“Forgotten Hollywood”- Durable Character Actor has Passed…

June 11th, 2012

Manny P. here…

   Frank Cady was a popular television supporting co-star, who got his start in cinema. He had parts in some of the best films during Hollywood’s Golden Age.

   Cady’s first flick was Mr. Deeds Goes to Town. His career continued after World War II, and his breakthrough role was opposite Edmond O’Brien in D.O.A., a film noir classic. He also appeared in Flamingo RoadThe Asphalt Jungle, Father of the Bride, Billy Wilder’s Ace in the HoleRear Window, When Worlds CollideThe Bad Seed, and The 7 Faces of Dr. Lao.   FRANK CADY

   The small screen was Cady’s calling card. On television in the 1950s, he had guest shots on December Bride, The Gale Storm Show, Maverick, 77 Sunset Strip, and Make Room for Daddy. Over the next decade, he was cast in Wagon Train, The Untouchables, The VirginianRawhide, Cheyenne, Perry MasonHazelDennis the Menace, The Andy Griffith Show, and Gunsmoke. He finished up on Hawaii Five-O, Eight is Enough, and After M.A.S.H.

   But, Frank Cady will always be remembered for The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet; and as Sam Drucker in The Beverly Hillbillies, Petticoat Junction, and Green Acres. Cady was the singular actor in television history to play a same character on three sitcoms at the precise moment. He reprised playing Sam Drucker in 1990 on a Green Acres reunion special. He retired the following year. By all accounts, his peers considered him a complete joy to work with.

   Frank Cady was 96.

Until next time.                                “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Singin’ in the Rain is Turning 60!

June 10th, 2012

Manny P. here…

   Quite possibly, the finest movie musical ever produced is celebrating its birthday. Singin’ in the Rain will be 60 in July. Of course, Turner Classic Movies will coordinate the festivities. According to their website:

NCM Fathom, Turner Classic Movies, and Warner Brothers come together again…

 Turner Classic Movies Presents Singin’ in the Rain 60th Anniversary Event  in Select Movie Theaters Nationwide on Thursday, July 12 at 7:00 PM (local time)*
The event begins with a Turner Classic Movies original production featuring TCM host Robert Osborne in an exclusive interview with star Debbie Reynolds, as she shares memories of working with Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor.
 
Immediately following these exclusive behind-the-scenes extras, be carried away by the songs, story and romance of one of the greatest musicals of all time – Singin’ in the Rain – as it graces the silver screen for only one night, fully remastered and more beautiful than ever before!
 
Don’t miss this timeless classic on the big screen on July 12th; and celebrate its release on Blu-Ray – July 17th.
   For complete information on this family-friendly event, visit:
http://www.fathomevents.com/classics/event/singinintherain.aspx
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   My local library in Cypress in now carrying Son of Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History. This makes 35 nationwide branches housing my latest work; and 96 total reading houses that own the Forgotten Hollywood Book Series. The Cypress location carries my original paperback, which I donated to the library last year.
Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- When Hollywood / History Intersects…

June 9th, 2012

Manny P. here…

   Hollywood-and-Vine moments is my metaphor when Hollywood history and Americana cross paths. This weekend, several of these newsworthy events are taking place around the country.

~ The Superman Celebration is going on in the Ohio River community of Metropolis, Illinois, and runs through Sunday. Thousands of visitors are expected to attend, which includes a slew of Man-of-Steel related  cinema and Hollywood dignitaries, such as Cassidy Freeman and John Glover from the television series Smallville.

   Superman’s co-creator Jerry Siegel chose the name Metropolis when he first created the comic strip in the 1930s.

~ On Sunday, Heritage Auctions will offer up 100 Annie Oakley-related items in Dallas, including her Stetson hat, letters, photographs, and guns  that are expected to fetch thousands of dollars for her family.

   Oakley gained fame in the 1880s and 1890s for her shooting skills as a performer in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show. She died in 1926, but has remained a pop culture icon. Her life story inspired a film and Broadway’s Annie Get Your Gun. Several museums throughout the country have collections related to her, including the Garst Museum’s Annie Oakley Center in her hometown of Greenville, Ohio, and the iconic Buffalo Bill Historical Center.

~ Unfortunate news, as New York firefighters this weekend are investigating the cause of a fire that broke out in an apartment complex at Central Park West. The Hollywood tie-in… Robert De Niro and 95-year old Celeste Holm are residents. De Niro was out of the country. But, Holm and her husband were at home as the Friday afternoon blaze erupted. Fortunately, no one was injured.

<— Celeste Holm, like De Niro, won an Oscar. She received a statuette for her performance in Gentleman’s Agreement in 1947. Holm was also wonderful in All About Eve.

~ GOOGLE is celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Movie Drive-In.  They have created a special logo honoring this uniquely American idea, and placed it on their website. A very cool concept; and quintessential Hollywood-and-Vine moment!

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- The Precious Gift of Mobility…

June 8th, 2012

Manny P. here…

   I’d like to offer my sincere heartfelt thanks to the Santa Ana North Rotary Club. After a recent visit to their Fellowship Lunch, and engaging discussion about Forgotten Hollywood, they showed their appreciation for my appearance in a most charitable way.

   I was informed by the local Rotary that a donation would be made in my name to the Free Wheelchair Mission. This international non-profit organization is dedicated in providing many instruments of mobility to the impoverished disabled in developing nations. According to this fine charity’s website, over 645,000 wheelchairs have been distributed to date. A year-long Rotary effort compliments my Lionel Barrymore chapter in Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History, who was a pioneer with regards to disability issues.

   The Orange County, CA offices of the Free Wheelchair Mission is located at 15279 Alton Parkway, Suite 300, Irvine. Here’s a link to their website:

http://www.freewheelchairmission.org/site/c.fgLFIXOJKtF/b.4916275/k.BE91/Home.htm

   The Santa Ana North Rotary Club meets each Wednesday at Antonello Ristorante Italian Restaurant in Costa Mesa. Again, let me extend my thanks to this extraordinary service group’s weekly effort to embody their concept of Service Above Self.

   Please visit their website for more information about sterling charitable work:

http://santaananorthrotary.org/

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   I would also want to take a moment to express the fun I had at the Huntington Beach Rotary weekly meeting. What a lively membership! This is one of the few groups where I had previously not met any of the folks; yet, they embraced my visit. The members were quite attentive, and tested my knowledge about Hollywood’s Golden Age with tough questions. We had a ball!

   Among the charities this fine organization sponsors: Handicapped  Ramp Rotary Refresh Project. Access to mobility is a most precious of gifts. The Huntington Beach Rotary shares  more information on their award-winning website and newsletter (called The Spoke).

 THE  SPKE

   Thanks again to President Wendy Rogers, and incoming President Scott Smith for their kind invitation.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Science Fiction’s Best Has Died…

June 7th, 2012

Manny P. here…

   The greatest scribe of 20th Century science fiction is dead. Ray Douglas Bradbury was the most prolific author of the genre since Jules Verne and H.G. Wells. However, his influence into the field of speculative fiction was actually Edgar Allan Poe and Edgar Rice Burroughs. Much of Bradbury’s work has been interpreted in television anthology programming and in cinema.

   During his youth, the movies of Lon Chaney captured Ray’s imagination. His literary legacy  began after watching the daytime matinee serials, Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers. Bradbury began having his science fiction stories published in 1938. He was a mainstay maestro of the genre until the 1980’s, when he dabbled in detective fiction. In between (and so respected),  Ray became a consultant for the American Pavilion at the 1964 New York World’s Fair; and the original exhibit housed in Epcot’s Spaceship Earth geosphere at Walt Disney World in Orlando.

   Many of his short stories were adapted to radio and television anthologies, such as X Minus OneTales of Tomorrow, Lights Out, Suspense, and most notably, on Alfred Hitchcock Presents and The Twilight ZoneI Sing the Body Electric (from the book of the same name) was adapted for its 100th episode, which first aired on May 18, 1962. The Martian Chronicles became a three-part miniseries starring Rock Hudson that broadcast on NBC in 1980. From 1985 to 1992, the writer hosted a syndicated anthology series The Ray Bradbury Theater.

   His most famous screen adaptations include It Came From Outer Space; Fahrenheit 451, directed by Francois Truffaut; and The Illustrated Man, which featured Rod Steiger and Claire Bloom.

   Among the many accolades Ray Bradbury has received: An asteroid discovered in 1992 was named 9766 Bradbury in his honor. In 2004, he was the recipient of the National Medal of Arts, presented by President George W. Bush. Three years later, Bradbury received a special citation from The Pulitzer Board for his distinguished, prolific, and deeply influential career as an unmatched author of science fiction and fantasy. The Ray Bradbury Award, presented annually by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America for screenwriting, was named in the author’s honor.

   The esteemed Ray Bradbury was 91.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- El Segundo Author Fair Photo Album!

June 6th, 2012

Manny P. here…

   The 2012 edition of the El Segundo Author Fair was a truly joyful experience. I had the opportunity to moderate a 1960s / 1970s Pop Culture Panel with a number of iconic personalities, including Dyan Cannon, photographer Henry Diltz, Alison Arngrim of Little House on the Prarie, and Kathryn Leigh Scott and Lara Parker from Dark Shadows.

   Here are the photo highlights taken by my wife Laurie:

     

LARA PARKER / KATHRYN LEIGH SCOTT                    DYAN CANNON     ALISON ARNGRIM

      

                                                                          HENRY DILTZ    DYAN CANNON    ALISON ARNGRIM

  

   Of course, I signed a copy of Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History for Dyan Cannon!

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Poster Honors Century at Paramount

June 4th, 2012

Manny P. here…

   Paramount Pictures is currently celebrating its 100th Anniversary. In addition to the new logo, Paramount commissioned a graphics-related company to develop an original poster  displaying visual concepts of many of the studio’s fine cinematic productions over the decades. This piece of cultural art was recently created by the Los Angeles-based Gallery 1988.

   Have fun identifying the motion pictures represented in each circle… Keep score if you like!

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Remembering Voice of Dick Beals…

June 3rd, 2012

Manny P. here…

   A prolific voiceover actor has passed away. Dick Beals was best known for delivering the words of Speedy (the Alka-Seltzer kid) for over forty years; and as the initial voice of Gumby. The diminutive performer specialized in bringing to life stop-motion animated tots, such as Davey in Davey and Goliath.

   He began his career at Detroit’s iconic WXYZ, contributing script reads to famous Midwest  radio productions, including The Lone Ranger, The Green Hornet, and Challenge of the Yukon. After Beals moved to Los Angeles, he was hired to voice characters in commercials. His clients included Oscar MayerCampbell Soup, and Bob’s Big Boy.

   Cartoon programs on his resume: The Flinstones, The Jetsons, Richie Rich, and Roger Ramjet (among countless others). He was memorable as the singing voice of child star Bobby Riha as Jack in the 1967 NBC special Jack and the Beanstalk, which starred Gene Kelly.

   Dick Beals was 85.

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   Sad to report that Richard Dawson has died. Best known as the Emmy-winning host of Family Feud; and as Corporal Newkirk on  Hogan’s Heroes. The television series was based on the 1950s classic Stalag 17. Dawson also had regular stints on The Dick Van Dyke Show, Match Game ’73, and Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In.

   World War II was fabulous to the British actor. His screen career included small roles in The Longest Day, King Rat, and The Devil’s Brigade. He was always a reliable Allied soldier in cinema.

   His quasi-randy approach led to a tradition on The Feud. He kissed each female contestant. It’s estimated he smooched over ten thousand women. Dawson also created the iconic term: Survey Says! After his success on Family Feud, Dawson was cast as an evil game show host in The Running Man. For a time, Richard was seriously considered a possible replacement on The Tonight Show, when Johnny Carson first threatened retirement in the early 1980s.

   Richard Dawson (above left) was 79.

Until next time>                               “never forget

“Forgotten Hollywood”- The Final BORDERS Story?

June 2nd, 2012

Manny P. here…

   So, you thought Borders stores had gone away? A bankruptcy judge is expected to hear a case from two consumers who got stuck with $125 in unused gift cards. They have requested the court approve their  claim as part of a class action lawsuit. In essence, they are trying to get Borders to reimburse the card holders before they pay back their creditors. Lawyers,  who filed papers on Friday with the US Bankruptcy Court’s Southern District of Manhattan, have chosen to target Borders, saying the bookstore chain didn’t give proper notice that gift cards would be worthless after its liquidation.

   The literary store honored gift cards until the end of its liquidation sales in September. And, competitor Barnes & Noble that acquired Borders intellectual property, won’t recognize the purchases. The ramifications are stunning. If the class action suit is successful, this could lead to potentially hundreds of thousands of similar claims to be filed, despite folks missing the  deadline. Millions of dollars may be on the line over this upcoming court decision.

   As a result, American Express and a number of national retail companies are re-examining the notion of offering gift cards as a reliable way to entice consumers to shop; especially, if Borders initially loses (attorney appeals are expected to occur). The Manhattan bankruptcy judge will hear the case on June 13th.

   Bulletins as they break…

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- June Review / Five Came Back (1939)

June 1st, 2012

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

Manny P. here…

FIVE CAME BACK – The last forgotten classic movie in my monthly series is also the oldest production. 1939 was a most Golden of years, with today’s film-goers fondly remembering Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, Of Mice and Men, Wuthering Heights, Goodbye Mr. ChipsStagecoach, Ninotchka, and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Also released that year:  Babes in ArmsSon of FrankensteinThe Private Lives of Elizabeth and EssexBeau Geste, Dark Victory, and Only Angels Have Wings.

   Five Came Back should be considered for many reasons. RKO Studios may have been part of Poverty Row, but folks as Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant made fine films there in the early 1930s.

Back Story

   This “B” Movie was a pioneering flick in the Disaster Genre. The biggest moneymakers in cinema were unabashedly influenced by this motion picture.

   Essentially an ensemble cast, the film featured great character actors in starring roles, including Chester Morris, Wendy Barrie, Patric Knowles, John Carradine, Allen Jenkins, Joseph Calleia, C. Aubrey Smith, and remarkably, Lucille Ball. Carradine and Smith are featured in my Forgotten Hollywood -Book Series.

   The script was co-written by the future acclaimed and maligned screenplay scribe, Dalton Trumbo. Director John Farrow is best known for his work on Wake Island, Hondo, and as the screenwriter for Around the World in Eighty Days.

Positives

   The cast is magnificent; Lucille Ball, John Carradine, Patric Knowles, and especially, Joseph Calleia. As an anarchist, Calleia is a prototype of the anti-hero later popular in the 1950s. He’s so good, I’ll spotlight his career below…

<— Patric Knowles usually was cast in heroic roles (The Adventures of Robin Hood, The Wolfman, The Charge of the Light Brigade), so playing against type showcased his acting ability, and guaranteed a long career for the credible co-star.

   The title of the film is also quite glib. The audience can easily figure out who will survive a plane crash. However, the melodramatic demise of certain characters guarantees to keep you at the edge of your seat. The words on the scripted page is really a strength.

Negatives

   Making an anarchist an anti-hero would come back to haunt Dalton Trumbo. Anarchists were known throughout American history in the disruption of our free society. In 1901, President William McKinley was assassinated by an anarchist. The government’s creation of The Federal Bureau of Investigation was in response to anarchist bombings in our Nation’s Capital. The anarchist character in Five Came Back was cited by the House Un-American Activities Committee as evidence that Trumbo’s politics lay in the American Communist Party. DALTON TRUMBO

   The paranoia of our country did not allow the anti-hero in scripts to thrive. Other movies faced the same fate as they were pulled from theatres. 1948’s We Were Strangers comes to mind as an unfortunate example.

   The billing of Joseph Calleia was pitiful. He steals this film from his peers. Sixth billing is an insult to his performance, and his character development in the script.

Supporting Actor Spotlight

   Joseph Calleia often played villainous latin-types. But, he was born in Malta. He brought an early realism to Broadway roles. His parts include The Front Page, The Last Mile, and Grand Hotel. His stage performances were as strong as the live work by Spencer Tracy, Humphrey Bogart, and curiously, Ethel Barrymore.

  Signed by MGM, he was loaned to other studios due to his immense talent. He memorably appeared in After the Thin Man, Riff Raff, My Little Chickadee, Juarez, For Whom the Bell Tolls, The Glass Key, The Jungle Book, Gilda, Touch of Evil, and The Alamo.

   Calleia appropriately received the Critic’s Award in 1938 for his work on Algiers. Lionized by his birth-country, the actor was posthumously honoured by the Malta postal authority with a set of two commemorative stamps issued in his memory in 1997. In October 2005, a monument consisting of a bust of Calleia was erected in front of the house where he was born.

   Joseph Calleia is one fellow I would strongly consider writing about in a future book in the Forgotten Hollywood-series. He was that good…

Epilogue

   The real treat of Five Came Back is the historic early work of the great Lucille Ball. Despite  an uneven movie career, elements of her comedic ability is in full display in 1939. I loved Lucy on celluloid!

   The High and the Mighty, The Flight of the Phoenix, and the Airport-series of films  owe a debt of gratitude to Dalton Trumbo’s script, John Farrow’s direction, and the fine ensemble cast that appeared in Five Came Back. This motion picture should be considered in the pantheon of great releases in 1939.

Until next time.                                 “never forget”