“Forgotten Hollywood”- Passing Parade includes Mouseketeer

April 8th, 2013

Manny P. here… 450px-Annette_Funicello_Former_Mouseketeer_1975

   Annette Funicello was the Disney image of youthful exuberance. The most popular member of the Mickey Mouse Club, she would eventually settle on screen into young adulthood. Her teaming with Frankie Avalon in the Beach Party movies ushered in the early 1960s with a lighthearted spirit that complimented similar characterizations such as Gidget and Tammy. Annette also had a string of pop music hits; and was well known for her strong Catholic faith in her private life. Ultimately, she became a familiar face in the fight against multiple sclerosis.     ANNETTE —->

   In 1955, the 12-year-old was discovered by Walt Disney when she performed as the Swan Queen in Swan Lake at a dance recital at the Starlight Bowl in Burbank. Disney cast her as one of the original Mouseketeers; the last to be selected, and one of the few cast-members personally selected by Walt Disney himself. Annette proved to be very popular, and by the end of the first season of Mickey Mouse Club, she was receiving 6,000 letters a month, according to her Disney Legends biography.

   After the Mickey Mouse Club, she remained under contract with Disney for a time, and had  a noted recurring television role in Zorro. Annette also co-starred in Disney-produced movies such as The Shaggy Dog, Babes in Toyland, The Misadventures of Merlin Jones, and The Monkey’s Uncle. Although uncomfortable as a singer, Funicello scored a number of hits in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and mostly penned by the Sherman Brothers, including: Tall PaulO Dio Mio, Train of Love (written by Paul Anka), and Pineapple Princess. They were released by Disney’s Buena Vista label.

   She moved on from Disney to become a teen idol, starring in a series of Beach Party films with Frankie Avalon and Harvey Lembeck for American International Pictures. They included Beach PartyMuscle Beach Party, Bikini Beach, Pajama Party, Beach Blanket Bingo, and How to Stuff a Wild Bikini. The wholesome image earned in these films gained her a reference in the Grease song… Look at me, I’m Sandra Dee. As a personal favor to Walt Disney, she was the only co-star to wear a one-piece bathing suit. Annette and Frankie were reunited in 1987 for the Paramount release, Back to the Beach. She became a familiar spokesperson on television for Skippy Peanut Butter.

   Funicello announced in 1992 that she suffered from multiple sclerosis. She opened the Annette Funicello Fund for Neurological Disorders at the California Community Foundation. Annette remained lifelong friends with Shelley Fabares, Tommy Kirk, and Frankie Avalon. Her autobiography, A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes: The Annette Funicello Story was written in 1994.

   Despite the loss in her ability to walk, and eventually, to speak, she was vigilant in bringing openess to her disease, which eventually cost the star her life. Annette Funicello was 70.

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04oshea-articleInline<— MILO O’SHEA was a serviceable character actor, whose career transcended the end of the Studio Era of filmmaking to guest-starring roles during television’s golden age. He began acting on the stage, and then moved to motion pictures in the 1960s. He’s best known for playing the tempermental judge in The Verdict, which starred Paul Newman, James Mason, and Jack Warden.

   His film career included roles in Franco Zefferelli’s Romeo and Juliet, Barbarella, Theatre of Blood, and The Purple Rose of Cairo. The affable Irishman also made memorable appearances in The Golden Girls, The West Wing, Cheers, and Frasier.

   Milo O’Shea was 86.

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170px-Thatcher-loc   This is indeed a sad day in Hollywood and world history. I’m sure, others will note the death of The Iron Lady… former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Her amazing story was chronicled last year in a movie starring Meryl Streep. Her characterization of Thatcher earned the actress a third  Oscar. Maggie’s friendly political relationship with President Reagan was legendary, and it helped end the Cold WarMARGARET THATCHER —->

   Part of a Hollywood-and-Vine metaphoric moment, Margaret Thatcher was 87.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Margaret O’Brien to be Interviewed…

April 7th, 2013

Manny P. here… Meet_Me_In_St_Louis_Judy_Garland_Margaret_O'Brien_1944

   Margaret O’Brien is set to appear in the Forgotten Hollywood Documentary Pilot about Lionel Barrymore’s story on how he influenced our country’s view about the disabled. Suffering from advanced degenerative arthritis, his decision to carry on with his career motivated the American public to champion the Roosevelt Adminstration March of Dimes campaign; the most successful effort to fight disease in our history. Margaret O’Brien was an initial poster child for The March of Dimes.

   Beginning a prolific career as a child actress in feature films at MGM, O’Brien became one of the most popular  young stars in cinema. She made her first film appearance in Babes on Broadway at the age of four, and she was honored with a Juvenile Oscar as the Outstanding Child Actress of 1944 for her stint in Meet Me in St. LouisMARGARET O’BRIEN AND JUDY GARLAND —> 

46 Margaret O'Brien & Lionel Barrymore   Her career included roles in Madame Curie, Jane Eyre, The Canterville Ghost, Three Wise Fools, Our Vines Have Tender Grapes, Little Women, and The Secret Garden. O’Brien co-starred with Judy Garland, Elizabeth Taylor, Peter Lawford, June Allyson, James Cagney, Ann Southern, Charles Laughton, Edward G. Robinson, Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon, Orson Welles, Mary Astor, Robert Young, Thomas Mitchell, Joan Fontaine, Marjorie Main, Red Skelton,   C. Aubrey Smith, and of course, Lionel Barrymore.      <–MARGARET O’BRIEN AND LIONEL BARRYMORE

MargO'Brien   In 1990, O’Brien was honored by the Young Artist Foundation with its Former Child Star Lifetime Achievement” Award recognizing her outstanding achievements within the film industry as a child actress. In her later career, she appeared on television, on stage, and in supporting motion picture roles.

   Our production team is thrilled over the addition of the legendary Margaret O’Brien to our Documentary. It’s not too late to contribute to the Indiegogo campaign to further develop our Forgotten Hollywood project, please click below:

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http://www.indiegogo.com/forgottenhollywoodseries/x/1999460

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Film Critic Roger Ebert Has Died…

April 5th, 2013

Manny P. here… roger ebert

   One of the most prolific critics of cinema passed away on Thursday. Roger Ebert was also a fine journalist and screenwriter, who was described by Forbes Magazine as the most powerful pundit in America. He was the  initial film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize, as well as, the first to be awarded a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.

   Ebert began his career at the Chicago Sun-Times in 1967. He first garnered attention by a national public for his 1969 review of Night of the Living Dead that was published in Reader’s Digest. In 1970, he co-wrote the screenplay for the Russ Meyer film, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, regarded as a cult classic.  ROGER EBERT ->

   When paired on a local television show with fellow Chicago newspaper critic, Gene Siskel,  they proved to become a sensation. The show was picked up by PBS in 1978 for national distribution. Their trademark thumbs up or thumbs down could decide the fate of any given movie. After the death of Siskel in 1999, Ebert paired with his Sun-Times colleague Richard Roeper. He continued to work tirelessly despite a 2002 diagnosis of thyroid cancer, which eventually left him unable to speak.

   Ebert had compiled best of the year movie lists since the 1960s, which have helped to provide an overview of his critical preferences. His top choices included Bonnie and Clyde, Five Easy Pieces, The Last Picture Show, The Godfather, Sophie’s Choice, The Color Purple, Goodfellas, Schindler’s List, Fargo, Million Dollar Baby, The Hurt Locker, The Social Network, and last year, Argo. Roger’s all-time favorite motion picture was reportedly Citizen Kane. He additionally began profiles of notable actors and directors in addition to his film reviews — celebrating such legends as Alfred Hitchcock, John Wayne and Robert Mitchum.

siskel and ebert   Ebert founded his own film festival, Ebertfest, in his home town of Champaign, Illinois in 1999. His 1975 Pulitzer for distinguished criticism was the first, and one of only three, given to a film reviewer since the categorys creation in 1970. Ebert was made an honorary life member of the Directors Guild of America during the group’s annual awards ceremony on January 31, 2009. He appeared on Turner Classic Movies in 2010  during the network’s The Essentials series. Ebert chose Sweet Smell of Success to be shown.

   Two thumbs up for the life of Roger Ebert. He was 70.

(photos courtesy of the Chicago Sun Times and Art Shirley)

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Let’s Look at the Tote Board (#13)…

April 4th, 2013

Manny P. here…

   Our FORGOTTEN HOLLYWOOD Pilot Documentary (Development) funding campaign is in its 13th week on INDIEGOGO. We have approached 53% of our goal. Click on the link below if you would like to contribute:

http://www.indiegogo.com/forgottenhollywoodseries/x/1999460

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CONTRIBUTIONS darrell nakamura

~ DARRELL NAKAMURA ($20) – Another counselor at the Academy of Radio and Television Broadcasting; and he’s very good friends with Austin Clough. Darrell actually went through the program, and he’s a fine broadcaster. He also plans on joining us for our Bowling event at Westminster Lanes on May 18th.

sglogo~ ESSIE FLORES ($20) – Essie is a restaurant proprieter who lives in Long Beach. He often takes time-out from his duties to visit me at the Starting Gate and Mr. B’s in Los Alamitos to enjoy a little karaoke time.

~ L.H. KEITA ($20) – Another karaoke enthusiast, H.K. often visits the Starting Gate in Los Alamitos and Harvey’s Steakhouse in Huntington Beach. He just retired, and makes the trek into Orange County to try a new song… or two.

Pat and Susan McFarlane~ PATRICK AND SUSAN McFARLANE ($15) – Pat and Susan are longtime friends who belong to my bowling league at Westminster Lanes. He’s a major supporter of our military; and one of his favorite movies is It’s a Wonderful Life; the holiday classic that co-stars many actors in my Forgotten Hollywood Book Series. Pat also enjoys reading the Forgotten Hollywood blog, since he loves classic movies.

* * * * *

   During this 2013 campaign, I’m asking friends, family, and supporters to help us achieve our 120+ day (19-week) goal of $500080 contributors want to support quality family-friendly television programs, intelligently presented to homes across this nation.

   YOU can contribute ANY AMOUNT. This step ensures Development, and we’ll be able to:

  1. Hire a research archivist to track down footage and photos; and secure licensing
  2. Hire a consultant / casting director to book actors and behind-the-scenes folks from Hollywood’s Golden Age; plus cinematic historians for original interviews
  3. Set up a production shoot to tape these candid moments

   Here’s the INDIEGOGO link for all the details (and you’re chance to make a contribution):

http://www.indiegogo.com/forgottenhollywoodseries/x/1999460

   All contributors will receive screen credit at the conclusion of the Documentary Pilot.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- The Visual Magic of George Hurrell…

April 3rd, 2013

Manny P. here…

   Hollywood’s Golden Age may forever be remembered as a glamorous time simply because of the photographs of George Hurrell. His sumptuous black-and-white portraits of such stars as Jean Harlow, Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Myrna Loy, Carole Lombard, Clark Gable, Errol Flynn, Humphrey Bogart and James Cagney have become iconic images in American culture, helping define the classic movie star.

gary cooper           marlene dietrich 2

                      GARY COOPER                                             MARLENE DIETRICH

   George Hurrell pioneered the creation of the Dream Factory publicity department. At the request of his wife Norma Shearer, MGM production chief Irving Thalberg signed Hurrell to a contract, making him head of the portrait photography department in 1932. Shearer hired the talented craftsmen at the suggestion of her friend, actor Ramon Navarro. During her career, Hurrell became her personal photographer. In the early 1940s, he moved to Warner Brothers. Later in the decade, he worked at Columbia Pictures, where his pictures were used to help the studio build the career of Rita Hayworth.

philbrook   An exhibit of his visual magic is currently on display through June 30th at the Philbrook Museum of Art, 2727 S. Rockford Rd. in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Hollywood Portraits of George Hurrell showcases a number of his best-known images. Since his death in 1992, his works have appreciated in value, and are highly sought after as fine art by collectors.

   A Hurrell portrait, wrote Esquire magazine in 1936, is to the ordinary publicity still what a Rolls Royce is to a roller skate. Go online for admission details and schedules at:

http://www.philbrook.org

Until next time>                               “never forget”