“Forgotten Hollywood”- The Crayon Conspiracy…

March 31st, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`Dandelion yellow is gone.  Crayola announced on National Crayon Day it will replace the color in its 24-pack with a crayon in the blue family.  The company says,  it will leave it to fans to come up with a name for the replacement color.

“`It is the third time in  Crayola’s long history it has retired crayons,  and just the first instance it swapped out a color in its box of 24. Other colors that previously got the boot includes Raw Umber, Lemon Yellow,  Maize,  Blue Gray, Orange Yellow, Green Blue, and Violet Blue; they were all retired in 1990.

“`Crayola crayons were first produced by Binney & Smith Co. in 1903. Crayola is based in Easton, Pennsylvania; and is a subsidiary of Hallmark Cards Inc., headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri.

“`Wait… The got rid of raw umber!

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Ken Burns Unveils New Production…

March 30th, 2017

Manny P. here… 

“`Muhammad Ali will receive the Ken Burns treatment. The PBS documentary filmmaker has  just announced that his production company will create a two-part, four-hour film about the former heavyweight champion, who died last June. Burns, his daughter Sarah, and David McMahon collaborated for a PBS documentary on Jackie Robinson that debuted last year.

“`The outpouring of good will make it easy to forget how divisive it was, when the former Cassius Clay took on the Muhammad Ali  moniker;  his conversion to Islam;  and his firm refusal to accept his military draft assignment during the Vietnam War. Ken Burns’ parent organization, Florentine Films, plans on examining what influenced Ali’s decisions, despite public condemnation.

“`The tentative plan is to air the Ali documentary in 2021.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Gospel According to Charlton Heston

March 29th, 2017

Manny P. here… 

“`The actor best remembered for his biblical epics is the subject of a new literary biography.  Charlton Heston:  Hollywood’s Last Icon chronicles the life of Academy Award-winning star of Ben-Hur. His friendship with director Cecil B. DeMille led to significant roles in The Greatest Show on Earth and The Ten Commandments.  Heston, who died in 2008, is best known for playing Moses. Actually, the part was offered,  after Marlon Brando and Rock Hudson turned down the assignment.

“`These films  secured Heston as a motion picture star for the ages. Then followed Planet of the Apes; sci-fi thrillers The Omega Man and Soylent Green; and disaster movies such as Earthquake and Airport ’75.

 

“`After he went off to serve as a radio gunner on  B-25 combat missions during World War II, he made a strong impression in live television dramas; and by 1950, Chuck had attracted the attention of movie moguls.

“`In 1961, Heston was among those protesting Oklahoma City’s segregated restaurants.  Two years later, studio execs and colleagues failed to talk him out of joining the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington. Heston was elected president of the Screen Actors Guild six times, and opposed the cutting of federal funding for the arts. After the assassinations of King and Robert F. Kennedy, Charlton publicly backed the Gun Control Act of 1968.

“`Much like Ronald Reagan, Heston drifted from liberalism towards the conservative viewpoint. His late-in-life presidency of the National Rifle Association was a questionable performance given the toll of gun-related deaths.  But, Heston viewed the right to own firearms in terms of liberty.

“`On a personal note, I sat in an audience to watch and enjoy Chuck Heston in a production of The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial. He was riveting; a terrific performance.

“`I expect the life of Charlton Heston will fly off the pages of his new biography.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Bela Lugosi Former Haunt For Sale…

March 28th, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`It’s been 80 years since Bela Lugosi resided in his stately Tudor in Beachwood Canyon; yet, his reputation still haunts it. Whether it’s called Westshire Manor, Castle La Paloma, or simply the Bela Lugosi House,  the remodeled mansion is currently on the market for $3 million. The hillside Los Angeles neighborhood where it’s perched, stands under the iconic Hollywood Sign.

“`Best known for playing Count Dracula, Lugosi moved to this particular home between 1934 and 1937. Apparently, Bela, his fourth wife Lillian, and their dogs enjoyed hiking to what was the Hollywoodland sign at the time.

 “`Bela wasn’t the only celebrity to inhabit the manor. Actress Kathy Bates lived there for a few years. Considering her roles in Misery and American Horror Story, Westshire Manor has maintained a scary-actor vibe.

“`In 1999, Bates sold it for $850 thousand to Jon Cryer, best known for his performance in Pretty in Pink;  and on television in Two and a Half Men. He sold the estate in 2004 for $1.3 million.  A major remodel and restoration happened after Jon moved, helping to boost the price to its present amount.

“`Built by Frank W. Green in 1932, the home retains many vintage features, including a ballroom-size living room with a stone fireplace,  a formal dining room that includes iron-paned windows, and a library. Many of the fountains on the grounds date to Lugosi’s time there.

“`In his private life, Bela Lugosi (right) was quite a charming Hungarian. His home suggest this well-known fact in Hollywood circles of the time.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- A Grand Contribution…

March 27th, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`George Lucas has donated another $10 million to the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts to fund the student’s diversity program that he helped establish. The gift was announced by USC, Lucas’ alma mater.                                   GEORGE LUCAS —>

“`Last fall, USC created a foundation in Lucas’ name to contribute to students from underrepresented communities,  who might qualify for financial support. This was funded with an initial $10 million gift from the George Lucas Family Foundation.  In 2006, Lucasfilm Foundation donated $175 million to expand and renovate structures at the school.

“`Michael Renov, Vice Dean of Academy Affairs, noted the gift will help USC recruit minority storytellers that lack a platform in cinematic media, and whose collective voice could benefit audiences all over the world.

“`The donation is available to graduate and undergraduate students.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Possible Honor for the Duke…

March 24th, 2017

Manny P. here… 

“`John Wayne, arguably the most famous resident of Newport Beach, could be honored with a city park bearing his name.  Newport Beach Mayor Kevin Muldoon,  who spearheaded a push last year to declare the actor’s birthday as John Wayne Day,  wants to rename an existing park after the legendary actor.  The Duke is currently immortalized with a bronze statue outside the Santa Ana airport that bears his name.

“`Muldoon hopes to rename  Ensign View Park, and have a May 26th ribbon-cutting ceremony, which marks the 110-year anniversary of Wayne’s birth. The city previously proposed installing a sculpture at the park to honor Wayne in 1979, months after his death. The plan didn’t pass.

“`The Parks and Recreation Commission will review the mayor’s latest proposal if submitted, and make a recommendation to thelr local council, according to guidelines for the naming of parks and facilities.

“`Wayne’s son, Ethan, who heads the John Wayne Cancer Foundation, has not commented about the possible honor.

================================

“`Turner Classic Movies will continue memorializing Robert Osborne at the  TCM Classic Film Festival in Los Angeles next month. Festival organizers have announced that the eighth annual cinematic fest will be dedicated to the cable channel’s longtime host, who died on March 6th.

   

                                    ROBERT OSBORNE

“`Osborne’s TCM colleagues and friends will share stories about him during a panel discussion on the festival’s Opening Day on April 6th.  All festival screenings that day will be preceded by an Osborne tribute video.  Other special screenings are planned,  including a 20th Anniversary Tribute honoring the longtime host that premiered in 2015.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Game Show Guru has Died…

March 23rd, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`Chuck Barris created a game show empire that included The Dating Game  (with a familiar theme song), The Newlywed Game  (and its theme), and notably, The Gong Show. At one point, Barris was supplying television networks with 27 hours of entertainment, mostly in five-days-a-week daytime game shows.

“`After being dropped from a low-level job at NBC, he went to ABC, working backstage at the television music program, American Bandstand  (then filmed in Philadelphia), originally as a standards-and-practices person. Barris persuaded his bosses to allow him to open a Hollywood office, from which he launched his game-show empire. He also found success in the pop music world. He wrote the 1962 hit record Palisades Park, which was recorded by Freddy Cannon.

“`Chuck Barris hit the ground running in 1966, with The Dating Game, hosted by Jim Lange. Future celebrities who appeared as contestants included Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom Selleck, Michael Jackson, Steve Martin, and a pre-Charlie’s Angels — Farrah Fawcett.  On a personal note, I appeared on The Dating Game on three separate instances. I wasn’t chosen. Boo!

“`After The Newlywed Game joined The Dating Game as successful programming on nighttime television,  he struck gold with a creation of The Gong Show. Patterned after the Major Bowes Amateur Hour, a radio hit of the 1930s,  each program featured performers with peculiar talents, or often, no talent at all. Barris or celebrities  (such as regulars Jamie Farr, Jaye P. Morgan, Rex Reed and Arte Johnson) would bang an oversize gong, the show’s equivalent of vaudeville’s hook. Their victims would then be berated by the manic host.  Performers enjoying modest fame include The Unknown Comic and Gene Gene The Dancing Machine. This ran for 5 years, finally getting gonged in 1980. CHUCK BARRIS ->

“`After his brand of game show-programming had run its course,  Barris went into semi-retirement, and wrote his autobiography,  Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. In it, he claimed to have been a former CIA assassin. George Clooney produced a motion picture based on the writings of Barris in 2002. Chuck joined George to promote the film, boldly claiming that his shows were a forerunner to today’s reality television programming.

“`The irreverent Chuck Barris was 87.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Public Memorial for Debbie and Carrie

March 22nd, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`The Celebration of Life for Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher  will finally taking place on Saturday, 1p at Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills at the Hall of Liberty in the Freedom Theater.  They are already interred. DEBBIE REYNOLDS / CARRIE FISHER ->

“`One of the afternoon highlights is the unveiling an original song,  composed by James Blunt. The composer will not be perform.  A track will debut over a photo montage. Also on the program: The Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles;  a tribute from members  of the Debbie Reynolds Dance School; and costumes, memorabilia,  and even, Debbie’s honorary Oscar on display.

“`Fisher’s daughter, Billie, will be present.  But, refuses to make a speech, since she is still distraught over the loss of her mom and grandmother.  Other family members and friends, including composer John Williams,  Dan Aykroyd, Morgan Brittany, Ruta Lee, Renee Russo, Beverly D’Angelo, Susan Olson, and R2D2 are expected to attend the ceremony. Watch the ceremony at Debbie’s site at:

www.debbiereynolds.com

“`There are a limited number of seats available for the public,  and it will be on a first-come, first-seated basis. There are no tickets. There will be room for overflow in the huge lobby, as well as the outside, with screens to watch and hear the service.

“`Visitors are welcome to visit the grave sites after the ceremony.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Josh Gibson Ready For Limelight…

March 21st, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`An opera about  Negro Leagues’ baseball great, Josh Gibson, whose home run stroke rivaled Babe Ruth, will have its world premiere in Pittsburgh next month. The Summer King,  presented by the Pittsburgh Opera, premieres April 29th. Gibson’s life story also figured in Fences, the film starring Denzel Washington that was originally a play by Pittsburgh native, August Wilson.

“`Gibson was one of the first three  Negro Leagues players to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, which lists his career batting average as .350. He was twice named Negro National League batting champ, and led the league in home runs, three times. Gibson played for two Pittsburgh teams; the Homestead Grays and the Crawfords. Gibson passed at 35 from a brain aneurysm, a few months before Jackie Robinson integrated baseball in 1947.

“`The Pittsburgh Opera partnered on The Summer King with the Josh Gibson Foundation, which is run by Gibson’s great-grandson, Sean. While Fences brought attention to his great-grandfather, the opera will tell a more complete story. A ballpark named for Gibson is located in Pittsburgh’s Hill District, not far from August Wilson House, the late playwright’s childhood home.  The museum will host a block party on April 29th, starting at noon, a few hours prior to the opera premiere, to mark Wilson’s birthday.

“`Nearly, all 14 principal roles in The Summer King are played by African-Americans, a rarity in operas (Porgy and Bess notwithstanding). Renowned mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves plays Gibson’s lover, and bass-baritone Alfred Walker, will play Josh Gibson (above).

“`The Michigan Opera Theatre in Detroit plans to stage The Summer King in March, 2018.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- A Fantasticks’ Run…

March 20th, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`The off-Broadway phenomenon, The Fantasticks, will end its record-breaking run this spring, bringing down the curtain on a show featuring confetti and a cardboard moon that started when Dwight D. Eisenhower was president.  The musical, which features Try To Remember, closes June 4th; having played a total of 21,552 performances in Manhattan.

“`For nearly 42 years,  this show originally ran at the 153-seat Sullivan Street Playhouse in Greenwich Village, finally closing in 2002 after 17,162 performances; the victim of a destroyed downtown, after 9/11.  It re-opened four years later at The Theater Center, an off-Broadway complex in the heart of Times Square,  where it will end, after a run of 4,390 shows. Scores of actors have appeared in  The Fantasticks,  from the opening cast that included Jerry Orbach, to Ricardo Montalban, Kristin Chenoweth, and Oscar-winner F. Murray Abraham.

“`The tale is a mock version of Romeo and Juliet.  It has since become the nation’s longest-running musical. The Phantom of the Opera, by comparison, is Broadway’s longest-running show, at 12,000.  Its only rival is The Mousetrap in London, the longest-running show in the world, having passed 26,000 performances. (I have enjoyed all three productions).

   

                    MANNY PACHECO

“`In 2015, producers also declared the show would close that summer. But, two donors kept the stalwart, low-tech show open. This time, they are serious. A new production is scheduled to start previews June 17th in the same theater.

“`So, I bid adieu to The Fantasticks!

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Writings of a Wise Guy…

March 19th, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`Columnist Jimmy Breslin was the Pulitzer Prize-winning storyteller about wise guys and underdogs, who was an embodiment of old-time, street smart New Yorker. Jimmy was a fixture for decades in Big Apple  journalism, notably with the New York Daily News. It was Breslin, a rumpled bed of a reporter,  who mounted a quixotic political campaign for citywide office in the 1960s;  became a Son of Sam correspondent in the 1970s;  exposed the city’s worst corruption scandal in a decade in the 1980s; and was taken from a car and stripped to his underwear by Brooklyn rioters in the 1990s. With his uncombed hair and familiar  Queens accent, Breslin (right) was like the characters he wrote about.

“`With typical disregard for authority,  Breslin once took out a newspaper ad to fire the ABC television network, when they aired his short-lived television show in a terrible time slot. He captured the 1986 Pulitzer for commentary, and the George Polk Award for metropolitan reporting. With Gay Talese and Tom Wolfe, Breslin helped create a literary approach to news reporting. Breslin dabbled in television and magazine writing, but returned to the newspaper business in 1976 as a Daily News columnist, and became part of one of the city’s horrifying stories; the Son of Sam killings in 1977.  David Berkowitz sent Breslin letters and impressed the columnist. He jumped to New York Newsday in 1988, signing a contract for more than $500,000 a year.

“`He was an acclaimed author, too, moving easily between genres. The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight was his comic chronicle of the Brooklyn mob;  Damon Runyon:  A Life was an account of his spiritual predecessor;  I Want to Thank My Brain for Remembering Me was a memoir. His second book, Can’t Anybody Here Play This Game?, was praised for its tales of the sad-sack New York Mets.

“`Jimmy became a news columnist in 1963, and quickly found a human story. As reporters worldwide arrived to cover President Kennedy’s funeral, Breslin sought out the presidential grave-digger. He later covered Robert Kennedy’s assassination in 1968 from a much closer angle; Breslin was standing five feet away, when Sirhan Sirhan struck at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.

“`In 1969, Breslin joined author Norman Mailer on a goofy political ticket: Mailer for mayor, Breslin for city council president. His career as an investigative reporter led him to cultivate ties with various Mafia and criminal elements in the city, not always with positive results. In 1970, he was viciously attacked and beaten at The Suite, a restaurant owned by Lucchese crime family associate, Henry Hill.

“`He was no actor, but Breslin was a character. He appeared in the 1978 film, If Ever I See You Again; and he played himself in Spike Lee’s crime thriller, Summer of Sam in 1999.

“`While Breslin had admirers, he formed an equal number of enemies. One of his most enduring feuds was with ex-Mayor Edward Koch.  Breslin also made ill-fated predictions. In his last regular column for Newsday, on Election Day of 2004, he rejoiced an expected victory of Democrat John Kerry; Republican George W. Bush was instead re-elected president.

“`In 2008, the Library of America selected one of Breslin’s Son of Sam articles for inclusion in its two-century retrospective of American True Crime writing.

“`The pugnacious Jimmy Breslin was 88.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“forgotten Hollywood”- The Passing of Chuck Berry…

March 18th, 2017

Manny P. here… 

“`A true pioneer of rock and roll,  Chuck Berry was a significant influence on the development of the music associated with the rock music lifestyle. While no individual can say they invented rock music,  Chuck Berry (right)  comes closest of any single figure, who put all essential pieces together.  It was his particular genius to graft  country and western guitar licks onto rhythm and blues in his very first single, Maybellene. He was also known for his famed duck-walk while performing.

“`A fan of blues, swing, and boogie woogie, Berry studied the mechanics of music and how it was transmitted. As a teenager, he’d take radios apart, and put them back together.  Using a Nick Manoloff guitar chord book, he learned how to play hits of the era. Chuck was fascinated with chord progressions and rhythm, discovering that songs borrowed from the Gershwins’ I Got Rhythm.

“`Berry claimed he was motivated primarily by the 1940s swing artist Louis Jordan.  His break came when he traveled to Chicago in May, 1955,  and met Muddy Waters, who suggested that he contact Chess Records. His other hits included Rock and Roll Music, Johnny B. Goode, Roll Over Beethoven, School Day, Sweet Lil Sixteen, Run Rudolph Run, Carol, Nadine, Little QueenieNo Particular Place to Go, Back in the U.S.A.,  You Never Can Tell, and curiously, his only #1 recording, My Ding-a-Ling.

“`Influenced by the legendary Carl Perkins, Bill Monroe, and Jimmy Rodgers, Berry’s sound would be replicated by the Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, and The Rolling Stones.  His story was chronicled in the documentary, Hail! Hail! Rock n Roll. It was directed by Taylor Hackford, in celebration of his 60th birthday.

“`Among the accolades Berry has received are the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1984, and the Kennedy Center Honors in 2000.  He was ranked 7th on Time Magazine’s 2009 list of the 10 best electric guitar players of all time. When NASA launched Voyager I in 1977, an album was stored on the craft explaining music on Earth. The one rock song added was Johnny B. Goode.

“`Well before the rise of Bob Dylan,  Berry wedded social commentary to the beat and rush of popular music. He was the subject of countless essays. But, in the final analysis, the rocker was his own best biographer.  Along with J.D. Salinger, James Dean, and others in the 1950s, he helped define the modern teenager.

“`On a personal note, I introduced him twenty-five years ago in an outdoor concert that was held in Southern California. He was a real gentleman, and really down-to-earth.

“`The influential Chuck Berry was 90.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- The Final Film of Orson Welles…

March 14th, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`Orson Welles’ last production finally has a home.  Netflix has acquired global rights to Welles’ The Other Side of the Wind, and will finance its completion and restoration.

“`Netflix’s announcement brings to a final end the decades-long intrigue surrounding one of cinema’s finest filmmakers. Welles began shooting the film in 1970, but never completed it. The director died in 1985.

“`The Other Side of the Wind is a Hollywood satire about a filmmaker trying to make a comeback. It co-stars John Huston, Dennis Hopper, and Peter Bogdanovich, who has helped in its editing.

“`Producer Frank Marshall will oversee the film’s completion.

=============================================

“`Jack H. Harris cemented his place in Hollywood history by producing the 1958 horror film The Blob. Harris’ other producing credits include Dark Star, Schlock, and Eyes of Laura Mars, starring Faye Dunaway and Tommy Lee Jones.

“`A vaudeville performer from a young age,  Harris was a decorated WW II veteran before getting into show business. He worked in marketing, publicity, distribution, and production across his long career.

“`While the critical reception was lukewarm upon its release, The Blob remains a cult favorite. Jack’s first production, which starred Steve McQueen in his initial leading role, became a popular smash, grossing about $3 million on a $110,000 budget, and spawning a sequel and a remake. There is even a Blobfest annually held in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania at the Colonial Theater; a pivotal location in the film. The festival kicks off its 18th event in July.

“`Jack H. Harris was 98.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Live-Action Disney Cinema…

March 13th, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`Disney, not content with the success of its Pixar releases, Marvel movies, or Star Wars celluloid thanks to the Lucasfilm purchase, has started remaking its classic animated films in live-action form.

“`It began with Maleficent,  a re-telling of Sleeping Beauty from the villain’s point-of-view, with Angelina Jolie starring. The film was a success; but, instead of continuing to put twists on older films, Disney started re-making them.  Cinderella became a lavish period piece by director Kenneth Branagh;  The Jungle Book  was brought to life with jaw-dropping effects; and Pete’s Dragon got a humanistic update.

“`And now, with this fanciful formula,  Disney has other live-action adaptations in the works. Good news for children of all ages. Just released is the stunning Beauty and the Beast. The cast includes Emma Stone, Dan Stevens, Kevin Kline and Emma Thompson. Alan Menken will provide new tunes.

“`In development are Mulan (in 2018),  The Lion King (with James Earl Jones and Donald Glover reprising their roles as Mufasa and Simba),  Dumbo  (with Director Tim Burton, and starring Danny DeVito), Aladdin, Oliver Twist, and Christopher Robin (a story featuring Winnie-The-Pooh).

“`Walt Disney would be proud.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Holywood”- The Reiner Family Honored…

March 10th, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`Turner Classic Movies will honor legendary father-and-son Hollywood icons, Carl and Rob Reiner, during a hand-and-footprint ceremony at the  TCL Chinese Theater IMAX, during the 8th annual TCM Classic Film Festival on Friday, April 7th.

“`TCM will celebrate the storied careers of the family duo, who have collectively worked in the industry for over a century, and have amassed countless accolades along the way.  This marks the initial occasion that a father and son have jointly been honored with this kind of ceremony at the TCL Chinese Theater, putting their feet in concrete outside the Hollywood landmark.

“`Industry titan Carl Reiner has been a celebrated director and comedic performer for over 70 years,  gaining a loyal following for his sketch comedy work with Sid Caesar and Mel Brooks on Your Show of Shows,  and for directing such beloved movies  as Oh God!, Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, Where’s Poppa?, The Jerk,  and for creating The Dick Van Dyke Show, which he collected multiple Emmys during his career.

“`Filmmaker and political activist  Rob Reiner has had an equally illustrious career,  from his Emmy Award-winning role on All in the Family, to his work behind the camera, directing classics as A Few Good Men, The Princess Bride, Stand By Me, Misery, This Is Spinal Tap, and hen Harry Met Sally.

“`Renowned for his staunch support of civil rights, Rob is a co-founder of the American Foundation for Equal Rights,  and has lent support that address social and environmental issues.         CARL REINER  ROB REINER

“`This marks the seventh consecutive year, TCM will feature a hand-and-footprint ceremony at the legendary TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX. In 2011, Peter O’Toole was an honoree, Kim Novak in 2012, Jane Fonda in 2013, Jerry Lewis in 2014, Christopher Plummer in 2015, and Francis Ford Coppola in 2016.

Until next time>                               “never forget”