Would you believe…

Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Hollywood, California

Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Hollywood, California

Don Adams

April 13th 1923 September 25th 2005

Beloved husband, father and grandfather.

Proudly served his country during WWII.

Comedian, poet, philosopher, movie buff,

and never late for post time. A tough but

sensitive man with a sentimental heart

and a passionate soul.


He touched our hearts as Maxwell Smart,

secret agent 86 in the 1960’s classic TV

series, “Get Smart” and filled the

world with laughter that will

forever be remembered.

“Would you believe…”

As a kid, one of my favorite shows was Get Smart, a spoof about spies that parodied the James Bond movies which were all the rage at the time that also drew from the bungling and hapless Lieutenant Clouseau character in the Pink Panther movies.

The main character, Agent 86, Maxwell Smart, was played by Don Adams. His sidekick was Agent 99, played by Barbara Feldon. Her character’s name was never revealed during the show.

In the series, Don Adam’s character bungled his way through each episode fighting the enemy KAOS. The show aired for five years, from 1965 to 1970. The series received seven Emmy Awards including three for Adams for “Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Comedy” for his portrayal of the bungling CONTROL agent.

Don Adams (Donald James Yarmy) is buried in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery at Hollywood. A white marble angel stands over his grave holding a garland roses. There is also a bronze placard with the inscription above that portrays Adams holding his famous spy shoe phone.

The placard also gives some clues to what was important to Adams—his family. He was married three times—to Adlaide Efantis, Dorothy Bracken, and Judy Luciano—and had seven children. There is also the Marine Insignia on the placard which was a nod to his service in World War II. Adams lied to join the service. He served in the Pacific Theater and was wounded in the Battle of Guadalcanal. He contracted blackwater fever and was hospitalized for nearly a year before he recovered. There is also a reference to “never being late to post time”.  Adams loved to gamble.

The quote, “Would you believe…” was one of the many catchphrases that were spawned by the series, such as, “Missed it by that much!”, and “I told you not to tell me that!”


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Mt. Calvary Cemetery, Columbus, Ohio

Mt. Calvary Cemetery, Columbus, Ohio


Daughter of



July 5, 1849


5Y, 2M, & 8 D.

A sister reposes underneath this sod

A sister to memory dear and dear

to God;

Rejoice yet shed the sympathetic tear,

My little sister lies buried here.


Many funerary motifs represent children–shoes, seedpods, cribs, cherubs–but one of the most common is the hanging bud. The broken bud represents the flower that did not bloom into full blossom, the life that was cut short before it had a chance to grow to adulthood.

The rounded-top white marble tablet gravestone of five-year old Naomi Yardley in the Mt. Calvary Cemetery at Columbus, Ohio, displays the bud hanging from a sprig with three leaves.

On this gravestone, the hanging bud is completely detached and laying underneath the twig.   The broken bud represents Naomi’s short life of only five years.  The leaves here represent the Trinity—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

Perhaps, though, the most poignant aspect of this gravestone is the tender epitaph from one sister to another.


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I pray the Lord my soul to take







The white marble gravestone in the Green-Wood Cemetery at Brooklyn, New York, for Henry Burr, 7 year-old son and namesake of Henry Burr and Harriet Burr, has eroded badly. The angel figure, her clothing billowing, hovers over a cloud while she cradles a small child.  His head is nestled into her neck, a gesture of tenderness and affection.  This small boy, presumably Henry, is buried next to his 8-year old sister, Harriet.


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Now I lay me down to sleep












Even though the soft white marble monument has suffered from erosion and many of the features of the three figures have been obliterated, it is still obvious the image represents two angels aloft transporting a tiny young soul to Heaven.

The faded epitaph reinforces the imagery on the gravestone…“the jewel is in Heaven.” The gravestone reminds me of the prayer many of us said as children as we bent down next to our beds:

Now I lay me down to sleep,

I pray the Lord my soul to keep,

If I shall die before I wake,

I pray the Lord my soul to take. Amen.

The little eight-year old daughter and namesake of Harriet Burr and her husband Henry Burr was buried in the Green-Wood Cemetery at Brooklyn, New York.


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Scipio’s Tomb, Classical Exemplar

The Alexander Moseley Sarcophagus in the Mt. Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Massachusetts

The Alexander Moseley Sarcophagus in the Mt. Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Many ancient classical designs are replicated in modern graveyards, often in grand neoclassical mausoleums based on the designs of Greek and Roman temples.  Less extravagant examples can be found, too. For example, the sarcophagus of Alexander Moseley in the Mount Auburn Cemetery at Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Wagner Monument in the Lakewood Cemetery at Minneapolis, Minnesota, and the sarcophagus of Conrad and Helen Schweitzer, buried in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, in Southern California, are both modeled after the Roman tomb of Lucius Cornelius Scipio Barbatus.

The Schweitzer Sarcophagus in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Southern California

The Schweitzer Sarcophagus in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Southern California

The Scipio sarcophagus was erected around 150 BC.  Lucius Cornelius Scipio Barbatus (died c. 280 BC) was one of the two elected Roman consuls in 298 BC. His tomb is now preserved in the Vatican Museum in Rome, Italy. It is an example of classical Greek design based on the same design principles used for the Parthenon and described in a trade publication for stone carvers, “Design Hints for Memorial Craftsmen”, November 1928, Volume 5, Number 5, pages 14-16. The magazine was published monthly at St. Cloud, Minnesota, by editor and publisher, Dan B. Haslam.


In an article written for “Design Hints” by John Cargill, a designer from the Chicago design firm of Chas. G. Blake & Company, Cargill described the evolution of the classical architectural design principles, which he writes were conceived from the order that the ancients found in nature, primarily astrological, that were used in Greek architecture to imbue harmony into their structures.

The sarcophagus has three distinct planes representing the universe—the base, the middle, and the top. The base was symbolic of the Earth, the middle represented man and the gods, and the top of the sarcophagus where the scroll rests represented the Heavens.

The Wagner Sarcophagus in the Lakewood Cemetery at Minneapolis, Minnesota

The Wagner Sarcophagus in the Lakewood Cemetery at Minneapolis, Minnesota

In addition, there is much other symbolism embedded on the monument. The triglyphs represent the column found in the Doric architectural order and most likely symbolizes a temple. The rosettes may be symbolic of sun gods. Some of the rosettes also have a cross designed into them. The cross was an ancient symbol adopted long before the Christians adopted it. For the ancients it was a symbol of the sun.

The scroll work, in addition to representing the Heavens, also represented a bed. As Cargill describes it in the article, “the scrolls represent a bed; the bed refers to sleep and sleep is a type of death; and to the righteous death is but glorious transport to Paradise.”

The Scipio Tomb housed in the Vatican Museum at Rome, Italy

The Scipio Tomb housed in the Vatican Museum at Rome, Italy

The entire booklet can be found at the Quarries and Beyond Website: http://quarriesandbeyond.org/cemeteries_and_monumental_art/cemetery_stones.html.

The Quarries and Beyond Website was created by Peggy B. and Patrick Perazzo. It focuses on historic stone quarries, stone workers and companies, and related subjects such as geology. Whenever possible links of finished products are provided on the Website. There is a “Quarry Articles” section that presents articles, booklets, and links from the late 1800s to early 1900s, including the 1856 “The Marble-Workers’ Manual.” The “Cemetery Stones and Monuments” section provides references and resources, including many old monument magazines, catalogs, price lists, and a photographic tour “From Quarry to Cemetery Monuments.”

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Tomorrow for you








Two things strike me immediately about this gravestone in Burying Point, the first place set aside in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1637, for burials.  First, we don’t know the name of Richard More’s wife—only that she was a Christian wife to him.

Secondly, I am struck by the stark message of the Latin epitaph: HODIE NIHI CRAS TIBI, which translates to, “today for me, tomorrow for you.”  This epitaph is another variation on the more common epitaph that reads, “As you are now, so once was I, as I am now so you must be, prepare for death and follow me.”

As if the skull with wings topping this slate tombstone wasn’t enough to make the passerby contemplate death and mortality, the gravestone carver added an additional message to remind us of our impending doom.


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F. W. Blanchard, Part 2

Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Occasionally, gravestones and monuments give clues about the deceased that are subtle—and those clues can take different forms. In the F. W. Blanchard monument, for instance, there is a clue to what was a big part of Blanchard’s life and legacy resting on the lap of the mourning figure.

The scroll of a violin rests on the mourning figure’s lap, seemingly out of place, that is until more is known about Frederick W. Blanchard, the first president of the Hollywood Bowl.

Blanchard was born in West Millbury, Massachusetts, the son of a prominent business man. He made his way to Denver where he worked in and later opened his own music store, which flourished. He sold his interest in the business and kept moving west—to Los Angeles, where he established a music firm that promoted musicians. Blanchard became influential in the art and music world of his adopted city of Los Angeles, always at the center.


Founded the Brahms Quartet

Served as President of the Los Angeles Symphony Orchestra

Served as President of the Development Association

Formed the Community Park and Arts Association of Hollywood in 1920, serving as President from 1920-23, which later became the Hollywood Bowl Association

Served as a member of the City Plan Commission

Served as Chairman of the Police and Fireman’s Relief Fund

Served as Chairman of the first Community Chest

Served as the president of the American Opera Association

Frederick Blanchard’s reach and influence in the city of Los Angeles, especially the art community, was far and wide. The tiny violin scroll, which goes almost unnoticed on his monument, is a nod to his interests and influence in music and the arts.


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