“Forgotten Hollywood”- In Solidarity: A.I. before 2001…

July 26th, 2023

Manny P. here…

“`The Writers Guild of America and  SAG-AFTRA are fighting movie moguls against artificial intelligence as a means to replicate a printed word and likeness for the sake of wider profits and at the expense of its original authors and talent. These same owners repeatedly warn a viewing audience that copying television programs, sporting events, Hollywood specials and other general content appearing on the small screen, dvd’s,  or on streamers to your phone would subject you to a fine and potential incarceration. Does this sound like hypocrisy from the suits and their lawyers?

“`Aside from the talked about 2001: A Space Odyssey, classic film and television have had a firm opinion over the idea and use of artifical intelligence in society.

“`The use of electronic computors to aid or replace a work force played for laughs in 1958 in Desk Set, the eighth flick made by Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn (Heburn wins; the computer loses). In an episode of The Twilight Zone, called From Agnes with Love, a wall-sized model becomes jealous of female affection hurled at her programmer, played by Wally Cox. This 1963 episode proves that computers were still imperfect creatures. I mean, Wally Cox… really?

“`Due to a recklessness by humans, computors are set on a path to independently navigate a thermonuclear war in Dr. Strangelove (the Russians with an automated Doomsday Machine) and in War Games, two decades later. In the latter movie, Matthew Broderick uses a game of tic tac toe to teach his computor pal that sometimes,  no one wins in a game, especially when atomic bombs are involved.

“`Replicating the likeness of an individual using artificial intelligence was a common theme in  The Twilight Zone. Episodes include The Lonely, The After Hours, The Lateness of the Hour, In His Image and Steel. Characters replicated and replaced became the victim. Women were victimized in the Twilight Zone-esque The Stepford Wives. Of course, it was Mary Shelley, who initially pondered an artificially built man and his bride in the nineteenth century.  That so-called monster was named Adam, not Frankenstein (the actual name of the doctor).

“`A most salient example of art versus A. I., comes by way of a comedy classic What a Way to Go, and stars Shirley MacLaine, Dick Van Dyke, Robert Mitchum, Gene Kelly, Dean Martin, and Paul Newman. It is Newman, who toys with artificial intelligence to create art, a Faustian bargain to be sure. Kudos to YouTube, I have the evolution of Newman’s demise. By the way, Newman’s character is named Larry Flynt (you cannot make this stuff up). Watch how fast he goes from the penthouse to the outhouse.

“`Click on the link and enjoy! And please, support the original work of writers and actors…


Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- TCM… The Rest of the Story…

July 25th, 2023

Manny P. here…

“`I was a recent guest on Celebrating Act 2 with John Coleman and Art Kirsch and I chatted about the ongoing turmoil at TCM. I was pleased to offer my insight. During the interview, I coincidentally received an email from Charles Tabesh, Senior Vice President of Programming and Content Strategy, and he confirmed that TCM will air An Evening with Robert Youngson, tentatively scheduled on November 5th beginning at 5p (pst) and 8p (est).  This news broke on the air, so to speak! It is fun to watch it unfold.


Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- The Good Life…

July 21st, 2023

Manny P. here…

“`Tony Bennett is considered one of the finest jazz stylists over the last century. Along with Johnny Mathis, his career certainly had longevity. And his favorable comparisons to Sinatra, Torme, Nat Cole and other contemporaries are well deserved.

“`Bennett grew up listening to Al Jolson, Eddie Cantor, Judy Garland and Bing Crosby as well as jazz artists, such as Louis Armstrong and Jack Teagarden. His uncle Dick was a tap dancer in vaudeville. At age ten, Bennett sang at the opening of the  Triborough Bridge, standing next to Mayor Fiorello La Guardia. As a teen, he began crooning for money, performing as a singing waiter in a few Italian restaurants around his native Queens. Bennett began winning amateur nights all around the city and enjoyed a successful engagement at a Paramus, New Jersey, nightclub.

“`During World War II, Bennett fought in the Battle of the Bulge and helped liberate a couple of concentration camps.  After discharge from the Army in 1946, he enrolled at the American Theatre Wing on the GI Bill. He developed an unusual approach that involved imitating as he sang,  the style and phrasing of musicians—such as Stan Getz’s sax and Art Tatum’s piano—helping him to improvise as he interpreted a song.

“`In 1949, Pearl Bailey asked him to open for her in Greenwich Village. She invited Bob Hope to the show. He decided to take Bennett on the road with him. The next year, he cut a demo, Boulevard of Broken Dreams, and was signed to the major label Columbia Records by Mitch Miller.  Tony had his first #1 hit record with Because of You. Rags to Riches followed in 1953. He refined his approach to encompass jazz singing.  In 1962, Bennett recorded his signature song, I Left My Heart in San Francisco.

“`Bennett hits included The Good Life, When Joanna Loved Me, A Taste of Honey, For Once in My Life, The Shadow of Your Smile and Fly Me to the Moon.  After performing live all over the globe, he began recording, once again. His collaborative effort with top singers re-invigorated his career. They include Stevie Wonder, Diana Krall, Billy Joel, Michael Buble, k. d. Lang, Amy Winehouse and most notably, with Lady Gaga.  Bennett and Gaga’s Grammy-winning album, Cheek to Cheek, which debuted at #1 on Billboard, earning the Guinness World Records for “oldest person to reach No.1 on the U. S. Album Chart with a newly recorded album”, at the age of eighty-eight years and sixty-nine days.

“`The crooner had a minor film career with appearances in The Oscar, The Scout, Analyze This and Bruce Almighty. Bennett also had tremendous success as a painter.  He exhibited his work in numerous galleries around the world.  He was chosen as the official artist for the 2001 Kentucky Derby and commissioned by the United Nations, as well.  Boy on Sailboat, Sydney Bay is in the permanent collection at the National Arts Club in Gramercy Park, New York, as is his Central Park at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C.

“`He had zero intention of retiring, referencing Pablo Picasso, Jack Benny and Fred Astaire:

“Right up to the day they died, they were performing… I never sing a song that’s badly written. In the 1920s and 1930s, there was a renaissance in music that was the equivalent of the artistic Renaissance. Cole Porter, Johnny Mercer and others just created the best songs that had ever been written. These are classics, and finally they’re not being treated as light entertainment. This is classical music.” 

“`A purveyor of the classics, Tony Bennett (above right) was ninety-six.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Newport Beach Honors Brits…

July 20th, 2023

Manny P. here…

“`PBS SoCal and KCET Southern California’s flagship PBS stations, in partnership with the Newport Beach Film Festival will present the broadcast premiere of the  Newport Beach Film Festival UK Honours. The thirty-minute special will premiere locally in Southern California on Wednesday, July 26 at 10p on KCET,  with an encore on Thursday, July 27 at 9:30p on PBS SoCal. It will be available on the PBS App and stream at www.pbssocal.org/newportbeach.

“`In addition to six United Kingdom honorees, the Outstanding Achievement in British Cinema Award will be presented.  Television interviews include, Nobel Prize winner Kazuo Ishiguro and actors Bill Nighy, Letitia Wright, Taron Egerton, Paul Mescal and Toby Jones. And Variety’s 10 Brits to Watch.

“`For twenty years, the Newport Beach Film Festival has included a dedicated UK showcase during its ten-day program. Starting in 2015, the film festival and Visit Newport Beach has partnered to elevate the connection to the UK industry. The Londoner Hotel provides the backdrop for a celebration of the best of UK and Irish talent in film and television.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Strangelove Gets a Nuclear Makeover

July 19th, 2023

Manny P. here…

“`The estate of Stanley Kubrick has given permission to adapt a theatre production of Dr. Strangelove that will premiere in London’s West End in 2024. Kubrick’s widow has confirmed that an updated stage play is in development and it is based on the 1964 political satire film that starred Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Slim Pickens, Keenan Wynn, and Sterling Hayden. Discarded scenes and drafts of the original motion picture shall be incorporated into the play.

“`Today’s global worries resulting from actions by North Korea and by the Russian attack against the Ukraine makes this a uniquely relevent time to offer this satirical message. According to IndieWire:

“Dr. Strangelove parodies the American military responding to the Soviet Union attacks amid the Cold War, with a nuclear holocaust being unleashed in the process. The film was released in the wake of the Cuban Missile Crisis.” 

“`Oscar-nominated filmmaker Armando Iannucci is at the helm of this first-ever adaptation of a Kubrick property; Iannucci well known for political satires. The temperature of theatre-going audiences heading to see Oppenheimer will be measured to guage if this stage play has legs to eventually reach Broadway, since they are related in message. The West End venue has not yet been announced; the show will open in Fall 2024.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Acme’s Favorite Cartoons…

July 18th, 2023

Manny P. here…

“`Celebrating Act 2 features an engaging discussion about those madcap Warner Brothers cartoons, screened as part of a double feature package of entertainment at your local bijou. Join Art Kirsch, John Coleman and I for this lively chat.


Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Youngson to Air on TCM…

July 11th, 2023

Manny P. here…

“`While at this year’s TCM Classic Film Festival, I had the opportunity to meet Charles Tabesh, Senior Vice President of Programming and Content Strategy. He allowed me to plead my case for TCM to showcase a night of Robert Youngson, featuring his silent comedy documentaries and his award-winning Warner Brothers short films.


“`I reminded Tabesh that Youngson was a 1950s preservationist, who introduced silent movies to the baby-boomer generation,  while saving nitrate celluloid films from disappearing forever. In essence, he was the Martin Scorsese  /  Kevin Brownlow of his time.  I also mentioned that TCM was the perfect platform to have films such as The Golden Age of Comedy and When Comedy was King highlighted for suggested inclusion to Library of Congress National Film RegistryForgotten Hollywood is campaigning on behalf of Youngson in conjunction with the International Laurel and Hardy Appreciation Society.

“`After the festival, Tabesh sent me a follow-up e-mail, again expressing interest in the idea. He wanted to make it happen, but could not promise it would come to fruition. Tabesh knew things were brewing at TCM, which might upset all programming for the cable channel.  Of course, I was not privy to any of the policy decisions going on at the station.

“`What happened next is right out of a screenplay penned by Donald Ogden Stewart. Tabesh (along with seventy other employees) lost his job at TCM. Fans nationwide mounted a social media campaign to restore TCM. Plus, Scorsese and Steven Spielberg pleaded their case on behalf of Tabesh with David Zaslav,  President and Chief Executive Officer at Warner Bros., parent company of TCM. Days later, Tabish was reinstated to the delight of TCM nation.

“`Just yesterday, I received an email from Tabesh confirming that TCM would air an evening with Robert Youngson in November. With the instability Tabesh recently endured, his willingness to share a programming decision of interest with me is truly thoughtful and sincere.

“`I will provide the exact date his films air on TCM as soon as it becomes available.  In the meantime, you can vote for FREE on Library of Congress National Film Registry for Robert Youngson’s The Golden Age of Comedy and When Comedy was King by clicking on the link below:


“`A huge heartfelt thanks, Charlie!

Until next time>                                “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- Celebrating Adventure Movies…

July 5th, 2023

Manny P. here…

“`Adventure movies of the past are different from our current crop of action films, due to the creation of CGI. John Coleman, Art Kirsch and I offer the comparisons on Celebrating Act 2.


Until next time>                               “never forget”