Maurice-Evans

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The Young People’s Room at MPL Old Main

Teen Central and the Best Buy Teen Tech Center at the Minneapolis Central Library were certainly innovations to Hennepin County Library’s services, but perhaps not totally new. While old Central had no designated space for teens, this was not the case at old Main, the first Minneapolis Public Library building at 10th & Hennepin. The Young People’s service actually started back in 1938 in a corner of one of the open shelf rooms, later expanded to a specially designated room for 15 to 20-year-olds. The official ribbon-cutting of the new space took place in 1947 and was attended by the great Shakespearean actor, Maurice Evans, who was in town for a performance of Hamlet.  

The Library’s first television set, donated by a local business, was placed in this room and became one of its most popular features. Staff regularly prepared reading lists (“Hi-Notes”) and carefully tracked popular trends in teen reading. Despite the success of directly serving teens, the demands for space at old Main, which was fairly bursting at the seams, lead to a repurposing of the space and discontinuation of the service in 1958. While the Library continued to serve teens and purchase books for that age group, the new Central library, opened in 1961, did not have a specially designated space for teens. That had to wait until 2006.

Photos from the Minneapolis Public Library photo archive. The bottom image shows the cover of a book list of romance titles for teens.

“It’s always a joy to know your castmates.

I’ve known Carl Reiner for years. Lately, he’s been appearing in Hot in Cleveland as a guest star in a recurring role– my character’s boyfriend, no less.

Carl Reiner and Allen were in the Army together in World War II in the Pacific.  Carl recently told me, ‘I wouldn’t have a career without Captain Ludden.' I had no idea what he was talking about, and said so.

Carl told me about this entertainment group Allen was in, called the Army Entertainment Section. Carl had written some material and stood up one night in front of the guys and read it. Allen said, 'You’ve got to do more of that.' 

Maurice Evans was also in the outfit, so Allen got Maurice to take the material to a producer, and Carl was off and running. He continued to be a writer, but also went on to become one of our great comedians. It took a Shakespearean actor and a game-show host to make it happen in the beginning, but Carl took it from there.

Today, every so often, Carl will say to me, 'Wouldn’t Allen get a kick out of this if he were here– seeing us working together?’

I don’t tell Carl, but I think Allen is getting a kick out of it, because he’s never very far from me. Ever.” -Betty White