“Forgotten Hollywood”- The Legacy of Gene Wilder…

August 29th, 2016

Manny P. here…

   Gene Wilder was a legendary cinematic comic, who closely worked with Mel Brooks and Richard Pryor. At one time, he was also married to Gilda Radner, until ovarian cancer claimed her life. Wilder is best remembered for outstanding contributions in The Producers, Blazing Saddles, Young FrankensteinWilly Wonka and the Chocolate Factoryand Silver Streak. He was a character actor who became a bonafide star in screen comedies.

gene wilder

   He started taking acting classes at age 12, and continued performing and taking lessons through college. In 1961, Wilder became a member of Lee Strasberg’s prestigious Actor’s Studio in Manhattan.Wilder started his acting career on the stage. He had a part in the original Broadway production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Though they collaborated on film, Wilder and Brooks met through the theater. Wilder was in a play with Brooks’ then-future wife, Anne Bancroft, who introduced the pair backstage in 1963.

   He had a small role as a hostage in the 1967 classic Bonnie and Clyde.In 1968, Wilder received an Oscar nomination for his work in Brooks’ The Producers. He played the introverted accountant, Leo Bloom. Gene accepted the role of the Waco Kid on Blazing Saddles after Gig Young was fired by Brooks for intoxication. He and Brooks also lost Best Adapted Screenplay for Young Frankenstein to Francis Ford Coppola and Mario Puzo for The Godfather II. His film catalog included Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Younger Brother, Start the Revolution Without MeHanky PankyStir Crazy, See No Evil Hear No Evil, The Woman in Red, and Haunted Honeymoon. Though his forte was cinema, he also appeared on the small screen. Gene made his screen debut in the series Armstrong Circle Theatre in 1962. He won an Emmy Award for guest-starring on Will & Grace.

   After Radner died in 1989, Wilder spent much of his time after promoting cancer research and opened a support facility for cancer patients. In 1991, he testified before Congress about the need for increased testing for cancer.

   This weekend, AMC Theatres will screen Willie Wonka and Blazing Saddles at 55 participating venues, nationwide. The ticket is priced at a sensible $5. Location information is available at the AMC website. Also, in Southern California at select ArcLight Cinema locations on Saturday and Sunday, they are showing special screenings. All proceeds will be donated to the Alzheimer’s AssociationTurner Classic Movies will honor the iconic funnyman next month. Here’s the lineup:


   A comedic master, Gene Wilder was 83.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Goodbye to Charles Osgood…

August 28th, 2016

Manny P. here… charles osgood

   Charles Osgood is about to say farewell as host of CBS News Sunday Morning in September after 22 years as its host. He announced his scheduled September 25th departure on Sunday’s edition. That broadcast will be a tribute to Osgood’s legacy on and off Sunday Morning. But after, he won’t be absent from the program, assuring viewers he will be on hand for occasional appearances.

   Charles Osgood (above) is exiting a job only one other person has held since Sunday Morning premiered in 1979. Charles Kuralt retired in 1994 after crafting the job in his own folksy, easygoing image, and hosting for 15 years. Osgood had an impossible act to follow. But with his own erudition and his slightly bookish, bow-tied style, he immediately clicked with viewers who continued to embrace the program as an unhurried television magazine that seemed defined only by its host’s, and the staff’s, curiosity.

   Even then, Osgood was already a CBS veteran. In 1967, he took a job as reporter on the CBS-owned New York news radio station. Then, one fateful weekend, he was summoned to fill in at the anchor desk for the television network’s Saturday newscast. In 1971, he joined the CBS network.

   He has proved to be a broadcaster who can write essays and light verse, as well as report hard news, and he has continued to work in both radio and television with equal facility. He has been an anchor and reporter for many CBS News broadcasts on both television and radio. He has long delivered The Osgood File on radio.

   No successor has been named. Among those under consideration are reportedly Sunday Morning colleagues Jane Pauley, Anthony Mason, and Lee Cowan. Meanwhile, the program continues to be a ratings leader. With a year-to-date audience of nearly 6 million viewers, it consistently tops rival Sunday morning news programs.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- I’m Back at Cinecon 52

August 27th, 2016

Manny P. here…

   For over half a century, cinephiles have gathered over Labor Day Weekend to celebrate the movies at the annual Cinecon Classic Film Festival. It’s where archivists, collectors, film fans, and of course, authors gather for five days of classic film screenings, special programs, celebrity guests, and the best movie memorabilia show in the nation. Cinecon is dedicated to showcasing unusual films that are rarely given public screenings.


   Loews Hollywood Hotel is the host, with all screenings taking place at the historic Egyptian Theatre on Hollywood Blvd. This year’s Cinecon 52 is excited to present a special screening of the new restoration of King of Jazz. Paul Whiteman and his orchestra headline an all-star cast in this lavish 1930 musical revue, filmed in two-strip Technicolor.

 download (4)  As a special attraction to the Memorabilia Show, the exciting book signing event is back. Several authors will be on hand throughout the weekend. All types of books are represented: actor and director biographies, comprehensive studio histories, pictorials, and more. For a complete list of authors, click (or cut-and-paste) the link below:


   After a one year absence, I’m back with my Forgotten Hollywood Book Series. My visit is Thursday (09/01) at Loews Hollywood Hotel in the 2nd Floor Banquet Room from 2p to 6p.

Forgotten Hollywood cover   FINALfrontcover-sonofforgottenhol

   We will see you this year at Cinecon 52!


   Son of Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History reached an important milestone in sales with 1500 total purchases. What put me over were sales at the Del Mar – Solana Beach Rotary Club in San Diego. They meet weekly for a sunrise breakfast.

Rotary-Wheel-3d-150x150    1500

   My second paperback resonates with demographics of this fine international organization.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Passing Parade Claims Marvin Kaplan

August 25th, 2016

Manny P. here…

marvin-head-seven   Marvin Kaplan was the iconic comedian of film, television, and voice-over. He is probably best known for his recurring role on the sitcom Alice who frequented Mel’s Diner. He was also one of the gas station attendants who is beat up by Jonathan Winters in It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World.

   Kaplan graduated Brooklyn Law School with a Juris Doctorate Degree. Discovered by Katharine Hepburn, his first role was a small part in Adam’s Rib. Other cinematic appearances include Frances, Key to the City, Angels in the Outfield, The Nutty Professor, The Great Race, and Freaky Friday. On television, he had guest-starring roles in Petticoat Junction and Becker. He was also the familiar voice of Choo Choo on the animated cartoon series, Top Cat.   MARVIN KAPLAN ->

   Marvin served as AFTRA Los Angeles Local President for eight years, and Performers’ Governor on the Television Academy. A dedicated theatre person, Kaplan was a member of the oldest continually-operating live production company in Los Angeles, Theatre West, for many decades. He was also an accomplished playwright and screenwriter.

   Marvin Kaplin was 89.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- A Very Brady Robbery…

August 24th, 2016

Manny P. here…

   Here’s something you won’t see on an episode of The Brady Bunch. Burglars broke into the familiar home that was used on the classic 1970s sitcom. The Los Angeles Police Department confirmed the incident, which happened last Wednesday night at the private residence in Studio City, California.

brady bunch stair shot


   It’s unclear whether the burglars knew the home was from The Brady Bunch. But if they expected to find shag carpeting and retro decor, they were probably disappointed. The inside of the real home looks nothing like the sets we see on The Brady Bunch

   Since  the show went into syndication in 1975, the house at 11222 Dilling St. has become a popular spot for tourists. The property looks a lot different today than it appeared on the show, with a fence being erected to obscure its appearance. Overgrown trees block the facade, and the prop window seen on the show has been removed.

   Despite being such a famous property, the house has only had one owner since The Brady Bunch went off the air in 1974. The property was last sold in 1973 for the bargain price of $61,000. Today, it’s worth an estimated $1.7 million.

   It’s unclear whether the burglars knew the home was from The Brady Bunch. But, if they expected to find shag carpeting and retro decor, they were probably disappointed. The inside of the real home looks nothing like the sets we see on the sitcom

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Hearst Castle Closes Due to Blaze…

August 21st, 2016

Manny P. here…

   A wind-driven wildfire in central California led to more evacuations, and the closure of the Hearst Castle on Saturday. Flames from the 8-day-old wildfire in San Luis Obispo County came as close as 3 miles to the national historic landmark, prompting California State Parks officials to cancel tours and close the grounds to visitors.

   A wind shift caused the fire to cross a containment line in the afternoon, leading authorities to issue evacuation orders for several communities north and west of Lake Nacimiento, about 180 miles northwest of Los Angeles. The fire has burned 31 square miles and destroyed 48 structures since it began August 13th. It’s 35% contained.

   Hearst Castle closes occasionally due to bad weather. The closure allowed fire crews to set up firefighting equipment to protect the hilltop estate. The visitor center, which is downhill from the castle, remained open. Workers at the castle have spent several days cutting brush and putting in fire lines to create a defensible space around the castle. A contingency plan is in place to move the large art collection that belonged to media magnate William Randolph Hearst.

facade-header   A popular tourist attraction along the Central Coast, the estate was conceived by Hearst to display his art collection. In its heyday in the 1920s and 1930s, the castle was a playground for Hollywood stars. The location was the subject of satire in the movie, Citizen Kane. Though married, Hearst’s mistress was actress Marian Davies. Their love-child eventually married actor Arthur Lake, Dagwood Bumstead in the the popular Blondie series of films.

   Hearst Castle is closed until further notice.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- The Career of Arthur Hiller…

August 18th, 2016

Manny P. here… 330px-Arthur_Hiller-1970

   Arthur Hiller was a noted television and film director, having directed over 33 major motion pictures during his 50-year career. He began his career directing television in Canada. By the late 1950s, he began directing movies, and most often, comedies. He also directed award-winning dramas, such as Love Story, which was nominated for seven Oscars.

   After he graduated high school, he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force at the start of World War II, and navigated bombers over enemy territory in Europe. After he returned from serving in the military, Hiller graduated from the University of Toronto. One of his first jobs after graduating was with Canadian radio directing various public affairs programs.

   When television entered mainstream media in the early 1950s, he began directing for Canadian broadcasters. NBC asked him to direct television dramas, including episodes of Thriller, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Gunsmoke, Naked City, and Playhouse 90.

   He collaborated with award-winning screenwriters Paddy Chayefsky and Neil Simon. Hiller hit his stride when he turned to cinema. Productions include The Americanization of Emily, The Out-of-Towners, The Man in the Glass Booth, The HospitalMan of La Mancha, Plaza SuiteSilver Streak, See No Evil Hear No Evil, W.C. Fields and MeAuthor! Author!, and The Babe.

    Hiller was president of the Directors Guild of America from 1989 to 1993, and served as president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences from 1993 to 1997. He was the recipient of the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 2002.

   One of my favorite modern directors, Arthur Hiller was 92.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- The Spy Who Sings To Me…

August 17th, 2016

Manny P. here…

   The name is Bond…James Bond.

   Dashing and debonair, spy themes evoke international intrigue, glamour, and suspense. Two-time Grammy Award-winner Sheena Easton, the featured singer on the James Bond soundtrack For Your Eyes Only, will seduce you into the world of The Spy Who Loved Me, Goldfinger, and Skyfall; plus tunes from Mission Impossible, Austin Powers, and more.


   Easton also has notable acting credits, including a five-episode appearance on Miami Vice, a co-starring role opposite Stacy Keach in a John Carpenter-directed trilogy for Showtime, Body Bags, and as a guest star in the cult syndicated series The Highlander, and starring in UPN’s Ghost Stories. Other guest roles have included Brisco County and Tech Wars, as well as a memorable turn in Showtime’s Outer Limits.

   On Broadway, Easton starred as Aldonza / Dulcinea in Man of La Mancha opposite the late Raul Julia’s Don Quixote. She also starred in the hit musical Grease as Rizzo. Easton has been busy with frequent appearances in Las Vegas where she has been a major attraction for the last two decades, and she was recently inducted into the Las Vegas Hall Of Fame.

logo   Easton has expanded her love of the concert stage as a guest vocalist with symphonies across the nation and has made frequent appearances in The Spy Who Loved Me. This allows her to blend her romance with various styles of music: American Standards and Broadway.

   The Pacific Symphony concert will be held at the Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre on Sunday, August 21st. The event will begin promptly at 7:30p.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- A Grand Slam…

August 16th, 2016

Manny P. here…

   You can’t make this stuff up… Dick Van Dyke has treated diners at a Denny’s restaurant in Santa Monica to a rendition of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

   A YouTube video of the performance shows the 90-year-old Van Dyke and the other three members of his quartet, The Vantastix, breaking into their version of a flash-mob type performance. They had just finished an appearance on Good Day LA, a local television show, before going out for breakfast. The video displays the quartet seated with pancakes at the table, and singing the theme song to the 1968 British musical, which starred Van Dyke.


   THE VANTASTIX                                 DICK VAN DYKE

   Van Dyke played eccentric inventor Caractacus Potts in the 1968 film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, which was co-written by Roald Dahl and was based on a story by Ian Fleming, of James Bond fame. Van Dyke and The Vantastix are promoting a show later this month in Southern California.

   No word on whether they had a memorable meal; but the legendary comedian did order a side of grits. Bulletins as they break…

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Goodbye to Fyvush…

August 15th, 2016

Manny P. here…Resized-300-veritcal-Fyvush_Finkel_Lou-Montesano

   Fyvush Finkel was a pillar of Yiddish Theatre. He is best known for his colorful characters honored with accolades on Picket Fences and Boston Legal. The actor also appeared in the original Broadway production of Fiddler on the Roof. Over the years, he joined many revivals of the classic musical, eventually settling in as Lazar Wolf, the butcher; and Tevye, the milkman.                FYVUSH FINKEL ——>

   Finkel first appeared on the stage at age 9, and acted for almost 35 years in the thriving Yiddish Theatre District of Manhattan’s Lower East Side, as well as performing as a stand-up comic in the Catskill’s Borscht Belt. Broadway was a natural extension of his broad comedic talent.

   On the big screen, Fyvush had memorable roles in Brighton Beach Memoirs, Mobsters, Nixon, For Love or Money, and A Serious Man. On television, he also guest-starred in episodes of Kojak, Chicago Hope, Law & Order, The Simpsons, a short-lived revival of Fantasy IslandBlue Bloods, and Hollywood Squares.

   On a personal note, Finkel owned a copy of Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History. The paperback was given to him as a gift by a mutual friend.

   The larger-the-life Fyvush Finkel was 93.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Quilting a Classic…

August 12th, 2016

Manny P. here…tcm color logo

   Turner Classic Movies and Adover Fabrics are proud to present a new line of quilt-making fabrics inspired by An American in Paris. The fabric line is available at quality, independent fabric retailers, nationwide.

   Bring home the colorful charm and exuberance of this classic MGM musical with these exclusive designs that capture the fun and allure of the film, classic Hollywood, and of course, the magic of Paris.

AnAmericanInParis-8265-X-200      AnAmericanInParis-8271-K-200   AnAmericanInParis-8265-C-200

   Andover Fabrics, Inc., one of the world’s leading quilt fabric manufacturers has deep roots in the story of the American textile industry, dating back to the Roaring Twenties. Their, premier, quality fabrics are sold throughout the world with strategic partners in Europe, Australia, Canada, and Japan. The company continues to grow with key licenses, designers, and unique finished products from Quilted Koala Ltd. Its commitment to preserving historical designs is customer driven. Andover Fabrics consumers avidly seek out period-style fabrics for their crafting and quilting.

   In this case, S’Wonderful

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood” – The Lucy Makeover…

August 6th, 2016

Manny P. here…

Palmer Lucille Ball for Laura-1[5]-EMBED   Lucille Ball’s hometown of Celoron, New York is welcoming a brand new bronze statue of the famous red head. The unveiling is today on what would have been Ball’s 105th birthday. Sculptor Carolyn Palmer’s version of the actress stands proudly on her Hollywood star, clad in a polka-dot dress, pearls, and heels, with her hair curly and coiffed. The sculptor said the statue is a total of 7-feet tall in its entirety.

   Palmer, who was selected from a national competition of 65 sculptors, said she hasn’t spoken to the sculptor of the Scary Lucy statue, Dave Poulin, but she has sympathy for the criticism he received. The current plan is to relocate Scary Lucy to a different part of Lucille Ball Memorial Park.

   In order to seek inspiration for the bronze statue, Palmer hired models that were Ball’s height — 5’7″ — and bought retro swing dresses and a red wig. In addition to using the models as a creative tool, Palmer stood in front of the mirror and practiced different stances she thought the Ball sculpture could emulate. Palmer also watched multiple episodes of I Love Lucy, including one where Lucy is a sculptor and puts clay all over her face.

   The most painstaking process was creating the polka dots. She did all of the polka dots by hand, rolling out clay and pressing a cap into them, then putting them in the freezer. Palmer worked first with clay, then wax, then eventually the bronze for her final product.

   Palmer said she’s already been getting positive reception from those who’ve taken a peek at the new statue, including a few Celoron residents when the statue was being installed. However, she’s eager to see what the masses will say about her version of the beloved star. Her other works include Pope Francis, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, and Orville and Wilbur Wright.

   The new statue was shown as part of this year’s Lucille Ball Comedy Festival, which started Friday in nearby Jamestown.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- SAG Award to Lily Tomlin…

August 4th, 2016

Manny P. here…

   Lily Tomlin is tapped to receive the SAG Life Achievement Award. SAG-AFTRA will honor the 76-year-old at its 23rd annual show in 2017. Last year, the award went to Carol Burnett; other recent recipients include Rita Moreno, Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore.

   Tomlin was twice nominated for a SAG Award for her work on The West Wing. In recent years, she has received a number of major accolades,  including the 2014 Kennedy Center Award and 2003 Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.

   The actress, who began her career on the sketch comedy show Laugh-In, has starred in dozens of movies over the decades: Robert Altman’s Nashville; Nine to Five, with Jane Fonda and Dolly Parton; and I Heart Huckabees. In 2015 — the same year she starred in the critically acclaimed film, Grandma — she re-teamed with Fonda on the Netflix comedy Grace and Frankie, which will soon enter its third season.


   The SAG Awards will air on TBT and TBS on January 29th.


   David Huddleston portrayed the blustery millionaire whose identity Jeff Bridges’ character is mistaken for in the 1998 cult comedy The Big Lebowski. He also personified a jolly St. Nick alongside Dudley Moore in Santa Claus: The Movie; and hilariously played the mayor in Blazing Saddles.

david huddleston

   Huddleston served as an aircraft engine mechanic in the Air Force before studying acting in New York. He began his career in the theater, acting in national tours of such shows as The Music Man, Mame, and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Other credits in a 55-year career include guest-starring on such television series as Gunsmoke, Adam-12, Bewitched, Ironside, Bonanza, The Rockford Files, Sanford and Son, Charlie’s Angels, Barnaby JonesHawaii Five-0, Columbo, Magnum P.I.The West Wing, Gilmore Girls, and The Wonder Years.

   David Huddleston was 85.

Until next time>                               “never forget”