“Forgotten Hollywood”- Here is the Score…

February 28th, 2019

Manny P. here…

“`Andre Previn was a pianist, composer and conductor whose broad reach took in the worlds of Hollywood, jazz and classical music. He won Oscars for work on Gigi, Porgy and Bess, My Fair Lady, and Irma La Douce. And one of his ex-wives was Mia Farrow.                  ANDRE PREVIN –>

“`Previn was a music prodigy, and whose family escaped Nazi Germany. As a teenager, he found work as a composer and arranger in Hollywood, mostly at MGM. Andre earned his first movie credit as music director in She’s for Me in 1943.  Many of his scoring assignments were spent on lesser films. During this formative time, he continued to explore jazz.

“`After gaining notoriety in Hollywood (he received thirteen  Academy Award nominations), Previn abandoned tinsel town for a career as a classical conductor. Andre was named musical director of the Houston Symphony in 1967, and went on to lead such renowned orchestras as the Los Angeles Philharmonic and London’s Royal Philharmonic. Previn also turned away from jazz, because he feared it would diminish his credibility with classical musicians.

“`In 1958, Andre earned his first Grammys for the soundtrack for Gigi. Two years later, he received a Grammy for Best Jazz Performance for selections from West Side Story. Other noted films he scored, included Pepe, Elmer Gantry, and Two For the Seesaw.

“`In 1977 he became an Honorary Member of Royal Academy of Music. He was appointed KBE, an honorary knighthood, by Queen Elizabeth II in 1996. Previn also received Kennedy Center’s Lifetime Achievement Award with Farrow reading a tribute at the televised show.

“`Andre Previn was 89.

Until next time>                              “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- A Scripted Exit…

February 26th, 2019

Manny P. here…

“`Samuel French Film and Theatre Bookshop on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood will shut down on March 31st. The Samuel French collection of acting edition play scripts and musical libretti will continue to be available online. Upon closure of the shop, the company will donate scripts and materials from the bookstore to local libraries and theater and educational institutions.

“`The store’s sales have steadily declined in the last decade, and currently, eighty percent of Samuel French’s retail sales are made online. The initial California bookstore opened in Los Angeles in 1929; its current location opened in 1947. A smaller bookshop in Studio City also operated from 1986 to 2012.

“`Throughout its history, Samuel French has had bookstores in New York City, London, Boston (Baker’s Plays) and Toronto. The bookshop in London’s  Royal Court Theatre will stay open and celebrate its first anniversary next month.

“`This is the end of an era…

Until next time>                              “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- A Visit to Makara…

February 25th, 2019

Manny P. here…

“`Join me this Wednesday at 7p for my popular Forgotten Hollywood oral presentation at the Makara Center for the Arts in Santa Ana. I will also sign copies of my award-winning book series.

“`Makara Center for the Arts opened in January, 2016, the brainchild of Marytza K. Rubio, a writer raised in Santa Ana. After working at art school libraries and traveling throughout South America, Marytza envisioned creating an inclusive space for readers, writers, artists, and other unconventional thinkers.

“`This library and art center is a creative hub for  workshops, performances, discussions, and other programs that encompass a global perspective of arts and culture. Makara provides its neighbors with opportunities to explore their curiosity and expand their imagination.

“`Makara Center for the Arts is located at 811 Main St. in Santa Ana. For more information, cut-and-paste the link below:

https://www.makaracenterarts.org/calendar1

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

“`The Public Media Group of Southern California, formed by the merger of KCET and PBS SoCal, announced that KCET Originals series are now accessible for streaming on the free PBS Video app, expanding the availability of these diverse, award-winning programs regionally and nationally.

“`Viewers can stream the KCET Originals lineup from multiple devices in accordance with their commitment to bring viewers more of what you love and showcase the best in acclaimed, local content together with beloved programs from PBS. Folks can personalize their PBS experience by getting access to their favorite KCET Originals shows, a watchlist, and their viewing history.

“`The latest KCET Originals shows are now available to stream on mobile or tablet devices by downloading the free PBS Video app from the iOS App Store and Google Play Store. While at home, fans can download the app straight to ROKU, Amazon Fire, or Apple TV. Viewers can also stream their favorite KCET Originals programs directly on their desktop at KCET.org and pbssocal.org.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Anchor’s Aweigh…

February 23rd, 2019

Manny P. here…

“`Director Stanley Donen contributed to the enhancement of the Hollywood musical and he gave us indelible images in cinema of the 1940s and 1950s. Donen, who often teamed with Gene Kelly, but also directed Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra and Fred Astaire. He was one of the last survivors of the era. His first directing assignment was the fabulous On the Town.

“`A product of Columbia, South Carolina, Donen often went to the movies, especially the ones with Astaire and Ginger Rogers. He enrolled in tap dancing classes in his teens and started his show business career as a performer, dancing in the initial Broadway production of  Pal Joey. The title role was played by Kelly, and the show’s success propelled the hoofer into films.

                     GENE KELLY    STANLEY DONEN

“`Donen received his Hollywood break when Kelly got him a job setting up the dance routines in 1944s Cover Girl. Stanley worked on choreography for such films as Take Me Out to the Ballgame and The Kissing Bandit.  He was part of the unit behind such memorable scenes as Kelly dancing with Jerry the mouse in Anchors Aweigh, Astaire’s gravity-defying number across the ceiling in Royal Wedding, and Kelly ecstatically splashing around as he performs the title number in Singin’ in the Rain. In the latter, he was credited as a co-director of the production with Kelly. Infamously, Gene was hard to work with. Stanley parted ways with the actor after the completion of It’s Always Fair Weather.

“`Other musical assignments included Damn Yankees, Seven Brides for Seven BrothersThe Pajama Game, and Funny Face. He transitioned to wry comedy, directing Indiscreet and Charade.

“`The filmmaker never received a competitive Oscar nomination and waited until 1998 for an honorary award, presented to him by Martin Scorsese. During his acceptance speech, Stanley explained how to make a musical:  Bring in songwriters like Adolph Green and Betty Comden, and performers like Kelly or Astaire or Sinatra. Then stay the hell out of the way!

“`Stanley Donen was 94.

Until next time>                               “never forget’

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Fight to the Finish…

February 19th, 2019

Manny P. here…

“`David Horowitz created Fight Back!, the syndicated program that made him the most familiar consumer reporter in the United States. Before his celebrated program,  David had been a local advocate for consumer rights on KNBC in Los Angeles, a stint that started in the civic-minded 1970s.                                 DAVID HOROWITZ –>

“`Fight Back! With David Horowitz won multiple Emmys and a huge audience; he investigated product defects, tested advertising claims, and confronted companies with customer complaints. At its peak, the program was syndicated on dozens of television stations across the country.

“`His approach was criticized by a few consumer advocates and reporters as being concerned with showmanship, He appeared on episodes of Silver Spoons, ALF, The Golden Girls, and Saved by the Bell. Dave was a frequent guest on The Tonight Show. He also made regular appearances on NBC’s Today show, did radio commentaries, and had a newspaper column.

“`David Horowitz was 81.

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

“`Don Newcombe became the third African American to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers.  He garnered fine success as a pitcher, earning accolades as the Rookie of the Year and as an MVP. He also won the first Cy Young Award. After retiring, Newcombe was retained by the team as the Director of Community Affairs. In the 1960s, Don was a Civil Rights advocate, and a confidante to Martin Luther King Jr.

“`Don Newcombe (right) was 92.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Beyond the Red Carpet Pt. 2…

February 15th, 2019

Manny P. here…

“`The lovely and talented Francine Brokaw squeezed another thirty minutes from me, as we chatted about priceless memories from Hollywood’s Golden Age. It is the second half of this wonderful conversation on Beyond the Red Carpet.

“`Please afford me the moment to personally thank Francine for this delightful back-and-forth.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad Oscars…

February 14th, 2019

Manny P. here…

“`This year’s Academy Awards  telecast has been blemished by a couple of public-relations disasters and missteps. A number of actors and behind-the-scenes artisans have voiced their outrage over decisions, including temporary inclusion of a popular movie category; the Kevin Hart-hosting debacle; and recently, the scheduled tape delay of four categories from the live portion of the telecast (notably cinematography and editing).

“`Controversy has surrounded Oscars ceremonies throughout its storied history. One incident come to mind.

~ 1953 Telecast – It was the first time the annual awards event was televised. The marriage of motion picture and television was a tenuous relationship, with cinematic moguls fearing the small screen could depress theater ticket sales.  Plus, movie stars thumbed their noses at this upstart medium they considered inferior.

“`And filmmakers started fingering alleged Communists in the industry to the Congressional House Un-American Activities Committee. Screenwriters were particularly vulnerable to red-scare tactics. The accused were ostracized and banned by the studios for a decade.

“`The clear Oscar favorite in 1952 was High Noon, which is one of the greatest Westerns ever made, and a timely sagebrush parable warning against the Joseph McCarthy paranoia that swept the industry. Its screenwriter, Carl Foreman, was one of the Hollywood Ten (the unfriendly witnesses jailed for a refusal to name names in testimonies before HUAC. At the height of the Hollywood blacklist, even Gary Cooper was slurred for starring in the film and voicing support for Foreman. Cooper withdrew his solidarity and the film community rallied and gave him a Best Actor statuette.

“`No one represented establishment Hollywood more than virulently anti-Communist Cecil B. DeMille. At the 1953 ceremony, DeMille’s The Greatest Show on Earth was named movie’s best of the year. Hollywood historians have generally agreed that this was Oscar’s cheesiest blunder. Instead, High Noon could have lost to respected productions that year such as The Quiet Man, Singing in the Rain, or The Bad and the Beautiful.

“`A couple of side notes…

  • In 1957, a blacklisted screenwriter won an Oscar under an alias (Dalton Trumbo with the pseudonym of Robert Rich).  He was finally awarded that statuette for The Brave One in 1975, a year before his death.
  • Charlie Chaplin, a target of McCarthy, was denied re-entry to the United States in 1952 for his left-wing leanings. His movie Limelight would not be released for twenty years. At that time, Chaplin received a competitive Oscar for Best Score. He had been invited back to the United States the year before to receive an honorary Oscar.
  • Director Howard Hawks and John Wayne challenged the notion of the parable presented in High Noon with the production of Rio Bravo in 1959.

“`I anticipate a fallout from the 2019 Academy Awards ceremony.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- A Royal Honor…

February 11th, 2019

Manny P. here…

“`The acclaimed film editor Thelma Schoonmaker was honored with the BAFTA Fellowship for a career that has spanned over fifty years. The three-time Oscar winner, hailed as the queen of the cutting room, has made twenty-three movies with Martin Scorsese, winning statues for Raging Bull, The Aviator, and The Departed. Over the years, she has been nominated for nine BAFTA Awards. She came onto the scene while working on the landmark documentary  Woodstock in 1970.

“`This Fellowship and British cinema are very dear to Schoonmaker’s soul; her late husband was Michael Powell, a giant of British film-making and a recipient of the BAFTA Fellowship in 1981. Since his passing in 1990, Thelma spends much of her time celebrating and educating people about the incredible work of Powell and his collaborative partner Emeric Pressburger. She has worked tirelessly with Scorsese to preserve her late husband’s films. Both delivered iconic productions, including The Red ShoesBlack Narcissus, and A Matter of Life and Death.

 

          MICHAEL POWELL      THELMA SCHOONMAKER

“`Powell developed a cult following during the 1970s and 1980s because of a series of global retrospectives. At the time of his passing, he and Pressburger were considered as one of the foremost movie partnerships of all time. Powell is often cited with Alfred Hitchcock and David Lean as Great Britain’s most influential directors.

“`The Duke of Cambridge and Cate Blanchett honored Schoonmaker at the BAFTA program held at London’s Royal Albert Hall. Scorsese offered tribute in a video clip. Later this week, Thelma will continue to work with her friend on their next collaboration, The Irishman, due out later this year. It is a Netflix project starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci.

“`When not working on a Scorsese project, Thelma Schoonmaker will continue to be a spark to cinema’s Golden Age.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Uncle Albert…

February 8th, 2019

Manny P. here… 

“`Albert Finney  became one of the most respected and versatile actors of his generation, and the star of such films as Murder on the Orient Express and Erin Brockovich. From his early days as a strikingly handsome and magnetic screen presence,  the actor was a Brit treasure that delivered charismatic and memorable work. Finney was a rare star who avoided the Hollywood limelight despite more than five decades of worldwide fame.        ALBERT FINNEY –>

“`Albert took to the stage at an early age.  Despite a lack of connections and working-class roots, he earned a place at London’s prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. Some critics hailed him as the next Laurence Olivier; a commanding presence who would light the British stage. And Finney excelled both in Shakespeare plays and in contemporary offerings.

“`Albert famously turned down an opportunity to play the lead part in director David Lean’s epic  Lawrence of Arabia. This cleared the way for Peter O’Toole to accept what became a career-defining role. Finney also kept a lingering skepticism about the British establishment and turned down a knighthood when it was offered, declining to become Sir Albert. He tried his hand at directing and producing, and played a vital role in sustaining British theater.

“`Finney burst to international fame in 1963 as the star of Tom Jones, a motion picture that earned a Best Picture Oscar. This performance gained him the first of five Academy Award nominations. Other nominations followed for Murder on the Orient Express, The Dresser, Under the Volcano and Erin Brockovich. Each time he fell short. The actor starred in The Entertainer, Scrooge, Wolfen, Miller’s Crossing, AnnieSkyfall, and the Bourne series.

“`Albert Finney was eighty-two.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Off To See the Wizard…

February 6th, 2019

Manny P. here… 

“`On the final Sunday in January, The Wizard of Oz grossed over one million dollars in domestic box office receipts on the initial day of a limited eightieth anniversary re-release, setting the record for Fathom Events  as the highest-grossing single-day classic movie presentation in the company’s history.

“`The Wizard of Oz was ranked number eight at the box office with just two showtimes in nearly seven hundred theaters, nationwide. The screenings also had the highest per-screen average of any motion picture in wide release on that day. Originally produced at MGM, the feature is the first movie in Fathom Events yearlong 2019 TCM Big Screen Classics series, which is presented in partnership with Turner Classic Movies.

“`The collaboration began with a couple of films in 2012 and has grown into a popular annual series. In 2019, TCM Big Screen Classics offers fourteen films, such as Lawrence of ArabiaField of DreamsTo Kill a Mockingbird, and Alien, among others. Each film plays for just two or three days and is accompanied by insightful commentary from TCM’s prime time host Ben Mankiewicz, presented before and after the screening.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Buddy and the Duke…

February 4th, 2019

Manny P. here…

“`February 3rd was the sixtieth anniversary of the tragic plane crash that claimed the life of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper. It was dubbed  The Day the Music Died. To this end, I was recently made aware of Holly’s ties to Hollywood’s Golden Age.

“`Holly was on the verge of stardom in 1956. The Lubbock, Texas native was still a teen and a big fan of cinema.  Members of his backup group, The Crickets, joined Buddy one afternoon at the movies to enjoy the iconic The Searchers. The movie starred John Wayne, Jeffrey Hunter, and Natalie Wood. In the screenplay, Wayne was scripted to repeat That’ll Be the Day in many of the scenes. This line of dialogue inspired the young musicians.

   

    BUDDY HOLLY                            JOHN WAYNE

“`Decca Records produced the tune in July 1956; but Holly was paired with another backup band. It did not sell. One year later, Buddy re-recorded the song, with The Crickets, despite a contractual prohibition of such a creative action. A compromise was negotiated and the single was released in the Fall of 1957. It became Buddy Holly’s first number one hit.

“`I imagine if The Duke had been notified that he was an inspiration to a rock and roll song, he might have said… That’ll Be the Day!

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- A Lovely Ingénue…

February 3rd, 2019

Manny P. here… 

“`Julie Adams was a lovely ingénue whose image graced 1950s cinema. She is best known for performances in  The Creature From the Black Lagoon  and Bend in the River.                   JULIE ADAMS / THE CREATURE –>

“`In 1946, at the age of nineteen, Adams was crowned as Miss Little Rock (while she lived in Arkansas), and then moved to Hollywood to pursue her acting career. She was reliable in Westerns while at  Universal Pictures. Her film credits include Bright Leaf, The Mississippi Gambler and The Man From the Alamo.

“`Her transition to television was seamless. Adams guest-starred in 77 Sunset StripThe RiflemanCheyenne, Maverick, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Andy Griffith Show, Perry Mason, Dr KildareBonanzaThe VirginianIronsideNight Gallery, The Mod Squad, The Big ValleyMarcus Welby M. D., Murder She WroteThe Streets of San Francisco, Medical Center, Ellery Queen, Cannon, Quincy M E, MannixThe F. B. I., Police Woman, and Diagnosis: Murder.

“`Later in life, she was honored for her work in sagebrush cinema, and for her appearance in one of the great horror classics. I recently had the pleasure of meeting her at a book-signing event at the Hollywood Heritage Museum. It was a real treat.

“`Julie Adams was ninety-two.

Until next time>                               “never forget”