“Forgotten Hollywood” – Divine Miss Channing…

January 15th, 2019

Manny P. here…

“`Carol Channing was the three-time Tony Award-winning musical comedy star who delighted audiences in over 5,000 stage performances as Dolly Levi in Hello Dolly! She was a treasured icon of American theater,  and an ambassador for Broadway.                                   CAROL CHANNING –>

“`While studying drama and dance at Bennington College in Vermont, Carol was hired in a New York revue. She worked as an understudy, bit player, and in nightclubs. And she took jobs as a model, a receptionist, and even, a sales clerk during lean times. In Hollywood, she auditioned for Marge Champion, wife and dance partner of Gower Champion. She organized a revue and Channing was cast in Lend an Ear.

“`As an innocent gold digger in the musical Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, her stardom was assured. The show’s hit song, Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend, became her signature number.

“`Hello Dolly! was an unparalleled hit, and this 1964 production earned ten Tony Awards. Always remembered as a conniving matchmaker, Channing won a Tony as Best Actress in a Musical. She later received a special Tony in 1968, and a Tony for Lifetime Achievement in 1995. For five decades, the actress returned to the part. And Channing influenced scores of stage actors, such as Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler, Bernadette Peters and Pearl Bailey.

“`Channing’s big personality was deemed a bit much for the screen, and she made just a couple of movies, notably  The First Traveling Saleslady with Ginger Rogers, and  Thoroughly Modern Millie starring Julie Andrews; the latter film earned Carol a Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination. She was a popular guest on television game shows throughout the 1970s. Carol often appeared in nightclubs, for a time on stage with George Burns in Las Vegas.

“`In 1966, Channing won the Sarah Siddons Award for her work in Chicago Theatre. She was inducted into American Theatre Hall of Fame in 1981.

“`Larger-than-life, Carol Channing was ninety-seven.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Life Imitates Art in 1958…

January 12th, 2019

Manny P. here…

“`An episode of a Western drama starring Robert Culp offers a familiar ring in its storyline. Trackdown aired for three seasons on CBS between 1957 and 1959. The weekly program was produced by Dick Powell’s Four Star Television and shot at Desilu-Culver Studios.

“`Some folks may call this episode, titled The End of the World, the ultimate illustration of wagging the dog when you consider that the episode aired May 8th, 1958. The story eerily foretells today’s political climate in an ironic way. Give it a glance and you be the judge…

“`News sources confirm that the episode really aired. You just cannot make this stuff up!

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Beyond the Red Carpet…

January 11th, 2019

Manny P. here…

“`Francine Brokaw is a columnist and author of Beyond the Red Carpet, a literary work that looks at memorable moments in Brokaw’s career interviewing notable Hollywood personalities. She also hosts a cable podcast that airs on YouTube and is a production of the entertainment facility at Laguna Woods in California.

“`Above is my interview as her guest on the program. Part two will premiere next month.

“`ENJOY!

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- My 2019 SAG Ballot…

January 9th, 2019

Manny P. here…

“`This is my annual presentation of my  SAG Awards Ballot, highlighting my selections for cinema-related performances in 2018. In my humble opinion, this was a down year for film productions. I must say, however, there are definite diamonds in the rough, which I feature below.

   

 OUTSTANDING MALE:  Viggo Mortensen (Green Book)

My favorite choice was not even nominated (a common theme). That would be John C. Reilly for Stan and Ollie. Viggo created a vivid persona of a little known real person. Betting cash remains on Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody) and Christian Bale (Vice), savvy selections  in my estimation. Bradley Cooper and John David Washington also gave great performances. My nod is to Viggo for a career performance.

   OUTSTANDING FEMALE:  Emily Blunt (Mary Poppins Returns)

Everyone is GAGA for the female in A Star is Born. In truth, this is a fabulous screen debut. Yalitza Aparicio’s initial role in  Roma was even more impressive; but she was snubbed. The surprise of this category is that Emily Blunt was as good as Julie Andrews in her first Disney go-round, and Andrews won an Oscar. Glenn Close is always top-notch; and if not for Meryl Streep, Close would have a mantel full of award’s hardware. I was not impressed with Olivia Coleman in The Favourite. Blunt gets my spoonful of sugar.

  OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING MALE:  Sam Elliott (A Star is Born)

Two fab performances are worth my consideration. Sam Elliott narrowly edges Mahershala Ali (Green Book). Elliott has delivered stellar work over a steady career, and this is his absolute best. He steals each scene in which he appears. Timothee Chalamet shines in Beautiful Boy, a real downer of a movie.

   OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING FEMALE:  Rachel Weisz (The Favourite)

There are five award-worthy performances that I could have easily considered. Only two were chosen. Snubbed by the SAG Awards committee: Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk), Shirley Henderson and Nina Arianda (both for Stan and Ollie). Others making the grade, and this was clearly my toughest decision. I ultimately checked off Rachel Weisz, though I disliked  The Favourite. I really loved Amy Adams as Lynne Cheney in Vice. Margot Robbie was a real treat in Mary Queen of Scots.

   OUTSTANDING CAST IN A MOTION PICTURE:  A Star is Born

Just two casts from my favorite movies of the year were selected, a complete surprise. I would have willingly cast my vote for Stan and Ollie or Roma.  Fortunately, this recent version of A Star is Born is a quality production. All three previous film versions were snake bit by various guilds during the last seventy years. I am not on a Bohemian Rhapsody bandwagon, though Rami Malek was clearly impressive. It is perplexing the committee picked  Crazy Rich Asians and Black Panther,  which are enjoyable moneymaking flicks usually ignored around award’s season.

~ My 2018 Top 10 Films:  1. Stan and Ollie  2. Roma  3. A Star is Born  4. Green Book  5. If Beale Street Could Talk  6. Mary Poppins Returns 7. Vice  8. On the Basis of Sex   9. The Old Man and the Gun  10. BlacKkKlansman

“’The SAG Awards will air on January 27th on TNT and TBS. We will see how I do this year…

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- A Very Good Year…

January 7th, 2019

Manny P. here…

“`The Goodyear Blimp, which has become a visual friend at major sports events for over sixty years, is being inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as an honorary member  — the first non player or coach to be inducted. As a nod to its influence and legacy to the game, the famous airship joins a stellar class enshrined at the National Football Foundation’s awards banquet in December.

“`The blimp’s flight to fame began during the telecast of the 1955 Rose Bowl, and this led to the appearance at over two thousand games,  hovering above stadiums from coast-to-coast. The aircraft was the first to provide aerial coverage of a major sports event, and deliver high definition live video to a national game.

“`A representative of Goodyear is expected to accept the award, since blimps are unable to walk and talk.

“`And so it goes…

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

“`The Kewanee Public Library District in Illinois has just included  Road to Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History and Son of Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History to their shelves. This is my latest works sixth addition to a learning repository.

   

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- A Year of Pre-Code Cinema…

January 3rd, 2019

Manny P. here… 

“`Pre-Code Hollywood refers to an era in motion pictures from the arrival of sound in the late 1920s to the mandatory enforcement of the Motion Picture Production Code in July, 1934. This series focuses on movies made between 1930 and 1934, and highlights how suggestive they were, and how blissfully defiant they were prior to the establishment of the Hays Code.

“`This is an opportunity to see classic Hollywood at its most rebellious, most lascivious, and infinitely subversive. It was an age of breaking rules of morality, according to the censors of the day!

“`The film series kicks off January 6th with Cecil B. DeMille’s biblical The Sign of the Cross that displayed a naked Claudette Colbert taking a milk bath. DeMille figured the only way to show nudity, depravity, violence, and folks indulging in sin was to disguise his production as religious.  The cinematic series highlights social comedies (Dinner at Eight), gritty dramas (Baby Face), horror (Island of Lost Souls and White Zombie), Busby Berkeley musicals (Golddiggers of 1933), and gangster flicks (Scarface and The Public Enemy).

“`The year-long series takes place at the Digital Gym Cinema in El Cajon, a suburb of San Diego. It is off the 805 Freeway on the corner of 30th St. and El Cajon Blvd. They will screen sixteen films, one Sunday a month at 1p.

“`This is cinema guaranteed to make you blush.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Knights of the Round Table…

December 28th, 2018

Manny P. here…

“`Britain’s New Year’s Honors List is set to honor 1960s model Twiggy and Monty Python actor Michael Palin, among others. Twiggy, a model who shot to stardom during The Beatles era, will become a Dame, the female equivalent of a Knight; while Palin, whose second career has seen him become an acclaimed travel documentary maker, receives a Knighthood.

          MICHAEL PALIN             TWIGGY

“`Twiggy, whose modeling career lasted for decades, burst on the London Mod scene as one of the original It girls. She earned worldwide fame by seventeen, and went on to a career in films and theater. She shaped female attitude for several generations.  Palin’s knighthood honors his contribution to travel, culture, and geography.  He portrayed a knight before, as Sir Galahad in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

“`Jim Carter, who plays the acerbic Mr. Carson in Downton Abbey, and Christopher Nolan, director of Inception and Dunkirk, will also be recognized. The honors process starts with nominations from the public.  This is winnowed down by committees, and sent to the prime minister before various honors are bestowed by Queen Elizabeth II, or by senior royals, the following year.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Operation Santa Claus…

December 22nd, 2018

Manny P. here…

“`Despite a partial government shutdown, North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) will again be tracking the path Santa Claus takes on Christmas Eve. For sixty years, NORAD and its predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command, have tracked the jolly elf’s flight.

“`The tradition began in 1955 after Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck and Company misprinted, in an advertisement, the telephone number for children to call Santa. Instead of reaching St. Nick, the phone number put kids in touch with CONAD operation’s hotline. The Director of Operations had his staff check the radar for indications of a travel route from the North Pole. Kids who called were given updates on his location, and a tradition was born. In 1958, the governments of Canada and the United States created a bi-lateral air defense for North America — NORAD, which took on the tradition of tracking Santa.

“`During the rest of the year, NORAD defends the homeland with aerospace and maritime warnings for North America.  These warnings include monitoring objects in space, aircraft, missiles, or space vehicles detection,  and with mutual support with other commands. The operations center is located at Peterson AFB in Colorado.

“`On a personal note, I will have a traffic shift on KNX 1070 News Radio on Christmas morning, from midnight to 6a, and part of my responsibility will be to monitor the NORAD site and reporting the up-to-date path Santa takes on his journey to deliver packages to homes around the world. I will also handle traffic reports on our Southern California highways. Needless to say, it will be a busy overnight.

“`Oh, and do not forget to put out the cookies and milk for our weary traveler.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Mrs. Seuss…

December 21st, 2018

Manny P. here… 

“`Audrey Geisel was the widow of kid’s scribe Dr. Seuss and longtime overseer of his lucrative literary estate.  Mrs. Geisel is credited as an executive producer of last month’s movies release The Grinch, which stars Benedict Cumberbatch.

“`Dr. Seuss, whose real name was Theodor Geisel, died in 1991, and two years later Audrey founded Dr. Seuss Enterprises.  Over the past quarter century, Dr. Seuss has proved a highly profitable multimedia brand, from books and films to theme park rides and the Broadway show Seussical. Over ten million Dr. Seuss books sell each year.     AUDREY GEISEL –>

“`Audrey kept a tight grip on the empire; and she expanded it beyond her husband’s forty-seven children’s stories. In 2002, she helped unveil bronze sculptures of her hubby and his beloved characters at the Seuss Memorial in his hometown of Springfield, Massachusetts.

“`Though the stories he wrote were whimsical, their relationship was born out of an affair. They were married after the first Mrs. Geisel committed suicide and after Audrey’s divorce. The latter included sending her two children to their dad in order to consummate the next union.

“`Audrey Geisel was ninety-seven.

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

“`Donald Moffat was an English film and stage actor, who had a great career as a character actor. He is best known for his portrayals in  The Right Stuff, The Thing, and Clear and Present Danger. His initial assignment was at the Old Vic Theatre in London.

“`Other movie roles included in Popeye, Earthquake, and Regarding Henry. On the small screen, Moffat guest-starred in Night Gallery, Logan’s Run, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, and The West Wing.

“`Donald Moffat (right) was eighty-seven.

Until next time>                               “never forget

“Forgotten Hollywood”- In the Public Domain…

December 20th, 2018

Manny P. here…

“`For the first time in over twenty years, copyrighted works will enter the Public Domain. At midnight on New Year’s Eve, all works first published in the United States in 1923 will enter the public domain. It has been twenty-one years since the last mass expiration of copyright.

“`After January 1st, any record label can issue an updated version of the 1923 tune Yes! We Have No Bananas; a civic light opera can produce Theodore Pratt’s stage adaptation of The Picture of Dorian Gray; and any historian can use Winston Churchill’s The World Crisis. And a movie maker can remake Cecil B DeMille’s initial The Ten Commandments, and post it on YouTube.

“`For academics fearful of quoting from copyrighted texts, teachers violating law with each photocopy, and modern-day artists in search of inspiration, the event is cause for approval. Even fierce advocates for copyright agree it is time to release these works.

“`Blame Mickey Mouse for the long wait. In 1998, Disney was one of a loud choir of corporate voices demanding added copyright protection.  At the time, works published before January 1, 1978 were entitled to copyright protection for seventy-five years. Works published were under copyright for the life of the creator, plus fifty years.  Steamboat Willie, Mickey Mouse’s initial appearance on screen, in 1928, was set to enter the public domain in 2004.

“`Congress eventually passed the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, named for the late singer, songwriter, and California representative, which added twenty years to the then-current copyright term. Mickey would be protected until 2024, and no copyright work would enter the public domain again until 2019, creating a bizarre twenty-year hiatus between the release of works from 1922 and those from 1923.

“`Digital compendia such as Internet Archive, Google Books, and HathiTrust will make tens of thousands of books available. They and others will also add newspapers, magazines, movies, and other materials.

“`Expect the same each January 1st until 2073, revealing long-overlooked works from the Harlem RenaissanceGreat Depression, World War II, and beyond.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Making Our Dreams Come True…

December 18th, 2018

Manny P here…

“`Penny Marshall was the trailblazing director of big-screen comedies, who starred in the top-rated sitcom Laverne and Shirley. She was the first female director to direct a $100 million box-office hit. Her older brother was filmmaker-producer Garry Marshall. For a brief time, she was married to Rob Reiner. Penny was a courtside regular at Los Angeles Lakers games.

“`Born in the Bronx, she was perfection in Laverne and Shirley, among television’s top-rate hits for much of its seven-season 1976-1983 run. The nasal-voiced actress starred as Laverne DeFazio alongside Cindy Williams as a pair of blue-collar roommates working on the assembly line of a Milwaukee brewery.  A blue-collar setting totally resonated with middle America, and the sitcom inspired a creation of similar fare, including Roseanne and Home Improvement.

“`On television, Penny appeared in That Girl, The Odd Couple, Mork and MindyTaxi, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and Happy Days (her first appearance as Laverne). This led to the highly-successful spinoff.

“`After directing a few episodes, Penny was given the chance to direct big screen productions. Her work was met with enormous success, with credits such as Big, A League of Their Own, The Preacher’s Wife, and Awakenings; the latter movie earned her an Oscar nod for Best Director. It was only the second time a female filmmaker was honored with the accolade. Her collaborators included  Whoopi Goldberg, Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Robin Williams, Madonna, Danny DeVito, Denzel Washington, Drew Barrymore, Robert De Niro, and Whitney Houston.

“`Penny Marshall leaves a legacy of very approachable comedy. She was seventy-five.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- The Bambi Verdict…

December 17th, 2018

Manny P. here…

“`A Missouri poacher has been ordered by a judge to watch Disney’s animated production,  Bambi,  each month for a year after he was convicted of illegally hunting hundreds of deer. David Berry Jr. was arrested in August, along with two members of his family, for offing the animals, taking their heads, and discarding their bodies to rot. Viewings of the movie are to begin on December 23rd.

“`An investigation that spanned a number of states led to Berry Jr.’s arrest. He also has been sentenced to a four-month term in Barton County Prison for a firearms probation violation. David and his father had their hunting privileges revoked for life by the Missouri Conservation Commission. It is reportedly one of the biggest poaching cases in Missouri history.

“`The 1942 feature has a climactic scene in which a hunter kills the mother of the eponymous deer character — Bambi. The magic of Walt Disney is now punishment in the Show-Me state.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Remembering Sondra Locke…

December 14th, 2018

Manny P. here…

“`Actress and director Sondra Locke was nominated for an Oscar for her initial role in the cinematic adaptation of Carson McCullers novel — The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. Locke also co-starred in six films with Clint Eastwood. She was his gal pal for a decade.

“`Sondra grew up in Tennessee, where she was employed at a radio station and starred in a handful of plays before winning a nationwide talent search in 1967. Quickly becoming a bankable screen star, she appeared in Willard. On television, she guest-starred in Night Gallery, The F. B. I., Cannon, Kung Fu and Barnaby Jones. Locke has also performed live in concert with Eddie Rabbitt and Tom Jones.                  SONDRA LOCKE –>

“`Sondra was best known for her parts in Clint Eastwood’s productions, such as The Outlaw Josey Wales, Every Which Way But Loose, The Gauntlet, Sudden Impact and Bronco Billy. They broke up in 1989. She sued for palimony and then charged Eastwood with fraud. The lawsuit cited a film development deal he arranged for her was a sham to get her to drop the palimony suit. They settled for an undisclosed amount during jury deliberations in 1996. The next year, she released her memoir, The Good, the Bad and the Very Ugly: A Hollywood Journey.

“`Sondra Locke was seventy-four.

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

“`Nancy Wilson was a singer, and her career spanned over five decades. Cannonball Adderley guided her early career. Throughout the 1960s, she was a fixture on television, and even had her own show for a time on NBC. Popular on the variety show circuit, Wilson was also a good versatile actress, with guest spots on  Room 222, The F. B. I.,  Hawaii Five-O, and Police Story. On the big screen, she appeared in The Meteor Man. Throughout her career she was a Civil Rights activist.

“`Nancy Wilson, the consummate song-stylist, was eighty-one.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- LOC National Film Registry 2018…

December 12th, 2018

Manny P. here…

“`A great day for film buffs!  Both, the SAG Awards nominations and this year’s selections of the Library of Congress National Film Registry adds is their bill of fare. Twenty-five entrants include recent productions, such as Jurassic ParkBroadcast News, Brokeback Mountain  and The Shining. Noted motion pictures from Hollywood’s Golden Age include:

~ My Fair Lady –  Based on the sparkling stage musical (inspired by George Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion), it arrived on the big screen in 1964, expertly delivered by director George Cukor. It earned him his only Oscar. This musical was met with controversy as Julie Andrews was passed over from her acclaimed stage performance,  and replaced with Audrey Hepburn. Marni Nixon was her singing voice, and critics fumed.  At the Academy Awards ceremonies, Hepburn was snubbed for a Best Actress nod,  and ironically, the overall winner was Andrews for her role in Mary Poppins. Rex Harrison was perfection as Professor Henry Higgins.

~ Bad Day at Black Rock – Director John Sturges highlights the western landscape to great advantage in this 1955 CinemaScope production. Formatted like High Noon, the action takes place in just one day. Spencer Tracy is magnificent, and ably supported by Robert Ryan, Anne Francis, Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, and Dean Jagger. That year, Borgnine beat out Tracy for the Best Actor Oscar for his warm turn in Marty.

      

~ Hud – Based on Larry McMurtry’s debut novel, Horseman Pass By, this is the production that should have earned Paul Newman an Academy Award. Instead, he was overshadowed by the supporting talents of Melvyn Douglas, Brandon de Wilde, and especially, Patricia Neal. This 1963 motion picture is especially relevant in today’s cynical and narcissistic climate; the dark undercurrent to American optimism. It is definitely worth another viewing.

~ The Informer –  This marks the eleventh movie directed by John Ford to be named to the National Film Registry, the most of any director. The Informer placed him in the top echelon of American film directors and over the next twenty years he crafted numerous other classics, from the 1939 Stagecoach through the 1962 The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. And he had a stable of dependable talent that would create some of cinema’s most indelible images.

      

~ Rebecca – What took so long for Alfred Hitchcock’s debut American production to make the list. Plus, this was David O. Selznick’s followup to Gone with the Wind. Winner of the Oscar for Best Picture in 1940, it is stylish, suspenseful, and a classic. It stars Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine, and in top form, the evil Dame Judith Anderson, and was Daphne du Maurier’s most famous book.

~ Days of Wine and Roses – Director Blake Edwards pulls no punches in an uncompromising and bleak 1962 film. Henry Mancini composed the moving score, best remembered for the title song he and Johnny Mercer wrote. It also proved that Jack Lemmon was a fine dramatic actor.

“`Other Studio Era selections include  On the Town, The Lady from Shanghai, Cinderella, One-Eyed Jacks, and Leave Her to Heaven. TCM will spotlight some of the year’s additions this evening.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- A Place for Kirk…

December 11th, 2018

Manny P. here…

“`Celebrated Hollywood icon Kirk Douglas was honored in the city in which he grew up on his 102nd birthday with the unveiling of a historic marker that will stand near his childhood home in Amsterdam, New York. Douglas was born December 9, 1916 to immigrant parents living at 46 Eagle St., which still stands as the last house on a dead end street.

   

“`Issur Danielovich (Kirk’s real name) rose from poverty to on screen prominence. As early as kindergarten, Kirk knew he wanted to be a performer. Starring in plays at Wilbur Lynch High School solidified his desire. After college and his service as a naval officer in World War II, he began his career that lead from Broadway to Hollywood,  and over ninety movies, as an actor, director, and producer. After a nearly fatal aviation accident and a stroke, he came to embrace his Jewish heritage later in is life.

“`A nephew and niece of Douglas attended the ceremony. The marker was funded by a grant from the William G. Pomeroy Foundation.

“`On a personal note, my own father has celebrated his 80th birthday. I personally appreciate lives well-lived.

Until next time>                               “never forget”