“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”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Yabba-Dabba-Don’t…

January 31st, 2019

Manny P. here…

“`The Flintstones-themed attraction that welcomed vacationers on their path to the Grand Canyon’s South Rim in Bedrock City, Arizona for over forty years has closed. It was built in 1972. KJZZ was the first to report the park’s closure.

“`Located at the intersection of Highway 64 and Highway 180, twenty miles south of Tusayan, it was hard to miss the larger-than-life Fred Flintstone statue and a yellow sign with his iconic catch phrase:  Yabba-Dabba-Doo. The walk-through theme park featured many of the show’s staple characters, such as Fred, Wilma, Barney, Betty, and attractions like a dinosaur-shaped slide.

“`Troy Morris and his business partner, Ron Brown are purchasing the space to open Raptor Ranch, an attraction where people will be able to see eagles, hawks, and owls up close and watch flight demonstrations.

“`The closure was not unexpected as the attraction had been on the market for a number of years. However, it will re-open in the Spring so travelers can get a last look at Bedrock City.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Stampede to Calgary…

January 30th, 2019

Manny P. here…

“`Picture This… Film Festival is an International disability film festival. Now in its 18th year, this annual event takes place in Calgary, Alberta. This year, I have been invited to participate, and I will be traveling to Canada in April.

“`On April 12th,  I will host a morning session that includes my oral presentation, screening of my Forgotten Hollywood Documentary Trailer, and book-signing after the event. Autographed copies of the Forgotten Hollywood Book Series will be available.

“`The festival features films that are about disability and/or films on any subject that were produced, directed and/or written by people with disabilities. Films are entered into one of five genres: animation, documentary, drama, education and performance. Film submission grows every year, and to date, there have been over 1900 projects entered.  Picture This…  Film Festival is an initiative of Calgary SCOPE Society, a registered non-profit.

      

“`This will be my first Forgotten Hollywood event outside of the United States. I am thrilled that my book series has become an International phenomenon.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- A Promise to Hemingway…

January 29th, 2019

Manny P. here… 

“`In 1958, Ernest Hemingway and pal A. E. Hotchner went to see a movie adaptation of The Old Man and the Sea. The novelist was clearly miffed that the production took liberties to alter the thrust of the novel, and with the casting of Spencer Tracy as the protagonist. They left midway through the screening.

“`Later that night, while at Toots Shor’s restaurant (a venue frequented by Joe DiMaggio, Jackie Gleason, and Marilyn Monroe), Hemingway urged Hotchner to do his own adaptation. His friend promised to consider it.

“`Hotchner was a perfect candidate to take the work to the stage: he fished with Hemingway in Cuba,  went to bullfights with him in Spain, hunted with him in Idaho, and wrote the 1966 best-selling biography Papa Hemingway. He also co-created Newman’s Own food company with his neighbor, Paul Newman.

“`Over sixty years later, Hotchner has kept his promise. His stage adaptation of The Old Man and the Sea, a brief novel published in 1952 and winner of the Pulitzer Prize, premieres at the newly renovated Point Park University’s Pittsburgh Playhouse on February 1st. It plays for two weeks.

“`The 101-year-old author and playwright has tried ten previous times to adapt it until his latest effort.  He enlisted his son Tim Hotchner to collaborate and to help transform a draft into a working script. Tim is a documentary filmmaker and writer. The entire show was put together in six months.

“`The elder Hotchner is satisfied with finally following through on a half-century promise to his tempestuous friend, and he is pleased with how it turned out.

“`The spirit of Hemingway must be at peace for the effort.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Danke Schoen…

January 27th, 2019

Manny P. here…

“`Wayne Newton will mark his sixtieth anniversary with a return to Caesars Palace casino-resort. His show starts Monday with dates scheduled until May. He has performed in 30,000 live shows on the world-famous Las Vegas Strip.

“`Wayne’s success in Las Vegas began when a two-week tryout at the Fremont Hotel and Casino turned into a lounge act of six shows per night, six nights a week for nearly a year. The crooner earned national fame after his television appearance on The Jackie Gleason Show in 1962. He soon became known as Las Vegas hottest entertainer, signed a contract to work thirty-six weeks a year for Howard Hughes Summa hotels. He worked more than forty weeks a year, building a local ranch home and raising prize Arabian horses.             WAYNE NEWTON –>

“`Caesars Entertainment estimates Newton has performed for more than forty million fans over the past six decades. Along the way, he saw Las Vegas’ transformation from a gambling oasis to a glitzy destination with corporate-owned mega casino-resorts that have world-class dining, shopping areas and venues that sign superstars for extended engagements known as residencies. Wayne is considered a pioneering local headliner.

“`Newton was previously at a showroom at Bally’s casino-resort, but it ended in December. The planned shows at Caesars will be in a room for under two hundred people, providing a more intimate setting. The Danke Schoen crooner will be backed by a live band during his Wayne Newton: Up Close and Personal show. He will sing some favorite numbers and share personal career highlights through film clips, anecdotes, and questions from the audience.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forotten Hollywood”- The Michel Legrand Affair…

January 26th, 2019

Manny P. here…

“`Michel Legrand was a prolific composer, arranger, conductor, and jazz pianist. He composed over two hundred scores for cinema and television. Legrand garnered his first Oscar for The Windmills of Your Mind from The Thomas Crown Affair.

“`In his youth, Legrand studied music at the Paris Conservatoire. Though he had a rich and rigorous musical education, Michel hoped to reach ordinary folks.  Over his six-decade career, he collaborated with the finest talent, such as Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin, Sting, and Barbra Streisand.  The composer also teamed with top lyricists in Hollywood and on Broadway.

“`His movie career was quite noteworthy, composing the scores for Ice Station Zebra, The Happy Ending, The Go-Between, Le MansLady Sings the Blues, Ode to Billy Joe40 Carats, Portnoy’s Complaint, Gable and Lombard, Atlantic City, Summer of ’42,  and Yentl. The latter two productions earned Academy Awards for Legrand. He also composed the music for a noted ABC Movie of the WeekBrian’s Song.

“`Michel’s compositions marked some of the most memorable musical moments in French cinema, including 1964’s The Umbrellas of Cherbourg with Catherine Deneuve and The Young Ladies of Rochefort.

“`The magnificent Michel Legrand was eighty-six.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Remembering Kaye Ballard…

January 22nd, 2019

Manny P. here…

“`Kaye Ballard was a musical theater and television actress, comedian, and singer. She is best known for her performance on the NBC sitcom The Mothers-in-Law with co-star Eve Arden. Her seventy-year career encompassed every aspect of the entertainment industry: vaudeville, radio, movies, Broadway, nightclubs, and cabaret.

“`Ballard established herself as a musical comedian in the 1940s when employed by the Spike Jones touring revue of entertainers. She was capable of performing broad physical comedy as well as stand-up dialogue routines. In 1954, she was the first person to record Fly Me to the Moon.

“`Kaye was absolutely sensational as the wicked stepsister in the 1957 live telecast of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella that featured Alice Ghostley, and made a star of Julie Andrews. She became a regular The Perry Como Show.

“`Ballard guest-starred on The Patty Duke Show, All My Children, The Doris Day Show, Love American Style, The Love Boat, Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-InFantasy Island, Here’s Lucyand Alice. She also made appearances on Match Game.

“`The zany Kaye Ballard was ninety-three.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Behind the Scenes at Collinwood…

January 19th, 2019

Manny P. here…

“`MPI Media Group has just completed production on a highly anticipated Master of Dark Shadows, a comprehensive celebration of legendary Gothic daytime series Dark Shadows  and its visionary creator Dan Curtis.  The Dark Shadows documentary is set to be released this spring.

“`The feature documentary includes interviews with key actors and filmmakers involved in the popular story of vampire Barnabas Collins; plus, the eerie goings-on at gloomy Maine mansion — Collinwood. It is narrated by Ian McShane.

“`In 1966, the phenomenon was launched when Dark Shadows debuted on ABC as a daily Gothic suspense series. Slotted in the late afternoon, the show attracted a massive youthful audience as it shifted to the supernatural with the introduction of vulnerable Barnabas. This series also spawned the 1970 spinoff, House of Dark Shadows and 1971s Night of Dark Shadows, as well as a 1991 primetime series reboot that lasted one season.

“`Master of Dark Shadows reveals the fascinating history, its far-reaching impact, and the lasting appeal of Dark Shadows with a blend of rare footage and behind-the-scenes stories, while also showcasing the dramatic talent of creator-producer-director Dan Curtis. Regarded as the king of television horror, the Emmy-winning filmmaker followed Dark Shadows with The Night Stalker,  Trilogy of Terror, and  Burnt Offerings before earning accolades for the epic miniseries The Winds of War and War and Remembrance.

“`This is an opportunity for the many legions of fans to sink their teeth into a loving look at the most unique soap opera to ever grace the small screen.

Until next time>                               “never forget”