OF THE BABY NAME CHARLES
Citizen Kane is the 1941 movie, directed by and starring Orson Welles, which was nominated for several Academy Awards, and is regarded by scholarly sources as the greatest film ever made. Purportedly based in large part upon the life of newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst, that gentleman gave fuel to the rumor when he forbade mention of the film in any of his newspapers. The character of Kane, while self-absorbed and manipulative, is ultimately a synonym for the devastating effects of the removal of love from a human being. Kane is given over to guardianship by his mother when he is only eight years old, and it seems his entire life is devoted to regaining that ineffable gift back again – the love of the mother. Kane attains great wealth and power, amasses properties and possessions, may have any woman he desires – there is nothing beyond his reach, except, of course, that which must be given freely – the love of one human being for another. At the end of this magnificent movie, as Kane lies dying, his last word is “Rosebud” – the name of his beloved sled from childhood, a symbol of all that has been lost and will now never be recovered. One longs to rip away the years and take the little child in hand and start all over again for him.
Nora is the protagonist of Dashiell Hammett’s sophisticated 1934 novel, The Thin Man, and she is indelibly entwined with the image of the incomparable Myrna Loy, who portrayed her in the movies of the thirties and forties. No “doll-wife” she – she is witty, urbane and beautiful and goes toe to toe with her adoring husband, Nick, on any and all issues imaginable. Seemingly able to eschew housework and cooking entirely (oh, where are those devoted servants of yesteryear?!), Nora spends all her time sleuthing in fashionable outfits, usually with a drink in one hand and her dog Asta’s leash in the other. At some point in the series she becomes a mother, but this puts nary a wrinkle in her finely tuned activities. She simply hands the boy over to Nick, who promptly tutors him in the fine art of racetrack betting.
Darnay is the aristocratic counterpart to Sydney Carton in the Charles Dickens’ classic "A Tale of Two Cities" about the French Revolution. A French nobleman, he denounces his background and moves to London, hiding his identity, working as a tutor, and falling in love with Lucie Manette. Historical Fate will not let him be, however, and he returns to France to participate in what he believes to be his duty in freeing a friend caught in the crossfire of the revolution. Imprisoned, he is saved in a swap of identities by the seemingly ignoble Sydney Carton, and he and Lucie, married, name their child Sydney in his honor.
Charles Ingalls is the father of Laura Ingalls Wilder, and occupies a lofty position in the series of books she wrote about growing up in the 19th century Midwest, epitomized by "Little House On the Prairie." Very popular in its time and afterward as an inspirational story for children, the series became hugely popular after it was adapted for television in the 1970’s, starring Michael Landon as Charles and Melissa Gilbert as Laura. People everywhere then and today warmed to the strong family bonds depicted. Charles is always portrayed as a kind, wise and loving husband and father, who overcomes many obstacles and saves the day for his family in often dramatic settings. The real Charles Ingalls may have been a tad less heroic, but we will forgive his daughter for some whitewashing in the interests of the legacy of a marvelous father figure to whom many men might aspire.
Charles Murry is a character in the Madeleine L’Engels series of books about the O’Keefe and Murry families, most notably the first , "A Wrinkle In Time," published in 1962. He is the youngest brother of Meg Murry, and a certified genius in his own five-year-old right. A whimsical sci-fi book aimed at the younger reader, it explores the “other dimension” to be found within the “wrinkle in time”, through which Meg and Charles travel to find their scientist father, who has mysteriously disappeared. Charles is a strangely precocious and gifted child who can read minds and discern what might be hidden to others. In a thrilling exploration of the dark side, L’Engels leads her young readers toward a conclusion that demonstrates that the powers of love must unite with the powers of intelligence to effect salvation.