Last gasp: Kate Hudson revived the Sexy Stenographer character in ‘Alex and Emma’

Alex-EmmaAs we blogged about earlier, the very popular Sexy Stenographer archetype disappeared from movie screens in the 1930s. It had a final gasp in the 2003 film “Alex and Emma,” directed by Rob Reiner.

If the Sexy Stenographer wasn’t dead yet, this movie might have killed it. At least according to reviews and online comments.

The movie starred Luke Wilson and Kate Hudson. Wilson is a writer who is under pressure from his publisher to get a book out in one month. The New York Times’ review of the movie said, “… because Alex is experiencing a writer’s block that leaves his imagination colder than this picture’s, and because the enforcers have torched his computer, he hires a stenographer, the all-business Emma (Kate Hudson), in the hope that he can dictate a book to her within his allotted time.”

We’ll give you three chances to guess whether they fall in love, and the first two don’t count.

On IMDB, the discussion board of the movie is primarily about whether this is the worst movie of all time or not. (The consensus: No, not the worst of all time, but not very good, either.)

Elvis Mitchell, in the Times, said, “The picture is desperate to be a Date Night event, but it feels more like a Last Date movie. “

The movie also prompted the essay we’ve been quoting about the Sexy Stenographer. In the New York Times,  Katie Bolick gives a nice rundown of the history of stenographers working with well-known novelists. including Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy and Henry James.

“Of course, the typical (and largely unexamined) history of novelists dictating to stenographers is hardly as romantic,” she says.

Read the “Sexy Stenographer” essay.

Read the New York Times review.

See more on IMDB.


Extra! Extra! Newest court reporting technologies can save clients time and money!

Edison Business PhonographStop us if you’ve heard this before:

“It’s a busy day at the office, and the stenographer is exhausted from trying to keep up with the demands on her skills. Even when she stays late, she cannot catch up with all of the work. But then a man comes into the office to demonstrate the many advantages of his company’s new …”

Did you think we’d say “digital recording system?”

Yes, this is a description of an advertisement for the latest technology. But it was the latest technology in 1910.

The original reads, “… his company’s new business phonograph.”

A title card from the 1910 film, "The Stenographer's Friend."

A title card from the 1910 film, “The Stenographer’s Friend.”

Turns out supplementing stenography with technology is nothing new.  The description is from and decribes a 7-minute film called, “The Stenographer’s Friend; or What was Accomplished by an Edison Business Phonograph.”

Check out the entire film, below, complete with Thomas Edison cameo.

Huseby litigation services
We like technology, but we’re glad the Edison Business Phonograph didn’t catch on. We prefer live, human stenographers. However, we do incorporate the latest technology in ways that serve our clients.

Huseby court reporters provide real-time and daily transcripts of full and verbatim records. Huseby’s primary goal is to identify strategies, techniques and technologies that can save its clients time and money. Huseby works closely with its clients to understand the factors that drive their cases and to explore creative solutions that provide the best value for the clients’ money.

Click here to find a location and schedule a court reporter or other litigation services online.


Early typewriters, marketed to women, lead to Hollywood’s fascination with stenographers

Public StenographerAs we blogged about last time, the Sexy Stenographer archetype thrived in the early days of American movies, but disappeared from screens in the 1930s.

One of the later incarnations was “Public Stenographer” (1934) with a cast of B-list actors (or maybe D-list) and a plot that revolved around the Sexy Stenographer. (The only credit of note is for the writer Ellwood Ullman, who wrote 100 of the 190 Three Stooges shorts.)

In one scene, a client engages the stenographer to write a letter to his sweetheart, telling the stenographer, “You don’t have to write it. You just tell me what to say.” Raise your hand if you’ve heard that before.

The story, according to IMDB, involves a “wisecracking and attractive public stenographer” who “spends much of her time fending off the touchy hands of her employers”

In The New York Times story about stenographers, the author asks the question, “How did we come to have sexy stenographers in the first place?” Here’s her answer:

The world’s first commercial typewriter was invented in a Milwaukee, Wis. machine shop. It took another six years before E. Remington and Sons of Ilion, N.Y. manufactured the Remington No. 1, and several years more for what Mark Twain called a ”curiosity-breeding little joker” to catch on, but once the public finally adopted the typewriter the workplace was forever changed.

Decorated with floral decals and mounted on a treadle table, the original model looked not unlike a sewing machine — a resemblance which inspired savvy promoters to declare it tailor-made for a woman’s ”nimble fingers.” And women were not only dexterous, according to this way of thinking, but easy on the pocket. In 1870, 4.5 percent of stenos and typists were women. By 1880, this figure had quadrupled. By 1900 it had climbed to nearly 80 percent.

While the Sexy Stenographer character has faded away, some things associated with it haven’t. A recent NCRA survey found 89 percent of court reporters are women.

Next time: The Sexy Stenographer makes a big-screen comeback.

Huseby court reporters
Huseby offices offer litigation services, including court reporting, Web conferencing, video conferencing, video depositions, and more.

Call a Huseby scheduler and ask. We have more than 4,000 conference room suites worldwide ready for you to use today. 800-333-2082.

The ‘Sexy Stenographer’ was a staple of early movies; notably in Charlie Chaplin’s ‘The Bank’

Edna Purviance played a stenographer in the 1915 Charlie Chaplin film, "The Bank," and had worked as a stenographer before starring in movies.

Edna Purviance plays a stenographer in the 1915 Charlie Chaplin film, “The Bank,” and had worked as a stenographer before starring in movies.

When we blogged last week about Olive Oyl’s stint as a stenographer, it got us wondering about other portrayals of stenographers in popular culture.

As it turns out, the stenographer was a regular character in the early days of movies, as indicated on the titles, “The Substitute Stenographer” (1913) and “Stenographer Troubles” (1913).

One of the prototypes of the stenographer character was established in Charlie Chaplin’s “The Bank,” (1915). Edna Purviance, Chaplin’s real-life romantic partner, plays the stenographer. Purviance was working as a real-life stenographer in San Francisco when they met and he brought her to Chicago to work at Essanay Studios, according to IMDB.

“Women had gained a stranglehold on the (stenography) profession and movies had begun to take it seriously as a role,” Katie Bolick wrote in The New York Times.  “A beautiful stenographer caught the eye of Charlie Chaplin in a short called ‘The Bank,’ and an archetype was born.”

That archetype was the “Sexy Stenographer,” according to Bolick, who writes:

Throughout the 1910’s and 20’s, the Sexy Stenographer was a mainstay of popular literature and film. And no wonder. Her “skill set” — the job required that she not only type well, but also look good and be mutely receptive, or, in the words of a 1924 Carnegie Institute of Technology survey, be “a diligent, faithful, human machine” — was easy to sexualize.

By the 1930s, moviedom’s Sexy Stenographer had given way almost completely to the Sexy Secretary, according to Bolick. It made a fleeting comeback in 2003, which will be the subject of our next post.

An inspiration to baby boom court reporters: Olive Oyl, public stenographer

olive oyl stenographer

In 1937, the “Popeye” cartoon series was at its creative zenith. Just two months after the release of the Academy Award-nominated “Popeye the Sailor meets Sinbad the Sailor,” “The Paneless Window Washer” (Nov. 22, 1937), featured Olive Oyl as a public stenographer.

We at Huseby Inc. are proud to have her among our ranks!

In the six-minute animated short, Popeye and Bluto fight over who’s better at cleaning windows right outside Olive’s office tower window — which is adorned with her professional association: “Olive Oyl Public Stenographer.” As usual, Olive is trapped in the middle of the melee.

While the cartoon was created by Fleisher Studios and distributed to movie theaters in 1937 by Paramount Pictures, today’s Popeye fans know of “The Paneless Window Washer” thanks to its repeated showings on television in the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s.

Olive Oyl at work

Thanks to TV syndication, the cartoon featuring stenographer Olive remains a fan favorite, according to Fred M. Grandinetti in “Popeye: An Illustrated Cultural History.”

Today, you don’t have to run home from school to warm your TV up at 3:30 in the afternoon to catch Popeye, Bluto and Olive in action. You can just click below.

Huseby across the country

Huseby hires only the very best reporters. Each reporter is screened before hiring to ensure his or her work meets the company’s high standards. When a reporter wishes to work for Huseby, an account executive follows a stringent reporter review process.

Click here to find a location and schedule a court reporter online.

Florida Court reporter finds herself in middle of conflict between board, supervisor

stenographCourt reporters are usually indispensable contributors to our government and legal systems.

Their work is usually greatly appreciated, at best. At worst, they’re overlooked while they carry on their important work.

But have you ever been in a situation like this?

In Palm Coast, Florida, canvassing board members arrived at their Wednesday morning meeting to find a court reporter there to transcribe the meeting’s proceedings, according to the Palm Coast Observer.

The court reporter, Mary Graybosch, was hired after an Oct. 24 meeting in which the election supervisor wrangled with the other board members over meeting minutes and how they were recorded. The supervisor had used her iPhone to record them at the previous meeting.

The Observer quoted the elections supervisor as saying:

“As supervisor of elections, I’ve always done the minutes, I’m going to continue to do the minutes; I don’t need anybody doing the minutes for me. I won’t have another county office doing the minutes for this office that I am responsible for, so I reject these minutes.”

The supervisor suggested the board hire a court reporter to transcribe meetings verbatim, the paper reported, but no one replied to the suggestion during the meeting and there was no formal action on the request.

Upon seeing the reporter at the meeting, a board member asked who was paying for the reporter? The election supervisor said it was coming out of her budget.

Read more.

Huseby court reporters
While we hope you’re never in this sort of situation, no matter what your needs, Huseby offices offer litigation services, including court reporting, Web conferencing, video conferencing, video depositions, and more.

Call a Huseby scheduler and ask. We have more than 4,000 conference room suites worldwide ready for you to use today. 800-333-2082.


No offense taken: John Oliver acknowledges role of court reporter in animal Supreme Court video

In John Oliver's Supreme Court sendup, a chicken portrays the court reporter.

In John Oliver’s Supreme Court sendup, a chicken portrays the court reporter.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to allow camera’s in the courtroom has prompted a viral video that features stand-ins for the justices and other court officials — including a chicken portraying a court reporter.

As Reuters news service points out, the video has received more than 2 million views on YouTube. While lots of viewers are enamored with the bulldog that plays Antonin Scalia and the poodle portraying Samuel Alito, we’re mostly taken by the hen that pecks away at a court reporter’s keyboard.

In the viral video, they reenact Holt vs. Hobbs, which is about whether a prison can require a Muslim inmate to trim his beard for security reasons. As promised, it’s much more entertaining than audio Supreme Court arguments or artist’s sketches of the court in action.

It’s unclear whether any of the justices have seen the comedy clip, Reuters quotes court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg as saying.

Read more.


Investigative team lead by dogged attorney uncovers depth of scandal at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

The venerable Old Well at UNC-Chapel Hill. Photo by  Zhang via Flickr Creative Commons.

The venerable Old Well at UNC-Chapel Hill. Photo by Zhang via Flickr Creative Commons.

IF you live in North Carolina or follow college sports, you’ve probably heard about the results of The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s independent investigation into academic and athletic fraud at the university.

In a damning report, Kenneth Wainstein’s team of investigators found 3,100 students took bogus classes — about 50 percent of them athletes — from 1993 to 2011.

How did UNC get here? After years of denials and evasions, the university realized the story was not going to die unless it dealt with the issues head on, so UNC administrators hired attorney Wainstein to look deeply into the matter. As a result of his investigation, four UNC staff members have been fired, five are under review, and a report has been sent to the NCAA, which will possibly result in athletic sanctions against UNC.

For years, UNC has dragged its feet in response to open-records request from The News & Observer of Raleigh, which broke the first stories of the scandal and has been doggedly pursuing it ever since. One earlier internal look into the scandal lead by former North Carolina Gov. Jim Hunt determined the scandal wasn’t an athletic one, but an academic one, since students other than athletes were enrolled in the classes.

As the N&O pointed out, that conclusion ignores the fact that 50 percent of students enrolled in the classes were athletes (the majority of which were football players), although athletes only make up a fraction of the student body as a whole.

Read more.

A dogged attorney
Wainstein, with the firm Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP, is a  former U.S. Justice  Department attorney and homeland security adviser.

He explained his role and his relationship with UNC to Bloomberg News like this:

“I do independent investigations for a living and I can tell you that whenever you’re dealing with an organization, be it a corporation or a school or an association, it’s a difficult decision to ask an outsider to come in and look around your business and find the faults.”

He and his team consulted with state prosecutors and the FBI and “received the fruits of their criminal investigation,” Bloomberg reported.

Read more.

Huseby in North Carolina
Huseby offices offer litigation services, including court reporting, Web conferencing, video conferencing, video depositions, and more. Our offices North Carolina are at this location:

1 West Pack Square #1400
Asheville, NC 28801
(704) 253-7033

200 West Second Street, 19th Floor
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
(800) 333-2082

1230 West Morehead Street #408
Charlotte, NC 28208
(800) 333-2082

7800 Airport Center Drive #401
Greensboro, NC 27409
(336) 605-9669

3737 Glenwood Avenue
#100  Raleigh, NC 27612
(919) 831-8877

Looking for help in a different city? Call a Huseby scheduler and ask. We have more than 4,000 conference room suites worldwide ready for you to use today. 800-333-2082.


In Sacramento, California, mid-sized law firms seek lateral hires; biotech firm is target of legal investigations

California state capitol building in Sacramento. Photo via Flickr Creative Commons.

California state capitol building in Sacramento. Photo via Flickr Creative Commons.

In Sacramento, California, experienced lawyers are more likely to leave a firm to start their own boutique practices than bounce to other established firms, according to a story in the Sacramento Business Journal.

That makes them hot commodities in Sacramento, sought by mid-sized law firms looking to hire attorneys who will bring their business with them, the story says.

And while some firms mentioned in the story have made lateral hires recently, there are not a lot of opportunities for that trend to expand, the story says.

Read more to see which firms have successfully made lateral hires.

Law firms investigate biotech firm
Sacramento-area biotech firm Marrone Bio Innovations Inc. has announced it is laying off 23 percent of its staff just a month after at least 16 law firms began investigations into its finances, according to news reports.

The company employed 154 workers as of March 31, according to The Sacramento Bee, which reported “barely a year ago, Marrone Bio was the toast of the greater Sacramento tech sector.”

The investigation announcements by law firms from all over the country began soon after Marrone Bio reported it was performing an internal audit of its financial reports, the Sacramento Business Journal reports.

Read more.

DeMichelle-Huseby is headquartered in Fairfield, California, with offices in Napa, Dixon, Sacramento and San Rafael.

Legal professionals looking to schedule litigation services or order transcripts in Sacramento and other California locations can contact Shanna DeMichelle-Zanone or Tabitha Stewart  at 888-709-0888 or click here to schedule.

Here are all of Huseby’s California locations.

West regional center
South Flower Street
Los Angeles, CA 90071
(213) 234-5540

Dixon Professional Building
255 N. Lincoln Street, Suite H
Dixon, CA 95620

700 Webster Street
Fairfield, CA 94533

7815 North Palm Avenue, Suite 120 Fresno , CA 93711

1034 Walnut Street
Napa , CA 94558

3550 Watt Avenue
Sacramento , CA 95821

1919 Grand Avenue,
Suite 1F San Diego , CA 92109

505 Montgomery Street
10th & 11th Floors San Francisco , CA 94111 (415) 432-6051

4340 Redwood Highway, Suite F-150 San Rafael , CA 94903

Click here for all of Huseby’s locations nationwide.


Court reporting roundup: New Jersey student contributes to book, California jobs picture strong, New Jersey ex-reporter fights cancer

stenographA story in features court reporting student Maria Rose Breien who is a contributor to the recently released book “Court Reporter Survival Guide: School Success Stories.”

The book is a collection of essays and tips about making it through court reporting school written by freelancers, officials, CART captioners and current students.

“Having an amazing support system while going through your court reporting training is integral to a student’s success,” Breien is quoted as saying. She’s enrolled as a student with the iReporting Institute.

Read more.

Good economic news
In a report on the fall of the U.S. unemployment rate to 5.9 percent, its lowest level in more than six years, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune focuses on a particularly bright spot in that bright news: Court reporting.

Although people might not be aware of court reporting as a career, it will be “ramping up locally over the next few years” the story says.

It then quotes the 2013-14 Court Reporting Industry Outlook Report which predicts that by 2018, there will be 5,500 new court reporter jobs available in the U.S., with 2,320 of those openings in California.

“Projected shortages in the stenographic court reporting profession come at a time when many graduates with traditional four-year degrees are struggling to find employment,” Jim Cudahy, executive director of the National Court Reporters Association, is quoted as saying. “Court reporting is a career path with above average job security and earning potential as compared to its more traditional counterparts. With opportunities for court reporters on the rise, students who graduate will hold more than a piece of paper — they’ll hold a job.”

Read more.

Court reporter fights cancer
A court reporter’s bout with breast cancer is the focus of an Asbury Park Press story, which recently profiled Gail Coulter who received her diagnosis as she approached her 30th year as a court stenographer.

The diagnosis of early stage II breast cancer shocked her, the story said. She never detected a lump or experienced any other symptoms of the disease, but the disease does run in her family.

Resolved to beat the disease, she began a long treatment process during which she made a career change from her job as court reporter.

Her reasons for the change were both personal and professional, and led her to a new career in the restaurant business. She’s had clean checkups since ending chemotherapy.

Read more.

Huseby celebrates the work of court reporters across the country.
logoHuseby hires only the very best reporters. Each reporter is screened before hiring to ensure his or her work meets the company’s high standards. When a reporter wishes to work for Huseby, an account executive follows a stringent reporter review process.

Click here to find a location and schedule a court reporter online.