“Forgotten Hollywood”- Viva Anthony Quinn in Los Angeles…

January 28th, 2015

Manny P. here …

   Thanks to some progressive urban policies coming out of the governor’s office, Los Angeles is reimagining itself as a more traditional, walkable city with a vibrant downtown business district. And, iconic Latino / Irish actor Anthony Quinn will metaphorically witness its ongoing transformation.

zorba-the-greeak-anthony-quinn-mural-700x836

   A giant likeness of the trailblazing star, who passed away in 2001, will be standing tall and proud on the wall of the Victor Clothing Co. building at 241 S. Broadway as the surrounding Downtown area springs back to life under current Mayor Garcetti. The portrait has undertaken a restoration of Quinn’s faded likeness in collaboration with its original muralist Eloy Torrez as a part of an collaborative effort to reinvigorate the city’s struggling downtown.

   Born Antonio Rodolfo Quinn Oaxaca in Chihuahua in 1915, Quinn was raised in El Paso, TX and Echo Park, CA. He scored some secondary roles as gangsters and Indians in a number of Hollywood productions throughout the 1930s. It was his role opposite Marlon Brando in Elia Kazan’s Viva Zapata! where he earned the first of two Oscars, and secured his place in the Hollywood pantheon. He became the second Latino actor to pick up a statuette; the first being Jose Ferrer. To this day, he is considered one of the great actors of Hollywood’s Golden Age.

   The mural itself, capturing Anthony dancing in a moment of joyous abandon, recalls an iconic scene from Zorba the Greek in which Quinn’s eponymous character dances quite exuberantly. His performance garnered yet another Academy Awards nomination.

   Now, Anthony Quinn’s legacy will stand tall in the middle of Downtown, Los Angeles.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Natalie Wood’s Final Cry For Help…

January 27th, 2015

Manny P. here…

   Natalie Wood was screaming for help as she drowned, according to a witness whose account has never been disclosed. Retired stockbroker Marilyn Wayne has provided credible eyewitness testimony that the star was shouting desperate cries for aid, but was ignored.

   Relatedly, the Los Angeles police last week said that substantial new evidence has led them to reopen their investigation into the Wood’s drowning off Catalina Island, thirty years ago this week. Her death was ruled accidental at the time. Now, a police source has described Robert Wagner, now 81, as a person of interest in the updated case.

robert wagner and natalie wood

ROBERT WAGNER   NATALIE WOOD

   They were on-board their yacht Splendour, with her alleged love interest, Oscar-winner Christopher Walken on that fateful evening, and Wagner has always maintained Wood accidently slipped and drowned as she drunkenly tried to tie up a dinghy against the boat. Natalie’s sister has claimed that the actress was so scared of water, she never would have ventured off alone to Avalon late into the evening.

   With this new witness coming forward, the questions homicide detectives are exploring — Did Wagner  or Walken hear the cries of distress and Did they attempt to save Wood from drowning after she fell into the ocean… Investigators plan to hold a news conference, and are asking for individuals to come forward with information about the case, and to contact sheriff’s officials or an anonymous tip that has been set up.

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getImage   Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History, has reached its next impressive  milestone. On the heels of my second paperback, the sales for my first book has surpassed 3200. My most recent purchases have come from tourists who have visited Larry Edmunds Bookshop and  LA LA Land souvenir megastore along Hollywood Blvd., and the fine membership of the local chapter of Rotary International in Burbank, CA.

larry edmunds   hollywood mega store   rotary3wheels-150x150   Forgotten Hollywood cover

   The book series is now found in the combined hands of 4400 readers. Onward and upward!

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- A Fond Farewell to Mr. Cub…

January 23rd, 2015

Manny P. here…

   Ernie Banks, the baseball player known as Mr. Cub, has died. He played nineteen seasons at Wrigley Field in Chicago, and was voted to the All-Star Game 14 times. Banks is most famous for cheerfully coining the phrase: It’s a beautiful day for a ballgame… Let’s play two, due to his love for double-headers.

ernie banks   Ernie was born and raised in Dallas. He joined the Negro Leagues in 1950, and played for the Kansas City Monarchs. He served in the military for two years, and then returned to the Monarchs before beginning his Major League career in September 1953. Banks had his best seasons in 1958 and 1959, when he received back-to-back National League Most Valuable Player awards. He was the first player from a losing team to win the NL MVP. Banks finished his career with 512 home runs, and his 277 home runs as a shortstop were a career record at the time of his retirement. Banks holds the Major League record for the most games played (2,528) without a postseason appearance.

Banks%20Ernie%20Plaque%20142_NBL_0   Banks was active in the Chicago community during and after his tenure with the Cubs. He founded many charitable organizations, and became the first black Ford Motor Company dealer in the United States. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977, and later named to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. The Cubs retired Banks’s uniform number 14 in 1982 the first player in the team’s history. No other numbers were retired by the team for another five years, when Billy Williams received the honor. In 2013, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his contribution to sports. A statue of Banks sits outside Wrigley Field.

   He was one of Chicago’s greatest city ambassadors. Never losing his boundless enthusiasm, the ever-sunny Ernie Banks  was 83.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Sally Field’s New Assignment…

January 20th, 2015

Manny P. here…sally-field-6

   Turner Broadcasting is revealing that two-time Oscar winning actress Sally Field will be joining Robert Osborne on the set to discuss classic films shown in conjunction with the popular Saturday night series, The Essentials. A formal press release from TCM concerning the new Essentials co-host has yet to be announced.                           SALLY FIELD ——->

   Sally Field first appeared on television in 1965 as Gidget, and later, as The Flying Nun. She then began a fabulous career as a cinematic actress with such popular movies as Sybil,  Mrs. Doubtfire, Smokey and The Bandit, and Forrest Gump. She received Academy Awards for Norma Rae and Places in the Heart. Field most recently garnered Oscar buzz in 2012 with her role as Mary Todd Lincoln with Daniel Day-Lewis in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln.

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   As a TCM guest programmer in July of 2008, Field selected films that concern given situations gals deal with in their lives, often in funny ways. She chose The Awful TruthThe Miracle of Morgan Creek, Love With the Proper Stranger, and All About Eve.

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   Steady sales keep on pouring in… Son of Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History has reached 1200 literary purchases. Many thanks to the folks from Southern California chapters of Rotary International in Arcadia, Oceanside, and Carson for unyielding recent support. 2015 has begun in a most robust way, and this latest milestone is a positive indicator of a great year. My initial paperback in the Forgotten Hollywood franchise is about to go into its third printing. And, my next book in the series is almost ready to go to print. GREAT NEWS!

1200 FINALfrontcover-sonofforgottenhol

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Edward Herrmann’s Final Project…

January 19th, 2015

Manny P. here…edward hermann in seats

   The late actor Edward Herrmann’s (right) final project before  succumbing to brain cancer last month was narrating an upcoming documentary on the disease. The six-hour project will air over three evenings on PBS in March, and is based on Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies; a book by Siddhartha Mukherjee.

   Herrmann collapsed because of a seizure on the first day he came to work, and had to explain to filmmaker Barak Goodman that it was due to his terminal disease. Still, Herrmann was committed to do the work and complete this intensely personal production.

   The talented narrator is best remembered for his on-screen performances and narrations on various projects on PBS and the History Channel. He often portrayed Franklin D. Roosevelt. His voice is quite familiar to generations of television viewers.

   I suggest you honor Edward Herrmann’s legacy by watching this  informative program.

Until next time>                               “never forget

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Live Like an Earl and a Countess…

January 17th, 2015

Manny P. here…

53f79f06b962e0ca5ad393e6_highclere-castle-newbury-berkshire-downton-abbey   Highclere Castle, the English country estate where Downton Abbey is filmed, will be opening an on-site hotel called London Lodge. (Despite the name, the castle and its hotel are in Newbury, West Berkshire… not in London.) The estate, built in 1793, is home to the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon and has already been open to tourists for some time. There are organized Downton-themed tours that take tourists to see the building and grounds. But, this will mark the first time visitors can stay overnight there. You will enjoy the look and feel of Edwardian England.

   London Lodge is a smaller property near Highclere Castle on the estate. The process of opening the lodge took two and a half years. Like many of the old structures, Highclere suffered from some wear and tear over the years and needed some repairs, including a much-needed new roof. And while the period charm is intact, there are modern amenities in the hotel rooms, including television, Wi-Fi, mini-fridges, and electric kettles perfect for making that cuppa.

   Rooms at London Lodge begin at £350 ($540) per night. Season Five of Downton Abbey currently airs in the United States.

   Someone better warn Mr. Carson and Mrs. Patmore of the impending arrival of guests…

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Hollywood Loses Two More…

January 12th, 2015

Manny P. here…Anita_Ekburg_-_1956-B

   Anita Ekberg was a Swedish actress, model, and sex symbol. She is best known for her role in the Federico Fellini film La Dolce Vita. In her teens, she worked as a fashion model. In 1950, Ekberg entered the Miss Malmö competition at her mother’s urging, leading to the Miss Sweden contest, which she won. Though she did not win Miss Universe, as one of six finalists, she earned a star contract with Universal Studios.

   Her Hollywood career includes roles in Abbott and Costello Go to Mars, 4 For TexasBlood Alley, Artists and Models, Call Me Bwana, Hollywood or Bust, and memorably, in War and Peace. She guest-starred in the short-lived television series Casablanca. She was publicized as Paramount’s Marilyn Monroe.

   The outspoken Anita Ekberg was 83.                                                ANITA EKBERG

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   Part of cinematic royalty, Samuel Goldwyn Jr. was a film producer. The son of a pioneer motion picture mogul, he became a theatrical producer in London and for Edward R. Murrow at CBS in New York. He then followed in his father’s footsteps and founded the motion picture production companies Formosa Productions, The Samuel Goldwyn Company, and Samuel Goldwyn Films. His first film was the Robert Mitchum-Western, Man With the Gun.

Jr.

SAMUEL GOLDWYN JR.

   Some of the motion pictures he financed include the 1960 version of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, A Prayer for the Dying, Mystic Pizza (which gave Julia Roberts her big break, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, The Preacher’s Wife, and most recently, the 2013 update of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, a remake of one of his father’s films. His son is Tony Goldwyn, who co-starred in Ghost, and currently stars in the ABC television drama, Scandal.

   Samuel Goldwyn Jr. was 88.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- My 2014 SAG Award Ballot…

January 11th, 2015

Manny P. here…

   For the sixth straight year, here’s my ballot for this year’s Screen Actors Guild Awards. I thought 2014 was an exceptional year of cinema. And, several folks and movies in most of the categories should be considered for the specific awards. Let me explain:

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   OUTSTANDING MALE:  Michael Keaton (Birdman)

Four of the five nominees are solid. Jake Gyllenhaal is a very close second choice for a fine job in Nightcrawler. Eddie Redmayne and Benedict Cumberbatch provide outstanding work in The Theory of Everything and The Imitation Game. One thing… David Oyelowo (Selma), Bradley Cooper (American Sniper), or Ralph Fiennes (The Grand Budapest Hotel) should have been nominated instead of Steve Carell (Foxcatcher). As for Keaton, it’s a career role!

   OUTSTANDING FEMALE:  Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl)

The buzz is for Julianne Moore in Still Alice. I completely disagree! Alzheimer’s Disease is familiar to me, because members of my extended family have suffered from Dementia. I have yet to see a film that captures this insidious affliction with any accuracy. Reese Witherspoon  in Wild and Felicity Jones in The Theory of Everything are worthy nominees. However, the sure ferocity of Rosamund Pike’s performance should be rewarded. It’s scary good!

   OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING MALE:  J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)

With all do respect to the amazing performances by Edward Norton in Birdman, Ethan Hawke in Boyhood, and Mark Ruffalo  in Foxcatcher, this was by far the most competitive category. These actors did their best work in years. However, J.K. Simmons was intensely wonderful. This role should earn him more Farmer’s Insurance commercials, if not gobs of accolades. Of course, he was also great in past assignments: Juno and The Ladykillers.

   OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING FEMALE:  Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)

Not a particularly strong category. I enjoyed Emma Stone in Birdman; and Keira Knightly in The Imitation Game. Naomi Watts was better in Birdman than in St. Vincent. The people I might have voted for are not on the ballot: Adriana Barraza for her believable performance as the caretaker in Cake; or Sienna Miller for American Sniper. That said, Patricia Arquette gave us steady acting that was 12 years in the making.

   OUTSTANDING CAST IN A MOTION PICTURE:  Birdman

Of the five choices, my tough pick narrowly finishes ahead of The Theory of Everything, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, and Boyhood. If any of these other four win, I’ll be thrilled. Actually, the ensemble in Selma is solid, too; though the film was ignored by the members of the voting committee. Birdman is a movie ahead of its time, in terms of terrific ensemble casting, production quality, and especially, direction. I compare it to Orson Welles’ creation, Citizen Kanein 1941; a one-of-a-kind movie-watching experience.

~ Top 10 Films: 1. Birdman  2. The Theory of Everything  3. The Grand Budapest Hotel  4. Whiplash  5. Selma  6. Nightcrawler  7. Gone Girl  8. American Sniper  9. The Imitation Game  10. Boyhood 

   The SAG Awards will air on January 25th on TNT and TBS. Debbie Reynolds will receive their Lifetime Achievement Award. And, we’ll see how I do this year…

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- A Nicholas Brothers Tribute…

January 10th, 2015

Manny P. here…

   Prospect House Entertainment, in partnership with Glendale Arts, and in association with the Tony Nicholas family, presents The Nicholas Brothers Tribute. This fabulous event is Sunday, January 25th at 7:30p.

   Hollywood’s greatest tap-dance team will be honored in a star-studded gala at the historic 1400-seat Alex Theatre in Glendale, California. They’ll chronicle Fayard and Harold Nicholas rise to fame,  from their humble beginnings in Philadelphia to pioneering and redefining the tap genre. They became bona-fide stars of the jazz circuit during the heyday of the Harlem Renaissance.

Nicholas-Bros-Event-Image-1

NICHOLAS BROTHERS

   By 1932, they were featured act at the Cotton Club, working with the orchestras of Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, and Jimmy Lunceford. The brothers made their Broadway debut in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1936, and also appeared in Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart’s legendary musical Babes in Arms in 1937. Producer Samuel Goldwyn invited them to be a part of Kid Millions,  which was their first role in a Hollywood film. Other movie appearances include routines in The Big Broadcast of 1936, Tin Pan AlleyDown Argentine Way, Sun Valley Serenade, Orchestra Wives, Stormy Weather, and The Pirate. Archival footage was also featured in That’s Entertainment and That’s Dancing.

   This one-night only, special evening will feature Nicholas family members, celebrity friends, and co-stars, rare and never-before-seen home movie footage, movie trailers, clips from their dazzling feature film performances, dramatic on-stage reenactments from landmark moments in their lives, and amazing tap numbers performed by the very best dancers in the country, choreographed by the peerless Cathie Nicholas, Fayard’s granddaughter. Special Q&A guests include Gloria Hendry, best known for co-starring with Roger Moore in the James Bond film, Live and Let Die.

   This is going to be rousing fun!

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Movies Seldom Get It Right…

January 9th, 2015

Manny P. here…

   The controversy surrounding LBJ’s role over Civil Rights as depicted in Selma is just the latest flap regarding artistic license; an argument that goes back to Hollywood’s Golden Age. The more celebrated recent furor involves Lincoln (Connecticut lawmakers were in a major uproar for incorrectly depicting state’s representatives voting against the 13th Amendment); Zero Dark Thirty (suggesting intelligence gathered through torture helped lead to Osama bin Laden’s capture led to a public outcry that was spearheaded by Senators Diane Feinstein and John McCain; and JFK (many still take as fact conspiracy theories floated by Oliver Stone).

800px-Lyndon_Johnson_meeting_with_civil_rights_leaders

PRESIDENT LYNDON JOHNSON w/ MARTIN LUTHER KING

   I write in my Forgotten Hollywood Book Series that this often occurs by screenwriters not bound to the truth. It’s the job of historians and critics to point out the corrections when movie moguls get the facts wrong in a production. The argument of a filmmaker remains that they are simply trying to entertain. A character in the movie, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, succinctly sums up how history was portrayed in the Old West by real newspaper reporters: When legend becomes fact, print the legend! The John Ford-Western boldly pokes fun at the tall tales created, and the historical implications from the narrative.

The_Man_Who_Shot_Liberty_Valance   Drumsalongthemohawk

   The most celebrated legend by Hollywood was created by the script from the 1939 drama, Drums Along the Mohawk. As I surmise in my chapter on Ward Bond:

Bond plays Adam Helmer, a Revolutionary War hero. Helmer, a frontiersman, is actually credited in warning the people of German Flatts, New York of an impending raid by Indians and Tories (British sympathizers). Due to his efforts, only two men were killed in the attack. Unfortunately, the true depiction in the novel and the subsequent film version differs; giving credit to Gil Martin, a settler in the Mohawk Valley. This inaccurate discrepancy is the highlight in the movie. The heroic assignment was made by Darryl F. Zanuck to showcase the star of the film, Henry Fonda.

   My book series is quick to point out these kinds of areas of issue because that is my literary job as a film and American historian. I don’t agree with those folks who claim a movie is less great because it gets the facts wrong.

   The bottom line… as a Screen Actors Guild member, my awards ballot will be based on acting style, production qualities, and effective use of narrative storytelling; not on whether the facts behind the motion picture are correct. My suggestion to a theatre-going audience:  Visit the snack counter, buy a tub of popcorn and soft drink, and then, enjoy the legend!

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Favorite Son of Australia has Died…

January 8th, 2015

Manny P. here…368px-Rod_Taylor_-_1963

   Rod Taylor was a likeable actor from Down Under, who appeared in many movies and television programs. He’s best remembered for his roles in The Time Machine, The V.I.Ps, The Glass Bottom Boat, The Birds, Sunday in New York, and Hotel.      ROD TAYLOR —->

     Rod acquired extensive radio and stage experience in Australia. He made his feature film debut in the Aussie film King of the Coral Sea, playing an American. He was later cast in a Hollywood-financed film shot in Sydney, Long John Silver, an unofficial sequel to Treasure Island. His first big motion picture was Giant. This led to work at MGM in a series of films, including Raintree County, The Catered Affair, and Separate Tables. He also was the voice of Pongo (a dog) in Disney’s animated feature 101 Dalmatians.

rod   pongo

   The actor was quite busy on the small screen, as well. He was a regular on anthology shows, such as Studio One, Schlitz Playhouse of Stars, Lux Video Theatre, Playhouse 90, Zane Grey Theatre, Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse, DuPont Show of the Week, The Twilight ZoneGoodyear Theatre, and Tales of the Unexpected. He also guest-starred in Cheyenne, Walker Texas Ranger, Falcon Crest, and Murder She Wrote.

   Taylor was a pioneer of the Australian-New Zealand invasion of Hollywood that would come to include actors Mel Gibson, Judy Davis, Nicole Kidman (born in Hawaii to Australian parents), Geoffrey Rush, and Russell Crowe; and directors Bruce Berenson, Peter Weir, Bruce Beresford, Baz Luhrman, Rob Marshall, and Peter Jackson.

   In 1993, Rod hosted a documentary Time Machine: The Journey Back. At the end of the special came a mini-sequel, written by David Duncan, the screenwriter of the George Pal film. Taylor recreated his role of George, and reunited with co-star Alan Young.

   The affable hellion, Rod Taylor was 84.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Four to Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955

January 7th, 2015

Manny P. here…

   With the current selection by the Baseball Writers Association of America of four retired Major League ballplayers to its Hall of Fame, let’s look back at the last time this happened — 1955. Randy Johnson, Craig Biggio, John Smoltz, and Pedro Martinez in July will join fabulous company.

  1955 Induction Class

   One of the larger classes was inducted on July 25, 1955, as the Hall of Fame welcomed BBWAA inductees — Joe DiMaggio, Gabby Hartnett, Ted Lyons, and Dazzy Vance; and Veterans Committee picks — Frank Home Run Baker and Ray Schalk. The biggest induction ceremony since 1939, the crowd fav was easily DiMaggio, according to the New York Times.

DiMaggio Joe 7570.90_H&A_NBL   Vance-Dazzy-704-68_HS_PD   Lyons_Ted_1506-68WT_HS_PD-Conlon

           JOE DIMAGGIO                      DAZZY VANCE                        TED LYONS 

   Hollywood’s connection to one of these inductees is quite obvious. DiMaggio was briefly married to Marilyn Monroe. Considered one the all-time great ballplayers, the Yankee Clipper had a half-dozen red roses delivered three times a week to her crypt for 20 years. In the 1970s, DiMaggio became a spokesman for Mr. Coffee, and would be the face of the electric coffee maker for over two decades. DiMaggio also became a spokesman for The Bowery Savings Bank. DiMaggio regularly made commercials for the financial institution until 1992.

   When there is an influx of qualified candidates, like there were for many years after the Hall was opened, voters tend to spread their votes out. DiMaggio’s 88.8% is not an aberration of the time, and a player of his caliber would probably receive over 95% if voted on in today’s era (Cal Ripken Jr., Tony Gwynn, Rickey Henderson, etc.).

   Not making the cut that year… Hank Greenberg (who was inducted in 1956), Joe Cronin, Hack Wilson, Red Ruffing, Max Carey, and Zack Wheat. All of these gentlemen were eventually selected to represent these hallowed grounds.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Max Factor Has New Ambassador…

January 5th, 2015

Manny P. here…

   Signing up a Hollywood actress as the face of a beauty brand is a common practice. But, Max Factor has taken the step of appointing a star who died in 1962. Marilyn Monroe has been unveiled as the company’s official Global Glamour Ambassador for its 2015 advertising campaigns. They will highlight the role make-up played in transforming Norma Jean into the blonde bombshell of Some Like It Hot and The Seven Year Itch.

   Monroe was a Max Factor client, when the brand had a beauty parlor along Hollywood Boulevard and catered to the starlets of the day, such as Ava Gardner, Jean Harlow, and Marlene Dietrich. It was Max Factor Jr., then president of the company, who was responsible for Monroe’s trademark look.

max factor marilyn monroe

   Monroe died over fifty years ago, but her estate continues to make millions annually. Last year, she was ranked sixth in Forbes Magazine’s annual list of the highest-earning dead celebrities. The rights to Monroe’s image belong to Authentic Brands Group, a licensing company that specializes in adjoining celebrity talent to brands. This is not the first time that Monroe has promoted a beauty brand: she was one of several Hollywood icons brought back to life through CGI technology in a 2011 television advertisement for Dior’s J’Adore fragrance. Deals in recent years include Monroe-branded spas and nail salons, a café, and a line of clothing for teenage girls at Macy’s Department Store. The public relations firm also has the rights to license the images of Elvis Presley and Muhammad Ali, among others.

    In Hollywood’s Golden Age, when it came to make-up only one name was on the lips of the silver screen stars. That name was Mr. Max Factor.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Voice of FDR Joins Passing Parade…

January 1st, 2015

Manny P. here…

   Edward Herrmann brought Franklin D. Roosevelt to life in movies and documentaries, won a Tony Award, and charmed audiences as the stuffy dad on television’s Gilmore Girls. He was also a ubiquitous narrator for historical programs on The History Channel, and in such PBS productions as Nova.

Edward-Herrmann_ls_123114<– Edward Herrmann began his career in theatre. But, his legacy remains in the many films and small screen performances that made his voice instantly recognizable. His motion pictures include The Day of the DolphinThe Paper Chase, The Great Gatsby, Reds, Annie, The Great Waldo Pepper, The Purple Rose of Cairo, The Lost Boys, The Man with One Red Shoe, Overboard, Big Business, the remake of Born Yesterday, Nixon, The AviatorThe Emperor’s Club, and The Wolf of Wall Street. On the small screen, he excelled in Eleanor and Franklin, M*A*S*H, St. Elsewhere, Law & Order, Grey’s Anatomy, 30 RockHow I Met Your MotherThe Good Wife, and regularly, on Gilmore Girls. He narrated The American Revolution miniseries, and most recently, reprised the voice of FDR in Ken Burns acclaimed, The Roosevelts.

   Herrmann returned to Broadway in 1976 in the revival of Mrs. Warren’s Profession. For his performance, he won a Tony for Best Featured Actor in a Play. He earned an Emmy in 1999 for his guest appearances on The Practice.

   In my home, his quaint voice was as familiar to me as a relative chatting at the dinner table. Edward Herrmann was 71.

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   From Television’s Golden Age, Donna Douglas (below) was part of the Clampett family on the very popular The Beverly Hillbillies. She was known for her role as Elly May, the pretty tomboy who loved wild animals and could beat up her cousin Jethro, played by Max Baer Jr.

Donna_Douglas_1967   She was featured as the Letters Girl on The Perry Como Show and as the Billboard Girl on The Steve Allen Show. These and other television appearances led New York photographers and newspaper reporters to award her the Miss By-line crown, which she wore on The Ed Sullivan Show. She guest-starred on weekly programs, such as Bachelor Father, ThrillerThe Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, Adam-12, and Route 66. She was also cast in four 1961 episodes of the detective series, Checkmate. Prior to co-starring in The Beverly Hillbillies, Douglas was best remembered for The Twilight Zone episode, Eye of the Beholder.

   Her big screen films include Career, Lil Abner, Lover Come BackFrankie and Johnny with Elvis Presley, and later, in The Return of the Beverly Hillbillies, a reunion of sorts. In 2010, Mattel released a new collection of three Barbies called the Classic TV Collection. These dolls were Samantha Stephens (from Bewitched, played by Elizabeth Montgomery), Jeannie (from I Dream of Jeannie, played by Barbara Eden) and Elly May Clampett.

   Donna Douglas was 81.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Hammerstein Museum in the Works…

December 31st, 2014

Manny P. here…

   A plan to convert the former home of Broadway lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II into a tourist attraction appears to have created a conflict. But, his grandson hopes public officials will soon start singing a different tune. The composer spent 20 years at Highland Farm in suburban Philadelphia, where he co-wrote musical blockbusters, such as Oklahoma, Carousel, The King and I, and South Pacific. Will Hammerstein wants to turn the property into the Oscar Hammerstein II Music and Theatre Education Center. However, Doylestown Township supervisors and neighbors object to the scale of the $20 million proposal, saying it’s too much development for the parcel. A zoning hearing will be held on January 12th.

632px-R_and_H   Hammerstein purchased Highland Farm in 1940, and it was there he and Richard Rodgers formed their creative partnership. The farm was the locale where they worked together on The Sound of Music, and other productions. James, his youngest son,  attended nearby George School with Stephen Sondheim, who became a frequent visitor to the farm. Sondheim followed in Oscar’s path, penning lyrics to Into the Woods and West Side Story. After Hammerstein died of cancer at his beloved farm in 1960, his widow sold the land.

   There were many owners over the years, losing acreage as the plot was subdivided in a largely suburban county. Current owner Christine Cole has turned the main building into a bed-and-breakfast, with each room dedicated to musicals by Rodgers and Hammerstein.                                 RICHARD RODGERS / OSCAR HAMMERSTEIN II

   Then, Will Hammerstein made a reservation at the B&B in 2010. He was in town for a reunion at George School. Together, Cole and Hammerstein came up with an idea for a classic Broadway fan experience: a house tour, a museum exhibit in the barn and capped off with an actual performance. It would require building a 400-seat venue, plus a parking lot on the now five-acre lot.

Highland Farms

   Adjacent property owners have major concerns about noise, traffic, and storm water runoff, according to their lawyer. The zoning board meeting isn’t the only hurdle; approvals from other commissions would be required before ground could be broken. And then there’s fundraising. Will Hammerstein, a lawyer living in Brooklyn, incorporated a nonprofit to help.

pic_piano3   Members of the local arts council expressed enthusiasm for the project, as it would add cache to a region that already boasts the James A. Michener Museum and Pearl S. Buck House — authors who were both good friends with Oscar Hammerstein.

   In spite of the imposing odds, the collaborative team wishes to make the Pennsylvania hills alive with the sound of Rodgers and Hammerstein.

   Hopefully, they will succeed.

Until next year>                               “never forget”