Fall 2017 – The Story Behind the Story


Books and the Silver Screen – The Good, the Bad and the Very Ugly

                  Tuesdays, October 10 to November 28, 2017                       10:00 am to 12:00 noon

Exploring the extraordinary stories of how great books were made into classic movies, along with an fascinating collection of real live characters and events, including one that left a tragic imprint on Toronto more than 120 years ago… with a movie in the works.

Coordinator and presenter Eliseo Zompanti is the head of the Toronto Public Library’s Rexdale Branch in Etobicoke. For the past four years, he has been researching and telling these stories to library and other later-life-learning groups in the GTA.

October 10    Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz

How two best-selling books became classic movies in the same year, with a few detours along the way.

October 17    An encore to Gone with the Wind?

An American producer and a rising British director make the Oscar-winning Rebecca, and a British author writes a book so he can make a highly acclaimed movie, The Third Man.

October 24     From Here to Eternity to the genius of Hitchcock

How James Jones’ novel made its way to Hollywood, and how Alfred Hitchcock fooled the American film censors with Notorious and made Cary Grant out to be such a villain.

October 31   The Cold War: Who knew the CIA loved novels so much? 

From Doctor Zhivago to Animal Farm, 1984 and On the Waterfront: what happens when novels meet politics, collide with the Cold War, and are used as weapons.

November 7 Captain Bligh’s bad rap; a great whale sinks a ship

The true stories behind Mutiny on the Bounty and Moby Dick, and how Alexandre Dumas got his idea for The Count of Monte Cristo. (Hint: It helps when someone works in the Paris police archives.)

November 14 The Greatest Show on Earth: 1893 Chicago World’s Fair

How the Chicago World’s Fair transformed the way we live today, and how a decision made in Germany back then dramatically influences our lives today. We still can’t believe it happened…

November 21   The man no one suspected

How a doctor at the time of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair went on a remarkable murder spree – but was undone by something he did in Toronto.

November 28  Stories behind Christmas icons of popular culture

What led Charles Dickens to write A Christmas Carol, how a literary nobody wrote Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and the book nobody wanted that became It’s a Wonderful Life.