“Forgotten Hollywood”- Birthday Dress Sells Believe It or Not!

November 17th, 2016

Manny P. here…

bion-logo   The dress worn by Marilyn Monroe as she famously sang Happy Birthday to President John. F. Kennedy has sold. Julien’s Auctions reports the form-fitting gown went for $4.8 million to Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

   The sale comes as part of a three-day auction of Monroe’s possessions and keepsakes from her career. She wore the Hollywood designer Jean Louis creation — flesh-colored and sparkling with over 2,500 hand-stitched crystals — on May 19th, 1962, for an early 45th birthday celebration for JFK at Madison Square Garden. Monroe’s breathy rendition of the birthday song has been broadcast repeatedly since, adding to the lore surrounding the screen icon.

   marilyn_sings_jfk_1962   t1larg-monroe-kennedy5-km

   MARILYN MONROE  w/  ROBERT KENNEDY        JOHN KENNEDY

   It was just a few months later on August 5th, that the 36-year-old Monroe was found dead from what the Los Angeles district attorney’s office ruled was an overdose of barbiturates. Kennedy was assassinated the following year.

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world-tour   Today, there are 33 Ripley’s Believe It or Not! museums in ten countries, dozens of books, a huge internet web presence, and hundreds of television videos in the company’s archive vaults. This legacy is due to Robert L. Ripley; a cartoonist, explorer, reporter, adventurer, and collector, who traveled to 201 countries in 35 years seeking the odd, the unusual, and the unexplained.

1918<— Ripley’s television program was the first reality show, and was growing quickly in popularity until on show #13 on May 23rd, 1949, he had a heart attack and died while on stage discussing the military funeral hymn, Taps! Robert Ripley led an incredible life of adventure and excitement, and will be known for coining one of the recognized and most used phrases in the English language.  BELIEVE IT OR NOT!

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Classic Films with a Live Orchestra…

November 16th, 2016

Manny P. here… laphil-press-1617

   The Los Angeles Philharmonic will accompany screenings of classic cinema. These events will take place this week at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Here are the details:

   When most scores were influenced by 19th-century composers, Leonard Rosenman revolutionized film music, taking it into the 20th-century with a potent mix of serialism, jazz, and the rhythms of Bartók and Stravinsky. The way he came to score Rebel Without a Cause is quite a story in itself. Rosenman was roommates with movie star James Dean (and even gave him piano lessons); Dean introduced him to Elia Kazan — who directed Dean in East of Eden, Rosenman’s first film — which led Rosenman to meet Nicholas Ray, director of the controversial, but acclaimed, Rebel Without a Cause.

   The next evening, you can experience a thrilling new presentation of On the Waterfront,  winner of eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Imagine Leonard Bernstein’s electrifying score live, while the newly re-mastered film is shown in glorious high definition on the big screen with the original dialog intact. This classic romantic tragedy – directed by Elia Kazan with screenplay by Budd Schulberg, produced by Sam Spiegel, and starring Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Lee J. Cobb, Rod Steiger, and Eva Marie Saint, in her first film role – is one of the greatest achievements in the history of movie-making.

   After he moved to Hollywood in 1929, Max Steiner became one of the first to compose for the movies, going on to score more than 300 films. The father of film music is now considered one of the greatest film composers in the history of cinema. The beloved Casablanca earned Steiner one of his 24 Oscar nominations.

laphil_fwlo_950_02

   The Walt Disney Concert Hall is at 111 South Grand Ave. in Los Angeles. For more info, click (or cut-and-paste) on the link below:

http://www.laphil.com/films-with-live-orchestra

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- The Passing of Gwen Ifill…

November 15th, 2016

Manny P. here… gwen_ifill_-_pbs_newshour

  Gwen Ifill was one of the most prominent African-American journalists in the country. She was the trailblazing host and managing editor of the PBS roundtable talk show, Washington Week, as well as co-anchor of PBS NewsHour — a job she shared with Judy Woodruff since 2013. She was a veteran Washington journalist who covered seven presidential campaigns, and moderated the vice presidential debates in 2004 and 2008. She also moderated a Democratic debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in 2015. Gwen won pop-culture recognition when she was parodied on Saturday Night Live, with host Queen Latifah portraying the journalist as a debate moderator.                                 GWEN IFILL —>

   Ifill started her journalism career as a print reporter for the Baltimore Evening Sun and Boston Herald American. She went on to become a national political reporter for the  Washington Post, and White House correspondent for the New York Times. Her initial job on television was with NBC news.

    Ifill was absent from PBS’s election coverage last week because of ongoing health concerns. She also took a leave of absence in May to address those issues. At the time of her passing, she served on various boards, including Committee to Protect Journalists, Harvard Institute of PoliticsUniversity of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism, and Museum of Television and Radio. She was getting from Columbia University the 2016 John Chancellor Award on Wednesday. A school spokesperson did not immediately have a comment.

   She became the best-selling author of The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama. The work was published in 2009.

   Gwen Ifill was 61.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- 106 Years Ago…

November 14th, 2016

Manny P. here…lupita_tovar_argentinean_magazine_ad

   Lupita Tovar was an early cinematic Mexican sensation. Best known for her role in a Spanish version of the original Dracula, she was later known in Hollywood circles as Lupita Kohner, a prominent hostess, and wife of agent Paul Kohner.

   Tovar’s ascendance as the Sweetheart of Mexico was curbed by the emergence of talkies, a departure from the silent film industry in which she was poised to become a mega-star. Although Lupita did not make any silent films, with her earliest movies released by Fox Film Corporation in the Movietone sound-on-film system, some may have been released in silent versions for theaters, not yet equipped for sound. She also worked at Columbia Pictures.

   Her skills were used in Spanish-language versions of Hollywood fare. The productions were made at Universal Studios, with the Spanish-speaking crew working overnight after the English-language cast had clocked out. The idea — often credited to Universal executive Paul Kohner, Ms. Tovar’s future husband — was to tap into the Latin American market demand for sound films, at a fraction of the cost of the originals. In the early days of Hollywood, it was common for cinematic studios to produce their foreign language versions of their screenplays, usually in Spanish; but also in French, Italian, and German, using the same costumes.

920x920   Tovar didn’t much care for Dracula’s grueling schedule. That version, produced in 1931, was filmed at night on the same sets that were being used during the day for the English-language Dracula with Bela Lugosi. The alternate version is considered a superior motion picture by many by film historians. It was thought to be lost until a print was discovered in the 1970s and restored. In 2015, the Library of Congress selected the flick for preservation in the National Film Registry, finding it culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.

   She amassed 31 credits over 16 years, including a starring role in the 1932 film Santa, an early Mexican talkie and commercial breakthrough that heralded Tovar’s status as a national treasure. In 1982, her face even made it onto a postage stamp. In 2006, Santa was shown in a celebratory screening by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, part of their retrospective called A Salute to Lupita Tovar.

   Tovar is also the matriarch of several generations’ worth of Hollywood nobility, including her Oscar-nominated daughter, Susan Kohner (for Imitation of Life), and her grandsons Chris Weitz and Paul Weitz, who wrote the Academy Awards-nominated screenplay, About a Boy.

   An original, Lupita Tovar was 106.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Schindler on Display…

November 13th, 2016

Manny P. here… oskar_schindler_image

   In a tumultuous week, this is a story worth telling.

   The Leatherby Libraries is now home to the most complete set of Oskar Schindler’s (right) archives and documents – including copies of the original Schindler’s Lists that protected over 1,000 Jews during the Holocaust.

   About 50 people attended a ceremony November 10th of the grand opening of a room in Leatherby Libraries that now includes 22 boxes of Schindler’s letters, photographs, and architectural drawings that Chapman presidential fellow David Crowe donated to the Chapman Holocaust Memorial Library, located on the fourth floor.

   Crowe donated the documents, which took him seven years to accumulate, to Chapman because of its proximity to the Beverly Hills home of the late Leopold Page and his wife Mila, who attended the event Thursday afternoon. The Pages were among those Schindler saved from concentration camps. Leopold convinced author Thomas Keneally to write the book that inspired Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List, after Keneally visited Page’s Southern California leather shop.

 schindlers_list_movie   liam-neesa

                  BEN KINGSLEY    LIAM NEESON

   Crowe, who was on the education board of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., for 14 years, said he wanted to put the letters and archives in a smaller location, where it would be available for anyone interested in Holocaust study. President Danielle Struppa, who gave a speech at the ceremony, said Marilyn Harran, director of the Rodgers Center for Holocaust Education, emailed him asking if he’d like to include Crowe’s archives, but the contents of the room were kept a secret until Thursday. The ceremony culminated with a champagne toast and a ribbon-cutting ceremony, where Struppa, Crowe, and Harran gathered around Mila Page. Marie Knecht, the Pages’ daughter, was excited to see photos of her mother and father, and hopes the exhibit will help ensure that scholars never forget the history of the Holocaust.

   The archives are on display in the Brandman Survivors room, adjacent to the Samueli Holocaust Library. They will be available by appointment to Chapman students, faculty, and visiting researchers.

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oskar-schindler   In a related story, the dilapidated factory that Oskar Schindler (left) once used to save his Jewish workers from Nazi death camps during World War II will be restored into a Holocaust memorial, Czech officials have announced. The Czech culture ministry named parts of the complex a cultural monument earlier this month. They plan to turn the munitions shop into a repository on Schindler’s life, and it should be completed by 2019.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Robert Redford to Retire…

November 12th, 2016

Manny P. here… 179px-robert_redford_pastel_portrait_by_robert_perez_palou

   With nearly 80 acting credits to his name — from cinematic classics such as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Barefoot in the Park, Inside Daisy Clover, Three Days of the Condor, The Great Gatsby, The Sting, The Way We Were, and All the President’s Men — Robert Redford (right) has had a career like few others in Hollywood. Now, one aspect of his work will soon come to an end. While he’ll still keep up directing and his championing independent voices after founding the Sundance Film Festival, he’s announced he’ll be retiring from acting after his next two features.

   When it comes to his last acting role, Old Man with a Gun  which is a re-team with his Pete’s Dragon director David Lowery — it sounds like the ideal send-off. His final films are due to be released in 2017. Along with continuing a career as a director, the 80-year-old — who won the Best Director Oscar in 1981 for Ordinary People — also sees himself returning to painting. He received his art training in Paris after dropping out of the University of Colorado. Other successes behind the camera include A River Runs Through It and Quiz Show. He garnered an honorary Oscar in 2002.

   Redford will remain the chairman of the annual Sundance Film Festival, held in Utah. The actor made the announcement in an interview with his grandson Dylan for the Walker Art Center.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- One of the Magnificent Seven…

November 11th, 2016

Manny P. here…300px-manfromuncle1

   Robert Vaughn was an actor noted for his stage, film, and television work. His best-known small screen role was as the suave spy Napoleon Solo in the 1960s series The Man from U.N.C.L.E. In cinema, he portrayed the quiet, skittish gunman in The Magnificent Seven, and a war veteran in The Young Philadelphians, which earned him a 1960 Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.    ROBERT VAUGHN —–>

   Vaughn made his television debut in 1955 on Medic, the first of more than two hundred episodic roles. His first big screen appearance was as an uncredited extra in The Ten Commandments. He was signed to a contract with Burt Lancaster’s film company and was to have played the Steve Dallas role in Sweet Smell of Success, but was drafted before he could begin the film. Vaughn served in the United States Army, and became a drill sergeant.

   in Hollywood, he had parts in The Glass Bottom Boat, The Bridge at Remagen, Bullitt, If It’s Tuesday This Must Be Belgium, The Towering Inferno, S.O.B., Superman III, and The Delta Force. On television, he also guest-starred in Gunsmoke, The Rifleman, Father Knows BestZorro, Wagon Train, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Bonanza, ThrillerThe Untouchables, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The VirginianHawaii Five-0, LaramieTrapper John M.D., Murder She Wrote, The A-Team, Diagnosis Murder, ColumboLaw & Order, and of course, The Girl From U.N.C.L.E.

   The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was part of an avalanche of secret agent shows (I Spy, Mission: Impossible, The Saint, The Avengers), spoofs (Get Smart), flicks (The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, Our Man Flint), and even songs (Secret Agent Man) inspired by the James Bond films.

the_man_from_u-n-c-l-e   Vaughn’s most famous role spawned the spinoff series, merchandising, overseas theatrical motion pictures of re-edited episodes, and a sequel, The Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E. – The Fifteen-Year-Later Affair. The original show achieved such cultural prominence that costumes, props, documents, and a video clip are in the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library’s exhibit on spies and counterspies. Similar U.N.C.L.E. exhibits are in the museums of the Central Intelligence Agency and other agencies and organizations gathering intelligence.

   Vaughn was the first popular American actor to take a public stand against the Vietnam War and was active in Another Mother for Peace; and, with Van Dyke and Carl Reiner, was a co-founder of Dissenting Democrats. Early in the 1968 presidential election, they supported the candidacy of Minnesota Senator Eugene McCarthy. became a friend of Senator Robert F. Kennedy and campaigned for him during his 1968 run for the presidency. When Kennedy was assassinated that year, Vaughn was so upset that he moved to England for five years. Continuing his higher education during his acting career, Vaughn earned a Ph.D in communications from the University of Southern California in 1970. Two years later, he published his dissertation as the book, Only Victims: A Study of Show Business Blacklisting.

   The charismatic Robert Vaughn was 83.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- AFI Fest Cinema 2016 Legacy Lineup..

November 10th, 2016

Manny P. here…

   AFI FEST 2016 presented by Audi has announced its annual Cinema’s Legacy lineup. This year features iconic titles from film history:

afifest16_logo_horizontal

carmen-jones~ CARMEN JONESDorothy Dandridge stars in the title role that made her the first African-American woman to be nominated for a Oscar for Best Actress. The Otto Preminger classic also starred Harry Belafonte, Pearl Bailey, Brock Peters, and Diahann Carroll.

citizen-kane~ CITIZEN KANEOrson Welles’ classic — #1 on AFI’s list of the greatest films of all time — follows the tragic life of newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane. Also features Joseph Cotten, Ruth Warrick, Ray Collins, Everett Sloane, Agnes Moorehead, and Paul Stewart. The screening features a re-mastered version of this timeless motion picture.

the-hitchhiker~ THE HITCH-HIKERA deranged hitchhiker takes two hostages in this gripping film noir classic. Directed by Ida Lupino, this tense movie stars  Edmond O’Brien, Frank Lovejoy, and William Talman.

speedy~ SPEEDY  Special engagement of this silent film classic, presented with a live music accompaniment. Harold Lloyd stars in the title role as a man who tries to save the last horse-drawn streetcar in an increasingly modern New York City.

mifune~ MIFUNE THE LAST SAMURAIThis thoughtful, elegant documentary on Japanese cinema’s greatest actor, Toshiro Mifune. Interviews include Keanu Reeves, Martin Scorsese, and Steven Spielberg.

   Screenings will take place the TCL Chinese Theatre and Egyptian Theatre American Cinematheque. The official host hotel is the Hollywood Roosevelt. The AFI Fest 2016 is taking place through November 17th.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- TCM has Invited Me to Breakfast…

November 9th, 2016

Manny P. here…tmc_bat_still_pk_e6_c

   The exquisite Audrey Hepburn stars in director Blake Edwards’ timeless classic Breakfast at Tiffany’s, returning to cinemas this November, as part of Fathom Events and Turner Classic Movies Big Screen Classics series. Moviegoers are invited on Sunday, November 27th and Wednesday, November 30th at 2p and 7p. The screenings will include commentary from Turner Classic Movies Saturday daytime host Tiffany Vazquez that will reveal what makes Holly Golightly one of American cinema’s most charming heroines.

   Winner of Academy Awards for Best Song (Moon River) and Best Score, Breakfast at Tiffany’s captured the imagination of audiences, and made an indelible impact on movies, fashion, and society when it debuted in 1961. Audrey Hepburn (right) is transcendent as an intoxicating New York party girl who embarks on a wildly entertaining adventure to find love in the big city.

   Tickets can be purchased online at www.FathomEvents.com (theaters and participants are subject to change).

FATHOM EVENTS AND TURNER CLASSIC MOVIES PRESENT:
TCM BIG SCREEN CLASSICS: BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S

logo   TCM_website_logo

 Fathom Events, Turner Classic Movies, and Paramount Pictures

In more than 650 movie theaters nationwide. Tickets are available at www.FathomEvents.com or at participating theater box offices.

Sunday, November 27th  –   Wednesday, November 30th

2p and 7p

   Hope to see you at one of the screenings!

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Election Night in America…

November 8th, 2016

Manny P. here…

   Hollywood and Americana intersect once again in a metaphoric Hollywood-and-Vine moment in time. AMC Theaters has announced that it would show CNN’s election-night coverage in 50 theaters in the United States — designating a red and a blue theater in each of 25 cities. And, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema chain in Texas is planning for election-night events as well.

ctydjrqusaaffdh   AMC was hoping to attract civic groups to its theaters. Allowing customers to self-select into separate theaters for their preferred candidates should reduce the potential for conflict. The Alamo is relying on event hosts (in patriotic costumes) to set the tone for the evening. The hosts are also responsible for channel selection. If it’s a cliffhanger, AMC is leaving it to the theater managers to decide how late to go, citing interest not just in the presidential election, but in local elections as well.

    AMC is not charging, but is asking people to join its Stubs loyalty program to reserve a seat for election night. Alamo theaters would most likely charge a nominal fee to guarantee a reserved seat, and then give customers a voucher for food and drink. Wow, an evening of election returns with movie theater popcorn, Bon-Bons, and Junior Mints. The Texas chain also plans to offer campaign-themed drink specials: the Canadian Passport (Canadian whiskey, maple syrup, and bitters), and Political Punch (gin, Swedish punch, and lime juice), both $9.

   Gathering with a crowd to watch election-night returns is by no means a new pastime. In 1944, an estimated 250,000 people gathered in Times Square to wait for election results outside the New York Times building. Many Broadway shows have planned not to compete with the real drama that will play out this evening. The Metropolitan Opera and Carnegie Hall will also be dark. Hamilton, about the Founding Fathers, will run a performance as normal.

the_manchurian_candidate_1962_movie   330px-best_man22234   candidateposter

   If watching returns is not your idea of fun, may I recommend classic cinema about fictional presidential campaigns, such as The Manchurian Candidate (1962), The Best Man (1964), and The Candidate (1972)

   Remember to go vote and have a safe-and-sane evening on Election Night in America.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Editor’s Pixar…

November 4th, 2016

Manny P. here… the-science-behind-pixar-exhibition_18

   Enjoy a unique, first-time look into the Pixar filmmaking process, and explore the science and technology behind some of the most beloved animated films and their characters with the West Coast premiere of The Science Behind Pixar Exhibition. This 12,000 sq. ft. interactive exhibit showcases the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) concepts used by the artists and computer scientists who help bring Pixar’s award-winning films to the big screen.

   With more than 40 interactive exhibit elements, the exhibition’s eight sections each focus on a step in the filmmaking process to give you an unparalleled view of the production pipeline and concepts used at Pixar every day. Participate in fun, engaging hands-on activities, listen to firsthand accounts from members of the studios’ production teams, and even come face-to-face with re-creations of your favorite Pixar film characters, including Buzz Lightyear, Dory, and WALL•E! It’s a Toy Story that is an absolute joy to share…

1280px-pixaranimationstudios   science-center-site-plan-exposition

   Created by the Museum of Science, Boston in collaboration with Pixar Animation Studios. Due to its popularity, I strongly urge that you purchase tickets in advance. The exhibit is at the California Science Center at 700 Exposition Park Dr. in Los Angeles through April 16th, 2017.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Meryl Streep Racks Up Another Award

November 3rd, 2016

Manny P. here…

meryl_streep_-_berlin_berlinale_66_24609057279   Eight-time Golden Globes winner Meryl Streep will add one more award at this year’s Globes: the Cecil B. DeMille Award. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced that Streep will receive its prestigious honor for her outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment.

   The 67-year-old actress has been a mainstay at the ceremony. She’s been nominated 29 times, and her first Golden Globe came for Kramer vs. Kramer in 1979. Streep (right) is also in the running this year for her performance in Stephen Frears’ Florence Foster Jenkins in the Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical category.

   The 64-year-old tribute was given last year to Denzel Washington. Other recent honorees include Martin Scorsese, George Clooney, Jodie Foster, and Morgan Freeman.

   The 74th Annual Golden Globes will air live on NBC on January 8th, with Jimmy Fallon hosting. Nominations will be announced December 12th.

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300px-tammy_grimes_1966   Tammy Grimes (left) was an actress and singer. She won two Tony Awards in her career, the first for the musical The Unsinkable Molly Brown. It was later adapted to the screen and starred Debbie Reynolds, who was nominated for an Oscar for the role. Grimes won her second accolade for starring in a 1970 revival of Private Lives. She also originated Diana in the Broadway production of California Suite. It was played in the film by Maggie Smith, who won an Oscar for her performance. In 1966, she starred in her own television series, The Tammy Grimes Show.

   Grimes was divorced from Academy Award-winning actor Christopher Plummer. Their daughter is actress Amanda Plummer. In 2003, Tammy was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.

   Tammy Grimes was 82.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- The Anti-Hero of 1960s Television…

October 30th, 2016

Manny P. here…

330px-elmer_gantry-frontal   When actors at movie studios revolted in an effort to get better roles, and to form their own production companies, the rise of the anti-hero became popular in Hollywood culture. We have Olivia de Havilland and Bette Davis to thank for this. Humphrey Bogart and Burt Lancaster embarked on creating independent cinematic businesses, and the movie formula of a hero in the white hat was doomed. Bogie as Captain Queeg in The Caine Mutinty; Robert Mitchum as Reverend Harry Powell in The Night of the Hunter; and later, Lancaster in the title role of Elmer Gantry; and Robert Preston as Professor Harold Hill in The Music Man were emblematic of the characters we actually rooted for on the big screen. And, it was destined to spill onto television.

   Let me offer unique characters on the small screen that made a lasting impression during television’s Golden Age. Not heroes in a traditional sense; but rather, because they were so watchable. Their programs became part of the social fabric that led to very real revolt and change in a decade of counter-culture and tumult. Three anti-heroes of the 1960s defining the era:

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~ JONATHAN FRID (BARNABAS COLLINS / DARK SHADOWS) – Originally cast in a temporary role, Frid and the daytime soap opera collaboration coincided with the the British Invasion of popular music that brought us The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Animals, and The Herman’s Hermits. Dark Shadows, with its gothic look, complete with harpsichords and New England fog, were not like any other daytime drama on television. And, Barnabas was a tragic vampire looking for a cure to his eternal life, and also yearned for a replacement of his beloved Josette DuPres. Like Lon Chaney Jr. in The Wolfman, he wanted a less tragic fate. Frid became a heartthrob to a teen community, just for showing his fangs and using them on an array of young willing victims.

darkshadows   330px-jonathan_frid_barnabas_collins_dark_shadows_1968

   The show boasted a regal cast, including Joan Bennett as the matron of Collinswood, Grayson Hall as Dr. Julia Hoffman, and the Dwight Frye-like John Karlen as Willie Loomis. The Dan Curtis production lasted five years and produced an output of 1,225 episodes. The daytime horror spawned two motion pictures and a loyal viewing audience that remains unparalleled by today’s standards. Children from schools all over the country rushed home to enjoy an afternoon offering of vampires, werewolves, ghosts, and gore. Cue the groovy intro...

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~ JONATHAN HARRIS (DR. ZACHARY SMITH / LOST IN SPACE) – A re-boot of the Swiss Family Robinson set in outer space, the science fiction drama boasted planetary exploration and the unknown that coincided with President John Kennedy’s promise to land on the moon by the end of the decade. The show’s popularity influenced the creation of the more popular Star Trek; and later, the Star Wars phenomenon of the next decade. The program starred Guy Williams and June Lockhart. Land of the Giants was a cheap imitation of the premise.

lost_in_space   lost_in_space_jonathan_harris__robot_1967

   An unexpected boost to the storyline was the cowardice of Dr. Smith, memorably performed by Harris. His relationship with son Will Robinson, played by television veteran Billy Mumy (so wonderful in several episodes of The Twilight Zone); and a robot that resembled Robby from Forbidden Planet, was pure camp. His villainy was based on his singular desire to return to earth, the rest of the cast be damned. The truth of the matter, Dr. Smith was a precursor to the notion of capitalist greed that became abundant during the 1980s. Television audiences couldn’t wait for the clamor of Harris, and he is best remembered for quotable lines, such as: Never fear, Smith is here; and Oh! The pain, the pain… 

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~ PAUL LYNDE (CENTER SQUARE / HOLLYWOOD SQUARES) – If the word, snarky, had been in our linguistic lexicon, Lynde would have pioneered its premise. His brand of humor was first highlighted in Bye Bye Birdie, and he was also a playful warlock on Bewitched. However, his snark on Hollywood Squares for a decade that began in 1968 earned him the prestigious center of attention, and made the daytime game show a staple on television. It surpassed Match Game and Password in popularity, and genial host Peter Marshall was the perfect counterpoint to Paul Lynde’s zany zingers.

hollywood_squares_tv_series_titlecard   the_paul_lynde_show_paul_lynde_1972_no_2

   Other notables dispensing their silly antics included Charley Weaver, Wally Cox, and Rose Marie. But, the black soul of the program was delivered through the pithy asides made by Lynde. His untimely passing in 1982 ended arguably the most successful run of any television personality on daytime television. X” gets the square...

~ ~ ~ riddler_dc_animated_universe

   One might include as honorable mentions:  Frank Gorshin’s manic Riddler on Batman, which earned his performance the only acting Emmy nod the show ever received; and Pat Buttram’s hilarious turn as con-man Mr. Haney on Green Acres. But, why quibble? They only add to the rich tapestry of the anti-hero persona that helped cement episodic television of the 1960s; a golden cascade for us to enjoy.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- The Passing of The Cool Ghoul…

October 29th, 2016

Manny P. here… zach

   John Zacherle was a television and radio personality, and voice actor. He was best known for his long career as a horror host, often broadcasting movies in Philadelphia and New York City in the 1950s and 1960s. He also did voice work for the movies, and also recorded the Top 10 novelty song Dinner With Drac in 1958.

youllfindout   In 1954, he gained his first television role at WCAU-TV in Philadelphia. Three years later, he was hired as the host of Shock Theater, which debuted on October 7th, 1957. The show ran for 92 broadcasts through 1958. The purchase of WCAU by CBS prompted Zacherle to leave Philadelphia for WABC-TV in New York. In 1963, he hosted Chiller Theatre on WPIX-TV. Some of his programs were later syndicated to KHJ-TV, the RKO station in Los Angeles. Many of the B-Movie screenings featured luminaries of the chill-fest genre, such as Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre, John Carradine, and Otto Kruger.

   Zacherle was a close colleague of Philadelphia broadcaster Dick Clark, and sometimes filled in for Clark on road touring shows of American Bandstand in the 1960s. Clark reportedly gave Zacherle his nickname of The Cool Ghoul. Partly with the assistance and backing of Clark, Zacherle cut Dinner with Drac for Cameo Records.

zacherley   Zacherle edited two science fiction short story collections for Ballantine Books in 1960. He returned to Chiller Theatre on the WPIX airwaves on October 25th, 2008 for a special showing of the 1955 Universal Pictures classic, Tarantula! The Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia inducted John into their Hall of Fame in 2010.

   A Hallow’s Eve salute to John Zacherle; a man who devoted much of his life to monster culture. His lasting influence was helping to pioneer the entire genre of television hosts presenting the cheapest film packages in a creative way in an attempt to find viewers for cheesy cinema.    JOHN ZACHERLE –>

   John Zacherle was 98.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Indiscretion…

October 27th, 2016

Manny P. here…

   A rags-to-riches story of an individual who made a career in business, and decides to enter politics. He offers a populist message that resonates with selective constituents, and the businessman is on track to win his election. His campaign is derailed when an indiscreet affair is revealed, and he doesn’t care. Despite the revelation, the candidate feels he is sure to win. He doesn’t. And, I’m not talking about the election of 2016…

330px-citizenkane   The above cautionary tale was a scene in a screenplay written in 1939 for a production that was released in 1941. Citizen Kane was written by Orson Welles and Herman Mankiewicz, and the pair earned an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for their efforts.

   The quasi-biographical film examines the life and legacy of Charles Foster Kane, played by Welles, a character resembling the American newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, Chicago tycoons Samuel Insull and Harold McCormick, and aspects of Welles’s own life. Mankiewicz based the original outline on the life of Hearst, whom he knew socially, and came to hate after he was exiled from Hearst’s circle.

   Kane’s career in the publishing world is born of idealistic social service, but gradually evolves into a ruthless pursuit of power. Kane’s marriage disintegrates as he begins an affair with amateur singer Susan Alexander while he is running for Governor of New York. Both his wife and his political opponent discover the affair, and the public scandal ends his political career.  The character of his opponent, political boss Jim W. Gettys, is based on Charles F. Murphy, a leader in New York City’s infamous Tammany Hall political machine. The character of Susan Alexander was based on actress Marion Davies (and mistress of the newspaper publisher) was a major reason Hearst tried to destroy the production. Hearing about Citizen Kane enraged Hearst so much, he banned any advertising, reviewing, or mentioning of it in his newspaper chain, and he had his journalists actually libel Welles. In 2012, the Hearst estate agreed to screen the Citizen Kane at Hearst Castle in San Simeon, finally breaking with Hearst’s ban of the movie.

citizen-kane-welles-podium   citizen-kane-welles-collins

                                 ORSON WELLES       RAY COLLINS (as JIM W. GETTYS)

   An interesting aside… The News on the March newsreel scene presents Kane keeping company with Adolf Hitler and other dictators, while he smugly assures the public there will be no war. This reflects the political chatter between intervention and isolationism that was being waged in the United States; the motion picture was released six months before the attack on Pearl Harbor, while President Franklin D. Roosevelt was laboring to win public opinion for support of the Allies prior to World War II. In the rhetoric of Citizen Kane, the destiny of isolationism is realized in metaphor: Kane’s own fate, eventually dying wealthy, lonely, and surrounded by his collection of artifacts.

330px-wendell_willkie_presidential_campaign_poster_1940   As an epilogue… Anyone who claims: 2016 is the strangest year in politics, only has to return to 1941 when Citizen Kane was released; the year that Roosevelt earned a third term as our president, defeating in a landslide a maverick businessman Wendell Willkie, the Republican dark horse candidate, who crusaded against FDR’s perceived failure to end The Great Depression, and his supposed eagerness for entry into war. Roosevelt carried 38 states; Wilkie won only 10 states.

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                                     MANNY PACHECO

   May I remind you to vote responsibly this November…

Until next time>                               “never forget”