“Forgotten Hollywood”- Building Demolition Hits Collinsport

February 10th, 2016

Manny P. here…

   The location of the studios where the original Dark Shadows television series was taped is scheduled for demolition. During the history of the television show, cast members often interacted with fans outside during breaks in filming. It’s difficult not to feel a sense of sadness on hearing about the building’s pending demise.

   The 10,000 square-foot property, located at 442 West 54th St., NY, NY, is expected to be demolished to make way for a pair of six-story residential buildings. Emmut Properties paid $25 million for the property, it was announced in January.

DS_0011_Layer 7   Dark Shadows Gold Key

JONATHAN FRID with Fans         as BARNABAS COLLINS

   A deadline for construction on the new properties has not yet been disclosed so, if you’ve ever wanted to get a gander at where Dark Shadows was taped, you’d better move fast. Since I am visiting the area in March, I may have to pay my last respects.

   Dan Curtis… cue the spooky music…

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Harold Ramis Academy…

February 9th, 2016

Manny P. here…

   Chicago improv troupe Second City is opening a school focusing on comedic filmmaking and naming it after late writer-director-actor Harold Ramis. His longtime collaborator and film producer Trevor Albert will be the school’s chairman. The advisory board will include Second City alumni Steve Carell, Adam McKay, Martin Short, Tim Meadows, Catherine O’Hara, and others.

harold-ramis-logo

   Second City said that applications are being accepted for the school’s yearlong filmmaker program that starts in September in Chicago. Students enrolled in the intensive program will learn comedy training, film history, storytelling, and film production. They’ll produce a pilot television show or short film.

   Harold  joined The Second City Mainstage in 1969, writing and performing in six revues over four years. A Chicago native, Ramis’ exceptional stage work led him to roles on The National Lampoon Show and SCTV. Ramis turned his focus to film when he created a script for National Lampoon’s magazine which was turned into the screenplay for the groundbreaking comedy Animal House. He’s famous for creating the conceptual ideas behind Caddyshack, Stripes, Ghostbusters, and Meatballs.

   Ramis died in February, 2014 at the age of 69 at his home in the Chicago suburbs after suffering from an autoimmune disease. The legacy of Harold Ramis will grow in cinematic history due to Second City’s commitment for quality education in the area of comedic movie-making.

   If you would like apply for the program, click on the link below:

http://www.secondcity.com/harold-ramis/

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Tommy_kelly_actor   Tommy Kelly is best remembered for his title role in David O. Selznick’s 1938 film The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, based on Mark Twain’s novel of the same name. A year later, Kelly had a small but memorable part in Gone with the Wind. He also had small roles in Life Begins for Andy Hardy, Battleground, and The Magnificent Yankee.                      TOMMY KELLY ——–>

   As with many other stars, the war years found Tommy in the Army, where he served in the infantry, not the USO as did some other child stars; he fought in the European theater, participating in the critical campaign for the bridge at Remagen.

   Tommy Kelly was 90.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Critics Choice…

February 7th, 2016

Manny P. here… 330px-Birth_of_a_Nation_theatrical_poster

   The Forgotten Hollywood premise is that entertainment and Americana has a long history of collaboration in what I refer to as seldom-remembered Hollywood-and-Vine moments. Over the long decades, cinematic plots tackling important issues have garnered critical acclaim for their risk-reward approach. Sometimes, the screenings of motion pictures have also laid at the doorstep of those who are in the cross-hairs of controversy.

   For example, President Woodrow Wilson all but endorsed the Ku Klux Klan after he viewed The Birth of a Nation from his seat at the White House, proclaiming its significance in American culture. The Chief Executive’s ringing endorsement assured Jim Crow policies that followed for decades in the South, including the heinous practice of lynching African Americans for the folly of its citizenry.

   In 2016, movie screenings are expected in the most controversial of settings. It has been announced The Big Short is scheduled to be shown to both Houses of Congress; while Spotlight is on tap at the Vatican. The former highlights the visionaries who predicted the collapse of the United States housing market in 2007; while the latter tackles the issue of the Catholic priest sex scandal over the last three decades, as chronicled through an exposé of investigative reports from the Boston Globe.

The_Big_Short_teaser_poster   Spotlight_(film)_poster

   Democrats and Republicans will surely squirm in their collective seats as the they watch a movie that is essentially a big wet kiss to the candidacy of Independent Bernie Sander’s as he runs for president. One can only assume that, after the screening, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren will address the combined chambers, lambasting the notion of supporting Wall Street and the crony capitalism that has enveloped our politics of the day. The cry that nothing is too big to fail will be heard across the nation.

   If both sides of the aisle are uncomfortable within the Capitol building in Washington, the Vatican cardinals might all-out revolt after they watch a motion picture tapped to win this year’s Oscar for Best Picture. The press release that is sure to follow from Rome could be quite scathing in its assessment of the Hollywood elite.

   All kidding aside, I applaud the members of Congress and the Vatican for displaying the courage to accept the criticism that comes from our visual arts community. It shows a sincere effort by the powerful to address uncomfortable issues of the day with the intention to provide worthy solutions.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Springtime in New York… REVISED!

February 5th, 2016

Manny P. here…

   This is exciting news! I have been invited to represent the Forgotten Hollywood franchise at the 2016 ReelAbilities: NY Disabilities Film Festival. The week-long event takes place March 10th-16th in the heart of the Big Apple.

RFJE14_Reelabilities_WebBanner1500x630_1_2a-1

    Part of the week-long festivities include a Speaker Series taking place at various branches of the New York Public Library system. I’ve been invited to speak at:

Baychester / Bronx – Monday 03/14 @ 10:30a

 Jerome Park / Bronx – Tuesday 03/15 @ 11a

Midtown / Manhattan – Wednesday 03/16 @ 6:30p 

   These are the branches of the literary repository that is a personal favorite of historian David McCullough. My program will include an in-person presentation of Hollywood cinematic stories that appear in my book series; a 4-minute trailer for our documentary currently in production, Triumph Over Disability: Lionel Barrymore’s Pioneering Story; and a book-signing opportunity for interested readers of Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History and Son of Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History. In fact, my latter paperback is already a reference copy at the NYPL.

Forgotten Hollywood cover   Forgotten Hollywood on Therapy Cable logo   FINALfrontcover-sonofforgottenhol

   Also in the works is my possible participation in a ReelAbilities: NY Disabilities Film Festival planned industry event hosted by SAG-AFTRA, the combined unions that I have belonged to since 1982. I will have all the details regarding this gala in a later blog.

Intrepid   nypl_logo

   ReelAbilities: NY Disabilities Film Festival was initiated at JCC Manhattan in 2007. The festival was the first of its kind to present award-winning films by and about people with disabilities. Screenings take place at multiple venues throughout the New York metro area, and are followed by discussions that bring together the community to explore, discuss, embrace, and celebrate the diversity of our shared human experience. Here is a link to their website: 

www.ReelAbilities.org     http://newyork.reelabilities.org/

   My sister Virginia Vandewouwer plans on joining me at these events, which is indeed a real blessing. And, Rich Hogan Photography, based out of New York, will visually document our planned appearances.

http://www.richhoganphotography.com/

   Plus, since I constantly search for opportunities to document all things-Forgotten Hollywood, we are planning a visit to Broadway to enjoy a couple of shows (An American in Paris, The Fantasticks). We also plan on taking a somber afternoon visit to the 9-11 Memorial.

an american in paris   logo   000035_hero

   Bulletins as they break.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Bob Elliott 1/2 Legendary Radio Team

February 4th, 2016

Manny P. here…

   Bob Elliott was half of the enduring television and radio comedy team Bob and Ray. Their career spanned five decades. The duo’s format was typically to satirize the medium in which they were performing, such as conducting interviews, with off-the-wall dialogue presented in a generally deadpan style as though it was a serious broadcast. Along with Steve Allen, they pioneered the man-on-the-street comedy routine on television. Bob was also the father of actor-comedian Chris Elliott.

Bobandray   Bob and Ray’s long partnership began at Boston radio station WHDH in 1946, when Ray Goulding, after delivering the news on Elliott’s music program, began to stick around to swap anecdotes with the host. The pair moved to television in 1951 with the Bob and Ray Show. Unlike Sid Caesar and Milton Berle, they did not attract a mass audience. However, their low-key approach, once described as outrageously innocuous by the New York Times, had a devoted following. The small-screen show, which additionally featured Cloris Leachman and Audrey Meadows, ended in 1953.

Bobrayplaybill (1)   The team won a prestigious Peabody Award in 1956. In New York City, Elliott and Goulding continued to thrive. Bob and Ray hosted a Mark Goodson-Bill Todman game show. They also appeared on the Ed Sullivan and Steve Allen television shows, and won a regular spot on NBC’s Today Show. In 1971, Bob and Ray lent their voices to the children’s television program The Electric Company. The team appeared on Trapper John M.D. and Happy Days; and also were guests on Johnny Carson’s and David Letterman’s late night talk shows throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Bob Elliott also worked solo occasionally during the team’s prolific run, appearing in Cold Turkey and Author Authorand in a few television movies.

   In their last incarnation, the pair were heard on National Public Radio, which ended in 1987. They also appeared on Broadway, and released record albums and books of their iconic comedy sketches. Bob and Ray were inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1995. Many of their shows are available for listening at the Paley Center for Media.

   Following Goulding’s death in 1990, Elliott remained active as a solo performer, appearing regularly throughout the ’90s on television and occasionally in films. He played Bob Newhart’s father on the series Newhart, and his own son Chris’ father on Get a Life. He also appeared in the films Quick Change and Cabin Boy.

   Bob Elliott was 92.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- An Honor for Olivia de Havilland…

February 3rd, 2016

Manny P. here…

   Veteran actress Olivia de Havilland was the focus for her achievements in Hollywood at Britain’s Oldie of the Year Awards in London. The star, who at 99 years old is the oldest living Oscar winner, was unable to travel from her home in France to collect the Oldie of the Year trophy. However, she recorded a video message to be played at the annual ceremony, which is held by editors of satirical magazine The Oldie.

   Olivia shared her award with 101-year-old former barrister and member of the House of Lords, Jeremy Hutchinson. Previous winners have included Sir Roger Bannister (2015) and the Queen Mother (2001).

Olivia de Havilland

OLIVIA DE HAVILLAND

   She earned the first of five Academy Awards nominations for her role as Melanie Hamilton in Gone with the Wind, and de Havilland won Oscars for Best Actress in To Each His Own (1946) and The Heiress (1949). Her cinematic career spanned 53 years, and is considered part of Hollywood royalty. Olivia’s younger sister was Oscar-winning actress Joan Fontaine, who died in 2013.

   The tongue-in-cheek award is given out annually by The Oldie, set up by former Private Eye editor Richard Ingrams to take an irreverent stand against ageism. It’s great to see Olivia de Havilland share in the fun. She will be 100 in July

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Second Book Milestone…

February 2nd, 2016

Manny P. here..

FINALfrontcover-sonofforgottenhol   Son of Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History has reached over 1400 in sales; an achievement that compliments the Forgotten Hollywood Book Series, NOW approaching 4800 units sold. This latest milestone is because of recent purchases from the membership of local chapters of the Chino, Moreno Valley, and Lawndale Rotary Clubs.

Logo-NT1400-75th-111115-04   Rotary-Wheel-3d-150x150

   The numbers are sure to rise with February stops in Cypress (my home town) at the Chamber of Commerce and Public Library (on the day of the Oscars ceremony); and a March trip to the East Coast to visit library branches in the Bronx and Manhattan to share my Forgotten Hollywood journey. This will be part of ReelAbilities: NY Disabilities Film Festival. By the way, the main branch of the New York Public Library carries Son of Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History as a reference copy, a real tribute to my work.

   

Cypress COC logo   Cypress Public Library

reel-web-logo   nypl_logo

   The next 60 days should be quite an adventure. Time to enjoy the ride.

   Thank you for allowing me to indulge in a written example of self-congratulatory expression. Now, back to more great Hollywood Golden Age-related stories…

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Never Having to Say You’re Sorry…

February 1st, 2016

Manny P. here…

   Actors Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal are returning to Harvard University more than 45 years after the release of their 1970 classic Love Story. The duo, now in their 70s, will be reflecting on their careers Monday afternoon in a conversation moderated by arts journalist Alicia Anstead. Over the years, the Crimson Key Society, a student association, has sponsored showings of Love Story during orientation to each incoming class of freshmen since the late 1970s.

Love_Story_(1970_film)   The plot involved a wealthy Harvard student who marries a less wealthy student over his parents’ objections. Cinema legend Ray Milland, John Marley, and Tommy Lee Jones (in his film debut) co-starred. The movie was based on a novel by Erich Segal, and directed by Arthur Hiller. It was a personal favorite of President Richard Nixon.

   The motion picture was nominated for seven Academy Awards, winning one for Best Original Score. Andy Williams had a major vocal hit with the main theme, entitled Where Do I Begin. It won an additional five Golden Globes, including Best Picture (Drama), Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Actress in a Drama. The film spawned a trove of imitations, parodies, and homages in countless scripts, having re-energized melodrama on the silver screen, as well as helping to set the template for the modern chick flick.

   The actors are expected to drive to Harvard in an antique MG convertible, similar to the one featured in Love Story. The 74-year-old O’Neal has noted that cancer, like in the movie, has played a big part in his real life, including his own battle with leukemia. Both have admitted they had a crush on each other during filming on Harvard’s campus, and had not seen the movie in years.

   MacGraw and O’Neal are currently co-starring in a national tour of Love Letters, which is about a man and a woman who maintain contact over 50 years through notes, cards, and letters. The play begins a one-week engagement at Boston’s Citi Shubert Theatre Tuesday.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Death of a Brit…

January 31st, 2016

Manny P. here…web-frank-finlay-rex

   Frank Finlay (right) was an English theatre, film, and television actor. In a wide-ranging career across stage and screen, he starred and is best known for his part as Porthos in the Three Musketeers films of the 1970s, alongside Oliver Reed, Richard Chamberlain, and Michael York. Plus, it was in his supporting role to Laurence Olivier in Othello back in 1965, for which he was nominated for an Oscar. His training was at the prestigious Royal Academy of the Dramatic Arts in London.

   Finlay appeared in memorable movies, including The Longest Day, Inspector Clouseau, The Wild Geese, Murder by Decree, and The Pianist. His fine turns as Sancho Panza in The Adventures of Don Quixote and Voltaire in Candide, both BBC television plays of the month, however, led to two BAFTA awards. At the Chichester Festival Theatre over the years, he’s appeared in Hamlet, Hobson’s Choice, Amadeus, Much Ado About Nothing, and The Crucible.

   Finlay was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the New Year’s Honours of 1984, though he was never eventually knighted. Queen Elizabeth II made the official presentation in February.

   Frank Finlay was 89.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Vin Scully Might Get His Own Street…

January 28th, 2016

Manny P. here…

   Los Angeles City Council member Gil Cedillo has just introduced a motion that would rename a short stretch of Elysian Park Avenue to honor Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully. The two blocks from Sunset Boulevard to Stadium Way lead to Dodger Stadium. If approved, they would be renamed Vin Scully Avenue.

VinScullyPstcd_sm   Scully (right) has been with the Dodgers since their Brooklyn days. His 66 seasons with the team is the longest any broadcaster has been with one outfit in professional sports history. During his career, he has called three perfect games and eighteen no hitters. He described the record breaking homers hit by Hank Aaron, and later, Barry Bonds; and also broadcast the shot heard round the world in 1951 that sent the New York Giants into the World Series. In fact, Vin has been at the helm behind his microphone than many of the fans have been alive, an amazing accomplishment. Council member Cedillo recognized Scully’s longevity in his motion this week.

    Scully received the Ford Frick Award from the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982. Thirteen years later, he was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame. On September 5th, 2014, Bud Selig presented him with the Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award. He was the 14th recipient, and (after Rachel Robinson) second non-player to receive the award, which was created to recognize accomplishments and contributions of historical significance to the game of baseball. Since 2001, the press box at Dodger Stadium has been named for Scully.

   The time might be right for this latest tribute, since it may be Scully’s last year of broadcasting. If the motion is approved by the rest of the City Council, the city’s engineer will begin the process of changing the name of the street. A similar idea was suggested by the mayor a few years back. In the past, Scully has said he would prefer that a street be renamed after Walter O’Malley, who brought the team to Los Angeles, or his son Peter. Expected to show their support: former Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda, former baseball stars Steve Garvey, Orel Hershiser, Maury Wills, and Eric Karros, new Dodger manager Dave Roberts, and 17 active players, including pitcher Clayton Kershaw and outfielder Yasiel Puig

   Here’s hoping that the City Council has the gumption to pass this appropriate resolution.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Saying Goodbye to Fish…

January 26th, 2016

Manny P. here…  Abe_Vigoda_Fish_Barney_Miller_1977

   Abe Vigoda, whose leathery, sunken-eyed face made him ideal for playing the over-the-hill detective Phil Fish in the 1970s television series Barney Miller, and a subsequent spinoff; and as the doomed Mafia soldier in The Godfather. Vigoda played Sal Tessio, an old friend of Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) who hopes to take over the family after Vito’s death by killing his son Michael Corleone (Al Pacino).

   Born in New York City, Vigoda attended the Theater School of Dramatic Arts at Carnegie Hall. In the 1950s, he appeared as straight man for the Jimmy Durante and Ed Wynn television comedies. He guest-starred in the daytime soap opera Dark Shadows, Mannix, Hawaii 5-0The Rockford Files, The Bionic Woman, Law & Order, and Wings.  ABE VIGODA –>

abe vigoda marathon   For 30 years, he worked in the theater, acting in dozens of plays as diverse characters such as John of Gaunt in Richard II (his favorite role); and as Abe Lincoln in Tough to Get Help. His resemblance to Boris Karloff led to his casting in the 1986 New York revival of Arsenic and Old Lace, portraying the role Karloff originated on stage in the 1940s. He remained a popular character actor in films, including Cannonball Run II, Look Who’s Talking, Joe Versus the Volcano, and North.

   For decades, there has been a running joke about the demise of Abe Vigoda, which began with an erroneous report in People Magazine back in 1981. He found the gag to be great fun, spoofing the idea in commercials and on Late Night with David Letterman. A website was set up to remind readers Vigoda was still alive.

   Antenna TV will honor his memory this weekend with episodes of Barney Miller. The marathon will begin mid-Saturday.

   The durable Abe Vigoda was 94.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- A Radio Drama…

January 25th, 2016

Manny P. here…

internal_page_dicktracy   A lawsuit claims the late creator of such legendary radio dramas as Dick Tracy and The Adventures of the Thin Man was duped into putting the bulk of his $100 million fortune into a charitable trust controlled solely by his longtime lawyer. Himan Brown, a radio producer who died in New York City in 2010 at the age of 99, instead wanted it to go to an organization he founded to promote radio theater, according to court papers.

   The lawsuit was filed by Radio Drama Network, Inc., a private foundation started by Brown in 1984 to foster his love and appreciation for the radio serials that popularized the airwaves in the 1930s and 1940s. Several members of his family serve on its board of directors.

himan-brown-1974   Himan Brown (right) produced more than 30,000 radio shows in a career that spanned from the 1930s into the 1980s. He studied law at Brooklyn College, but he never practiced, instead using his education to secure radio rights to Dick Tracy, Flash Gordon, and the Thin Man. Other notable Brown productions included Inner Sanctum Mysteries, Bulldog Drummond, Grand Central Station, and the CBS Radio Mystery Theater. He worked with actors, such as Gregory Peck, Orson Welles, Frank Sinatra, Boris Karloff, Edward G. Robinson, Helen Hayes, Peter Lorre, Mary Astor, among others.

   During World War II, Brown worked with the Writer’s War Board to produce patriotic serials to aid the war effort. In the 1950s, he bought Adolph Zukor’s Famous Players Studios. Through his non-profit educational foundation, Brown produced They Were Giants, radio programs dramatizing the lives of such literary figures as Walt Whitman and H.G. Wells.

himan bown   Ron Simon, curator of television and radio at the Paley Center for Media, calls Himan Brown one of radio’s great storytellers. He was well-known for using sound effects such as a creaking door and a steam engine to enthrall listeners during Radio’s Golden Age. A member of the Radio Hall of Fame, Brown received the American Broadcast Pioneer and the Peabody Award.

   A vast fortune is at stake. Who knows which party will win in the lawsuit now being contested in Manhattan surrogate’s court. Maybe, The Shadow knows… 

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Broadway Adrift in Snow…

January 24th, 2016

Manny P. here…

   Snowstorm Jonas has hit the Great White Way. As a result of the ban on travel in New York, the suspension of public transportation by government authorities, and additional safety precautions implemented due to the severe weather, all Broadway matinee and evening performances on January 23rd were cancelled. Disney Theatrical Productions was the first to cancel, announcing that Aladdin and The Lion King would be closed as snow and wind smashed through Times Square.

new-york-city-snowstorm-times-square-hercules-january-2014-1-29

   Broadway.com customers with tickets to cancelled performances will be contacted with information on refunds or exchanges. If you have tickets in hand, they need to be returned to Broadway.com customer service at the following address: 729 7th Ave., 6th Floor, NY, NY 10019. Shows are currently expected to run as scheduled on January 24th. If you purchased tickets through Broadway.com and are unable to attend today’s performance, call 1-800-BROADWAY. Dozens of shows have agreed to extend a two-for-one tickets deal to make up for lost business after Saturday’s cancellations. Broadway Week, currently in effect, will now run to February. 7th.

broadway   The following productions offered exchanges for their shows on January 24th: Beautiful, AladdinAn American in Paris, Avenue Q, AllegianceA View From the Bridge, Chicago, Clever Little Lies, China Doll, Curious Incident, Fiddler on the Roof, Fun HomeFinding Neverland, Jersey Boys, Hamilton, King Charles III, Kinky Boots, Les Miserables, Our Mother’s Brief Affair, Matilda, On Your Feet, School of Rock, MiseryTrip of Love, Something Rotten, Shear MadnessTappin’ through Life, Spring Awakening, The Book of Mormon, The Color PurpleThe King and I, The Gazillion Bubble ShowThe Lion KingThe Phantom of the Operaand Wicked.

   A Rita Moreno appearance at Jazz at Lincoln Center was canceled; and Bruce Springsteen postponed this evening’s concert at Madison Square Garden; also suspended were performances at the New York Philharmonic, The Metropolitan Opera, and New York City Ballet. The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Museum of Modern Art were closed for the day. Additionally, weekend movie-going was affected up and down the East Coast by Winter Storm Jonas, which forced theater closures in Washington D.C. and New York, and caused hundreds of theaters to suspend showings. Studio executives said the storm had a major effect on business.

   The storm didn’t stop the inaugural three-day BroadwayCon — sort of like a ComicCon for thespians — at a midtown hotel. Some 5,000 theater fans were geeking out on shows and celebrities. And, there was a live audience that braved the weather conditions to enjoy an episode of Saturday Night Live, as they adroitly lampooned the politics of the week and Oscars’ controversy. More than 45 million people, meanwhile, stayed home and watched a video on Facebook of one of the Smithsonian National Zoo’s four pandas frolicking in the snow.

   The last time Broadway took a big weather hit was Superstorm Sandy in 2012. It darkened Broadway for four days, and cost more than $8.5 million in lost revenue.

   Now sing with me:  Oh, the weather outside is frightful…

Until next time>                               “never forget

“Forgotten Hollywood”- The NRA Might Have Hated Wyatt Earp

January 23rd, 2016

Manny P. here…

   Based on a number of screenplays written during Hollywood’s Golden Age, the issue of gun rights was addressed in Westerns, including Dodge City in 1939 and Winchester ’73 in 1950. In both instances, Wyatt Earp (Will Geer) and a Wyatt Earp-type character (Errol Flynn) took the bold step of disarming its ranchers and cowboys while traveling down the town’s Main Street in specific scenes.

Dodge_City_1939_Poster   Winchester_73_-_1950-_Poster

   The political implication of this reference is fascinating, which by all accounts actually happened while Earp as sheriff dispatched dregs of the West during the nineteenth century. Conservatives such as James Stewart, Ann Sheridan, Bruce Cabot, Guinn Big Boy Williams, and Ward Bond didn’t appear to mind the suggestion of the reality-based plot-line. This was quite a dichotomy.

   Could any law enforcement of the Old West have carried out the aforementioned duty had the National Rifle Association gun lobby tried to impose its will? Further, what were screenwriters trying to accomplish by citing this historical incident; and might an NRA-style organization intervened during the Studio Era? These are worthwhile questions. 

  I can surmise the current NRA leadership might interfere and advocate for the characters portrayed based on their rights under the Second Amendment in remakes of these motion pictures. Today’s politicians should dispense the same kind of courage Wyatt Earp had, in response to the frequent urban terrorism that has taken place throughout cities, such as Texas, Colorado, Maryland, Virginia, Wisconsin, Arizona, and California, among others. Plus, lobby groups, in general, should simply stay out of the decision-making process in Hollywood.

   Now, can someone help me off my soapbox.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- My 2015 SAG Ballot

January 22nd, 2016

Manny P. here…

   For the seventh straight year, here’s my ballot for this year’s Screen Actors Guild Awards. I thought 2015 was a remarkable year for cinema. And, several folks and movies in most of the categories should be considered for the specific awards. Let me explain:


   Manny Pacheco Tin Type   generic_sagawardslogo_noyear_horitzonal_copy

   OUTSTANDING MALE:  Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs)

All of the critical buzz is for Leonardo DiCaprio for The Revenant. He will probably win a career award for a solid performance (my actual second favorite of the year). But, Michael Fassbender was quite mesmerizing in the little-seen Steve Jobs. Aaron Sorkin has a knack for writing great scripts (remember The Social Network). Bryan Cranston, Eddie Redmayne, and Johnny Depp received well-deserved mentions; it’s just not their year to hold a statuette.

   OUTSTANDING FEMALE:  Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn)

For me, this is the closest race! Saoirse Ronan and Brie Larson are really the class of this year’s tough field. And, my opinion might not change if Rooney Mara and Alicia Vikander would have been appropriately placed in the Outstanding Female category, since their roles were starring parts. Cate Blanchett and Helen Mirren are quite good, but round out this list. I choose Ronan edging Larson only because Saoirse carried Brooklyn by herself, while Brie shared wonderful screen time with Jacob Tremblay in Room. I didn’t enjoy Sarah Silverman’s performance, truth be told.

   OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING MALE:  Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies)

With all do respect, Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight), Tom Hardy (The Revenant), and Sylvester Stallone (Creed) should have received nominations, as they did for this year’s Oscars. Stallone is the well-deserved critical darling; however, my slightly favorite performance this year was delivered by Ruffalo. That said, Mark Rylance is really good in an understated role. He literally steals the movie from Tom Hanks. I also loved Idris Elba in Beasts of No Nation. Jacob Tremblay might be a sentimental choice for certain SAG voters. Michael Shannon was a standout. Steve Carell is really great in The Big Short, and should have gotten the nod instead of Christian Bale, if the wind was blowing in that direction.

   OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING FEMALE:  Rooney Mara (Carol)

As I just mentioned, Rooney Mara in Carol and Alicia Vikander in The Danish Girl are starring roles. It’s a crime the movie studios campaigned for their placement in this category. Kudos to the Golden Globes, which got it right. That said, Mara is the heart-and-soul of Carol. Kate Winslet blends into each characterization, which makes her one of the great actors of any year. This year, she does not disappoint in Steve Jobs. Based on screen time, Rooney Mara very slightly edges out Kate Winslett. Helen Mirren was essentially more fun to watch in Woman in Gold than in Trumbo. Finally, in my estimation, Alicia Vikander attempted to upstage Eddie Redmayne, really overacting in every scene. I wasn’t impressed.

   OUTSTANDING CAST IN A MOTION PICTURE:  Spotlight

Spotlight is an understated workmanlike motion picture. This story is told so well, and the ensemble delivers. Particularly impressive are Mark Ruffalo, Stanley Tucci, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Bryan D’arcy James, and Liev Schreiber. With regards to the rest of the nominees: Beasts of No Nation is a top-notch Netflix production; however, only two stars dominate and the supporting cast have very brief roles. The Big Short is impressive, but the script, direction, and editing really dictate this smart comedy. Trumbo provides traditional storytelling; while Straight Outta Compton is a well-acted, vignette-oriented production.

~ 2015 Top 10 Movies:  1. Spotlight  2. Carol  3. Steve Jobs  4. Beasts of No Nation  5. Brooklyn  6. Bridge of Spies  7. The Big Short  8The Martian  9. Woman in Gold  10. Room / The Revenant (tie)

   The SAG Awards will air on January 30th on TNT and TBS. Carol Burnett will appropriately receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. And, we’ll see how I do this year…

Until next time>                               “never forget”