“Forgotten Hollywood”- Goodbye to Anne Jeffreys…

September 28th, 2017

Manny P. here… 

“`Anne Jeffreys was an actress and an opera star,  best known as Marion Kerby in the 1950s television adaptation of Topper. Jeffreys co-starred with Leo G Carroll and her husband, Robert Sterling. More recently, she spent over two decades playing Amanda Barrington on General Hospital. Jeffreys appeared in over 350 episodes of the soap opera from 1984 until 2004.

“`The blonde beauty with a soprano voice began her stage career in 1940 with the New York City OperaFord Symphony, and the Los Angeles Opera Company  singing in La Boheme and Madame Butterfly. She was cast in opera, light opera, and musicals; and played the lead in a touring company of Kiss Me Kate. Jeffreys replaced Patricia Morison, the original Kate in the Broadway production. During the show’s New York run, she met Sterling, who was also starring in a New York show.  Jeffreys also toured in musical productions, such as Camelot, Bells Are Ringing, Kismet, Pal Joey, The King and I, The Sound of Music, and Follies.

“`Jeffreys made her cinematic debut at MGM in 1942 in I Married an Angel, which marked the final pairing of Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy. She appeared with John Wayne in Flying Tigers; Frank Sinatra in Step Lively; and made  B westerns.  She made two films in the 1940s as Tess Trueheart, girlfriend of sleuth Dick Tracy.

“`Jeffreys stayed busy on television, guest-starring on Wagon Train, Bonanza, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Love American StyleBattlestar Galactica, Falcon Crest, Vega$Fantasy Island, L.A. Law, and Baywatch.

“`The vivacious Anne Jeffreys was 94

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Passing Parade Claims a Playboy…

September 27th, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`Playboy founder Hugh M. Hefner was an unabashed hedonist, who revved up the sexual revolution in the 1950s, and built a multi-media empire of clubs, mansions, and television; and symbolized by women wearing bunny costumes. Hef was also an ardent supporter of classic films, American Standards, and popular culture.  Hugh M. Hefner and Playboy remained brand names worldwide.   HUGH M. HEFNER –>

“`Hefner was born in Chicago on April 9th, 1926 to devout Methodist parents. As a toddler, he began publishing a neighborhood newspaper, which he sold for a penny a copy. He spent time writing and drawing cartoons; and in middle school he began reading Esquire, a magazine of innuendo Hefner wanted Playboy to emulate. He and co-founder Eldon Sellers launched their magazine from Hefner’s kitchen in Chicago. The first issue was undated, because Hef doubted there would be a second.

“`Hefner would help slip sex out of the confines of brown wrappers, and into our mainstream conversation.  In 1953, states could legally ban contraceptives; and when the word pregnant was not allowed on I Love Lucy, Hefner published the first issue of Playboy, featuring nude photographs of Marilyn Monroe, and an editorial promise of humor, spice, and sophistication. Playboy became forbidden fruit for teens, and a bible for men with time and money, primed for the magazine’s prescribed nights of dim lights, hard drinks, soft jazz, and hidden desires. Within a year, circulation neared 200,000. After five years, it topped one million.

“`Hugh was a strong advocate of the First Amendment, Civil Rights, and reproductive issues. Censorship was inevitable. Playboy was outlawed in China, India, Saudi Arabia, and Ireland. For years, 7-Eleven stores did not sell the magazine. Retail outlets that sold Playboy made sure to stock it on a higher shelf.

“`Plus, the magazine contained more than centerfolds. Playboy serialized Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451;  and later, published fiction by John Updike, Doris Lessing, and Vladimir Nabokov.  It also featured candid interviews; from Fidel Castro, Frank Sinatra, and Marlon Brando, to presidential candidate Jimmy Carter, who confided in his article, he committed adultery in his heart. John Lennon spoke to Playboy in 1980, before he was murdered.

“`By the 1970s, the magazine had over seven million readers, and inspired raunchy imitations, such as Penthouse and Hustler. The internet reduced circulation to under three million by the 21st Century.

“`Hefner ran Playboy from elaborate mansions,  and became a flamboyant symbol of the lifestyle he espoused. For decades, he was the pipe-smoking, silk-pajama-wearing center of a constant party, with celebrities and Playboy models. Drew Barrymore, Farrah Fawcett and Linda Evans are among those who posed for the cover of the magazine.

“`Hefner was host of a television show, Playboy After Dark; and in 1960, opened a string of clubs around the world, where waitresses wore revealing costumes with bunny ears and fluffy white bunny tails. Playboy’s venues influenced culture, giving breaks to such entertainers as George Carlin, Rich Little, Mark Russell, Dick Gregory, and Redd Foxx.  Some bunnies became celebrities, including singer Deborah Harry and model Lauren Hutton, both of whom had fond memories of their time at  Playboy. One bunny was a journalist. Feminist Gloria Steinem got hired in the early 1960s, and turned her brief employment into an article for Show magazine that described the clubs as pleasure havens for men. She surmised that bunnies tended to be poorly educated, overworked, and underpaid. The last of the clubs closed in 1988.

“`An advocate for the arts,  Hef lent his name, and donated time and money to a pet project established by Michael Feinstein:  The Great American Songbook Foundation. Hugh appeared with Feinstein on PBS in a documentary promoting their collaborative effort. At the mansion, Hefner frequently screened classic movies including his favorite, Casablanca. USC currently houses the Hugh M. Hefner Moving Image Archive, comprising of over 70,000 motion picture negatives, prints, magnetic sound elements, and moving image materials in digital formats.

“`On a personal note, I visited the Playboy Mansion in 1987 to do a live radio broadcast that helped raise money for the John Tracy Clinic.  Joining me that day was actor, and fellow high school classmate, Vince Van Patten. I met Hefner, and he was in his familiar robe and slippers. He was also a complete gentleman.

“`Though he married numerous times, Hef advocated the Playboy lifestyle for his adult life. Hugh M. Hefner died peacefully in his sleep, surrounded by his current flock. He was 91.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- A Milestone For Art Laboe…

September 26th, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`Art Laboe is my personal broadcast mentor, and a radio legend who has reached a special milestone. He has been playing recorded music for over 72 years, and that’s now a certified world record. Guinness Book of World Records is recognizing Art for hosting the longest weekly on-air career.

“`This was celebrated by 14 radio stations airing his syndicated show, including KDAY in Los Angeles, KOKO in Fresno, KMRJ in Palm Springs, KXEW in Tucson, and KOAS in Las Vegas. His program also can be heard online. Columnist Walter Winchell coined the term disc jockey to describe Martin Block, the host of WNEW Make Believe Ballroom in New York in 1935.

“`The previous Guinness world record-holder for most years on the  radio was Herbert The Cool Gent Kent, who was an air personality in Chicago from 1944 until his passing, last October 22nd, 2016 at age 88. But, Art holds definitive proof he spent more time on-the-air. His SAG-AFTRA  card shows he became a member in 1943; back when the union was just the American Federation of Radio Artists.

“`Laboe got his initial on-air job during World War II at  KSAN-AM in San Francisco while serving in the Navy.  He studied radio technology, and had already received a first-class FCC license. The Navy assigned Laboe as a radio engineer with  Pan Am,  which was sending military payloads from the Bay Area to Hawaii. That job enabled Laboe to live off-base. He used his free evenings to work at KSAN from 9p to 12a, until the Navy sent him to Florida in 1944.               ART LABOE –>

“`Laboe has a slew of other honors. His recorded voice is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with other famous disc jockeys. He is also along the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Palm Springs Walk of Stars.

“`Art’s legacy in radio history:  The term oldies but goodies, which he used to describe his compilation albums of 1950s and 1960s music; and for creation of on-air dedications from radio listeners.

“`Congratulations to my dearest friend… my inspiration… the actual reason for my career in broadcasting… The one-and-only Art Laboe!

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- A Supreme Court Precedent…

September 24th, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`When the National Anthem is played… I always proudly stand with my hand to my heart. And, I always will. I respect the American Flag, and military troops who gave their lives for this country during war and disaster.

“`That said…

`

“`This decision holding that the  Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution (you know… the amendment before a cherished Second Amendment) protected students from being forced to salute the American Flag in schools.  The Supreme Court’s 6 – 3 decision delivered by Justice Robert H. Jackson is remembered for its forceful defense of free speech and constitutional rights beyond a reach of majorities and officials.

A uniquely American concept… It’s called a Legal Precedent

“`Can we move on from this artificial argument. It distracts all of us from real-world issues, including a North Korean leader who is lobbing missiles ever closer across the Pacific; and a humanitarian crises in Puerto Rico.

“`Just sayin’…

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Leonard Bernstein at 100…

September 23rd, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`The Leonard Bernstein Office in New York has announced it will celebrate the career of the late cultural icon, Leonard Bernstein, over a two-year global celebration that will feature more than 1,000 events on 6 different continents. The Leonard Bernstein at 100 celebration will kick off at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

“`Events will take place throughout the United States, and in London, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Prague, Rome, Budapest,  Warsaw, Japan, China, India, Brazil, Australia, South Africa, and Israel. His musicals will also be revived throughout the world, including international tours; with two different productions of  West Side Story, and productions of Wonderful Town (which was the basis for the cinematic On the Town) in Germany and Austria.

LEONARD BERNSTEIN

“`Following the launch of Leonard Bernstein at 100 in D.C., the New York Philharmonic will present its own centennial celebration in October. The Philadelphia Orchestra will also perform his Symphonic Suite from On the Waterfront and  Symphonic Dances from West Side Story at Carnegie Hall.

“`Exhibitions are planned in multiple cities, including the previously announced event at the Grammy Museum in D.C.  that will feature over 150 photographs, correspondence, scores, costumes, personal items, and cinema, as well as multi-media presentations and interactive displays. Following the Kennedy Center, this exhibition will move on to venues in Chicago, New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Portland, and Tulsa. Additionally, the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philly will open Leonard Bernstein:  The Power of Music.

“`There are plenty of opportunities to celebrate this great composer of the 20th Century.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- A Super Cut…

September 21st, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`Back when director’s cuts of cinema were never released for public consumption, a Richard Donner Superman production was uniquely re-distributed for broadcast on television. It was February, 1982, and ABC aired a two-evening special of Superman:  The Movie; the never-before-seen version of the original theatrical flick  (nearly 40 minutes longer). It would re-air on KCOP-13 in 1994.

“`The three-hour version gave viewers extended views of Krypton before its destruction, extra time in Smallville, and more of John Williams’ memorable soundtrack; plus, a definitive look of Christopher Reeves in action as the Man of Steel.  Since ABC’s broadcast, some of the footage included in the extended director’s cut has been added into other releases of Superman:  The Movie as deleted scenes.  However, the 188-minute version that aired in 1982 has never been officially released.

“`Until now… Decades after its premiere on the small screen, this particular cut is finally being released on Blu-rayWarner Brothers’ Archive Collection has unveiled plans for a brand-new re-master of the extended cut as part of a two-movie collection that will also include Donner’s definitive director’s cut of the film from 2000.  It also includes special features, such as screen tests and documentaries spotlighting the development of a memorable superhero franchise.

“`No release date for the collection has been confirmed.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Death of Sports Icons…

September 20th, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`Two sports legends with ties to Hollywood have died. Here are the details:

“`Jake LaMotta was a professional boxer,  a World Middleweight Champion, and a stand-up comedian. Known as Raging Bull, his career was chronicled by Martin Scorsese in a cinematic production that starred Robert De Niro in an Oscar-winning role.  LaMotta’s six-fight rivalry with Sugar Ray Robinson was one of the most notable in the sport; though, LaMotta won only one of the bouts.                                JAKE LAMOTTA / ROBERT DE NIRO –>

“`LaMotta remained active on the speaking and autograph circuit and several published books about his life, his career, and his fights with Robinson.  The film was based on his own penned memoir. He was a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

“`Jake LaMotta was 95.

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

“`Bernie Casey was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in 1961 as the 9th pick in the first round.  He played for eight NFL seasons; six with the 49ers and two with the Los Angeles Rams. He received his Master’s Degree in Fine Arts at Bowling Green State University.

“`After his NFL career, Casey stayed busy in Hollywood.  His movies include Brian’s SongGuns of Magnificent Seven, The Man Who Fell to Earth, Cleopatra JonesNever Say Never Again, Another 48 HoursSharkys MachineCornbread Earl and MeBill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Revenge of the Nerds, and Under Siege.  On the small screen, he guest-starred on The Streets of San Francisco, Murder She Wrote, L.A. Law, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Babylon 5.          BERNIE CASEY —>

“`He spent much of his free time painting and publishing books of poetry. His art captivated many famous minds, including the esteemed Maya Angelou.

“`Bernie Casey was 78.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Harry Dean Stanton’s Stellar Career…

September 16th, 2017

Manny P. here… 

“`Harry Dean Stanton was a gaunt character actor with a perfect deadpan delivery.  He was also a prolific performer that shined in memorable productions. He appeared in more than 200 films and television shows in a career dating back to the 1950s. His friends included Jack Nicholson, Kris Kristofferson, Rob Lowe, and Emilio Estevez. Nicholson often paid subtle homage to Stanton in many of his motion pictures.                  HARRY DEAN STANTON —>

“`Stanton was a Kentucky native who became immersed in cinema after watching Humphrey Bogart flicks at a local theater.  After serving in the Navy during World War II, he spent three years at the University of Kentucky, and appeared in several plays. Determined to make it in Hollywood, he picked tobacco to earn money to travel West. Three years at the Pasadena Playhouse prepared him for television and movies.

“`Known for taking any available part, including roles in little-seen work, Stanton eventually was hired by Martin Scorsese, John Huston, David Lynch, and Alfred Hitchcock. Never a star, he was always recognizable in even the smallest appearance. His litany of work include The Wrong Man, Pork Chop Hill, How the West Was Won, In the Heat of the Night, Cool Hand Luke, Kelly’s Heroes, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, Farewell My LovelyAlien, The Godfather Part II, DillingerThe Missouri Breaks, Private Benjamin, Repo Man, The Last Temptation of ChristPretty in Pink  (my personal favorite performance), The Green Mile, and A Civil Action.

“`A staple during Television’s Golden Age, he appeared eight times on Gunsmoke, and in Inner Sanctum, The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, Zane Grey Theater, Bat Masterson, The Rifleman, Walt Disney Presents, Laramie, Have Gun Will Travel, The Fugitive, Rawhide,  Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Untouchables, Bonanza, The Big Valley, Daniel Boone, The High Chaparral, The Wild Wild West, The Guns of Will Sonnett, Adam-12The Andy Griffith Show, The Virginian, The Name of the Game, Mannix, Combat!Mary Hartman Mary Hartman, Two and a Half Men, Laverne and Shirley, Petticoat Junction, and Twin Peaks.

“`As an adult, he fronted his own band for years, playing western, Mexican, rock, and pop standards in small venues around the San Fernando Valley. He sang and played guitar and harmonica in impromptu sessions with friends; performed a song in Paris Texas (his only starring role); and once recorded a duet with Bob Dylan.

“`Stanton never married, although he shared a lengthy relationship with actress Rebecca De Mornay. Roger Ebert once observed that no movie with Stanton in a supporting role can be altogether bad… I completely agree.

“`A frequent on-screen schnook, he was always a classy professional in his craft. Harry Dean Stanton was 91.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Holbrook to Retire as Mark Twain…

September 14th, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`Hal Holbrook, who created his signature one-man show Mark Twain Tonight! in 1954,  announced he’s retiring the role. Holbrook has been portraying the beloved scribe and humorist for six decades, longer than Samuel Clemens actually created the pen name.

“`Over the course of an acclaimed career, Holbrook earned four Emmys  and received an Oscar nod  (Best Supporting Actor) for his performance in Into the Wild in 2007. Hal also won a Tony Award in 1966 for Best Actor in a Play for Mark Twain Tonight! He also earned a 1967 Emmy nomination for the CBS broadcast of his portrayal of Twain.

“`Holbrook, who turned 92 in February, intends to carry on with his screen career, which has continued steadily since the 1950s. He had memorable roles in All the Presidents Men and Lincoln.

“`In a letter, Hal Holbrook wrote:

I plan to keep working in film and television with anyone who will have me.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Death of a Good Fella…

September 13th, 2017

Manny P. here… 

“`Frank Vincent was an actor that portrayed prominent roles, in the HBO series The Sopranos, and in several acclaimed films for director Martin Scorsese — Casino, Goodfellas, and Raging Bull. He also had small parts in two Spike Lee movies in 1989 and 1991 respectively — Do the Right Thing and Jungle Fever.

“`As an ensemble player of the drums, trumpet, and piano, Vincent originally aspired to a career in music. But, he turned to acting in 1976, when co-starring in the low-budget gangster film  The Death Collector, along with Joe Pesci,  where they were discovered by Robert De Niro.  He told Scorsese about both Vincent and Pesci. They became part of Scorsese’s players.

“`Another movie for which he appeared include The Pope of Greenwich Village; and on the small screen in  Law and Order, Walker Texas Ranger, Cosby, and NYPD Blue. He would also become a session drummer for such singers as Paul Anka,  Del Shannon, Trini Lopez, and The Belmonts between roles. In 1999, he received an Italian American Entertainer of the Year award.

“`Frank Vincent (above) was 80.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Goodbye to Disney’s Big “X”…

September 11th, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`Xavier Atencio was an animator behind early Disney feature films, including Pinocchio and Fantasia;  plus an imagineer behind iconic Disneyland rides like the Pirates of the Caribbean and The Haunted Mansion. He wrote the lyrics to Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me) and Grim Grinning Ghosts.

“`He served as a photo interpreter in the Army Air Forces reaching the rank of captain in the 2nd Photo Tech Squadron. Stationed in England, he was the member of a troop that analyzed military intelligence aerial surveillance for the Allies.

“` Atencio saw his effort on the big screen in two 1940 productions, when he helped bring Pinocchio to life, and worked on Fantasia; before leaving to serve in World War II. Xavier later designed stop-motion sequences for Disney’s The Parent Trap and Mary Poppins.

“`He contributed to various theme park attractions, writing the script for Adventure Thru Inner Space; and helped design the Railroad’s Primeval World diorama segment. His voice could also be heard on the Submarine Voyage and in The Haunted Mansion.  He retired in 1984, and was named a Disney Legend in 1996.

“`Xavier X Atencio was 98.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Conversations Chronicled…

September 7th, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`A new stage play based on long-lost recordings of personal conversations between pop artist Andy Warhol and author Truman Capote will make its world premiere over the weekend. These chats were meant to be chronicled, WARHOLCAPOTE is stitched together from over 80 hours worth of real-life dialogue between the two American icons.

                                  TRUMAN CAPOTE                     ANDY WARHOL

“`Warhol and Capote were close pals, and in the late 1970s, they recorded dozens of hours of conversations that they intended to create a Broadway play. However, they moved on to other projects; the audiotapes were forgotten; and both men died in the 1980s.

“`Award-winning director Rob Roth feels like he’s completed unfinished art. WARHOLCAPOTE premieres Sunday at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It runs through October 13th.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Honorary Oscar For the Donald…

September 6th, 2017

Manny P. here… 

“`The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has announced that Donald Sutherland is among the recipients of an honorary Oscar at the 2017 Governors Awards ceremony. The actor has never  received a nomination for a competitive statuette.  The Sutherland family is part of Hollywood royalty that traverses the second half of the 20th Century. His son is Kiefer Sutherland

“`Sutherland appeared in over 140 movies, and many were top productions.  Over his long career, he was cast in horror flicks starring Christopher Lee.  Sutherland transitioned into fine motion pictures, such as The Dirty Dozen, M*A*S*H, Klute, Kellys Heroes, Start the Revolution without Me, Animal House, a 1970s remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Ordinary People, Backdraft, A Time to Kill, JFKCold Mountain,  Space Cowboys, and The Hunger Games series. The honorary Oscar compliments an Emmy and two Golden Globes he has earned.

“`In 2016, Donald Sutherland (above) was a member of the main competition jury of the Cannes Film Festival.

“`The 9th Annual Governors Awards gala is set for November 11th at the Ray Dolby Ballroom, just upstairs from the Dolby Theatre,  where the 90th Academy Awards will be presented on March 4th, 2018. Congratulations to the versatile Donald Sutherland for this accolade that honors the body of his work.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- An Everyman of Comedy…

September 1st, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`Shelley Berman won gold records and appeared on top television shows in the 1950s and 1960s, delivering wry monologues about the annoyance of everyday life. He was a pioneer of a brand of comedy that helped pave the way for Bob Newhart, Woody Allen, Jerry Seinfeld, and other standup comedians,  who wrote routines around the frustrations of modern living. Mike Nichols and Elaine May were early influences to his career.

“`He made the first of many appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1959. That year, he issued his first album, Inside Shelley Berman. It won a gold record, and received the first-ever Grammy Award for the Spoken Word. Two more albums achieved gold status.

“`Humor was not his first ambition. Berman trained as an actor, with the Goodman School of Drama in his native Chicago, and with prestigious actress Uta Hagen in New York.  Keeping a hectic schedule in nightclubs, Shelley fulfilled his first ambition to be an actor. He initially appeared on Broadway – The Boys Against the Girls in 1959, and A Family Affair  in 1962. He continued on stage in Where’s Charley?Damn Yankees, The Odd CoupleFiddler on the RoofPrisoner of Second Avenue, La Cage aux Folles, and Guys and Dolls.       SHELLEY BERMAN –>

“`His movie debut came in 1964 in the adaptation of Gore Vidal’s political stage drama, The Best Man, starring Henry Fonda and Cliff Robertson. Other films include Divorce American Style, Teen Witch, Meet the Fockers, and You Don’t Mess with the Zohan.

“`He stayed busy on television, appearing in Rawhide, The Twilight Zone, Peter Gunn, Bewitched, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Walker Texas RangerAdam-12, Friends, Emergency!, Night Court, MacGyver, L. A. Law, The King of Queens, Boston Legal, Grey’s AnatomyCSI: NY, and the latest version of Hawaii Five-0. Shelley appeared as Larry David’s aged father on Curb Your Enthusiasm, a role for which he received a 2008 Emmy Award nomination.

“`He was the first standup comedian to perform at Carnegie Hall. He also taught humor in a Master of Professional Writing program at the University of Southern California, where he was a Lecturer Emeritus.

“`Shelley Berman was 92.

Until next time>                               “never forget”