“Forgotten Hollywood”- Cruising with Judy Garland…

June 27th, 2017

Manny P. here… 

“`Film buffs may remember the slender ivory dress Judy Garland was wearing when she sang In Your Easter Bonnet in the movie Easter Parade, which she starred with Fred Astaire in 1948. Now, they shall be able to buy that dress (and other artifacts) for an estimate $4,000 to $6,000, while cruising the Atlantic on an upcoming Cunard voyage from Manhattan to Southampton, England, aboard the Queen Mary 2. The August 12th – 19th transatlantic crossing will pay homage to the Hollywood icon,  and showcase the largest collection of her costumes to ever go on auction.

“`Other items will include a suitcase Garland brought when she sailed with Cunard and other costumes, such as the organdy and satin dress she wore while performing Born in a Trunk, from the 1954 Warner Bros. film A Star is Born; and a red velvet, turn-of-the-last-century ball gown Garland wore while singing Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas in the 1944 MGM production Meet Me in St. Louis.

“`They are from the collection of Michael Siewert, who has collected Judy Garland memorabilia since he was a child; The sale is being conducted by Julien’s Auctions.

“`Inside cabins for the week-long sailing start $649 per person, double occupancy.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- A Bronx Tale…

June 26th, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`The Pride of the Yankees is best remembered for Gary Cooper re-enacting Lou Gehrig’s farewell speech at Yankee Stadium. In 1939, the Bronx slugger and first baseman was dying of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis,  a nerve disease that would carry his name. His oft-quoted observation  — Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth — set the standard for self-effacing courage.  When Hollywood got involved in Gehrig’s story, accuracy was destined to strike out.

“`Recommending a making-of-the-movie book as more interesting than the film it explores is a compliment to the author.  The Pride of the Yankees: Lou Gehrig, Gary Cooper, and the Making of a Classic, by Richard Sandomir, is worth the effort. The film is the kind of Hollywood schmaltz that makes us feel good. And, there is nothing wrong with that — as long as we know life is usually more complicated than a Gary Cooper vehicle.

“`Producer Samuel Goldwyn saw a Lou Gehrig movie in terms of typical entertainment of that period:  a portrait of a heroic figure with touches of humor and romance. A heart-tugging moment in the film comes when an ailing Gehrig, waiting for his turn at bat, realizing he can’t cut it anymore, takes himself out of the lineup, causing a shock wave in the stadium. In reality, Lou decided the night before and told his manager the next day. The crowd knew before the first pitch.

“`The studio publicity machine created a phony national search for the right person, whether actor or athlete, to play Lou Gehrig (imagine Cary Grant, Spencer Tracy, or Ronald Reagan in pinstripes).  It was all ballyhoo, because Coop was under contract to Goldwyn, and still owed him a picture. The Montana-born Cooper was more at home on the range than at home plate, and needed lots of batting instruction; most of it behind his Los Angeles mansion. One tale is that he broke a window at neighbor Tyrone Power’s house — twice.

“`But, Sandomir refutes the folklore that all baseball scenes featuring the right-handed Cooper were reversed,  so he would resemble the lefty. Cinematic chicanery did take place, just not as much as some have said, and Cooper managed to learn to throw with his left. And then there’s the speech.  Sandomir points out, that newspapers published different versions of the farewell, and no complete newsreel of it exists. In real life, the famous line comes near the beginning of his remarks. In reel life, Cooper speaks the line at the end;  moviemakers knew a good ending when they heard one.

“`Ticket sales and 11 Oscar nominations  (it would win for film editing) proved Goldwyn was right to steer clear, for the most part, of baseball scenes. Viewed today, it’s a syrupy blend of cliches; falling short of the enduring charm of  Casablanca, and other wartime fare.

“`If none of that matters, then Sandomir’s dogged efforts to separate facts from fiction makes for one big whiff. More likely, fans of film and baseball will welcome the counterbalance to feel-good Hollywood myth-making.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Marlene Dietrich Fashion on Display…

June 24th, 2017

Manny P. here… 

“`The lookThe wardrobeThe style…   Marlene Dietrich brought androgyny to the silver screen, through her roles in Morocco and Blue Angel. An unrivaled Hollywood star at a time when talkies were still new, she captured men’s hearts, and piqued women’s interest.  Dietrich challenged the limited conventions of femininity at the time, with her avant-garde lifestyle and fashion.  MARLENE DIETRICH ->

“`A new exhibition showcasing Marlene Dietrich is in the Smithsonian Institute’s – National Portrait Gallery  through April, 2018. It is the first major North American exhibit dedicated to her. Dressed for the Image displays personal artifacts from Marlene’s career such as photos, correspondence, and celluloid clips. This is a fascinating look at a woman clearly ahead of her time.

“`Dietrich’s honors include the Medal of Freedom, for unflinching service in entertaining Allied troops during World War II often along the front lines. Her versatility as an actress was on full display in the 1957 film Witness For the Prosecution. The German-born chanteuse remains a symbol of anti-Nazism, a fashion icon, and an influential figure to the LGBTQ community.

“`Marlene Dietrich: Dressed for the Image was organized in cooperation with Deutsche Kinemathek:  Marlene Dietrich Collection Berlin.  Additional support from the American Portrait Gala EndowmentPortrait Gallery historian Kate C. Lemay is the curator.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- KNX 10-70 AM Wins Murrow Award…

June 23rd, 2017

Manny P. here… 

“`I am delighted to announce that KNX 10-70 AM shall receive the national and prestigious Edward R. Murrow Award in the category of Large Market Radio:  Breaking News. My colleagues are some of the most professional news reporters in broadcasting,  and this is a well deserved accolade.

“`By the way, Edward R. Murrow was the CBS News lead reporter and anchor, who was famous for his 1940 reporting of the German blitz of England at the advent of World War II. Murrow hosted See It Now, a 1950s news program that would win numerous awards; and delivered a special prologue in  Around the World in Eighty Days. He was instrumental in Senator Joseph McCarthy’s eventual censure due to his reckless Communist witch hunts that ended the careers of people in Hollywood. Recently, Edward R. Murrow’s work was cinematically chronicled in Good Night and Good Luck.

“`According to executives at KNX, this is the initial time in the 49-year history in the News format that the station has won this national award.  The Radio Television Digital News Association puts it this way: To receive an Overall Excellence Award, a News Organization exemplifies the highest standards to serve the public through quality electronic journalism.

“`This year’s winners will be recognized at a gala in New York on October 9th. Once again, KUDOS to my talented colleagues at KNX 10-70 AM.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Oral Presentation…

June 22nd, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`My complete Oral Presentation of  Forgotten Hollywood is NOW available on YouTube. If you don’t live in Southern California, or confined to your home, it’s a wonderful opportunity to enjoy some great stories that appear in my  Forgotten Hollywood Book Series. Just click on the links below:

  

“`A special thanks to John Coleman and Art Kirsch for making this available through their Celebrating Act 2 Production.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- There Will Be Tears…

June 21st, 2017

Manny P. here… 

“`Variety is reporting legendary actor Daniel Day-Lewis has announced he will retire from acting in cinema and on stage after the release of his upcoming film  Phantom Thread. A spokesperson says this is a private decision. Neither he, nor his representatives, will make any further comments.

“`Known for his method process of preparation, Day-Lewis’ initial feature credit was Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi in 1982.  His approach to acting is similar to a 1940s – 1950s style pioneered by  John Garfield, Montgomery Clift, Marlon Brando, and James Dean.  He went on to rack up countless awards. including five Oscar nominations for performances in My Left Foot, In the Name of the Father, There Will Be BloodGangs of New York and Lincoln; and winning three of them. Other credits include A Room with a View, The Age of Innocence, Nine, The Last of the Mohicans  and The Crucible.                   DANIEL DAY-LEWIS —->

“`Day-Lewis has also long been an exceptionally deliberate performer who often spends years preparing for a role, crafting his characters with an uncommon, methodical completeness. It’s this process that may be the primary reason he has chosen to walk away at the age of 60.

“`The forthcoming Phantom Thread re-teams Day-Lewis with director Paul Thomas Anderson (who directed him in There Will Be Blood), and is set to premiere in theaters this Christmas. This latest production is a drama set in the couture world of 1950s London. It’s the actor’s first work, since Lincoln, which was made five years ago.

“`He hasn’t been on stage since 1989, when walking off an evening performance of Hamlet. Day-Lewis previously went into semi-retirement in the 1990s.

“`Maybe there’s a method to Daniel Day-Lewis’ madness. Let’s hope it’s a temporary decision.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Award Winner Tony Bennett…

June 20th, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`Tony Bennett, the beloved and durable interpreter of American Standards, and whose chart-topping career has spanned seven decades, will be honored with this year’s Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. The Library of Congress has officially made their announcement. The Lifetime Achievement Award, named for the duo of George and Ira Gershwin, was created by Congress to honor the singers and songwriters who entertain, inform, and inspire. Other recipients have included Paul McCartney, Willie Nelson, Smokey Robinson, and Stevie Wonder.

“`Born Anthony Thomas Benedetto in Queens, New York, Bennett served in World War II; he fought in the Battle of the Bulge, and participated in liberation of a concentration camp. Tony marched with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to support civil rights, and has performed for 11 presidents.

                                                                           TONY BENNETT

“`Bennett gained pop success in the early 1950s, with a string of hits for Columbia Records, including Because of You and Rags to Riches. His Top 40 singles included a signature tune, I Left My Heart in San Francisco, which won two Grammy Awards.

“`Bennett enjoyed a career revival in the 1990s, and became popular with younger audiences, in part, because of an appearance on MTV Unplugged.  Tony continued recording and touring constantly.  Plus, in 2014, his collaboration with Lady Gaga…  Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga: Cheek to Cheek, debuted at #1 on the Billboard Magazine charts.

“`The crooner is a person of many talents. He is also an accomplished painter, whose work has exhibited at galleries around the world.

“`Bennett is scheduled to accept the award in Washington in November.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- The Most Recent Interview…

June 18th, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`I recently visited the Successful Aging Expo in Torrance, and was interviewed by the folks at Celebrating Act 2. I chatted about actors appearing in the Forgotten Hollywood Book Series. Click on the link:

“`Watch all other interviews at the Celebrating Act 2 website or on YouTube. Cut-and-paste the links below:

www.celebratingact2.com/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVU6lof8FyCZ84RH5f9fHWw

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

“`Bill Dana was an comedian, actor, and screenwriter. He often appeared on television shows, such as the Ed Sullivan Show, frequently in the guise of a heavily accented Bolivian character named Jose Jiménez.  The character was beloved as a fictional astronaut (right); and began his routine with:  Hello, my name Jose Jiménez. The Mercury 7 astronauts were his biggest fans. Imogene Coca was an early champion of his teleplay humor.

“`Before appearing on television on The Steve Allen Show, Dana had been a prolific comedy writer. He created stand-up routines for Don Adams, including Would you believe? humor popular on Get Smart. He wrote the classic episode of All in the Family that featured Sammy Davis Jr. smooching Archie Bunker on the cheek.

“`In 1961, he made the first of eight appearances on  The Danny Thomas Show. The Bill Dana Show ran for two seasons. He was also memorable in episodes of The Golden Girls. Plus, Dana recorded eight best-selling comedy albums.

“`The mild-mannered Bill Dana was 92.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- A Director for the Down-Trodden…

June 17th, 2017

Manny P. here… 

“`John G. Avildsen directed Rocky and The Karate Kid;  two dark-horse favorites that became  bankable screen franchises. He earned an Oscar for the celebrated boxing story about the fictional Rocky Balboa. Sylvester Stallone, then unknown, had written the script, and sought Avildsen (right) to direct it.

“`Avildsen came up the hard way in Hollywood. John started his apprenticeship as assistant director, production manager, cinematographer, and editor. His breakthrough work was Joe, which starred Peter Boyle. Other productions he directed include Save the Tiger (it earned Jack Lemmon an Oscar for his performance), The Formula, NeighborsLean on Me and Eight Seconds. He also continued working on The Karate Kid franchise. Avildsen was the original director for  Serpico and Saturday Night Fever; but, in each case, was fired over disputes with the producers.

“`An upcoming documentary on the life, career, and motion pictures of Avildsen is currently in the process of global distribution. Speaking on screen includes Stallone, Ralph Macchio, Martin Scorsese, Jerry Weintraub, and Burt Reynolds. Its release is expected in August.

“`John G. Avildsen was 81.

================================= 

“`The Rocky statue,  one of Philadelphia’s largest tourist attractions, is back open for visitors.  The iconic statue and famous steps that lead to the sculpture were inaccessible to visitors during set up and take down for the NFL Draft. Area upgrades were also conducted over the last two weeks.  On the same day it reopened, members of the Philly Police and the NBA 76ers held a workout on the steps.

“`The bronze Rocky was originally commissioned by Sylvester Stallone.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Dame Olivia…

June 16th, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`Olivia de Havilland, at 100, has become the oldest named Dame. Two weeks before her 101st birthday —  the Gone with the Wind  star is acknowledged for service to Drama:  Dame Commander the Order of the British Empire.

“`Born to British parents in Tokyo on the first day of the Battle of the Somme,  Dame Olivia moved to California when she was young. She first gained attention for her work with Errol Flynn in films, including Captain Blood and The Adventures Of Robin Hood, with the pair considered as a perfect on-screen match.  She won two Best Actress Oscars for To Each His Own and The Heiress.

“`She was responsible for the so-called De Havilland Law,  a landmark 1944 ruling that ended the tight grip studios had on contract actors, and was widely seen as the beginning of the end for the old Hollywood studio system. It came after Dame Olivia sued Warner Brothers, when the studio extended her seven-year contract, to account for time she had spent on suspension for rejecting roles that executives wanted her to play.

“`Her career spanned six decades and 49 feature films – many considered to be classics. She’s one of the last surviving legends of Hollywood’s Golden Age.

“`Dame Olivia de Havilland is the perfect title for this icon of cinema.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Vegas Headliner Mel Brooks…

June 13th, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`Mel Brooks has created some of the most iconic comedies in film history, including Blazing SaddlesYoung Frankenstein, and The Producers. For the first time in his career, he will offer a behind-the-scenes look at his extraordinary career during an exclusive two-night stay at the Encore Theater in Wynn Las Vegas – June 30th and July 1st. An Evening With Mel Brooks features the actor, writer, producer, and director in a rare stage event that combines personal anecdotes with his zany brand of stand-up comedy and clips from his storied work.

`

MEL BROOKS

“`Brooks’ career began in television writing for Your Show of Shows. Together with Buck Henry, he created the television series Get Smart. He teamed up with Carl Reiner to write and perform the 2000 Year Old Man comedy albums and books. Brooks won an Oscar in 1964 for writing and narrating an animated short The Critic; and a second in 1968 for the screenplay of his first feature film, The Producers. For three seasons, Brooks won Emmy Awards for his role on the hit sitcom Mad About You; and received three Tony Awards, two Grammy Awards for The Producers Musical, which ran on Broadway from 2001 to 2006. It still holds the record for the most accolades won by a Broadway musical.

“`In 2009,  Mel received the Kennedy Center Honors, recognizing a lifetime of extraordinary contributions to American culture. He was the subject of an Emmy Award-winning American Masters documentary on PBS called Mel Brooks: Make A Noise; and was the 41st recipient of AFI’s Life Achievement Award.  Last year, Mel went to London where Prince William proudly presented him with the prestigious British Academy Awards Fellowship;  and he was invited by President Obama to the White House to accept the National Medal of Arts;  the finest honor given to artists by the United Stated government.

“`Now, Mel is a headliner in Las Vegas.

Until next time>                               “never forget

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Ode to a Caped Crusader…

June 11th, 2017

Manny P. here… 

“`There’s an impressive lineage that stretches from DC Comic Book’s Batman and the current incarnation of the Dark Knight. Most culturally significant was the 1966 campy television show with the square-jawed Adam West as the Caped Crusader. The program lasted three seasons. However, from 1966  – 1968, this was a tour-de-force of programming every Wednesday and Thursday evening. And, it spawned a film, lunch pales, bubble gum cards, and other assorted array of tie-in promotion.

“`Batman influenced generations of viewers with bigger-than-life characters, and galvanized future actors starring in television programs immeasurably tied to their roles. In Adam West’s case, it lasted his entire career. He is favorably comparable to William Shatner’s Captain Kirk; Bob Denver’s Gilligan, and Rod Serling’s prologues that began every episode of The Twilight Zone. West shunned the typecasting; he eventually embraced the inevitable. He’s the perfect incarnation of Batman. Only Basil Rathbone as the intrepid Sherlock Holmes was more well suited in the history of celluloid characterizations (in my humble estimation).

“`After serving in the Army, West went to Hollywood, and appeared on television, including The Rifleman77 Sunset Strip, The Real McCoys, Maverick, BonanzaPerry Mason, Petticoat Junction, Gunsmoke, and Bewitched. He additionally guest-starred in Vega$, Alice, Night GalleryThe Big Valley, Alias Smith and Jones, The Love BoatMannix, Fantasy Island, Laverne and ShirleyMurder She Wrote,  and Diagnosis: Murder. A modern generation of fans know him as the voice of Mayor Adam West on Family Guy. He had stints on 30 Rock, The Simpsons, The King of Queens and The Big Bang Theory. West received a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2012.

“`He appeared in The Young Philadelphians, which starred Paul Newman. He was also cast in such forgettable fare as Tammy and the Doctor, The Outlaws is Coming, Hooper, and regrettably, The Happy Hooker Goes Hollywood. Yet important cinematic actors begged to appear on Batman,  including Shelly Winters, Cliff Robertson, Roddy McDowall, Vincent Price, Victor Buono, David Wayne, Van Johnson, George Sanders,  and most notably, Cesar Romero, Burgess Meredith, and Frank Gorshin. Neil Hamilton and Alan Napier were also veteran actors that offered able support on the popular series.

“`The bat-signal will shine one last time. West will be honored Thursday night with a lighting of the iconic signal in Los Angeles with Mayor Eric Garcetti and Police Chief Charlie Beck doing the honors.  The public is invited to attend the ceremony, which will take place at 9p at City Hall.

“`West outlived just about everyone connected to Batman, except Burt Ward and Julie Newmar  (Robin and Catwoman, respectively). His legacy will surely last. Flags in Gotham City should be lowered as a citizenry mourns their loss.

“`Adam West was 88.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Movie References and Politics…

June 9th, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`After a day when politics dominated the cable news cycle, motion picture quotes capture our imagination. Rather impressive are several pointed references to The Godfather and Becket. With regards to the latter, a meticulous citation was uttered at yesterday’s Senate hearing.

“`Peter O’Toole portrayed Henry II twice in his career; a second time in The Lion in Winter. When his character (who promoted Thomas Becket to Archbishop of Canterbury) accused his cleric of treachery, due to influential relationships with Pope Alexander III and King Louis VII of France, Henry II uttered his stance over the situation and sealed the fate of his chancellor. At heart, lies a bitter dispute between Henry II, who feels betrayed by his former friend; and Becket, who mistrusts the motives of the English king. A scene from the 1964 film re-enacts this tragic moment in time:

“Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest”

`

   

“`Meanwhile,  news pundits have compared a languid rapport between President and former F.B.I. Director, to Marlon Brando’s Vito Corleone and tenuous alliances with Mafia associates. The Godfather is loaded with colorful quotes, and any of those spoken by Don Vito offers a rich parallel discerned during televised analysis. Particularly poignant:

“With respect comes loyalty”

~  ~  ~

“`It fascinates me how cinema often draws metaphoric comparisons to our collective history.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Another Actor in the Hospital…

June 8th, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`Goodman Theatre  artistic director Robert Falls says Stacy Keach suffered a heart attack during the opening evening of a play at the venue in Chicago. The May 30th performance of Pamplona,  with Keach starring as Ernest Hemingway, was canceled halfway through when the actor appeared unwell.

“`Pamplona marks the actor’s third collaboration with Falls, and his second exploration of the literary icon:   He earned a Golden Globe Award and an Emmy Award nomination for his portrayal of Hemingway in the eponymous 1988 television mini-series.

“`The entire run of the one-man play has since been canceled. Falls says the Goodman could re-stage Pamplona next year.             STACY KEACH —>

“`Falls says he visited Keach on Tuesday, and found him in good spirits. He says Keach was sitting up and studying the script and asked about rescheduling. Goodman officials say the 76-year-old Keach is set to be released from a Chicago-area hospital.

“`Keach is best known for playing private eye Mike Hammer in several television series. He recently appeared in the Bruce Dern vehicle, Nebraska.

“`Best wishes to myfellow Van Nuys High School alum… Stacy Keach.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Woodstock / Special Olympics Honor

June 7th, 2017

Manny P. here… 

“`The site of the iconic 1969 Woodstock music festival is now officially recognized for its place in history.  Democrat Governor Andrew Cuomo designated that Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in Hudson Valley has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

“`The weekend concert attracted 500,000 to Max Yasgur’s farm,  and it was a pivotal moment in New York and American history. It became the subject of a landmark documentary film. This recognition preserves the location for future generations. Plus, it furthers educational and cultural initiatives at the museum and surrounding grounds that will continue to embody the spirit of the 1960s.

“`The 800-acre Bethel Woods campus is 90 miles north of Manhattan.

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

“`Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver will be posthumously honored with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPY Awards.  Timothy Shriver, one of her children, and chairman of the Special Olympics, will accept the award on July 12th. The Ashe accolade is given to individuals whose contributions transcend sports.

“`Eunice Shriver founded the Special Olympics in 1968 to aid individuals with intellectual disabilities through sports;  inspired by her sister Rosemary, who suffered from similar impairments. It will mark its 50th anniversary next year.

“`Shriver died in August 2009.

Until next time>                               “never forget”