“Forgotten Hollywood”- Time For Popcorn and Bon Bons…

March 12th, 2016

Manny P. here…

   Excuse a minor intermission, while we Spring Forward to the Big Apple! I just checked; the concession lines are short…

Intermission

   Next stop… The 2016 ReelAbilities Disability Film Festival.

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Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- A Gentleman of Harvard…

March 11th, 2016

Manny P. here…

steven spielberg   Filmmaker Steven Spielberg has been selected to give Harvard University’s 2016 commencement speech. The three-time Oscar winner is scheduled to address students May 26th at the Ivy League campus.  STEVEN SPIELBERG –>

   Harvard President Drew Faust stated that Spielberg’s profound creativity has fueled countless imaginations, and his films underscore what it is to be human. Spielberg follows others from Hollywood picked to give marquee commencement addresses this year. Actor Matt Damon is scheduled to speak June 3rd at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2002, Spielberg earned a degree from California State University, Long Beach, where he had attended in the 1960s, but dropped out.

   Spielberg has won Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Director for Schindler’s List; and Best Director for Saving Private Ryan.

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war room   Ken Adam was the British production designer who gave Dr. Strangelove its cavernous War Room (left). The Berlin-born filmmaker won two Academy Awards in a career that spanned more than 70 films. He was revered for his indelible set artistry, including that for seven James Bond movies. Adam was behind the Fort Knox vaults of Goldfinger, and Bond’s gadget-filled Aston Martin. Adam was knighted in 2003, a first for a production designer.

ken adam   Adam became enraptured by German Expressionist films like The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. He studied architecture, a background that would later prove useful for production design.          KEN ADAM –>

   After the war, he was hired to assist veteran designer William Cameron Menzies on the Oscar-winning 1956 film Around the World in 80 Days. Adam caught the eye of producer Albert Cubby Broccoli who enlisted him for 1962’s Dr. No, the first Bond film. He continued to be instrumental in crafting the iconic backdrops and torture devices that helped define Goldfinger, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, Diamonds Are Forever, and Moonraker.

   Adam won his first Oscar in 1976 for Barry Lyndon, which he shared with Vernon Dixon and Roy Walker. His second came in 1995 for The Madness of King George, which he shared with Carolyn Scott. Other movies he designed include Peter O’Toole’s version of Goodbye Mr. Chips, Ben-HurChitty Chitty Bang Bang, Sleuth, Agnes of God, and Addam’s Family Values.

   Steven Spielberg once told the production designer that his War Room on Dr. Strangelove was the best set ever put on celluloid, high praise from the filmmaker. Ken Adam was 95.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Fondly Waving at the Passing Parade

March 10th, 2016

Manny P. here…

kathryn_on_set_0 (1)   Very unfamiliar filmakers that were part of Hollywood’s Golden Age have died. Yet, these are folks needing a final moment in the sun because of the influence they had in cinema during the Studio Era.

    Kathryn Trosper Popper was the last living cast member of Citizen Kane. She was the inquiring journalist who asks, What’s Rosebud? in the 1941 film. In addition, she was director Orson Welles’ longtime personal assistant, working with him in the Mercury Theater division at RKO.                                                      ORSON WELLES   KATHRYN TROSPER POPPER

   Her husband Martin Popper was the co-chief defense counsel for The Hollywood Ten. He defended Dalton Trumbo and John Howard Lawson, who were convicted in 1950 of contempt of Congress for refusing to declare whether they were Communists. In 1961, Martin was convicted of the same offense. Her brother Guy Trosper became a screenwriter and producer, writing screenplays for Birdman of Alcatraz and The Spy Who Came in From the Cold.

   Kathryn Trosper Popper was 100.

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 fetchimg_autore  Richard Davalos was an actor, best known at James Dean’s brother in East of Eden, and a convict in Cool Hand Luke. His other screen credits include roles in I Died a Thousand Times and Kelly’s Heroes. Davalos (right) won the Theatre World Award in 1955 for his fine performance in the Arthur Miller play A Memory of Two Mondays.

   The thespian was active on television, guest-starring in Perry Mason, Bonanza, Rawhide, 77 Sunset Strip, Mannix, SWAT, The Rockford Files, Hawaii Five-O, The Jeffersons, Hart to Hart, and Murder She Wrote.

   Richard Davalos was 85.

Until next time>                               “never forget’

“Forgotten Hollywood”- A Day in the Life of George Martin…

March 8th, 2016

Manny P. here…

Pbgmdvd   Sir George Martin was a British record producer, arranger, and composer. His influential involvement with The Beatles altered pop music for generations. He was motivated by iconic composers, such as Cole Porter, Bernard Herrmann, and even, Sergei Rachmaninov, Johann Sebastian Bach, and Maurice Ravel. Martin is considered one of the great record producers, with 30 #1 hit singles in the United Kingdom; and 23 #1 hits in the United States.

   After serving in the War Office and the Royal Navy during World War II, Martin used his veteran’s grant to attend the Guildhall School of Music and Drama from 1947 to 1950. Following his graduation, he worked for the BBC’s classical music department, and then joined EMI, as an assistant to Oscar Preuss, the head of EMI’s Parlophone Records. He took over after Preuss retired. During his tenure, he worked with Peter Ustinov, Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan, Rolf Harris, Peter Cook, and Dudley Moore. Martin produced the popular soundtrack album for David Frost’s BBC television show That Was the Week That Was in 1963.

   His irreverent background led to solid work with British Invasion artists, including Cilia Black, Gerry and the Pacemakers, Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas, and most famously, The Beatles. His influential suggestion led to Ringo Starr taking over drummer chores for the group. He also collaborated with Matt Monro, Neil Sedaka, Kenny Rogers, Gary Glitter, Jeff Beck, America, and Celine Dion. Late in his career, Martin produced Elton John’s moving redux after the tragic death of Princess Diana (Candle in the Wind); and a Cirque du Soleil Las Vegas stage tribute to The Beatles.

   In fact, Martin’s work with The Beatles is legendary. His hits as a recording engineer include Love Me Do and Please Please Me; and particularly, as the orchestral arranger for Yesterday, Eleanor Rigby, MichellePenny Lane, I am the Walrus, Strawberry Fields Forever, In My Life, A Day in the Life, With a Little Help From My Friends, All You Need is Love, Here Comes the Sun, Hey Jude, Lucy In the Sky with Diamonds, and Let It Be. These compositions had an influential effect a decade later on Jeff Lynne in his creation of Electric Light Orchestra. George helped arrange Uncle Albert / Admiral Halsey for Paul and Linda McCartney after the band dissolved.

AHardDaysNightUSalbumcover   George helped create the modern audio landscape of cinema of the 1960s and 1970s. Martin composed, arranged, and produced movie scores, including A Hard Day’s Night, for which he garnered a 1964 Oscar nomination; Ferry Cross the Mersey; Yellow Submarine; and Live and Let Die. He produced Shirley Bassey’s chart-topping Goldfinger in 1964. Martin also wrote scores for small films starring Peter Sellers, Mickey Rooney, and Michael Caine. In 2011, a documentary chronicling his career was a BBC production.

   His protégé, Ringo Starr, reported his passing. George Martin was 90.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Farewell to Downton Abbey…

March 7th, 2016

Manny P. here…

   Like all remarkable television programs, Downton Abbey was given a proper sendoff. 9.6 million viewers said goodbye to the most popular series in the PBS history. Lord Grantham might have remarked… Golly!

downton abbey

   Since I’ve seen every episode during its six-season run, I have personal favorite characters: Tom Branson, Mrs. PatmoreLady Edith, Isobel Crawley, Anna Bates, Mr. Molesley, and Dr. Clarkson. But, there is no denying, writer and creator Julian Fellowes provided appropriate screen time to each actor that graced the small screen, making Downton Abbey an international sensation. Fellowes and I share the same appreciation for minor roles, and his attention to detail was superb. And, wasn’t it marvelous to enjoy guest stars as esteemed as Shirley MacLaine and Paul Giamatti in support of Dame Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, and Elizabeth McGovern.

   Watching the last episode was bittersweet, much like the moments when M*A*S*H, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and Cheers offered their finale. I’ll have the same morose feeling when its time slot competitor, The Good Wife, also concludes later this Spring. Losing two fabulously written shows at the same time seems so unfair.

Downton_Abbey_symbolic_logo   For their part, PBS representatives are suggesting Downton Abbey might return with a one-episode yearly special if Julian Fellowes can be convinced to continue to tell the story of Robert and Cora Crawley, and their upstairs-downstairs extended family, beyond 1926 as the United Kingdom approaches the tumultuous decades of the 1930s and 1940s. I believe the series is the most popular program since Star Trek left the airways, so there is chatter for a shelf life that may transcend its initial run. I’m quite confident some semblance of negotiations are going on.

   One can only hope…

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Passing of First Lady Nancy Reagan…

March 6th, 2016

Manny P. here…

Nancy_Reagan   Nancy Reagan was an actress who would rise to become First Lady in the White House. During the Ronald Reagan administration, she’s best known for her Just Say No anti-drug campaign. Her personal friends included Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Rock Hudson, Robert Taylor, and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

   Besides Just Say No, her own agenda included bringing glamour and glitz back into the White House after the frugal Carter Administration; she supported foster grand-parenting; and she asked Reagan to break his silence on the AIDS crisis. The First Lady attended Cabinet meetings; acted as a presidential adviser that led to his acceptance of executive responsibility after the Iran-Contra scandal, and ouster of chief-of-staff Don Regan; and she urged him to thaw United States  relations with the Soviet Union, despite objections from members of his Cabinet and Senate leaders. Nancy was by his side when President Reagan demanded that Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev tear down that wall separating Germany in his 1987 remarks at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate.                               NANCY REAGAN

   Her mother was film and stage actress Edith Luckett. She majored in drama at Smith College, and found stage work with the help of her mom’s connections. After a few years on Broadway, Nancy Davis moved to California and signed a seven-year contract with MGM. She made 11 films, including Portrait of Jennie, It’s a Big Country, and Hellcats of the Navy  (with Ronald Reagan). She was cast in supporting roles, and co-stars included Glenn Ford, Barbara Stanwyck, Ann Southern, Ray Milland, Zachary Scott, James Mason, Jennifer Jones, and Joseph Cotton. Nancy also made television appearances from 1953-1962, as a guest star in The Ford Television Theatre, Schlitz Playhouse of Stars, General Electric Theatre, and Wagon Train. She briefly dated Clark Gable.

Ronald_Reagan_and_Nancy_Reagan_aboard_a_boat_in_California_1964   She met Ronald Reagan (left) in 1950, when he was president of the Screen Actors Guild, and she was seeking help with a problem: Her name had been wrongly included on a published list of suspected communist sympathizers. They discussed it over dinner, and she later wrote that she realized on that first blind date she had met her soul mate. They wed two years later, on March 4th, 1952 and William Holden was the Best Man. Daughter Patti was born in October of that year, and son Ron followed in 1958. Reagan already had a daughter, Maureen, and an adopted son, Michael, from his marriage to actress Jane Wyman. They remained married for 52 years.

   Nancy was thrust into the political life when her husband ran for California governor in 1966 and won. She found it a surprisingly rough business. When they swept into the White House, the former actress committed to the agenda set forth by her beloved Ronnie. She was steadfast and devoted to his complete recovery after an attempted assassination two months into his administration in 1981. Later, she supported background checks for gun owners.

   She went public in her personal fight over breast cancer. After her tenure as First Lady, Nancy spent the remainder of her life in a battle against Alzheimer’s disease. The affliction that marked the post-presidency of Ronald Reagan had a lasting influence on her. She raised millions for research, breaking with fellow conservative Republicans in advocating for stem cell studies. The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine lost a friend and a champion.

ronald and nancy reagan   Senator John McCain called their union a real Hollywood love story. As the president’s body lay in state in the rotunda of the United States Capitol, Mrs. Reagan caressed and gently kissed the flag-draped casket, a defining moment that underscored their mutual and lasting love. After her husband’s passing, Nancy was a frequent fixture at the Ronald Reagan Library, remarkably orchestrating his legacy over the past twelve years. She also supported Republican Party causes and campaigns through the Ronald Reagan Foundation.  RONALD AND NANCY REAGAN –> 

   The gracious Nancy Reagan was 94. She will be buried next to her beloved Ronnie at the Presidential Library location in Simi Valley.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Tom Hanks Supports Education…

March 5th, 2016

Manny P. here…Tom_Hanks_face

   An Ohio university says actor and filmmaker Tom Hanks will help dedicate the school’s newly renovated motion pictures center. Wright State University says he also will participate in an invitation-only gala to raise funds for the Tom Hanks Scholarship and Visiting Artist Program. Hanks is a national co-chair of a $150 million fundraising campaign for the school near Dayton.

   Hanks will appear at several private events in addition to the April 19th dedication and gala. He’ll meet with theater, dance and motion picture students. The Oscar-winning star of Philadelphia and Forrest Gump is not an alumnus of Wright State, but he has long ties to the school and a connection with its teachers and alumni.                                TOM HANKS —>

   He performed at the university with a Shakespeare company in the 1970s.

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pConroy_index1   Pat Conroy (left) was a New York Times bestselling author who wrote several acclaimed novels and memoirs. Two of his novels, The Prince of Tides and The Great Santini, were made into Oscar-nominated films. He’s recognized as a leading figure of late-20th century Southern literature. He sold over 20 million books throughout his career.

   His abusive father was Marine aviator and military hero, Donald Conroy. His character was vividly brought to the screen by Robert Duvall. Later, Barbra Streisand and Nick Nolte played more of the scribe’s protagonists. Each of these actors earned Academy Award consideration.

   Last October, the University of South Carolina Beaufort held a three-day literary festival featuring Pat Conroy and discussions of his work, and included a screening. The event culminated with a 70th birthday party in his honor.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Passing Parade Claims Two…

March 1st, 2016

Manny P. here…

   As news broke, yesterday was a particularly rough day for friends and fans of cinema, television, and radio broadcasting:

George_Kennedy_1975

   George Kennedy was a consummate character actor whose career spanned six decades. He’s best remembered for being the prison pal of Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke, which earned him an Oscar; and as Joe Patroni in the Airport series of disaster films.

   Born in New York City, Kennedy’s father was an orchestra leader and his mother was a ballet dancer. During World War II, he served in the United States Army for sixteen years, having seen combat and working in Armed Forces Radio. He was involved with the opening of the first Army Information Office, which provided technical assistance to films and television shows, like The Phil Silvers Show.    GEORGE KENNEDY —>

   Beginning in 1960, he appeared in memorable movies, including Spartacus, Shenandoah, Lonely are the Brave, Charade, Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte, The Sons of Katie Elder, Flight of the Phoenix, In Harm’s WayThe Dirty Dozen, The Ballad of Josie, The Boston Strangler, Cahill U.S. Marshall, The Eiger Sanction, Bolero, Death on the Nile, and Earthquake. He shared screen time with some of the greatest actors of Hollywood’s Golden Age, such as James Stewart (one of his closest pals), Audrey Hepburn, Kirk Douglas, Cary Grant, Walter Matthau, Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, Joseph Cotten, John Wayne, Peter Finch, Ernest Borgnine, Clint Eastwood, Charlton Heston, Ava Gardner, Burt Lancaster, Dean Martin, Tony Curtis, Lee Marvin, Jack Lemmon, Peter Ustinov, Sir Richard Attenborough, David Niven, Dame Maggie Smith, Angela Lansbury, Henry Fonda, Bo Derek, and the list goes on. In the 1990s, George was a mainstay on the Naked Gun series of comedies.

   Kennedy also guest-starred in television programs, including Gunsmoke, Peter Gunn, Maverick, Have Gun Will Travel, Bonanza, The Andy Griffith ShowDeath Valley Days, Perry MasonDr. KildareThe UntouchablesMcHale’s Navy, The Virginian, Ironside, Daniel Boone, and starred in a number of episodes of SargeThe Blue Knight, and Dallas. His last major recurring role was on the daytime soap, The Young and the Restless.

   The durable George Kennedy was 91.

——————————————————— charlie tuna

   A colleague and personal friend in Southern California broadcasting has died. Charlie Tuna was a legendary Boss Jock on 93 AM KHJ during its heyday, working alongside Robert W. Morgan, Real Don Steele, and Humble Harv. I was fortunate to work with Charlie during my years at 11-10 AM KRLA, 104.3 FM KBIG, and 94.3 KIK-FM. He also had on-air shifts on KIIS-FM, KTNQ, KHTZ, KODJ, KMPC, KLAC, and most recently, KRTH; all in the Los Angeles metro market. Art Ferguson was his actual name.

   Tuna appeared in the movie Rollercoaster. He’s been the backstage announcer on a number of television game shows. He was also the voice for the last two years of television’s syndicated Mike Douglas Show and the late night Thicke of the Night. In 2012 to 2014, he became the voice of Los Angeles independent station KDOC-TV. Tuna raised nearly $2.5 million for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles with his annual Tunathon (2004–2007). In 1997, Los Angeles Radio People readers voted him one of the Top 10 Los Angeles Radio Personalities of All Time; and he was elected by his LARadio.com broadcast peers as one of the 2007 and 2013 Top 10 Los Angeles Radio Personalities. Tuna lived in Tarzana and served as the city’s honorary mayor since 1977.

   Rest well my friend. Charlie Tuna was 71.

Until next time>                               “never forget”