“Forgotten Hollywood”- Goodbye to the Three Rings…

January 15th, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`After 146 years, the curtain comes down on The Greatest Show on Earth. The owners of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus permanently closes the show in May. The company broke the news to circus employees after shows in Orlando and Miami. Ringling Bros. has two touring circuses this season, and will perform 30 more shows. Major stops include Atlanta, Washington, Philadelphia, Boston, and Brooklyn. The final shows will be in Providence, Rhode Island on May 7th, and in Uniondale, New York, at the Nassau County Coliseum on May 21st.

“`The circus, with exotic animals, flashy costumes, and death-defying acrobatics, has been a staple of entertainment in the United States. P.T. Barnum traveled with a spectacle of human oddities, while the five Ringling brothers performed juggling acts and skits from their home in Wisconsin. Soon, they merged, and the modern circus was created. Troupes traveled by train to cities and towns, wowing audiences with the sheer scale of entertainment.

“`By mid-century, the circus was considered wholesome, family fun. Cecil B. DeMille produced the Oscar-winning adventure that was an year’s Best Picture of 1952. It starred Betty Hutton, Cornel Wilde, Charlton Heston, Gloria Grahame, Dorothy Lamour, and James Stewart donning clown makeup in each of his scenes. The movie was appropriately called The Greatest Show on Earth.

“`More recently, children became less enthusiastic due to flicks, television, the internet, and video games. The national spectacle has been felled by various factors. Declining attendance, rising operating costs, changing public tastes, and lingering battles with animal rights groups all contributed to its upcoming demise. Ringling Bros. tried to remain relevant, hiring a first African American ringmaster, its first female ringmaster, and launching an interactive app. It added elements from its other popular shows, such as motorbike daredevils and ice skaters. Last year’s sudden nationwide fear of clowns was the final nail in the coffin.

“`500 people perform and work on both touring shows. A handful will be placed in positions with some of the company’s other profitable shows: Monster Jam, Disney on Ice, and Marvel Live. But, most will be out of a job.

==================================

“`Dick Gautier was an actor and comedian. He’s best known for his television role as Hymie the Robot in Get Smart. In 1974, Burt Ward and Yvonne Craig reprised their Batman roles for a televised public service announcement about equal pay for women. Adam West tried to distance himself from the Caped Crusader role, and declined to participate. Gautier filled in.

“`In 1960, Gautier portrayed fictional rock n roll singer Conrad Birdie in the original Broadway production of Bye Bye Birdie, receiving a Tony Awards nod for his performance. In cinema, he appeared in Ensign Pulver, Divorce American Style, and Fun with Dick and Jane. On the small screen, he guest-starred in Gidget, The Patty Duke Show, Bewitched, and as a celebrity panelist on Match Game.

“`Dick Gautier was 85.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Broadway Visits Your Home…

January 13th, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`Traveling to a Broadway show is a special experience. But, there’s something to be said for enjoying live theater without even leaving the comfort of your living room. On January 14th, theater fans around the world will get to view a show at home, when BroadwayHD streams their evening performance of Roundabout Theatre Company’s production of Holiday Inn The New Irving Berlin Musical from Studio 54.

“`Holiday Inn is the last production of Roundabout Theatre Company’s 50th anniversary season. BroadwayHD partnered with the not-for-profit company in June, when She Loves Me was the first Broadway show to be live-streamed. After the collaborative success, they’re teaming again for this one-night-only event.

“`Inspired by the 1942 film, Holiday Inn is directed by Gordon Greenberg, and features choreography by Denis Jones, and an Irving Berlin score, including the iconic Blue Skies, Steppin’ Out with My Baby, and of course, White ChristmasBroadwayHD is going to stream this second-to-last performance with high-definition cameras. Director David Horn is at the helm for the airwaves, in complete association with Thirteen Productions LLC and Universal Stage Productions, the live theater division of the motion picture studio.

“`More than 3,000 students and teachers have seen Holiday Inn for free or reduced rates, in addition to, nearly 20,000 audience members and subscribers.

“`BroadwayHD, the only online streaming service of its kind, launched in 2015. In addition to the live stream, subscribers can access over 160 theater productions on demand. Titles in the library include Gypsy, and Oklahoma! starring Hugh Jackman.

“`The live stream will also include interviews with the cast and creative team, and feature behind-the-scenes footage. The live stream will be available on BroadwayHD.com and Chromecast. Subscribers can access from BroadwayHD’s Roku, Apple TV, iPad, and iPhone apps. Visit BroadwayHD.com to sign up.

“`It’s still not too late to enjoy the Holidays!

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Vin Scully Freeway…

January 12th, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`On April 3rd, the Los Angeles Dodgers is kicking off the 2017 season minus a key member of the personnel. Legendary sportscaster Vin Scully will be absent from their broadcast booth for their first time in 67 seasons.

“`Not that our City of Angels would ever forget the voice of Dodger’s baseball. California Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez has taken action to immortalize the Hall-of-Fame announcer by renaming a bit of freeway after him. The politician has introduced a bill to the California State Assembly, which re-christens a two mile stretch of the 110 Freeway near Dodger Stadium:  Vin Scully Highway. Gomez’s resolution asks Caltrans to look into the cost for a new stretch of signs between the Interstate 5 and 101 freeways. The signage update could be funded by outside donations.

“`This would be Scully’s first freeway, but not his first street. In spite of the broadcaster’s modest objections, the Los Angeles City Council, last year, changed the name of Elysian Park Avenue near Dodger Stadium to Vin Scully Avenue.

“`The fitting honors for the remarkable Vin Scully (above) keep on comin’.

====================================== 

“`Film historian and author Betty Lasky (right) was the daughter of Paramount Pictures co-founder Jesse L. Lasky. She developed an interest in film history at a young age, and began her writing career as the screen story analyst for RKO Studios, The Selznick Company, and Hamilburg Agency.

“`Betty contributed articles about Hollywood to Players Showcase Magazine in the 1960s. In 1983, she published a book called RKO: The Biggest Little Major of Them All. She also donated a vast collection of her dad’s artifacts to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Margaret Herrick Library in Beverly Hills. Her late brother was a screenwriter of over 50 films, including a long partnership with the DeMilles.

“`Betty Lasky was 94.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- My 2017 SAG Ballot

January 11th, 2017

“`This is how I voted for this year’s Screen Actors Guild Awards. It’s an exceptional season  for cinematic productions. The nominees in most categories are worthy mentions. My year #8 thoughts on this blog site:


   
  Manny Pacheco Tin Type generic_sagawardslogo_noyear_horitzonal_copy

   OUTSTANDING MALE:  Denzel Washington (Fences)

Casey Affleck is a shoo-in for this year’s accolade. He’s neck-and-neck with the performance offered by Denzel Washington, in my estimation. Either walking off with the statuette is fine with me. Viggo Mortensen, Andrew Garfield, and Ryan Gosling deserved their nod. They are simply a step behind Casey and Denzel.

   OUTSTANDING FEMALE:  Emma Stone (La La Land)

Emma Stone is my clear choice from the 2016 Best Picture of the Year. She’s delightful and engaging throughout this feel-good musical. Natalie Portman, with her reliably edgy role in Jackie, is her main competition. I am shocked that Golden Globe-winner Isabelle Huppert (Elle), Taraji P. Henson (Hidden Figures), Annette Bening (20th Century Women), and Ruth Negga (Loving) were snubbed in a competitive category. These actresses could have replaced Amy Adams and/or Meryl Streep.

  OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING MALE:  Dev Patel (Lion)

The real surprise is child-sensation Sunny Pawar didn’t garner the nomination, because he’s a scene-stealer in this heartfelt drama. I’ll settle for Dev Patel’s introspective performance. Jeff Bridges, Hugh Grant, Lucas Hedges, and Mahershala Ali all merit serious consideration. By the way, Hell or High Water is an exceptional modern Western; and I almost cast my choice for Bridges because of his amazing acting chops.

   OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING FEMALE:  Viola Davis (Fences)

No surprise here. Under Denzel Washington’s steady direction, it feels like August Wilson had Viola Davis in mind in this theatrical drama. My only argument is that Davis should have been nominated for Outstanding Female, since it’s clearly a starring role. If this had been produced  25-years ago, the parts might have been played by Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee. Naomie Harris could have won in any other year, since she carries Moonlight. I’m really baffled by Michelle Williams universally praised five-minute performance in Manchester By the Sea.

   OUTSTANDING CAST IN A MOTION PICTURE:  Moonlight

Given the opportunity, I would have voted for La La Land or Lion in this category. That said, Moonlight is the clear choice, since this anthology piece doesn’t lose any of its quality as we follow a singular life in African American neighborhoods as the years pass. The ensemble cast fits like a puzzle. The other nominees are also quite special.

~ My 2016 Top 10 Movies:  1. La La Land  2. Lion  3. Moonlight  4. Hell or High Water  5. Hidden Figures  6. Fences  7. Hacksaw Ridge  8. Sully  9. Snowden  10. Loving

“`The SAG Awards will air on January 29th on TNT and TBS. We’ll see how I do this year…

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Lucas Museum Finds New Home…

January 10th, 2017

Manny P. Here…

“`Star Wars creator George Lucas was on the side of the City of Angels, choosing Los Angeles as the home of a museum, which will showcase his life’s work, along with a major collection of exhibits on film history and art. Organizers announced the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art will be built in Exposition Park, where it will sit alongside the Natural History Museum and the California Science Center, which houses the space shuttle Endeavour.

“`Lucas has been trying to build the museum for nearly a decade, and is financing the project by himself with plans to spend over $1 billion. It had several possible locations, but the choice came down to rivaling Northern and Southern California. San Francisco was offering Treasure Island, with its scenic views of the bay, as a home that the museum would have virtually to itself.

“`The museum will house Lucas’ personal collection, which includes about 40,000 illustrations, paintings, and movie-related items, including storyboards and costumes from The Wizard of Oz, Casablanca, and of course, Star Wars. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti emphasized that it would not be just a Star Wars museum.

“`Los Angeles seemed an obvious choice for Lucas, not just because of its film industry legacy. He is an alumnus and a major donor to the film school at University of Southern California, which is across the street from the museum site. However, he has strong San Francisco ties as well. He lived in the Bay Area for most of his adult life, and was the home for Lucasfilm, until the Disney Company bought it in 2012.

“`Garcetti said Exposition Park will allow museum-hoppers to see a movie-magic spacecraft, and then walk over to see the real thing: the space shuttle. The location is also is home to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, where USC Trojans and Rams play football, and a stadium for its new Major League Soccer team is currently being built. A light rail line that opened last year connects the park with downtown Los Angeles and the beaches to the West.

“`This makes Southern California the definitive base of the Star Wars franchise, with Disney having bought the rights to the franchise, and now, building a Star Wars-themed land within its Magic Kingdom in Anaheim.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Eva Marie Saint’s Hubby Dies…

January 4th, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`Jeffrey Hayden directed early live television with stars, including James Dean; and worked with his wife, Eva Marie Saint, on screen and stage. His work was prolific during Television’s Golden Age.

“`Hayden began his long career directing the Philco Television Playhouse with stars, such as Walter Matthau and Paul Newman. After filming the movie, The Vintage, with Pier Angeli and Mel Ferrer, he turned to the small screen for the rest of his career.

“`His credits include The Donna Reed Show, Leave It to Beaver, Burke’s Law, Lassie, Route 6677 Sunset StripThe Andy Griffith Show, Peyton Place, Mannix, Batman, That GirlThe Courtship of Eddie’s Father, Magnum P.I.Falcon Crest, Quincy M.E., IronsideThe VirginianLove American StyleAlias Smith and JonesKnight Rider, The Incredible Hulk, and In the Heat of the Night. Hayden was also the co-producer of the daytime soap opera, Santa Barbara. He later produced and directed Primary Colors: The Story of Corita, and Children in America’s Schools with Bill Moyers.

“`On stage, Jeffrey Hayden directed Eva Marie Saint (right) in Summer and Smoke, Desire Under the Elms, and The Country Girl. Other productions include The Sunshine Boys, Fences, and Sunset Baby. He and Eva Marie, who married in 1951, they also starred together in On the Divide and Love Letters in theaters, nationwide.

“`Jeffrey Hayden was 90.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- TCM Tribute to Debbie Reynolds…

January 3rd, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`TCM will celebrate the career of Debbie Reynolds with a day-long tribute on January 27th. Here is the loving information:

“`24-hours with the unflappable Debbie Reynolds. Enjoy!

——————————————————————— 

“`A memorial is set to be held for Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher on Thursday, followed by the burial on Friday. The private service will take place at their Beverly Hills compound, where the mother-daughter pair were next-door neighbors. They will both be laid to rest at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- The Disney Indemnity…

January 2nd, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`Carrie Fisher’s death might offer dividends for the Walt Disney Company. The entertainment organization, the distributor of Star Wars:  The Force Awakens and the next two productions in the franchise, should reap $50 million, thanks to an insurance policy the company took out in the event Fisher was not able to fulfill her three-film deal. This is set to be the largest single personal accident insurance claim payout ever, according to Insurance Insider.

“`Fisher reprised her career-defining role of Princess Leia from the original Star Wars for the latest trilogy. The Force Awakens, released in December, 2015, made over $2 billion at the box office, worldwide. Principal filming on Episode VIII was already finished at the moment  of her passing on December 27th.

“`Fisher was due to appear in Episode IX, forcing the cinematic creators to either rewrite the script, or possibly, use visual effects to insert the actress into the final chapter. The technique was implemented for Rogue One, when the late Peter Cushing portrayed Grand Moff Tarkin.

“`The use of special effects to include Princess Leia could nullify a claim made by Disney; or, at least, complicate the policy’s stipulations. We shall see if the company exhibits a smattering of decorum over this delicate situation.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Hollyweed Land…

January 1st, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`Residents of Los Angeles’ well-known neighborhood woke up on New Year’s Day to find the world-famous Hollywood Sign had been changed to display HOLLYWEED. Police are treating the incident as minor trespassing, and are investigating. The sign on Mount Lee is made of 45-foot tall letters.

“`The prank has not caused lasting damage to the sign, however, as parts of both O letters were covered by tarpaulins to make them look like a lower-case letter E. A single individual was recorded on security cameras climbing the sign to hang the materials.

“`The sign was first established in 1923, and originally read HOLLYWOODLAND. Its purpose was to advertise the name of a new segregated housing development in the hills above the Hollywood district of Los Angeles. H.J. Whitley had used a sign to advertise his development Whitley Heights, which was located between Highland Ave. and Vine St. He suggested to his friend Harry Chandler, the owner of the Los Angeles Times, that a land syndicate for which he was involved, create a similar placard for advertisement purposes. Real estate developers Woodruff and Shoults called the area — HOLLYWOODLAND; and advertised the properties as a superb environment, without excessive cost, on the Hollywood side of the hills.

“`Voters in California approved the legalization of marijuana on the ballot on November 8th. The measure isn’t scheduled to take effect until 2018. A similar prank took place in 1976, to mark a relaxation in the state’s marijuana laws.

“`If caught, the prankster could face time in jail. Why do you think they call it… dope?

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- One More For the Road…

December 31st, 2016

Manny P. here…

“`William Christopher played Father Mulcahy on M*A*S*H through the entire run of the television series. He was a member of one of the most spectacular ensembles ever on a weekly program; a group that included Alan Alda, McLean Stevenson, Larry Linville, Wayne Rogers, Jamie Farr, Gary Burghoff, Mike Farrell, Loretta Swit, David Ogden Stiers, and Harry Morgan. Before William Christopher (right) made his mark on the iconic show, he played Private Hummel on Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C. Though cast occasionally in films, it was the small screen he called home.

“`Christopher began his career in off-Broadway productions. He left the New York City stage for Hollywood, where he guest-starred in several well-known sit-coms and dramas, including The Andy Griffith Show, Death Valley Days, The Patty Duke Show, Hogan’s Heroes, That Girl, and later, Murder She WroteGood Times, Mad About You; plus, a couple of episodes of The Love Boat.

“`In feature films, Christopher co-starred in No Time for Sergeants, The Fortune Cookie, The Shakiest Gun in the West, and With Six You Get Eggroll. Frequently sharing screen time with his close friend, Jamie Farr, they also toured together during the mid-1990s in Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple on stage.

“`Christopher, whose son Ned suffers from autism, devoted much of his spare time to the National Autistic Society, doing public service announcements to bring attention to the affliction. In 1985, William and wife Barbara penned Mixed Blessings, a love story about raising children with special needs.

“`The affable William Christopher was 84. Now PLEASE, bring on 2017.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Cinema’s Lost Gem…

December 30th, 2016

Manny P. here…

“`The actress who helped define the origins of film noir; co-starred with Frank Sinatra in his initial screen appearance; and stood toe-to-toe with Humphrey Bogart, Michèle Morgan is a forgotten star from Hollywood’s Studio Era, and a French legend. She received the inaugural Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival.

“`Morgan took acting lessons from Renè Simon, while serving as an extra in several flicks to pay for her drama classes. She was first noticed by director Marc Allgèret, who offered her a major role in Gribouille. In 1938, Michèle co-starred with Jean Gabin in Port of Shadows  (Le Quai des brumes). Exterior sets were moody and dark, symbolizing nuanced fatalism; and it influenced the American film noir genre. The production was a fine example of poetic realism. It was the 1939 winner of France’s top cinematic prize, the Prix Louis-Delluc.

“`After the blitzkrieg of France in 1940 by the Nazis, Michèle escaped to Hollywood, and was contracted by RKO Pictures.  Her screen career across the pond was relatively minor, apart from appearing in Joan of Paris opposite Paul Henreid; and Higher and Higher, Sinatra’s motion picture debut. She was strongly considered for the female lead in Casablanca; but, RKO wouldn’t release her for the amount of money Warner Brothers offered. She did co-star with Bogie in Passage to Marseille.

“`She continued her movie career in Paris after World War II. Notable roles include La Symphoie Pastorale, which earned her a Best Actress accolade at the Cannes Film Festival; and Carol Reed’s The Fallen Idol. In the 1970s, Michèle virtually retired from acting, making only a few appearances in cinema, television, and theatre.                   MICHELE MORGAN —->

“` In 1992, she was given an honorary Cèsar Award for her contributions to French cinema. Four years later, Morgan was awarded a Career Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Film Festival.

“`Film historians surmise that no one who passed away in 2016 had more of an impact on the business of movie-making during its Golden Age. Michèle Morgan was 96.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Debbie Reynolds Stricken and Dies…

December 28th, 2016

Manny P. here…

“`The death of her child was simply just too tough to comprehend. Debbie Reynolds had been rushed to the hospital, just a day after the passing of her daughter Carrie Fisher. Her son Todd called this a medical emergency. Debbie and Carrie were quite close, and the legendary actress was distraught over her latest personal tragedy. The family was in the process of making funeral arrangements.

“`Debbie Reynolds was one of Hollywood’s brightest stars during the 1950s and 1960s, and is best known for her part in Singing in the Rain in 1952. She was nominated for an Oscar for her role in The Unsinkable Molly Brown. Other films include How the West was Won and The Singing NunReynolds also had several hit records, and went #1 with the song Tammy from Tammy and the Bachelor. She continued to stay active, preserving memorabilia. And, she made sure MGM costumes and artifacts would end up in appropriate Hollywood museums.

“`Reynolds was married to Eddie Fisher from 1955 to 1959, and they had two children. He left her to wed Elizabeth Taylor. Two other husbands made foolish business deals, and cost Debbie millions of dollars; leaving her almost broke, and eventually, thrice divorced.

“`She received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, but was too weak to attend the event. Reynolds was recognized for her decades-long commitment to various charities, including the mental-health organization she founded, The Thalians. Debbie was a benefactor of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild. On a personal note, I interviewed her in 2012 on my Forgotten Hollywood Radio Show. Ms. Reynolds additionally owned a personal copy of Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History.

“`The Los Angeles Fire Department had confirmed the transport of an adult female in fair-to-serious condition at 1p to Cedars Sinai Medical Center. Reynolds may have suffered stress-induced cardiomyopathy, or takotsubo syndrome. She died just 32 hours after the loss of her beloved Carrie. My thoughts and prayers to her family for enduring extraordinary adversity; an unbelievable turn of tragic events.

“`Debbie Reynolds was 84; a singularly buoyant personality to grace the screen.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- May the Force Be With Carrie Fisher…

December 27th, 2016

Manny P here…

“`Carrie Fisher found enduring fame as Princess Leia in the original Star Wars trilogy. In 1987, her autobiography, Postcards from the Edge, became a best-seller. It became a 1990 motion picture that starred Shirley MacLaine and Meryl Streep. Her parents were Hollywood royalty — Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. Plus, Carrie was briefly married to singer Paul Simon.

“`She made her movie debut opposite Warren Beatty in Shampoo. The actress co-starred in The Blues Brothers, When Harry Met Sally, Hannah and Her Sisters, Charlie’s Angels, Austin Powers, and Scream 3. Recently, she reprised her defining role as Leia in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Episode VIII (2017).             CARRIE FISHER (w/ c-3po)

“`Her one-woman show, Wishful Drinking, which she’s performed across the country since 2006, was adapted into a book, made its way to Broadway in 2009, and captured for HBO in 2010. Carrie wasn’t coy about revealing details of her mental illness, drug addiction, or failed relationships. In fact, she was relentless in efforts to de-stigmatize mental health issues.

“`She co-hosted The Essentials on TCM with Robert Osborne in 2007. Harvard College gave Fisher its annual Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in Cultural Humanism. Her memoir, The Princess Diarist, was released in November 2016. The book is based on the diaries she kept during filming of the original Star Wars trilogy in the late 1970s and early 1980s. A new documentary, Bright Lights:  Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, will screen at the upcoming Palm Springs Film Festival; it first debuted at Cannes Film Festival in May; and was set to air on HBO in early 2017. But now, it will air on January 7th.

“`With a thriving career left in tact, Carrie Fisher was 60.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- 12 Flicks Missing from Film Registry…

December 26th, 2016

Manny P. here…

“`Now that the Library of Congress made 25 additions to the National Film Registry, I’ve exercised my right to vote for 50 movies for next year’s consideration, per the repository’s bylaws. I also determined that a dozen of these motion pictures remain obvious omissions. Here is my reasoning:

~ DINNER AT EIGHT (1933) – An MGM extravaganza, including thespians that appeared in Grand Hotel:  John Barrymore, Wallace Beery, and Lionel Barrymore. Plus, dialogue between Jean Harlow and Marie Dressler near its conclusion is movie-magic.

      

~ SAN FRANCISCO (1936) – Another MGM production showcasing two of the most popular stars in their stable; Clark Gable and Jeanette MacDonald. Yet, it’s Spencer Tracy who earned the first of many Oscar nods for his work; and predicted future accolades when typecast as a priest. The special effects are spectacular, and set the stage for a litany of disaster pictures.

~ HIGH SIERRA (1941) – Spencer Tracy became a bankable star in 1936; Humphrey Bogart established himself as an “A”-List actor with this movie. He also had a relatable human side as Mad Dog Earle, which convinced John Huston to cast him in The Maltese Falcon.

~ THE WOLFMAN (1941)Universal was the HORROR studio of the 1930s. The following  generation of monsters were secured in the next decade after the popularity of Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, Dracula, and The Mummy. Inheriting his dad’s vast mantle, Lon Chaney Jr. succeeded Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi as the lot’s next big thing.

         

~ HERE COMES MR. JORDAN (1941) – Modern day celluloid fantasies were popular at the advent of World War II. The genre originates with this film. The Devil and Daniel Webster, A Portrait of Jennie, and The Bishop’s Wife were given a green-light after much ballyhoo for Mr. Jordan. Decades later, this was remade as Heaven Can Wait.

~ LIFEBOAT (1944) – Might be Alfred Hitchcock’s eighth addition to The National Registry. The entire production is filmed on a single set. While floating on the ocean, the cast includes noteworthy performances from William Bendix and Hume Cronyn, among others. The cameo of Hitchcock in the film is quite clever.

~ MIGHTY JOE YOUNG (1949) – A stepchild of King Kong; the stop-action animation was perfected by Ray Harryhausen. Like the aforementioned film, Robert Armstrong co-stars with this large ape. And, like The Wizard of Oz and The Picture of Dorian Gray, the finale was colorized for maximum effect.

   

~ THEM! (1954) – Considered one of the best science fiction films of the 1950s (along with The Thing, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and The Blob). The ensemble includes first-rate performances from Edmund Gwenn, James Arness, and James Whitmore. The giant ants are really scary, too!

~ AROUND THE WORLD IN EIGHTY DAYS (1956) – This initial multi-actor travelogue that influenced the casting of later productions, such as It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World and The Longest Day. David Niven, Shirley MacLaine, and Cantinflas brings the writings of Jules Verne to life. Producer Mike Todd was killed in an airplane crash shortly after the film was completed. He was married to Elizabeth Taylor at the time.

~ THE GOLDEN AGE OF COMEDY (1957) – Robert Youngson provides the first compilation in a series of silent film-snipets. The early days of moving pictures were introduced to 1950s theater-goers (including me); our initial hello to Harry Langdon and Laurel & Hardy. Plus, the insightful ironic opening score is Chopin’s Tristesse, the French word for sadness. On-screen antics became a dichotomy to real-life tragedies that befell the Hollywood elite of the Roaring Twenties.

~ THE LONGEST DAY (1962) – Over 40 international stars were cast in a re-creation of the Allied D-Day Invasion of Normandy. John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, Richard Burton, Sal Mineo, Curt Jurgens, and Red Buttons recount harrowing stories of bravery. The battle segments are among the most realistic, until Steven Spielberg’s opening scene of Saving Private Ryan.

      

~ IT’S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD (1963) – Almost every significant comedian of the day is in this slapstick romp, such as Sid Caesar, Phil Silvers, Mickey Rooney, Ethel Merman, Milton Berle, Jack Benny, and The Three Stooges. Some critics may consider it over-the-top. But, each month, it is screened somewhere in the nation to sellout crowds. Stanley Kramer’s only produced comedy is an all-out side-splitter.

“`Among modern classics I voted for:  1994’s QUIZ SHOW, a terrific motion picture that was unlucky to be released the same year as Forrest Gump and The Shawshank Redemption; and 2001’s GOSFORD PARK, the production that influenced the creation of Downton Abbey.

“`That’s what you call a celluloid baker’s dozen

   

“`We will see if the Library of Congress agrees with my overall analysis for review in 2017. Any of my 50 recommendations would be great additions to the National Film Registry. I sent a link of this blog story to their official website.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Best Wishes to Carrie Fisher

December 23rd, 2016

Manny P. here…

“`Carrie Fisher is currently in the Intensive Care Unit of a Los Angeles hospital after suffering a heart attack aboard an airplane. A large gathering of media personnel was camped outside Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. Her condition remains critical.

“`Fisher was on a flight from London to Los Angeles International Airport when she went into cardiac arrest. Fellow passengers, including a nurse, assisted her, according to air traffic control. When the plane descended into LAX, Carrie was awakened. She started throwing up and said she couldn’t breathe.

“` The Los Angeles Fire Department responded to LAX for a patient on an inbound flight in cardiac arrest at 12:11p. LAFD firefighter paramedics were standing by for the plane’s arrival, provided advanced life support, and aggressively treated and transported the patient to a local hospital. They continue to monitor her heart.

“`Carrie’s the daughter of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher. She’s best known as Princess Leia in the Star Wars trilogy. Her thinly veiled autobiography Postcards from the Edge was adapted into a 1990 cinematic version starring Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine.

“`Let’s hope for a speedy recovery to Ms. Carrie Fisher.

 

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“`A Chewbacca rendition of Silent Night is adding Star Wars flair to the holiday  classic. A video with related film clips has been watched nearly 2.5 million times on YouTube. This parody song was first created in 1999 by web designer Scott Anderson, who writes on his site that he made it for a parody Christmas album, Christmas With Chewbacca. The song has made the rounds online for several years.

Until next time>                               “never forget”