“Forgotten Hollywood”- A Star-Spangled Salute…

January 8th, 2014

Manny P. here…

   The original handwritten manuscript of The Star-Spangled Banner and the flag that inspired the song’s lyrics will be displayed together at the Smithsonian in Washington, the first time the historic pieces are believed to have been shown side-by-side. The manuscript is on display at the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore, and the flag has been at the Smithsonian since the early 1900s. They will be together from Flag Day, June 14th, through July 6th. The three-week exhibition starts celebrations, marking 200 years since the song was written on September 14th, 1814.

Francis_Scott_Key<— Francis Scott Key was a 35-year-old lawyer and amateur poet when he wrote the song’s words during the War of 1812. Key watched as the British bombarded Baltimore’s Fort McHenry for more than 24 hours. When he saw the fort’s flag flying on the morning after the bombardment, a signal that US troops had withstood the enemy, he was inspired to write a poem originally called Defense of Fort McHenry. It was set to music and later renamed, becoming the country’s national anthem in 1931. Key’s original manuscript, written with quill and ink, has a surprise for viewers who know the song. His poem is actually four stanzas, though the first stanza is the only one that’s traditionally sung.

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   Folks may be more familiar with the flag, as millions visit each year to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. The flag has been at Smithsonian for more than a century after being given to the institution by the family of Major George Armistead. He was the commander of Fort McHenry and the man who commissioned the banner with 15 stripes and stars, representing the number of states in the Union at the time. Except for a period during World War II, when it was housed in Virginia for safekeeping, the flag hasn’t traveled outside of Washington since coming to the Smithsonian.

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   Key’s manuscript has traveled slightly more often since being purchased for the historical society in the 1950s. In 2011, it was taken by armored vehicle, with a police escort, to the state’s capital in Annapolis and to Fort McHenry. And in 2013, the museum brought it to Mount Olivet Cemetery in Frederick, Maryland., where Key is buried.

   Oh say can you see… It will be a worthwhile visit!

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Popular Voice Actor is Gone…

January 7th, 2014

Manny P. here…Larry D. Mann

   Larry D. Mann, best known as Yukon Cornelius in the stop motion animation Christmas favorite Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, has died. Prior to acting, he started as a disk jockey on CHUM 1050 radio in Toronto in 1949. His cinematic career spanned four decades, and appeared in more than twenty movies. He also had dozens of credits in television. Producer Norman Jewison considered him to be a versatile character actor.         LARRY D. MANN —–>

   Mann had minor roles in Robin and the Seven Hoods, The Quick and the Dead, The Singing Nun, Spencer’s Mountain, There was a Crooked Man, In the Heat of the Night, Oklahoma Crude, and The Sting. He shared screen-time with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Peter Falk, Edward G. Robinson, Bing Crosby, Henry Fonda, Maureen O’Hara, Donald Crisp, Debbie Reynolds, Rod Steiger, Sidney Poitier, Kirk Douglas, George C. Scott, Faye Dunaway, Robert Redford, Paul Newman, and Robert Shaw.

   He guest-starred on the small-screen in Ben Casey, The Wonderful World of Disney, Gunsmoke, My Favorite Martian, The Green HornetBewitched, Get Smart, Bonanza, The Big Valley, Green Acres, Hogan’s Heroes, Mannix, Dragnet, It Takes a Thief, The Mod Squad, Night Gallery, IronsideBaretta, Hill Street Blues,The Dukes of Hazzard, Quincy M.E., and Columbo.

   He excelled in children’s programming with a recurring part on Howdy Doody for five years. And, his voice was used in animated classics, such as Return to Oz, The New Adventures of Pinocchio, Sabrina the Teenage WitchThe Pink Panther and Friends, and The All-New Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show. His legacy was cemented on the annual yuletide event that starred Burl Ives. And, Rudolph has faithfully aired every winter since 1964, making this the longest running Christmas television special in history, and one of only four 1960s seasonal fare still telecast; the others were How the Grinch Stole Christmas, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and Frosty the Snowman. The family-fav has been shown on CBS affiliates since 1972, with the network unveiling a high-definition, digitally remastered version of the program in 2005.

   Larry D. Mann was 91.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Robert Osborne Interviewed on TCM!

January 5th, 2014

Manny P. here…

   For 20 years, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) host Robert Osborne has introduced thousands of films and interviewed hundreds of stars, including several longer in-depth interviews with Hollywood legends in his continuing series of specials, Private Screenings. On Monday, TCM is going to turn the tables on Osborne as the interviewer becomes the interviewee in a brand new special Private Screenings: Robert Osborne. He will be interviewed for this special by his friend and former co-host of The Essentials… Alec Baldwin (below with Osborne).

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   Robert Osborne has served as TCM’s host since the network’s launch on April 14th, 1994. He’s a man whose fascinating stories, historical knowledge, and a sheer love of the subject have made his name synonymous with classic film. But the story of Osborne’s own life is one that could be a motion picture itself. It’s a story of a small town boy from Colfax, Washington, who at a young age, fell in love with film, moved to Hollywood to give acting a try. He then became a writer, columnist, critic, and the official biographer of Oscar, thanks to a series of books he’s written on the Academy Awards. Osborne created an industry for himself as the keeper of the flame for classic film at a time when nostalgia for Hollywood didn’t even exist. Then along came Turner Classic Movies with a custom-made job for his passion.

   As TCM expanded, so have his duties. In addition to his hosting gig, he co-hosts The Essentials weekly showcase with Drew Barrymore. And, he serves as the official host of the TCM Classic Film Festival held each Spring, and the TCM Classic Cruise in December. In recognition of his contributions to classic film, Osborne received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2006, and a special award from the National Board of Review in 2008.

   Baldwin and Osborne’s conversation begins with his early days tracking the movies playing in New York, and compiling the background information into a hefty notebook he affectionately calls Blackie. Viewers will not only get to see Blackie on camera for the first time, but also enjoy clips from Osborne’s early days as an actor in commercials, as well as in the daytime drama The Young Marrieds, and the pilot for The Beverly Hillbillies. In addition, Osborne is featured in several clips from The Dinah Shore Show, which frequently had him on to converse about the Oscars, and The Morning Program on CBS, for which he did movie and theater reviews.

    The special is packed with great stories from Osborne’s life and career, which has included influential encounters with several notable figures: Jane Darwell, who suggested he move to Hollywood after working with him in a regional theater production; Lucille Ball, who put him under contract at Desilu, and later encouraged him to go into journalism; Natalie Wood, who helped him work out the questions for his first interview; Olivia de Havilland, who asked him to escort her to the American Film Institute’s tribute to Bette Davis, and whom he continues to talk nearly every Sunday; and Dorothy Lamour, who introduced Osborne to the executives who eventually launched Turner Classic Movies. He also chats about the Private Screenings interviews he has conducted since the franchise launched in September 1995, including stars, such as Betty Hutton, Robert Mitchum, Jane Russell, and Mickey Rooney.

TCM ON AIR TALENT   One of the memorable aspects of Private Screenings: Robert Osborne is a collection of personal, heartfelt testimonies from the many actors and other film personalities who have known and worked with him. Tributes are given by Robert Wagner, Chita Rivera, Jane Powell, Joel Grey, Diane Baker, Arlene Dahl, Eva Marie Saint, Barbara Rush, Liza Minnelli, Mariette Hartley, and Tina & Nancy Sinatra.

   It’s slated to premiere on Monday, January, 6th, at 8p (ET/PT), followed by a night of four films hand-picked by Osborne.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- My 2014 SAG Awards Film Ballot…

January 4th, 2014

Manny P. here…

   For the fifth straight year, here’s my ballot for this year’s Screen Actors Guild Awards. I thought 2013 a solid year of cinema. And, several folks and movies in most of the categories should be considered for the specific awards. Let me explain:

   OUTSTANDING MALE:  Bruce Dern (Nebraska)

   All FIVE nominees are solid. Matthew McConaughey is a very close second choice for a fine job in Dallas Buyer’s Club. And, Tom Hanks and Forest Whitaker provide their best work in years. Plus, who is this Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave)… He’ll be a certain nominee again. I’m mildly surprised Christian Bale was overlooked for American Hustle. Bruce Dern is THE man!

   OUTSTANDING FEMALE:  Sandra Bullock (Gravity)

   The weakest category field by far. Judy Dench is my second choice for Philomena, but she has been better in other films. Sandra Bullock wins in essentially a two-person film. Sort of like Sleuth in outer space. The buzz is on Emma Thompson; but, I’m not feeling Saving Mr. Banks. And, the plot of Blue Jasmine has been essentially done by Woody Allen a dozen times, and performed better by Diane Keaton and Dianne Wiest.

   OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING MALE:  Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips)

   I never felt throughout Captain Phillips that Barkhad Abdi was acting. He was a real Somali pirate in my mind’s eye. A close second in the field is Michael Fassbender for his ferocious work in 12 Years a Slave. Jared Leto in Dallas Buyer’s Club is exceptional. My peers shouldn’t consider awarding this statuette to James Gandolfini just to honor his untimely passing; a real shame in my estimation… Paul Giamatti was snubbed for tender moments in Saving Mr. Banks.

   OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING FEMALE:  Oprah Winfrey (Lee Daniels’ The Butler)

   Not a huge fan of Oprah, personally. But, she gives simply a great performance. My second choice is literally a tie between June Squibb, the funniest celluloid moments of the year in Nebraska; and Lupita Nyong’o for her heartbreaking screen time in 12 Years a Slave. Again this year, Jennifer Lawrence is quite good for her work in American Hustle.

OUTSTANDING CAST IN A MOTION PICTURE:  12 Years a Slave

   Of the five choices, this pick narrowly finishes ahead of Lee Daniels’ The Butler and Dallas Buyer’s Club. If any of these three win, I’ll be thrilled. Actually, the ensemble in American Hustle is solid, too; though the plot is convoluted. It’s kind of The Sting meets Goodfellas. Below, you can see 12 Years a Slave was only my #3 favorite film and cast of the year. The first two were snubbed in the category. Too much overacting in August: Osage County… meh!

~ My 2013 Top 10 films: 1. The Book Thief (needed more love from the SAG Awards)  2. Nebraska  3. 12 Years a Slave  4. Lee Daniels’ The Butler  5. Captain Phillips  6. Dallas Buyer’s Club  7. Philomena  8. Gravity  9. Saving Mr. Banks  10. Parkland

   The SAG Awards will air on January 18th on TNT and TBS. We’ll see how I do this year…

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Gone With The Wind… Donate Now!

January 3rd, 2014

Manny P. here…

   The Harry Ransom Center at University of Texas at Austin is raising $50,000 over 75 days for the exhibit The Making of Gone With The Wind (September 9th, 2014 – January 4th, 2015). This Hollywood classic premiered in 1939, and will mark its 75th anniversary in 2014.

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   Producer David O. Selznick’s epic Gone With The Wind was embroiled in controversy before a single frame was shot. Based on the 1936 best-selling novel by Margaret Mitchell, the motion picture’s depictions of race, violence, and cultural identity in the South during the Civil War and Reconstruction continue to both compel and trouble audiences around the world.

   The exhibition will reveal surprising new stories about the making of this quintessential film from Hollywood’s Golden Age and illustrate why it remains influential and controversial 75 years after it was released. The exhibition will include over 300 original items from Selznick’s archive housed at the Ransom Center, including behind-the-scenes photographs, production records, storyboards, correspondence, audition footage, and fan mail. The exhibition will also feature many of the gowns worn by Vivien Leigh as the beautiful and ambitious Scarlett O’Hara. These recently conserved costumes will be displayed together for the first time in more than 25 years.

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   Turner Classic Movies is a premier sponsor. Your support will provide funds for additional docent-led tours, published exhibition catalog, outreach, complementary programming, and presentations. Here’s a link to make a donation:

http://norman.hrc.utexas.edu/forms/gwtwForm.cfm

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- 2014 Loses its First Screen Legend…

January 2nd, 2014

Manny P. here…Studio_publicity_Moore_Juanita

   Juanita Moore was a longtime film, television, and stage actress. She was the fifth African American to be nominated for an Academy Award in any category, and the third in the Supporting Actress category at a time when only one had won an Oscar. Her most famous role was as Annie Johnson in the 1959 movie Imitation of Life, a 1959 tearjerker that starred Lana Turner, and was based on a Fannie Hurst novel and a remake of a 1934 film.

   Born in Los Angeles in 1914, Moore was a chorus girl at the Cotton Club before becoming a film extra while working in theater. She made her cinematic debut in Pinky. Among her other films were The Girl Can’t Help It and The Singing Nun. She had guest-starring roles on television shows, including Adam-12, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Dragnet, Marcus Welby M.D., ER, and Judging Amy.  JUANITA MOORE  ->

   Moore also had an active career in the theater, starting at Los Angeles’ Ebony Showcase Theatre in the early 1950s, a leading black-run theater. She also was a founding member of the celebrated Cambridge Players, with other performers, such as Esther Rolle and Helen Martin. She appeared on Broadway in 1965 in James Baldwin’s play The Amen Corner, and in London in a production of Raisin in the Sun.

   Juanita Moore was 99.

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   Angela Lansbury was one of more than 1,000 people who were recognized by Queen Elizabeth II in the New Year’s Honors List. She has been made a Dame of the British Empire. The twice-yearly royal honors reward hundreds of people for services to their community or national life.  DAME ANGELA LANSBURY  –>

Until next time>                               “never forget”