Monday, September 30, 2019



I was off today so I went to see the new film biography of Judy Garland called simply Judy. It starred Renée Zellweger. I have to admit I am not a Zellweger fan, and the last movie I saw her in was 2002's Chicago, which was also a musical. Renee Zellweger did not just do well as Judy Garland in the film, she became Judy Garland! I am so glad I took the time to go see the movie, all be it by myself. It was a great movie experience that I have not had in a long time.

The film uses flashbacks to tell the story of how young Judy Garland became worn out Judy Garland. The head of MGM, Louis B. Mayer tortured the young Garland, and the studio was first responsible for getting Judy hooked on drugs and afraid to eat. They called her ugly and fat, and Mayer made it out like Judy was his favorite, but all she was to the studio was a money maker. Mayer has been dead over sixty years, but I hope he is rotting in hell for what he did to Judy Garland and many other young stars at MGM.

Most of Judy takes place in late 1968/early 1969. By this time, even though Judy Garland was only 47, she had burnt most of her bridges. No record company or big name venue wanted to use her. She had gone through four husbands, and all she wanted to do was be with her children. To do that she needed to make some money, so she embarked on a strenuous stint in London, England. The English revered Garland much like the French did for Jerry Lewis. Judy by this time could not function without her pills and booze. The first few performances turned out well for Garland, but soon her old demons got the best of her. The movie ended like Judy's own life did, on a sad note.

Judy Garland and fifth husband Mickey Deans
There is not much wrong with this film. I was nervous to hear Renée Zellweger do her own singing. I mean who can compare to the singing of Judy Garland, but she does a great job. She did not imitate Garland which was wise, but she did her own version. There were a couple mistakes in the movie. In a flashback scene with a young Judy and Mickey Rooney in the late 1930s a song from 1953 is heard in the background. There is some changes to the story about the marriage of Judy to piano player Mickey Deans (her fifth and final husband). The film had that they got married during her performances in London, but they got married after. Also, the film depicted Mickey Deans leaving Judy, when in reality he stayed with her, and it was he who discovered Garland died on the morning of June 22, 1969.

Still, this film is one of the best movies I have seen in years. I went during an early matinee showing, and the theater was nearly sold out. It was filled with mostly older women, but I was happy to see some couples, and some people younger than I. If you love Judy Garland go see this movie. If Renée Zellweger does not win the Oscar for Judy, then it is the biggest rip off since Judy Garland herself did not win the Oscar for 1954's A Star Is Born. The movie Judy is a film biography that should not be missed...


Saturday, September 28, 2019


I am a huge fan of Dean Martin as everyone knows. I found this recipe online from Dino, and even someone like me could make this dish in the kitchen!

Dean Martin’s Burgers and Bourbon

1 pound ground beef
1/4 teaspoon of salt
8 ounces bourbon chilled

Preheat a heavy frying pan and sprinkle bottom lightly with table salt. Mix meat, handling lightly, just enough to form into four patties. Grill over medium-high heat about 4 minutes on each side. Pour chilled bourbon in chilled shot glass and serve meat and bourbon on a TV tray.

Thursday, September 26, 2019


Nightclub and television singing legend Steve Lawrence has revealed doctors have diagnosed him with Alzheimer’s Disease.

“It’s in the early stages,” Lawrence, 83, said in a statement. “I am being treated with medications under the supervision of some of the finest doctors in the field. Fortunately, they have managed to slow down this horrific process.”

“I’m living my life, going out in public and trying to spend as much time as possible with my family and friends while I am still able to engage and enjoy,” he continued of what he called “this bittersweet moment.”

“What I don’t want is pity or sympathy — I have lived and am living a wonderful, joyous life filled with love, support and amazing moments,” he insisted.

Lawrence shot to fame alongside his late wife, Eydie Gormé, who died days before her 85th birthday in August 2013.

“With my beloved Eydie, I had one of the great loves of all time; my career has always been there for me as a source of joy and fulfillment; and you, my fans, have shown immeasurable love and support in ways I only could have imagined,” said Lawrence.

“Steve has gone downhill quickly since Eydie died in 2013,” an insider said. “It was like cutting his heart out.”


I am sad to report that I missed an obituary for the son of Perry Como. Ronald Como died in Janaury of this year. He was involved in some controversy back when Perry Como was in failing health. His sister and himself were fighting over who should take care of the elder Como...

GRANGER –Ronald “Ron” Perry Como of Granger, IN born on January 15th, 1940 in Chicago, Illinois, to the late Roselle Bellino Como and Perino Ronald “Perry” Como, had gone to meet his maker at the age of 78 on January 2nd, 2019. He “Went Home” surrounded by his family after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease.

Ron attended the University of Notre Dame and graduated with his undergraduate degree in 1961 and earned his Master’s in Business Administration in 1963.Ron served his Country in the JROTC while attending Xavier High School in NY. During his time at Notre Dame, Ron was awarded a Purple Heart while serving active duty with the Marines in Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Ron worked most of his career in the Aerospace and Automotive industries for Bendix/Allied Signal. Ron was easily identified as the guy who drove the old VW Beetle to work with the boat tied on top, even in the winter! In 1992, after more than 25 years of dedicated service, Ron retired as the Director of Labor Relations for Allied Signal in South Bend.

Ron leaves behind his wife of over 57 years, Melanie L. Como. Together they were blessed with six children: sons: Ronald Como Jr. (LeAnn), and Paul Como, and daughters: Melanie Como-Dits (David), Wendy Como, Paige Como-Howard (Jon), and Mary Como. Also left to cherish his memory are his grandchildren: Ronald Como, Christopher Como, Abigail Como, Alexis Bishop, Amelia Bishop, Gabriella Bishop, Tyler Dits and great-grandson, Bastian Richardson.

Ron was foremost a Husband, Father and Grandfather but also had a passion for the outdoors. Ron was an avid hunter, fisherman and photographer. Ron and his son, Ron Jr., spent countless days out on their property enjoying the wildlife and looking for that “perfect buck!” During the summer, Ron loved sitting peacefully on the deck of his home on Birch Lake surrounded by his wife Melanie and their children and grandchildren. The beauty and magic of the water and sunsets always brought a smile to his face and never got old!

Ron was a long-time member and supporter of the Izaak Walton League of South Bend, IN. and the Edwardsburg conservation Club of Edwardsburg, MI.The family would like to extend our thanks to the caregivers who tirelessly spent hours taking care of “Mr. C” for the past 10 years. We are truly grateful for all your kindnesses. We could not have done this without you. God Bless all of you. Special thanks also go to the wonderful doctors especially Dr. Paula Toth – Russell, Dr. Brian Jacobs and the doctors at the Cleveland Clinic...

Wednesday, September 25, 2019


On October 1, 1949 the music industry lost one of the greatest vocalists since Bing Crosby when Buddy Clark was killed in an airplane crash. To commemorate the 70 years since his untimely passing we are going to have a week of remembering Buddy Clark from October 1 through October 9.

We will spotlight some of the music of Buddy Clark since most people are not familiar with his wonderful voice and talent. Join us in remembering a forgotten legend...

Monday, September 23, 2019


September 23rd, 1974, is a very important date on Joan’s chronology of events. Today marks the 39th anniversary since Joan made her last public appearance, at the Rainbow Room in New York.

During the first half of 1974, Joan kept herself out of the public eye. She was reluctant to make public appearances, and Joan started to see herself as an “ex movie star”. While she was inactive from the cameras, she was tied down with many appointments and illnesses. Joan was suffering from Periodontal Disease and Bacterial Infections in the jaw, which caused her to undergo several painful operations.

In May, Joan was complaining of sore gums and didn’t know what was wrong until she was diagnosed with periodontal disease on May 24th. This caused Joan to rest up at home with the occasional company of a few close friends.

On July 17th, Joan was hospitalized to undergo serious dental surgery. After a few days in hospital, Joan was discharged. Recovering at home, Joan preferred to be left alone for awhile. She had a few visitors check in on her to see how she was. She complained about the painful dental work and would rather avoid the subject. When the Writer, Adele Whitely Fletcher, whom Joan had known for fifty years called & wanted to see her, Joan explained that she was having painful dental work done, “Which I would rather you not mention. I don’t want everybody clucking that I’m really having a facelift. When I do, I’ll say so myself.”

By September, Joan was fully recovered & ready to welcome friends for dinner. On September 16th, Joan found out that she is to serve as hostess at a party honoring her good friend Rosalind Russell, to be held at the Rainbow Room, on September 23rd. Joan agreed, and was looking forward to seeing Rosalind again.

At the time, Rosalind was very ill and suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis and the side effects from her daily Cortisone injections. She was also worried after receiving the news that she had been diagnosed with Cancer, which she kept discreet. Though she remained strong that night and put on a brave front.

The whole night, Joan and Rosalind Russell were swarmed by photographers and press taking photos, which were to appear in the newspapers the next day. When Joan read the newspaper the next morning, she was horrified to see unflattering photos of herself and Russell. Joan put down the paper and said, ” If that’s the way I look, they’ve seen the last of me.”

True to her word, Joan cancelled all upcoming engagements, including a charity fashion show, in which Joan was to appear in November. That was the last the public ever saw of Joan. She spent the rest of her life a recluse, hardly venturing out of her New York Apartment and only seeing close friends and family...


Celebrity chef Carl Ruiz has died at age 44.

The death of the Food Network star and owner of the New York restaurant La Cubana was announced Sunday. His friend and internet personality Matt Farah confirmed the news on Twitter and Instagram, sharing his fond memories of Ruiz throughout their two years of friendship.

Farah used the caption of his Instagram photo as a tribute to the late Ruiz, sharing a heartfelt message of the time they spent together as well as praising Ruiz’s abilities as a chef.

“The idea I can’t bounce a watch purchase, a recipe, or a funny tweet off him ever again hasn’t really set in, but let’s just say life feels a lot more gray today,” he wrote. “He was too prophetic for his own good - Carl was never going to grow old and invalid, he was full throttle every day and no one was gonna tell him otherwise. I just wish I had some more time to laugh with my friend.”

Fellow Food Network star Guy Fieri shared his own tribute to Ruiz, stating that he is “heartbroken” over the loss of the talented chef.

"I’m heartbroken that my friend chef Carl Ruiz is gone. I have no words to describe what a great friend he was to me and my family. His ability to make me laugh and smile under any circumstances was only outshined by his talent as a chef."

In a separate tweet, Fieri continued his sentiment, writing, "Over the years, I’ve met a lot of great people but a friend like Carl is one in a hundred million. Carl 'The Cuban’ Ruiz will forever live on in my heart and in those of all who loved him.”

Ruiz was best known for his appearances on the Food Network, including "Guy's Grocery Games" and "Guy's Ranch Kitchen" as well as his own YouTube series "Omg Carl's Food Show" where he reviewed chain restaurants. The cause of death has not been announced yet...

Wednesday, September 18, 2019


One of the pre-Bing Crosby crooners was Rudy Vallee. He came before all of the crooners, but he nearly outlived them all. Here is his obituary that appeared on July 4, 1986 in the L.A.

Rudy Vallee, 85, Crooner and Star for 60 Years, Dies

Rudy Vallee, the megaphone-carrying crooner who became a star nearly 60 years ago with his tribute to fellow Yalies drinking down at Mory's with their glasses raised on high, died Thursday evening at his Hollywood Hills home. He was 85.

Vallee died while watching the Statue of Liberty centennial ceremonies, said his wife, Eleanor.

"Rudy was watching the unveiling of the Statue of Liberty and he remarked: 'I wish we could be there; you know how I love a party.' Then he took a big breath, and he died," she said.

Vallee had been in failing health for several months. He was hospitalized at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in February after a fall at his home. Doctors found a growth on his esophagus and operated, but the singer later developed pneumonia and suffered a stroke, according to his agent, Chris Harris.

But almost to the end, Vallee had proved durable, continuing to work well into his 70s. He had started as a saxophonist and band leader in the 1920s and, for the next two decades, was one of the nation's most successful vaudeville and radio personalities.

And, never known for his reticence, he wrote not one but three autobiographies and in the 1970s fought a loud and nasty battle with city officials to get the name of the street in the Hollywood Hills on which he lived changed to Rue de Vallee.

"I'll be front page news until the day I die," said Vallee in a 1962 interview in which he denied that his starring role in Broadway's "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" was a comeback. Vallee insisted he had never been gone.

In a sense, he was right. Through his career ups and downs, the man had a certain undeniable panache.

In his later life, he served as a reminder of the old Hollywood--the days of long sleek roadsters, tweeds and snap-brim hats, radio shows and plush nightclubs and glamorous people looking like glossy photographs.

His body had thickened a bit, but his eyes were alive and when he smiled, which was often, it was the familiar Vallee smile, consuming his face under a swatch of thinning but still very red hair.

Vallee was a spirited, hospitable, garrulous man--an American original.

He was born Hubert Prior Vallee in Island Pond, Vt., on July 28, 1901, of French-Irish parents. He took the first name Rudy in the 1920s from Rudy Wiedoeft, a saxophonist he liked.

Young Rudy's first musical instrument--at the age of 4--was a drum, which he frequently banged on to alleviate the pain of the earaches that plagued him as a child. As he grew up, Rudy began to master the drums, piano and clarinet.

Vallee's start in show business was on the ground floor. In 1917, he took a job as usher, janitor and operator of the hand-cranked projection machine at a movie theater in Westbrook, Me. A year later, he moved on to a job as head usher in a theater in Portland, where he taught himself to play the saxophone. By 1920, he was making a few dollars performing as a saxophonist in a local orchestra.

Vallee attended the University of Maine and, later, Yale. To pay his tuition and board, he began to play with dance bands in New York and Boston. He also occasionally sang with the bands, using a truncated megaphone.

The megaphone, of course, became his trademark, although at the time its use was not uncommon among singers. He and the megaphone became familiar sights in the 1920s and 1930s. With the megaphone in hand, and sometimes wearing a college sweater, he sang in a rich, somewhat nasal voice, that Yale drinking ditty, the "Whiffenpoof Song," as well as "My Time is Your Time" and "I'm Just a Vagabond Lover."

Vallee graduated from Yale in 1927 and, a year later, formed an eight-piece band at the new, exclusive Heigh-Ho Club in New York City. A local radio station began to broadcast live from the club, and Vallee was on his way to stardom.

By 1929, Standard Brands had signed Vallee and his band for an hourlong weekly radio show to advertise Fleischmann's Yeast. It became known as the "Fleischmann Hour" and in 1932 evolved into radio's first variety show. Vallee was more than a singer and band leader; he also was a master of ceremonies, introducing other talent.

Vallee branched out in the 1930s, forming a talent agency and two music publishing companies. He began grinding out a long list of hit songs that included the University of Maine "Stein Song," "Good Night Sweetheart," "I Kiss Your Hand, Madame," "Lover Come Back to Me," "Springtime in the Rockies," "Honey" and "Marie."

Saturday, September 14, 2019


It is sad that with the racism in Hollywood in the 1930s and 1940s that more African American actresses and actors were not allowed to make their mark on Hollywood. One such star that I think had the potential to make great films was Billie Holiday. She could have been the black Judy Garland. Like Garland, Billie had her share of pain and sorrow that could have transcribed to Hollywood nicely. However, throughout Billie's career, she was only in a few movies.

The first movie she appeared in was as an extra in The Emperor Jones from 1933. The Emperor Jones is a 1933 American pre-Code film adaptation of the Eugene O'Neill play of the same title, was made outside of the Hollywood studio system, financed with private money from neophyte wealthy producers, and directed by iconoclast Dudley Murphy, who had sought O'Neill's permission to film the play since its 1924 production in New York. He cast Paul Robeson in his first film role, Dudley Digges, Frank H. Wilson, and Fredi Washington. The screenplay was written by DuBose Heyward and filmed at Kaufman Astoria Studios with the beach scene shot at Jones beach Long Beach, New York. Robeson starred in the O'Neill play on stage, both in the United States and England, a role that had helped launch his career. Good luck spotting Billie in the film though.

Two years later, Billie appeared with Duke Ellington in Symphony In Black. The film is a nine-and-a-half minute musical short produced in 1935 that features Duke Ellington’s early extended piece, "A Rhapsody of Negro Life". The short was directed by Fred Waller and distributed by Paramount Pictures. Symphony in Black represents a landmark in musical, cultural, and entertainment history as well as significant progress in Ellington’s own biography. It is a member of the first generation of non-classically arranged orchestral scores and perhaps most importantly, one of the first films written by an African-American describing African-American life to reach wide distribution.

A decade would pass before Billie would make her biggest movie appearance in New Orleans (1947). New Orleans is a 1947 American musical romance film featuring Billie Holiday as a singing maid and Louis Armstrong as a bandleader; supporting players Holiday and Armstrong perform together and portray a couple becoming romantically involved. During one song, Armstrong's character introduces the members of his band, a virtual Who's Who of classic jazz greats, including trombonist Kid Ory, drummer Zutty Singleton, clarinetist Barney Bigard, guitar player Bud Scott, bassist George "Red" Callender, pianist Charlie Beal, and pianist Meade Lux Lewis. Also performing in the film is cornetist Mutt Carey and bandleader Woody Herman. The music, however, takes a back seat to a rather conventional plot. The movie stars Arturo de Córdova and Dorothy Patrick, features Marjorie Lord, and was directed by Arthur Lubin.

Billie's only other movie appearance was in another short called Sugar Chile in 1950. The film  presented five jazz numbers in a 15-minute running time. The film includes Billie Holiday performing "God Bless the Child" and "Now, Baby or Never", the Count Basie Sextet performing "One O'Clock Jump", and juvenile performer Frank "Sugar Chile" Robinson performing "Numbers Boogie" and "After School Boogie". The film was directed by Will Cowan and produced and released by Universal-International Pictures. 

More screen roles were becoming available to African American actresses in the 1950s, and some great actresses emerged like Dorothy Dandridge and Ruby Dee, but by the mid 1950s Billie's life was spiraling out of control, and she had a hard time remembering lyrics let alone lines of dialogue. The film career of Billie Holiday should have better, but luckily her voice did the acting for her during her career...

Wednesday, September 11, 2019


The last, strange decade of Elizabeth’s life began with one of the most cataclysmic events in American history, the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Michael Jackson was in New York, where he’d just given two concerts, on the 7th and 10th of September, at Madison Square Garden, to which he had brought two of his closest friends and idols: Marlon Brando and Elizabeth. His original idea had been for them to sit onstage like two great Easter Island figureheads flanking the show, but instead they sat in the audience. All three found themselves trapped in the city after the Twin Towers fell. Michael had gotten a call from friends in Saudi Arabia who warned that America was under attack. He hollered down the hallway of his hotel for everyone in his entourage, and for Brando, to leave immediately. Elizabeth was staying at another hotel, the St. Regis, a few blocks away. Now here’s where the story gets complicated. In one version, these three towering icons of American pop culture planned their escape, afraid that they would be the next target. Michael and Brando had trouble leaving their hotel garage because fans kept banging on the car windows, following them down the street, screaming. Unable to fly, they drove out of the city.

The actor Corey Feldman, whom Michael had befriended when Feldman was a child star, remembers that he and Michael had quarreled the previous night at Michael’s show, in Elizabeth’s dressing room backstage at Madison Square Garden. “Elizabeth hadn’t arrived yet, and then 9/11 happened. But I remember that [the next day] Michael was trying to get Elizabeth out! He was at first looking for a private jet,” Feldman recalls. “He wanted permission to fly out—but everything was surreal. I didn’t go with him.”

A former employee of Michael Jackson’s says that Michael, like General Washington, led his entourage to a temporary safe haven in New Jersey, before the three superstars took to the open road. “They actually got as far as Ohio—all three of them, in a car they drove themselves!” he recalls. Brando allegedly annoyed his traveling companions by insisting on stopping at nearly every KFC and Burger King they passed along the highway. One can only imagine the shock their appearance caused at gas stations and rest stops across America.

But one of Elizabeth’s close friends and assistants, who asks to remain anonymous, insists that Elizabeth did not flee New York with her two companions. “Elizabeth stayed behind,” he insists, “where she went to a church to pray, and she went to an armory where people were who couldn’t get home or who’d stayed behind to look for the missing. She also went down to Ground Zero, where she met with first responders. Eventually, the airports opened and she flew home.” She may well have done some of those things, though no reports surfaced in the media of sightings of Elizabeth Taylor ministering to the frightened and wounded or showing up at Ground Zero. But it was during and after the crisis that Elizabeth’s relationship with Michael—whom she already adored—deepened...

Saturday, September 7, 2019


This feature, spotlighting Hollywood beauty, has not appeared on my blog since 2015 so I figured I would revive it with one of the most beautiful women of the 1940s - Rita Hayworth. Rita had a sad life, but these pictures show her at her most beautiful...

Wednesday, September 4, 2019


It is hard to believe that today marks 15 years since I got married. My wife is my past, my present, and my exciting future. I wish all of my readers would know what an amazing woman she is. For fifteen years she has been my best friend, and every day she makes me a better man...