“Forgotten Hollywood”- At Home with Hugh O’Brian…

June 14th, 2011

Manny P. here…

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   I’d like to warmly thank Sheryn Hara of the Book Publisher’s Networkfor letting me on Monday accompany her to the home of Hugh and Virginia O’Brian. The longtime actor has decided to self publish his memoirs in a yet-untitled book. I came along to explain how I prepared Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History through BPN. I left feeling more than welcome at their home in Benedict Canyon, CA. Republic logo

Laurie and I met the couple at last year’s 75th Anniversary of Republic Pictures party. So, today’s reunion was quite congenial. He personally autographed a photo. You might just recognize the other gentlemen in the snapshot below.

His cinematic appearances include roles in There’s No Business Like Show Business, In Harm’s Way, and The Shootist; and starred from 1955-1961 in ABC’s televison production of The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp.

Hugh shared wonderful anecdotes about his personal relationships he developed while working in Hollywood. He told amusing stories that may appear in his book about John Wayne, Debbie Reynolds, Gene Kelly, Richard Boone, James Stewart, Virginia Mayo, Ruth Roman, Spike Jones, Buddy Hackett, John Mills, director Otto Preminger, and the Goldwyn Girls. He also showed us a number of press photographs taken throughout his career while working for Universal Studios. He’s maintained a lasting friendship with Debbie Reynolds, as well as, the iconic Hugh Hefner (and others in show business).

Revealing these intimate narratives is not my intention, since I encourage you to purchase Hugh O’Brian’s work. It’s due out in the Fall. Hugh and Virginia promised me he would be a guest on our Forgotten Hollywood radio program after his literary release.

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   Hugh O’Brian recently celebrated his 86th birthday, is in good health, and has a warm home filled with a lifetime of memories, which happily includes a copy of my paperback in his library.

Until next time>                                “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Doris Day to Release a New CD!

June 13th, 2011

Manny P. here…

doris day   Doris Day is set to release a new CD, her first in two decades. The initial distribution will take place in the United Kingdom through Sony Music on September 5th. The project is called My Heart. Fans in the U.S. can pre-order it through Amazon’s UK division.

This is great news for a number of reasons. Tabloid rumors to the contrary, Day is healthy, and living in Carmel Valley, CA. And, our Forgotten Hollywood radio program on The SPA Network will be  celebrating the fabulous career of this amazing singer and actress. The show will air on Saturday, July 9th at 3p (pst). In fact, why not enjoy a musical retropective focusing on cinema every week on The SPA.

According to Doris Day on her website:

This CD project has been a very personal one for me. I selected all the songs myself from among a group of tunes we recorded for my television series, Doris Day’s Best Friends.  I’ve also included a song sung by my son Terry, as well as his favorite recording of mine, Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries.  You know, the more time passes, the more I realize the sentiment of that song is so very true.

I’m just overwhelmed at the response we’ve been getting so far. I’m just glad you dear friends and fans are out there and still interested in the music.

   navAmazonLogoFooter__V264586593_God bless Doris Day!

Until next time>                                “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Early Hitler Letter Unearthed!

June 12th, 2011

Manny P. here… Hitler_1914_1918

   The Simon Wiesenthal Center has acquired a rare document confirming Adolf Hitler’s long-standing anti-Semitic bigotry. A spokesperson for the Jewish center calls it: the most significant document in its 34-year history.

643px-Mein_Kampf_dust_jacket   Hitler’s obsessive hostility can be directly linked from his unique ability to galvanize troops as a corporal in the German army during World War I. He expressed his success through virulant oratory in a personal letter to his superior officer. Dated September 16, 1919, this four-page note  openly espoused his political philosophy: An inner hatred of Jews and his desire to see them exterminated. This correspondence was written six years before the publication of Mein Kampf.

   His ideas were galvanized after the Treaty of Versailles, when Germany was made to pay heavy reparations by the Allied Powers. While Jewish businesses thrived despite widespread poverty throughout The Fatherland, the rise of extremists like Nazi’s were inevitable.

   According to Rabbi Marvin Heir, Wiesenthal Center Dean and Founder:

What began as a private letter, one man’s opinion, twenty-two years later became the ‘Magna Carta’ of an entire nation and led to the nearly total extinction of the Jewish people. This is an important lesson for future generations…

Demagogues mean what they say and given the opportunity, carry out what they promise. In terms of the Holocaust, we have nothing that would compare to this document.

   The letter is on display at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles beginning July 16th.

Until next time>                        “never forget…please”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- OC Location Honors Classic Cinema!

June 11th, 2011

Manny P. here…

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   The Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa has some wonderful things planned over the next couple of weeks. If you live near Orange County, CA, you might want to check out these groovy events.800px-Connery007

* June 16th-June 18th: The Pacific Symphony will feature the music of Bond… James Bond including the John Barry compositions from Goldfinger, Thunderball, and Diamonds are Forever. Of course, other musical artists have contributed including Paul McCartney and Wings, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, Shirley Bassey, Tina Turner, Duran Duran, Sheena Easton, and Carly Simon. All the fun will take place each evening in their Concert Hall.

frankie2thumb* July 11th: With Summer in full swing, the Community Plaza will feature the iconic surf picture – Beach Blanket Bingo, starring Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello, and the leather-clad Harvey Lembeck. You can bring your beach chairs and snacks to this FREE screening.

   For more information, visit scfta.org; or call (714) 556-2787.

Until next time>                              “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Monthly Review of Forgotten Classics

June 10th, 2011

Manny P. here…

   Beginning July 1st, I’ll start a year-long monthly review of seldom-remembered classic cinema. In addition, I’ll highlight one or more of the supporting players in the film, providing the story-line of their careers. These fine motion pictures might be familiar to you. Yet, some of the back-stories should provide compelling narratives that are similar to the basic format of my book Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History. I hope my insight will compell you to rent or buy the DVD of these gems… or read my paperback.

   Here’s the rundown of the motion pictures I have chosen:

* JULY – WHAT A WAY TO GORobert_Mitchum




* NOVEMBER – NIGHT OF THE HUNTER220px-Vivien_Leigh_Gone_Wind_Restaured




* MARCH – SHIP OF FOOLS486px-Kaye,_Danny




   These motion pictures are not Casablanca or Gone with the Wind. But that’s the point. They’re fine films in their own right and should not be forgotten. And each movie is loaded with stars including Shirley MacLaine, Walter Matthau, Steve McQueen, Vivien Leigh, Robert Mitchum, Danny Kaye, James Stewart, etc. I’ve only scratched the surface, believe me.

   Target date for the first review:  JULY 1ST

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- The Passing Parade: Leonard Stern…

June 9th, 2011

Manny P. here…stern2

   Another Hollywood veteran has died. Leonard Stern was the prolific writer-producer-director of television comedy and the silver screen. Later, he owned a large publishing company. Stern was busy writing television segments during the 1950’s for The Honeymooners, The Phil Silvers Show, and The Tonight Show with Steve Allen. And, Stern developed scripts for several motion pictures including the 1952 remake of The Jazz Singer; a number of movies featuring Ma and Pa Kettle; and films starring Abbott and Costello including Lost In Alaska.                       LEONARD STERN

smart-bg   Stern is best known for his five season collaboration with Mel Brooks and Buck Henry in the Get Smart series. He also produced and directed episodes of MacMillan and Wife, which featured Rock Hudson. Late in his cinematic career, he wrote and directed Just You and Me, Kid with George Burns.

   During his time in Hollywood, Leonard Stern has won three Emmys, two Golden Globes, and a Peabody award.

logo   As the senior vice president of Price-Stern-Sloan, he created the wacky  Mad-Libs, and published a number of children’s books as Doodle-Art and  Little Miss Serendipity.

Leonard Stern was 87.

Until next time>                                “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- The Marni Nixon Connection…

June 8th, 2011

Manny P. here…

When Andrew Gold died, he was known as an Adult Comtemporary singer and for his soft rock hits Lonely Boy and Thank You For Being a Friend. The closest he got to Hollywood history (I thought):  the latter tune was used as the theme for The Golden Girls. I was wrong…

   Gold’s family connection to Hollywood is vast. His father Ernest Gold composed the Oscar-winning theme to Exodus, the 1960 film starring Paul Newman, Eva Marie Saint, and Sal Mineo; and the theme to It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World. He won a Grammy and Golden Globe for his score to On the Beach, a motion picture starring Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire, and Anthony Perkins. Ernest Gold received four Academy Award nominations for his work.

   And how about Andrew Gold’s mother… Well now we’re cooking with oil!

Marni Nixon   Marni Nixon has appeared in some of the most iconic cinema during Hollywood’s Golden Age. Her five octave range was used to replace the singing voices of Margaret O’Brien in The Secret Garden; Marilyn Monroe in Gentleman Prefer Blondes; Deborah Kerr in An Affair to Remember and The King and I; Natalie Wood in West Side Story; and Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady. Nixon also had a small role in The Sound of Music, and her voice was prominently used in Joan of Arc in 1948, and Disney’s Mulan.

   Yet, few folks even know who she is, or what she looks like. The reason is simple. Rarely has Marni Nixon been listed in the credits. We only know she sang for Kerr when the actress admitted this fact 40 years later. Her obscurity was celebrated on the television game show To Tell the Truth. In 2006, Nixon wrote her memoirs in a book called I Could Have Sung All Night. Appropriately, Marni Nixon was presented with the Singer Symposium’s Distinguished Artist Award in New York City in 2008.

   Andrew Gold was 59, and is survived by his mother; the incomparable Marni Nixon.

Until next time>                                “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Disney Legends have Passed On…

June 7th, 2011

Manny P. here…

   Two actors who worked at the Golden Horseshoe Revue for decades at Disneyland have died this past weekend. Wally Boag and Betty Taylor were better known for the characters they played: Pecos Bill and Slue Foot Sue.The Golden Horseshoe Revue was the original show at the Frontierland saloon, playing from July 17, 1955 until October 12, 1986.

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   Together they performed on the Anaheim attraction stage over 40,000 times, and Boag is cited in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the most number of performances of any theatrical presentation. In fact, the 10,000th presentation of the Golden Horseshoe Revue was featured on NBC‘s Wonderful World of Disney.

WallyBoagPecosBill   Boag was a noted character actor who appeared in Without Love, starring Spencer Tracy and Katharine Heburn; and The Thrill of the Romance with Esther Willams. He had roles in Disney’s The Absent-Minded Professor, Son of Flubber, and The Love Bug. Walt Disney kept the versatile entertainer busy by using his voice in the Enchanted Tiki Room and the Haunted Mansion. In 1963, Julie Andrews stepped on the Golden Horseshoe Revue stage and shared a number with Boag, a publicity stunt designed to promote Mary Poppins. They sang By the Light of the Silvery Moon.

   Wally Boag took his show to Walt Disney World in 1971 to perform at the Diamond Horseshoe Revue. In 1995, Boag was inducted into the Disney Legends; and he has his own commerative window on Main Street at Disneyland. Steve Martin credits his style of humor based on the inspired comedy of Boag, who he studied while working at the theme park as a teen.                       BETTY TAYLOR / WALLY BOAG

BTaylor   Betty Taylor used the celebrity of her fortuitous job by taking a show to Richard Nixon’s White House, and a USO tour in Greenland. She also made a special appearance at Walt Disney’s Wild West, a 1995 retrospective at the Gene Autry Museum of Western Heritage in Los Angeles.

   Wally Boag died on Friday, June 3rd; Betty Taylor died Saturday, June 4th.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Debbie Reynolds Auction at Paley!

June 5th, 2011

Manny P. here… Paley logo-260x127

   Debbie Reynolds is set to sell most of her amazing collection of movie memorabilia at an auction to be held at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills on Saturday, June 18th. According to the iconic actress in a recent interview conducted on the KSPA Radio Network, a number of the items include:

800px-The_Seven_Year_Itch_(Marilyn_Monroe's_skirt_blows_up)   480px-Charlie_Chaplin   ruby slippers

* Marilyn Monroe’s subway dress from The Seven Year Itch (expected to fetch approximately $1-2 million dollars)

a Charlie Chaplin-trademark bowler hat

* Vivien Leigh’s Gone with the Wind famous drape dress

Arabian motif early version of the ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz

wardrobe worn by Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra

* Audrey Hepburn’s Ascot dress and hat from My Fair Lady

* Charlton Heston’s tunic, robe, and accessories from Ben-Hur

* items owned by Laurel & Hardy and Jack Benny

* props from Oscar-winning pictures (in just about every year the award was given)

movie scripts, design sketches, autographs, and Hollywood history documents

   The exhibit is open 12p-5p from Wednesday through Sunday over the next two weeks, and it’s completely free to check out for all visiting patrons! While you’re there, pick up a copy of Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History in the Paley Center gift shop.

thecollection_title-150x150   For a chance to hear a re-broadcast of this charming conversation with Miss Debbie Reynolds on June 11th at 3pm (pst) on the Forgotten Hollywood radio program, please click on the web stream-link below:


Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- No More Sahara in the Desert…

June 4th, 2011

Manny P. here…

799px-Sarah_Hotel_Casino_Las_Vegas_(entrance)   It was known as the home of the Rat Pack. After 59 years of business, the Sahara Casino has closed its doors. Among the many stars that have performed over the years… Judy Garland, Don Rickles, Louis Prima, and Sonny and Cher.  Plus, don’t forget Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Joey Bishop played it cool while mugging to sold out crowds in the 1960’s.

   The National Content Liquidators plans on selling gaming tables, ceiling decor, bedroom furnishings, and even the casino’s fab  Poker Room sign (until everything is gone). Folks who indulge in the nostalgia of a Las Vegas from another era will be flocking to purchase historic items from the Sahara Casino.

   Can you say… P A W N  S T A R S ???

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Marshal Dillon is Gone…

June 3rd, 2011

Manny P. here…Gunsmoke

   I’m sorry to report the durable star of Gunsmoke has died. James Arness, who played Marshal Matt Dillon for 20 years in the series, also revived the role in a number of television movies. The character was popular with audiences for five decades. John Wayne made the wise suggestion of hiring Arness to producers of the program back in 1955. In all, he made four films with The Duke.

   When Gunsmoke premiered, John Wayne opened the telecast by telling the television viewers:

Good evening, my name’s Wayne. Some of you may have seen me before; I hope so. I’ve been kicking around Hollywood a long time. I’ve made alot of pictures out here, all kinds, and some of them have been Westerns. and that’s what I’m here to tell you about tonight: a Western – a new television show called Gunsmoke. No I’m not in it. I wish I were, though, because I think it’s the best thing of its kind that’s come along, and I hope you’ll agree with me; it’s honest, it’s adult, it’s realistic. When I first heard about the show Gunsmoke, I knew there was only one man to play in it… James Arness. He’s a young fellow and maybe new to some of you, but I’ve worked with him, and I predict he’ll be a big star. so you might as well get use to him, like you’ve had to get used to me. And now, I’m proud to present my friend, Jim Arness, in Gunsmoke.

  Arness was also in a number of memorable motion pictures including The Farmer’s Daughter, Battleground, The Thing, Them!, Hondo, and Island in the Sky. Over the years, he would be nominated for three Emmys for his role as the Dodge City marshal. He’s also remembered for playing Jim Bowie in the television production of The Alamo: 13 Days to Glory.

   Along with a decorated military record for service during World War II, Arness was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. On the 50th anniversary of television in 1989, People Magazine chose the Top 25 television stars of all time. Arness was #6.

   He was the brother of Peter Graves, who died last year. James Arness was 88.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Can Borders Be Saved?

June 2nd, 2011

Manny P. here…

   My radio co-host Gary Lycan sent me a very interesting item today. According to published news sources:


The Gores Group, which controls radio syndicator Westwood One and DVD/video game distributor Alliance Entertainment, is bidding to buy bookstore chain BORDERS out of bankruptcy. The Wall Street Journal reports that Alec Gores is a mystery bidder said to be proposing a purchase of over half (200) of the troubled retailer’s stores, keeping the chain operating and mostly intact.

   A related story also appeared in the New York Times. I’ll keep you posted as this situation develops…