“Forgotten Hollywood”- January / Hans Christian Andersen ’52

December 31st, 2011

(#7 in a 12-part series to be printed at the beginning of each month)

Manny P. here…

   HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN - A movie musical from Samuel Goldwyn, Hans Christian Andersen is truly a lost gem. It’s even forgotten by lovers of Danny Kaye motion pictures, and fans of the music of Frank Loesser. Yet, back in 1952, this motion picture was a sensation. It grabbed six Oscar nominations, and generations of kids grew up loving the fables of the Danish storyteller. His heartwarming tales of Thumbelina, The Ugly Duckling, and Inch Worm, put his village of Copenhagen on the map.

Back Story

   Danny Kaye was Sam Goldwyn’s Golden Boy. His movies during the 1940s were among the most lucrative for the studio. With Virginia Mayo, he co-starred in Wonder Man, The Kid From BrooklynThe Secret Life of Walter Mitty, and A Song is Born. In 1952, Goldwyn decided a fictional fantasy about the remarkable Dane should only be played by Danny Kaye. This piece of cinema was never intended to be an accurate biography.

Positives

   Sam Goldwyn chose Frank Loesser as the composer for Hans Christian Andersen. Fresh from his triumph on Broadway with Guys and Dolls, Loesser was at the top of his game. His lyrics fit the comedic song stylings of Danny Kaye.

   Moss Hart was a top playwright who was brought in to write the screenplay. His credits include You Can’t Take it with You (which won a Pulitzer Prize), The Man Who Came to Dinner, Gentleman’s Agreement, and the 1954 production of A Star is Born. Because he wrote Broadway shows, his magical words suited this particular production.

Negatives

   Goldwyn failed to hire known actors to support Danny Kaye, with the exception of Farley Granger and John Qualen. Since Kaye was in most scenes, the script crackled. However, the motion picture doesn’t get due credit by today’s critics, mostly because of the uninspired performances by the supporting players.

   Additionally, the choreography falls flat when compared to the music and lyrics. The ballet sequences get in the way of the plot. By comparison, the operatic scenes during A Night at the Opera with the Marx Brothers really compliment the dichotomy of the comedy, and it  remains a bonafide classic.

   Finally, the film almost never plays on Turner Classic Movies. My assumption is the Fox Movie Channel, watched in fewer homes, owns the rights to the picture. A real shame in my estimation.

Supporting Actor Spotlight

   John Qualen was an accomplished actor, memorable in award-winning pictures. His face was very familiar in The Farmer Takes a Wife, Wife vs. Secretary, Knute Rockne All American, Out of the Fog, His Girl Friday, and particularly in The Devil and Daniel Webster, The Grapes of Wrath, Tortilla Flat, and Casablanca. He later appeared in The High and the Mighty, Anatomy of a MurderThe Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Elmer Gantry7 Faces of Dr. Lao, and Cheyenne Autumn.

   Qualen was the treasurer of The Authors Club; and a historian of The Masquers, a famous social group for actors. He had a thirty-year membership in John Ford’s stock company, and was often hired by the director for small roles. His scenes in The Searchers were written with his character type in mind at Ford’s request.

Epilogue

   Because of his popularity in 1952, Danny Kaye hosted the year’s Oscar ceremony. He later appeared in White Christmas with Bing Crosby, and The Court Jester (who many regard his finest moment in film) with Basil Rathbone.

   Danny Kaye was knighted by Queen Margrethe II of Denmark in 1983 for his portrayal of Hans Christian Andersen. High praise for the unique comedian. He also received numerous honors, mostly for his unyielding work for UNICEF, including the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1981, and a Kennedy Center Honor in 1984. Kaye also received the French Legion of Honor (Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur) in 1986. He was posthumously bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom just after his passing, the highest civilian honor. UNICEF’s New York Visitor’s Centre was re-named to remember Danny Kaye.

   Danny Kaye should be remembered for his amazing talent and his unparalleled contributions to humanity. For an instant, he also allowed us to enjoy the simple stories of a Danish cobbler.

Until next time>                            “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- The Dumbing Down of Film Audiences!

December 30th, 2011

Manny P. here…

   Back in 1951, MGM released a fine sequel to the successful  Father of the Bride, a motion picture starring Spencer Tracy, Elizabeth Taylor, and Joan Bennett; calling it Father’s Little Dividend… a reference to the pregnancy of Taylor’s character. Executive producer Dore Schary presumed that the intelligent metaphor would be ultimately appreciated by movie audiences.

   A few years back, I was quite disappointed by Touchstone Pictures’ decision to followup their 1990′s remake of Father of the Bride with Father of the Bride Part II. My reasoning was simple. In the latter sequel, Steve Martin’s character dealt with his daughter’s impending motherhood; not a second wedding.  The motion picture was mis-titled in a shameful marketing ploy!

   In 2011, Steven Spielberg practiced a similar ruse. In the just-released  animated film, The Adventures of Tin Tin (pronounced Tah-Tah), our gallant hero has a fox-terrier named Milou, popularized in Belgian comic books, and created by Georges Remi in the 1920s. Inexplicably, Spielberg translated the name of the furry white canine to Snowy to relate to American movie-goers.

   My concerns have more to do with the chance to teach our youngsters another language, than with obvious decisions to reach the public with sure-fire strategies. Provincial marketing  of a cute pooch named Snowy should induce monetary dividends at the expense of education, and life-lessons from cosmopolitan attitudes outside the United States. Neither examples of studio decision-making are earth-shattering issues facing our nation. In the final analysis, our society is a little bit worse from these kinds of choices. The dumbing down of consumers does  not help us on a global-economic level, and keeps us isolated from our world’s beauty. Plus, I simply believe in the potential classroom qualities provided by the cinematic experience.

   This is my humble opinion… Now, I’m waiting for Tin Tin and Milou to help me off my soapbox!

Until next time>                              “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- The LOC Film Registry Class of 2011…

December 29th, 2011

Manny P. here…

   The Library of Congress National Film Registry has selected 25 motion pictures for inclusion to their prestigious vaults.

   The Class of 2011 include films familiar to the average movie audience, such as Norma Rae, Silence of the Lambs, Forrest Gump, and Stand and Deliver. Many worthy considerations were also chosen from the Silent Era and Hollywood’s Golden Age. Here are notable selections that should interest the classic movie buff:

~ The Kid (1921) - Charlie Chaplin’s first full-length feature made Jackie Coogan a star. I’ll be telling Coogan’s heartbreaking story, which led to the protection of children in the movie business by the California legislature, in my upcoming second book.

~ The Iron Horse (1924) - John Ford’s first silent masterpiece. Ford is the most honored film director in the annals of cinema.

~ Twentieth Century (1934) - Along with It Happened One Night, this movie directed by Howard Hawks ushered in the era of the screwball comedy. It was the last important screen  performance by John Barrymore, and Carole Lombard became the genre’s first film sensation.

~ Bambi (1942) - Along with Mary Poppins, Walt Disney’s personal favorite work. The screen death of the fawn’s mother is an unforgettable scene. Many children first learned the notion of tragedy by watching this animated classic.

~ The Lost Weekend (1945) - It preceded The Best Years of Our Lives by a full year, this was the production that first provided the social message to  motion picture audiences. Ray Milland won an Oscar for his riveting role of an alcoholic.

~ The Big Heat (1953) - Maybe, the finest 1950s film-noir production. Directed by Fritz Lang, the movie starred Glenn Ford, Lee Marvin, and Gloria Grahame. The scene in which Grahame’s character has her face scarred with acid, actually caused audiences to leave a bit traumatized.

~ The War of the Worlds (1953) - Along with The Thing, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and Them!, one of the great Cold War-science fiction thrillers, and based on the H.G. Wells novel. The award-winning  special effects were created by George Pal.

~ Porgy and Bess (1959) - A critical failure when released; this motion picture became a landmark production when it hired African Americans in the lead roles, including Sidney Poitier, Dorothy Dandridge, Sammy Davis Jr., Pearl Bailey and Diahann Carroll. George Gershwin’s score cemented his reputation as the 20th Century’s greatest classical composer.

   And, added to this year’s National Film Registry were a number of documentaries. Frank Capra’s production of The Negro Soldier (1944) shared the contributions of Negroes during World War II. Also, a collection of home movies by the Nicholas Brothers were perserved. Their  development of dance in motion pictures compares favorably to the work of Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly. The sibling’s personal reels are among the films long considered as cultural, artistic and historical treasures… and finally recognized on its merits.

  Earlier this year, the Library of Congress added Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History to the Thomas Jefferson Reading Room shelves. I’m proud to be a small part of the Class of 2011, with regards to the National Film Registry’s cinematic additions.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Blacklisted Writer Finally gets His Due!

December 28th, 2011

Manny P. here…

   I want to personally congratulate Lawrence O’Donnell, host of MSNBC’s Last Word for his story on a segment about the recent decision made by the Writers Guild of America. Due to the unyielding efforts of the children of Dalton Trumbo and Ian McLellan Hunter, the screenwriter  (Trumbo) was belatedly added to the credits of the 1953 Paramount comedy, Roman Holiday. The film starred Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn, and Eddie Albert. ———>

   Christopher Trumbo was a playwright, who spent his adult life studying the details of the Hollywood Ten and the Blacklist during the McCarthy Era. Chris died in January of 2011. Tim Hunter, a television director, joined his lifelong friend in helping to get Trumbo’s dad the credit he richly deserved.

   Dalton Trumbo was a successful screenwriter,  and his credits included Five Came Back, A Guy Named Joe, Kitty Foyle, Our Vines Have Tender Grapes, and Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo. After a conviction by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) for Trumbo’s involvement in the  Communist Party, he was blacklisted from movie studios for a decade. During the 1950s, the scribe sold scripts without receiving screen credit. Among these films… The Brave One, which won the Oscar for Best Screenplay of 1956. Robert Rich was given the Academy Award, a person who didn’t exist.

DALTON & CLEO TRUMBO (1947 HUAC) 

   He officially returned to writing for the movies when Kirk Douglas insisted that Trumbo be given screen credit for his work on Spartacus in 1960, which helped break the Blacklist. A year before his death, he was given his statuette for The Brave One by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In 1993, Dalton Trumbo was posthumously awarded his Oscar for co-writing Roman Holiday.

   In a statement issued last week by the WGA West President Chris Keyser, the Guild issued an apology to the Trumbo family. He hoped the gesture of inclusion of the screenwriter credit to the Paramount film might ease the pain that can never be erased. Also, this serves as a reminder to do the right thing, and avoid the impulse of censorship for political reasons. I’m thrilled the Writers Guild Foundation Shavelson Webb Library carries Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History on their prestigious shelves.

   Lawrence O’Donnell is well known for his long association with The West Wing, acting as executive story editor, co-producer, consultant, and executive producer throughout various episodes from 1999 to 2006. He won an Emmy for his work in 2001, capturing a statuette for Outstanding Drama Series. Again, politics and Hollywood makes strange bedfellows.

Until next time>                                  “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- An Honor for Richard Gere…

December 26th, 2011

Manny P. here…

   Actor Richard Gere will receive the George Eastman Award on February 16, 2012, mainly for his longtime effort in the battle against HIV/AIDS. He helped to establish AIDS Care Home, a residential facility in India for women and children with AIDS. He will be presented with the accolade in Upstate New York, at the Rochester George Eastman House.                        RICHARD GERE ———>

   Gere is heavily involved in charitable advocacy, including acting as co-founder of Tibet House, which aids the Dalai Lama’s human rights campaign. The star is also Chairman of the International Campaign for Tibet. He actively appears at Survival International events, an organization dedicated to protecting the rights and lands of the tribal people throughout the world; and he currently serves on the Board of Directors for Healing the Divide, which helps fund global initiatives to promote peace and justice. He created the Gere Foundation India Trust in 1999 to support humanitarian programs in the host country.

   Among his career highlights, Richard Gere is best remembered for roles in Days of Heaven, Looking for Mr. GoodbarAmerican Gigolo, An Officer and a Gentleman, The Cotton Club, Pretty Woman, and Chicago. In December 2010, he was honored for lifetime achievement at the 34th Cairo International Film Festival.

   The George Eastman House is a museum dedicated to photography, and one of the world’s oldest cinematic archives. It was built by George Eastman, the founder of the Eastman Kodak Company. The film collection is one of the major moving image repositories in the United States, with over 25,000 titles, and collections of stills, posters, and papers, plus close to three million artifacts. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1966 

   The George Eastman House Honors Award was established in 2009, and given to celebrities whose lifetime contributions embody the values and traditions championed by the international museum. Past recipients include Jessica Lange, Lauren Bacall, Martin Scorsese and Meryl Streep.

Until next time>                                  “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- BibilioScribe Donates to Fine Charity…

December 24th, 2011

Manny P. here…

   BiblioScribe is a bookstore website that showcases registered authors, including me and my work Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History. The online sales location works in conjunction with Amazon, and is produced through Poor Richard Web Press LCC

   One of the advantages of purchasing literary product through BiblioScribe is their work with a wonderful non-profit organization, which donates 10% of all online book sales to First Book. According to their authorization letter:

First Book is a national nonprofit organization with a single mission: to give children from low-income families the opportunity to read and own their first new books. The primary goal of First Book is to work with existing literacy programs to distribute new books to children who, for economic reasons, have little or no access to books. Since its inception, First Book has provided nearly 30 million new books to children in need in hundreds of communities nationwide.

All books distributed by First Book are provided at no cost to the child or program. With the support of First Book, these programs are able-often for the first time-to develop a curriculum around the books they select, share these books with participating children, and enable these children to share the magic of their new books with siblings and other family members at home.

 The only behavior measure that correlates significantly with reading scores is the number of books in the home. An analysis of a national data set of nearly 100,000 United States school children found that access to printed materials–and not poverty–is the “critical variable affecting reading acquisition.”

   Do something special for the Holidays. Pick up Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History through BiblioScribe; underprivilaged children and their families will be richer for this effort. The fight for literacy is a worthy cause in any year.

   To make it easy, I’ve provided a link:

http://www.biblioscribe.com/results.php?bsasinbs=1935359169

Until next time>                               “never forget”  

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Happy Holidays / 2012

December 22nd, 2011

Manny P. here…

   Lionel Barrymore’s annual radio performance of playing Ebenezer Scrooge from A Christmas Carol led to Frank Capra casting the veteran actor as Mr. Potter in It’s a Wonderful Life. He honored us as Scrooge for seventeen years; a holiday tradition that began in 1934. In 1936, John Barrymore stepped in after he learned his brother’s wife had passed away from influenza. Lionel Barrymore died in November, 1954, just one month before he was to reprise the part. Let us remember Lionel Barrymore for the many years he  was welcomed into American family homes during the holidays.

   Here’s a link to a Barrymore broadcast in 1939. The sound quality is very good… ENJOY:

http://www.digitaldeliftp.com/DigitalDeliToo/dd2jb-A-Christmas-Carol.html

      

Happy Chanukah… Merry ChristmasFeliz Navidad… Happy New Year… my friends and family!

Until next time>                             “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- My Work is at Home in an Art Gallery!

December 19th, 2011

Manny P. here…

   Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History has found an impressive home at an art salon. Located in Huntington Beach, the Pierside Gallery has a capital collection of original prints and reproductions. I was personally impressed with  their selected works of Thomas Kinkade.

   My paperback fits in quite well with the intentional Southern California motif, with an ideal emphasis on our surfside communities, local sports memorabilia, and a surprising appreciation for Hollywood’s Golden Age. While there, I found an accumulation of posters with lively scenes from Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, King Kong, among others. I’m proud my book is part of their initial literary acquistions.

 

   The Pierside Gallery, celebrating 20 years, is located at 7777 Edinger Ave., Suite 174, in the Bella Terra Shopping Center. For a complete listing of their treasured artist-exhibitions, please visit their website at:

http://www.piersidegallery.com/

   This is a unique Orange County spot to find that one-of-a-kind holiday gift at an affordable price, including nicely displayed copies of Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History.

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   Many thanks to the Orlando Bulletin.com website for picking up my Jerry Lewis-blog over the weekend. They ran the story, making me feel a bit like Gary Lycan, my favorite newspaper columnist…

   Here’s a link to the page: 

http://orlandobulletin.com/?s=jerry+lewis+forgotten+hollywood&x=46&y=12

Until next time>                                  “never forget”    

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Outdoor Film Amphitheater to be Built!

December 18th, 2011

Manny P. here…

   The Los Angeles Times is reporting that construction is set for an outdoor amphitheater and events center in the heart of Hollywood. The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences owns a parcel of land around the corner of Vine and Fountain, and they plan on building a 17,000 square foot facility for folks to enjoy free screenings and A-List activities. (AMPAS offers a proposed design below)

 

   The prestigious group behind the Oscars bought the 3.5-acre parcel of land in 2005 for $50 million with the actual intent of designing a motion picture museum on the lot. In October, the Academy announced plans to lease the art deco May Company in the Wilshire District, now owned by theLos Angeles County Museum of Art, and instead put the museum there. They then decided to open the family-friendly outdoor theater, which sits across from their Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study.

   A renewed interest in Hollywood’s Golden Age led to this fortuitous decision, and the locale  will have a comfortable grassy area, seating approximately 300 patrons. Adjacent to the area will be a 10,000-square-foot patio, designed for special parties and events. The screening of classic cinema will be the primary focus of the location, obtained from the Academy archives, or its members.

   It’s unclear how the facility will impact the Egyptian Theatre and the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, which has established a loyal audience over the past decade during the summer months, and showing studio era-related movies on their grounds.

   Demolition of the area begins this week. The target opening is set for May, 2012.

(Portions of this story were reported in a December 17th story from the L.A. Times)

Until next time>                                   “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Jerry Lewis Documentary on Encore…

December 17th, 2011

Manny P. here…

   Jerry Lewis at 85 is still doing standup, producing cinema, and remains a vital part of the entertainment industry. A new documentary capturing his current lifestyle will air tonight on the Encore Channel at 8p (EST). It’s called Method to the Madness, and the production will chronicle his life, interspersed with his daily regimen over a three-year period.

   The comedian will be seen on his yacht in San Diego, doing his nightclub act in Las Vegas, and taking a trip to Festival du Cannes in France, the country that has often compared him to Chaplin, Cantinflas, and other iconic funnymen. Interviews with Jerry Seinfeld, Eddie Murphy, and other comedic royalty will explain the influence Lewis has had on their careers. Despite three heart attacks, a bout with prostate cancer, diabetes, and pulmonary fibrosis, he isn’t thinking about retiring.

   Jerry Lewis began his life in show business at age five in vaudeville, performing on the Catskill Mountains circuit in Upstate New York with his parents. After World War II, he teamed with Dean Martin. They made their live television debut in 1948 on Toast of the Town with Ed Sullivan. After making an appearance on The Colgate Comedy Hour in 1950, they signed with Paramount, and were featured in  sixteen movies together, first doing skits in the My Friend Irma-series of films.

   After a celebrated and acrimonious breakup with Martin, Lewis embarked on a solo career in motion pictures. He starred in The Delicate Delinquent, Rock-A-Bye Baby, and The Geisha Boy, while under contract with Hal Wallis. After he formed his own production company, he’s best known for creating Cinderfella, The Errand Boy, The Patsy, and The Nutty Professor.

   On stage, Jerry Lewis co-starred with Lynn Redgrave in Hellzapoppin’ in 1976. He was also cast as Mr. Applegate in a revival of Damn Yankees on Broadway, which was choreographed by future film director Rob Marshall. In 1983, Lewis received great critic reviews for his screen  performance opposite Robert DeNiro in The King of Comedy.

   From 1952 until 2011, he tirelessly served as national chairman of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, hosting a yearly telethon to raise money and awareness to find a cure for the disease. It’s estimated he helped to raise $2.6 billion through his concerted effort. In 1976, U.S. Representative Les Aspin nominated Lewis for a Nobel Peace Prize for his contibutions to the MDA. In 2009, he received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences during the Oscar telecast.

   In March 2006, the French Minister of Culture awarded Jerry Lewis the Légion d’honneur, calling him the French people’s favorite clown. The nation  has long recognized his vast talent as an auteur, who has enjoyed creative control over all aspects of his work, and comparable to Howard Hawks and Alfred Hitchcock. His developmental application of the video assist is still in cinematic use today, lauded by directors Steven Spielberg and John Landis for its easy availability of instant playback after a scene is shot.

   The Encore Channel will repeat Method to the Madness throughout the weekend on Sunday at 11:30a (EST), and at 8p (EST).

Until next time>                                “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- The Passing of George Whitman…

December 16th, 2011

Manny P. here…

   As a member of the Screen Actors Guild, my job over the next 45 days (or so) is to watch nominated motion pictures in various categories for the 2011 SAG Awards to make an informed decision when I fill out my ballot. Tonight, I enjoyed the Woody Allen-directed film, Midnight in Paris. It’s an enjoyable comedy starring Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Adrien Brody, Marion Cotillard, and Kathy Bates.

   In many ways, the star of the film is the City of Lights. Selected locales are vividly photographed, and they help  provide the narrative about an author who longs for a nostalgic view of the Paris. One landmark featured is the Shakespeare and Company Bookstore. The store is located at 37 rue de la Bûcherie, just a few steps away from the Seine and the Notre Dame Cathedral, and was opened in August, 1951 by George Whitman. Originally called Le Mistral, it was later renamed in 1964.

   Coincidentally, and to my chagrin, George Whitman died on Wednesday, December 14th, at his apartment above Shakespeare and Company. Whitman will be buried at the Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris in good company of other icons, such as Colette, Oscar Wilde, and Balzac. His daughter currently handles the day-to-day operations of  his beloved book shop.    GEORGE WHITMAN ————–>

   Midnight in Paris is a great date-movie, and a stirring tribute to folks who were part of the artist-elite of the 20th century, who spent time in this influential city including Gertrude Stein, Salvador Dali, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Pablo Picasso, Josephine Baker, Ernest Hemingway and Cole Porter.

   George Whitman had turned 98 just two days ago.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- 2012 Winter Book Tour in Las Vegas…

December 15th, 2011

Manny P. here…

   Just after the Holidays, Laurie and I are spending a week in Las Vegas. I have booksigning events scheduled. I also intend on promoting my new book, set for release in January - Son of Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History (more on that in a future blog).

   First things first…

   On Sunday, January 8th, I’ll be autographing my current paperback at Barnes & Noble / Northwest, located at the Rainbow Promenade, 2191 N Rainbow Blvd. at 2p. Come by and visit and lets talk about Hollywood’s Golden Age, and the upcoming Oscar ceremony. B&N visits always are fun. Here’s a link for the upcoming event:

http://store-locator.barnesandnoble.com/event/3131268

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   From January 9th – 11th, and for the second year, I’ll be participating in the 3rd Annual Moose International Texas Hold ‘Em Poker Tournament at the Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino. This is the perfect setting to sign my work, since I’m still committed to the donation of $1 for every sale of first edition copies of my work to the exceptional national educational facility - Moose Heart

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    boulder-creek-logo

   On Thursday, the last day of our excursion in Nevada, we’ll be sharing breakfast with the Boulder City Chapter of Rotary International to introduce Hollywood to these fine Rotarians. Let me personally thank my good friend from high school, Donna Taylor Draney, for this special morning we have planned. This gathering is set to take place at Boulder Creek Golf Club.

    This will be a busy and fruitful week. Laurie and I are definitely looking forward to it!

Until next time>                                “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Citizen Kane Oscar up for Auction…

December 14th, 2011

Manny P. here…

   It’s a known fact that Orson Welles didn’t receive an Oscar for Best Director in 1941 for his work on Citizen Kane. This accolade went to John Ford for How Green was My Valley. Nor did Kane win the Best Picture statuette. Welles and Herman J. Mankiewicz (the grandfather of Ben Mankiewicz, the weekend host at Turner Classic Movies) did garner an Academy Award for Best Screenplay for co-writing Kane’s amazing script.

   The only statuette Citizen Kane received is now up for sale, according Nate D. Sanders Auctions. Despite a protest from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Beatrice Welles (Orson’s daughter) was given the right to sell the Oscar by court ruling, and the prize was valued at one million dollars in 2002. In 1950, the Academy required that Oscar winners  promise they not sell their statuette before offering it back for one dollar. Believed lost, Welles bequeathed the award to his daughter in his will. It was found in 1994, almost ten years after his death.

   The pictures losing to Citizen Kane that year in the Best Screenplay category included Sergeant York and The Devil and Miss Jones.

   Online bidding at www.natesander.com is open until 5 p.m., December 20th. A suggestion…  Ben Mankiewicz should step up and make a bid. This would keep the Oscar in their family. And,  his donation of this item to TCM might make it an outstanding display artifact in their lobby. Just saying

 Until next time>                                 “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Robert Wagner Tells His Side of Story!

December 13th, 2011

Manny P. here…

   Robert Wagner is set to make a series of interview appearances in Florida this week as part of a three-day retrospective. Included in the discussion might be insight into the fateful night in which  Natalie Wood drowned.

   The longtime actor will visit Stuart, Florida for a three-day event. Stuart is the locale where the couple honeymooned back in 1957, and is a popular fishing community. The setting for the series is the Lyric Theater.

   Questions will be solicited in writing from audience members just before each program and will then be vetted by Wagner’s publicists. He’s promised to answer any inquiries regarding the ongoing criminal investigation into the death of Natalie Wood. A surprise guest is also expected.                                                                              ROBERT WAGNER

   Robert Wagner was a popular star at MGM during the 1950s, and his movie credits include What Price Glory, Broken Lance, Titanic, The Mountain, Prince Valiant, The Pink Panther, The Towering InfernoMidway, and the Austin Powers series of comedies. He’s best known for television roles on It Takes a Thief, and Hart to Hart.

   He recently subbed for Robert Osborne as a guest host on TCM, and was hired as a celebrity spokesperson promoting the idea of reverse mortgages for the Senior Lending Network.

   Wagner’s career was recognized in 2009 by the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters, when they presented him with their Art Gilmore Career Achievement Award.

   The ticket price to this potentially candid series is $50 per day.

Until next time>                              “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- A Noted Distinction for Dickens!

December 12th, 2011

Manny P. here…

   An honor befalling Charles Dickens is ongoing in the United Kingdom to celebrate the bicentennial birthday of the celebrated writer. A two-pound uncirculated collectible coin is now available from the Royal Mint’s website. The new coin will feature a portrait of the novelist made up by a number of his most famous titles.

   The design unveiled last week is an innovative portrait by artist Matthew Dent combining David Copperfield, Oliver Twist, A Tale of Two Cities, and A Christmas Carol, etc., to form a silhouette of Dickens’ profile. The image resembles a bust on display at the Charles Dickens Museum in London.

 

   Turner Classic Movies is also celebrating the work of Charles Dickens by running cinema based on the writings of this literary giant. Every Monday in December, TCM is airing fabulous movies featuring Freddie Bartholomew, W.C. Fields, Lionel Barrymore, Claude Rains, Alastair Sim, Ronald Colman, Edna May Oliver, Gene Lockhart, C. Aubrey Smith, and Reginald Owen (among others) sharing the majesty of Dickens.

   Coins will be circulated early next year to mark the 200th birthday of the Victorian scribe on February 7, 2012.

Until next time>                                  “never forget”