“Forgotten Hollywood”- The Passing of John Hillerman…

November 9th, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`John Hillerman was an actor, best known for his role as Higgins on Magnum P.I. that aired from 1980–1988. For his performance, he earned five Golden Globe nominations, winning in 1981, and four Emmy nods, winning in 1987. Hillerman retired from acting in 1999.

“`In 1953, Hillerman joined the United States Air Force, working in maintenance in a B-36 wing of the Strategic Air Command. During his years of military service, John worked with various theatrical groups. After his discharge, he traveled to New York City to study at the American Theatre Wing. In 1957, he began his career in professional theater.

“`Hillerman had over 100 leading roles on stage. He worked in live performances in a variety of venues before making his motion picture debut in 1970.

“`He film credits include They Call Me Mr. Tibbs, The Last Picture Show, What’s Up Doc, Paper Moon, Blazing Saddles, A Day of the Locust, High Plains Drifter and Chinatown. On the small screen, John guest-starred in  Mannix, Wonder WomanMaudeHawaii 5-0One Day at a TimeLittle House on the Prairie, Lou GrantEllery QueenHart to Hart, Murder She Wrote, KojakSoap, and The Love Boat.

“`John Hillerman was 84.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Reshuffling Deck Chairs on the Titanic

November 8th, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`Associated Press is reporting stunning news in the world of Hollywood cinema:

“`In an unprecedented move, Kevin Spacey is being cut from Ridley Scott’s latest finished production, All the Money in the World, and replaced by Christopher Plummer, just one month before it hits theaters. Plummer will assume the role of J. Paul Getty. The re-shoot includes the expected participation of its co-stars, Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams.

          KEVIN SPACEY                      CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER

“`The film was set to have a world premiere at AFI Fest in Los Angeles on November 16th, but was dropped earlier this week amid sexual harassment allegations involving Spacey. He was recently fired from House of Cards; and dropped by his talent agency and publicist.

“`All the Money in the World was primed for an awards season-release from distributor Sony Pictures Entertainment and its advertising campaign, which prominently features Spacey. Scott, known as an efficient director, plans on keeping a Christmas release date.

“`Back in 1937, Jean Harlow unexpectedly died before completing her scenes on the motion picture, Saratoga.  MGM movie mogul Louis B. Mayer utilized a double to conclude filming. The actor was shot from behind, with her face not shown. In 1944, Spencer Tracy and Irene Dunne convinced Mayer to halt production of A Guy Named Joe for six months so that Van Johnson could recover from an auto accident.  Five years later, Louis Calhern replaced Frank Morgan, weeks into the shooting of Annie Get Your Gun, after he had a fatal heart attack.


“`My historical perspective:  Once principal photography is completed, actors simply aren’t fired and replaced. Allegations swirling around Kevin Spacey upsets the very foundation of Hollywood, and its reference as a dream factory, for the foreseeable future.

“`Scott’s plan caught Sony by surprise; but, the studio is supporting the switch. Bulletins as they break…

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- A Cinematic Thomas Guide…

November 7th, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`Cinemaps:  An Atlas of 35 Great Movies is from Quirk Books. This beautifully rendered atlas is an essential reference for anybody who loves modern art and great motion pictures.

“`Esteemed artisan  Andrew DeGraff crafted hand-painted maps of seminal movies, such as King KongNorth by NorthwestJawsGhostbusters,  The Princess BrideRaiders of the Lost Ark, FargoPulp Fiction, The Shining, and The Breakfast Club. Each of the routes of major characters are charted in meticulous cartographic detail.

“`Andrew DeGraff is a freelance illustrator and artist living and working in Maine. Andrew was born in Albany, New York. In 2001, he graduated from Pratt Institute’s Communications Design program. His clients include  Visa,  Sports Illustrated, Kellogg’s, New York Times, and GAP Kids. His gallery work has been shown in New York, Chicago, Calgary, Honolulu, Philadelphia, Albany, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Mexico City, and Quezon City in the Philippines. DeGraff (right) sketches unique points-of-view. 

“`Each map is presented in an 11-by-14-inch format, with key details enlarged for closer inspection; and is accompanied by illuminating essays by movie critic A.D. Jameson, who provides written commentary about the unique geographies from each flick.


“`My personal favorite is the trek made in the Alfred Hitchcock 1959 classic motion picture.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- The Constant Gardener…

November 4th, 2017

Manny P… 

“`A simple-minded rube, who gleans what he knows of the world from television, becomes a lightening rod within political circles with access to the White House. NO, I am not referring to current administrations. I am writing about the next-to-last production made by Peter Sellers… Being There. This 1979 movie is worth a visit, because of a poignant relevance to today’s sovereign climate.

“`Directed by Hal Ashby, he displays similar acuity as in his previous work, Harold and Maude.  Being There is political satire; hilarious and subtle. The supporting cast is formidable, including Jack Warden, Shirley MacLaine, Melvyn Douglas, and Richard Dysart. This script is smart; based on the novel by Polish-born scribe, Jerzy Kosinski.

“`During filming, to remain in character, Sellers refused most interviews, and kept his distance from the other actors. His performance was universally lauded by critics, and it’s considered to be the crowning triumph of Sellers’s remarkable career.  Though, he lost an Academy Award to Dustin Hoffman, Peter did receive a New York Film Critics Circle AwardGolden Globe, and a BAFTA. Douglas earned a second Oscar in his distinguished career for his performance (the first was in 1963 for his role in HUD).

“`The premise of the production is on target:  A naive gardener unwittingly becomes a much sought-after political pundit; and a commentator on the vagaries of our modern free society. Television, as a medium that deals almost exclusively in image and surface, remains an easy avenue, through which, an individual could advance so meteorically to celebrity. An audience that embraces his fame actually believe this character can literally walk on water. Ultimately, his followers surmise the small screen has inaugurated artificial displays of divinity; a Gospel celebrating faux-patriotism. Additionally, Russians contribute to this whirlwind of government ascension.

“`Per chance… Does any of this sound familiar?

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Mr. Cavett Goes To Washington…

November 3rd, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`Dick Cavett is donating over 2,000 episodes of his television talk show to the Library of Congress. The donation announced by the Library includes episodes of  The Dick Cavett Show from his 35 years as host during the 1960s to 1980s.

“`The shows feature more than 5,000 guests. Cavett had a unique reputation as sophisticated counter-programming to more mainstream late night fare and for attracting an eclectic mix of guests. Among the interviews featured: Orson Welles, Janis Joplin, Groucho Marx, Muhammad Ali and Jimi Hendrix. Other episodes include the televised confrontation between writers, Gore Vidal and Norman Mailer;  and a 1971 episode with John Lennon and Yoko Ono in their candid conversation about the ongoing relationship they had with The Beatles (that was deteriorating at the time).

“`Cavett might have a place in television history anyway given that his resume also included writing for late night icons – Jack Parr and Johnny Carson. His own shows appeared on ABC, CBS, USA, CNBC, HBO, and PBS.  Some of Cavett’s more interesting interviews were aired recently on Turner Classic Movies.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- BBC Runs A Fowl with Hitch…

November 2nd, 2017

Manny P. here… 

“`The BBC is producing a television update of director Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. The classic thriller is being re-imagined for the small screen, in a weekly series from  Harry Potter producer David Heyman’s Heyday Television. It’s a new contemporary drama for next year.

“`Tippi Hedren won’t be reportedly involved  with this latest incarnation. In fact, the series will apparently bear a closer resemblance to the 1952 Daphne du Maurier novel. So, instead of 1960s California, it will be post-World War II-era Cornwall.  By the end of this story, it becomes clear all of Great Britain is under aerial assault. This scary tale is thought to be a metaphor for air attacks on London by the Nazis; in particular, The Blitz.

“`While it is still early in the process, the script is being written by Irish playwright Conor McPherson, who previously adapted the story in 2009 for the stage. The Birds television adaptation has no announced release date. However, expect the series to take flight next season.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Robbie the Robot Up For Auction…

November 1st, 2017

Manny P. here… 

“`Originally designed for MGM’s outer space epic Forbidden Planet, Robby the Robot ranks among the single most iconic props in science fiction history, and arguably, cinema’s most famous robot. Bonhams Auction House is presenting Robby for the very first time.

“`Robby was built at MGM for $100,000 – a gigantic sum for a science fiction prop in those days.  Robby ran on five 12 volt DC motors, which were originally World War II military surplus. Actor / stuntman Frankie Carpenter, and former kid star Frankie Darro, wore the Robby costume in the film. The bulk suit weighs 120 pounds that Carpenter and Darro had to wear using a flying harness just like the one worn by the Flying Monkeys in The Wizard of Oz.

“`Since Robby is, in many ways, the movie’s star, he was present at the Los Angeles premiere at Grauman’s Chinese Theater. During the film’s original release, the robot was sent around the country on a promotional tour.

“`Robby also co-starred in The Invisible Boy; and appeared in many television programs, including Lost in SpaceThe Addams Family, and The Twilight Zone. After restoration, Robby occasionally was in flicks such as Gremlins; and it made appearances at screenings, conventions, and other events, including the 2016 Turner Classic Movies Film Festival.

“`Robby was also recently honored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in its special retrospective of Forbidden Planet. He remained on display at the Academy for two months.

“`Now, Robbie can be yours. Make your bid on November 21st.

Until next time>                               “never forget”