“Forgotten Hollywood”- Bon Voyage to Mary Ann…

December 30th, 2020

Manny P. here…

“`Dawn Wells was a television actress best remembered for her role as Mary Ann Summers on the CBS sitcom Gilligan’s Island. She recently became a Marketing Ambassador to the MeTV Network. Her other work included teacher, motivational speaker, and conservationist.

“`Before her lingering fame, Wells was crowned Miss Nevada and represented her state in the Miss America 1960 pageant in Atlantic City, New Jersey. This notoriety led to a career in show business.

“`Before and after landing her signature part, Wells guest-starred in The Joey Bishop Show, Wagon Train77 Sunset Strip, Maverick, Laramie, Burke’s Law, The Wild Wild West, The InvadersThe F. B. I., Vega$, The Love Boat, Fantasy Island and Bonanza. On the big screen, she co-starred in Palm Springs Weekend and The New Interns.


“`Following Gilligan’s Island, Wells embarked on a theater career, appearing in nearly one hundred theatrical productions.  She spent the majority of the 1970s, and 1980s, touring in musical theater productions. Dawn also had a one-woman show at MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas in 1985. Gilligan’s Island spinoffs followed as well.

“`In 1993, she published Mary Ann’s Gilligan’s Island Cookbook with co-writers Ken Beck and Jim Clark, including a foreword by Bob Denver. She was close to Alan Hale Jr, who played The Skipper, even after the series completed its run. He would contribute a family recipe (Kansas Chicken and Dumplings) to her cookbook.

“`Wells used her fame for charity work,  including her participation in the Denver Foundation (founded by Bob Denver’s widow),  the Idaho Film and Television Institute, and her personal pet project Wishing Wells Collections, which designs clothes for folks with limited mobility. In 2005, she consigned for sale her original gingham blouse and shorts ensemble that she wore during every season of Gilligan’s Island. Beverly Hills auction house Profiles in History sold the outfit for $20,700.

“`A victim of Covid-19, Dawn Wells was eighty-two.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- C’est Chic…

December 29th, 2020

Manny P. here…

“`French fashion designer Pierre Cardin understood the importance his exclusive haute couture shows would stoke in consumer desire. He also became an early pioneer of licensing. His name emblazons hundreds of products, from accessories to home goods.

“`When he was a child, the family moved to Saint Etienne in central France,  where Cardin was schooled and became an apprentice to a tailor. After moving to Paris, he worked as an assistant in the House of Paquin  and helped design costumes for filmmaker Jean Cocteau. He was involved in creating costumes for Beauty and the Beast.

“`After working briefly with Elsa Schiaparelli and Christian Dior, Cardin opened his own fashion house in Paris’ posh First District, starting with costumes and masks. Cardin delivered his first real collection in 1953. Success quickly followed with the 1954 launch of his celebrated bubble dress. Cardin’s high-profile relationship with French actress Jeanne Moreau, the smoky-voiced blonde of Jules and Jim, also helped boost the brand’s profile.

“`Beyond clothing, Cardin put his mark on perfumes, makeup, porcelain, chocolates, a resort in the south of France, and even the velvet-walled watering hole Maxim’s — where he could often be seen at lunch.  He opened a children’s shop, a furniture store, and Espace Cardin, a sprawling hall in central Paris where the designer would later stage fashion shows, as well as plays, ballet performances and other cultural events.

“`During the brand’s heyday, goods bearing his fancy cursive signature were sold at 100,000 outlets worldwide. In his later life, with no heir apparent, Cardin dismantled much of his vast empire.

“`Pierre Cardin (above right) was ninety-eight.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- A Notable Reader…

December 28th, 2020

Manny P. here…

“`I was pleased to recently find out that Maggie Seven Wellman is a fan of my award-winning Forgotten Hollywood blog site and a repeat visitor to watch my interviews on the Celebrating Act 2 podcast. According to her bio:

Margaret (Maggie) Seven Wellman is the youngest child of veteran film director William A. Wellman, and Busby Berkeley dancer and actor, Dorothy Coonan. Raised in Hollywood on a rambling ranch-style estate built in 1944, her childhood memories of family are inescapably entwined in the rooms and landscape on Barrington Avenue, the subject of her first memoir.

 In 1983, she retired from the motion picture business and moved to Ojai, California to raise a family. While there, Ms. Wellman has worked as a photographer, a technology coordinator for the local public elementary school, and acted as executive director for the Ojai Film Festival in 2005-2006.

“`As an actress, she co-starred in The Harrad Experiment and Rancho Deluxe. On television, she has guest-starred in The Partridge Family, The Streets of San Francisco and McMillan and Wife.

“`A couple of years back, I had the opportunity to spend an afternoon with her older brother,  William Wellman Jr. at the Cinecon film fest. Their pa was the iconic cinematic director of Wings, The Ox-Bow Incident, The Story of G. I. JoeThe Public Enemy, BattlegroundBeau Geste, Nothing Sacred, and The High and the Mighty.  He also co-wrote and directed the 1937 adaptation of A Star is Born, and it earned him a very well-deserved Best Screenplay Academy Award.    William A. Wellman and Maggie Wellman –>

“`I am thrilled Maggie Wellman is a cherished follower of the Forgotten Hollywood journey.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- My Two Front Teeth…

December 24th, 2020

Manny P. here…

“`I was handed unfortunate news this week. I have a tooth that needs extracting. It will be replaced by an implant. Before I receive the replacement, my gum needs to heal. The tooth will be missing for approximately six months.

“`Let me offer a Hollywood tie-in. All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth is a holiday tune written in 1944 by Donald Yetter Gardner while he was teaching music at public schools in Smithtown, New York. The silly song was published in 1948 after an employee of Witmark Music Company heard Gardner sing it at a music teachers conference.

“`The number was introduced in 1948 on Perry Como’s radio show, and originally recorded by Spike Jones and His City Slickers on December 6, 1947, with lead vocal by George Rock. That version, released by RCA Victor, reached the top of the charts in 1948, and again in 1949.

“`The ditty has also been recorded by numerous other singers and performers, including Ray Stevens, George Strait, Danny Kaye with The Andrews Sisters, The Platters, The Chipmunks, Nat King Cole (reportedly Gardner’s favorite version), the Hampton String Quartet, The Three Stooges, and Count von Count of Sesame Street.

“`As far as my plight goes… I can keep my missing tooth hidden and help stop the spread of Covid-19 by wearing a mask!

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Happy Christmas (War is Over)…

December 22nd, 2020

Manny P. here…

“`With a reference to the title of a John Lennon yuletide classic, it occurred to me that a spate of holiday cinema emerged as World War II ended. Between 1945 and 1948, the United States was looking for escapism to jumpstart the citizenry into an era of good feeling.  These capable productions provided romance, a touch of fantasy, and in some cases, several nods to the war effort.

“`The initial film that went into principal photography was Christmas in Connecticut, which was released just days after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. A traditional romantic comedy, the story is about an unmarried magazine writer who falls for a returning war hero. The soldier angle was written into the script after the Allies marched into Berlin.  It featured Barbara Stanwyck, Dennis Morgan, Sidney Greenstreet, and S. Z. Sakall.

“`The Bells of St. Mary was an worthy sequel to the hugely popular Going My Way, the previous year. This story follows Father O’Malley’s efforts in saving a condemned inner-city school building during the holidays. Bing Crosby reprised his part as the genial priest.  This film was on the bill at the bijou in Bedford Falls during the climax in It’s a Wonderful Life (an obvious promotional plug). Henry Travers offered steady support for Crosby and Ingrid Bergman. The next year, he would take on his most memorable role as Clarence the Angel.


“`Much has been shared about It’s a Wonderful Life and the war connection is documented. This was James Stewart’s first assignment after spending his military duty flying bombers into Germany. He returned from his tour a changed man… sober and gaunt.  Unknown to the cast, Stewart harbored the horrors of combat. Today this is called P. T. S. D. During more desperate moments of the tale, the actor cried real tears as he attempted to expunge pent up memories of battle. He would later accept work in edgy Westerns directed by Anthony Mann.

“`Santa Claus went on trial in Miracle on 34th Street. Edmund Gwenn earned an Oscar for his performance as the intrepid Kris Kringle.  Maureen O’Hara, John Payne, and a very young Natalie Wood round out the cast.  Macy’s Department Store and its annual parade are the backdrop to this delightful look at the economic boom that followed the war.


“`The Bishop’s Wife combines many of the sentimental elements found in The Bell’s of St. Mary and It’s a Wonderful Life. An angel (named Dudley) helps a priest who has lost their way during Christmas. Cary Grant, Loretta Young, and David Niven share in the mischief. The daughter is played by Karolyn Grimes, who was also Zuzu in It’s a Wonderful Life.

“`In Good Sam, Gary Cooper follows the advice of his minister and performs kind actions at the expense of his family’s livelihood. As Christmas approaches, his faith is reaffirmed by the kindness returned by friends and neighbors in the hamlet. Ann Sheridan co-stars. Todd Karns had previously appeared in It’s a Wonderful Life as Harry Bailey.

“`In 2020, we fight a different war due to Covid-19. Have a safe and healthy Christmas!

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Celebrating Yuletide Cinema…

December 20th, 2020

Manny P. here…

“`In the wake of my participation in a national radio production of It’s a Wonderful Life, why not chat with Art Kirsh and John Coleman on Celebrating Act 2 about iconic Christmas films…


Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- A Maureen O’Hara Documentary…

December 19th, 2020

Manny P. here…

“`A brand new documentary on the life of Maureen O’Hara is set to air on Christmas Day. The program celebrating her life will mark O’Hara’s centennial. The production will explore all aspects of her life, from her birth in Dublin to a career as an actress, singer,  and businesswoman, as well as being a champion for women’s rights. MAUREEN O’HARA ->

“`Featuring archival footage and interviews with her family, friends, and co-stars, including Patrick Wayne, Stefanie Powers, and Hayley Mills and her grandson Conor Beau Fitzsimons, the program unveils the woman behind the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. It is a must-watch for fans of O’Hara.

“`Maureen O’Hara:  Banríon Hollywood  (Queen of Hollywood) and will delve deep into the life of the feisty, colorful, energetic, accomplished, talented, no-nonsense Dubliner. The special will air in her native Ireland on Christmas, and is expected to be distributed worldwide.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Meet the Cast of Wonderful Life…

December 16th, 2020

Manny P. here…

“`Here is the program that lists the cast for the Carlisle Regional Performing Arts Center production of It’s a Wonderful Life. This is airing December 17th – 19th (Thursday, Friday, Saturday). It streams through Broadway on Demand. Just click (or cut-and-paste) the link!


“`This is the perfect holiday treat for folks across the country hunkering down at home as Christmas approaches. Enjoy!

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- LOC National Film Registry 2020

December 14th, 2020

Manny P. here…

“`The 2020 selections of the Library of Congress National Film Registry have just been announced. Entrants including recent productions such as: The Hurt Locker, The Dark Knight, The Joy Luck Club, and Shrek.  Plus, there were popular selections, including Grease and The Blues Brothers. Notable motion pictures from Hollywood’s Golden Age include:

~ THE BATTLE OF THE CENTURY (1927) –  This is a timeless Laurel and Hardy silent short comedy unseen in its entirety since its original release. The comic bits include a renowned pie-fighting sequence.  Only excerpts from reel two of the film had survived for many years. Critic Leonard Maltin discovered a mostly complete nitrate copy of reel one at  Museum of Modern Art in the 1970s.  In 2015, movie collector Jon Mirsalis located a complete version of reel two as part of a film collection he purchased from the estate of Gordon Berkow. The two-reeler still lacks brief scenes from reel one, but the film is now almost complete.

*** Hollywood Heritage historian Stan Taffel (and my good friend) has just announced that this film will have its United States television premiere Tuesday on TCM at 5p (PST). This is not listed anywhere!


~ CABIN IN THE SKY (1943) – This film adaptation of the 1940 Broadway musical marked the directing debut of renowned director Vincente Minnelli.  His talent for blending in dazzling musical numbers is on total display. Applauded at the time for showcasing an all-Black cast in a major Hollywood film when many theaters were still segregated, the film also demonstrates limited opportunities and acting compromises  African Americans endured during Hollywood’s studio era. It stars Lena Horne, Ethel Waters, and Eddie Rochester Anderson.

~ THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM (1955) – Drug addiction has been addressed in films many times before, dating back to the silent era. Few dared to be as honest, blunt, or graphic as this Otto Preminger treatment, which featured Frank Sinatra and Kim Novak. Along with its still topical subject and powerful storytelling, the movie is further enhanced by its eye-popping Saul Bass opening credits sequence and Elmer Bernstein’s remarkable jazz score.


~ LILIES OF THE FIELD (1963) – The flick serves as a parable highlighting mutual respect via common purpose, an austere Arizona desert landscape, the impoverished nuns, and a lad they believe God sent to help them.  For his portrayal, Sidney Poitier became the first African American to win the Oscar for Best Actor.

~ A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (1971) – Based on a book by Anthony Burgess, director Stanley Kubrick’s brings this movie to life in his own avant-garde style.  Set in a not-so-distant future, that is equal parts dystopian and cartoonish, the production remains disturbing, controversial, and startlingly unsettling.

“`Under the terms of the National Film Preservation Act, each year the  Library of Congress names to the National Film Registry twenty-five motion pictures that are culturally, historically or aesthetically significant. The films must be at least ten years old.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Curtain Call for Wonderful Life…

December 13th, 2020

Manny P. here…

“`On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, Broadway on Demand will air It’s a Wonderful Life. According to the Carlisle Regional Performing Arts Center press release:


Our Broadway on Demand link for our virtual radio performance of It’s A Wonderful Life: a live radio play is now available! This is the link you will use to claim your free ticket to the show once it is live this week. (Thanks to M&T Bank)


Families can listen to this show whenever they choose on December 17th, 18th, and 19th — you select the time you want to listen! We recommend pairing this performance with a cozy blanket, a tasty hot drink, and your favorite spot on the couch.

All week, we will be posting information about the cast and our community, so be sure to keep an eye out as we count down to our opening this Thursday! We will kick off the week tomorrow with an interview with the original Zuzu (right) herself–Ms. Karolyn Grimes!

“`Radio drama is a wonderful opportunity to listen to talented productions as your imagination immerses itself into the story and the impact of the words. It is called Theatre of the Mind.

“`Please allow yourself to celebrate Christmas at home with your loved ones by enjoying this performance of It’s a Wonderful Life (with yours truly as Clarence the Angel).

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Celebrating Irving Thalberg…

December 12th, 2020

Manny P. here…

“`I am thrilled to join Art Kirsch and John Coleman on Celebrating Act 2 as we discuss the life and times of former MGM production chief Irving Thalberg. His determined efforts would transform their lot into the most successful of the big-five studios during Hollywood’s Golden Age. Here is Thalber’s story:


Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- An Angel Earning His Wings…

December 8th, 2020

Manny P. here…

“`As you know, I am in rehearsals for the  Carlisle Theatre’s production of It’s a Wonderful Life. Soon, I shall provide the link for you to get your virtual ticket to this radio play that will air on Broadway On Demand dot com very soon.

“`I put together this whimsical promo piece for you to enjoy!

“`Looking forward to having you relax at your homes to listen to this fabulous production.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Righteous Stuff…

December 7th, 2020

Manny P. here…

“`Retired Air Force Brigadier General Charles Yeager was a World War II fighter pilot ace and a quintessential test pilot. In 1947, he became the first person to fly faster than the speed of sound. His achievement was documented in The Right Stuff, the 1983 grand historical drama that was adapted from Tom Wolfe’s best-selling novel about the Navy, Marine, and Air Force test pilots (including Yeager) who were involved in aeronautical research at Edwards Air Force Base and later, about the seven military pilots chosen to be astronauts for Project Mercury.

“`Yeager enlisted in the Army Air Corps after he graduated from high school in 1941. He later regretted that his lack of a college education prevented him from becoming an astronaut. He started off as an aircraft mechanic and, despite becoming airsick during his first airplane ride, signed up for the program that allowed enlisted men to become pilots. He shot down thirteen German planes on sixty-four missions during World War II, including five on a single mission.

“`After his service, he became a test pilot at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. Among the flights he made after breaking the sound barrier was one on December 12, 1953 when he flew an X-1A to a record of more than sixteen hundred miles-per-hour. Chuck also commanded Air Force fighter squadrons and wings and the Aerospace Research Pilot School for military astronauts.

“`Yeager was awarded the Silver Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star, the Air Medal, and the Purple Heart. President Harry S. Truman awarded him the Collier air trophy in December 1948 for his breaking the sound barrier. He also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1985. West Virginia named bridges, schools and Charleston’s airport after him.

“`Yeager retired from the Air Force in 1975 after he flew missions in Vietnam, and moved to a ranch in Cedar Ridge in Northern California where he continued working as a consultant to the Air Force and Northrop Corp., and became well known to younger generations as a television pitchman for automotive parts and heat pumps.

“`An aeronautic icon who surely stands tall with Orville and Wilbur Wright, Charles Lindbergh, and Amelia Earhart, Chuck Yeager (above right) was ninety-seven.

Until next time>                              “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Remembering Warren Berlinger…

December 2nd, 2020

Manny P. here…

“`Warren Berlinger was a character actor with Broadway runs, film, and television credits. He was a familiar face during Television’s Golden Age.

“`Berlinger performed in the original 1946 Broadway production of Annie Get Your Gun, with Ethel Merman, Come Blow Your Horn, and the London stage production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Hollywood came calling.

“`The early days of television provided opportunities for Berlinger.  He guest-starred on the original Howdy Doodyand followed with parts on Kraft Television Theatre and other programs. Later appearances included  Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of ColorHappy DaysThat Girl, ColumboCharlie’s Angels, Emergency!Murder She Wrote, and Friends.

“`Berlinger was content providing support in profitable cinema, such as The Wackiest Ship in the Army, Because They’re Young, Spinout with Elvis Presley, The Long Goodbye, Lepke, The Cannonball Run, The World According to Garp, and That Thing You Do! A couple of short-lived situation comedies didn’t work out for the talented actor.

“`Warren Berlinger (above right) was eighty-three.

Until next time>                               “never forget”