July 11th 1960: To Kill a Mockingbird published

On this day in 1960, the novel ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee was published by J.B Lippincott & Co. The novel tells the story of the trial of a young African-American man in Alabama in the 1930s, and is told from the perspective of the daughter of the defendant’s lawyer, Scout Finch. Lee was partly inspired by events she recalled from her own childhood growing up in Alabama in the days of Jim Crow segregation. 'To Kill a Mockingbird’ was released during a turbulent time for American race relations, as the burgeoning Civil Rights Movement was beginning to get underway with sit-ins and Freedom Rides in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling Brown v. Board of Education (1954). The novel was originally going to be called 'Atticus’ for Scout’s father and the moral centre of the story, but was renamed for one of Atticus’s iconic lines. The novel was an immediate success, and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1961. In 1962 it was adapted into an Oscar-winning film starring Gregory Peck and featuring the film debut of Robert Duvall as the elusive Boo Radley. Harper Lee never published another novel and remains reclusive from the press, though she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007. The influence of 'To Kill a Mockingbird’ has never faded in the 54 years since its release, and is a favourite of many for its warmth and humour while tackling some of the most troubling issues of its day.

“Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird”

I must have had at least 50 men over the years tell me that they became lawyers because of that film. They were young when they first saw it, and they became determined to serve the cause of justice and fight against bigotry and intolerance. These days the film is shown all over the country in junior high schools, so it’s my pipeline to the teenagers. It just goes on. I think it’s the warmth between the widowed father and his two kids and the way he spoke to them, like young adults. He didn’t patronize them, and he always made time for them. I think that probably means more to teenagers today than the civil rights issue, although they do sometimes talk about that.
if you need to feel something - playlist

draw your swords - angus and julia stone
dust to dust - the civil wars
high horses - the swell season
holocene - bon iver
landfill - daughter
little lion man - mumford and sons
poison and wine - the civil wars
all the wild horses - ray lamontagne
dreams - fleetwood mac
words - gregory alan isakov
follow you down to the red oak tree - james vincent mcmorrow
slow it down - the lumineers
down in the valley - the head and the heart
colors - amos lee and norah jones
anymore - ethan thompson


the Bridgerton brothers

anthony bridgerton - jj feild; benedict bridgerton - lee pace; colin bridgerton - james mcavoy; gregory bridgerton - blake ritson


Garruk Wildspeaker is a Planeswalker who wields green magic. His specialty is creature magic: spells that coax abundant mana from the land, summon wild beasts, and unleash the ferocity and power of his summoned creatures. But since being cursed by the Chain Veil, his nature spells have been tainted by black magic.

Garruk has always been a skilled hunter, and his calling has been a plane-spanning hunt for the hugest and most powerful creatures in the Multiverse. But now his chosen quarry is a fellow Planeswalker: the death-witch Liliana Vess. At their last meeting, Liliana used the power of the Chain Veil artifact to curse Garruk, corrupting his power to summon wild beasts. As the curse takes hold and Garruk’s fierce predator-companions become sickly fiends, he finds that he’s gaining new, chilling powers of death. This only enrages him more.

Liliana still carries the Chain Veil, and Garruk won’t stop until he’s cured of his intolerable death-tainted state. After failing to corner and defeat Liliana Vess on Innistrad, Garruk was captured by a commander of the Gavony Riders named Odric. Accused of a crime he did not commit, Garruk became enraged and escaped his captors. The Curse of the Veil had taken hold.

Now, Garruk continues his search not just for Liliana, but all Planeswalkers. The curse transforms him into a creature more unrecognizable with every kill. He embraces his newfound darkness and considers every Planeswalker to be his prey.

Some of the amazing artwork featuring Garruk Wildspeaker.

This is a kiss scene that Gabrielle was supposed to have with Lin Qi in the season 5 episode Back In The Bottle

This scene was later cut, partly because Renée had told the producers that she had a problem with the romantic storyline they wrote between her and Lin Qi.  And that she felt it was out of character for Gabrielle at that point in the series.

On a related note - William Gregory Lee, who played Virgil, said in one of his interviews that there was a kiss scene between Gabrielle and Virgil scripted for Heart of Darkness. But Renée argued against it and the scene was never filmed. 

Harper Lee and the Cinematic Life of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

When Philadelphia-based publisher J.B. Lippincott Company decided to publish Harper Lee’s debut novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, the company requested an initial print run of just 5,000 copies.   Nevertheless, upon its release in July 1960, the novel swiftly gained popularity and earned a place on the New York Times bestseller list. Unusual for a promising literary property, the motion picture rights to which were often sold before publication, To Kill a Mockingbird spent six weeks on the list before producer Alan J. Pakula and director Robert Mulligan acquired the rights to the book, which would go on to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1961.

Once they had purchased the property, the little-known filmmakers quickly realized they would need a major star in order to move the project forward in Hollywood. They approached Gregory Peck about the role of Atticus Finch and he immediately accepted.  With Peck’s participation assured, his company, Brentwood Productions, financed the picture and Universal signed on to distribute it. Soon thereafter, the filmmakers sought out playwright Horton Foote to write the screenplay. As pre-production proceeded, Pakula and Mulligan attracted other talented artists to the project, including cinematographer Russell Harlan, composer Elmer Bernstein and production designers Alexander Golitzen and Henry Bumstead.

In order to serve the story justly, Pakula and Mulligan were also keen to involve author Harper Lee in the project.  In November 1961, the filmmakers sent Henry Bumstead on a research visit to Monroeville, Alabama. As Bumstead’s letter to Pakula below indicates, Lee welcomed the art director to her hometown and accompanied him throughout his visit, offering suggestions about how the architectural and design details of the novel’s fictional community of Maycomb could be most accurately portrayed in the film. Pakula also asked Lee to obtain photographs of Monroeville in the 1930s on their behalf, adding: “We could take the easy way and just stick Atticus and the family in a nice, new ranch house and give the Radleys a big, new picture window for Boo to look through, but somehow I don’t see the picture quite that way.”   Bumstead worked closely with the craftsmen at Universal to recreate the Southern locale on the studio backlot and even replicated the Monroeville courthouse. Lee, pictured here with Bumstead, was astonished by how accurately the filmmakers had reproduced a Depression-era Southern town when she visited the studio.

Gregory Peck, whose character was based upon Harper Lee’s father, also went to great lengths to ensure his portrayal did justice to Lee’s creation. He visited Monroeville and was introduced to her father, Amasa Coleman Lee, from whom he drew inspiration for his role.  Peck worked hard to develop his character and made extensive notes about how he envisioned playing each scene. This page from Peck’s shooting script shows his notations for the dramatic courtroom scene, which is depicted below in storyboard form.

Harper Lee and Gregory Peck became lifelong friends as a result of their collaboration on the film. Lee was one of his most enthusiastic supporters when his performance was nominated for an Academy Award, and she was equally thrilled when he took home the award for Actor in a Leading Role. In turn, Peck shared the accolades for the film with Lee, declaring in a March 1963 letter to her: “Congratulations on your eight nominations for the Academy Award.”

In all, the film earned three awards from the eight nominations, and has become a much-beloved classic in the American film canon. Material regarding To Kill a Mockingbird can be found among several Special Collections housed at the Academy’s Margaret Herrick Library, including the papers of Henry Bumstead, Alan J. Pakula, Gregory Peck and Robert Mulligan.

See more images from the making of To Kill a Mockingbird and learn more about Gregory Peck in our Collection Highlights.