Steve Martin’s Memoir: Born Standing Up

Like many people my age, I remember watching Steve Martin and his wild and crazy guy routine for most of my adult life. I saw him on the Smothers Brothers Show, Johnny Carson, and certainly Saturday Night Live. I loved some of his movies — Roxanne and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels but rarely paid to see them. I always thought a little of him went a long way when it came to movies. I really enjoyed his book The Pleasure of My Company, about an obsessive compulsive neurotic, but didn’t finish Shopgirl. However, I can full recommend his memoir, Born Standing Up.

There is much more to Martin’s comic routine than meets the eye and ear. His influences were magicians, musicians, and comics such as Laurel and Hardy, Jack Benny and the old time radio comedians. He describes how as he went from gig to gig, he developed his philosophy of humor. A gag or joke works because it builds up a tension in the listener. When the release comes, so does the laugh. Martin wanted to know what would happen if you built the tension, but didn’t ever release it. When would people laugh and why? The way he talks about his process makes the reader want to see some of the skits to see how he is building this tension.

Another interesting part of the memoir is his struggles with his family, and his father in particular. Most of Martin’s personal life — and certainly his marriage — are left out of this story. He does talk about the tension in his family life and how, before the death of his father, he was able to reach out to him at least on some level. As a parent and a child, I could relate to the misunderstandings that can contaminate family life.

Here are links to some works of Steve Martin. Some of the older movies and tv shows are only in vhs.


The Pink Panther (2006)

Shopgirl (2005)

Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (2005)

Bringing Down the House (2003)

Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003)

Cheaper by the Dozen (2003)

Novocaine (2001) (vhs)

Bowfinger (1999)

The Out of Towners (1998) (vhs)

The Spanish Prisoner (1997) (vhs)

Sgt. Bilko (1996) (vhs)

Father of the Bride II (1995) (vhs)

Mixed Nuts (1994)

A Simple Twist of Fate (1994)

Leap of Faith (1992)

Housesitter (1992)

Grand Canyon (1991)

L.A. Story (1991)

Father of the Bride (1991)

My Blue Heaven (1990)

Parenthood (1989)

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)

Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)

Roxanne (1987) (vhs)

Three Amigos (1986) (vhs)

Little Shop of Horrors (1986)

All of Me (1984)

The Lonely Guy (1984) (vhs)

The Man with Two Brains (1983)

Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid (1982) (vhs)

Pennies from Heaven (1981)

The Jerk (1979)

The Absent-Minded Waiter (1977)


Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life Listen to audio clip

The Pleasure of My Company

Kindly Lent By Their Owner: The Private Collection of Steve Martin


Pure Drivel

Wasp, a Play in One Act

Cruel Shoes

Fierce Pajamas: an anthology of humor writing from the New Yorker

The Steve Martin Brothers 1981

Comedy Is Not Pretty! 1979

A Wild and Crazy Guy 1978

Let’s Get Small 1977

Television Shows

Best of The Muppet show. (vhs)

Muppet Show 2

SNL. The complete second season

Saturday Night Life : the best of Steve Martin

Saturday Night Live, the classic years (vhs)

The best of Saturday night live. 1991 (vhs)

Saturday Night Live 15th anniversary special (vhs)

Amazing Football Team of 1934

Even if the Patriots had won the Super Bowl, their “perfect season” would be nothing compared to the 1934 season of the North Attleboro High School football team: they were undefeated and unscored upon. Jem, one of the main characters in To Kill a Mockingbird would have risked more than a broken arm to play on that team.

Here’s what the Evening Chronicle article about the 1934 closing Thanksgiving game against Attleboro said about the team: “The doughty band of crimson-jerkined youngsters with spartanic grit and courage repulsed every attack of a great Attleboro eleven, which had never before tasted defeat, and when the final whistle had blown they stood on the pinnacle among Massachusetts schoolboy elevens – the only one undefeated and unscored-on in the 1934 crusade.”

Football was primarily a college sport when it began in 1869, but high schools quickly formed their own teams. The North Attleboro-Attleboro rivalry predates 1921, but had been interrupted due to a ban on the sport in the early part of the 20th century. Without television, local sports were a popular source of entertainment. Players were on the field for the whole game, playing both offense and defense and were not as specialized as they are now. In the 1934 Thanksgiving game, the captain of the team kicked off, passed and ran for the one touchdown.

The first team is composed of, Louis Difiore fullback; Norman Poirier, quarterback; Hubert Rice, left half; Capt. Maurice Fournier, right half; Harold Tennant, left end; Russsell Smith, right end; Stanley Lycus, right tackle; Ray Bozzo, left tackle; Jack Daly, right guard; Bancroft Austin, left guard and Nate Phipps, center. Others on the team were Clifford Wise, Norman Benoit, Joe Tremblay, Ray Collard, Eli Beaupre, Walter LaRosee, Eugene Lorden, Emil Jacobs, Arthur Irvine, Cordner Stuart, Tony Difiore, William Thorp, Clinton Tingley, Herbert Ballou, Ray Brastow, Harold Hall, William Prew, Orin Armstrong, Whicott Robinson, Joseph Kivlin, Raymond Vandette and Leonard Simms. The head coach was Raymond Yates and his assistants were Roland Chandler and Charles Wettergreen.

Beatrice Montplaisir left her scrapbooks of North Attleboro life to the Falls Fire Barn. She had clippings on the reunion of the 34 team which allowed me to find the article and picture in the microfilm. Her scrapbooks are organized by theme and make for fascinating reading. This picture (wrongly labeled The Champs … 1933) was in the paper. Maurice Fournier and Eli Beaupre died in WWII.

Football Team Picture

Join the Big Read by reading To Kill a Mockingbird or the biography of Harper Lee, Mockingbird, and by attending one of the many events during the month of March. Visit the website and click on The Big Read logo for more information or stop by at the library.

Flowers in the ’30s in North Attleboro

The North Attleboro community-wide Big Read will be looking at the life of the town in the 1930s as it relates to To Kill a Mockingbird. One of the aspects of small town life featured in Harper Lee’s book is the importance of gardens and flowers to the people of the town. Three of the main women expressed themselves primarily through their gardens: Miss Maudie with her azaleas, Mrs. Dubose with her camellias and Mayella Ewell with her geraniums in six chipped-enamel slop jars.

North Attleboro has been home to beautiful gardens and an active Garden Club for a very long time. The 1930s saw the Garden Club’s tenth annual June Exhibition in June 1933. To quote the Evening Chronicle, “This was the first Iris show ever held by the club and was very successful, more than 150 different varieties, many of them of very recent introduction.”

The Garden Club had monthly meetings in the Elks’ Home, usually featuring guest speakers. One talked about growing gladiolus. Sometimes they visited gardens around town, seeing in 1934, the gardens of Mr. and Mrs. Harry W. Fisher (152 S Washington St.), Mrs. Ellen L. Mason (238 S. Washington St.), Merrill Marty (florist at 46 Washington), Fred Hayward and the Birch Hill Gardens. Popular flowers included iris, lupines, petunias, peonies and rock gardens.

Roses were also popular and Mr. Raymond Hoisington (83 Leonard St.) was famous for his collection of over forty varieties of Hybrid Tea roses. One website mentioned that a 1930s garden would have lots of formal rosebeds, though none are mentioned in “TKAM.”

Throughout the month of March, Nolan’s Flower (which has been in business for over 100 years) will be displaying arrangements of 1930s styles in the Richards Memorial Library. The library is grateful to the Angle Tree Garden Club who displays arrangements at the library every month and frequently donates gardening books to the collection. The Angle Tree club was founded in 1962.

This February sees two local flower shows: Rhode Island‘s Spring Flower and Garden Show at the RI Convention Center, on the 21st through 24th and Attleboro Arts Museum‘s show at the museum on the 27th through March 2.

Join the Big Read by reading To Kill a Mockingbird or the biography of Harper Lee, Mockingbird, and by attending one of the many events during the month of March. The opening event, at the Masonic Lodge at 1:30 on March 1, will present music and dance of the ‘30s. Visit the website and click on The Big Read logo for more information or stop by at the library.

February ’08 Book Tea Party

This year for our Book Pot Luck we had a tea party, with a variety of teas and pots! The books that were chosen were:

Old Wives Tale by Electa Trisch (Virtual Catalog only);

Lost art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice;

Natural Born Charmer by Susan Elizabeth Phillips;

The Ghost by Robert Harris;

Portrait of an Unknown Woman by Venora Bennett;

Alligators, Old Mink & New Money by Alison Houtte;

Once Upon a Town by Bob Greene;

Sammy’s Hill by Kristen Gore;

The Partner by John Grisham;

The Welsh Girl by Peter Ho Davies.

The food was delicious, especially the unusual chicken salad sandwiches made with dried cranberries, allspice, chili, cinnamon and ginger!