“Forgotten Hollywood”- Comedy Royalty…

June 30th, 2020

Manny P. here…

“`Carl Reiner was the versatile writer, actor, and director.  He was the dependable co-star to Sid Caesar, and rose to comedy’s front ranks as creator of The Dick Van Dyke Show and straight man to Mel Brooks 2000 Year Old Man comedy skit. One of his sons is Rob Reiner.

“`Reiner was born in the Bronx. After graduating from high school, he attended drama school, and then joined a small theater group. During World War II, he joined the Army and toured in GI variety shows for a year and a half. Carl later received stage roles, debuting on Broadway in Call Me Mister. He stayed busy on stage throughout the 1940s.

“`Reiner joined the classic comedy revue Your Show of Shows in 1950. He lent able support of Caesar. The comedian added his talents to a writing team that included Brooks, Neil Simon, Woody Allen, and Larry Gelbart.

“`The Dick Van Dyke Show remains one of the most popular television series of all time and a model of ensemble playing, physical comedy. He was originally cast to star in the sitcom, but he and CBS decided that Van Dyke was the correct person to be the lead in the program.

“`Reiner’s movie roles include  Gidget Goes Hawaiian, It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, The Russians are Coming The Russians are Coming, History of the World Pt. 1and the Oceans 11 series of films. He co-starred and directed The Comic, Oh God!, The Jerk, Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, and Summer School. On television, Reiner guest-starred in Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, Night Gallery, The Carol Burnett Show, Frasier, Mad About You, Two and a Half Men, and Hot in Cleveland.

“`His books include Enter Laughing, an autobiographical novel later adapted into a film and Broadway show. In 2000, he received the Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for Humor. He was also inducted into the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences’ Hall of Fame.

“`Carl Reiner (above) was ninety-eight.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Remembering Johnny Mandel…

June 29th, 2020

Manny P. here…

“`Johnny Mandel was one of the country’s top composer / arrangers in jazz, pop, and film music. The breadth and quality of his work made it possible to be recorded by a wide variety of jazz musicians and singers including Count Basie, Frank Sinatra, Shirley Horn, Anita O’Day, Tony Bennett, Diane Schuur, Barbra Streisand, and Peggy Lee.                            JOHNNY MANDEL –>

“`He studied at the Manhattan School of Music and Juilliard School.  In 1943, he played the trumpet with jazz violinist Joe Venuti. The following year, he worked with Billy Rogers and in the bands of Jimmy Dorsey, Buddy Rich, Georgie Auld, and Chubby Jackson. He also wrote tunes for Woody Herman, Stan Getz, and Chet Baker.

“`Mandel was in demand in Hollywood and worked on scores for I Want to Live!, The Americanization of Emily, The Sandpiper, Harper, The Russians are Coming The Russians are Coming, M*A*S*H, The Last Detail, Summer Wishes Winter Dreams, Being There, Caddyshack and The Verdict. The Shadow of Your Smile, which he co-wrote with Paul Francis Webster, won the 1965 Academy Award for Best Original Song and the Grammy Award for Song of the Year. He also wrote Suicide is Painless, featured in the screen and small screen adaptations of M*A*S*H.  He also won a Grammy for his arrangement of the Natalie and Nat King Cole duet of Unforgettable.

“`Johnny Mandel was ninety-four.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Celebrating B-Movies…

June 28th, 2020

Manny P. here…

“`Who does not love a great popcorn flick! I join Art Kirsch and John Coleman on Celebrating Act 2 to discuss the all time great “B” Movies.


“`Linda Cristal was an Argentine actress. She appeared in a number of Westerns during the 1950s. She was best known for her recurring role in High Chaparral. Her films include The Alamo, Two Rode Together, Panic in the City, and Mr. Majestyk. On television, she guest-starred in Rawhide, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Love Boat,and Police Story.

“`Linda Cristal was eighty-nine.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- In Full View…

June 25th, 2020

Manny P. here…

“`NASA is to name its headquarters in Washington D. C. after its first black female engineer, Mary Jackson. Her story was shared in the 2016 film Hidden Figures. The move comes at a time of introspection across our nation over historical injustice suffered by African Americans.

“`NASA began recruiting college-educated African American women in the 1940s as human computers, but they experienced both racial and gender discrimination at work. Jackson was picked in 1951 by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. She worked under Dorothy Vaughan – whose story was also told in Hidden Figures – in the segregated West Area Computing Unit at Langley, Virginia. Jackson helped to break down barriers for African Americans and women in engineering and technology.

“`Just last year, the 300 block of E Street SW, in front of NASA’s Headquarters building, was designated as Hidden Figures Way to honor Katherine Johnson, Vaughan, Jackson, and every woman who dedicated their lives to honorably serving their country, advancing equality, and contributing to the space program of the United States.

“`Jackson died in 2005. In 2019, she was posthumously awarded a Congressional Gold Medal. Now, her name will be etched above NASA, an enduring symbol of her lifelong intent to reach for the stars.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Back with a Breeze…

June 24th, 2020

Manny P. here…

“`Gone With the Wind has returned to HBO Max, having been restored to the streaming service’s library with a new prologue about the movies problematic themes and depiction of the antebellum South. Here to offer perspective is Jacqueline Stewart, host of TCM’s Silent Sunday Nights and professor in Department of Cinema and Media Studies at University of Chicago. In addition to Stewart’s opening, an hour-long panel discussion, The Complicated Legacy of Gone with the Wind, appears as a special feature with the movie on HBO Max.

                              JACQUELINE STEWART

“`After offering the obligatory achievements by the epic, Stewart acknowledges that it paints the picture of the antebellum South as a romantic, idyllic setting that is tragically been lost to the past. Producer David O. Selznick assured the NAACP at the time that he was  sensitive to the feelings of minority peoples, yet proceeded to depict a world of grace and beauty without acknowledging the brutalities of the system of slavery as well its legacies of racial inequality.

“`Understanding that this was literary fiction should not allow us to ignore realities of a time when a race of people were routinely sold as property, and left to fend for themselves while under the harsh scrutiny of their so-called owners. HBO’s prologue at the very least offers a measured explanation that resembles historical context.

“`An honest question… Is it enough? 

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- We’ll Meet Again…

June 18th, 2020

Manny P. here…

“`Vera Lynn was a British crooner, songwriter, and entertainer whose musical recordings and performances were largely popular during the Second World War. The songs most associated with her: We’ll Meet Again, The White Cliffs of Dover, A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square, and There’ll Always Be an England.

“`Lynn’s wartime contribution began when she sang to people who were using London’s tube station platforms as air raid shelters. During the darkest days of World War II, she began her own radio program, Sincerely Yours, sending messages to British troops serving abroad. She was known as The Forces’ Sweetheart, and gave outdoor concerts for troops in Egypt, India, and Burma during the war.

After the war, Lynn had a prolific recording career. Plus, she appeared on Tallulah Bankhead’s radio program, The Big Show. Lynn hosted her own variety series on BBC1 in the late 1960s and early 1970s.  Her visit to the Burma front during the Second World War was featured in a British television documentary series The World at War in 1974

“`She was appointed as a Dame for her charity work during the 1975 Birthday Honours. Lynn sang outside Buckingham Palace in 1995 in a ceremony that marked the golden jubilee of VE Day. A street named in her honor, Vera Lynn Close, is situated in Forest Gate, London.

“`In January 2020, a portrait of Lynn was unveiled at Royal Albert Hall in conjunction with the seventy-fifth anniversary commemoration of the Allied victory in Europe. On April 5, 2020, We’ll Meet Again was echoed by Queen Elizabeth II in a television address she delivered addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.

“`Her life bookmarked by global battles, Dame Vera Lynn (right) was 103.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Hooray…

June 17th, 2020

Manny P. here…

“`Celebrating Act 2 is back with a look at Hollywood scripts when the subject is Hollywood. Join John Coleman and Art Kirsch as we examine the love affair.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Bad is Better…

June 15th, 2020

Manny P. here…

“`Mae West was the bawdy, witty, sex symbol of the 1930s who pioneered a path for modern women with guts by simply employing a nod and a wink. The first major documentary film on this cultural figure, makes its world premiere Tuesday on PBS, and looks beyond her famous gowns, curves, and jewels.

“`The film’s executive producer is Bette Midler, and it follows West’s origins in vaudeville, her journey to Broadway as a performer and a playwright, her Hollywood debut as a sex symbol at age forty, a Las Vegas nightclub star in her sixties, and a campy icon in her eighties. West wrote her own plays and screenplays. She launched the career of Cary Grant,  was sentenced to prison for indecency, and became the second highest paid individual in the entire country, behind only William Randolph Hearst.                                       MAE WEST –>

When I’m good, I’m very good, but when I’m bad, I’m better!

“`Filmmakers found a woman embodying female empowerment who was giving subtle nods to lift up African Americans and the gay community. What emerges is a portrait of a woman who was incredibly savvy about marketing herself. Stars like Candice Bergen, Margaret Cho, Ringo Starr, and Kathy Najimy add their insights, too

“`The documentary is part of a summer slate by PBS American Masters series to honor female trailblazers, which also includes a look at Toni Morrison, and a one-hour special on pioneering female politicians from America’s past.


“`I am inviting you to take a moment to read my new article in Palos Verdes Pulse online magazine. The subject matter deals with the evolution of the modern cinematic screenplay. Here is a link to the story:


Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Character Actors For All Seasons…

June 13th, 2020

Manny P. here…

“`Classic Film buffs love to highlight the great supporting players of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Heck!  I have written three Forgotten Hollywood paperbacks that share rousing stories about the character actors of the studio era.  Let me offer four modern thespians quite comfortable below the title of motion pictures.

~ J. K. Simmons – As Simmons puts it, he became an overnight sensation after winning an Oscar for Whiplash,  though he has been working in movies for three decades. Memorable performances in a re-make of The Ladykillers, Juno, La La Land and The Front Runner. Yet, he will be best remembered for his Farmer’s Insurance commercials.

~ STEVE BUSCEMI – This funny-looking guy has left a big footprint in film. Most familiar on television for his starring-turn in Boardwalk Empire, he is comfortable playing a tough guy. He appeared in Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. But the Coen Brothers have perfected his on-screen image.  He was adroitly cast in The Big Lebowski, Fargo, Barton Fink, Miller’s Crossing, and The Hudsucker Proxy.



~ JOHN C. REILLY – The most diverse of any modern character actor, he is comfortable in broad comedy and heartwarming drama. His notable performances include Boogie Nights, ChicagoThe AviatorTalladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Step Brothers, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, and Stan and Ollie. Reilly is a noted scene-stealer.

~ PAUL GIAMATTI – Comfortable in movies and on television, he is best remembered as the title character in HBO’s John Adams. Paul’s varied roles include Cinderella Man, Sideways, Saving Private Ryan, The Ides of March, Twelve Years a Slave, Saving Mr. Banks, and Straight Outta Compton.  He even guest-starred on Downton Abbey. His latest work is on Showtime’s Billions.

“`William H. Macy (right) is an obvious honorable mention. These amazing co-stars could have worked in any decade of cinema. (Had he lived, Philip Seymour Hoffman would have certainly belonged in this talented group of active players.)

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- In Flight Movie…

June 10th, 2020

Manny P. here…

“`Experience the drive-in movie with a twist. Free tickets are now available online for Friday night drive-in movies at Ontario International Airport beginning on June 19th. Their first screening, Ford vs. Ferrari, is already sold out. Upcoming screenings include The Sandlot (July 3rd), The Princess Bride (July 17th), and Napoleon Dynamite (July 31st).

“`A portion of the 2019 movie that starred Matt Damon and Christian Bale was filmed at the airport. Also used was the Auto Speedways at Fontana and Pomona.

“`The show will take place in ONT’s parking lot five, and feature two fifty-foot screens. Sound will be delivered on FM radio. Food trucks will be on site including Poutine Brothers, Grilled Cheese Truck, Afters Ice Cream, and My Delight Cupcakery.  Gates open at 7p, and the movies start at 8:30p. Reservations are by car, not the number of people inside. The series is a partnership between the airport, the City of Ontario, and Street Food Cinema.


“`HBO Max has temporarily removed Gone With the Wind from its streaming library to add historical context to the 1939 movie long criticized for romanticizing slavery and the Civil War-era South. Recent demonstrations have motivated the company to re-think the presentation of the 1939 epic on its platform.

“`HBO explains it this way:

Historical context and a denouncement of those very depictions, but will be presented as it was originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed.

“`Gone With the Wind remains available for digital rental and purchase. On Wednesday, it rose toward the top of movie charts on Amazon and Apple iTunes.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Celebrating Sidekicks…

June 6th, 2020

Manny P. here…

“`Celebrating Act 2 is back, and hosts John Coleman and Art Kirsch bring me in to discuss some notable sidekicks in cinema.


Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Pen Mightier Than the Guillotine…

June 3rd, 2020

Manny P. here…

“`Love letters between the ill-fated French queen Marie-Antoinette and her lover have been deciphered by use of the latest techniques by the French National Archives. The Austrian-born queen was executed at just thirty-seven in October, 1793 after the overthrow of the monarchy.  At the time, the queen and King Louis XVI were living under surveillance in the Parisian Tuileries palace and had just failed to escape their house arrest.

“`The revealed passages are further confirmation of a steamy relationship between Marie-Antoinette and Count de Fersen,  who were writing to each other several years after the 1789 French Revolution. Much of the writings had previously been brought to light, but redacted lines remained illegible. Until now.

“`The ninety-five-day project used a new scanning technique (the x-ray fluorescence system) to analyze the composition of ink used.  Similarities between the ink by the count and the ink of redaction suggest Fersen might have censored his own letters.  Out of the fifteen redacted correspondence written by Marie-Antoinette and Fersen, only eight were brought to light. For the others, ink used to write and to censor was the same, rendering the task of revealing the redacted content impossible.

“`The fascination surrounding Marie-Antoinette remains undimmed. Last month, a travel bag belonging to her sold for over five times its estimate in an auction of royal memorabilia.

Until next time>                               “never forget”