“Forgotten Hollywood”- Goodbye to Successful Producer…

November 30th, 2016

Manny P. here…tinkergrant

    Grant Tinker brought an abundance of style to television with beloved shows such as The Cosby Show and Hill Street Blues to the audience as both a producer and a network boss. He was best-known as the nurturing hand at MTM Enterprises, the production company he founded in 1970, and ran for a decade. He scored with some of the most respected and best-loved programs, including Lou Grant, Rhoda, PhyllisThe Bob Newhart Show, and of course, the series that starred his business partner and then-wife, The Mary Tyler Moore Show.                     GRANT TINKER —>

   Tinker, who had come to NBC as a management trainee in 1949 with legendary founder David Sarnoff still in charge, left the company for the last time at the end of an era, as NBC, along with its parent RCA, was about to be swallowed by General Electric. He worked for this parent company on three separate occasions.

   After initially leaving NBC, he moved into advertising. At a time when ad agencies were heavily responsible for crafting programs its clients would sponsor, Tinker was a vice president at the Benton & Bowles agency, when he helped develop The Dick Van Dyke Show for Procter & Gamble. There he met, and fell for, the young actress the whole country was about to fall in love with: Mary Tyler Moore. Soon after the new CBS sitcom had begun its five-season run in fall 1961, Tinker returned to NBC, this time as Vice President of West Coast Programming.

330px-mtm_logo_2   Tinker founded MTM and began developing its first series: a comedy to revive the flagging career of his wife. The sitcom, which premiered on CBS in 970, was a critical and popular smash for seven seasons and became the flagship series of a studio whose mewing kitten (parodying the MGM lion) came to signify some of television’s best. Along the way, MTM became an incubator for some of the small screen’s best writers and producers, many of whom — like Steven Bochco and James L. Brooks — continue to excel. Programs like WKRP in Cincinnati, The White Shadow, Remmington Steele, and St. Elsewhere became wildly popular.

   By 1981, Tinker’s stewardship of MTM had ended (as had his marriage to Moore) when he returned to NBC. Under Tinker’s regime, the network enjoyed a remarkable recovery. The Cosby Show was an overnight hit, but slow starters such as Hill Street Blues (which was from MTM), Family Ties, and Cheers were allowed to find their audience and became hits, too. Other hits included Night Court and The Golden Girls.

   In 1994, Grant wrote a book entitled Tinker in Television. That same year, he won a personal Peabody Award. Tinker was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1997.

   Grant Tinker was 90.



   This just in from TCM: A tornado touched down in Atlanta, forcing most of the staff to take shelter in the studio canteen in the basement. The good news… Everyone was safe.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Passing Parade Claims Actors…

November 28th, 2016

Manny P. here…

   This weekend, two character actors of note have died.

   Fritz Weaver was an accomplished performer, who won a Tony for his role in Child’s Play in 1970. He also received an Emmy nod, and appeared in dozens of television programs and important cinema. In 2010, Weaver was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.

frizt-weaver   Turning to acting in the mid-1950s, he excelled on television, with guest starring roles in The Twilight Zone, Combat, Dr. Kildare, Rawhide, The Fugitive, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., MannixThe Big Valley, Gunsmoke, Kung FuMission: Impossible, Night Gallery, Matlock, Hawaii Five-0, Wonder Woman, Magnum P.I., Murder She Wrote, Law & Order, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, The X-Files, and Frasier. Beginning in 1995,  Weaver worked primarily as a voice actor, providing narration for programs on the History Channel.      FRITZ WEAVER —>

   On the big screen, he co-starred in Fail Safe, The Day of the Dolphin, Marathon Man, Black Sunday, Creepshow, and the 1999 remake of The Thomas Crown Affair. Broadway credits include The Chalk Garden, Baker Street, Love Letters, and The Crucible.

   Fritz Weaver was 90.


rg_barneymiller_02_70<— RON GLASS was a familiar face on television, best known for his Emmy-nominated role on Barney Miller. He was also memorable in the science fiction series, Firefly.

   Glass made his stage debut at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis  before moving to Hollywood. He made his home on television, guest-starring in Sanford and Son, All in the Family, Maude, Good Times, Hawaii Five-0, The Bob Newhart Show, Hart to Hart, AmenThe Streets of San Francisco, Murder She Wrote, Star Trek: Voyager, and Friends. Along with Barney Miller, he co-starred in Mr. Rhodes and The New Odd Couple.

   Ron Glass was 71.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Dino-Mite!

November 27th, 2016

Manny P. here…

   Dinosaurs in museums tend to be of the fossilized variety, but a new exhibit in Philadelphia is bringing the creatures and their world to life. Jurassic World: The Exhibition opens at the Franklin Institute on Friday. Based on the blockbuster dinosaur movie franchise, the experience mixes the vibe of a theme park with the backstory of science, but the big attraction is the animatronic dinosaurs; some measuring over 24 feet tall.

jurassic_park_logo   In his book Jurassic Park, Michael Crichton based the character Alan Grant on Jack Horner. Steven Spielberg brought Horner on as a technical adviser on all of the Jurassic Park movies — and Horner did it without a college degree and with dyslexia. Exhibit organizers worked closely with the dinosaur researcher, one of the best-known paleontologists in the world, to help get the science right. He discovered the world’s first dinosaur embryos, found they had nests, and cared for their young.

   The museum hopes to appeal to fans of science as well as fans of the movie. An educator guide offers ways to look at the exhibit through scientific eyes on topics, including ethics in science; climate change; DNA and genetics; and extinction.

jurassic_park_tyrannosaurus   1024px-bautzen_-_hoyerswerdaer_strase_-_trafostation_03_ies

   The traveling show made its world premiere in Melbourne, Australia, earlier this year, but Philadelphia’s United States debut offers some new features. The life-size dinosaurs were designed by Creature Technology Co., which created the enormous creatures for the Walking with Dinosaurs arena shows. They offer interactive exhibits. Guests can meet a towering Brachiosaurus, come face-to-face with a Velociraptor, and get up close and personal with a Tyrannosaurus Rex. A family-friendly Gentle Giants Petting Zoo provides interactions with a baby Pachyrhinosaurus and its 29-foot-long mother. Brave visitors can even stick an arm into a pile of dinosaur dung to feel its squishy, warm interior as a way to learn about identifying animals by studying their leavings.

     The exhibit is nearly double the size of the Australian version, and runs through April 23rd.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Death of a Dictator…

November 26th, 2016

Manny P. here… fidelcastro1978

   Fidel Castro was a controversial and divisive world figure. He was a politician and revolutionary who governed from 1959 to 2008. A litany of critics viewed him as a totalitarian dictator whose administration oversaw multiple human-rights abuses, an exodus of more than one million of his citizenry, and the impoverishment of the Republic of Cuba’s economy. Through his actions and his writings, he influenced the politics of leaders, individuals, and groups across the globe for many generations. Politically, a Marxist-Leninist and a Cuban nationalist, FIDEL CASTRO —-> made the island-nation a one-party state.

   Fidel formed a revolutionary group in 1953, the 26th of July Movement, with his brother Raúl and Che Guevara. Returning to Cuba, Castro took a key role in the Cuban Revolution by leading the Movement in a guerrilla war against Cuban President Fugencio Batista. After Batista’s overthrow, Castro assumed military and political power as Cuba’s Prime Minister. The United States was among the first to formally recognize his government, cautiously trusting Castro’s early assurances he merely wanted to restore democracy, not install socialism.

images   Our country became alarmed by Castro’s friendly relations with the Soviet Union, and attempted to remove him by assassination, economic blockade, and counter-revolution, including the Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961. After these threats, Castro formed an alliance with the Soviets, and allowed them to place nuclear weapons on the island, sparking the Cuban Missile Crisis — a defining incident of the Cold War —in 1962.

   Castro’s increasing role on the world stage strained his relationship with the USSR, especially as Leonid Brezhnev became its General Secretary. Asserting Cuba’s independence, Castro refused to sign the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, declaring it a Soviet-U.S. attempt to dominate the Third World. Abroad, Castro supported anti-imperialist groups, backing Marxist governments in Chile, Nicaragua, and Grenada, and sending troops to aid allies in the Yom Kippur War, Ethio-Somali War, and Angolan Civil War.


75b2d0c5-d1ff-4484-9007-18c644ed8cd4   01

     An adversary of every United States presidential administration since Dwight D. Eisenhower, Castro was also a constant thorn to the overt reactions of his leadership by the American Central Intelligence Agency, and Castro was an early economic foe to businesses supported by Mafia crime families in Cuba. He outlasted a crippling trade embargo policy. In 2006, he decided to transfer his responsibilities to Vice-President Raúl Castro, who formally assumed the presidency. In 2011, Fidel finally resigned from the Communist Party Central Committee. He, instead, took on the role of an elder statesmen.

   Later in life, El Jefe softened his views. During the North Korea crises of 2013, he urged the North Korean and United States governments to show restraint. Calling the situation incredible and absurd, he maintained that war would not benefit either side, and that it represented one of the gravest risks of nuclear war since the Cuban Missile Crisis. Fidel survived long enough to see his brother negotiate an opening with President Barack Obama on December 17th, 2014, when Washington and Havana announced they would move to restore diplomatic ties for the first time since they were severed in 1961. Next year, his brother plans on stepping down as leader of the island-nation.

fidel_castro_2007_thumb   In the final analysis, Fidel’s leadership style warranted comparisons with other despots like Mao Zedong, Adolf Hitler, and Benito Mussolini. A more accurate comparison might be the longtime reigns of Francisco Franco in Spain, and Joseph Stalin in Russia; ruthless autocrats that turned on their own loyal citizenry to maintain respective regimes, which included the use of forced labor and executions, mostly against political and ideological rivals.

   In the Cuban capital, flags flew at half-staff at public buildings and some foreign embassies across the city on Saturday. Cuba’s government announced that Castro’s ashes would be interred on December 4th in the eastern city of Santiago that was the birthplace of his revolution. That will follow a week of honors, including a nationwide caravan retracing, in reverse, his tour from Santiago to Havana, replicating the triumph of his 1959 revolution.

   Fidel Castro was one of the most influential world figures in the post World War II era (for better or worse), and a survivor. He was 90.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- A Story of a Mom Named Brady…

November 25th, 2016

Manny P. here…carol_brady

   Florence Henderson went from Broadway star to becoming one of America’s most beloved television moms in The Brady Bunch. Her most widely recognized part was as Carol Brady. The sitcom aired on ABC from 1969 until 1974. Henderson’s best friend, Shirley Jones, had turned down the role to spend more time with her family. Primarily owing to her performance on The Brady Bunch, Henderson was ranked by TVLand and Entertainment Weekly as #54 on their list of the 100 Greatest TV Icons.

   Initially, Henderson represented an idyllic mother to a tumultuous nation that was protesting an unpopular war, and a presidential abuse of power. After ending its initial run, the show kept resonating with audiences, and it returned to the small screen in various forms, including The Brady Bunch Hour in 1977, The Brady Brides in 1981, and The Bradys in 1990. It remains a popular rerun.            FLORENCE HENDERSON

   Prior to the iconic program, Henderson began her career as a 19-year-old drama student in New York when she landed a one-line role in the play Wish You Were Here. Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II were so impressed, they made her the female lead in a 1952 road tour of Oklahoma! When the show returned to Broadway for a revival in 1954, she continued in the role and won rave reviews. She went on to play Maria in a road production of The Sound of Music; was Nellie Forbush in a revival of South Pacific; and was back on Broadway with Jose Ferrer in The Girl Who Came to Supper in 1963. Her career nearly ended in 1965, when she suddenly lost her hearing while appearing in The King and I in Los Angeles. Corrective surgery resolved the issue.

   As her television career blossomed, Henderson made frequent guest appearances, including Password, I SpyThe Dean Martin Show, The Love Boat, Hart to Hart, L.A. Law, Alice, Fantasy IslandMurder She Wrote, Roseanne, Ally McBealThe King of Queens, and 30 Rock. She was the first woman to host The Tonight Show for the vacationing Johnny Carson. For eight years, Florence also commuted to Nashville to conduct a cooking and talk series, Country Kitchen, on The Nashville Network. She was the host of her own television series, The Florence Henderson Show on Retirement Living TV. In February 2013, she began hosting her own cooking show, Who’s Cooking with Florence Henderson, on RLTV. She was the spokesperson for Wesson Cooking Oil from 1976 to 1996.

   She made her movie debut in 1970 in Song of Norway. Henderson also had a cameo as Carol Brady’s mom in The Brady Bunch Movie. Three days before her passing, Florence appeared on Dancing With The Stars, giving moral support to Maureen McCormick, who played the popular Marcia Brady.

   She was partly old-school small-screen mom, as perfectly groomed and poised as Harriet Nelson in The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet or Barbara Billingsley’s June Cleaver in Leave it to Beaver. But Henderson’s own sass, warmth and strength made Carol Brady the right surrogate mom for the changing 1970s. For viewers who came of age during The Brady Bunch years, it was Florence Henderson who more than earned the honor.

A couple of years back, I met Ms. Henderson, and found her to be quite warm and engaging. She was unassuming and down-to-earth.

   Florence Henderson was 82.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- A Statue for Maureen O’Hara…

November 24th, 2016

Manny P. here… 7a44e6ee81551682666764d59c98ce61

   Plans for a life-size bronze statue in honor of silver screen legend and fiery red head, Maureen O’Hara, are underway in Glengarriff, Ireland. The project is in the planning stages, and the volunteers have persuaded Jeanne Rynhart, who designed the famous Molly Malone statue in Dublin, to come out of retirement to take on the task of immortalizing Maureen. The statute will be in bronze, life-size, and depict Maureen in one of the scenes from her famous movie, The Quiet Man. The exact design has not been chosen yet, but it will be a fitting tribute to O’Hara and her family.                        MAUREEN O’HARA —>

   A resident of Glengarriff from 1968 until she moved back to the United States with her grandson Conor in 2014, Maureen was considered a local by all who lived and worked in the town. Her film career, which spanned 62 years, included a partnership with John Wayne in some of Hollywood’s most memorable movies. She also sponsored the longest-running golf tournament in Ireland. The Maureen O’Hara Classic has now been held for over 50 years in Glengarriff.

maureen-ohara-by-peggy47687   As well as a statue in Glengarriff, an auction of O’Hara’s movie memorabilia, as well as some of her dresses, ball gowns, and a collection of never-before-seen love letters from film director John Ford will go under the hammer in Bonhams Auction House in New York at the end of the month, on Conor’s instructions.

   Following Maureen’s death in Boise, Idaho, at the age of 95 in 2015, her daughter Bronwyn passed away at her home in Glengarriff in May of this year.

======================= paul-sylbert-dies-oscarwinning-production-designer-set-decorator-was-88_1

   Paul Sylbert (right) was a prolific production designer who won an Oscar for his work on Warren Beatty’s Heaven Can Wait. He and his late twin brother Richard Sylbert became some of the most sought-after production designers in the business following arts school, working together on Elia Kazan’s Baby Doll and A Face in the Crowd.

   A Korean War veteran, Paul would span over four decades, during which he worked on films like The Wrong Man, The Drowning PoolOne Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Wolfen, Gorky Park, Kramer vs Kramer, Blow Out, Biloxi Blues, and The Prince of Tides, for which he scored another Oscar nod. Paul also designed for the New York City Opera Company, and penned a book about his experiences in Hollywood called Final Cut.

   In 2009, Sylbert received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Art Director’s Guild. Recently, he was on the faculty of the Film & Media Arts Department of his alma mater Temple University in Philadelphia.

   Paul Sylbert was 88.


    A public service announcement:


   Gobble… Gobble…

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- One Last Shot…

November 23rd, 2016

Manny P. here… ralph_branca_1953

   Ralph Branca’s career was defined by that one high-and-inside fastball. The Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher gave up Bobby Thomson’s famed Shot Heard ‘Round the World still echoes more than six decades later as one of the most famous home runs in baseball history.        RALPH BRANCA —->

   Branca was a three-time All-Star, and spent 12 seasons in the majors. Brought in from the bullpen in the bottom of the ninth inning during the deciding Game 3 of the National League pennant playoff in 1951, he gave up a three-run homer to Thomson that gave the rival New York Giants a stunning 5-4 victory.

   The one-out line drive into the left field lower deck at the Polo Grounds prompted the frenetic call from announcer Russ Hodges, The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The team and its fans celebrated wildly as Thomson breezed around the bases, while Branca, wearing his unlucky #13 jersey, trudged off the mound. Thomson, who also homered off Branca in Game 1, capped a sensational comeback for the Giants, who trailed the Dodgers by more than a dozen games heading toward mid-August.

   For the next 50 years, Branca and Thomson often appeared together at card shows, corporate events, and baseball functions, re-telling the story of the home run that grew into a sports legend. They always were friendly at the affairs, sometimes even teaming up to sing about the big moment. But, it wasn’t until many years later, it was revealed the Giants had a little extra help, too. That’s when it came to light they employed a telescope-and-buzzer system that season to steal signs from opposing catchers. With that advantage, hitters got a boost in their swings. Thomson firmly asserted he didn’t get a sign in advance. A three-time All-Star himself, he stuck to that claim until he died in 2010 at age 86. Branca, however, wasn’t so sure.

   One of the last remaining Boys of Summer, Ralph Branca was 88-68 with a 3.79 ERA in his big league career. He spent the first 11 years with the Dodgers, then played for Detroit and the Yankees before returning to Brooklyn for a final game in 1956. Branca made his debut as a teen in 1944, and went 21-12 with 15 complete games during Jackie Robinson’s first season in 1947. Branca added another win at Yankee Stadium in the World Series.

   He co-founded the Baseball Assistance Team, which aids members of the baseball family in need of financial, medical, or psychological assistance, and served as its president for 17 years. He was a pallbearer at Robinson’s funeral in 1972. His son-in-law was former big league manager Bobby Valentine

   The steadfast Ralph Branca was 90.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Zapruder Footage Journey Since 1963

November 22nd, 2016

Manny P. here…

   On November 22nd, 1963, Abraham Zapruder shot what has become the most famous home movie of all time: A chilling 26-second snippet of film depicting the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The Russian-born Zapruder was a clothing manufacturer whose office sat across the street from the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas. On the day of the assassination, he and some of his employees went to Dealey Plaza to get a glimpse of the presidential motorcade. As Kennedy’s limousine passed, Zapruder began filming with his 8mm Bell & Howell camera and inadvertently captured the most complete record of the president’s murder.

jfk-assassination-conspiracy-theory-in-smoking-gun-documentary-defended-by-makers   zapruder-film-mystery

   Knowing his footage might prove valuable in a future investigation, he developed the 486-frame film, and screened it for the Secret Service the following day. He also met with a representative from Life Magazine and agreed to sell all rights to the footage for the sum of $150,000. Plagued by nightmares of the film’s gruesome content, Zapruder only allowed the magazine to publish photos of the assassination footage on the condition that it remove frame 313 — the moment in which Kennedy is shot in the head. The infamous frame would remain excised from all public versions of the film until 1975, when it was shown for the first time on reporter Geraldo Rivera’s television program, Good Night America.

zapruder1   Zapruder’s film has since served as a major piece of evidence for amateur detectives, government investigators, and conspiracy theorists. In 1964, the Warren Commission spent weeks examining the footage and conducting tests on the camera during its official investigation of the assassination. Abraham Zapruder (right) died in 1970, but Life Magazine later sold the film back to his family in 1975 for the token sum of $1.

jfk-poster   They went on to license the footage to several other sources, including to Oliver Stone, who used it in his 1991 film JFK. Stone’s film helped lead to the creation of the Assassination Records Review Board, which would later decide that the United States government should own all footage related to the Kennedy assassination. As a result, the Justice Department awarded the Zapruder family $16 million for the original print in 1999. That same year, the family donated all copyrights on the film to the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza.

   It remains there to this day; a few blocks from where it all was first recorded.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- 2016 Medal of Freedom Recipients…

November 20th, 2016

Manny P. here…

   President Barack Obama has named 21 star-studded recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, presented to:  Individuals who have made meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.

   This years awardees include:  Robert De Niro, Ellen DeGeneres, Tom Hanks, Robert Redford, Lorne Michaels, Diana Ross, Cicely Tyson, and Bruce Springsteen from the entertainment industry; Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Michael Jordan, and Vin Scully from the sports community; and Bill and Melinda Gates, and Frank Gehry from business and industry.

tom_hanks_-_ellen_-_screenshot_-_h_-_2016                  jfkwhp-st-485-21-62

            TOM HANKS            ELLEN DEGENERES           KENNEDY   JOHNSON   TRUMAN

   On July 6, 1945, President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9586, establishing the Medal of Freedom to recognize notable service by civilians during World War II. With Executive Order 11085 (signed February 22, 1963), President John F. Kennedy re-established the award as the Presidential Medal of Freedom and expanded its scope to include cultural achievements. The first recipients, selected by Kennedy, received their medals from his successor, President Lyndon B. Johnson, on December 6, 1963, at the White House. Kennedy, who had been assassinated the previous month, was added to the list, posthumously.

medal-of-freedom   The medal is suspended on a blue ribbon, and it incorporates the color scheme found on the presidential seal. Its most visible design element is a white star, upon which is centered a collection of 13 smaller gold stars arranged on a field of blue. A red pentagon is set behind the white star, and gold eagles bridge the distance between the points of the star. The recipient’s name is engraved on the reverse side of the medal.

   The awards will be presented at the White House on November 22nd.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Priscilla Presley has Found Her Way…

November 19th, 2016

Manny P. here… cover_3

   Priscilla Presley has opened up about her life with Elvis Presley, saying she truly lived in a bubble with the superstar. She told the British talk show Loose Women on the ITV network that she didn’t spend her teenage years as a normal girl, losing herself in Elvis’ career. Only when she began attending a dance class, did she realize how unusual their relationship truly was.           PRISCILLA PRESLEY —->

   Priscilla began dating Elvis when she was 14, and he was 24. The pair got married when she was 21 in 1967; and divorced in 1973. During the interview, the 71-year-old expressed that Elvis was the love of her life. He died in 1977 at 42 years of age.

   Hal B. Wallis, the Hollywood producer who had financed many of Elvis’ earlier films, had shown an interest in signing Priscilla to a contract. Elvis, however, had no intention of allowing his wife to appear in cinema. She would go on to have a successful acting career, appearing in The Adventures of Ford Fairlane, and all three Naked Gun flicks; and on television, in Dallas, The Fall Guy, Melrose Place, Touched by an Angel, and Spin City. Priscilla had originally been offered a role on Charlie’s Angels. But, she turned down the role because of her reported distaste of the show.


   Priscilla has also been the ambassador of the Dream Foundation for the past 11 years, helping to fulfill the wishes of adults battling terminal illnesses. She became involved in this vital organization after helping to grant a recipient’s wish to visit Graceland. The Dream Foundation is the only national organization of it’s kind, working with the adults, as well as helping to create lasting memories for their family and friends left behind.

   Currently, Priscilla is promoting a United Kingdom exclusive: ELVIS. With the singer on-screen, in concert, while backed by the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra live on stage. It’s part of a UK Arena tour that began on Thursday. Priscilla will make a special guest live appearance during each event.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- An Offer You Can’t Refuse…

November 18th, 2016

Manny P. here…

   Francis Ford Coppola signed on to direct The Godfather when he was just 29 years old. The film centers on a fictional Sicilian crime family in New York City and Coppola knew nothing about the Mafia, but he did understand Italian-American culture and tradition — and he was determined to avoid stereotypes.

   Released in 1972, The Godfather went on to become an iconic American film. It won three Academy Awards — including for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplayand its sequel, The Godfather: Part II, won six. Coppola was nominated for another Oscar in 1991 for his work on The Godfather: Part III.

godfather-notebook   The director had little idea at the time how successful the movie would be. Instead, as a young director, he was focused on getting the studio to let him do it his way, including casting choices deemed unpopular by his producers:  Marlon Brando and Al Pacino.

   As he was preparing to make the flick, Coppola put together a notebook with ideas for each scene and pitfalls to avoid. It also included pages from the eponymous Mario Puzo novel the motion picture was based on, with Coppola’s notes in the margin. He has now published those materials into a new paperback called The Godfather Notebook.

   With the holidays fast approaching, this literary coffee table item might fit the bill for a fan of classic cinema.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Birthday Dress Sells Believe It or Not!

November 17th, 2016

Manny P. here…

bion-logo   The dress worn by Marilyn Monroe as she famously sang Happy Birthday to President John. F. Kennedy has sold. Julien’s Auctions reports the form-fitting gown went for $4.8 million to Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

   The sale comes as part of a three-day auction of Monroe’s possessions and keepsakes from her career. She wore the Hollywood designer Jean Louis creation — flesh-colored and sparkling with over 2,500 hand-stitched crystals — on May 19th, 1962, for an early 45th birthday celebration for JFK at Madison Square Garden. Monroe’s breathy rendition of the birthday song has been broadcast repeatedly since, adding to the lore surrounding the screen icon.

   marilyn_sings_jfk_1962   t1larg-monroe-kennedy5-km


   It was just a few months later on August 5th, that the 36-year-old Monroe was found dead from what the Los Angeles district attorney’s office ruled was an overdose of barbiturates. Kennedy was assassinated the following year.


world-tour   Today, there are 33 Ripley’s Believe It or Not! museums in ten countries, dozens of books, a huge internet web presence, and hundreds of television videos in the company’s archive vaults. This legacy is due to Robert L. Ripley; a cartoonist, explorer, reporter, adventurer, and collector, who traveled to 201 countries in 35 years seeking the odd, the unusual, and the unexplained.

1918<— Ripley’s television program was the first reality show, and was growing quickly in popularity until on show #13 on May 23rd, 1949, he had a heart attack and died while on stage discussing the military funeral hymn, Taps! Robert Ripley led an incredible life of adventure and excitement, and will be known for coining one of the recognized and most used phrases in the English language.  BELIEVE IT OR NOT!

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Classic Films with a Live Orchestra…

November 16th, 2016

Manny P. here… laphil-press-1617

   The Los Angeles Philharmonic will accompany screenings of classic cinema. These events will take place this week at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Here are the details:

   When most scores were influenced by 19th-century composers, Leonard Rosenman revolutionized film music, taking it into the 20th-century with a potent mix of serialism, jazz, and the rhythms of Bartók and Stravinsky. The way he came to score Rebel Without a Cause is quite a story in itself. Rosenman was roommates with movie star James Dean (and even gave him piano lessons); Dean introduced him to Elia Kazan — who directed Dean in East of Eden, Rosenman’s first film — which led Rosenman to meet Nicholas Ray, director of the controversial, but acclaimed, Rebel Without a Cause.

   The next evening, you can experience a thrilling new presentation of On the Waterfront,  winner of eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Imagine Leonard Bernstein’s electrifying score live, while the newly re-mastered film is shown in glorious high definition on the big screen with the original dialog intact. This classic romantic tragedy – directed by Elia Kazan with screenplay by Budd Schulberg, produced by Sam Spiegel, and starring Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Lee J. Cobb, Rod Steiger, and Eva Marie Saint, in her first film role – is one of the greatest achievements in the history of movie-making.

   After he moved to Hollywood in 1929, Max Steiner became one of the first to compose for the movies, going on to score more than 300 films. The father of film music is now considered one of the greatest film composers in the history of cinema. The beloved Casablanca earned Steiner one of his 24 Oscar nominations.


   The Walt Disney Concert Hall is at 111 South Grand Ave. in Los Angeles. For more info, click (or cut-and-paste) on the link below:


Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- The Passing of Gwen Ifill…

November 15th, 2016

Manny P. here… gwen_ifill_-_pbs_newshour

  Gwen Ifill was one of the most prominent African-American journalists in the country. She was the trailblazing host and managing editor of the PBS roundtable talk show, Washington Week, as well as co-anchor of PBS NewsHour — a job she shared with Judy Woodruff since 2013. She was a veteran Washington journalist who covered seven presidential campaigns, and moderated the vice presidential debates in 2004 and 2008. She also moderated a Democratic debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in 2015. Gwen won pop-culture recognition when she was parodied on Saturday Night Live, with host Queen Latifah portraying the journalist as a debate moderator.                                 GWEN IFILL —>

   Ifill started her journalism career as a print reporter for the Baltimore Evening Sun and Boston Herald American. She went on to become a national political reporter for the  Washington Post, and White House correspondent for the New York Times. Her initial job on television was with NBC news.

    Ifill was absent from PBS’s election coverage last week because of ongoing health concerns. She also took a leave of absence in May to address those issues. At the time of her passing, she served on various boards, including Committee to Protect Journalists, Harvard Institute of PoliticsUniversity of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism, and Museum of Television and Radio. She was getting from Columbia University the 2016 John Chancellor Award on Wednesday. A school spokesperson did not immediately have a comment.

   She became the best-selling author of The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama. The work was published in 2009.

   Gwen Ifill was 61.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- 106 Years Ago…

November 14th, 2016

Manny P. here…lupita_tovar_argentinean_magazine_ad

   Lupita Tovar was an early cinematic Mexican sensation. Best known for her role in a Spanish version of the original Dracula, she was later known in Hollywood circles as Lupita Kohner, a prominent hostess, and wife of agent Paul Kohner.

   Tovar’s ascendance as the Sweetheart of Mexico was curbed by the emergence of talkies, a departure from the silent film industry in which she was poised to become a mega-star. Although Lupita did not make any silent films, with her earliest movies released by Fox Film Corporation in the Movietone sound-on-film system, some may have been released in silent versions for theaters, not yet equipped for sound. She also worked at Columbia Pictures.

   Her skills were used in Spanish-language versions of Hollywood fare. The productions were made at Universal Studios, with the Spanish-speaking crew working overnight after the English-language cast had clocked out. The idea — often credited to Universal executive Paul Kohner, Ms. Tovar’s future husband — was to tap into the Latin American market demand for sound films, at a fraction of the cost of the originals. In the early days of Hollywood, it was common for cinematic studios to produce their foreign language versions of their screenplays, usually in Spanish; but also in French, Italian, and German, using the same costumes.

920x920   Tovar didn’t much care for Dracula’s grueling schedule. That version, produced in 1931, was filmed at night on the same sets that were being used during the day for the English-language Dracula with Bela Lugosi. The alternate version is considered a superior motion picture by many by film historians. It was thought to be lost until a print was discovered in the 1970s and restored. In 2015, the Library of Congress selected the flick for preservation in the National Film Registry, finding it culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.

   She amassed 31 credits over 16 years, including a starring role in the 1932 film Santa, an early Mexican talkie and commercial breakthrough that heralded Tovar’s status as a national treasure. In 1982, her face even made it onto a postage stamp. In 2006, Santa was shown in a celebratory screening by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, part of their retrospective called A Salute to Lupita Tovar.

   Tovar is also the matriarch of several generations’ worth of Hollywood nobility, including her Oscar-nominated daughter, Susan Kohner (for Imitation of Life), and her grandsons Chris Weitz and Paul Weitz, who wrote the Academy Awards-nominated screenplay, About a Boy.

   An original, Lupita Tovar was 106.

Until next time>                               “never forget”