“Forgotten Hollywood”- Restrictive Immigration Policy…

July 6th, 2018

Manny P. here…

“`A European family attempt to immigrate to the United States (and also later to Cuba), but their efforts were thwarted by America’s restrictive immigration policies and the outbreak of World War II. Efforts to get the family out of the Netherlands likely started as early as 1938, the turbulent year, which Germany had annexed Austria and part of Czechoslovakia into the Third Reich. On November 9th, Nazis terrorized Jews throughout the country in their violent Kristallnacht, also known as the Night of Broken Glass.

“`On May 14th, 1940, with this family still on the waiting list for possible visas,  the American consulate was devastated in a German bombardment,  and necessary papers were destroyed. Even without the loss of their visa application, it would have been difficult to immigrate to the United States. With hundreds of thousands of people seeking refuge in the United States each year by the time war broke out in 1939, Washington issued fewer than 30,000 annual visas.

“`The processing of a visa application also lasted several years, and included a huge amount of paper work, such as affidavits from relatives or friends in the United States. Even with the demands fulfilled, applicants could still be turned down. And the war further complicated any immigration efforts. The renewed attempt in 1941 to get the family across the Atlantic failed because American consulates in Germany-occupied Europe,  including the Netherlands, were closed by the Nazis.

“`Eventually,  Anne Frank and her family went into hiding in Amsterdam on July 6th, 1942; exactly 76 years ago to the day. The family hid for over two years during the war, and it was then that Anne wrote her famous diary. On August 4th, 1944,  the Frank’s were discovered and deported to Auschwitz. Only her father, Otto, survived the war.  Tragically, Anne and her sister died in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.                        FRANK FAMILY –>

“`Now, the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum feel a timely reminder is necessary in light of a climate of political provincialism sweeping a number of nations across the globe… Restrictive immigration policies are a morally bankrupt ideal.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Monument to Archie…

July 4th, 2018

Manny P. here…

“`Archie comic strips are part of American folklore.  A life-size bronze statue of the red-haired, freckled Archie will soon greet visitors at a New Hampshire town in honor of the local man who drew the comic book character and his group of wholesome teenage friends.

“`The Greater Meredith Program, a community development nonprofit, raised $57,000 for the project in six months, mostly from residents. Architect Chris Williams originally suggested the idea to honor the former Meredith resident with a bronze statue. The figure will sit on a bench and look toward Bob Montana’s workshop, now vacant,  where he spent his afternoons quietly drawing comic strips. The Belarusian artist commissioned to do the sculpture, Valery Mahuchy wants to bring people together and offer unity with the statue.

“`Bob Montana illustrated Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead from 1942 until his demise in 1975 at age 54. He lived in Meredith, New Hampshire, for 35 years until he died from a heart attack while cross-country skiing. Montana brought the Archie Andrews character to life when he drew the first Archie comic strip while renting a cottage on Lake Waukewan. He was joined by other illustrators over the years, including Tom Moore, who also chronicled the character’s  escapades from 1953 until he retired in the 1980s.

“`Montana’s impact in Meredith was immense. The comic strip was distributed in newspapers nationwide, a few years later. Its popularity led the company that published the comic books, MLJ Comics, to change their name to Archie Comic Publications in 1946. Over the years, the cartoon sold billions of copies worldwide, and inspired several television shows, including Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Riverdale. Montana also had a vision of turning Meredith into an art colony. He introduced several artists to the small town and created a local theater group.

“`The one-of-a-kind statue will be commemorated August 9th in Meredith’s Community Park to coincide with the town’s 250th anniversary.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Oy Vey…

July 3rd, 2018

Manny P. here…

“`An updated off-Broadway production of  Fiddler on the Roofdirected by Oscar and Tony winner Joel Grey, will be performed in Yiddish for the first time in the United States. A preview starts this evening for the show, and using the language its characters would have spoken.

“`Based on short stories by Sholom Aleichem originally penned in Yiddish, Fiddler is set in 1905 in a Jewish village in czarist Russia. A Yiddish version of the production translated by actor and writer Shraga Friedman as  Fidler afn Dakh was performed in Israel in 1966, but was never staged in the United States until now.

“`Yiddish, which is based on German and dialects used in Hebrew and other languages and is written with the Hebrew alphabet, was once spoken by millions of Eastern European Jews but fell victim both to the Holocaust and a desire for assimilation. The new production exemplifies how decades of work to preserve Yiddish by organizations, including the FolksbieneYiddish for World Stage — have paid off.

“`Immigrants to the United States built a thriving Yiddish theater scene and it launched the career of famed acting teacher Stella Adler, and thespians such as Edward G. Robinson. The Folksbiene was founded in 1915 and was once one of a dozen Yiddish theater companies on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. They presents examples from the Yiddish theater canon, new productions, and adaptations of Yiddish literary works such as Yentl.

“`Joel Grey’s papa was Mickey Katz, a musician and actor who performed Yiddish comedy and songs. Grey actually doesn’t speak much Yiddish, but has been learning while rehearsing. The 86-year-old is best remembered for his award-winning role as the host in Cabaret, a musical that improbably turned the rise of Hitler into popular entertainment.

“`Fiddler on the Roof opened on Broadway in 1964, and it starred Zero Mostel as Tevye and ran for eight years. It has been a favorite of schools and community theater groups ever since and has been revived on Broadway four times. Its songs, including If I Were a Rich Man and Sunrise Sunset, are familiar even to people who have never seen the show.

“`This updated culturally accurate version should have critics shouting…  L’Chaim!

Until next time.                                “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- The Cat’s Meow…

July 2nd, 2018

Manny P. here…

“`Choreographer Gillian Lynne for years collaborated with composer Andrew Lloyd Webber on a number of his most iconic plays. Her credits include the phenomenally successful Cats and The Phantom of the Opera. She won a Tony Award for each production.

“`Lynne began her career as a lead solo dancer with Sadler’s Wells Ballet in 1944, and moved into directing and choreography. She was a choreographer for Northern Ballet and the Bolshoi. Lynne directed many productions in London’s West End and on Broadway. She also worked on television specials, collaborating with performers from a variety of music genres, including Ray Charles, Perry Como, and Petula Clark.

“`Just last month, Lloyd Webber re-named his New London Theatre as The Gillian Lynne Theatre, making it the first in London’s theater district named for a woman. Though she had a prolific career as a choreographer on stage, her work also involved film. Gillian appeared in The Master of Ballantrae with Errol Flynn, and became the dance supervisor for Man of La Mancha and Yentl.

“`She was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 1997 Birthday Honours, and as a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire  (DBE) in the 2014 New Year Honours:  for service to musical theatre and dance. Lights around London’s theater district will dim for a minute over the next few days before each show as a fitting tribute to Lynne.

“`Gillian Lynne (right) transformed and updated modern musical theatre through dance. She was 92.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Kitty Car…

July 1st, 2018

Manny P. here…

“`A Hello Kitty-themed shinkansen bullet train has debuted in Japan. Adorned with the icon inside and out, it’s a dream ride for fans of the internationally popular character.

“`The stylish, eight-car train is painted pink and white, showcasing images and trademark ribbons from flooring to seat covers and windows. In one car, the life-size Hello Kitty doll donning a train crew uniform and a hat — decorated with a pink bow, of course — greeted passengers and offered a chance for selfies.

“`The special shinkansen had its inaugural round trip this weekend, between Osaka and Fukuoka, connecting Japan’s west and south. Hours later in Osaka, the train’s final stop, hundreds of fans waited for the arrival of the first Hello Kitty shinkansen, cheering and snapping photos during the sixteen-minute stopover before it traveled back to Fukuoka, according to Japanese media reports.

“`Hello Kitty, created in 1974 by the Japanese Sanrio Co., is a global icon with fans of all ages. With over forty years in the market, the round-faced feline with no mouth is still seen everywhere, on stationery and towels to jewelry and even furniture.

Until next time>                               “never forget”