“Forgotten Hollywood”- Return of the Thin Man…

December 31st, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`It’s becoming an annual tradition. The entire Thin Man series of movies, with William Powell and Myrna Loy, will air on Turner Classic Movies beginning at 5p. All six flicks will screen in order, and as always, commercial free.


“`Expect witty banter, crimes to be solved, and Asta the terrier. For folks of a certain age, this is a sensible way to bring in the new year. Join Nick and Nora Charles on TCM.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- The Language of Cinema…

December 30th, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`Hollywood’s Golden Age has a language all its own. I find myself using that unique form of communication in everyday life. Often, I get looks of confusion; but, at the end of the day, it serves my purpose. And, it beats the insane notion of texting.

“`Writer Damon Runyon was taken by the romance of real-life gangsterism in popular culture. The crimes of John Dillinger, Bonnie and Clyde, Al Capone, among others, fascinated common folks in the throes of the Great Depression. The criminal plots in cinema made stars of James Cagney, Edward G. Robinson, Humphrey Bogart, and Paul Muni; plus, Warner Brothers was  THE studio that squarely tackled societal ills.

“`Runyon-esque was born from the pen of Damon Runyon, which forged a polite society of gangsters with a language that was peculiar and kind. Lady For a Day and  Guys and Dolls were among celluloid adaptations contritely utilizing this basis of conversation to advance a narrative.  The productions humanized the criminal, if not the crimes. Runyon, who died in 1946, would never live long enough to experience the phenomenon of The Godfather trilogy; the modern glamorization of a crime family. It is the Runyon in me; I am courteous to a fault, even while directly dressing down an individual. There is little reason to curse in my lexiconic sphere.

“`But I digress. I find that using the language of cinema helps get me through a day filled with success and setback; wonder and banality; laughter and tears. Here are quotes I often use:


~ Another banner day at the Bailey Building and Loan –  It is urban legend that James Stewart uttered this beauty while contemplating suicide, after an unexplained disappearance of cash. A potential accusation of embezzlement is the last straw for George Bailey in  It’s a Wonderful Life. I often make the comment when things are not going my way; or if caught in an embarrassing act. The actual quote:  Another red-letter day for the Baileys!

~ I’m shocked, shocked, to find that gambling is going on in here – Everybody has friends who predictably let you down. When they do, it is not shocking; it is annoying. The Claude Rains’ quote feigns contempt. In reality, it is simple sarcasm; in a movie filled with quotable sarcasm — Casablanca.

~ Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers at night, may become a wolf when the wolf bane blooms, and the autumn moon is full and bright – A human being is fallible. This theme is articulated a number of times by characters played by Evelyn Ankers, Maria Ouspenskaya, and again, by Claude Rains in The Wolfman. Consider it a worthy aside to mutter to yourself during an inevitable moment of weakness.

“`I leave you here with this reminder:  What we do not have here is a failure to communicate. Thank you, Strother Martin, for this paraphrase of a comment made in Cool Hand Luke.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Inland Empire Trip to Bountiful…

December 29th, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`Starting on January 14th, if you live in the Inland Empire, you can ride an express bus route that starts in San Bernardino, goes through Riverside, and winds up at Disneyland, directly in front of the park. And, it only costs $3 each way. A 30-day pass costs $75, and prices are even cheaper for children 46 inches tall and under, seniors, and the disabled.

“`Buses will run to Disneyland, seven days a week, with schedules that vary by weekday or weekend.  Routes will start in San Bernardino at 3:42a weekdays; and 6a on weekends. The last bus from the park will leave Anaheim at 9:29p on weekdays; 9:09p on weekends. Travel time on the Commuterlink Express Bus 200 should take 90 – 110 minutes, depending on the boarding location. These commuter link buses have wi-fi, charging ports, and comfy seats.

“`The pickup and drop off locations:

San Bernardino Downtown Transit Center

Downtown Riverside at Lemon and University

Downtown Riverside Metrolink Station

Riverside Galleria at Tyler

La Sierra Metrolink Station

The Village at Orange

Disneyland (Harbor Blvd at East Shuttle Way)

~  ~  ~

“`Why brave crowded and expensive parking lots, and then take a tram?

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Nine Decades in Show Biz…

December 28th, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`Rose Marie was a veteran of vaudeville, who is best remembered for her role on The Dick Van Dyke Show, and as a panelist on The Hollywood Squares. Her career includes radio, film, records, stage, night clubs, and television; spanning nine decades. She was nominated three times for Emmys, and Marie had yet to turn 40 when she joined the Van Dyke cast.

“`At the age of three, she began performing under the name Baby Rose Marie. At five, she became a radio star on NBC, which led to a number of flicks and two-reelers distributed by Paramount Pictures.  As a vocalist, Marie recorded songs that were arranged by Fletcher Henderson. She was assisted in her career by members of organized crime, such as Bugsy Siegel and Al Capone. Marie was a co-headliner when The Flamingo Hotel opened in Las Vegas (with Jimmy Durante and Xavier Cugat).

“`On television, she guest-starred on My Sister Eileen, The Bob Cummings Show, The VirginianMy Three Sons, GunsmokeThe Hollywood PalaceThe Doris Day Show, The MonkeesThe Dean Martin Show, The Love Boat, S.W.A.T.Remington Steele, Wings, Suddenly Susan and Murphy Brown. Close pals included Morey Amsterdam and Richard Deacon, her co-stars on The Dick Van Dyke Show.

“`In 1951, Rose appeared opposite Phil Silvers in the Broadway show Top Banana. She would reprise her role in a cinematic adaptation. From 1977 to 1985, Marie co-starred with Rosemary Clooney, Helen O’Connell, and Margaret Whiting in a national musical revue. Rose was married to Kay Kyser trumpeter Bobby Guy from 1946 until his passing in 1964.

“`One of the last surviving members from the Studio Era of Hollywood, Rose Marie was 94.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Disneyland Went Dark…

December 27th, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`During a busy midweek, electricity went out at portions of Disneyland. A power outage at the California theme park forced some guests to be escorted from stalled rides, which took a number of hours. A transformer problem caused the late morning outage in Fantasyland and ToonTown.

“`About 12 rides were affected. During the outage, no new patrons were allowed to enter the park.  Power was restored in Toontown and much of Fantasyland within a few hours, and was expected to be fully restored later in the day.

“`The outage was isolated to portions of the Anaheim theme park. All of New Orleans Square, Frontierland, AdventurelandTomorrowland, and Main Street USA were not affected. Some of their patrons quickly took to social media to show the park halted during a busy holiday week. Others wondered if they would get refunds.

“`All or part of the park may close without any notice, and tickets are nonrefundable in such cases.


Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Passing Parade Claims Noted Editor…

December 26th, 2017

Manny P. here… 

“`Jerry Greenberg was a film editor who created one of the most legendary car chase scenes in history. He was best-known for his Oscar and BAFTA-winning work on The French Connection. In 1979, his assignment on Apocalypse Now earned him a second Academy Award nod as well as BAFTA and ACE Eddie Award recognition, along with his co-editors. He earned a second Oscar nomination in the same year for his job on Kramer vs. Kramer.

“`Jerry’s career began as an assistant to pioneering editor Dede Allen on America America in 1963; and he went on to assist her on  Bonnie and Clyde, which received notable acclaim for their climatic ambush scene. He collaborated with director Brian De Palma on Dressed to Kill, which kicked off a relationship that would go on to produce five additional films, including The Untouchables. The American Cinema Editors, of which Greenberg was a member, honored him with its Career Achievement Award in 2015.

“`His other noteworthy credits include ScarfaceThe Taking of Pelham One Two Three, RedsThe Missouri BreaksAlice’s Restaurant, The Boys in the Band, The AccusedBody DoubleNational Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,  Get CarterDressed To Kill, Heaven’s GateAwakeningsAmerican History X, and Point Break.

“`Jerry Greenberg (above) was 81.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Soundtrack of Dominic Frontiere…

December 24th, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`Dominic Frontiere had a long career. A lot of his music was rooted in his first love, jazz.  But, he also had a keen orchestral sensibility. And, on occasion, his movies allowed him to showcase his talent for writing music with a rich, symphonic sound.

“`At the age of 12, he played solo at Carnegie Hall. After a stint with a big band in the late 1940s, Dominic moved to Los Angeles, enrolling at UCLA. He eventually became the musical director at 20th Century Fox. He scored several movies under the tutelage of Alfred and Lionel Newman, while also recording jazz music. DOMINIC FRONTIERE ->

“`He was the head of Paramount Pictures music department during the 1970s; won a Golden Globe for his work on The Stunt Man in 1980; and he wrote the music in such successful and popular films as Hang ‘Em High, Chisum, On Any Sunday (earlier this month, director Bruce Brown passed on), The Gumball Rally, Freebie and the Bean, Brannigan, and Color of Night.

“`Frontiere’s television music would dominate.  He wrote the themes for The Outer Limits, Branded, The F.B.I., That Girl, The Rat Patrol, The Flying Nun, The Fugitive, Vega$The Invaders, and Matt Houston.

“`In 1986, Frontiere was incarcerated for nine months in a federal penitentiary for his scalping tickets to the 1980 Super Bowl, which he obtained through his wife Georgia, the owner of the Los Angeles Rams. He pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to a year in prison; plus, three years probation.

“`Dominic Frontiere was 86.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- That’s All Folks…

December 23rd, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`Bob Givens was the animator who helped design Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd. He brought his skills to television advertising, animating cartoon insects for Raid bug-killer commercials.

“`He started working for Walt Disney Studios right out of high school.  After joining Disney, he worked as an animation checker on several of their short subjects mostly involving Donald Duck before working on their first feature-length film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

                                    BOB GIVENS

“`Later, he joined Warner Brothers. His version of Bugs Bunny debuted in 1940. Givens was drafted during World War II, where part of his service was to create animated military training films. Other characters he illustrated over his six-decade career included Tom and Jerry, Daffy Duck, Alvin and the Chipmunks, and Popeye.

“`Givens also worked at Hanna-Barbera and Filmation. He also did layout on early-1990s childhood favorites like Garfield and Friends and Bobby’s World. Bob largely retired from active animation work, although he continued to teach and give animation talks well into his nineties.

“`Bob Givens was 99.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Oh My!

December 21st, 2017

Manny P. here… 

“`Dick Enberg was an iconic sportscaster who got his big break with UCLA Bruins basketball; and went on to call Super Bowls, Final FoursThe Olympics; and Anaheim Angels and San Diego Padres baseball games on NBC, CBS, and ESPN. He was well-known for his baseball catchphrases: Touch em all and Oh my!

“`Enberg’s first job was as a radio station custodian, when he was a junior at Central Michigan. He made $1 an hour. Dick later did weekend sports and disc jockey gigs. He then began doing high school and college football contests. In the 1960s, Dick announced boxing matches at the Olympic Auditorium.

“`During his nine years of broadcasting UCLA basketball, The Bruins won eight NCAA titles. Enberg broadcast nine no-hitters, including two by San Francisco’s Tim Lincecum versus The Padres in 2013 and 2014. Dick called San Diego games for seven seasons and went into the broadcasters wing of the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015.

“`Enberg often noted the most historically significant sporting event that he covered was The Game of the Century:  Houston’s victory over  UCLA in 1968 that ended The Bruins 47-game win streak. Enberg’s many former broadcast partners included Merlin Olsen, Al McGuire, Billy Packer, Don Drysdale, and Tony Gwynn. He even worked a few games with Wooden.

“`In addition to his career in sports broadcasting,  Enberg hosted several game shows. He played himself in Rollerball, Heaven Can WaitTwo Minute Morning, and The Naked Gun. On television, he guest-starred in The King of Queens and CSI: NY. Enberg was a spokesman in a series of commercials for GTE during the 1980s and 1990s. Annually, Dick announced or hosted the New Year’s Day Tournament of Roses Parade for many years.

“`Enberg won 13 sports Emmy Awards, and a Lifetime Achievement Emmy. He received a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. And, earlier this year, UCLA named its Media Center in Pauley Pavilion after Enberg. Part of the Mount Rushmore of Los Angeles sports announcers, Dick Enberg is often compared with Chick Hearn, Vin Scully, and Bob Miller.

“`The first time I heard this legendary announcer was during Los Angeles Rams games on KMPC in the late 1960s. He was an influence on my chosen career. Dick Enberg was 82.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Showstoppers…

December 18th, 2017

Manny P. here… 

“`The opening scene in La La Land is an absolute showstopper in the tradition of cinematic musicals. This made me ponder about the finest showstopping ensemble moments during iconic productions. Here are personal favorites:

~ WHO WILL BUY / OLIVER – What starts as a simple moment involving a woman selling flowers, becomes a massive piece that includes hundreds of singers, dancers and extras. All are performing at the pleasure of the title character, played by Mark Lester. A quintessential showstopping scene.


~ TRADITION / FIDDLER ON THE ROOF – The finest opening number until La La Land, which introduces the entire troupe, including Tevye portrayed by Topol. It concludes with an intimate violin solo by the great Isaac Stern. The premise unfolds in the first five minutes.

~ TONIGHT / WEST SIDE STORY – The entire cast needs no choreography for this number. All of the main characters simply sing variations on the theme, and it blends like a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle. America and Gee Officer Krupke are fine honorable mentions.

~ LUCK BE A LADY / GUYS AND DOLLS –  Frank Sinatra had the recorded hit tune; but, Marlon Brando anchors a memorable moment in the movie that takes place in a sewer. The backdrop is sensational. It’s amazing what one pair of dice can spark.


~ SHIPOOPI / THE MUSIC MAN – The only number that primarily features Buddy Hackett. The choreography replicates work done by Busby Berkeley. To be fair, this is one musical that has several showstoppers, such as Ya Got Trouble pt. 2 – 76 Trombones.

~ I’M GETTING MARRIED IN THE MORNING / MY FAIR LADY – Stanley Holloway as Alfred P. Doolittle is the one big number late in the production. Showstoppers traditionally showcase a co-star, and this guilty pleasure is no exception.


~ CELL BLOCK TANGO / CHICAGO –  This recent entry pays homage to the choreography inspired by Bob Fosse. The scene is told in episodic moments that simply begins with a leaky faucet. It actually first appeared in the 1975 Broadway show, which featured Chita Rivera.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- That Old Keely Magic…

December 17th, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`Keely Smith was a pop singer best known for her solo recordings of jazz standards, as well as her musical collaboration with Louis Prima. Smith and Prima’s act was a mainstay of the Las Vegas lounge scene for much of the 1950s.

“`Smith got her first job singing with the Earl Bennett Band when she was just 15. She later auditioned to sing with Louis Prima’s band, and began touring with them. Keely and Prima married in 1953,  and they won a Grammy for their rendition of That Old Black Magic in 1959.

“`Every so often, Keely took on a role in cinema, appearing in  Thunder Road, Ocean’s 11, Raging Bull, and Casino. On television, Smith guest-starred on The Sopranos and House. With each appearance, she would perform with her signature deadpan voice.

“`Smith focused on taking control of her own career, setting up her own record label —  Keely Records — in conjunction with friend Frank Sinatra’s Reprise Records. She divorced Prima in 1961, and wed Jimmy Bowen in 1965. Her third marriage was to Bobby Milano in the 1970s.

“`During her seven-decade career,  Smith was lauded by critics for her unique vocal style. She received several awards, including a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  In 2001, Smith was nominated for a Grammy for her album Keely Sings Sinatra. On the 50th Grammy Awards in 2008, she performed That Old Black Magic as a duet with Kid Rock.

“`The ubiquitous Keely Smith was 89.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- What a Character! Woody Strode…

December 15th, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`In my Forgotten Hollywood Book Series, I contend that Eddie Rochester Anderson was a positive Toe in the Water in his portrait of African American characters. His roles, particularly on The Jack Benny Program, showcased self-effacing humor at the expense of Jack Benny, and this made him quite endearing to radio and television audiences. Benny put forward this comedic directive to his team of writers; a decision he made after personally witnessing how Jews were treated in concentration camps during World War II.

“`Prior to this, African Americans were often used as comic relief, unfortunately in dim-witted, sketchy, or subservient situations during Hollywood’s Golden Age. Though, Rochester was still employed by Benny in his program, it was still a small step in the right direction. Jack Benny’s directive afforded a rare opportunity for Anderson to appear as a witty, confident man of color that rarely was portrayed, particularly on screen. In my previous writings, I contend there is a trajectory from Anderson to the later distinguished performances of Sidney Poitier.

“`That trajectory should also include the body of cinematic work of Woody Strode. A wonderful athlete who played college football at UCLA with Jackie Robinson and Kenny Washington,  he was two of the initial African-Americans to compete in the  National Football League (for the Los Angeles Rams).  WOODY STRODE –>

“`A valued member of John Ford’s stock company of actors, Strode was seldom offered a part for comic relief, or played dim-witted types.  Woody had an athletic dignity, beginning with an uncredited assignment in Stagecoach in 1939. Strode co-starred with Rochester just once in Star Spangled Rhythm.

“`Strode was a go-to actor when an African royal or gladiator was needed. His filmography includes top 1950s productions, including  Androcles and the Lion, Demetrius and the Gladiators, The Ten Commandments, and the modern war drama, Pork Chop Hill. He received a richly-deserved Golden Globes nomination for his noble and vigorous (if brief) performance in Spartacus.

“`With success by Poitier in  The Blackboard Jungle and The Defiant Ones, Ford showed visionary foresight, offering rare top billing to Strode.  Woody was cast as the title character in Sergeant Rutledge in 1960. His stoic stature fit the Western genre to perfection. During the 1960s, Strode was also memorable in Ford’s The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and Two Rode Together. Other sagebrush performances included  Once Upon a Time in the West, The Professionals,  Posse, and his final part in The Quick and the Dead. In fact, the main character, Sheriff Woody in the Toy Story animated films by Pixar, was named in honor of Strode.

               JOHN WAYNE               WOODY STRODE

“`His enduring critical legacy… Woody Strode has become widely regarded (along with Brock Peters and Sidney Poitier) as one of the important black cinematic actors of his generation. I concur. Toes in the Water that forged a positive splash in motion picture history.


Please visit other 6th Annual What a Character! Blogathon posts that appear on many classic Hollywood sites. For more info, cut-n-paste the following links:





Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- TCM Fest Opens with The Producers

December 14th, 2017

Manny P. here… 

“` Turner Classic Movies kicks off the 9th annual TCM Classic Film Festival on Thursday, April 26th, with the 50th anniversary premiere restoration screening of the Mel Brooks groundbreaking comedy The Producers. The legendary director, producer, writer and actor is scheduled to be in attendance.

“`Long recognized as one of the funniest movies ever made, The Producers won an Oscar (Best Original Screenplay) for Brooks, and a nomination (Best Supporting Actor) for Gene Wilder. Thirty years after its theatric release, Mel turned it into a Tony Award-winning Broadway musical; a silly subject of the fourth season of HBO’s hit show Curb Your Enthusiasmand another cinematic adaptation in 2005 starring Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick.

“`Other screenings at the upcoming TCM Classic Film Festival includes BullittHis Girl FridayKramer vs Kramer, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, To Have and Have Not,  HamletPlaces in the Heart,  Woman of the Year, The Black Stallion, and a newly restored version of The Sea Wolf with missing clips not seen since it original release in 1941.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- LOC National Film Registry 2017…

December 13th, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`Twenty-Five additions have been made to the Library of Congress National Film Registry for 2017.  Recent selections includes La Bamba, Titanic, Die Hard, Field of Dreams, and  Superman. Noted motion pictures from Hollywood’s Golden Age are now represented. They include:


~ Only Angels Have Wings – One of the classic movies from the vaunted year of 1939. This boasts a cast that includes  Cary Grant, Jean Arthur, Rita Hayworth, Richard Barthelmess, and Thomas Mitchell. It is generally regarded as among Howard Hawks’ finest films, particularly in its portrayal of the professionalism of pilots in the film, the atmosphere, and flying sequences. It bridges themes displayed in the director’s early movies of the 1930s to his later work in the 1940s and 1950s. This is the production that solidified Hayworth as a bankable star.

~ Dumbo – A 1941 animated classic by Walt Disney. Voice actors included Edward Brophy, Cliff Edwards, Verna Felton, and Sterling Holloway. This Oscar-winning production leaves a legacy that includes a popular attraction ride for youngsters at Disney Theme Parks. Walt recouped the loss from the release of Fantasia with this modest work.

~ Ace in the Hole – Created by Billy Wilder, this is one of two productions chosen this year that featured Kirk Douglas, who just recently turned 101.  Though a critical and commercial failure in 1951, today’s critics see the work as a companion piece to  Sunset Boulevard for its scathing rebuke of the media.  This story is a cynical examination in the manner in which news is reported. The movie also shows how gullible the public can be when manipulated by the press.


~ Gentleman’s Agreement – Best Picture of 1947,  it starred Gregory Peck, John Garfield, Dorothy McGuire, and Celeste Holm. One of two movies selected by this year’s National Film Registry that explores racism; in this case, antisemitism. A controversial production for their time was directed by Elia Kazan, and captured similar themes from another work released in the same year, Crossfire. Producer Darryl F Zanuck was named Man of the Year for courage in making the piece by B’nai B’rith International.

~ Spartacus – A big-scale production starring Kirk Douglas, Jean Simmons, Tony Curtis and Laurence Olivier.  It is notable for the audacity Douglas displayed in getting blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo on the screen credits for the first time in a decade. President John F. Kennedy lent his support of Trumbo when attending the premiere. It also had gay-themes, considered contentious at the time. This was the first big-screen production directed by Stanley Kubrick. Spartacus won four Oscars in 1960.

~ Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner – A discussion over the nature of inter-racial unions, it marked the final performance by Spencer Tracy. He died from heart failure 17 days after the conclusion of production.  Director Stanley Kramer and Katharine Hepburn posted insurance money to complete the film since it was widely believed that Tracy was to ill to complete his assignment. The flick was the ninth Tracy-Hepburn collaboration; plus, one of three popular cinematic efforts conducted by Sidney Poitier in 1967. Hepburn won a second Oscar for her role. Anti-miscegenation laws were struck down by the Supreme Court in Loving v. Virginia, six months prior to its cinematic release.  This ruling was the subject of an acclaimed movie released last year.

~  ~  ~

“`Congratulations to this year’s additions to the Library of Congress National Film Registry.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Saving CBS Television City…

December 12th, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`Los Angeles Conservancy has submitted an application on Monday for historic-cultural monument status for CBS’s Television City, which is being shopped around the real estate market. At least several developers are reportedly interested in the property. It sits across from The Grove and original Farmers Market. Experts believe that it could fetch from $500 million to $900 million.

“`Television City played a major role in media history as the initial large-scale location in the country designed to provide mass-production of television programs.  One studio was where Elvis Presley first appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show; and was prominent in the careers of comedians Jack Benny and Carol Burnett, according to the Conservancy. The studio complex remains the home to shows like The Price Is Right and The Late Late Show with James Corden.

“`Television City wouldn’t be the first former CBS facility that has been transformed for new use. CBS’s old headquarters in Hollywood were reborn last year as Kilroy Realty’s Columbia Square. If Television City were awarded landmark designation, any potential redevelopment would have to be vetted by the city’s historic resources office.

“`Bulletins as they break…

Until next time>                              “never forget”