“Forgotten Hollywood”- Once Again: They are Shooting J.R.

December 11th, 2011

Manny P. here…

   Dallas is returning to television. The iconic nighttime soap opera will air in the Summer of 2012 on the TNT network.

   A new generation of cast members will join Larry Hagman (J.R.), Patrick Duffy (Bobby), and Linda Gray (Sue-Ellen). Ten episodes have been ordered and filming began in October. The production is expected to wrap in January. The location shooting is taking place entirely in Dallas, Texas (of course).

   Son of Broadway legend Mary Martin, Larry Hagman has enjoyed a long career in motion pictures and television. His movie credits include Ensign Pulver, In Harm’s Way, Fail Safe, Nixon, JFK, Harry and Tonto, and the 1978 production of Superman. He’s best known for roles on the small screen in I Dream of Jeannie and Dallas. He began his career on the Daytime Soap Operas – Search For Tomorrow and The Edge of Night               LARRY HAGMAN —>

   Over the years, Hagman received several Golden Globe and Emmy nominations for playing J.R. Ewing. In October, Hagman announced he was diagnosed with a treatable form of cancer. We can root against J.R., but we wish the versatile actor all the best in his ongoing battle.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Afternoon at the Hollywood Heritage…

December 9th, 2011

Manny P. here…

   I’ve just been invited to the Hollywood Heritage Museum this Sunday, December 11th to be part of their Afternoon with the Authors program. The event takes place from noon until 4p, and this is a fun way to spend the day. A dozen scribes will be on hand to participate in this insightful forum.

   According to their press release:

This is a great opportunity to get a Hollywood-themed book signed as a gift for a friend or family member by the author.

Hollywood Heritage, Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of the historic built environment in Hollywood and to education about the early film industry and the role its’ pioneers played in shaping Hollywood’s history.

Hollywood Heritage, Inc. operates the Hollywood Heritage Museum in the Lasky-DeMille Barn, the building in which Hollywood’s first feature length motion picture, The Squaw Man, was made in 1914. The Museum is located at 2100 North Highland avenue, across from the Hollywood Bowl. The museum is completely operated by all volunteers. Programs include “Evenings at the Barn,” Silent Society silent film screenings, membership events, preservation action, walking tours of Hollywood Boulevard and other areas as well as participation in regional preservation education.

   An autographed copy of Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History is a unique holiday gift.

   I look forward to meeting you at Afternoon with the Authors this Sunday at the Hollywood Heritage Museum (across from the Hollywood Bowl).

   For more information visit the press link below:



   Another book shop is carrying Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History. The real beauty… JJ Books is the national home where my paperback was self-published. Even though I live in Southern California, I’m considered a local author, which is quite a compliment.

   Welcome to the fold! According to their website:

Take one couple with a passion for reading, an entrepreneurial spirit, and a supporting cast of friends and family; you have a brand-new addition to Country Village in Bothell – JJ BOOKS

   This is a brand new independent bookstore that opened in July. Just in time to sell their first book, with their first customer… a Western by Louis L’Amour.

   JJ Books is located at 23716 8th Ave. SE, Ste. B, Bothell, WA. Here’s a link to the website:


Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Harry Morgan was a Prolific Actor…

December 8th, 2011

Manny P. here…

   Harry Morgan, the busy actor in motion pictures and television, has died. He was cast in over 100 films, and co-starred in many television programs throughout its Golden Age.

   Morgan began acting on stage in 1937 when he joined the Group Theatre in New York. He  had a small part in the original production of the Clifford Odets play Golden Boy. He appeared in a number of successful Broadway roles alongside such other players as Lee J. Cobb, Elia Kazan, and Karl Malden.

   In 1942, Morgan made his screen debut in To the Shores of Tripoli. What followed was a slew of important roles in cinema. Orchestra Wives, The Ox-Bow Incident, State Fair, A Bell for AdanoDragonwyck, The Big Clock, The Beautiful Blonde from Bashful Bend, Madame Bovary, Bend of the River, High Noon, The Far Country, remakes of What Price Glory and Cimarron, Thunder Bay, The Glenn Miller StoryThe Teahouse of the August Moon, Strategic Air Command, Pete Kelly’s Blues, Inherit the Wind, How the West Was Won, and The Shootist; plus the Support Your Local Sheriff and The Apple Dumpling Gang film-series scratch the surface of memorable performances Morgan delivered in movies.

   For the modern generation of television viewers, he was visible on December Bride, and its spinoff, Pete and Gladys; and notably, as Bill Gannon on Dragnet, and Col. Sherman Potter on M*A*S*H. The versatile character actor finally retired from performing well into his eighties.

   In 1980, Morgan won an Emmy for his role on M*A*S*H.  He was officially inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in 2006.

   In a bit of irony, the patriotic actor died on the same day the US honored the memory of those who fought during Pearl Harbor.

   Harry Morgan was 96.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Theater Named for John Astin…

December 7th, 2011

Manny P. here…

   A familiar face of The Addams Family is being honored by John Hopkins University. John Astin graduated from the Baltimore, Maryland institution with a Bachelor of Arts in Drama in 1952. Officially, their renovated theatre will now be called the John Astin Theater.

   John was hired by the University in 2001. His popular classes on Method Acting, and his job as Director in the Theater Arts and Studies Department is credited with revitalizing interest in the school’s higher-learning program.

   Astin has been successful on the stage, in movies, and, on television throughout his five-decade career. His early career included participation in The Threepenny Opera on Broadway, and Charles Laughton’s production of Major Barbara, based on the play by George Bernard Shaw.

   John Astin had parts in West Side Story, That Touch of Mink, Move Over Darling, Viva Max!, Bunny O’Hare, Evil Roy Slade, Freaky Friday, National Lampoon’s European Vacation and the Killer Tomatoes series of films. His finest moments were on the small screen in I’m Dickens, He’s Fenster, and as Gomez Addams, the patriarch of The Addams Family. He replaced Frank Gorshin as The Riddler on Batman, and appeared on Rod Serling’s Night Gallery, The Partridge Family, and had a recurring role on Murder She Wrote.                       JOHN ASTIN

   John Astin was married to actress Patty Duke for thirteen years. Duke was encouraged by her then-husband to run for President of the Screen Actor’s Guild, which she was elected to in 1985. Astin received an Oscar nomination for Prelude, a short project he wrote, produced, and directed. He also served for four years on the Board of Directors of the Writers Guild of America.

   John Astin’s devotion to his craft through many applications is undeniable. I congratulate the actor and scholar for this latest accolade.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Rita Hayworth’s Grandson Kills Self?

December 6th, 2011

Manny P. here…

   The grandson of Rita Hayworth has most likely committed suicide. Andrew Embiricos was discovered with a plastic bag over his head in his Manhattan apartment. An autopsy is scheduled to offer a definitive conclusion as to his official cause of death.             ANDREW EMBIRICOS ———————>

   Embiricos had a storied life. He teamed with his family to advocate for increased research to cure Alzheimer’s disease. He also dabbled dubiously as a amateur gay-porn filmmaker.

<——–Rita Hayworth pioneered the casting of Latin actresses in roles that had little to do with her ethnicity. The American Film Institute listed Hayworth as one of the greatest movie stars of all time. Her iconic motion pictures included roles in  Only Angels have Wings, The Strawberry Blonde, Gilda, Cover Girl, The Lady from Shanghai, Pal Joey, They Came to Cordura, and Separate Tables. Rita was the recipient of the National Screen Heritage Award in 1977.

   Hayworth married five times. Her husbands include Orson Welles, Dick Haymes, and Prince Aly Khan. In 1987, she died from complications of Alzheimer’s at age 68. One of the major fund raisers for the Alzheimer’s Association is the annual Rita Hayworth Gala. Her daughter Yasmin Aga Khan has been  the hostess for this event and a major sponsor since 1985.

   Andrew Embiricos was the son of Yasmin Aga Khan. He was only 25.

Until next year>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Remembering Humor of Alan Sues!

December 5th, 2011

Manny P. here…

  Outlandish sketch comedy was a noted staple of variety shows on television of the 1960’s. Elements of this funny approach has its roots in the song scoring of Spike Jones and His City Slickers. Ernie Kovacs was a pioneering expert in this style of delivering raucous lines with expert timing. A comedian known for this type of humor was Laugh-In regular Alan Sues, who died last week.     ALAN SUES ———–>

  Sues honed his skills on stage and the silver screen. His credits include Tea and Sympathy on Broadway, directed by Elia Kazan; and film roles in Move Over Darling and The Americanization of Emily.

   The comedian is best known for television roles on The Twilight Zone, The Wild Wild West, and of course, his five years on Rowan & Martin’s  Laugh-In. The vaudeville concept of sketch was popular on the top-rated  weekly program that aired on NBC. Alan worked well with his co-stars Ruth Buzzi, Joanne Worley, Judy Carnes, and particularly, Dick Martin. Popular segments involving Sues included him playing a hungover kiddie-show host, and a crazy sports anchor who rang a goofy bell. As he put it:  I love my tinkle!


   Sues appeared in television commercials for Peter Pan Peanut Butter during the 1970s. His favorite role was playing Professor Moriarty in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, when he toured with Leonard Nimoy with the Royal Shakespeare Company over a three-year period.

   Alan Sues belongs in the television Pantheon containing loud humorous technicians during its Golden Age, joining Don Knotts, Frank Fontaine, Paul Lynde, Harvey Korman, Tim Conway, Rip Taylor, Charles Nelson Reilly, among others. This rip-roaring era of sketch-work made the small screen so improvisationally successful, and should never be forgotten.

   Alan Sues was 85.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Paramount Takes to the Sky…

December 4th, 2011

Manny P. here…

   Paramount Pictures is celebrating its 100th birthday with a screening of the first Oscar-winning movie. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will present a restored version of Wings on January 18th, complete with a live-music accompaniment by organist Clark Wilson. The restoration was conducted with the help of the Academy Film Archive.

   Wings features stirring action footage and fine performances from Charles “Buddy” Rogers, Clara Bow, Richard Arlen, and in a small part, a very youthful Gary Cooper (in a tragic role). It is the only silent picture to win the top Academy Award, which it did back in 1927.

   This fact may change in 2011, since The Artist has the inside track to win this year’s Best Picture statuette. The French entry swept most of the major awards at the Festival de Cannes, and just last week, was recognized as the top movie by the New York Film Critics Circle. The Artist is distibuted in the United States by Warner Brothers.

   The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will debut an exhibit called Paramount’s Movie Milestones: A Centennial Celebration in conjunction with the screening, and the studio’s birthday. It includes photographs, design sketches, posters, and archived correspondence. The collection is on display January 6th through February 5th at the Academy’s Grand Lobby Gallery.

KSPA banner2

   To honor the month-long event, Gary Lycan and I are re-airing our tribute to Paramount Pictures on Forgotten Hollywood over The Spa Radio Network, Saturday, January 14th at 3p (PST). You will hear rare stories and listen to superb cinema-related music scores  that placed Paramount on the Hollywood map.

   Here’s the link to our weekly program if you live outside the area:


   You can pick up a copy of Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History at the Hollywood Heritage Museum, site of the first movie lot that eventually led to the creation of Paramount Studios.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Houston, We Have a Buyer…

December 3rd, 2011

Manny P. here…

   Dallas-based Heritage Auctions has attracted enough interest to sell a checklist used by Apollo 13 Commander James Lovell bearing calculations, which helped save the lives of the crew in 1970, for the gaudy price of $388,375. A spokesperson for the auction house estimates this piece of documented history might sell for $25,000. The artifact was part of a collection  sold during the Space Signature auction set up by Heritage.

   An onboard oxygen tank exploded as the spacecraft was near its destination, but, the crew was forced to scrap its mission and focus on returning back to Earth. It is safe to surmise that without the checklist, the Apollo 13 crew –  <——Jim Lovell, Fred Haise, Jack Swigert – couldn’t determine their position in space, and most likely would have faced certain death.

   Imagine Entertainment chronicled this lunar mission in a 1995 movie. Well directed by Ron Howard, the motion picture received critical acclaim for its technical accuracy surrounding this famed NASA rescue. The astronauts were portrayed by Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, and Bill Pullman. Apollo 13  was a movie adaptation of Lost Moon, the 1994 book by Lovell and Jeffrey Kluger.

   A valuable handwritten document captured the imagination of potential buyers. This might be the  lasting legacy of a heroic effort made by intelligent (if ordinary) folks at Mission Control, who performed extraordinary miracles in 1970, when failure was not an option.


   A blog site devoted to the Latino scribe experience present a great portfolio of Hispanic authors throughout the United States. I’m thrilled to be included on TheLatinoAuthor.com with fine writers who have devoted time and energy to putting creative words on parchment. Actor Edward James Olmos (far left steadfastly supports and visits this blog.

   Follow the link below for more information and stories on this well constructed website:


Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Mr. Gable’s Concealed Kin has Died…

December 2nd, 2011

Manny P. here…

   The secret love child of Clark Gable and Loretta Young has died. Conceived out of wedlock, Judy Lewis was declared an adopted daughter when she was born. Brought up by Young, movie studios insisted the birth be kept from the public. The actress was well known for her wholesome screen image, and this  publicity might have finished her career.                  JUDY LEWIS ————–>

   Loretta Young told her child that Gable was her dad in 1966, six years after he died. The actor met his daughter only twice; once at her home, and while she was on the set of The Loretta Young Show. Twenty years later, Loretta threatened Lewis with a lawsuit, when informed by Judy that she intended to write a tell-all novel. They became estranged after the book was published. Young died in 2000.

   In 1994, Uncommon Knowledge chronicled her parents situation in 1935. Loretta was a single Catholic, while Clark was married at the time. The major indiscretion took place while the two actors starred in Call of the Wild. It was one of Hollywood’s best kept and lasting secrets. While alive, Lewis had a striking resemblence to the iconic actor, which led to much gossip and many rumors.


   As an adult, Lewis had a long film and television career. Her motion picture credits include Operation Bikini and Airport 1975. On the small screen, she guest starred on Highway Patrol, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, Perry Mason, 77 Sunset Strip, The FBI, General HospitalThe Streets of San Francisco, Police Woman, and One Day at a Time.

   In 1985, she received a Writers Guild of America award for penning several episodes of Search For Tomorrow. A close friend was former child actress Cammie King Conlon, who played Bonnie Butler, daughter of Clark Gable’s character Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind.

   Judy Lewis was 76. Funeral services will be held on Saturday.


   Welcome back Robert Osborne to his hosting chores on Turner Classic Movies. He looks refreshed and ready for 2012. NOW… on with the show!

Until next time>                              “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- December / White Christmas (1954)

December 1st, 2011

(#6 in a 12-part series to be printed at the beginning of each month)

Manny P. here… 220px-White_Chrismas_film

WHITE CHRISTMAS – Inspired by the biggest selling holiday song in modern history, this 1954 Technicolor gift, wrapped in tinsel, stars Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, Vera-Ellen, and Dean Jagger. This was the first film to be presented in the wide-screen format, Vista Vision; and it was directed by Michael Curtiz, best known for his work on The Adventures of Robin Hood and Casablanca.

Back Story

   Why do I include the top grossing film of 1954 in a series dedicated to forgotten cinema classics? Over the years, this movie has been shoved aside by television’s decision to repeatedly air Miracle on 34th Street and It’s a Wonderful Life. And every year, gobs of new holiday faire grace our movie palaces. As the generations pass, White Christmas is becoming the forgotten viewing tradition.

Bing_Crosby_and_Danny_Kaye_in_White_Christmas_trailer   Bing Crosby deserves a better fate. His name is associated to other Christmas carols, including Do You Hear What I Hear and Little Drummer Boy / Peace on Earth (sung with David Bowie). Bing WAS Christmas for Americans during Hollywood’s Golden Age. And, Count Your Blessings, Instead of Sheep from the film, and written by Irving Berlin, was nominated for an Oscar. In fact, Berlin wrote all the tunes for White Christmas. The title tune actually received a statuette for Best Song in 1942 when it was featured in Holiday Inn.

   This delight also features cameos by George Chakiris, Barry Chase, Johnny Grant (the former mayor of Hollywood), and oddly, Carl “Alfalfa” Switzer’s photo is used. Originally cast in the film was Fred Astaire, who declined after reading the script. Donald O’Connor replaced Astaire, but bowed out due to illness. Danny Kaye was then called and he accepted the role.


   The teaming of Crosby and Kaye was inspired. This film had a “Road Picture” feel to it. But, Danny Kaye is a better dancer and singer, if not funnier, than Bob Hope. Vera-Ellen_and_Rosemary_Clooney_in_White_Christmas_trailer_2

   Rosemary Clooney performs like an edgy June Allyson. And, who doesn’t love her voice when she sings! Vera-Ellen was handed dance routines reminiscent of sequences made famous by Cyd Charisse. Dean Jagger almost steals the film with his warm authoritative  style as a retired commander. VERA ELLEN / ROSEMARY CLOONEY –>

   Finally, the script harkened back to those wonderful moments in Busby Berkeley and Mickey Rooney / Judy Garland motion pictures that set up musical segments on stage. Light drama mixed in with slapstick comedy make this a yearly pilgramage for me (I own a copy of the DVD).


   Surprisingly, many of the tunes in White Christmas share little relationship with the Holidays, which hurts the production. Two segments: Choreography and What Can You Do With a General are weak efforts by the team of Irving Berlin and Bob Fosse.

   Berlin made the unfortunate decision to dust off former hits from his collection and insert them into the movie. That said, the highlight of the motion picture score comes early with Crosby and Kaye lip-synching Sisters; and the four stars singing Snow.

Supporting Actor Spotlight

   Mary Wickes has a wonderful time in White Christmas as the manager of the Vermont inn owned by  General Waverly (Dean Jagger). Her support to the stars is wickedly funny in a part she was destined to play.

wickes   A St. Louis-native, Wickes made her film debut in The Man Who Came to Dinner in 1942. She was comfortable on stage, radio, and the silver screen. She’s best known for comical roles in Who Done it?, Now Voyager, On Moonlight Bay, The Music Man, and the Sister Act-series of pictures.

   Her wisecracking nature fit well on television. She was close friends with Lucille Ball and Doris Day. Each star invited her to appear on their programs. She also had guest spots on The Mickey Mouse Club, The Match Game, Make Room for Daddy, and Dennis the Menace.


   Mary Wickes received an Emmy-nomination in 1962, and was posthumously inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame in 2004.


   A stage adaptation of the musical, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, premiered in San Francisco in 2004, and has been booked in various venues around the U.S., including Boston, Buffalo, Los Angeles, Detroit and Louisville. Another version of this production has played to sold-out houses throughout Great Britain.

   I endorse taking in as much holiday entertainment as possible in 2011. Don’t forget to add White Christmas and How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the animated television production with Boris Karloff and Thurl Ravenscroft) on your to-watch list.

Until next time>                               “never forget”