“Forgotten Hollywood”- Pen Mightier Than the Guillotine…

June 3rd, 2020

Manny P. here…

“`Love letters between the ill-fated French queen Marie-Antoinette and her lover have been deciphered by use of the latest techniques by the French National Archives. The Austrian-born queen was executed at just thirty-seven in October, 1793 after the overthrow of the monarchy.  At the time, the queen and King Louis XVI were living under surveillance in the Parisian Tuileries palace and had just failed to escape their house arrest.

“`The revealed passages are further confirmation of a steamy relationship between Marie-Antoinette and Count de Fersen,  who were writing to each other several years after the 1789 French Revolution. Much of the writings had previously been brought to light, but redacted lines remained illegible. Until now.

“`The ninety-five-day project used a new scanning technique (the x-ray fluorescence system) to analyze the composition of ink used.  Similarities between the ink by the count and the ink of redaction suggest Fersen might have censored his own letters.  Out of the fifteen redacted correspondence written by Marie-Antoinette and Fersen, only eight were brought to light. For the others, ink used to write and to censor was the same, rendering the task of revealing the redacted content impossible.

“`The fascination surrounding Marie-Antoinette remains undimmed. Last month, a travel bag belonging to her sold for over five times its estimate in an auction of royal memorabilia.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- The Answer is Marty…

May 31st, 2020

Manny P. here…

“`Herbert Stempel was the fall guy and whistle-blower of early television, whose confession to deliberately losing on a 1950s quiz show helped drive a national scandal. His name in history is connected to winning contestant Charles Van Doren. This showdown was chronicled in the 1994 flick, Quiz Show, directed by Robert Redford, and starring John Turturro as Stempel and Ralph Fiennes as Van Doren (who died last year).  HERB STEMPEL ->

“`Stempel’s life was defined by a small screen face-off late in 1956, when he and Van Doren executed a fraudulent display of knowledge on Twenty-One, part of a wave of game shows that offered huge prizes for trivia experts. Confessions by Stempel and others helped lead to the congressional ban of rigged game shows, and to the cancellation of Twenty-One.

“`Stempel, born in New York City and the son of Jewish immigrants, was a natural for the quiz program. Audiences were turned off by Stempel’s smug attitude after a six-week run. Producer Dan Enright’s solution was to have Stempel lose to the more charismatic opponent Van Doren, scion of a prominent scholarly family and himself a rising star at Columbia University. Stempel claimed that Enright promised to make him a question consultant for Twenty-One and to get him an appearance on The Steve Allen Show.

“`Stempel’s televised downfall was especially painful for the Queens resident. His question: Which movie received the Oscar for best picture in 1955?  Herb would say he knew the winner was Marty. He had seen the film three times, relating to the tale of a lonely butcher in New York City. But was compelled to guess On the Waterfront, the Oscar winner of 1954.

“`Van Doren (right) would continue winning for months, and he was celebrated in a Time Magazine cover story. Herb’s subsequent declarations of rigging were initially dismissed,  but as contestants on other shows made similar statements, authorities began to take action. A grand jury convened in New York in 1958 and congressional hearings began the following year,  with Stempel and Van Doren both testifying and acknowledging their complicity.  Stempel eventually lost his game-show winnings in poor investments and business deals.

“`Stempel re-emerged as a public figure in the 1990s,  when Twenty-One was featured in a Julian Krainin documentary and in Redford’s movie, for which Stempel served as a consultant. He would later say Quiz Show distorted his life and personality.

“`Herbert Stempel was ninety-three.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Will Movie Theaters Survive?

May 26th, 2020

Manny P. here…

“`As a show contributor for the Celebrating Act 2 podcast, I will again join John Coleman and Art Kirsch as we ponder the fate and survival of movie theaters in the wake of Covid-19. Here is one man’s opinion…

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

“`Richard Herd was a durable character actor who was comfortable in movies and television. He appeared in All the President’s Men, The China Syndrome and Private Benjamin. On television, Herd guest-starred in The Streets of San Francisco, M*A*S*HThe Rockford Files, Eight is Enough, Starsky and Hutch, KojakDallas, The A-TeamHill Street BluesMurder She WroteThe Golden Girls, Matlock, Dynasty, Quantum Leap, Knotts Landing, and a number of episodes of Seinfeld. He was a series regular on T. J. Hooker.

“`Richard Herd (above right) was eighty seven.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Tastes Like Chicken…

May 22nd, 2020

Manny P. here…

“`The year is 2022 and our globe suffers from dying oceans,  due to the greenhouse effect, resulting in pollution, overpopulation, poverty, smog, and depleted resources.  National governments and its citizens settle on saving the planet by sacrificing the old, sick, and dying. I am not talking about real-life dystopian chatter with regards to correcting the effects of any global catastrophe (including a pandemic). I am describing the 1973 sci fi thriller, Soylent Green.

“`Realism in motion pictures in the early 1970s were clearly the genre du jour with on screen productions such as Dog Day Afternoon, Mean Streets, and Taxi Driver. Offering science fiction as a backdrop to realism was the directed goal in Soylent Green, the most successful attempt at fact and fiction co-mingling since Them! and 2001: A Space Odyssey.

“`The villains of this piece are normal folks fighting the threat of extinction, deciding a few must perish so the majority can survive. The Twilight Zone’s To Serve Man episode likely influences this cautionary tale. It is the ingredients that make up the Soylent Green protein that is particularly insidious. Euthanasia is clearly at the forefront of the screenplay’s moral dilemma.

“`Charlton Heston,  Leigh Taylor-Young,  Chuck Connors,  Joseph Cotten,  Brock Peters,  Paula Kelly and Edward G. Robinson head up a stellar cast. Robinson made over a hundred films and this would be his last, since he was suffering from terminal cancer. His final scene in the movie eerily resembled what was to occur just twelve days after the completion of production. By the way,  Robinson died before he could accept an honorary Oscar for career achievement, his first accolade by the film academy. His wife accepted his statuette in his place.

“`A fair thriller, New York Times critic A. H. Weiler wrote:

Soylent Green projects essentially simple, muscular melodrama a good deal more effectively than it does the potential of man’s seemingly witless destruction of the Earth’s resources.

“`Well said…

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- First Lady of Sports…

May 17th, 2020

Manny P. here…

“`Phyllis George was a former Miss America who became a female sportscasting pioneer on CBS’s The NFL Today, and served as the First Lady of Kentucky. She also penned several books and was a brand leader in business.

“`From Denton, Texas, George attended the University of North Texas for three years, and then went to Texas Christian University after earning a scholarship as Miss Texas in 1970. She became the fiftieth Miss America in 1971.

“`Sports media discovered George while she was co-hosting Candid Camera and the Miss America pageant. She received a thirteen-week option from CBS in 1974 without a defined role. She would earn a three-year deal and it paved the way for her breakthrough role the next year on The NFL Today.  George joined Brent Musburger and Irv Cross as a co-host. She conducted interviews with star athletes including NFL greats Joe Namath and Roger Staubach. She  went on to co-host the CBS Morning News in 1985,  but quit after less than eight months.

“`George remained a friend of minister Norman Vincent Peale and was a devout believer in his best-selling philosophy of positive thinking. She credits that approach for launching a defining career she did not expect; one that saw her range into an astonishing variety of ventures and roles, in media, the film industry, food and beauty products and as the glamorous first lady of Kentucky.

“`Phyllis George was seventy.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Forever Fred Willard…

May 16th, 2020

Manny P. here…

“`Fred Willard was a comedic actor that remained relevant for over fifty years in films like This Is Spinal Tap, Silver Streak and Anchorman series of flicks. He specialized in scene-stealing appearances. Fred was also a four-time Emmy nominee for roles in What’s Hot What’s Not, Everybody Loves Raymond, Modern Family and The Bold and the Beautiful.

“`Willard’s stage career began when he moved to New York in the late 1950s, where he met future comedy partner Vic Grecco. The comedy team found some success touring, and made appearances on The Dean Martin Show, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and The Tonight Show.

“`Willard scored in 1977 and 1978 as Martin Mull’s sidekick and announcer Jerry Hubbard on Fernwood 2 Night, Forever Fernwood, and America 2-Night, which parodied late night talk shows. He also guest-starred on Get Smart, Laverne and Shirley, The Bob Newhart Show, Love American StyleThe Love Boat, Mama’s Family, Friends, Roseanne, The Golden GirlsMad About You, and The Simpsons.

“`On the big screen, he co-starred in Fun with Dick and Jane, Roxanne, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, and The Wedding Planner.  He continued to frequently work until weeks before his passing.

“`Fred Willard (above) was eighty-six.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- On the Fritz…

May 15th, 2020

Manny P. here…

“`It was the Summer of 1967. A local show on KHJ Channel 9 in Los Angeles was about to debut four nights a week, right after the Million Dollar Movie. Shrimpenstein was a Soupy Sales-like puppet program that featured slapstick comedy skits and horror movie clips.

“`The hosts were Gene Moss  (Dr. Von Schtick with a very bad Boris Karloff accent) and Jim Thurman. Shrimpenstein was a miniature Frankenstein’s monster  (a ventriloquist dummy). Wilfred the Weenie Wolf did the spots for Hormel Wieners, one of the program sponsors. He lived in a box like Thing from The Addams Family. Also featured, the Tijuana Bats that lip-synched popular songs.

“`The descriptions I just provided are from others who were fans of the program.  I personally never saw the show.  The weekend before its debut on Channel 9, our television went on the fritz. My dad promised us a new color television, but we did not get it for three months. June… July… August… Summer without a television was absolutely cruel. I was only ten years of age.

“`A transistor radio became my constant companion. KHJ and KRLA churned out Top 40 hits and The Real Don Steele and Humble Harv were my pals. Some of my personal favorite tunes were introduced to me during that fateful Summer… Windy, Light My Fire, Penny Lane, Ode to Billy Joe, Happy Together. My relationship with radio would never end.

“`I was thrilled when my dad finally delivered on that color television in September. However, Shrimpenstein had been cancelled the week before. And so it goes…

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Bowled Over…

May 13th, 2020

Manny P. here…

“`The historic Hollywood Bowl is canceling its Summer season for the very first time in its nearly one hundred-year history. The Summer 2020 slate was set to include film screenings and singalongs, concerts from Brandi Carlisle, Diana Ross, and Janelle Monáe, and of course performances by the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

“`The LA Phil estimates that revenues lost from these canceled concerts, as well as a portion of the orchestra’s spring season, will result in a roughly eighty million dollar budget shortfall. To mitigate the losses, the LA Phil must take additional steps to address the financial impact caused by the pandemic and is furloughing 25% of its full-time non-union workforce, as well as the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra through September 30, 2020,  and they are also laying off seasonal Hollywood Bowl employees.

“`This action was made to protect audiences, musicians, employees, and the community from the spread of COVID-19, consistent with, and in response to, the latest guidance from elected and health officials.  Ticketholders to canceled events can use their credit for a future LA Phil-produced concert at the Hollywood Bowl, Walt Disney Concert Hall, or Ford Theatre; or request a refund.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Passing Parade Claims Jerry Stiller…

May 11th, 2020

Manny P. here…

“`Jerry Stiller was a funnyman who teamed with wife Anne Meara as part of a beloved comedy duo. They remained married for over sixty years. Later in his career, he appeared as the high-strung Frank Costanza on the classic sitcom, Seinfeld, and the basement-dwelling father-in-law on The King of Queens. Their son is Ben Stiller.

“`Stiller grew up in Depression-era Brooklyn. His desire to enter show business came at eight years of age,  when his father took him to see the Marx Brothers in their comedy classic A Night at the Opera. Years later, Stiller met Groucho Marx and thanked him for his inspiration.                        JERRY STILLER –>

“`Stiller earned a drama degree at Syracuse University after serving in World War II, and then headed to New York City to launch his career. There was a brief involvement in Shakespearean theater. Everything changed after he met Meara in Spring, 1953. They were soon appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show and working nightclubs, nationwide.  The couple went on to appear in dozens of film, stage, and television productions. They were also a sensation in commercials.

“`Stiller’s film appearances include Airport 1975, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, Lovers and Other Strangers, and the Zoolander series of movies. On television, he guest-starred in The Courtship of Eddie’s Father, Love American Style, AliceRhoda, Phyllis, The Love Boat, Archie Bunker’s Place, Murder She Wrote, Law and Order, L. A. Law, and The Good Wife.

“`Grumpy and eccentric on camera, Jerry Stiller was kind, soft-spoken, and a generous actor, behind-the-scenes. He was ninety-two.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Spoon Fed…

May 10th, 2020

Manny P. here…

“`Gerber has announced an adorable new addition to their family with its winner of the tenth annual Photo Search: Magnolia Earl of Ross, California. Baby Magnolia was chosen as its 2020 Gerber Spokesbaby from over three hundred and twenty thousand entries submitted through photosearch.gerber.com where families could upload photos, videos, and share stories.

MAGNOLIA EARL

(courtesy of Gerber)

“`Magnolia, who celebrated her first birthday on Saturday, makes history as the first adopted baby to win the Gerber competition. In addition to being featured on Gerber’s social media channels and marketing campaigns throughout the year, Magnolia and family were rewarded to $25,000 cash prize, $1,000 in Gerber Childrenswear, $1,000 from Walmart, and phones with a year of free unlimited service from Verizon; all to provide the best possible beginning for the baby.

“`Gerber Products Company was founded in 1928 in Fremont, Michigan. Gerber joined the Nestlé family on September 1, 2007. Gerber is a leader in early childhood nutrition.

“`Magnolia’s photos and additional information about Photo Search 2020 and Gerber can be found by visiting Gerber’s Facebook page or the Gerber Photo Search page.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Great Gosh Almighty…

May 9th, 2020

Manny P. here…

“`Little Richard was the self-proclaimed architect of rock ‘n’ roll whose piercing wail, pounding piano, and mascara-lined eyes, pencil-thin mustache and glittery suits altered popular music while introducing black R&B to white America. He was one of rock ‘n’ roll’s founding fathers who helped shatter the color line on the music charts, joining Chuck Berry and Fats Domino in bringing race music into the mainstream.

“`Richard Penniman was born in Macon, Georgia, during the Great Depression; one of twelve children. He was ostracized because he was effeminate. The family was religious and he sang in local churches with a group called the Tiny Tots. The tug-of-war between his religious upbringing and rock ‘n’ roll excess would torment Penniman throughout his tumultuous career. It also defined the man.         LITTLE RICHARD –>

“`In 1955, Little Richard recorded Tutti Frutti, with lyrics that were sanitized by a New Orleans songwriter. It went on to sell a million records over the next year. When his hit was banned by a number of white-owned radio stations, performers like Pat Boone and Elvis Presley did cover versions that topped the charts. A string of hits followed, and they provided the foundation of rock music: Lucille, Keep A Knockin, Long Tall Sally, and Good Golly Miss Molly.

“`Richard traveled to Hollywood and made an appearance in Don’t Knock the Rock. In 1986, he co-starred in Down and Out in Beverly Hills. His song from the movie soundtrack, Great Gosh A’Mighty, placed him back onto the charts; his first time in fifteen years. Later that year, Little Richard was inducted as a charter member into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

“`Macon, Georgia, named a street after its favorite son. And he influenced the greats of rock music, including Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Otis Redding, David Bowie, Prince, and Bruce Springsteen.

“`Little Richard was eighty-seven.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- RIP Roy…

May 8th, 2020

Manny P. here…

“`Roy Horn of Siegfried and Roy was part of a duo whose over-the-top magic tricks captivated millions until Horn was critically injured in 2003 by one of the act’s famed white tigers. Horn is the latest high-profile victim of the Covid-19 virus.  The darker-haired of this flashy pair, he is credited with the idea of introducing an exotic animal — his pet cheetah — to the magic act.

                       SIEGFRIED FISCHBACHER                ROY HORN

“`Born in Nordenham, Germany, Roy Horn met Siegfried Fischbacher on a cruise ship in 1957. They honed their animal-magic show in small clubs in Germany and Switzerland in the 1960s. Their huge break came in a Monte Carlo casino when an agent in the audience invited them to Las Vegas. The duo made their debut at the Tropicana hotel-casino in the late 1960s.

“`Siegfried and Roy’s show included twenty white tigers and lions. They also had other exotic animals, including an elephant. The illusionists received headliner status at the Stardust Lido de Paris. Their show Beyond Belief at the Frontier and played to thousands over seven years. When the pair signed a lifetime contract with the Mirage in 2001,  it was estimated they had performed five thousand shows at the casino for ten million fans since 1990, and had grossed more than one billion dollars.

“`Horn was attacked in October 2003 when a white tiger named Montecore attacked him on stage at the Mirage. He had severe neck injuries, loss of blood, and later suffered a stroke. He underwent lengthy rehabilitation, but the attack ended the long-running Las Vegas Strip production. An investigation by the United States Department of Agriculture explored a variety of theories, but was unable to reach a conclusion on what caused the tiger to attack. The USDA  also said the show’s producers had failed to protect the audience because there was no barrier separating the exotic animals from the crowd.

“`Horn and Fischbacher became United States citizens in 1988. In October 2006, three years after the attack, Siegfried and Roy attended their induction into the Las Vegas Walk of Stars. Horn’s speech was sluggish at times and he walked a bit slow.

“`Roy Horn was seventy-five.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Also Known As…

May 6th, 2020

Manny P. here…

“`Many well-known actors were given names that became their identity. Judy Garland, Cary Grant, and Gig Young were among the many fabricated identities made up by movie moguls. There were also a number of thespians that kept their original names or lived their personal lives with preferred nicknames. Here are notable examples:

~ Duke Morrison – As a child, Marion Morrison was called Duke by everyone who knew him, after some local firefighters in Glendale, California, where the family eventually settled. They gave the boy the same nickname as his constant companion, an Airedale dog named Duke.

`Duke eventually found work at Fox Film Corporation. Director John Ford noticed Morrison. Ford introduced Duke to colleague, Raoul Walsh, who gave Morrison his first starring role, as the cowboy in the 1930 film The Big Trail. During this production, studio executives gave Morrison his new name in the hopes of making him an easier sell to audiences, and he readily accepted the moniker — John Wayne.

~ Babe Hardy – Oliver Norvell Hardy was known as Babe, a nickname given by an Italian barber, who applied talc to Oliver’s cheeks and say, nice-a-baby. In most of his silent films before joining producer Hal Roach, he was billed on screen as Babe Hardy. He only became Oliver Hardy after he was teamed with Stan Laurel.

~ Betty Bacall – When Betty Joan Perske transitioned from model to actress, director Howard Hawks chose to change her name to Lauren Bacall.  After the release of To Have and Have Not,  everyone recognized the ingenue. Family and friends never stopped calling her Betty. Husband Humphrey Bogart called her Slim, her character’s nickname in To Have and Have Not.

“`What’s in a name?

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Disney Style Quarantine…

May 5th, 2020

Manny P. here…

“`Sheriff deputies in Florida have arrested Richard McGuire who was found hiding on Disney World’s Discovery Island. He had decided to live out his quarantine on the shuttered island. McGuire was arrested on trespassing charges and taken into custody without incident. It was not immediately clear whether he had an attorney who could comment.

“`A security rep for Disney saw McGuire using a company boat, The area had a number of no trespassing signs and two closed gates. Orange County marine deputies on Bay Lake used the public address system to inform McGuire that he was not allowed to be on the property, but he remained on the island, anyway, according to the arrest report.

“`Previously called Treasure Island, Discovery Island had been the site of a zoological park before the island was closed to the public in 1999.

“`McGuire is now quarantined… in jail.

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Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Spin Cycle…

May 4th, 2020

Manny P. here…

“`ABC will air a two-hour primetime special dedicated to the impact soap operas have had on television. It is called The Story of Soaps, and it will air on Tuesday, May 19th at 8p.

“`The program is also presented by People Magazine and explores the history serialized storytelling through the soap opera. In today’s shifting television landscape, The Story of Soaps traces how creators migrated from radio to television in order to become a dominant force in daytime programming for more than three decades.

“`Today, much of what propels modern television traces its roots back to those first sprawling, steamy storylines. The documentary examines this iconic genre and the cultural phenomenon its massive impact has had on the world at large.

“`On a personal note, I appeared in Santa Barbara in the 1980s. I am thrilled to be part of the lineage of the soap opera genre.

“`Like sand through an hourglass… This should be a great way to spend some time in front of the tube.

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

“`Jon Ericson (right) was an actor who made a splash in cinema and television of the 1950s. He is best remembered for his recurring role on the ABC program, Honey West.

“`After training at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, Ericson found his way on Broadway appearing in a stage version of Stalag 17.  He followed with a series of film productions, including The Student Prince, Bad Day at Black Rock, Forty Guns, Day of the Badman, Pretty Boy Floyd, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, and 7 Faces in Dr. Lao. He guest-starred twice on Bonanza.

“`Jon Ericson was ninety-three.

Until next time>                               “never forget”