Saturday, December 30, 2017

THE PASSING SCENE OF 2017

Every year I comment on how quickly the year has gone, and 2017 is no different. My children are getting older, my bones are aching more, and my heart goes out to all of the stars and celebrities we have lost in the fading year. Here are just some of the notable artists that we lost in 2017...


Actress MARY TYLER MOORE died on January 25th at the age of 80. She known for her roles in the television sitcoms The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970–1977), in which she starred as Mary Richards, a single woman working as a local news producer in Minneapolis, and The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961–1966), in which she played Laura Petrie, a former dancer turned homemaker, wife and mother. Her film work includes 1967's Thoroughly Modern Millie and 1980's Ordinary People, in which she played a role that was very different from the television characters she had portrayed, and for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress. Due to her roles on both The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Dick Van Dyke Show, in which her characters often broke from stereotypical images of women and pushed gender norms, Moore became a cultural icon and served as an inspiration for many younger actresses, professional women, and feminists. She was later active in charity work and various political causes, particularly the issues of animal rights, vegetarianism and diabetes. She was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes early in the run of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. She also suffered from alcoholism, which she wrote about in her first of two memoirs. In May 2011, Moore underwent elective brain surgery to remove a benign meningioma.

Director GEORGE ROMERO died on July 16th at the age of 77. He was best known for his series of gruesome and satirical horror films about an imagined zombie apocalypse, beginning with Night of the Living Dead (1968). Other films in the series include Dawn of the Dead (1978) and Day of the Dead (1985). Aside from the Dead series, his works include The Crazies (1973), Martin (1978), Creepshow (1982), Monkey Shines (1988), The Dark Half (1993) and Bruiser (2000). He also created and executive-produced the television series Tales from the Darkside (1983–1988). Romero is often noted as an influential pioneer of the horror film genre, and the "Father of the Zombie Film

Singer and comedian JIM NABORS died on November 30th at the age of 86. Nabors was discovered by Andy Griffith while working at the Santa Monica nightclub The Horn, and he later joined The Andy Griffith Show as Gomer Pyle. Betty Lynn, Elinor Donahue, and Ron Howard are the last surviving regular cast members from that series. The character proved popular, and Nabors was given his own spin-off show Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.He became a popular guest on variety shows which showcased his rich baritone voice in the 1960s and 1970s, including two specials of his own in 1969 and 1974. He subsequently recorded numerous albums and singles, most of them containing romantic ballads.

Singer BEA WAIN died on August 19th at the age of 100. She was an American Big Band-era singer and radio personality born in the Bronx, New York City. She had a number of hits with Larry Clinton and his Orchestra. After her marriage she and her husband became involved in radio, helming a show titled "Mr. and Mrs. Music". Wain had four No. 1 hits: "Cry, Baby, Cry", "Deep Purple", "Heart and Soul", and her signature song, "My Reverie". My Reverie (Victor 26006) stayed at the top of the chart for eight weeks in 1938. Wain was also the first artist to record the Harold Arlen-Yip Harburg classic "Over the Rainbow" (on December 7, 1938, with Clinton's orchestra), but MGM prohibited the release until The Wizard of Oz (1939) had opened and audiences heard Judy Garland perform it. Wain rarely made recordings after she left the Clinton orchestra in 1939, focusing primarily on her work on radio instead.

Actor MIGUEL FERRER died of cancer on January 19th at the age of 61. His breakthrough role was the OCP Vice President Bob Morton in the 1987 film RoboCop. Ferrer's notable television roles include FBI Agent Albert Rosenfield on Twin Peaks (1990–1991, 2017), Dr. Garret Macy on Crossing Jordan (2001–2007) and NCIS Assistant Director Owen Granger on NCIS: Los Angeles (2012–2017). He was the son of actor José Ferrer and singer Rosemary Clooney.

Actress and child star ROSE MARIE died on December 28th at the age of 94. As a child performer, she had a successful singing career as Baby Rose Marie. A veteran of vaudeville, her career included film, radio, records, theater, night clubs and television.She was most widely known for her role as Sally Rogers on the television show The Dick Van Dyke Show from 1961 to 1966.

Comedian and director JERRY LEWIS died on August 20th at the age of 91. He was known for his slapstick humor in film, television, stage and radio. From 1946 to 1956, he and Dean Martin were partners as the hit popular comedy duo of Martin and Lewis. Following that success, he was a solo star in motion pictures, nightclubs, television shows, concerts, album recordings, and musicals. Lewis served as national chairman of the Muscular Dystrophy Association and hosted the live Labor Day weekend broadcast of the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon for 45 years. He received several awards for lifetime achievement from the American Comedy Awards, Los Angeles Film Critics Association, Venice Film Festival and Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and was honored with two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Television personality CHUCK BARRIS died at the age of 87 on March 21st. He was an American game show creator, producer, and host. Barris was known for hosting The Gong Show, and creating The Dating Game and The Newlywed Game. He was also a songwriter, who wrote "Palisades Park" for Freddy Cannon.

Singer HARRY PRIME died on June 20th at the age of 97. He was a Big Band vocalist who performed from the late forties through the mid-fifties. Prime was a featured vocalist with the orchestras of Randy Brooks, Tommy Dorsey, and Ralph Flanagan. Prime peformed mostly with Flanagan's band , but his biggest hit was with the Dorsey band and the song "Until" in 1947. He performed until a few months before his death.

The widow of Frank Sinatra, BARBARA SINATRA, died July 25th at the age of 90. A show girl and model, she married Robert Oliver in September 1948 and had a son, Bobby on 10 October 1950. She divorced Oliver in 1952 and married Zeppo Marx on 18 September 1959. That union ended in divorce in 1973. Then she became the fourth and final wife of Frank Sinatra from 1976 until his death in 1998.

Actor MARTIN LANDAU died at the age of 89 on July 15th. His career began in the 1950s, with early film appearances including a supporting role in Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest (1959). He played regular roles in the television series Mission: Impossible (for which he received several Emmy Award nominations. Landau received the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture, as well as his first nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, for his role in Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988); he received his second Oscar nomination for his appearance in Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989). His performance in the supporting role of Bela Lugosi in Ed Wood (1994) earned him an Academy Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award and a Golden Globe Award. He continued to perform in film and television, and headed the Hollywood branch of the Actors Studio until his death in July.


Singer FATS DOMINO died at the age of 89 on October 24th. Fats was a pioneer of early rock n roll, and had countless hits including: "Blueberry Hill", "Ain't That A Shame", and "My Girl Josephine". Five of his records released before 1955 sold over a million copies and were certified as gold records, and he had 35 records in the U.S. Billboard Top 40. Fats retired in 2007.

Comedian and social activist DICK GREGORY died at the age of 84 on August 19th. Gregory was a comedian, civil rights activist, social critic, writer, entrepreneur, conspiracy theorist, and occasional actor. During the turbulent 1960s, Gregory became a pioneer in stand-up comedy for his "no-holds-barred" sets, in which he mocked bigotry and racism. He performed primarily to black audiences at segregated clubs until 1961, when he became the first black comedian to successfully cross over to white audiences, appearing on television and putting out comedy record albums

Actress and former child star ERIN MORAN died of lung cancer at the age of 56 on April 22nd. She was best known for her role as Joannie Cunningham on the television series Happy Days (1974-1984) and the spinoff Joanie Loves Chachi (1982-1983). 

Singer CHUCK BERRY died on March 18th at the age of 90. Berry was an American singer, songwriter, musician, and one of the pioneers of rock and roll music. With songs such as "Maybellene" (1955), "Roll Over Beethoven" (1956), "Rock and Roll Music" (1957) and "Johnny B. Goode" (1958), Berry refined and developed rhythm and blues into the major elements that made rock and roll distinctive. Writing lyrics that focused on teen life and consumerism, and developing a music style that included guitar solos and showmanship, Berry was a major influence on subsequent rock music.

Actress BARBARA HALE died at the age of 94 on January 26th. She was best known for her role as legal secretary Della Street on more than 270 episodes of the long-running Perry Mason television series from 1957 to 1966, earning her a 1959 Emmy Award as Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. She reprised the role in 30 Perry Mason movies for television. Her movie roles included: Jolson Sings Again (1949) and The Boy With The Green Hair (1949) among others.


Singer and actress DELLA REESE died on November 19th at the age of 86. Reese's long career began as a singer, scoring a hit with her 1959 single "Don't You Know?". In the late 1960s, she hosted her own talk show, Della, which ran for 197 episodes. She also starred in films beginning in 1975, including playing opposite Redd Foxx in Harlem Nights (1989), Martin Lawrence in A Thin Line Between Love and Hate (1996) and Elliott Gould in Expecting Mary (2010). She achieved continuing success in the television religious supernatural drama Touched by an Angel (1994–2003).

Singer and band leader BUDDY GRECO died on January 10th at the age of 90. Greco was an American jazz and pop singer and pianist, who had a long career in the US and UK and was good friends with the Rat Pack. His recordings, in several genres including jazz, pop, and country, have sold millions of records, including "Oh Look A-There Ain't She Pretty", "Up, Up and Away" and "Around the World".

Actor ADAM WEST died on June 9, 2017 at the age of 88. He was widely known for his role as Batman in the 1960s ABC series of the same name, its 1966 theatrical feature film and two animated feature films Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders (2016) and Batman vs. Two-Face (2017) (The second one being his final work and released posthumously). He performed voice work on The Fairly OddParents (2001), The Simpsons (1992, 2002), and Family Guy (2000-2017), playing fictional versions of himself in all three.

Actress and socialite DINA MERRILL died at the age of 93 on May 22nd. Merrill's film credits included Desk Set (1957), A Nice Little Bank That Should Be Robbed (1958), Don't Give Up the Ship (1959), Operation Petticoat (1959, with Cary Grant, who had been married to her cousin, Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton), The Sundowners (1960), Butterfield 8 (1960), The Young Savages (1961), The Courtship of Eddie's Father (1963), I'll Take Sweden (1965), The Greatest (1977), A Wedding (1978), Just Tell Me What You Want (1980), Anna to the Infinite Power (1983), Twisted (1986), Caddyshack II (1988), Fear (1990), True Colors (1991), The Player (1992), Suture (1993) and Shade (2003). She was more famous as a socialite than a move star in latter years.

Bandleader LARRY ELGART died on August 29th at the age of 95. With his brother Les (1917-1995), Larry recorded "Bandstand Boogie", the theme to the long-running dance show American Bandstand. While young Larry played with jazz musicians such as Charlie Spivak, Woody Herman, Red Norvo, Freddie Slack and Tommy Dorsey.


Actor BILL PAXTON died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 61 on Feburary 25th. Paxton appeared in numerous films like The Terminator (1984), Weird Science (1985), Aliens (1986), Predator 2 (1990), Tombstone (1993), True Lies (1994), Apollo 13 (1995), Twister (1996), Titanic (1997), U-571 (2000), Edge of Tomorrow (2014), and Nightcrawler (2014). Paxton also starred in the HBO drama series Big Love (2006–11). In 2013, he received an Emmy Award nomination for his performance in the miniseries Hatfields & McCoys.

Comedian DON RICKLES died on April 6th at the age of 90. was an American stand-up comedian, actor, and author. He became well known as an insult comic, but his pudgy, balding appearance and pugnacious style led to few leading roles in film or television. His prominent film roles included Run Silent, Run Deep (1958) with Clark Gable and Kelly's Heroes (1970) with Clint Eastwood. He later voiced Mr. Potato Head in the Toy Story franchise. He won a Primetime Emmy Award for the 2007 documentary Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project.

Singer KEELY SMITH died on December 16th at the age of 89. She was a Grammy Award-winning American jazz and popular music singer, who performed and recorded extensively in the 1950s with then-husband Louis Prima, and throughout the 1960s as a solo artist. She was married to Louis Prima from 1953 to 1961, and together they scored a major it with their record of "That Old Black Magic" from 1958.

Actor ROBERT GUILLAUME died on October 24th at the age of 89. He was known for his role as Isaac Jaffe on Sports Night (1998-200_ and as Benson on the TV series Soap (1977-1981) and the spin-off Benson (1979-1986) as well as for voicing the mandrill Rafiki in The Lion King.(1994). In a career that spanned more than 50 years he worked extensively on stage, television and film. For his efforts he was nominated for a Tony Award for his portrayal of Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls, and twice won an Emmy Award for his portrayal of the character Benson DuBois, once in 1979 on Soap and in 1985 on Benson. He also won a Grammy Award in 1995 for his spoken word performance of a audiobook version of The Lion King.

Actor ROGER MOORE died at the age of 89 on May 23rd. Sir Roger Moore was an English actor. He is best known for having played secret agent James Bond in seven feature films from 1973 to 1985. He also played Simon Templar in the television series The Saint from 1962 to 1969 and Lord Brett Sinclair in The Persuaders! from 1971 to 1972. Moore took over the role of Bond from Sean Connery in 1972, and made his first appearance as 007 in Live and Let Die (1973). The longest serving Bond, he went on to portray the spy in six more films

Friday, December 29, 2017

RIP: ROSE MARIE

Rose Marie, as she was known, had quite a career as an entertainer — it spanned nine decades. On Thursday she died in Van Nuys, Calif. She was 94.

Shortly after winning a talent contest at the age of 3, Rose Marie Mazzetta was on her way to becoming a child star. She began her professional career as Baby Rose Marie and performed under that name until she was a teenager.In 1929, the five-year-old singer made a Vitaphone sound short titled Baby Rose Marie the Child Wonder. Between 1930 and 1938, she made 17 recordings, three of which were unissued. Her first issued record, recorded on March 10, 1932, featured accompaniment by Fletcher Henderson's band, one of the leading African African jazz orchestras of the day. According to Hendersonia, the bio-discography by Walter C. Allen, Henderson and the band were in the Victor studios recording the four songs they were intending to produce that day and were asked to accompany Baby Rose Marie, reading from a stock arrangement.

Her recording of "Say That You Were Teasing Me" (backed with "Take a Picture of the Moon", Victor 22960) also featured Henderson's orchestra and was a national hit in 1932. According to Joel Whitburn, Rose Marie was the last surviving entertainer to have charted a hit before World War II.


She may be best remembered for playing writer Sally Rogers on the 1960s sitcom The Dick Van Dyke Show and she was nominated for three Emmy Awards. The show was nominated for 25 and won 15.

There's a good chance even younger generations have heard of Rose Marie. That's because she never stopped working.

Last month, the documentary Wait For Your Laugh was released. It chronicled her long career.

She was a child radio star and singer, appeared on Broadway in the Phil Silvers musical Top Banana and subsequent 1954 film, was a nightclub entertainer and acted in many television shows.


After five seasons (1961–66) as Sally Rogers on The Dick Van Dyke Show, Rose Marie co-starred in two seasons (1969–71) of CBS's The Doris Day Show as Doris Martin's friend and coworker, Myrna Gibbons. She also appeared in two episodes of the NBC series The Monkees in the mid-1960s.

Rose Marie's memoir called Hold the Roses was published in 2003.

Her black hair bow became a signature look on The Dick Van Dyke Show, and when making public appearances, she always wore it.


Mazzatta was so recognized for that look that the bow ended up at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in 2008.

She has never publicly revealed why the bow was so important to her — even when asked by Smithsonian.com: "It's a very private personal reason," she says. "I said I would only give up (the bow) if the Smithsonian wants it."


Tuesday, December 19, 2017

URBAN LEGEND: PEG ENWISTLE

URBAN LEGEND: Does the ghost of actress Peg Enwistle haunt the Hollywood sign?

STATUS: Some people say it is true!


One of the more well-known urban legends of Los Angeles has to do with the famous Hollywood sign. Back in 1932, a stage actress named Peg Entwistle committed suicide by jumping off of the sign's "H" after failing in her attempt at film stardom. In her purse was a note that read, "I am afraid, I am a coward. I am sorry for everything. If I had done this a long time ago, it would have saved a lot of pain. P.E."

Multiple people have since reported seeing Entwistle's ghost in the area surrounding the sign: A couple walking their dog saw a woman in 1930s clothing appear and then disappear in the road, a jogger claimed she saw the same figure accompanied by the smell of gardenias, and a park ranger reported an apparition as well.

The creepiest part? According to legend, a letter arrived at Entwistle's home a few days after her death. The note was from the Hollywood Playhouse, offering her a role in a play as a woman who commits suicide....


Sunday, December 17, 2017

RIP: KEELY SMITH

Keely Smith, the Grammy winning singer known for her solo recordings of jazz standards as well as her partnership with her first husband, Louis Prima, died Dec. 16 in Palm Springs, Calif. She was 89 and had been suffering from heart failure, according to her publicist, Bob Merlis.

Her hits included “Bei Mir Bist Du Schön” and “I’ve Got You Under My Skin.” “That Old Black Magic,” which she reprised with Kid Rock at the 2008 Grammy awards, made a big impression on pop culture: Kermit the frog, wearing a wig, performed as Smith on the early Muppets show “Sam and Friends,” singing “That Old Black Magic.” Smith and Prima also performed the hit at John F. Kennedy’s inauguration.

Born Dorothy Jacqueline Keely in Norfolk, Va., she was of Cherokee and Irish parentage. She started out singing at a naval air station band and got her first paying job at age 15 with the Earl Bennett band.


She was hired as “girl singer” in Prima’s big band when still a teenager, and went on the road with the band in 1948. Smith and Prima married and had two children.

The duo won a Grammy in 1959, the first year of the awards, for best pop vocal performance by a duo or group for “That Old Black Magic,” which stayed on the charts for 18 weeks. They had hit albums with “The Wildest!” and “The Wildest Show at Tahoe.”

She was also Grammy-nominated later in life for the 2001 album “Keely Sings Sinatra.”


A mainstay of the Las Vegas lounge scene for many years, she was honored in the Las Vegas Hall of Fame as well as with stars on the Hollywood and Palm Springs walks of fame.

Smith also sang in several movies including “Hey Boy! Hey Girl!,” “Senior Prom” and “Thunder Road.”

She launched as a solo artist in 1957 with “I Wish You Love,” produced by Nelson Riddle, and she followed that with “Swingin’ Pretty” and “The Intimate Keely Smith,” which was re-released last year. The album was produced by Jimmy Bowen, whom she married in 1965 after divorcing Prima in 1961.

In 2005, she played a series a well-received shows in Manhattan. Variety said, “Smith’s bold, dark voice took firm hold on a handful of great standard tunes, and she swung hard.” Her final performance was in 2011 at the Cerritos Performing Arts Center.

Survivors include her children Toni Prima and Luanne Prima...


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

SCOTT GIMPLE AND THE DEATH OF THE WALKING DEAD

I have to admit that I was never a huge fan of zombies. When I was little I was afraid of everything, including zombies. As I got older I watched George Romero's Night Of The Living Dead, but I did not really embrace the genre until my brother in law talked me into watching AMC's "The Walking Dead". I started watching during the third season, and I quickly became addicted to the show. I rewatched the seasons that I missed, and I became devoted to that show.

Now "The Walking Dead" just ended the first half of its 8th season, and although the show is still the top rated program on AMC, the show is very different that one the I started watching five years ago. I barely got through the first eight episodes of this season, and my devotion to watching the show has turned to an obligation to watch it. I'm not sure if I will be back as a viewer when the show returns in February.


The show was always more about the people than the zombies, and that is why I like them. Unfortunately under the direction of show runner Scott Gimple, the program has been really going downhill the last two seasons. Gimple came on board during season 4, and that season with the villain the Governor fighting Rick, the leader of the survivors, is one of my favorites. However, each season since then has been full of nonsensical story lines, huge plot holes, and a pretty overt disregard for the audience and fan. Under Gimple, the majority of the minority cast members have been killed off. In a matter of two seasons we have lost the minority characters of Tyrese, Bob, Noah, and Sasha.

The deaths of many characters were done for shock value rather than to expand the story line. I expect people to die on the show. After all, it is the zombie apocalypse. However, the major deaths are only during the mid season finale or the season finale. You can predict when someone will die. In the first few seasons you did not know from episode to episode who would be left. The latest death - the death of Carl, has left fans shocked - and not in a good way. The character of Carl is still alive in the comic book version of The Walking Dead, and he is a major character in the future storyline. There is no reason Scott Gimple had Carl killed off other than shock value. It goes deeper than that. Chandler Riggs, the actor that plays Carl, was shocked about being killed off, and his father has gone on record to say he never trusted Gimple or AMC.


"The Walking Dead" is not dead yet. One way AMC could fix the show is to get rid of Scott Gimple, plain and simple. Gimple has lttle regard for the Walking Dead storyline as well as a blatant disregard for the fan base. He is often interviewed on the after show "Talking Dead", and with each appearance he seems more cold and unfeeling. I never thought this would be happening to my favorite show. The ratings have dropped majorly this season, and I can not believe AMC is not wondering why. Again I have to say to them is two words: Scott Gimple. We see a lot of deaths on the show, but I hope the next person to leave the show is Scott Gimple. I may not be able to watch how the zombie apocalypse plays out until he is gone. I once said this show was a modern classic, but with Scott Gimple in charge, he is slowing killing this show. Like the zombie outbreak on the show, The Walking Dead iteself is running out of time to cure itself...


Friday, December 8, 2017

HEALTHWATCH: ARTIE LANGE

Whenever comedian Artie Lange used to come to Pittsburgh I would go to one of his shows. I have bought him dinner, got his autograph, and have laughed with him through the years. Since Lange left the Howard Stern show though, I have grown tired of his comedy. It is not his comedy, but his disregard for his own health and life. Watching the comedy of Artie Lange now is almost like watching a very slow snuff film. In recent years it seems like we are watching him die right before our eyes.

Artie Lange had all the makings of a great comedian along the likes of his idol John Belushi. Both Lange and Belushi have/had great comedic timing. They also share something else, a love of drugs. Lange got fired from the television show MadTV in 1997 and the Howard Stern show in 2010.

Now it looks like Artie is continuing on his downward spiral. Lange's mom admits doctors are worried about his deteriorating condition. Struggling substance abuse addict Artie Lange sent fans into a frenzy on December 6 when he unexpectedly cancelled his appearance on the Artie and Anthony Show. While the former Howard Stern sidekick blamed the flu for his absence, RadarOnline.com has learned exclusively it’s his uphill battle with drugs that’s causing him to cancel on his podcast and other shows.

His mother, Judy Lange, revealed the truth about her son’s constant troubles exclusively to Radar, saying: “Artie has to take care of a few things. He’s got diabetes, so that doesn’t help. He’s okay, as much as he can be. But he is fighting addiction — trying to get through that, and hopefully he will.”


As fans know, followers of the comedian became skeptical of the 50-year-old’s excuse to cancel his appearance when he said he took antibiotics as a remedy — a medication that only fights bacteria, not viruses.

As Radar previously reported, Lange was hospitalized multiple times this year due to drug related issues. As recent as October, Lange cancelled a show in Akron, Ohio after having to make an emergency trip to the hospital for a blood sugar problem. In July, he was hospitalized for days following emergency open heart surgery.

Godspeed funny man Artie Lange. Please don't end up like John Belushi or Chris Farley. Artie Lange is a cat and he is on his ninth life...



Wednesday, December 6, 2017

FINAL RESTING PLACES: VERA-ELLEN

Vera-Ellen is best remembered for her role of 'Judy Haynes' in the movie, "White Christmas" (1954), playing opposite fellow actors Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye and Rosemary Clooney. Born Vera-Ellen Westmeyer Rohe in Norwood, Ohio, she began dancing at the age of ten, and within a few years, became one of the youngest Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, and a Broadway dancer.

In 1945, she was spotted by film producer Samuel Goldwyn and invited to Hollywood, where she was cast opposite Danny Kaye in "Wonder Man" (1945). There she earned a reputation as a hard worker. She would also dance with Gene Kelly in "On the Town" (1949) and with Fred Astaire in "Three Little Words" (1950). 


She married twice, first to fellow actor and dancer Robert Hightower (1945 to 1948) and then to millionaire Victor Rothschild (1954 to 1966); both marriages ended in divorce. She would also date Rock Hudson for three years, but this was a publicity event orchestrated by his agent, yet they remained good friends for years after. After her success in "White Christmas", the motion picture industry decided to make fewer musicals, and it did not consider her for non-dancing roles. To keep her weight down, Vera-Ellen also became anorexic, which caused premature aging, and expressed itself mostly in her upper body and neck (this eventually came out as the explaination as to why she always covered her neck in "White Christmas"). 

In addition, her only child and daughter, Victoria Ellen Rothschild, died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in 1963. Her last film, "Let's Be Happy", was made in 1957, and she then retired from public life. She continued to dance, in part to fight the arthritis she suffered later from. She would die of cancer in Los Angeles, California. Author David Soren wrote a book, "Vera-Ellen: the Magic and the Mystery," about her life; it was published by McGraw-Hill Press.

Her mother, Alma Catherine Westmeier Rohe died a year before Vera did in 1980 at the age of 89. Her 2nd husband remarried after their divorce. Victor Bennett Rothschild died in 2008 at the age of 85. Vera-Ellen is buried in a modest grave at Glen Haven Memorial Park in Los Angeles, California...




Sunday, December 3, 2017

A TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE - WEB EPISODE 2

Here is episode two of my You Tube series. This time it's the ladies turn as we look at my five favorite female singers. Please keep the comments and suggestions coming!


Friday, December 1, 2017

RECENTLY VIEWED: JUSTICE LEAGUE

I recently took my kids to see the new Justice League movie. The critics and some fans are complaining about the movie, and the film isn't doing as well at the box office, but I've got to say it was a great movie. I've seen a lot of movies in 2017, and this was my favorite new movie next to Beauty And The Beast.

It is the fifth installment in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). The film is directed by Zack Snyder, with a screenplay by Chris Terrio and Joss Whedon, from a story by Terrio and Snyder. It features an ensemble cast that includes Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Jeremy Irons, Diane Lane, Connie Nielsen, and J. K. Simmons. In Justice League, the titular superhero team forms to honor Superman following his death and to save the planet from the catastrophic threat of Steppenwolf and his army of Parademons.

The film was announced in October 2014 with Snyder on board to direct and Terrio attached to write the script. Initially announced as Justice League Part One, with a second part to follow in 2019, the second film was indefinitely delayed to accommodate a standalone Batman film with Affleck. Principal photography commenced in April 2016 and ended in October 2016. Snyder then hired Joss Whedon to write scenes that would be filmed during reshoots; however, Snyder left the project in May 2017 following the death of his daughter. Whedon was hired to oversee the remainder of post-production, including directing additional scenes written by himself. Snyder received sole director credit for the film, with Whedon receiving a screenplay credit.


With an estimated production budget of $300 million, it is one of the most expensive films ever made. Justice League premiered in Beijing on October 26, 2017, and was released in the United States in 2D, 3D, and IMAX on November 17, 2017. It has grossed over $481 million worldwide.


I don't want to give too much of the plot details away, but you can read them anywhere on the internet. However, the best part of the movie was Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman. I can not say enough good things about Wonder Woman, and she is easily the best character in the DC Universe. Also they did well with showing new characters like The Flash and Cyborg. If I had to pick out a complaint it would be the villain in Steppenwolf. He looked like a reject from an old Power Rangers movie. I would have rather seen a movie with a Batman villain or some bad guy I was familiar with. Other than that it is a really good film. Also, listen for the original Batman and Superman themes from the earlier movies of the 1970s and 1980s for some cool nostalgia. I hope this is the beginning of some more great movies in the DC Universe. Next up is Aquaman next year - and by the way, this is not your parent's Aquaman either. Please support this film - it is worth it...

MY RATING: 10 OUT OF 10