“Forgotten Hollywood”- Human Monsters of Film’s Golden Age

October 21st, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`The history of Horror genre has roots prior to the Studio Era of Hollywood. Silent movies are filled with cinematic classics (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, The Phantom of the Opera, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, come to mind); and made genuine stars out of actors, such as Lon Chaney and Conrad Veidt.

“`Universal Studios provided vivid films of the genre, including Dracula, Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, The Mummy, The Wolfman, among others. King Kong became an instant classic in 1933. Paramount Pictures produced Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

“`October is a great month to examine the psyche of villainous behavior.  I humbly offer three iconic examples of scripted characters so vile, and absent of any redeeming qualities. They are the best visualization during Hollywood’s Golden Age of monstrous human beings that explode on the screen.

“`One might consider  Lonesome Roads from  A Face in the Crowd, or Jack Ripper in Dr. Strangelove. But, murder for murder sake is not part of their inner makeup. Cody Jarrett from White Heat is a worthy honorable mention in my written examination.  A conclusion culminating in the igniting a massive fatal explosion designed to take out law enforcement officers chasing him is quite  over-the-top. However,  Jarrett reacts in monstrous ways; he doesn’t initiate this instinct. In my estimation, this was James Cagney’s defining role.

“`Here are my TOP 3 candidates of humanity in gruesome turmoil during Hollywood Golden Age:

      

               TOMMY UDO    REVEREND HARRY POWELL       NORMAN BATES

~ TOMMY UDO / KISS OF DEATH – Richard Widmark’s screen debut earned him an Oscar nod. Like Cody Jarrett, he is a malignant gangster.  Unlike Jarrett, Udo will attack character’s that get in his way for the sheer joy of the process.  The prescient scene earning Udo a place on this list: His shackling of a squealer’s wheel-chair bound mother, and then, vividly pushing her down a staircase to her death. Hard to watch;  yet, this horrific incident compels viewing each time it occurs on celluloid.

~ REVEREND HARRY POWELL / THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER  –  Bob Mitchum’s signature role; it led to him to be cast in such movies as Cape Fear.  Directed by Charles Laughton, the film is ahead of its time in presenting horror in human form; Powell is a male black widow who uses gullibility and revivalism to conduct murder just for the chance to obtain money. This flick influenced later work, including  Elmer Gantry (for its cynicism);  To Kill a Mockingbird (for its atmosphere); and Psycho (for sheer horror). Shelly Winters is the visual victim played in a backdrop of triangulation based on the production sets of  The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Lilian Gish is the heroine that puts religion on its purest path.  Audiences stayed away in 1955; they find this a unabashed classic in 2017.

~ NORMAN BATES / PSYCHO –  Alfred Hitchcock spent a lifetime searching for the perfect human monster. Anthony Perkins personifies Hitch’s screen villainy. He would be typecast for the rest of his career. Psychologists debate reasons why Bates would react so efficiently as a killing machine; mental disability at the forefront of any discussion. Modern horror films were born in 1960 after the shower scene.  Actual serial killers bare a striking resemblance to the apparent normalcy of Norman Bates. Hitchcock struck a chilling chord that resonates today.

“`Sleep well, tonight.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Here’s Looking at You…

October 19th, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`My favorite movie of all time on the big screen in November! This is a nationwide screening.  Round up the usual suspects and let’s go see this timeless classic.

“`Why is it rated PG?

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Golden Day For Marsha Hunt…

October 16th, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`Another actor of Hollywood’s Golden Age has reached a rare milestone. Marsha Hunt is turning 100 on Tuesday. She joins Olivia de Havilland and Kirk Douglas with their recent celebrations.

“`Her career was spent at Paramount Pictures and MGM. She had noted performances in  Pride and Prejudice, Blossoms in the Dust, Panama Hattie,  The Human Comedy, and  Smash-Up the Story of a Woman. Marsha did a screen test to portray  Melanie in Gone with the Windand almost got the part before de Havilland was chosen.   MARSHA HUNT –>

“`Hunt had joined a number of filmmakers,  including John Huston, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, and Danny Kaye to protest the actions of the House Un-American Activities Committee. She was blacklisted by Hollywood film studio executives in the 1950s during the McCarthy Era. She was named a potential Communist sympathizer (along with 151 other actors, writers, and directors) in the anti-Communist publication — Red Channels. During this time, Hunt worked on stage.

“`In her later years, Hunt became active in progressive causes, such as ending global poverty, supporting same-sex marriage, raising the awareness of climate change, and promoting peace in Third World countries. As mayor of Sherman Oaks, she raised funds for the creation of Rose Cottage, a day care shelter for homeless children; and served for years on the Advisory Board of Directors for the San Fernando Valley Community Mental Health Center,  a large non-profit that advocates for adults and children affected by homelessness and mental illness.

“`On a personal note, I am pleased to have met Ms. Hunt on several occasions. I found her to be delightful, and very down-to-earth, considering her screen-legend status.

“`Happy birthday to the unwavering Marsha Hunt.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Trail Honors Man in Black…

October 15th, 2017

Manny P. here… 

“`The California city of Folsom has completed a second section of its  Johnny Cash Trail that pays tribute to the country music icon, and his 1968 album, At Folsom Prison. Cash’s daughter Cindy Cash gave an emotional speech as she cut the ribbon at this weekend’s event,  which included a festival, fun runs, and community bike ride.                               JOHNNY CASH –>

“`The initial section of  2.5-mile trail opened three years ago. The second phase completes a bike section of the trail,  which traverses prison property, and links to other trails in the area. The Sacramento Bee reports that Folsom still plans to install large pieces of art that will tell Johnny Cash’s story. His career was recently chronicled in the 2005 movie, Walk the Line. It starred Joaquin Phoenix as the Man in Black.

“`Cindy Cash choked up as she spoke of her father’s humble nature, and how honored he would have been by the event.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Good Grief…

October 12th, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`The home of  Peanuts creator Charles Schulz burned to the ground in this week’s deadly Northern California wildfires. Thankfully, his widow escaped the blaze. Schulz built the West Coast split-level home in the 1970s, and the cartoonist lived there until his death in 2000.

                    CHARLES M. SCHULZ     SNOOPY

“`Schulz usually worked at an outside studio,  and most original artwork and memorabilia are at the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center in Santa Rosa, which escaped the flames.  Jean Schulz is the current president of the board of directors, created two years after the cartoonist’s passing.

“`Schulz had long ties to Santa Rosa and Sonoma County. The Santa Rosa airport is officially named the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport, and features bronze sculptures of the Peanuts characters. Its logo is Snoopy flying on top of his doghouse; the Sopwith Camel.

“`Fires in the Northern California wine country have killed at least 40 people, since they began on Sunday, and wiped out thousands of homes and structures, including wineries, resorts, and whole neighborhoods. Prayers to the victims and the first-responders affected by the blaze.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Golden Age of Teleplay…

October 10th, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`Bob Schiller was a comedic writer, whose credits reach back to television’s infancy, including I Love Lucy; and later, Maude, All in the Family, and The Carol Burnett Show. He began penning for the small screen in 1950; and three years later, he formed a partnership with Bob Weiskopf, with whom he collaborated for nearly a half-century.

“`They successfully collaborated for sitcoms such as The Jimmy Durante ShowDecember Bride,  The Bob Cummings ShowMake Room For Daddy, and The Ann Sothern Show. Their partnership continued through the 1960s and 1970s with such programs as Lucille Ball’s follow-up comedy, The Lucy Show, The Red Skelton Hour, Flip Wilson’s variety show, Flip, and Archie Bunker’s Place. They shared two Emmy Awards over their collaborative career.

“`Raised in Los Angeles, Schiller attended UCLA, where he wrote a humorous column for the school newspaper. He was drafted into the Army in 1940, and produced variety shows for the troops. After the war, Schiller took a job with Rogers & Cowan public relations agency.

“`His initial work after teaming up with Weiskopf was a radio script for Our Miss Brooks. Schiller additionally wrote for classic radio, including Abbott and Costello,  Duffy’s Tavern,  The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, and The Mel Blanc Show.

“`Schiller and Weiskopf were honored with a pair of Peabody Awards, a Golden Globe, and  Writers Guild of America Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television Achievement.                          BOB SCHILLER —>

“`Bob Schiller was 98.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Dracula With a Live Score…

October 7th, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`On Halloween weekend, see the 1931 horror classic, Dracula, starring Bela Lugosi on the big screen,  accompanied by a live performance of the film’s hypnotic instrumental score by legendary composer and pianist Philip Glass and the Kronos Quartet.

“`Considered to be one of the most influential composers ever to work in movies, Glass has reinvented the relationship between music and moving image. Rather than simply providing music as an accompaniment to an otherwise finished production,  Philip considers music an essential narrative force,  and he has worked as a true collaborator with directors, including Martin Scorcese,  Peter Weir, and Stephen Daldry, among many others; conceptualizing the score from initial stages of the film, and then, sharing in the editing process. The composer saw the potential of his scores to be played live in concert. These events are a synthesis of music concert and movie screening; the merge creates an intense performance experience. Glass has also brought a new life to vintage cinematic classics, reinventing these legendary films for a new live context.

“`Glass composed the intense and sweeping Dracula score for the Kronos Quartet, when he was asked by Universal to create a score for this early talkie. Appearing together live along with an original horror classic shown in its entirety, Glass and Kronos perform a concert with one of the most atmospheric scores Philip Glass has ever written.

“`The screenings are scheduled for October 28th at 7:30p; and October 29th at 2p.  This is a co-presentation of Segerstrom Center for the Arts and Philharmonic Society of Orange County.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Court Disability Ruling…

October 6th, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`Federal disability law require movie theaters to provide specialized interpreters for patrons who are deaf and blind, based on a ruling made by an appeals court. The Philadelphia-based 3rd United States Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Cinemark, the nation’s third-largest movie chain, in a case involving a Pennsylvania man who wanted to see the 2014 film, Gone Girl, and asked a Cinemark theater in Pittsburgh to supply a tactile interpreter. The theater denied his request.

“`The plaintiff, Paul McGann, is a cinema enthusiast who interprets  American Sign Language through touch. He uses the method of tactile interpretation, which involves placing his hands over the hands of an interpreter,  who use sign language to describe a film’s action, dialogue, and even, audience reaction. The Federal Appeals Court have ruled that tactile interpretation is covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act, which requires that public accommodations furnish auxiliary aids and services to patrons with vision, hearing, and speech disabilities.

“`Cinemark can still argue that providing the interpreters might present an undue burden, an exception to the disability law that takes into account the cost of the accommodation,  and the business’ ability to pay for it.  The Appeals Court remanded the case back to a federal judge to consider that argument.

“`McGann requires the services of two interpreters. This service costs a few hundred dollars per showing. The movie chain also has said that before McGann, it’s never before received a request for a tactile interpreter.  The Plano, Texas-based chain is evaluating all legal options.  The United States Department of Justice filed documents in support of McGann.

“`Cinemark earned $257 million in 2016. Bulletins as they break…

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Bye Bye to Bozo…

October 5th, 2017

Manny P. here…  

“`Lots of actors have played Bozo the Clown at television stations across America. One of those actors, who played Bozo in Arkansas in the 1970s and 1980s, has died.  Gary Weir entertained kids in KATV’s studio while clad in a trademark red nose and red hair for 25 years. Bozo’s Big Top combined interaction and games with children in the audience.

“`The  Bozo show was the most successful children’s program in Little Rock television history, with an audience waiting list of more than four years. On the program, Gary coined the phrase: Rootie kazootie, Wowie kazowie; Old Bozo is your best pal.

“`Born in Russellville, Weir first made his name as a disc jockey in North Little Rock before entering television as an announcer at  KATV.  He most recently worked as a horse racing handicapper in Hot Springs.

“`Gary Weir was 75.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- A Visit to Studio City…

October 3rd, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`The Forgotten Hollywood journey is taking me to Studio City. Here are the details:

“`If you live close by, I hope you will join me!

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Seal the Deal…

October 1st, 2017

Manny P here… 

“`Monty Hall was the television game show host whose long-running  Let’s Make a Deal showcased contestants in goofy costumes and mystery prizes behind doors and curtains. The daily show, which he co-created, debuted as a daytime show on NBC in 1963, and became a small screen staple; moving to ABC in 1968.  Over the next four decades, it also aired in prime time and in syndication.                MONTY HALL —>

“`Born in Manitoba, Canada, Hall initially tested his skills on radio. After moving to Manhattan,  and then to Los Angeles, he began working on a number of shows.  Hall hosted Keep TalkingCowboy Theater and Video Village. He also was hired to host the popular  Twenty-One and Strike It Rich. During the 1959–1960 season,  he became a sports analyst for the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League.

“`Let’s Make a Deal’s roots could be traced from The Auctioneer, a game show Hall hosted in Toronto in the 1950s. He joined writer-producer Stefan Hatos to create Let’s Make a Deal, knowing that his experience with audience interaction would be an instant hit on television.

“`Hall was one of only three game show hosts on both Hollywood’s and  Canada’s Walks of Fame; the others being Alex Trebek and Howie Mandel. Monty spent much of his post-Deal days involved in philanthropic work.  He was always going to various telethons, and helped raise close to a billion dollars for charity in his lifetime. Hall was repeatedly honored for his charitable effort. Wards at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto and Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia were named in his honor. Monty was the 2005 recipient of a Ralph Edwards Service Award from Game Show Congress in recognition of all his charity work.

“`The genial Monty Hall, who never turned down signing an autograph, was 96.

Until next time>                               “never forget”