“Forgotten Hollywood”- Al Jaffe Turns 100…

March 16th, 2021

Manny P. here…

“`Mad Magazine cartoonist Al Jaffe is celebrating a century of life. He is known for work in the satiric periodical, including a trademark feature, the Mad Fold-in. He had been a constant contributor to the magazine for six decades and he was its longest-serving employee. With a career running from 1942 – 2020, Jaffee holds the Guinness World Record for having the longest-ever career as a cartoonist. In the fifty years between April 1964 and April 2013, only one issue of Mad was published without containing new material by Jaffee. —–>

“`Jaffee initially appeared in Mad in 1955, an issue after its transformation from a comic book format to magazine. In issue #86, He created his longest-running Mad feature, the Fold-In. It appeared in almost every issue of the magazine from 1964 – 2020.  A four-volume hardcover boxed set,  The Mad Fold-In Collection:  1964 – 2010, was published by  Chronicle Books in September 2011.

Courtesy of MAD MAGAZINE

“`Jaffee announced in June 2020 that he would retire. In his honor, Mad published a tribute issue. The cartoonist takes it all in stride, noting: Serious people my age are dead.

“`Happy birthday to the remarkable Al Jaffee!

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- The Passing of Yaphet Kotto…

March 15th, 2021

Manny P. here…

“`Yaphet Kotto was an actor who thrived in cinema, television and on Broadway. He was best known for his roles in Midnight Run, as the James Bond villain Mr. Big in Live and Let Die, and in the original Alien flick.

YAPHET KOTTO

“`While in his teens, Kotto was studying acting at the Actors Mobile Theater Studio. He made his stage debut in a Boston production of Othello.  In 1969, he replaced James Earl Jones in the Pulitzer-winning The Great White Hope on Broadway.

“`Kotto’s film debut was in 1963 in an uncredited role in 4 For Texas. Other parts included The Thomas Crowne Affair, 5 Card Stud, Brubaker, The Running Man, and The Star Chamber. On television, he guest-starred on The Big Valley, Gunsmoke, Night Gallery, Mannix, BonanzaHawaii 5-0, The A-Team, and Murder She Wrote.  He co-starred in Roots, and won a Best Supporting Actor Emmy as Idi Amin Dada in Raid on Entebbe.

“`Yaphet Kotto was eighty-one.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Maureen O’Hara and the Duke…

March 13th, 2021

Manny P. here…

“`The screen pairing of John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara was legendary. Art Kirsch and John Coleman have asked me to discuss their staying power on Celebrating Act 2.

“`Enjoy!

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Leo the Virtual Lion…

March 11th, 2021

Manny P. here…

“`For over one hundred years, Leo the Lion introduced  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer films with a triumphant roar as the studio’s mascot. However, MGM has just revealed their first update to its branding since 2012, with footage of a live lion replaced with a digital double.

“`The feline roaring in the current MGM logo has actually had that job since 1957, a total of sixty-four years, which is about forty-nine years longer than the average lion’s lifespan. And before the 1957 version,  there were seven other different lions that played the part of Leo. Occasionally swapping in a new lion has not been a big issue for MGM. But the footage from 1957 is starting to show its age. To future-proof Leo, he has been replaced with a CG lion.

“`The new animated logo was originally going to be introduced in the most recent James Bond flick, No Time to Die.  Since its release has been pushed back several times as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, virtual Leo will instead make his debut with Dog, a comedy set for release in July, and Respect, an Aretha Franklin biopic that will be available in August.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Academy Rule Changes…

March 8th, 2021

Manny P. here…

“`Art Kirsch and John Coleman have asked me to discuss rule changes that affect voting for motion pictures to select the best for the upcoming Oscar ceremony on Celebrating Act 2.

“`Enjoy!

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- The Wizard of San Gabriel…

March 4th, 2021

Manny P. here…

“`The Pasadena Civic Ballet is presenting L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz at the San Gabriel Mission Playhouse. And this performance can be seen from your vehicle.  Guest artists include Petra Conti and Eris Nezha, former principal dancers of La Scala and Boston Ballet.

“`This is not the initial drive-in ballet from the company, which staged an outdoor version of The Nutcracker before the 2020 holidays. The drive-in experience have dominated cultural calendars over the last year or so, but finding a live ballet has been a far rarer thing.

“`Included in the package:  Picnic in Oz munchin’ box catered by San Marino Cafe for each ticketed passenger; distributed at the vehicle entrance. Feast on picnic favorites like chicken, mac and cheese, and Over the Rainbow fruit kebobs.  Enjoy a bucket of Emerald City cotton candy. That perfect air of savoir fair in the merry ole land of Oz.

“`The performances are March 12th, 13th, and 14th. As expected, tickets are first vehicle – first serve. For ticket pricing and purchase, please visit:  https://www.pcballet.com/wizard.

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

“`Joan Weldon was an actress,  best known as the scientist daughter to Edmund Gwenn in Them!. Her career began in the San Francisco Grand Opera Company chorus and also sang with the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera. Weldon performed at an opening of the New York State Theater at the Lincoln Center in 1964. Contracted by Warner Brothers, she had a brief film career. On television, she appeared in Perry Mason, Maverick, and Have Gun – Will Travel.

“`Joan Weldon (right) was ninety.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Celebrating Robert Youngson…

February 22nd, 2021

Manny P. here…

“`My love of silent films began when I was a child. A popular documentary series took a loving look at early comedies and the filmmaker’s name was Robert Youngson. John Coleman and Art Kirsch help me offer a conversational retrospective on Celebrating Act 2.

“`Enjoy!

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- My 2021 SAG Awards Ballot…

February 20th, 2021

Manny P. here…

“`This is the annual presentation of my SAG Awards Ballot, highlighting personal selections for movie-related performances in 2020. In my humble estimation, this was a weird year for cinematic productions since theaters remain shut down. Everything I watched was streamed. Here are my selections:

   

  OUTSTANDING MALE:  Chadwick Boseman  (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom)

A great selection of candidates, though Delroy Lindo in Da 5 Bloods and Tahar Rahim in The Mauritanian were snubbed. My choice for Chadwick Boseman is not made out of respect for his untimely passing. In my estimation, his gives the finest performance in any category this season. Anthony Hopkins (The Father) and Gary Oldman (Mank) are worthy rivals. Hopkins contends with real and imagined settings, making his efforts all the more superlative. Steven Yeun (Minari) gives a fine understated performance. Riz Ahmed is receiving critical attention for Sound of Metal, but I am not buying the hype.

  OUTSTANDING FEMALE:  Frances McDormand  (Nomadland)

Viola Davis as Ma Rainey is the clear front-runner. Honestly, Davis never gives a bad effort. In this case, she is actually overshadowed by Boseman’s performance. For me, it comes down to Frances McDormand’s reflective journey and Vanessa Kirby undergoing a difficult child-birth in Pieces of a Woman. It is a tough choice.  McDormand is truly the greatest American actress of this generation and roles are clearly tailored for her. Carey Mulligan is effortlessly wicked in Promising Young Woman. Amy Adams rounds out the field with an angry one-note recital. Andra Day was snubbed for her impressive turn in The United States vs. Billie Holiday.

  OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING MALE:  Leslie Odom Jr.  (One Night in Miami)

This choice was the most difficult to make. Leslie Odom Jr., Sacha Baron Cohen (The Trial of the Chicago 7) and Daniel Kaluuya (Judas and the Black Messiah) remain neck-and-neck, with Odom’s elegance besting Cohen’s breezy humor and Kaluuya’s ferocity. Actually, my true pick would be Paul Raci in Sound of Metal if on the ballot.  Chadwick Boseman’s screen time in Da 5 Bloods was brief. Jared Leto shamelessly chews the scenery in The Little Things.

   OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING FEMALE:  Glenn Close (Hillbilly Elegy)

Amanda Seyfried (Mank) was unfortunately omitted by the voting committee. I believe she is the front runner for the Oscar in this category.  That said, I adored Glenn Close’s performance in Hillbilly Elegy.  Ironically, standing in her way once again is Olivia Coleman efforts in The Father (as she did a couple of years back). I am perplexed by selections of Maria Bakalova in Borat, Youn Yuh-Jung in Minari, and particularly, Helena Zengel in News of the World.

   OUTSTANDING CAST IN A MOTION PICTURE:  The Trial of the Chicago 7

The Trial of the Chicago 7  has an unruly cast and in every instance, each role is perfection. And this was one of my favorite cinematic moments of the year. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, One Night in Miami, and Da 5 Bloods have a real stagey feel to their respective ensembles. Each actor can appreciate the beautifully penned material they were handed to recite. Minari has a warm familial vibe, but I would have replaced this film with Mank.

~   ~   ~

~ 2020 Top Ten Films: 1. Mank  2. The Trial of the Chicago 7  3. One Night in Miami  4. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom  5. Promising Young Woman  6. Nomadland   7. Minari  8. The Mauritanian  9. Da 5 Bloods  10. The United States vs. Billie Holiday

~ Hamilton was filmed as a television special.  Technically, it is ineligible for consideration in the movie category for the SAG Awards or for an Oscar. However, the Golden Globes allowed the presentation to be nominated as a motion picture (Comedy or Musical). The production is my worthy Honorable Mention… It is simply SPECTACULAR!!

“’The SAG Awards airs on April 4th on TNT and TBS. We will see how I do this year…

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Celebrating Cinema’s Best…

February 15th, 2021

Manny P. here…

“`There is a robust debate on what defines the greatest motion pictures during Hollywood’s Golden Age. John Coleman, Art Kirsch and I enter the fray with our opinions on the subject. My personal selection… find out by watching!

“`Enjoy!

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Blaze at Paul Newman Camp…

February 12th, 2021

Manny P. here…

“`A fire has destroyed a portion of Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang Camp for seriously ill children in Connecticut. The blaze destroyed two buildings, including a large structure that was made to look like the center of an old western town. It appears no one was injured.

“`The camp, with extensive medical facilities on site, was founded by Newman in 1988 in the woods of eastern Connecticut, with a Western motif inspired by the late actor’s movie  Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The camp is funded in part through proceeds from the sale of Newman’s Own brand products.

     

                                                  PAUL NEWMAN

“`The facility provides summer camping experiences adapted for children with serious physical and medical limitations, although its traditional summer camp was canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.  It also runs outreach programs for youngsters in about forty hospitals, clinics, and other settings in the Northeast, serving more than twenty thousand kids each year. According to their website:

Paul Newman, while a successful actor, was also a visionary with the heart of a child. His personality, playfulness and mischievousness are infused within every corner of Camp, from the pirate flag he raised on the tree house to the days he spent on the lake fishing with campers. It was Paul’s dream that Camp, with its unobtrusive expert medical care, would provide seriously ill children with a fun-filled experience defined by compassion, laughter and acceptance.

“`It took ninety minutes to bring the fire under control and firefighters were also able to save the camp’s infirmary.  The cause of the blaze is being investigated by federal, state, and local authorities.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Newhall Celebrates Hollywood…

February 11th, 2021

Manny P. here…

“`This weekend’s second annual Newhallywood Silent Film Festival is focused on the numerous scandals and tragedies that occurred during the silent era. It will be presented virtually.

“`The free fest includes sessions on the Roscoe Fatty Arbuckle scandal that ruined the career of the most popular comedic actors at the time, and the murder of director William Desmond Taylor that basically ended the career of female star Mabel Normand. This year also features the induction of the initial two filmmakers into the  Silent Film Hall of Fame:  French director Georges Melies and Newhall’s own William S. Hart, the biggest cowboy star of his day.

“`Among dignitaries making presentations: Leonard Maltin, David Kiehn, Karie Bible, Serge Bromberg, and Marc Wanamaker. Lectures include fascinating retrospectives about Lobster Films, the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, and the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

“`Film’s Silent Era lasted from 1895 to 1930. During this time thousands of dialogue-free films were shot in Southern California, many in the area around Newhall in the Santa Clarita Valley.  Here is a link for all the information:

http://santaclaritaarts.com/newhallywood/?fbclid=IwAR0TEjQcWLuy7e3jhCqolD_FTRJ4iboMdgYoqPKBBa_BseqV9876MstCst4

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- The Hustler…

February 10th, 2021

Manny P. here…

“`The publisher of the magazine that stirred the imagination of the underbelly of society has died. Larry Flynt built Hustler Magazine into an adult entertainment empire while fighting for his own  First Amendment rights. In July 1974, the initial issue was published.

“`From his beginnings as an Ohio strip club owner to his reign as a founder of one of the most explicit adult-oriented magazines, Flynt constantly challenged the establishment and he became a target of religious right and feminist groups. In January 1972, Flynt created the Hustler Newsletter, a two-page publication about his clubs.

“`Flynt’s company also produced other niche publications.  He owned a video production company, various websites, a Los Angeles-area casino, and ten brand boutiques. He also licensed the Hustler name to independently owned strip clubs.

“`He enlisted in the United States Navy and became a radar operator on USS Enterprise. He was the operator on duty when the ship was assigned to recover John Glenn’s space capsule.

“`Shot by a sniper in 1978, Flynt was paralyzed from the waist down and used a wheelchair the rest of his life. The People vs. Larry Flynt was based on his life which features Woody Harrelson in the title role. Flynt made a couple of cameo appearances in the production. The film was directed by Miloš Forman and co-produced by Oliver Stone.

“`Larry Flynt (above right) was seventy-eight.

Until next time>                               “never forget’

“Forgotten Hollywood”- The Great Silent Films…

February 9th, 2021

Manny P. here…

“`About a year ago, I spent an amazing weekend at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum in Fremont, California. This was a spectacular book-signing event that complimented weekend presentations of two-reelers starring Will Rogers and Charley Chase and a showcase screening of The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse. The film made Rudolph Valentino a star.

“`My gracious host Rena Kiehn made sure my visit was a success. As the event concluded, I had a frank conversation with Rena and her husband David about what I considered was my favorite silent film. After some thought, I mentioned the one motion picture that rises above all others, in my estimation. Rena and David responded by saying that the flick I had chosen was a first in their informal survey. I believe they approved of my selection.

“`Over the last year, this is a discussion I have had with other cinematic historians. Often, movies made by Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Lon Chaney, Clara Bow and Valentino are mentioned. Productions cited include The Kid, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Wings, and even the notorious The Birth of a Nation.

 

“`I selected The Crowd, produced in 1928 as talkies were emerging from Hollywood studios. Directed by King Vidor, this was his follow-up to the immensely popular The Big Parade. The screenplay pioneered the lives of ordinary people storyline, which became a popular narrative after World War II. Literature had championed this subject matter in the writings of novelists, such as Eugene O’Neill and John Steinbeck. The movie is an influential and acclaimed feature, which was nominated at the initial Academy Award presentation in 1929, including for Unique and Artistic Production for MGM and Best Director for Vidor.

“`Vidor remained relevant well into the 1950s. His work includes The Champ, Stella Dallas, Our Daily Bread, Northwest Passage, The Fountainhead, and Duel in the Sun. Notably, Vidor directed the Kansas scenes in The Wizard of Oz.

“`I additionally have a soft spot for the Robert Youngson 1950s and 1960s homages to silent comedies. They were my introductions to silent movies. His use of Chopin’s Tristesse was the somber musical backdrop to these worthy documentaries that featured Chaplin, Keaton, Fatty Arbuckle, Laurel and Hardy, Harry Langdon, among others.

“`One more thing… Casablanca remains my favorite classic film (1930-1980); Quiz Show is my preferred selection among more modern productions (1980-2021).

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- So Long Farewell Aufwiedersehn…

February 5th, 2021

Manny P. here…

“`Christopher Plummer was award-winning actor best known for portraying Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music. At eighty-two, he was the oldest acting Oscar winner in history.

“`Plummer began his career on stage and in radio in  Canada in the 1940s. He made his Broadway debut in The Starcross Story in 1954. He performed many major Shakespeare roles,  including lago, Othello, Prospero, Henry V, and King Lear. He was a frequent performer at Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Canada. While still relatively unknown, he played Hamlet in a 1963 performance that also starred Michael Caine and Robert Shaw. It was taped by the BBC at Elsinore Castle in Denmark where the play is set and released in 1964. It won an Emmy.

“`But it was opposite Julie Andrews as von Trapp in 1965 that made him a star.  Other movies include Inside Daisy Clover, The Night of the Generals, The Spiral Staircase, Waterloo, The Man Who Would Be King, his voice in An American Tail, A Beautiful Mind, Nicholas Nickleby, The Insider, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Syriana, All the Money in the World, and Knives Out. Plummer earned his Oscar for Beginnings in 2011. And he was the narrator in the documentary, The Making of a Legend: Gone with the Wind.

“`In 1968, Plummer was invested as a Companion of the Order of Canada, at the time among Canada’s highest civilian honors. In 2001, he was awarded the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement, Canada’s highest honor in the performing arts.

“`The elegant Christopher Plummer (above right) was ninety-one.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- A Walk of Fame Love Story…

February 3rd, 2021

Manny P. here…

“`The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce has announced Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal will be honored with Walk of Fame stars in the first virtual double-star ceremony.  The screen couple are looking forward to the experience that not only replicates a live ceremony, but also allows an opportunity for the actors to connect with their fans on such a momentous day. It will take place on February 12th at 11:30a in honor of Valentine’s Day.

“`O’Neal and MacGraw both received Oscar nods for their starring roles in the timeless tale, Love Story. Based on Erich Segal’s best-selling novel, the movie was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and it became a cultural phenomenon.

                         RYAN O’NEAL    ALI MACGRAW

“`In 2015, forty-five years after their onscreen pairing, O’Neal reunited with MacGraw onstage for the national tour of Love Letters,  which earned rave reviews for their performances. And newly restored for its anniversary,  Love Story will be available in a limited-edition Blu-ray on February 9th with collectible packaging, commentary by director Arthur Hiller, and much more.

“`What makes the upcoming event so special is that O’Neal’s star will be next to the star of his real-life love, Farrah Fawcett, located at 7057 Hollywood Boulevard. This event will stream live exclusively on the Walk of Fame social media and at www.walkoffame.com.

“`Do not be ashamed of wanting to spend a bit of your midday enjoying this syrupy event… Love means never having to say you’re sorry.

Until next time>                               “never forget”