's oldest teenager, who earned this moniker for his perpetual youthful appearance, died at 82 of a heart attack.

Syndicate content