“Forgotten Hollywood”- The Day the Earth Stood Still…

July 18th, 2019

Manny P. here…

“`On Saturday, July 20th, we will be commemorating the Apollo 11 moon-landing event. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took those small steps for man and giant leaps for mankind, while Michael Collins flew above, waiting for his shipmates to return. For four days, earthlings were glued to their television sets as they watched the entire mission unfold.

   

“`The drama of the excursion lay in the potential pitfalls that could have left both astronauts stranded on the moon, or all three astronauts disintegrated as they returned to earth. Walter Cronkite was one of the revered storytellers who chronicled the journey on television.

“`The entire journey would begin in 1961 as President John F Kennedy made a promise to our nation that we would achieve this goal by the end of the decade, and with the selection of the Mercury 7 astronauts; pilots with the right stuff.  We had tragedy along the way, including the assassination of Kennedy, and a blaze inside the Apollo 1 launch module during a test run that claimed three astronauts: Gus Grissom, Roger Chaffee, and Ed White.

“`The notion of a trip to the moon has always captured the imagination of cinema. In 1902, a pioneering French adventure movie called Le Voyage dans la Lune and directed by Georges Méliès, visualized the inspired writings of Jules Verne.

   

“`Other space exploration films of the 1950s and 1960s (including 2001: A Space Odyssey) were considered enjoyable fiction. By the time The Right Stuff went into production in 1983, audiences were actually experiencing a nostalgic look at recent history. In honor of the fiftieth anniversary, Apollo 11 was released; a tawdry look at the life of Neil Armstrong. I prefer the superior documentaries that have been shown over the last few days on PBS and other cable stations leading up to this celebratory moment in time.

“`On Saturday, I will reflect on June 20th, 1969. I was eleven and proud to be alive during this remembrance in our collective history of when fifty years ago… the Eagle landed.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Wonderful Christmas Time…

July 17th, 2019

Manny P. here…

“`Over the course of his career, Sir Paul McCartney has written films, poetry collections, children’s books, and over one hundred hit singles. The composer is now working on an adaptation of Frank Capra’s classic It’s A Wonderful Life. Paul was four when the film debuted in 1946.

“`The stage production is set to debut in late 2020, according to producer Bill Kenwright, whose previous credits include the touring version of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Lee Hall, who wrote the recent Elton John biopic  Rocketman, is penning the script and collaborating with Sir Paul on the lyrics.

“`Starring James Stewart and Donna Reed, It’s A Wonderful Life struggled at the box office upon its release. However, this went on to become a beloved Christmas staple, and has been recognized by the American Film Institute as one of the hundred best Hollywood films ever made.

“`Sir Paul’s music has frequently been used on stage, notably in Cirque Du Soleil’s ambitious Beatles show, Love. He previously wrote a cinematic musical,  Give My Regards to Broad Street, which was savaged by critics upon its release in 1984.

“`Let us hope that McCartney’s Silly Love Songs will compliment this timeless holiday story.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Don’t Forget Your Jammies…

July 16th, 2019

Manny P. here…

“`A theater-chain in Switzerland, Cinémas Pathé, has opened a new locale in Spreitenbach, Aargau that includes one theater filled with beds. Pillows and blankets are included.

“`There are double beds with cushioned headboards and bedside tables.  The price tag for the screening is forty-nine dollars per person. The ticket includes unlimited soft drinks and snacks (popcorn, ice cream, nachos and M&Ms).  Guests also get to arrive thirty minutes early to the screening to maximize their snack time. The staff changes the sheets after every screening.

“`If this bed thing sounds a bit too creepy, there is also a VIP Lounge ticket. It costs the same and offers single-size sofas and loveseats with room to stretch out. VIP IMAX tickets are about forty-nine dollars. There is an overall cost, though; extra for 3D glasses, for example.

“`By the way, there are a few movie theaters with unconventional seating. The New Parkway Theater in Oakland, California has vintage furniture and beanbags.

“`Groovy!!

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Goodbye to the People’s Car…

July 15th, 2019

Manny P. here…

“`After eight decades of production in Germany, Belgium, Venezuela, South Africa, and several other countries, the last Volkswagen Bug rolled off the factory line in Puebla, Mexico last week. The auto’s journey to the Puebla Automotive Museum marks the final pit-stop for a car that has been a symbol of fun, and counter-culture cool since it first rolled into the United States in 1949, despite its Nazi Germany roots.

“`The car’s original design — a rounded silhouette with seating for four, a vertical windshield, and the air-cooled engine in the rear — can be traced to Austrian engineer Ferdinand Porsche who was hired to fulfill Adolf Hitler’s project for a people’s car in 1933. The vehicle was cheap and reliable. During World War II, production was halted.

“`It was only after the war ended that the British military took ownership of the factory and re-started production of the Beetle to help stimulate the shattered German economy. British automakers ultimately declared it would not be a hit with post-war car owners and returned the factory to Volkswagen’s ownership in 1949. This proved to be a major economic mistake for the Brits.

“`Volkswagen began production almost immediately, and by 1951, they were producing close to 100,000 Beetles a year. By 1965, that figure grew to over a million. In 1960s California, this Bug was popular with the counter-cultural and beach communities. In all, over twenty-one million original Beetles were produced from 1938 to 2003.

“`Hollywood also played a key part. Record sales in 1968 coincided with the release of The Love Bug, featuring Herbie, the plucky race car with a mind of its own.  In the film Rat Race, the model was referenced to its notorious ties to Nazi Germany.  Actor Paul Newman added a faster Porsche engine to his own Beetle.

“`The design discovered a third life in 1998. A modern version of the Bug rolled off factory lots with an engine now in the front. The styling went on to sell 1.7 million models, worldwide. The VW plant in Puebla, Mexico, the last to build Beetles, made the decision to manufacture SUVs.

“`Goodbye to the Bug.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- That Tears It…

July 10th, 2019

Manny P. here…

“`Rip Torn was a distinguished actor in theater, television and movies. He won an Emmy for his comedy turn on television’s The Larry Sanders Show. Torn’s career on stage and screen spanned seven decades, ranging from an early career of dark, threatening roles to iconic comedic performances later in life.

“`Nicknamed Rip in his youth, he refused to change his name when suggested by drama students. Torn made his film debut in 1956 in Tennessee Williams Baby Doll. Within a few years, he became a respected movie and television actor working on occasions with his second wife, Geraldine Page. At the Actors Studio, Rip gained the attention of Elia Kazan, who hired him as understudy to play Brick Pollitt in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Near the end of the show’s Broadway run, Torn took over the role.

“`Torn’s other cinematic roles include A Face in the Crowd, Pork Chop Hill, King of Kings, Sweet Bird of Youth, Critic’s Choice, The Cincinnati Kid, and more recently, Airplane II and Men in Black. He lost a chance to star in Easy Rider after a conflict with Dennis Hopper, and was replaced by Jack Nicholson. On television, torn guest-starred in Combat!, Rawhide, BonanzaAlfred Hitchcock Presents, Dr. Kildare, Mannix, Columbo, Will & Grace, and 30 Rock.

“`Rip Torn was regarded, along with Marlon Brando, Paul Newman and James Dean, as actors of a postwar generation who brought tense realism to their craft. He was also a noted political activist who joined James Baldwin, Harry Belafonte and other cultural and Civil Rights leaders for a frank and emotional  1963 meeting with then-Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy about the country’s treatment of blacks. His success eventually inspired a younger cousin to take up acting, too — Oscar-winner Sissy Spacek.

“`Rip Torn (above) was eighty-eight.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- What Me Worry…

July 4th, 2019

Manny P. here…

“`MAD Magazine, the long-running periodical that influenced everybody from Weird Al Yankovic to the creators of The Simpsons, will be leaving newsstands after their August issue. This illustrated satirical magazine — instantly recognizable by the gap-toothed smiling face of mascot Alfred E. Neuman — will still be accessible in comic book shops and through mail to subscribers. But after its fall issue, it will just reprint previously published material.

“`The magazine set itself apart as a cultural beacon for decades with its unabashed tendency to make fun of anything and push conventional boundaries. One of MAD’s best known comic series, Spy vs. Spy, featured two spies with beak-like faces and big eyes. They also parodied Playboy, with its fold-In feature that appeared in nearly every issue. But instead of featuring scantily-clad models, the fold-In printed — what else? — another joke.

“`MAD was a venue for cartoonists to grow artistically and shape national conversation. Well-known names such as Al Jaffee, Harvey Kurtzman, and Mort Drucker were associated with the magazine for decades.

“`DC Comics, a division of Warner Brothers that publishes the magazine, said MAD will pull from nostalgic cartoon strips and parodies published over their entire sixty-seven-year run. DC will keep publishing MAD special collections and books.

“`As Alfred E. Neuman would say… What, me worry?

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Very Interesting…

July 3rd, 2019

Manny P. here…

“`Arte Johnson garnered Emmys for his performances on Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In. He is best known for playing a German soldier and a dirty old man wooing an elderly woman on a park bench, played by Ruth Buzzi. His catch-phrase was Verrry Interesting.

  

          ARTIE JOHNSON

“`Johnson began his career performing in several New York nightclubs. He landed his initial important job when he was cast in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes on Broadway. His work on stage, and later, on live television prepared him for the manic sketch comedy presented on Laugh-In.

“`Johnson guest-starred on television on  Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Twilight Zone, The Andy Griffith Show, Bewitched, The Jack Benny Program, The Partridge Family, Lost in Space, Night GalleryMurder She WroteNight Court, and The Donna Reed Show. He was a popular panelist on The Gong Show, Wheel of Fortune, and The Match Game. Artie also voiced several cartoon shows including The Simpsons and Duck Tales.

“`Arte Johnson was ninety.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- A Man with Drive…

July 2nd, 2019

Manny P. here…

“`Lee A. Iacocca was the visionary automaker who ran the Ford Motor Company and then the Chrysler Corporation and came to personify Detroit as the dream factory of America’s postwar love affair with the auto. For a time, Iacocca also became a visible spokesperson on television, creating enthusiasm for auto sales. He was so widely admired, there was serious talk of his running for president of the United States in 1988.

                                                     LEE IACOCCA

“`In an industry that has produced legends, from giants like Henry Ford and Walter Chrysler to the birth of the assembly line and freedoms of the road that led to suburbia and a middle class, Iacocca, a son of an immigrant hot-dog vendor, made history as the only executive in modern days to preside over the operations of two of the Big Three car makers. He oversaw the floundering Chrysler Corporation and made it solvent in what critics called one of the brilliant turnarounds in business history.

“`Over a thirty two-year career, he launched some of Detroit’s best-selling vehicles, such as the minivan, Chrysler K-cars and Ford Escort. He also spoke out against what he considered unfair trade practices by Japanese automakers.

“`Television commercials made him one of the nation’s best-known faces. A heroic figure to many Americans, he became chairman of a project to restore the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, and was in demand for public appearances. Iacocca conferred with President Ronald Reagan, members of Congress, state governors, business leaders, and often interviewed by the press. Denials of political ambition only fueled public interest in a possible candidacy.

“`In 2008, months before Chrysler and General Motors declared bankruptcy after years of mounting losses, Iacocca visited Auburn Hills, and was greeted with thunderous applause by thousands of Chrysler employees. After retiring, Lee moved to Bel Air, where he invested in electric bicycles, olive oil, and other ventures, and promoted diabetes research.

“`Lee A. Iacocca was 94.

Until next time>                               “never forget”