Wednesday, September 30, 2015


I just recently spent a pleasant morning watching one of the most charming and entertaining light hearted films of the war years. The film Hollywood Canteen is a time capsule of life and entertainment during World War II. Hollywood Canteen is a 1944 American musical romantic comedy film starring Joan Leslie, Robert Hutton, and Dane Clark and distributed by Warner Bros. The film was written and directed by Delmer Daves, and is notable for featuring many stars (appearing as themselves) in cameo roles. The film received three Academy Award nominations.

Two soldiers on leave spend three nights at the Hollywood Canteen before returning to active duty in the South Pacific. Slim Green (Robert Hutton) is the millionth G.I. to enjoy the Canteen, and consequently wins a date with Joan Leslie. The other G.I., Sergeant Nolan (Dane Clark) gets to dance with Joan Crawford. Canteen founders Bette Davis and John Garfield give talks on the history of the Canteen. The soldiers enjoy a variety of musical numbers performed by a host of Hollywood stars, and also comedians, such as Jack Benny and his violin.

The film's setting is the Hollywood Canteen, a free entertainment club open to servicemen. The Canteen was created as a G. I. morale-booster by movie stars Bette Davis and John Garfield during World War II. Many of the stars that provided cameos in the film had previously volunteered to work there or provide entertainment. They include: The Andrews Sisters, Jack Benny, Joe E. Brown, Eddie Cantor, Kitty Carlisle, Jack Carson, Joan Crawford, Faye Emerson, Sydney Greenstreet, Alan Hale, Sr., Paul Henreid, Joan Leslie, Peter Lorre, Ida Lupino, Dorothy Malone, Dennis Morgan, Janis Paige, Eleanor Parker, Roy Rogers (with Trigger), S.Z. Sakall, Zachary Scott, Alexis Smith, Barbara Stanwyck, Jane Wyman, Jimmy Dorsey and The Golden Gate Quartet.

The movie's plot is utterly preposterous, but that makes no difference. The chemistry between stars Joan Leslie and Robert Hutton is wonderful. Joan's role was originally to have been played by Ann Sheridan, but she turned it down because she, too, thought the idea of a soldier on leave falling in love with a movie star at the Canteen and actually getting a chance to spend some with her was ridiculous.

In my opinion, Joan turned out to be absolutely perfect. She was quite young when the movie was made (only 18 or 19), but one of Warner Brothers' most popular actresses of the early 1940s.

Formal reviews of Hollywood Canteen at the time it was released tended to pan the movie, even though it was a commercial success. But for today's audiences it's two hours of great fun. There are terrific song and dance numbers by some of Hollywood's best.

The great irony of this movie has to do with what happened to John Garfield. Declared 4-F because of a heart condition, Garfield repeatedly tried to enlist but was turned down. He gave tirelessly of himself, entertaining troops in USO shows stateside and in Europe. Even Bette Davis acknowledged that he was the driving force behind the Canteen. So it is inconceivable to me that someone who gave so much of himself to the war effort could have been blacklisted as a communist sympathizer. His career and his life were ruined, and he died suddenly in May, 1952.

If you want to remember "The Greatest Generation" and to remember what great entertainment was and should be, then this gem of a 1944 movie is for you...


Monday, September 28, 2015


One of those actors I am aware about but I have never seen much of his work is the actor Peter Finch. Since on this day he was born in 1918, I figured it would be a great opportunity to learn about the great actor, especially his early days.

Peter Lynch was born Frederick George Peter Ingle Finch in London. George gained custody of Peter and he was taken from his mother and brought up by his paternal "grandmother" Laura Finch (formerly Black) in Vaucresson, France.  In 1925 Laura took Peter with her to Adyar, a Theosophical community near Madras, India for a number of months, and the young boy lived for a time in a Buddhist monastery. Undoubtedly as a result of his childhood contact with Buddhism Finch always claimed to be a Buddhist. 

In 1926 he was sent to Australia to live with his great-uncle Edward Herbert Finch at Greenwich Point in Sydney. He attended the local public school until 1929, then North Sydney Intermediate High School for three years. At age 19 Finch toured Australia with George Sorlie's travelling troupe. This, along with continuous stage work, led to the attention of Australian Broadcasting Commission radio drama producer Lawrence H. Cecil, who was to act as his coach and mentor throughout 1939 and 1940. He was "Chris" in the Children's Session and the first Muddle-Headed Wombat. He later starred with Neva Carr Glyn in an enormously popular series by Max Afford as husband-and-wife detectives Jeffery and Elizabeth Blackburn as well as other ABC radio plays.

Finch's first screen performance was in a 1935 short film, The Magic Shoes, an adaptation of the fairy tale Cinderella. He made his feature film debut in 1938 with a supporting role in Dad and Dave Come to Town for director Ken G. Hall, who went on to cast Finch in a larger role supporting Cecil Kellaway in Mr. Chedworth Steps Out (1939).

After the war, Finch continued to work heavily in radio and established himself as Australia's leading actor in that medium, winning Macquarie Awards for best actor in 1946 and 1947. He also worked as a compere, producer and writer.

In 1946, Finch co-founded the Mercury Theatre Company, which put on a number of productions in Sydney over the next few years, as well as running a theatre school. A 1948 performance of The Imaginary Invalid on the factory floor of O'Brien's Glass Factory in Sydney brought him to the attention of Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh, then touring Australia with the Old Vic Company. Olivier encouraged Finch to move to London, and he left Australia in 1948.

He did not reach international stardom until the success of The Nun's Story (1959). Although he never worked in Hollywood for an extended period of time, preferring to base himself in London.

At the time of Finch's death, he was doing a promotional tour for the 1976 film Network in which he played the television anchorman Howard Beale  who develops messianic pretensions. He was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for that role, posthumously winning the award, which was accepted by his widow, Eletha Finch. Although James Dean, Spencer Tracy and Massimo Troisi were also posthumously nominated for a Best Actor Oscar, Peter Finch was the first actor to have won the award posthumously, as well as the first Australian actor to win a Best Actor award...

Friday, September 25, 2015



Tim Curry and his co-star Aileen Quinn reunite after 33 years, as he is honored with The Actors Fund Lifetime Achievement Award a couple months ago at the Tony Awards Viewing Party in Los Angeles.

He is recovering from a stroke that continues to affect his speech, but that didn't stop legendary actor Tim Curry from attending a Tony Awards viewing party in LA on Sunday night.

Now it has been revealed that as well as receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award at the event, the 69-year-old actor was also reunited with his co-star in the musical Annie, after 33 years.

Actress Aileen Quinn, 43 - who played the lead role of the little orphan in the 1982 movie - spoke to People about their emotional reunion.

'Tim was the one [co-star] I hadn't seen in 30 years,' she told them. 'It was very emotional because what people don't realize about him is how kind he is in real life.'

The actor - who suffered a stroke almost three years ago - recently spoke about the importance of keeping a sense of humour throughout life, and Aileen echoed the sentiment to People.

She explained: 'When I came up to him I was like, "Tim, do you remember this face?" And he said, "Of course I do!" and he had kind of this wry smile,'

'He has that twinkle in his eye as always. Even though it's not quite the same as 30 years ago because he's older now, we had a very nice moment.'

She added: 'He's fighting the good fight. He's hanging in there. He came, he talked to a bunch of people, he got his award. He's a real fighter in true Annie spirit!'

Aileen currently fronts the band Aileen Quinn and the Leapin' Lizards and just released the album Spin Me. 

Meanwhile, Speaking recently to Los Angeles magazine, Tim said that he has been 'doing well' and was 'looking forward' to receiving the honor.

It is the legendary star's sense of humor that has helped helped him to remain optimistic since his July 2012 stroke when he collapsed at his Los Angeles home.

Tim is best known for his role as the brilliantly mad transvestite scientist Dr Frank N Furter in the The Rocky Horror Show (1975).

Meanwhile, at the viewing party, the veteran actor arrived in a black suit and was seated in a wheelchair.

He joins Theodore Bikel, Alfred Molina and Joe Morton as recipients of the same lifetime achievement award.

When asked what life would be like for him if it reflected the theater, he said: 'Scary. Well the theater is scary. And the longer the time in between the periods in the theater, the scarier it gets.

Adding: 'Life isn’t meant to be scary. It’s to be celebratory. In which case, it would be like the theater. I think of that as a celebration of life.' 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


The 91-year-old former musical star Doris Day is apparently keen to return to the big screen after an offer from the 85-year-old American Sniper director! After a 47-year absence, Doris Day might be heading back to the big screen in a new film directed by Clint Eastwood.

The 91-year-old star of Calamity Jane has reportedly been in talks with Eastwood, her neighbour in Carmel Valley, California. According to German tabloid Bild, he presented her with a script on a recent visit.

It’s unknown what the role is but she is allegedly delighted with the opportunity and is involved in negotiations to make a return. She has allegedly made two demands: the film must be shot in Carmel and a cut of the profits must go to her animal welfare charity. Her last film was the 1968 romantic comedy With Six You Get Eggroll.

Eastwood, riding high off his biggest hit American Sniper, is working on a film based on the story of hero pilot Chesley Sullenberger, with Tom Hanks in the lead role. It’s not known if this is the film that Day is set to star in.

Day was known for roles in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much and romantic comedies Pillow Talk and Move Over, Darling. She was also famed for her singing career and long-running TV series The Doris Day Show. She turned down the role of Mrs Robinson in 1967’s The Graduate as she found the script“vulgar and offensive”.

Since retiring, Day has spent her time devoted to her charity, the Doris Day Animal Foundation...


Tuesday, September 22, 2015


Many people are unaware of the sad disappearance of actor Tyrone Power's beautiful grand-daughter Ylenia Maria Sole Carrisi. It is a mystery that has yet to be solved even over 20 years after her disappearance.

Carrisi was born in Rome on November 29, 1970, the eldest daughter of Albano Carrisi and Romina Power. Her maternal grandparents are American actor Tyrone Power and Mexican actress Linda Christian.

In 1983, she appeared alongside her parents in the Italian film Champagne in paradiso. Later on, she was the letter-turner on La Ruota Della Fortuna, the Italian version of Wheel of Fortune. She envisaged for herself a career as a novelist, studying literature at King's College London, where she received the highest marks in her year.

During her studies, she began to entertain the idea of traveling the world solo with nothing but a backpack and her journal. She decided to take a break from studying and returned to Italy where she sold all her belongings in order to pay for the voyage. She began in South America. After having spent a few months in Belize, she decided to leave the day after Christmas 1993 by bus to New Orleans, Louisiana. Her brother Yari, also an experienced traveler, had decided to surprise his sister by visiting her that Christmas. He arrived on a rainy 27 December in the village of Hopkins, going door to door in search for her, only to find that the day before, she had hopped on a bus heading to Mexico. Unfortunately, he arrived 24 hours too late for she was already heading to New Orleans, where she disappeared on January 6, 1994.

Ylenia was last seen in the French Quarter area sometime during the month. Police efforts to find her did not yield any result. At the time of her disappearance, Ylenia was staying in the LeDale Hotel with African-American street musician Alexander Masakela, twenty years her senior. Masakela was arrested on January 31 on an unrelated charge but eventually released for lack of evidence to connect him to Ylenia's disappearance.

In relation to her disappearance, a security guard testified that he saw a woman vaguely matching her description jump into the Mississippi River saying the words "I belong into water". A Coast Guard search turned up no sign of the young woman's body, which may have been washed out to sea. In any case, it has never been established that the person was Ylenia. In 1996, two years after her disappearance, an unspecified caller assured emphatically that Ylenia was still alive but her whereabouts were unknown.

Carrisi's parents last heard from their daughter on New Year's Eve. They reported her missing on January 18.  In November 2006, Albano stated for the first time that he believed the security guard's story. In January 2013 he requested the declaration of the presumed death of his daughter. She was reportedly discovered in June 2011 in a monastery in the United States. Her father dismissed the report as "shameful speculation containing not a bit of truth.". The mystery has yet to be solved...

Sunday, September 20, 2015


One of the most prolific of all of the character actors of Hollywood's golden age was Charles Coburn. Coburn was a character actor and Georgia native, enjoyed a lengthy career on stage, screen, and radio that reached its height in the 1940s and 1950s, when he was in his sixties and seventies.

Charles Douville Coburn was born in Macon on June 19, 1877, to Emma Louise Sprigman and Moses Douville Coburn. Coburn grew up in Savannah and as a young boy handed out programs in a local theater, where he received his first role, a bit part in the stage performance of William Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan's opera The Mikado. Failing to win other parts for which he auditioned, Coburn worked briefly as a house manager until, at the age of nineteen, he left Georgia for New York City and the lure of Broadway.
His prospects in New York were grim, and he supported himself with a variety of odd jobs, including theater usher and package deliveryman. Shortly before he was to return to Savannah, he was hired as an advance man in a theater. This job yielded his first professional stage role, in a Chicago company's traveling production of Quo Vadis.
Coburn continued acting in traveling companies and by 1904 was starring in the lead role of The Christian. In 1905 he founded his own theater company, the Coburn Shakespearean Players. That same year he met Ivah Wills when they were cast together in a production of William Shakespeare's As You Like It. They married in 1906 and went on to produce several Broadway and off-Broadway plays.

After his wife's death in 1937, Coburn moved to Hollywood, California, and began a film career. Although his earliest listed film credit is for Boss Tweed in 1933, the 1938 release Human Hearts is often cited as his first substantial film role. He appeared in supporting roles in numerous films, including Idiot's Delight (1939), Made for Each Other (1939), The Devil and Miss Jones (1941),  King's Row (1942), In This Our Life (1942), Heaven Can Wait (1943), and The More the Merrier (1943), for which he won an Academy Award for his portrayal of Benjamin Dingle, a blustering but endearing businessman who typifies the characters Coburn often played. Although he was a classically trained stage actor, Coburn accepted many film roles that incorporated comedic and slapstick elements.
In the early 1940s Coburn appeared in as many as four or five pictures per year, but in 1945 he signed a contract with Columbia Pictures for just four movies in two years so that he could return to the stage and take on numerous radio and television parts. (The light film schedule also allowed him time to write an article on Savannah theater for a 1948 book titled Stories of Old Savannah.) In 1946 Coburn starred in the film Colonel Effingham's Raid, an adaptation of the novel by Georgia writer Berry Fleming. His later screen work included roles in Gentleman Prefer Blondes (1953) and Around the World in 80 Days (1956). His final film was John Paul Jones (1959), in which he played Benjamin Franklin.
In 1959 Coburn married Winifred Natzka, who was forty-one years his junior and the former wife of Oscar Natzka, a New Zealand opera singer. Coburn died of a heart attack in New York City on August 30, 1961, at the age of eighty-four. He appeared in his last role, in a stage production of You Can't Take It with You, in Indianapolis, Indiana, a week before his death. Coburn, who visited Georgia throughout his adult life, bequeathed his collection of theatrical papers and photographs to the University of Georgia's Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library. His ashes were scattered in Georgia, Massachusetts, and New York...

Friday, September 18, 2015


The television comedy Modern Family is pretty much considered one of the great comedies on television today and rightfully so. However, there is another comedy which I think has pretty much reached greatness but does not get the recognition that Modern Family gets and that is another ABC show The Middle.

The Middle is an American sitcom about a working-class family living in Indiana and facing the day-to-day struggles of home life, work, and raising children. The show premiered September 30, 2009. on the ABC network. The Middle was created by former Roseanne and Murphy Brown writers Eileen Heisler and DeAnn Heline of Blackie and Blondie Productions. The show is distributed by Warner Bros. Television Distribution and Blackie and Blondie Productions.

The series features Frances "Frankie" Heck (Patricia Heaton), a working class, middle-aged, Midwestern woman and her husband Mike (Neil Flynn), who reside in the small fictional town of Orson in Southwest Indiana. They are the parents of three children, Axl (Charlie McDermott), Sue (Eden Sher), and Brick (Atticus Shaffer).

The series is narrated by Frankie, initially an under-performing salesperson at a used-car dealership and later a dental assistant. Her stoic husband Mike manages a local quarry and serves as a stabilizing influence in the family. The children are quite different from one another: oldest son Axl, a popular but under-motivated and cynical teenager, does well in sports but not in academics; daughter Sue is an enthusiastic young teen but chronically unsuccessful and socially awkward; and youngest son Brick, an intelligent but introverted compulsive reader with quirky behavioral traits. What is so appealing about this show is it is about real people with real story lines that common people can relate to.

The series was originally developed in the 2006–07 development cycle and was to star Ricki Lake as Frankie. Atticus Shaffer was the only actor to retain his role when the show was re-developed. The series was created by Eileen Heisler and DeAnn Heline and the pilot was directed by Julie Anne Robinson. The series is going to be entering its seventh season this fall. That is an amazing lifespan for a television show, let alone a comedy series...

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


One of the best vocalists that the memorable Glenn Miller Orchestra ever had was Ray Eberle. Eberle was born on January 19, 1919 in New York. His father, John A. Eberle, was a local policeman, sign-painter, and publican (tavern-keeper). His elder brother was Big Band singer, Bob Eberly, who sang with the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra. Ray started singing in his teens, with no formal training. In 1938, Glenn Miller, who was looking for a male vocalist for his big band, asked Eberly if he had any siblings at home who could sing. Bob said "yes", and Ray was hired on the spot. Eberle recalled walking by a table when his similar looking brother was performing, and being stopped by Miller and invited to audition. Music critics and Miller's musicians were reportedly unhappy with Eberle's vocal style but Miller stuck with him.

Ray Eberle went on to find success with Miller, deeming the songs for Orchestra Wives, such as the jazz standard "At Last", to be among his favorites as there were songs he could "sink my teeth into, and make a story out of".

He appeared in the Twentieth Century Fox movies, Sun Valley Serenade (1941) and Orchestra Wives (1942).

He made several Universal films, including Mister Big, making a cameo appearance as himself. Eberle mostly sang ballads. From 1940-43 he did well on Billboard (magazine)'s "College Poll" for male vocalist. He also appeared on numerous television variety shows in the 1950s and 1960s.

Ray Eberle sang lead on "Sometime", composed by Glenn Miller in 1939, "Polka Dots and Moonbeams", "At Last", a number 9 chart hit on Billboard in 1942, and "To You", but Miller ran a tight ship and often fired people after one negative incident. Eberle was stuck in traffic one day during a Chicago engagement, and was late for a rehearsal. Miller fired him on the spot, and replaced him in June 1942 with Skip Nelson. Eberle responded by blasting Miller in a trade paper. An angry Miller retorted with his own version of Eberle's firing.

After his departure from Miller, Eberle briefly joined Gene Krupa's band before launching a solo career. He later joined former Miller bandmate Tex Beneke's orchestra in 1970 for a national tour, and reformed his own orchestra later in the decade.

Ray and his wife, Janet (née Young), had two children, Jan and Laurie Eberle. Janet's daughter Nancy Atchison became Nancy Eberle when she married Ray. He had two sons from his second marriage to Joanne Eberle (née Genthon), Ray Eberle Jr. and John Eberle. He also had a grandson, named Tray. Ray Eberle died of a  sudden heart attack in Douglasville, Georgia on August 25, 1979, aged 60. He was largely forgotten in 1979, but his big band contributions should never be forgotten...

Sunday, September 13, 2015


Without my Grandfather, I would not be where I am today as a father, a husband, or a man for that matter. Today is Grandparent's Day, and even though classic Hollywood really did not like to show its age - there are many great pictures of classic stars with their grandchildren. Here are a few of them...

BUSTER KEATON and his grand-daughter

JOAN CRAWFORD and her grandchildren

FRANK SINATRA and his grandson

JIMMY STEWART and his grandson

CHARLES CHAPLIN and his grandson

ROSEMARY CLOONEY and her grandson

Friday, September 11, 2015


Here is the usually interesting review from guest reviewer Bruce Kogan. This time he looks at the enjoyable 1949 Judy Garland musical In The Good Old Summertime...

Given how Judy Garland scored so well in another period piece, Meet Me In St. Louis, it was a natural that she be cast in In The Good Old Summertime even if she was a replacement for June Allyson. It's called serendipity.

The film is a musical adaption of MGM's The Shop Around The Corner in which James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan played the anonymous correspondents who love what each other write, but can't stand each other in person. It doesn't help that the two of them are co-workers in a department store.

Van Johnson takes the Stewart part in In The Good Old Summertime and early 20th century Budapest is transferred to early 20th century Chicago. Johnson and Garland work in a music store with Spring Byington, Clinton Sundberg, and Buster Keaton and that's owned by S.Z. Sakall. Sakall is far more lovable as he always is than Frank Morgan in the same part in The Shop Around The Corner. A bit thick, but lovable. He does think he has talent on the violin, the same way Jack Benny did on his radio program. He plays it as well as Benny did and even playing it on a Stradivarius doesn't help.

Except for one new song, Merry Christmas, the rest of the score is interpolated period favorites like Meet Me Tonight In Dreamland, I Never Knew, I Don't Care and of course the title song. Judy is really in her element doing these numbers. In fact two of the early century's great musical performers, Blanche Ring who introduced In The Good Old Summertime, and Eva Tanguay whose specialty song was I Don't Care, were still alive to see Judy do both of their numbers for the current audience. I've often wondered what they must have thought.

Buster Keaton is strangely subdued in this film. He only gets one real comic moment doing a pratfall on a dance floor and breaking a violin in the process. I'm betting some of his material wound up on the cutting room floor.

At the very end of the film, little Liza Minnelli all of three at the time made her screen debut. If you like period pieces as I do and the music of the era as I do or if you liked The Shop Around The Corner or the most current adaption of the piece, You've Got Mail with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, than you will appreciate and enjoy In The Good Old Summertime...


Thursday, September 10, 2015


Little Dickie Moore, the beloved former child star, has died. He was 89.

The husband of famed actress Jane Powell, Moore began his long career in show business when he was only 11 months old, playing John Barrymore as an infant in the 1927 silent film The Beloved Rogue. He would go on to appear in more than 100 films during the next 30 years and was later the longtime spokesman for AFTRA.

His many memorable screen performances included starring roles in Oliver Twist, Sergeant York, The Life Of Louis Pasteur and Heaven Can Wait. But he probably is best known for his appearances in the Our Gang comedies and as the boyfriend who gave Shirley Temple her first screen kiss in the 1942 film Miss Annie Rooney.

He started working regularly at age 4, appearing in as many as 12 feature films a year. Among his early credits were Cecil B. DeMille’s The Squaw Man, So Big with Barbara Stanwyck and Blonde Venus with Marlene Dietrich and newcomer Cary Grant. In 1932, producer Hal Roach recruited him for Our Gang, where he worked with Spanky, Stymie and the kids for a year before resuming his career in feature films, including Little Men, Man’s Castle with Spencer Tracy, Peter Ibbetson with Gary Cooper, The Life Of Emile Zola with Paul Muni and The Bride Wore Red with Joan Crawford, among others.

After serving in World War II as a correspondent for Stars And Stripes in the Pacific Theater, Moore attended college in Los Angeles, majoring in journalism. He then returned to acting as Dick Moore and appeared in Out Of The Past with Robert Mitchum and in Tuna Clipper with Roddy MacDowell. He also co-produced, co-directed and acted in a short subject film called The Boy And The Eagle that was nominated for an Academy Award in 1949. His last film was The Member Of The Wedding in 1952.

Relocating to New York, he worked in radio, television, summer stock, Broadway and Off-Broadway, both as an actor and director, before his career took a new turn. He became involved with Actors’ Equity, and served on its governing Council before becoming editor of their magazine and public relations counsel. He left Equity in 1964 to become creative director for films, meetings and shows for a leading advertising agency and then was a senior associate with a major public relations firm. He formed his own public relations firm, Dick Moore and Associates, in 1966.

His 1984 book, Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, is an autobiographical account of his childhood in the movie business that explores the hardships that many child actors face growing up in front of the cameras. He was also author of Opportunities In Acting Careers and co-author of a study titled “The Relationship Of Amateur To Professional In The American Theatre.”

Besides his wife, he is survived by his sister, publicist Pat Kingsley; his son, Kevin Moore; and numerous grandchildren, stepchildren and step-grandchildren...

Wednesday, September 9, 2015


Cate Blanchett is hotly tipped to win an Oscar for playing the fictional 1950s heroine of Todd Haynes’s film Carol, but her next role could be one of the real life stars of the period: Lucille Ball.

The Australian actor is set to play the American TV sweetheart in a new biopic written by Aaron Sorkin of The West Wing and The Social Network, reports the Wrap.

The film will cover Ball’s 20-year marriage to Cuban bandleader Desi Arnaz, who also played her husband in I Love Lucy, the first show of its kind to be filmed in front of a live audience.

Ball won four Emmys as a performer and went on to become one of Hollywood’s first female TV executives when she founded the studio Desilu, which produced the original Mission: Impossible and Star Trek series.

Blanchett is no stranger to biopics, winning her first Academy award for her turn as Katharine Hepburn in The Aviator.

Audiences will next see her as journalist Mary Mapes in Truth, a newsroom drama about the controversial 2004 CBS report investigating George W Bush’s military service. Blanchett also recently completed films with directors Julian Rosefeldt and Terrence Malick.

The Lucille Ball project has the blessing of Ball and Arnaz’s children, Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz Jr, who will produce the project with Escape Artists, the company behind the Jake Gyllenhaal drama Southpaw and The Equalizer, starring Denzel Washington.

While there was no confirmation from either Blanchett or Sorkin’s camps about the film, Blanchett’s husband, theatre director Andrew Upton, confirmed to Guardian Australia “they have been talking about it for a while”.

“It’s a project that is dear to [Cate’s] heart and a great story to tell,” he said at a theatre event in Sydney on Thursday...


Sunday, September 6, 2015


Tony Bennett, who has rarely missed an opportunity to celebrate the Great American Songbook, will release a new album in that vein this fall. “The Silver Lining: The Songs of Jerome Kern” (RPM/Columbia), due out Sept. 25, will feature Mr. Bennett in close collaboration with Bill Charlap, a jazz pianist and diligent songbook steward.

The album will include 14 of the most canonical songs by Kern, who composed hundreds for the Broadway stage. On half of the album Mr. Bennett performs with Mr. Charlap’s longtime trio. Several tracks feature a piano duo, with Mr. Charlap and Renee Rosnes (who are also husband and wife).

And on a few tracks, including “The Way You Look Tonight,” Mr. Bennett and Mr. Charlap work as a duo, consciously evoking Mr. Bennett’s collaboration with Bill Evans, which yielded a pair of highly regarded albums in the 1970s. (This spring, Fantasy released “The Complete Tony Bennett/Bill Evans Recordings,” a 4-LP boxed set, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of their first release.)

Mr. Bennett, who turned 89 this month, has devoted just a handful of his many previous albums to the work of a single composer or songwriting team. His focus in recent years has been on high-profile collaborations: last fall he had a No. 1 album in “Cheek to Cheek” (Streamline/Columbia/Interscope), sharing the honor with Lady Gaga, with whom he also just finished a major tour. He hit No. 1 in 2011 with “Duets II,” which featured Lady Gaga among a glittery array of guests, including Amy Winehouse and Aretha Franklin.

“Cheek to Cheek” included the Jerome Kern tune “I Won’t Dance,” which Lady Gaga and Mr. Bennett turned into a coy stage routine...

Friday, September 4, 2015


Burt Reynolds rarely appears in public these days.

But the frail 79-year-old turned up at Wizard World Comic Con in Chicago on Saturday to promote his new biography, But Enough About Me.

It comes just three months after the iconic Hollywood tough guy shocked fans with his skinny, fragile appearance at WWCC in Philadelphia on May 9 when he talked about his book, due out on November 17.

Recounting a life in film, Burt has previously mentioned that the book will talk about the people he has worked with over the years, both good and bad.

'Setting the record straight is something that I have wanted to do for a while now, and with this book I will,' he said in a statement in July when publisher G.P. Putnam's Sons announced the book.

'This will be a project that will go into many areas I have never discussed.'

Burt Reynolds shocked fans recently when the once-strapping sex symbol made a rare public appearance, looking gaunt, frail, and using a cane.

The 79-year-old Hollywood legend appears to be facing a common problem among the elderly, which is the sudden loss of muscle mass and body weight. The condition often leads to difficulty walking and performing routine tasks. 

In Reynolds’ case, his thin appearance is a striking contrast to his public persona as a macho leading man. However, a top internist tells Newsmax Health, that frailty is not an inevitable fact of aging.

“Becoming thin and losing strength does happen, but I have patients in their 80s who look younger than some I have who are in their 50s,” says Michael Zimring, M.D., an internist at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Md., who has not treated Reynolds. “It all depends on the way they live.”
It may seem unlikely that a man such as Reynolds – so fit in his younger years that he played fullback for the Florida State football team – would end up so frail. But a string of serious health problems may have contributed to his weight loss. 
Back in the 1980s, when filming the movie City Heat, he was struck in the face with a metal chair, which broke his jaw and left him with a painful condition called temporo-mandibular joint dysfunction, or TMJ disorder. 

Unable to eat, he lost 30 pounds from his 5-foot-11 frame. Reynolds also became addicted to painkillers, a habit that took him several years to break. 

In 2009 he underwent back surgery and in 2010 he had a quintuple heart bypass. He reportedly had trouble eating following the heart operation, and again lost a large amount of weight, sparking rumors he had AIDS. He nearly died from a bout with the flu in early 2014...

Wednesday, September 2, 2015


Here is a great article I discovered to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. It is much better than anything I could ever write...

World War II, the US, and Classical Hollywood
by Charles Livingston

Wartime U.S.A. 1941-1945; the Japanese have bombed Pearl Harbor, Uncle Sam recruits his troops, and nonetheless, Hollywood manages to sustain its dominant prowess. Certainly Hollywood experiences its much anticipated, yet seemingly nominal setbacks at the box office (following the U.S.’s involvement in WWII), but by 1943, Hollywood is undoubtedly recognized as “the worlds cinema.” This is courtesy of Humphrey Bogart,Casablanca, and most of all: The Second World War.

The catastrophic destruction of Pearl Harbor ultimately led to the United States participation in the war. Our contribution to the Worlds War effort s inevitably led to the deaths of countless valiant American men. This also meant America would become unified by way of Immense Patriotism, and no media outlet of the era triggered a more severe emotional response than the cinema. While Pearl Harbor and the War loomed over seas, an abundant of proud yet weary Americans elected to visit the movies on a weekly, sometimes daily basis. Several modes/ styles of cinema may have been accessible at the time, but no variation of film remained more paramount to Hollywood cinema (Post the U.S. joining the war) than the incessant method of Realism, Classical Hollywood’s proudest accomplishment.

Some of these films consisted of Casablanca, Once upon a Honeymoon, and The Best Years of Our Lives. A.O. Scott states, alluding to Casablanca, “The basic storyline would become the staple of wartime American Cinema.” All of these films would fervently communicate to, and connect American film viewers to the war that was physically distant, yet emotionally imbedded within them.

Another way, in which Hollywood managed to maintain its corporate dominance over any other media outlet, was due to the halt in production and mass distribution of the Television. The period between 1941 and 1945 could have very well witnessed the birth of TV; a legitimate form of competition meant to combat Hollywood and the studio system. Logically, resources during wartime should focus predominately on the war effort (Man power, materials, etc.), this proved to be one of the principal reasons behind Hollywood’s continued prominence during that specific period.

1946 proved to be Hollywood’s most successful year at the box office. This was not a coincidental occurrence by any stretch of the imagination. 1946 marked the end of World War II, therefore soldiers had come home from battle, the United Stated rejoiced as they recalled their countless military exploits, and families began to emerge. This also marked the era of the baby boomer (child born after World War II’s end). Americans were visiting their local cinema 5-6 time a week, sometimes merely a day off from the movies would seem foreign to the average American man and woman during 1946.

Hollywood has thrived throughout its vast existence, but no era is more indicative of its success than within the studio era, or most of all, throughout the four years before and four years following WWII. Weather it was the propaganda film, military drama, or gangster film, Americans seemed to visit the theaters not as a means of escape, but as a way of subconsciously connecting themselves with the realities of war...