“Forgotten Hollywood”- West Coast White Christmas…

December 11th, 2016

Manny P. here…

“`This looks really fun! Visit the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Downtown Los Angeles for a White Christmas Sing-Along. There are two chances to experience this treat on December 23rd.

“`Gather your family and friends for this heartwarming holiday screening of a beloved  1954 musical with lyrics embedded on screen. You’ll enjoy singing along with Snow, Sisters, The Best Things Happen When You’re Dancing, and the all-time favorite, White Christmas. The cinematic classic film features Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, Vera-Ellen, and Dean Jagger.

BING CROSBY  ROSEMARY CLOONEY  DANNY KAYE  VERA-ELLEN

“`Come early for holiday treats, seasonal cocktails, and photo booth fun. No children under 6 years of age will be admitted to this concert. Showtimes are at 3p and 8p. The Walt Disney Concert Hall is at 111 Grand Ave. in the heart of Downtown.

“`It’s sure to become an annual event.

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<—- JOAN CARROLL was a child actress, best known for her roles in Meet Me in St. Louis and The Bells of St. Mary’s. She co-starred with iconic stars, including Bing Crosby, Ethel Merman, Judy Garland, Ingrid Bergman, Peter Lorre, and Margaret O’Brien.

“`Carroll developed into a flawless songstress and tap dancer at the Fanchon and Marco Dancing School in Hollywood. Her first break  was in the 1940 flick, Primrose Path, playing Ginger Rogers’ young sister; and she earned a Critics Award. Later that year, Joan became an initial child star summoned from Hollywood to appear in a leading Broadway role — the Cole Porter musical, Panama Hattie.

“`Carroll evolved into RKO Radio Pictures resident juvenile personality. She decided to walk away from acting in 1945.

“`Joan Carroll was 84.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- 100 Candles…

December 9th, 2016

Manny P. here… 

“`With boxing gloves in every table centerpiece, and the Rocky Theme blaring, one of Hollywood’s real legends walked into the Sunset Room at the Beverly Hills Hotel to celebrate his 100th birthday at a gathering of friends and family. Kirk Douglas —->  made a real entrance. Images from his many cinematic credits, such as Spartacus, Lust for Life, Paths of Glory, and others played on a screen behind him.

“`Flanked by Anne, his wife of 62 years, son Michael, daughter-in-law Catherine Zeta-Jones, and his grandkids, Douglas peered out over a crowd of 150 folks, including his Rabbi, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Don Rickles, and other close pals… and smiled. His physician had  promised years ago, if he lived to be 100, Kirk would get to enjoy a glass of premium vodka.

“`Charley King’s Bluebell Events oversaw the afternoon tea, where each table was designated, not by numbers, but by Kirk Douglas’ films. The birthday boy was seated at the Lonely are the Brave table, his favorite role. Michael kicked off the proceedings, saying it isn’t about age, but about what he’s accomplished. Kirk kept his remarks brief, thanking everyone for coming, and marveling at seeing most of his family in the crowd. Zeta-Jones lit twelve candles on his cake, and led the room to sing Happy Birthday with a string quartet accompaniment.

“`Rickles lightened a reverent and respectful mood, quipping to the crowd from his seat that he wanted to go home. He poked fun at Kirk Douglas’ good looks and physique. Katzenberg reflected on the generosity of the Douglas family, who are famous for their charitable giving. Steven Spielberg arrived fashionably late, and on crutches, having recently broken his foot.

“`Kirk Douglas closed the festivities by offering a toast, and downing remnants of his vodka. Here’s to a life well lived!

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Godspeed John Glenn…

December 8th, 2016

Manny P. here…

“`John Glenn’s 1962 flight as our first United States astronaut to orbit the Earth made him an all-American icon, and propelled him to a long career in the United States Senate. He was an ultimate survivor of the original Mercury 7 astronauts. Political service allowed him to return to space in the shuttle Discovery at age 77 in 1998; a cosmic victory lap, and he turned it into a teachable moment about growing old. He holds the record as the oldest person in space. Glenn remains a national folk hero:  He was a combat veteran with nerves of steel; public schools, a space center, and the Columbus, Ohio airport were named after him.

“`John Herschel Glenn Jr. (above) had two major career paths that often intersected – flying and politics – and he soared in both. He was a fighter pilot in World War II and Korea, whose plane was riddled with bullets, and flew with baseball great Ted Williams during 149 combat missions. And, as a test pilot, he broke aviation records, and set the transcontinental speed record. The telegenic Marine even won $25,000 on the game show Name That Tune. That was before April 6th, 1959,  when his life changed by being chosen as one of the Mercury 7 astronauts.

“`After two suborbital flights by Alan Shepard Jr. and Gus Grissom, Glenn became the initial American to orbit the Earth.  At the age of 40, Glenn began his 4 hours, 55 minutes, and 23 seconds in space.  His ride in the cramped Friendship 7 capsule had its very scary moments, however. Sensors showed his heat shield had loosened up after three orbits. Mission Control worried he might burn up during re-entry as temps approached 3,000 degrees. Fortunately, the heat shield held. Glenn often joked that the one peer he ever envied was fellow Ohioan: Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon.

“`The mission also guided Glenn into politics.  He addressed a joint session of Congress, and dined at the White House. He became close with President John F. Kennedy, and a friend and ally of his brother, Robert. They urged him to run for office. Glenn would eventually spend 24 years in the Senate, representing Ohio longer than any senator in the state’s storied history. He became a leading expert on nuclear weaponry, and he was the most dogged advocate of non-proliferation. The senator was the leading supporter of the B-1 Bomber. As chairman of the Governmental Affairs Committee, Glenn addressed excess waste and fraud in the federal bureaucracy. He announced his retirement in 1997, 35 years to the day after his memorable orbit in space. A rare setback was his failed 1984 presidential run.

“`Shortly before he ran for the Democratic presidential nomination, a new generation of Americans was introduced to John Glenn with the cinematic  adaptation of Tom Wolfe’s book, The Right Stuff. He was portrayed as a straight arrow amid a group of rowdy astronauts. John guest-starred in a humorous episode of Frasier, a decade later, playing himself.

“`He spent his later years at the  John Glenn School of Public Affairs at Ohio State University, which houses an archive of his private papers and photos. Glenn received the Congressional Space Medal of Honor in 1978, and he was inducted into the U.S Astronaut Hall of Fame in 1990. Plus, John was happily married to his bride, Annie, for 73 years.

“`John Glenn will lie in state in Ohio’s Capitol Building before a celebration of life. The public viewing and memorial service at Ohio State’s Mershon Auditorium are planned for late next week. President Obama ordered American flags flown at half-staff until sunset on the day of his internment at federal buildings, and on military ships around the world. He will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.

“`The man with the right stuff… John Glenn was 95.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Harold Prince Gets His Due…

December 7th, 2016

Manny P. here… 

“`A musical celebrating the most decorated Tony Award-winner in history is making its Broadway debut next summer. The Manhattan Theatre Club has announced Prince of Broadway, which pays homage to the work of director-producer Harold Prince (right), will be presented at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre.

“`The production features tunes from shows that earned Harold a record  21 Tony Awards, such as Evita, The Phantom of the Opera, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Sweeney Todd, and Cabaret.  Other shows, Prince co-produced, produced, or directed on the stage, include Company, A Little Night Music,  A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Pajama Game, Damn Yankees, West Side StoryFiddler on the Roof, and Follies.

      

“`Prince began his career as an assistant stage manager to theatrical producer and director George Abbott.  His greatest collaborator has been composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim. In 2006, Harold Prince was awarded a special Tony for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre.

“`Prince of Broadway debuted in Japan in 2015 with Broadway veterans, including Emily Skinner, Shuler Hensley, Ramin Karimloo, and Tony Yazbeck.  This upcoming production is directed by Prince,  co-directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman, with new songs by Jason Robert Brown, and based on a book by David Thompson.

“`No cast has been revealed.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Another Golden Oldie…

December 5th, 2016

Manny P. here… kirk-douglas

   Kirk Douglas is turning 100 on December 9th. He will be celebrating his milestone birthday this week alongside 200 of his closest friends and family at a party hosted by his son Michael and daughter-in-law Catherine Zeta Jones. And, right by his side, his 97-year-old wife Anne.

   After serving in the Navy in World War II, Kirk got his first audition in 1946, for The Strange Love Of Martha Ivers. Douglas (right) has starred in over 90 films, such as 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, The Bad and the Beautiful, and Spartacus. He worked with Rita Hayworth, Joan Crawford, Marlene Dietrich, Lana Turner, among others. Douglas also appeared in television and theater over his eight-decade career.

   He also purchased the rights to the novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest early in his career, turning it into a 1963 Broadway play. Kirk starred in the production, which ran for just five months and received mixed reviews from critics. After the play closed he tried to find a producer who was interested in making a film version of the novel, but gave up after 10 years and handed over the movie rights to his son Michael. Kirk believed he was too old for the lead role at that point, which instead, went to Jack Nicholson. The film opened in 1975 to universal praise, and it cleaned up at the Academy Awards, taking home five statuettes, including Best Actor, Best Director, and Best Picture. Kirk, a three-time Oscar nominee, received the Academy’s prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award in 1996.

   Gifts will not be necessary, Kirk revealing that he views his birthday as a chance to give back to others, rather than accept presents. For his birthday last year, the couple donated $15 million to Harry’s Haven, an Alzheimer’s treatment facility located just outside Los Angeles, and takes care of patients who previously worked in the motion picture or television industry. Thanks to that donation, the organization was able to expand, adding a two-story building that they named the Kirk Douglas Care Pavilion. He and Anne have stated that almost all of their fortune, reported to be around $80 million, will be given to charities and other organizations upon their deaths.

   The birthday festivities will feature a surprise element, and Kirk admits that he has no idea what to expect.

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   Van Williams was the actor best known for his television role as Britt Reid, and his earlier leading part in the Warner Brothers  detective series Bourbon Street Beat, and sequel, Surfside 6. Williams teamed for one season with the late Bruce Lee (right) in The Green Hornet, on ABC during the 1966–1967 season.

   Williams was discovered in 1957 by producer Mike Todd, right before he died tragically in a plane crash. Van had a busy small screen career, guest starring in The Beverly Hillbillies, The Big ValleyNanny and the ProfessorThe Dick Van Dyke Show, The Streets of San Francisco, and The Rockford Files. He also made three memorable appearances with Lee on Batman, as The Green Hornet and Kato.

   Van retired from acting in 1982, and he became a longtime reserve deputy sheriff in Los Angeles County. He worked at the Malibu substation.

   Van Williams was 82.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Death Takes No Holiday…

December 4th, 2016

Manny P. here…

   Several names in the news are part of the passing parade:

   Al Brodax was a television cartoon producer who developed animated versions of The Beatles, culminating in the classic feature Yellow Submarine. He had been an executive producer at King Features Syndicate in the early 1960s, churning out low-budget animated fare like Snuffy Smith, Casper the Friendly Ghost, Popeye, and Barney Google

   Brodax pitched Beatles manager Brian Epstein with the idea of creating a Saturday-morning cartoon series about the Fab Four’s adventures. Although popular with Baby Boomer kids, ABC’s The Beatles was hated by the band members, who loathed the exaggerated Liverpool accents.

beatles

   After A Hard Day’s Night and Help!, the group owed United Artists one more production. The band readily agreed to a proposition: A feature-length animated feature film. The Hungarian-born producer spearheaded the project that became Yellow Submarine, based loosely on the 1966 Beatles hit, and sung by drummer Ringo Starr. Directed by George Dunning and animated by Heinz Edelmann, the psychedelic movie was an instant classic, with its animated Edwardian-styled depictions of John, Paul, George, and Ringo – along with the Blue Meanies – quickly becoming iconic of the era.

   Even The Beatles were won over.

   Al Brodax was 90.

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4946183-thumb-300xauto-4345575   Billy Chapin (right) was the child actor, best known as the heroic protagonist in The Night of the Hunter. He was personally selected by director Charles Laughton for his ability to provide a hypnotic stare for dramatic purposes. Despite the fact that the film was a critical and commercial failure, the Library of Congress selected the production in 1992 for preservation in the National Film Registry. His sister was Lauren Chapin, the former child actress who co-starred in the classic sitcom Father Knows Best.

   Chapin appeared on Broadway in 1951 in Three Wishes for Jamie, which earned him the New York Drama Critics Award as the most promising young actor of the year. The next year, he shined in a television adaptation of Paul Osborn’s play On Borrowed Time. He also starred in The Kid from Left Field and No Business Like Show Business. His many small screen credits included Leave it to Beaver and Dragnet.

   Billy Chapin, whose career effectively ended in 1959, was 72.

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jerry_tucker_1936<— Jerry Tucker was a former child actor who appeared in several Our Gang comedies, often as a spoiled rich kid, and co-starred opposite screen luminaries as Shirley Temple, Ginger Rogers, and Laurel and Hardy. Originally signed by Paramount Pictures, he was on loan to MGM when appearing in the Buster Keaton comedy Sidewalks of New York. Tucker was also cast in some of the biggest movies of the 1930s, including Babes in Toyland, San Francisco, Captain January, and Boys Town.

   Never enchanted with Hollywood, and in 1942, Tucker joined the Navy as part of the demolition team aboard the destroyer USS Sigsbee. He was awarded the Purple Heart after suffering a permanent leg injury when a piece of shrapnel was caught in his leg during an attack on his ship during the Battle of Okinawa in 1945.

   Tucker, whose real name was Jerry Schatz, was 91.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- That Sinking Feeling…

December 2nd, 2016

Manny P. here…

titanic-new_york_herald_front_page   A shipbuilder in China has started work on a full-scale replica of the RMS Titanic, the doomed ocean liner that hit an iceberg and sunk on its maiden voyage in 1912. Construction on the project began on Wednesday.

   Plans call for highlights of some of the Titanic’s interior features, such as a ballroom, theater, pool, and first-class cabins. Hollywood production designer and producer Curtis Schnell is working on the project, and accepted the challenge to concentrate on providing its historical accuracy. When finished, the tourist attraction will offer simulations of the infamous disaster, which killed more than 1,500 people. But, there’s no danger of hitting real icebergs. The Chinese Titanic will be permanently docked at a reservoir in Daying County, in the landlocked Sichuan province. Visitors will be able to eat on the ship, and stay overnight.

images   The project is going to cost more than the original budget of $145 million, and is expected to be finished by the end of next year. The replica will be 269 meters (over 882 feet) by 28 meters (92 feet), just like the original steamship.

   The 1997 movie — James Cameron’s Titanicwas a massive hit in China. To film the motion picture, Cameron built and sank a replica of the ship; but it was 90% of the size of the original. My personal favorite related cinematic piece is the 1958 British production – A Night to Remember.

editors-pick-a-night-to-remember

   It’s apparent this disaster still captures the imagination of a global audience.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Holiday Shopping the Easy Way…

December 1st, 2016

Manny P. here…

   For my 5th time, I’ll be at this wonderful annual event. It’s a great opportunity to get some holiday shopping done with a personalized gift, and not getting knocked around at the malls. This special day takes place on Saturday, December 3rd between 12p – 4p.

afternoon-with-the-authors

   Beat the holiday rush and pick up autographed copies of the Forgotten Hollywood Book Series, and other fantastic Hollywood-related literary works. The perfect gifts for co-workers, family, and friends. And, meet some very friendly and talented authors. Just across the street from the Hollywood Bowl, the Hollywood Heritage Museum is conveniently located at 2100 N. Highland Ave.

   See you at The Barn!

Until next time>                               “never forget”