Category Archives: Vintage Friday

Vintage recipes, culture, and images.

Amazing Actress Doran Clark

Happy Birthday, Doran Clark!

Born August 8th, 1954, Leo Sun Sign

A couple of years ago I discovered vintage mysteries on one of the Hallmark channels and am enjoying delving into such shows as Columbo, Diagnosis Murder, Matlock, Hart to Hart, and especially Murder She Wrote. While watching these series from the 1980s and 90s, a fascinating talent named Doran Clark caught my attention. There is something magical and enigmatic about her, whatever role she plays. I first noticed her in an episode of Matlock entitled The Vacation. In that one she played a hit woman hired to murder an old school chum. Her reaction upon being found out was minimalistic and chilling. She had a semblance of a marble statue about her, compartmentalizing her profession while displaying a tiny and deeply buried thread of tension and remorse.

Although she played in a number of television shows and movies, Doran Clark is not always easily recognizable. In fact she’s rather like a chameleon. It’s not just that her hair and clothing changes. She changes. I guess that’s what good acting is all about. After seeing her in Matlock and an enthralling episode of Murder She Wrote called Angel of Death, I decided to blog about her. To my astonishment the next night I watched two thirds of another episode of Murder She Wrote entitled Deadly Lady before realizing the actress portraying one of four sisters was none other than Doran Clark. She looked and acted THAT different. Amazing.

She makes a brief appearance in this movie trailer on You Tube. Keep going past the beginning until you get to the dark haired actress:

I love seeing the old mystery shows with their parade of guest stars. One of the best and most versatile was Doran Clark. Kudos to the actress for such outstanding and entertaining performances.

New information: Blog reader Tom Gill recently notified me that Doran’s grandfather was WWII General Mark Clark who led US and combined Allied forces in recapturing Italy from the Nazis! How’s that for an auspicious family tie?

I wish we could see Doran Clark in action today. Do you enjoy vintage television mysteries? Which are your favorites?

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance


Secrets of a Rebel Pharaoh

 Thy dawning is beautiful in the horizon of heaven,

O living Aten, beginning of life.


Transformation came to ancient Egypt when Pharaoh Akhenaten banished the old gods and established monotheism around 1350 BCE.

  • The priestly caste lost its power and prestige.
  • Thebes and other royal destinations no longer served as the Paris and Riviera of their time.
  • Pharaoh moved the entire court to an obscure northern desert location that he named Akhetaten after his god.
  • There he built a marvelous white and gold city to honor his deity, a sublime entity depicted by the disk of the sun with cascading rays.
  • For a time during his 17 year reign he lived in pleasant circumstances with his beautiful wife Nefertiti and their daughters.
  • The art of the period relaxed into informality and naturalism.
  • Pharaoh wrote exquisite poems to his beloved god, Aten.
  • He offered a new way to his people, and all seemed well.


That was only on the surface, of course, and only among Pharaoh’s most loyal family and supporters.

  • Beneath, in the beating heart of long-remembered Egypt, the old gods stirred.
  • The old priestly caste of Amen-Ra connived to reassert its power.
  • The common people of Egypt longed to demonstrate their unfailing devotion to the deities that had served them well for millennia.
  • Never mind this unrelatable, usurper god who appeared distant and unfeeling.
  • Never mind this heretical Pharaoh who had disrupted eons of stability and tradition.
  • Also, with disproportionate emphasis placed on radical change in religion and little on national security, the wolves were at the gate.


Egypt was headed for reversal, with the end result a return to the old gods and old beliefs.

  • Pharaoh, his gleaming white and gold city, and his god Aten were scratched off the stones and monuments, covered by the desert sands, and forgotten by history.
  • He remained unknown until the discovery of his long lost city, now called Amarna, in the 1800s.


Upon discovery, the modern world became captivated by the Amarna period.

  • Pharaoh and his revolution were admired.
  • Nefertiti became a subject of fascination and awe.
  • The subsequent discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb shook the world.
  • My favorites Smenkhkare and Meritaten emerged as mysterious figures that scholars fervently seek to pin down.
  • Some scholars, including Freud, theorize that Pharaoh’s beliefs were instilled by the visiting Hebrew Moses.


Again, revel in the beauty of Akhenaten’s words:

Thy dawning is  beautiful in the horizon of heaven,

O living Aten, beginning of life.


Cheers & Happy Reading!

Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance



Mysterious Cave People 40,000 BCE

Spread and Evolution of Denisovans

By John D. Croft [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

One of my favorite books is Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean Auel. Did you read that one? The author’s creation of the Stone Age world mesmerized me. I loved seeing how the Cro-Magnon heroine contrasted with her Neanderthal family.

Recently I came across some information about a little known extinct species of historic humans not of the genetic line of Neanderthals nor our own species of Homo Sapiens. Their remains are found in the Denisova Cave in Siberia, along with the bones of Neanderthals and numerous creatures such as wooly mammoth and a type of zebra-horse. These particular remains are from 40,000 years ago.

Whereas the DNA of many modern humans is around 4% percent Neanderthal due to ancient interbreeding, Denisovan DNA is only found in inhabitants of Oceania—especially Melanesians in Papua New Guinea, Native Americans, and Asians. Denisovan DNA makes up 5% of the first and only 0.2% of the latter two.

The Denisovan discovery occurred in 2008 when a piece of finger bone was found in a lower layer of the cave. A DNA expert familiar with Neanderthals and other ancient species identified it as that of a little girl, but of a heretofore unknown species. Not Neanderthal. Not Homo Sapiens. Can you imagine the excitement of this discovery? It gives me chills. Later, teeth fragments materialized and turned out to be from a different Denisovan than the little girl.

A beautiful green chlorite stone bracelet was also found. Due to its remarkable craftsmanship, it was first thought to be made by more modern humans. In the most exciting portion of this story, that conclusion has now been ruled out. The bracelet was made and worn by a Denisovan. The technology involved in the making of the bracelet included boring stone, drilling with an implement, and grinding. The Denisovans are now considered to have developed to a higher technological level than the Neanderthals or Homo Sapiens of that time. I have to interject here my long held belief, first attained in fourth grade, that humans have populated earth, reached a high level of technology and culture, and then become extinct many times. Are the Denisovans an example of this?

There is also apparently a mysterious Denisovan ring, but details of it have not yet been released. I long to know more about these ancient peoples, don’t you?

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

Vintage Friday: Cinco de Mayo

Here’s wishing you a festive Cinco de Mayo!


Watermelon Margarita

Ingredients: 2 ½ cups of fresh watermelon cut into small chunks and with the seeds removed—place in a small baggie and freeze for two hours, 4 ounces tequila, 2 ounces Triple Sec orange liqueur, 3 tablespoons lime juice, lime wedge, coarse salt, fresh watermelon chunks for garnish.

Directions: Use the lime wedge to moisten the rim of a large cocktail glass and tilt the rim into the coarse salt all the way around to coat it.
Place watermelon chunks, tequila, Triple Sec, and lime juice in blender and puree until smooth. Pour into cocktail glass, and garnish with small watermelon chunks loaded onto a fancy toothpick. Sip and enjoy!

Easy as Pie Peach Margarita

Ingredients: Ice, margarita salt, Jose Guervo White Peach Light Margarita

Directions: Moisten rim of cocktail glass and twirl rim in coarse margarita salt. Place ice in glass. Pour White Peach Light Margarita over the rocks. Hop into the pool or sit poolside and sip the heck out of it. It’s even better in the moonlight. Enjoy!

Piña Colada

Ingredients: 2 ounces rum, 2 ounces coconut milk, 2 ounces pineapple juice, a cup of crushed ice or a tall glass of ice cubes.

Frozen- Start with a cup of crushed ice in the blender. Add the rum, coconut milk, and pineapple juice. Blend. Pour into a tall glass and bask in the flavor.

On the Rocks- Into a cocktail shaker, pour the rum, coconut milk, and pineapple juice. Shake with vigor. Pour over ice into a tall glass.

Banana Daiquiri

Ingredients: 1 ½ ounce lime juice, 1 ½ ounce light rum, 1 tablespoon triple sec, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 banana, ice cubes.

Directions: Place ingredients in blender and blend until firm. Pour contents into chilled cocktail glass.


Aztec – Gary Jennings 

The Pearl – John Steinbeck 

Seduction of the Minotaur – Anais Nin



Many thanks to rspaceball for the Texas Tornados on You Tube!

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance


Vintage Friday: World Book Day

Stories help create a child. THE book that lit the fire on my passion for reading, writing, fairy tales, and mythology is actually a SET of books my parents bought me at age 3—the Young Folks Library. At that time my mother and father worked long hours at their restaurant business, but my paternal grandparents happened to live with us. From these delicious stories of a princess living atop a glass mountain, a girl spitting out diamonds, and a wise woman bestowing a magical invisibility cloak, my Grandmother Flossie read to me every day with dramatic flair.

By my 5th birthday we had lost her. I will always honor her memory and our spirited story times. Thanks to her and this set of books, my imagination, my inner life, and my magic mirror to the mystical were created.

With World Book Day coming soon, do you want to share what book started your passion for reading and writing?

Cheers & Happy Reading!

Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance


Vintage Friday: 17 Fast Facts of 1917


Independence Square NGM-v31-p292

By Ledger Photo Service. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

What made the news a hundred years ago in 1917? The biggest crises involved World War I. Here’s a quick look at the year.

  • Under President Woodrow Wilson the United States entered WWI against Germany and its allies.
  • National Geographic published a stirring photo of thousands of Americans pledging their support to the President and American flag by resolution in Philadelphia.
  • The United States implemented the military draft for WWI.
  • The U.S. Naval Base in Norfolk, Virginia was commissioned.
  • John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States, was born.
  • The United States bought the Virgin Islands (then known as the Danish West Indies) for $25 million in gold.
  • Thousands of African Americans participated in a Silent March for civil rights organized by the NAACP down Fifth Avenue in New York City.
  • Germany carried out the deadliest of its many air raids on London.
  • The British royal family changed their name from the Germanic name Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor.
    Mata Hari 13

    Mata Hari. See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

  • German spy Mata Hari was executed by firing squad.
  • Sun Yat-Sen came into power in China.
  • Bolsheviks Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, and Leon Trotsky seized power in Russia.
  • In New York City 20,000 women marched in support of the right to vote.
  • During a food crisis 400 women with babies stormed New York City Hall demanding action about the drastically rising cost of food. As an example, breakfast for four had doubled from 49 cents to $1.02.
  • Price of a loaf of bread averaged 9 cents; price of a postage stamp rose to 3 cents.
    Juan Carreno de Miranda 022

    Juan Carreño de Miranda [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

  • The 18th amendment was passed, prohibiting alcohol.
  • The Virgin Mary appeared to a number of children in Fatima, Portugal.

What do you think of these fast facts of 1917? What would you like and dislike about living a hundred years ago in the so-called good ole days?


Cheers & Happy Reading!

Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic with Romance


Vintage Friday: It’s Your Music 1939

Free Picture: Heart To Heart IllustrationID: 3342193
© Fenias | Dreamstime Stock Photo

Approaching Valentine’s Day we turn to a red hot saxophone number from 1939, Body and Soul, blown the socks off by Coleman Hawkins.  There’s something earthy and smoky about a low toned sax, don’t you think?

I hope you enjoyed our sultry music in homage to Valentines everywhere and  lovers throughout time, Body and Soul.

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

Vintage Friday: 13 Bullets for The Silent Speaker 1946

NeroWolfe The Silent SpeakerTHE SILENT SPEAKER

Author – Rex Stout
First Published – 1946
Genre – Mystery
Setting – Nero Wolfe’s brownstone and New York City
Protagonists – Nero Wolfe, detective extraordinaire and tender of 10,000 orchids, and Archie Goodwin, gumshoe and Wolfe’s right-hand man.
Murdered Man – Cheney Boone, Director of Price Regulation.
Key Female – Phoebe Gunther, bright, bold, beautiful. As usual, Archie is smitten.
Most Irritating Character – Inspector Ash, Inspector Cramer’s replacement, who puts his hands on Wolfe and gets slapped in return.
Key Helper – The Widow Boone, who sheds some light for Wolfe.
Star of the Book – Fritz, Wolfe’s live-in chef who can cook up a storm even when nervous about murderous goings on and who can find a certain hidden something when Wolfe sets him to the task.
Favorite Walk On Character – Inspector Cramer, who shows he has a grateful, sentimental side.
Fun Tidbit – Reference to old technology — central to the plot is a missing wax cylinder recorded by the murdered man via Dictaphone.
Favorite Lines – “He’s sick.”
                              “With what?”
                              “Sitzenlust. Chronic. The opposite of wanderlust.”

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

Vintage Friday: Epiphany Cross Dive

The visit of the wise-men

Heinrich Hofmann [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

One of my favorite memories from teaching in Tarpon Springs years ago was the excitement of the boys’ annual dive for the cross as part of the celebration of the Epiphany. The school and community helped support the festivities.

Epiphany, also known as Three Kings Day, is a Christian holiday representing the time when Jesus manifested himself to the Three Wise Men or Magi. It is a vitally important celebration in the Greek Orthodox Church and marks the end of the Christmas holy days. Following the service of the Divine Liturgy, the clergy, congregation, and people at large form the Procession of the Cross down to a body of water, such as river, lake, or springs. As the focal point of the ceremony, the holy official blesses the water by casting the gold cross into it. The boys then dive for the cross and the one lucky enough to retrieve it brings it back to the holy official to receive his blessing.

Here is a wonderful clip from the Florida Memory project of an even older time period, the 1960s, when Governor Bryant was a featured guest. You can see how the solemn Epiphany ceremony is followed by an evening of dancing and folk music.

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

Vintage Friday: Don’t Miss These Christmas Movies


Oh yes, and the more heartwarming the better! My list of must sees does contain a couple of classics, but not the iconic It’s a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street. I love those two movies, but everybody knows about them, right? Here I’m pointing out some less acclaimed but still entertaining and worthwhile Christmas movies.

An American Christmas Carol starring Henry Winkler is Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol updated and set in the depression era. It made me think deeply and emotionally about the legacy we leave behind us when we depart from earth. It points out how where we are in life is based on the choice we make during each fertile moment. Our decisions either take us toward love and humanity or in a darker direction. Henry Winkler is amazing, and the scene that sticks in my mind is where he cries from his deepest despair, “I’m willing to make a change.”

A Christmas Wish stars Kristy Swanson as Martha Evans, a destitute mother of three small children. Deserted by her good for nothing husband, she sets off in search of a job, landing in a small snowy town and offered a waitressing gig in a run down cafe by the heart of gold owner, played by the exquisite Tess Harper. I love Tess Harper. The vulnerable and endearing little boy, Miles, is not biologically Martha’s but was born of the good for nothing.  K.C. Clyde and Edward Hermann are also engaging in supporting roles, as are the two little girls. Kristy Swanson is nothing short of amazing in this movie. Her wardrobe, including a sturdy woolen coat, is one befitting a woman with no money living in a town full of snowbanks, rather than the usual designer jacket that we are supposed to believe actually keeps a body warm. This is now one of my very favorite Christmas movies. It shows real life and has real heart, plus homemade root beer.

The Christmas List starring Mimi Rogers, Rob Stewart, and Stella Stevens is a fun romantic movie where the girl gets the guy and the ex gets a lap full of ice cream. The main character’s name is Melody Parris, befitting a woman known as “the nose” and able to differentiate among chic perfumes while blindfolded. The little boy whose mother passed away adds a down to earth element. My favorite part is where Melody wishes for, and gets, a pair of fuzzy pink slippers.

goodThe Nine Lives of Christmas on Hallmark stars Brandon Routh and Kimberley Sustad. One thing I really appreciate about the Hallmark Christmas movies is that actors in a supporting role today are likely to be in a starring role in a couple of years. Kimberley Sustad made an elegant sister for Arielle Kebbel in 2012’s A Bride for Christmas. In Nine Lives she comes across as more faceted and human, and fascinating to watch. She does a lot with her facial expressions and huge dark eyes. Brandon Routh who played in Superman Returns has a peppery voice that I find utterly irresistible. The other stars of the movie are two cats, one fluffy and one orange tabby. Marigold twitched her ears at them.

A Very Merry Mix Up on Hallmark starring Alicia Witt and Mark Wiebe startled me with a big surprise about halfway through, and I’m not giving away the spoiler. Suffice to say it’s one of those things where you lament, “Dang, why didn’t I think of that?”

PinktreeA Christmas Carol from 1951 stars Alastair Sim. Here’s a tip of the hat to a Christmas classic. This movie is perfection all the way around, and Sims is mesmerizing as the definitive Ebenezer Scrooge. My favorite scene is where he goes bananas and dances a jig in his room, frightening the housekeeper out of her wits. How he got his limbs to go so akimbo remains a mystery. My bias is that Alastair Sim bears a strong resemblance to my maternal grandfather.

Bell Book & Candle stars Kim Novak and Jimmy Stewart. Witches have Christmas wishes too, and Kim Novak portrays a stunning witch who casts a Christmas love spell with unexpected but delicious consequences.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation stars Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo. I couldn’t leave out the Griswolds if I tried, and I don’t want to try. I enjoy the movie too much. Beverly D’Angelo is overly unsung as far as I’m concerned. I loved her work as a wildcat singer in Daddy’s Dyin’…Whose Got the Will? (I also loved the aforementioned Tess Harper in that.) Her vulnerability and comedic talent shine in Lampoon, and Chevy Chase is both hilarious and makes me want to pat him on the head. And let’s not forget the one of a kind Cousin Eddie, despite Randy Quaid’s resentment of the part.

The Christmas Card stars John Newton as a soldier on leave who falls for a good Samaritan woman who sent him a card in support of our troops overseas. She is played by Alice Evans. Ed Asner and Lois Nettleton almost steal the show as her parents, but the leading man and lady do make an allluring pair. Add all the sparkling snow and jingling sleigh rides and this movie is a heartwarming winner.BluetreeCROPPED

There you have a smattering of Christmas movies to brighten the season. So fill your little reindeer goblets with the spiked eggnog, lean close, and whisper me some secrets—what are your favorite Christmas movies?

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance