Should you add historical or cultural references to your novels? The Authors Collection.


Tonight at dinner with friends, my wife and I were talking about baby boomers. I mentioned that in both my books, I’ve included a number of cultural references with which boomers would readily connect.

This conversation occurs in The Presidents Club:


The kid [a busboy in a restaurant], when asked about the presence of security personnel, frowned a moment then answered, “No one in the kitchen, one guy out front, and two at table thirty.”

Jerry Gregg replied, “Hmm…table thirty? I hope they don’t start singing La Marseillaise.”


“You know history better than you do movies, I guess. Here’s a ten for your help. I really appreciate the info and I enjoyed the conversation.”

Here’s the first connection to the movie:

Victor Laszlo and Ilsa enter Rick’s Cafe Americain and Laszlo asks Rick for a table “as far away from (German) Major Strasser as possible.

Rick: Well, the geography may be a little difficult to arrange.

Rick snaps his fingers for the head waiter.

Rick: Paul! Table thirty.

Headwaiter (to Laszlo and Ilsa): Yes sir. Right this way, if you please.

Rick (to Ilsa): I’ll have Sam play “As Time Goes By.” I believe that’s your favorite tune.

Ilsa (smiling): Thank you.

ThePresidentsClubFinal-SMLMy wife suggested that this connection may be too subtle, even for long time Casablanca fans. She may be correct. However, the second reference should have hit home. When Jerry Gregg commented on the French National Anthem. We blogged about this earlier, HERE.

The La Marseillaise scene is one of my favorite scenes in the movie and often cited as a turning point in the story. The Jerry Gregg character, although mostly a minor character in both of my books, steps into the spotlight in The Presidents Club and is involved in several scenes wherein story lines converge. He’s a fun character, thoughtful, and appreciates music as diverse as Jimi Hendrix and Glen Miller. No doubt, he’ll show up again in future novels bringing along more boomer hooks.

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