“Forgotten Hollywood”- Next Door Neighbor…

August 30th, 2018

Manny P. here… 

“`While at Cinecon 54 in Hollywood,  I sat at the author’s table next to William Wellman Jr., son of the legendary director. He is a dutiful child, and he has spent the couple of years keeping the memory of his father’s legacy in tact.

“`Wild Bill Wellman had an iconic career, directing a number of movies during the Silent Era, including the motion picture that won the first Oscar for Best Picture in 1927, Wings. Other movie classics he would helm include  The Public Enemy, Night Nurse, Nothing Sacred, Beau Geste, A Star is BornRoxie Hart, The Ox-Bow Incident, The Story of G.I. Joe, Battleground, and The High and the Mighty.

“`Wellman Jr. spent most of his childhood around film celebrities: Gary Cooper, Tyrone Power, Henry Fonda, Carole Lombard, Frank Capra, Red Skelton, Jennifer Jones, Peter Lawford, Lana Turner, John Payne, and William Hopalong Cassidy Boyd. While still in his teens, he left Duke University for a career in the movies. His first girlfriend was Jane Fonda.

“`The actor is credited with 180 films and television shows, dozens of stage productions, and hundreds of commercials. He was cast in  Sayonara, How the West was WonThe Horse SoldiersThe Errand Boy, Sgt. RutledgeMacArthur and The Trial of Billy Jack. On the small screen, Wellman Jr. has appeared in Marcus Welby M.D.Twelve O’Clock High, The F.B.I.The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, and The Brady Bunch.

“`He has written two books about his dad: The Man And His Wings: William A. Wellman and the Making of the First Best Picture, and Wild Bill Wellman –  Hollywood Rebel. Bill Jr. has been a guest-host on TCM to introduce productions made by his father.


                                 WILLIAM WELLMAN JR.

“`And now,  I am grateful to announce William Wellman Jr. owns a personal copy of my latest work, Road to Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History. The paperback has been available for thirty-six hours, and a member of Hollywood royalty is the proud owner of my latest book. What a thrill!

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Cinecon is Back…

August 28th, 2018

Manny P. here…

“`The Labor Day weekend is fast approaching. It is time for my annual trek to  Cinecon 54. My annual pilgrimage to this wonderful film fest is an opportunity to catch up with cinephiles and friends who are devotees to classic motion pictures. Here are details about my visit:


Loews Hotel (2nd Floor)

1755 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood, CA

August 30th

11:30p – 3p

“`Come by and pick up copies of my Forgotten Hollywood Book Series. They make great holiday gifts, if you already have a copy.

“`ROAD TO FORGOTTEN HOLLYWOOD FORGOTTEN HISTORY is my new paperback in the Forgotten Hollywood Book Series. It is available for purchase.  Pick up an autographed copy while at Cinecon 54!

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- What’s in a Name…

August 27th, 2018

Manny P. here…

“`William Shakespeare once surmised in Romeo and Juliet: A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Character names in cinema are one of the many delights when a scribe places pen to paper. Here are three iconic examples of screenplay creations with names that resonate in motion pictures…

~ ERIC VON ZIPPER – Beach Party series were a vehicle for Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello, and an acquired taste from the mind of Samuel Z. Arkoff at American International Pictures. These series of flicks that featured scantily-dressed all-American young adults, and collections of character actors put in dumb situations, including Buster Keaton, Don Rickles, Boris Karloff, Bob Cummings, Morey Amsterdam, Buddy Hackett,  Keenan Wynn, Paul Lynde,  and Mickey Rooney. Most successful of the cameos was Harvey Lembeck, a loony guy on screen. Plus, he was immensely talented.

“`He portrayed the head of a motorcycle gang who was the antithesis of the surfer heroes. The Von Zipper character was a parody of Marlon Brando’s role in The Wild One. Lembeck made these beach movies palatable.

~ PUSSY GALORE – James Bond films pushed the hedonistic envelope. The villain’s moll in  Goldfinger had a name that might cause one to blush when uttered. Honor Blackman assumed the role with confidence.  Her appearance coincided with The Beatles British Invasion and an end of youthful innocence after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

“`Amazingly, Galore first was mentioned in the 1959 novel written by Ian Fleming. Easily, the most famous Bond Girl name, censors almost cut it from Goldfinger.

~ LIBERTY VALANCE – John Ford had a passion for the grandeur of frontier life.  In The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, the producer and director adapted the screenplay from a short story, with one major stroke… the characters were given splashy names, such as Ransom Stoddard, Tom Doniphon, Dutton Peabody, Link Appleyard, and Cassius Starbuckle.

“`Liberty Valance is the illustrious center of this sagebrush saga; the villain played by Lee Marvin. His character inspired a 1962 hit tune performed by Gene Pitney. It was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David.

~ ~ ~

“`Honorable mentions: Eulalie Mackechnie Shinn (Hermione Gingold in The Music Man), and  Ratso Rizzo (Dustin Hoffman in Midnight Cowboy).

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- An Odd Couple…

August 26th, 2018

Manny P. here… 

“`Within the second half of the twentieth century, Neil Simon is American theater’s most successful and prolific playwright who chronicled mundane middle class issues and fears with humor and pathos. His list of credits is staggering.  The Odd Couple, Barefoot in the Park, and his Brighton Beach Trilogy  were just a few of his productions dominating Broadway for decades. Neil was just as busy in film and television. Walter Matthau was a frequent actor who embodied the angst of a suburban life penned by Neil Simon (right).

“`Even before he launched his theater career, Neil was one of the famed stable of writers on Your Show of Shows for comedian Sid Caesar that also included Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, and Carl Reiner. He later wrote for The Phil Silvers Show in which the comedian portrayed the conniving Sgt. Bilko.

“`Simon grew dissatisfied with television writing and the network restrictions. He turned to Broadway as an attractive alternative. His first assignment was Come Blow Your Horn in 1961. The comedy ran for more than a year on Broadway.

“`His other memorable work included  Sweet Charity, Plaza Suite, Promises Promises, The Star-Spangled GirlThe Sunshine BoysThe Prisoner of Second Avenue, Biloxi Blues, Lost in Yonkers, and The Goodbye Girl. At one time, Simon had four productions simultaneously running in Broadway theaters. Many of the productions were adapted to the screen. His film-only work include Murder by Death, The Cheap Detective, Seems Like Old Times, and The Slugger’s Wife. On television, The Odd Couple was a smash.

“`Neil won Emmys (Your Show of ShowsThe Phil Silvers Show); Tonys (The Odd Couple, Biloxi BluesLost in Yonkers); Golden Globe (The Goodbye Girl); Pulitzer Prize (Lost in Yonkers); and many Writer’s Guild Awards. Simon is a member of the American Theater Hall of Fame and a Kennedy Center Honoree. His most recent accolade included his Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.

“`Neil Simon was 91.


“`John McCain was the maverick of the senate for over three decades.  His ability to reach across the aisle made him a throwback senator, and his pet projects were campaign finance reform and foreign policy. Lindsey Graham and Joe Biden were among his closest friends in politics.  Two unsuccessful campaigns for president only netted a rise and the subsequent fall of Sarah Palin. One final courageous act was to defy a sitting president by upholding his vote to protect the Affordable Care Act.

“`A veteran, McCain was also a POW during the Vietnam war for six years. This experience shaped his patriotism throughout his life and career.

“`John McCain (right) was 81.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Champagne Wishes Caviar Dreams…

August 24th, 2018

Manny P. here…

“`Robin Leach’s narrative symbolized the excessive 1980s on television’s  Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. Champagne wishes and caviar dreams was his sign-off at the conclusion of each episode of his syndicated show’s decade-long run that began in 1984.

“`Leach’s career spanned six decades, and included stints with CNN, People Magazine, Entertainment Tonight, and Daily Mail, where he began as a writer in Britain. In the mid-1970s, Leach tried out the small screen as a regular contributor to AM Los Angeles, with hosts Regis Philbin and Sarah Purcell, and found his niche. Robin became a regular on morning news and entertainment shows practicing tabloid journalism that was light-hearted.  He often became friends with the celebrities he covered. He was destined for his own sort of fame and offers suddenly arrived.

“`In 1984, Leach landed Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. He mostly narrated the weekly program. The gaudy show became wildly popular, but never with critics. He became a pioneer in the creation of the modern reality show.

“`Robin made frequent appearances on the celebrity reality television circuit, hosting VH-1’s The Surreal Life: Fame Games, and appearing on the celebrity editions of Wife Swap and Who Wants to be a Millionaire. He was among the founders of the Food Network, selling his equity for a big payday when the channel took off. He also wrote for the Las Vegas Sun, and most recently, for the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

“`Often imitated, Robin Leach was 76.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Cookie Monster…

August 23rd, 2018

Manny P. here…

“`The packaging of Barnum’s Animals, an iconic Nabisco cookie, will not depict the exotic creatures in cages anymore. Instead, jungle animals are out roaming in the serengeti.

“`This change comes at the urging of the animal-rights organization,  People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, pointing out to Nabisco that circuses often beat and whip animals to intimidate them into performing tricks. Other cruel practices also include tearing baby animals away from their mothers and keeping animals shackled in cages.

“`The animal crackers’ name is not being changed. It is a reference to showman P. T. Barnum, whose name was long part of the most famous circus in United States history, Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus, billed as the Greatest Show on Earth.  Ringling Bros. shut down in May 2017 after 146 years, citing high operating costs, legal fights with animal-welfare groups and declining ticket sales once the circus owners agreed to stop using elephants in the show, a concession to increasing legal and societal pressure opposed to the practice.

“`A song sung by Shirley Temple in 1935, Animal Crackers in My Soup, was used by many companies for advertising animal crackers. Cecil B. DeMille won a Best Picture Oscar in 1952 for his production of The Greatest Show on Earth.

“`A spokesperson declined to say how much the packaging redesign cost the company. The new cage-free packages are on store shelves now.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Passing Parade Claims Barbara Harris

August 22nd, 2018

Manny P. here…

“`She was zany, unpredictable, and immensely talented. Barbara Harris, the Tony Award-winning actress whose comic-neurotic charms lit up a Broadway stage and motion pictures, including Nashville, Freaky Friday, Plaza Suite, Family Plot and A Thousand Clowns.

“`Born in 1935 in the Chicago suburb of Evanston, Harris was a veteran of two  Second City predecessor groups, Playwrights Theatre Club — which she joined while still in high school — and the Compass Players. Her Compass compatriots included Ed Asner, Elaine May, and Mike Nichols. They all remained lifelong pals. Harris was one of the performers in the historic first group at Chicago’s Second City improvisational theater, which opened its doors in late 1959. Over a half-century, it has become the proving ground for dozens of now-famous actors and comedians, from Alan Arkin and John Belushi to Tina Fey and Stephen Colbert.

“`After her film debut in A Thousand Clowns, Barbara Harris co-starred on Broadway in On a Clear Day You Can See Forever and The Apple Tree.  She garnered a Tony Award for her performance in the latter production.

“`Other big screen appearances include The Seduction of Joe Tynan, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,  Peggy Sue Got Married, and  Grosse Pointe Blank. On television, Harris had roles in  Alfred Hitchcock Presents,  Naked City, and The Defenders. Her prestigious co-stars included Jason Robards, Dustin Hoffman, Rosiland Russell, Robert Morse, William Devane, Bruce Dern, Karen Black, Walter Matthau, Jack Lemmon, Lily Tomlin, Alan Alda, Jodie Foster and Meryl Streep.

“`The offbeat Barbara Harris (right) was 83.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- R – E – S – P – E – C – T…

August 21st, 2018

Manny P. here…

“`A  bi-partisan group of House and Senate lawmakers is introducing legislation to honor Aretha Franklin posthumously with the Congressional Gold Medal.

“`The bill was introduced by Democratic Senator Kamala Harris of California and Republican Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah.  They were joined by Georgia Republican Representative Doug Collins, Democratic Representative Brenda Lawrence of Michigan and the senators from her home state of Tennessee.


“`The bill’s language states that the Queen of Soul instilled hope, uplifted generations, and changed the lives of millions. The senators were high in their praise for Franklin, who spent time at the White House with a number of presidents,  including Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.

“`The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest commendation from Congress, and was first awarded to George Washington.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Say a Little Prayer…

August 17th, 2018

Manny P. here…

“`Aretha Franklin was an incredibly gifted vocalist that overshadowed her unparalleled ability to perform and her talent as an accomplished pianist. Aretha belongs in the Mt. Rushmore of great female R&B/Soul singers to emerge in the Top 40 era of music, which also includes Etta James, Tina Turner, Patti LaBelle, and Gladys Knight. Franklin’s style also transcended Gospel and Jazz. She was the complete package, and for this reason, she was dubbed: the Queen of Soul.

“`Born in Memphis, Aretha and her family settled in Detroit. One of her childhood friends was Smokey Robinson. Her father, C. L. Franklin was among the most prominent Baptist ministers of his time. He recorded dozens of albums of sermons and music and knew such gospel stars as Marion Williams and Clara Ward,  who mentored Aretha and her sisters Carolyn and Erma. Music was the family business, and performers from Sam Cooke to Lou Rawls were guests at the Franklin house.

“`Franklin signed with Columbia Records producer John Hammond, who called Franklin the most exciting singer he had heard since a vocalist he promoted decades earlier, Billie Holiday. Franklin knew Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr. and she considered joining his label. Franklin jumped to Atlantic Records when her contract at Columbia ran out in 1966.

“`Her career was defined by an extraordinary string of top ten hits in the late 1960s, from the bliss of (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman, to the sassy Chain of Fools, and her unstoppable call for Respect. Other hits include Dr. FeelgoodI Never Loved a ManRock Steady,  Until You Come Back to MeI Say a Little Prayer For You,  Freeway of Love,  Ain’t No Way, and Who’s Zoomin’ Who. Think was performed on screen by Aretha during one memorable scene in The Blues Brothers movie.

“`Political leaders treated her as a peer. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was a longtime friend, and she sang at the dedication of King’s memorial, in 2011. She performed at the inaugurations of Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, and at the funeral for civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks. Clinton gave Franklin the National Medal of Arts. President George W. Bush awarded Aretha a  Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in 2005.

“`And the accolades always poured in; she was the recipient of eighteen Grammy Awards. Aretha also was the first woman inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

“`Franklin’s funeral will be held at Greater Grace Temple, and limited to family and friends. Public viewings will take place on August 28th – 29th at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History from 9a to 9p. Aretha is be entombed at Woodlawn Cemetery in Detroit.

“`The regal Aretha Franklin was 76.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Same Marilyn… Different Day…

August 13th, 2018

Manny P. here…

“`The legend of Marilyn Monroe continues to fascinate us many decades after her passing. In celebration of her enduring artistic legacy, the Paley Center for Media is proud to showcase Essentially Marilyn: An Exhibit. It goes on from August 18th to September 30th.

“`Presented by Profiles in History, its an extraordinary private archive of Monroe treasures, including signature costumes from her movies Gentlemen Prefer BlondesThe Prince and the Showgirl, and How to Marry a Millionaire, personal artifacts, such as hand-annotated script from 1955’s The Seven Year Itch (a  window into her artistic process), wardrobe, and much more.

“`The exhibition is framed by beautiful large-format photographs of Monroe captured by her friend, famed fashion and celebrity photographer Milton H Greene, and unique historic video from the Paley Archive chronicling the icon’s contributions to television.

“`The mere mention of her name conjures up a million dazzling images—flickers of light that capture the incandescent glamour of arguably Hollywood’s greatest icon.

“`The Paley Center for Media is located at 465 N. Beverly Dr. in Beverly Hills.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Mickey is Ready For His Closeup…

August 8th, 2018

Manny P. here…

“`Mickey Mouse is turning ninety this year. ABC has announced Mickey’s 90th Spectacular, a two-hour prime-time special, will air on November 4th.

“`The program features tributes and never-before-seen shorts of Walt Disney Company’s global ambassador, who made his film debut in Steamboat Willie on November 18, 1928. The list of performers participating in the celebration will be released at a later date.

“`Don Mischer will produce and direct the televised gala, which is taking place at the Shrine Auditorium. Mischer notes that Walt Disney inspired him to pursue his work in television.

“`The beloved rodent is ready for his closeup.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Something Fishy…

August 7th, 2018

Manny P. here…

“`The son of Stephen King has turned detective in efforts to solve a cold-case murder. And it has a connection to the Steven Spielberg classic, Jaws. Joe Hill fleshed out this theory after watching the flick on the big screen in 2015.

“`The comic book and horror writer had only recently been reading about the Lady in the Dunes, an unknown woman found brutally murdered in the sandy dunes of Provincetown, Massachusetts in late July 1974, while Jaws was being filmed one hundred miles away in Martha’s Vineyard. The female extra in Jaws is almost a twin of the figure presented in a composite sketch of the victim.

“`Fifty-three minutes into the movie, a woman with a blue bandana over her auburn hair is seen briefly waiting to board a ferry in a non-frightening scene. The Lady in the Dunes was believed to be in her mid-20s to 30s when she was murdered in late June or early July. The naked woman’s hands were removed, preventing fingerprint identification.  Plus, her head, which suffered a fatal blow, was resting on jeans and a blue bandana. Hill has goosebumps when now watching the scene.

“`The theory is making the rounds on the internet. One added complication… the casting director for the film died in 2009. Local investigators are now pondering Hill’s speculative analysis.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- The Facts of Death…

August 5th, 2018

Manny P. here… 

“`Charlotte Rae was a character actress, comedian, singer, and dancer. Her career spanned six decades. She worked as a Broadway performer and as a television staple before landing the part of housekeeper Mrs. Garrett on the sitcom Diff’rent Strokes in the late 1970s.  Charlotte starred as the same character on the spinoff series The Facts of Life, which aired for almost a decade, and earned Rae two Emmy nominations.     CHARLOTTE RAE –>

“`Rae pursued music and acting while she attended Northwestern University, near Chicago. In addition to performing in summer stock productions, she found work on local television and radio programs in Chicago.  In the late 1940s, Rae made the move to Manhattan. She created a nightclub act and played such venues as Village Vanguard. On Broadway, she had featured roles in The Threepenny Opera, Li’l Abner, and Pickwick.

“`On the small screen, Rae remained busy in guest-starring roles on The Phil Silvers Show, Car 54:  Where Are You (in a recurring part), The Partridge Family, McMillan and Wife, Love American Style, All in the Family, Phyllis, Barney Miller, Murder She WroteSt. ElsewhereThe Love Boat, Good TimesDiagnosis:  Murder, and ER. Rae was Molly the Mail Lady on Sesame Street for one season. Charlotte received Emmy consideration for her performance in the television film, Queen of the Stardust Ballroom.

“`Rae sporadically appeared in several movies, including Bananas, The Hot Rock, and Hair. There was the reunion of the entire cast of The Facts of Life in 2001.

“`Charlotte Rae was 92.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Cheers!

August 3rd, 2018

Manny P. here… 

“`A couple moving into a Massachusetts home have found a stash of Prohibition-era booze. The Patriot Ledger is reporting that the new homeowners  discovered dozens of dusty glass bottles and clay jugs shelved behind a false wall in their Quincy home.

“`A contractor uncovered the hidden compartment while working in the basement in July after the couple had moved from Connecticut. Some of the fifty-six bottles still contain liquid appearing to include beer and moonshine, and give off a vinegary smell.

“`The head of the Quincy Historical Society says it is still too soon to know how long the bottles were hidden. Quincy banned alcohol sales in 1880 amid the temperance movement. The house was built in 1910.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Literary Booty…

August 2nd, 2018

Manny P. here…

“`An Ernest Hemingway story from 1956 will be published for the first time. A Room on the Garden Side appears this month in the summer edition of The Strand Magazine, a literary quarterly that has released obscure works by Raymond Chandler, John Steinbeck, and others.

“`The themes and trappings are familiar for an Ernest Hemingway narrative:  Paris, wartime, talk of books and wine, and the scars of battle. War was a longtime muse for Hemingway. He served as an ambulance driver during World War I, and draws upon a vast experience for his classic work A Farewell to Arms. The Spanish Civil War inspired For Whom the Bell Tolls. He was a soldier and correspondent during World War II, and was on hand in Paris in August, 1944 for the liberation from Nazi occupation, described by the author in reports published by Collier’s magazine.

“`Hemingway wrote several World War II stories over the final decade of his life. In 1956, he told his publisher Charles Scribner Jr. that he completed five: A Room on the Garden Side, The Cross Roads,  Indian Country and the White Army, The Bubble Reputation, The Monument. Until now, only The Cross Roads had been widely seen.

“`Ernest left a number of unpublished work at the time of his suicide in 1961. A Moveable Feast, his celebrated memoir on Paris in the 1920s, came out three years after his passing. Other posthumous books include  The Garden of EdenIslands in the Stream, and The Dangerous Summer, a nonfiction account of bullfighting.

“`Kirk Curnutt, a board member of The Hemingway Society, contributed an afterword for the Strand, saying that the story contains all the trademark elements readers love in Hemingway.

“`I guess it remains important being Ernest.

Until next time>                               “never forget”