“Forgotten Hollywood”- It Ain’t Easy Being Green…

April 11th, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`A New York City museum is reaching out to fans of Jim Henson’s Muppets to help finance an exhibition featuring original puppets of beloved characters as Elmo, Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog. The Museum of the Moving Image launched a Kickstarter campaign seeking $40,000 to help preserve the puppets for posterity.

“`The museum owns hundreds of Jim Henson puppets and other objects, including costumes and props. Museum staff members are working to conserve the artifacts. The strategy to use crowdfunding makes sense because the Muppet fan community is so active.

“`The restoration of this important collection is an ongoing collaboration between the Museum and Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, with input from fine art conservators. The Museum will work with designers and builders at the legendary Creature Shop to restore and preserve the items for future generations.

“`The exhibit will feature over  40 original puppets, as well as prototypes, original character sketches, rare behind-the-scenes footage and photographs, and interactive puppetry design and performance experiences.

“`Sections of the exhibition will be devoted to: 

  • Henson’s early work on television and cinema in the 1950s and 1960s, in which Jim’s imagination, wit, and capacity for creative innovation were clearly established
  • Sesame Street, where his remarkably expressive puppets have delighted children for generations
  • The Muppet Show and Muppet feature films, which have had an indelible impact on popular culture
  • The imaginary worlds of Fraggle Rock, The Dark Crystal, and Labyrinth

“`The museum in the Astoria section of Queens is hoping to open the Jim Henson Exhibition this summer. A traveling exhibition, using objects from the collection, will open May 20th at Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Fired Up over Nitrate Cinema…

April 10th, 2017

Manny P. here… 

“`Film fans had a chance this weekend at the TCM Classic Film Festival to see cinema the way they were originally projected:  On old-style nitrate film stock. The process has been universally praised for its visual beauty, and for allowing cinematographers to paint with image light  —  whites jump off the screen, blacks are deep and rich, and grey tones shimmer. Color nitrate has been described as equally breathtaking.

“`It’s also unstable, combustible, and contains a substance used in explosives. In other words, nitrate is extremely flammable. Kodak stopped making this in the early 1950s, when replaced by more stable film stock.


“`TCM wanted to screen nitrate prints that exist in archives at its fest. They collaborated with Martin Scorsese’s The Film Foundation. In conjunction with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Academy Film Archive, and the American Cinematheque, they brought the projection booth of the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood up to fire code.  They also modified a couple of vintage 35mm projectors.


                                                    PORTRAIT OF JENNIE

“`Personally,  I believe Portrait of Jennie may have been the finest example in the use of nitrate celluloid. Over the weekend, TCM screened Alfred Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much; the film noir classic, LauraLady in the Dark; and Black Narcissus. With its projection booth up to code, the Egyptian Theatre will continue to screen nitrate movies.

“`Plus, all precautions have been taken, so patrons never have to yell fire in the theater.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Google Honors Mary Pickford…

April 8th, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`Google’s latest Google Doodle is celebrating what would be actress, director, and producer Mary Pickford’s 125th birthday. The search engine’s homepage features art depicting Pickford, known as Queen of the Movies, operating a camera with a kitty perched on her shoulder, and the word Google written in the style of text from a silent film.

“`Mary Pickford was born in Toronto, Canada on April 8th, 1892, and she died in Santa Monica on May 29th, 1979 at the age of 87, after a prolific career in the motion picture industry. Early in her cinematic career, she was known as the girl with the curls; a beloved star who appeared in as many as 50 films a year in the silent film era.

“`Mary was able to use her stardom to negotiate  wages equaling half of her films profits, and demanded full creative and financial control of her films along with Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin, and D.W. Griffith. Pickford also helped revolutionize the movie industry by developing the Motion Picture Relief Fund, which helped provide independent filmmakers an avenue to distribute their films outside of the studios system.

“`She won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in the 1929 film Coquette, and was recognized for contributions to the film industry with an Oscar for Lifetime Achievement in 1976.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- The Passing of Mr. Warmth…

April 7th, 2017

Manny P. here… 

“`Don Rickles, whose verbal assaults endeared him to audiences and peers, and made him the acknowledged master of insult comedy. He was a mainstay on late-night television, and he was quite memorable in a few films.  Above all, Don was a madcap pioneer of political incorrectness.

“`Rickles perfected this confrontational schtick, stand-up performers still emulate. He managed to shock audiences, without social commentary. He operated under a code as old as the Borscht Belt: Go far – ethnic jokes, sex jokes; however, make sure everyone knows it’s just for fun.  He emerged in the late 1950s, a time when comics such as Lenny Bruce and Mort Sahl were taking greater political risks. Ironically, one of his best pals was the milquetoast Bob Newhart.

“`For over a half a century, Rickles (above)  headlined casinos and nightclubs from Las Vegas to Atlantic City, and he livened up late-night talk shows. No one was exempt from his barrage of insults, including fellow celebs as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Johnny Carson.  In spite of jokes that might have inspired boycotts, Rickles was one of the most beloved folks in show business;  idolized by peers, such as Joan Rivers, Louis CK, Chris Rock, and Sarah Silverman. Rickles appeared everywhere from strip clubs to the 1985 inaugural gala for President Ronald Reagan, and remained popular well after his ethnic and racial humor had become outdated.

“`Don set out to be a serious actor, enrolling in New York’s American Academy of Dramatic Arts, where one of his classmates was Jason Robards. Originally having no luck finding acting jobs, he initially supported himself by selling automobiles, life insurance, and even, cosmetics. Rickles’ movies ranged from comedies to dramas, and included  Run Silent Run Deep, which starred Clark Gable; The Rat Race with Tony Curtis; Kelly’s Heroes starring Clint Eastwood; and Martin Scorsese’s Casino with Robert De Niro. Rickles also appeared in four Beach Party flicks in the 1960s, and Don provided the voice of Mr. Potato Head in the animated Toy Story films. The latter character was additionally featured in a potato chip television ad.

“`He was never able to transfer his success to a televised weekly situation comedy. The Don Rickles Show lasted just one season.  C.P.O. Sharkey, in which he played an acid-tongued Navy chief petty officer, fared slightly better, airing from 1976 to 1978. The tireless comedian left behind a 10-episode series, Dinner with Don, which De Niro, Billy Crystal, Amy Poehler, Jimmy Kimmel, and others joined him to eat and chat. Distribution and a release date for the AARP Studios production have yet to be announced.

“`Rickles became an unofficial court jester of Sinatra’s Rat Pack, ridiculing his singing, his love life, and alleged ties to organized crime. He won the Emmy for Best Individual Performance in a Variety Show for the John Landis film Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project. He received the Johnny Carson Award for Comedic Excellence, a fitting tribute for a comic whose big break came on The Tonight Show. Carson was a favorite target; and maybe, his biggest fan.

“`God rest the hockey puck… Don Rickles was 90.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- The Genius of Rona Barrett…

April 6th, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`Rona Barrett’s fine effort to build the Golden Inn & Village housing project for low-income seniors in Santa Ynez has inspired California Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson to introduced a bill that would encourage the construction of similar affordable senior housing projects, statewide. The Golden Inn & Village opened its doors last year.


                                                                   RONA BARRETT

“`Senate Bill 62,  Affordable Senior Housing Act of 2017, would create an Affordable Senior Housing Program within the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. The program would guide housing projects from conception to completion; it would provide assistance in obtaining permits;  it would help find private and public funding sources;  and would search for suitable locations. It works with local, state, and federal agencies to move projects forward.

“`SB 62 would also require annual reports to the Legislature on the number and location of senior housing units developed through the program, as well as, challenges encountered. A hearing for the bill has not yet been scheduled.

“`California’s baby boomers are turning 65 at the highest rate in the nation, and more than 20% of the state’s population will be 65 or older by 2030, and people who are 85 and older make up the fastest growing segment of the United States population.

“`Spearheaded by Barrett, an entrepreneur and former gossip columnist, the Golden Inn & Village was built with a combination of public and private funds, and provides housing units for low-income seniors, along with services that meet their needs as they age.  They include affordable staff housing, community center and gardens, and will eventually include assisted living, memory care, adult day care, and hospice care.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Color Me British…

April 5th, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`Downton Abbey may not be producing any new episodes;  but, the British series is offering all fans with a really neat activity that could meet with the Dowager Countess’ discerning approval: An official coloring book! Produced by Sizzle Press, the item  gives fans;  who miss the Crawleys, and their high society drama, a chance to return to the program,  as they color in different scenes.

“`In particular, viewers of the series will recognize key characters of Downton, including Mr. Carson, Lady Edith, Branson, and Mrs. Patmore. This entry is the latest in a line of television program-themed coloring books fans of popular series can purchase.

“`The official Downton Abbey Coloring Book will soon be available for purchase on May 2nd.



                       ARNOLD PALMER      ROBERT OSBORNE

“` This weekend, we will remember two legends:  Arnold Palmer, during the ceremonial First Tee Shot at The Masters; and Robert Osborne, all weekend long at the TCM Film Festival. For four days, they are linked together in death.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- A Bi-Racial Pioneer…

April 4th, 2017

Manny P. here… 

“`The recent motion picture, Loving,  has a noted ancestor. Five decades ago, a big-screen smooch by cinematic lovers, Katharine Houghton and Sidney Poitier,  created a commotion in our nation, and also for Columbia Pictures,  the distributors and producers of Guess Who’s Coming for Dinner.

“`Once, studio execs discovered the subject matter of the film’s plot, they were convinced audiences would stay away, and they might lose millions of dollars on the flick. The studio was wrong. It made more money for Columbia Pictures than any previous production;  earned 10 Oscar nominations — winning two; and was chosen by the American Film Institute as one of the 100 greatest movies. But, number’s of theaters in the South refused to screen it.

“`By today’s standards, the screenplay appears rather quaint, and even, antiquated. Modern, critics say it was ultimately a cautious movie without much bite. Looking back, it didn’t go far enough to confront racism. However, explained in a scene, the bi-racial couple met in Hawaii, where the lovers would eventually live,  and bring up a bi-racial family. Plus, it’s inferred one of their kids might grow up to be president; prophetic, considering Barack Obama’s story.

“`However, the social backdrop was far different in 1967.  While the film was being shot, more than a dozen states had laws against miscegenation.  The same year it came out, Secretary of State Dean Rusk offered to resign after his daughter married a black man. Interracial romance was such an explosive topic that Beah Richards, who played Poitier’s mom in the film, couldn’t see it in her hometown of Vicksburg, Mississippi.

“`Columbia Pictures wanted to shut down the production, arguing it couldn’t get insurance for Spencer Tracy, who was gravely ill (he died just days after shooting wrapped).  Katharine Hepburn and director Stanley Kramer  agreed to put their salaries in escrow if Tracy couldn’t finish, and another actor needed to be hired. Truth be told, the movie studio might have had other motives in mind.

“`Recent commercials for Cheerios and Chase Bank celebrate interracial couples. Madison Avenue-made productions indicate a growing acceptance. The U.S. Census Bureau reports interracial opposite-sex married couple households increased by 28% over the decade; from 7% in 2000, to 10% in 2010.

“`Still, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner could have forced liberal audiences to confront their prejudices. I contend the motion picture remains a revolutionary pioneer in celluloid. And, this week, it celebrates its 50th anniversary.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Birth Certificate in Question…

April 2nd, 2017

Manny P. here…

“`To Doris Day’s many admirers, the iconic actress and singer is ageless. But, Day (whose real name is Doris Mary Kappelhoff) turns 95 on Monday — a surprise to even the star herself, who has long stated that her age is related to a 1924 birthdate that would make her 93.

“`A copy of Day’s birth certificate,  obtained by the Associated Press from Ohio’s Office of Vital Statistics, settles the issue:  She was born in Cincinnati on April 3rd, 1922, making her 95.  This confusion stems from a 1976 interview in New York, over a remark she made to a reporter. The interview was in connection to the release of her autobiography – Doris Day: Her Own Story.

“`She’s celebrating her now-milestone birthday the way she always does; asking for support for her favorite cause… animal welfare.


“`A newly restored classic is being screened at the Hollywood Heritage Museum. Here are the details:

Until next time>                               “never forget”