Saturday, September 25, 2021


With the advent of television, the brothers were much in demand; they appeared on programs such as All-Star Revue in 1951, The Colgate Comedy Hour in 1952, The Hollywood Palace in 1964, and The Bell Telephone Hour in 1966. Beginning in 1965, the Nicholas Brothers worked frequently in Las Vegas, and they toured—often with Sammy Davis, Jr.—throughout the United States and Europe. Fayard appeared twice more on film, in The Liberation of L.B. Jones (1970) and Night at the Golden Eagle (2002). Harold appeared in several more films, including Uptown Saturday Night (1974) and Tap (1989).

Throughout the 1980s and ’90s the Nicholas Brothers traveled the world to receive awards and honours; among these were the Kennedy Center Honors (1991) for lifetime achievement. Together or individually, they appeared in a string of stage shows up until 1993. Together with Cholly Atkins, Henry LeTang, and Frankie Manning, Fayard won a Tony Award in 1989 for his choreography in the musical Black and Blue (performed 1989–91). In 1994 both brothers were honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Harold Nicholas,79, the younger of the Nicholas Brothers, a highflying tap-dancing duo who vaulted and dived together in some of the most spectacular routines captured on film, died July 3, 2000 at the New York Hospital in Manhattan after heart and leg surgery. Fayard Nicholas, the elder and more talkative of the astounding Nicholas Brothers tap duo, whom Mikhail Baryshnikov ranked among America's best dancers, died at the age of 91 in 2006.. Their 60-year career was marked by a devoted concern for each other, despite radically different temperaments.

The Nicholas Brothers had begun their careers at a time when opportunities were few and stereotyped roles the norm for black actors and entertainers. To their credit, however, the Nicholas Brothers rose above this marginalization and, with a sense of dignity and a style all their own, earned the respect of generations of tap dancers and audiences the world over.The Nicholas Brothers credited the vaudevillian acts they watched growing up while on tour with their musician parents for inspiring them to dance. As the story goes, Fayard taught himself to dance after observing the various acts on the road, then taught his little brother. Their choreographic brilliance and synchronicity has inspired generations of dancers, ranging from Fred Astaire to Gregory Hines to Savion Glover.


Tuesday, September 21, 2021


From 1930 to 1932 the Nicholas Brothers played in and around Philadelphia with great success. Their first big break came in 1932, when they were hired to play at Harlem’s famous Cotton Club alongside black show business legends such as the jazz pianist, bandleader, and composer Duke Ellington, the singer Ethel Waters, the bandleader and singer Cab Calloway, and the tap dancer Bill Robinson. The youngsters were an instant sensation. Impeccably attired, Harold and Fayard, now 11 and 18 years old (though billed as much younger), dazzled every audience that walked through the doors of the notorious gangster-run nightclub. They performed intermittently at the Cotton Club, in both its uptown and downtown locations, from 1932 until it closed in 1939.

The Nicholas Brothers were part of a small cadre of black dancers who appeared frequently in Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s. Their appearance in the short film Pie, Pie Blackbird (1932) led to a string of features in Hollywood motion pictures, including Kid Millions (1934), An All-Colored Vaudeville Show (1935), and The Big Broadcast of 1936 (1935). Fayard and Harold spent their careers shifting between engagements in vaudeville, movies, nightclubs, concerts, Broadway, records, radio, television, and extensive worldwide tours. Because of their versatility—they could sing, act, and dance and thus were considered a “triple treat”—they headlined all over the world. Fayard Nicholas later said, “We did everything in show business except opera.” They made their Broadway debut in The Ziegfeld Follies of 1936 alongside stars such as the singer Fanny Brice, the comedian Bob Hope, the actress Eve Arden, and the dancer Josephine Baker. In 1937 the brothers so impressed the choreographer George Balanchine with their dancing that they were cast in his production of Rodgers and Hart’s musical Babes in Arms.

During the 1940s the Nicholas Brothers continued to appear in films, including Down Argentine Way (1940), Tin Pan Alley (1940), and Sun Valley Serenade (1941). Because of the racial prejudice characteristic of the era, black performers never held major roles in mainstream feature films, and—unlike such tap dancers as Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly—the Nicholas Brothers did not have the opportunity to try out their acting skills. Instead of leading men, they were presented as a specialty act. Unlike other black performers, however, they rarely donned service uniforms; they usually appeared in formal tie and tails or well-cut suits. Despite these racial restrictions, the brothers’ brief but noteworthy film appearances brought them worldwide celebrity and gave them star billing wherever they traveled. In only one film—The Pirate (1948), starring Gene Kelly and Judy Garland—did they have roles apart from dancing.

The crowning achievement of their work was preserved in the film Stormy Weather (1943), which had an all-black cast. In it the brothers, suited magnificently in white tie and tails, dance on, over, and around the Cab Calloway Orchestra bandstands, dance side-by-side up a flight of stairs, leap onto a piano where they trade syncopated notes with the pianist, jump out onto the floor in full splits, dance up a divided stairway built of gigantic white stairs, meet at the top to exchange a few thrilling moves, and then leap into splits and slide down separate ramps, meeting once again on the dance floor to finish this dazzling routine with a crisp bow.

In the early 1940s they performed with Cab Calloway in the musical variety show The Cotton Club Revue. They had starring roles on Broadway in the musical St. Louis Woman (1946), with music by Harold Arlen, lyrics by Johnny Mercer, and book by Arna Bontemps and Countee Cullen; also featured were Pearl Bailey, Rex Ingram, and Ruby Hill. In 1948 they headlined the indoor circus extravaganza Cirque Medrano in Paris. The following year they appeared in a Royal Command Performance at the London Palladium for the king and queen of England...


Thursday, September 16, 2021


LOS ANGELES -- Jane Powell, the bright-eyed, operatic-voiced star of Hollywood's golden age musicals who sang with Howard Keel in “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” and danced with Fred Astaire in “Royal Wedding,” has died. She was 92.

Powell died Thursday at her Wilton, Connecticut, home, longtime friend Susan Granger said. Granger said Powell died of natural causes.

“Jane was the most wonderful friend," Granger said. ”She was candid, she was honest. You never asked Jane a question you didn’t want an absolutely honest answer to."

Granger was a youngster when she met the then-teenaged Powell, who was making her film debut in 1944's “Song of the Open Road,” directed by Granger's father, S. Sylvan Simon.

She performed virtually her whole life, starting about age 5 as a singing prodigy on radio in Portland, Oregon. On screen, she quickly graduated from teen roles to the lavish musical productions that were a 20th-century Hollywood staple.

Her 1950 casting in “Royal Wedding” came by default. June Allyson was first announced as Astaire’s co-star but withdrew when she became pregnant. Judy Garland was cast, but was withdrawn because of personal problems. Jane Powell was next in line.

“They had to give it to me,” she quipped at the time. “Everybody else is pregnant.” Also among the expectant MGM stars: Lana Turner, Esther Williams, Cyd Charisse and Jean Hagen.

Powell had just turned 21 when she got the role; Astaire was 50. She was nervous because she lacked dancing experience, but she found him “very patient and understanding. We got along fine from the start.”

“Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” proved to be a 1954 “sleeper” hit.

“The studio didn’t think it was going to do anything,” she recalled in 2000. “MGM thought that `Brigadoon’ was going to be the big moneymaker that year. It didn’t turn out that way. We were the ones that went to the Radio City Music Hall, which was always such a coup.”

The famed New York venue was a movie theater then.

Audiences were overwhelmed by the lusty singing of Keel and Powell and especially by the gymnastic choreography of Michael Kidd. “Seven Brides” achieved classic status and resulted in a TV series and a Broadway musical.

“Blonde and small and pretty, Jane Powell had the required amount of grit and spunk that was needed to play the woman who could tame seven backwoodsmen,” John Kobal wrote in his book “Gotta Sing Gotta Dance: A Pictorial History of Film Musicals.”

After 13 years at MGM, though, Powell quit the studio, reasoning that she was going to be fired “because they weren’t going to be doing musicals anymore.”

“I thought I’d have a lot of studios to go to,” she said in 2000, “but I didn’t have any, because no one wanted to make musicals. It was very difficult, and quite a shock to me. There’s nothing worse than not being wanted.”

She found one musical at RKO, “The Girl Most Likely,” a 1958 remake of “Tom, Dick and Harry.” Aside from a couple of minor films, her movie career was over.

She was born Suzanne Lorraine Burce in Portland, Oregon, in 1928. She began singing on local radio as a small child, and as she grew, her voice developed into a clear, high-pitched soprano.

When the Burce family planned a trip to Los Angeles, the radio station asked if Suzanne would appear on a network talent show there. The tiny girl with a 2½-octave voice drew thunderous applause with an aria from “Carmen” and was quickly put under contract to MGM.

Her first movie was a loanout to an independent producer for “Song of the Open Road,” a 1944 mishmash with W.C. Fields (at the end of his career) and Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy.

The character’s name in “Song of the Open Road” was Jane Powell, and MGM decided that that would be her movie name.

She played teens in such films as “Holiday in Mexico,” “Three Daring Daughters” and “A Date With Judy.” But she pleaded with the studio bosses to be given grown-up roles and finally succeeded in “Royal Wedding.”

Frothy romances and musicals continued to dominate her career, including “Young, Rich and Pretty,” “Small Town Girl” and “Three Sailors and a Girl.”

After her movie career ended, musical theater offered plenty of work for a star of her prominence and talent. She sang in supper clubs, toured in such shows as “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” and “I Do! I Do!” and replaced Debbie Reynolds in the Broadway run of “Irene.”

She frequently appeared on television, notably in the Judy Garland role in a new version of “Meet Me in St. Louis.”

As she approached her 70s, Powell abandoned her singing career. “I can’t hit the high notes, and I won’t be second-rate,” she explained in 2000. She switched to drama, appearing in New York theater in such plays as “Avow,” portraying mother of an unmarried, pregnant daughter and a son who wanted to marry his male partner.

Powell’s first four marriages ended in divorce: to Geary Steffen (son Geary, daughter Suzanne), Patrick Nerney (daughter Lindsay), James Fitzgerald and David Parlour.

Powell met fifth husband Dick Moore when he interviewed her for his book about child actors. As Dickie Moore, he had been a well-known child actor in the 1930s and ’40s and gave Shirley Temple her first screen kiss in “Miss Annie Rooney” (1942). Moore, head of a New York public relations office, and Powell married in 1988. He died in 2015.

Jane Powell's survivors include her three children...


Turner Classic Movies is one of the only 24-hour curated film channels available today. Its celebration of movies from the past could easily make it obsolete and stagnant. However, in the past few years, the cable network and its brand have taken leaps and strides in introducing new and modern ways to view old films. The rebrand that TCM announced at the beginning of September may look purely aesthetic, but it hints at more progressive programming that will serve new viewers — and the old films — better than ever.

In 1994, TCM began broadcasting films from the Turner Entertainment vault, which includes Warner Bros., MGM, and RKO Pictures. The cable network offered commercial-free programming along with host-delivered intros, which has not changed in more than 20 years. Even when AMC (American Movie Classics) abandoned this similar model to show contemporary releases, TCM remained the one place for classic films without commercials or edits to the original films. For many, the channel has been as much of a source of education as it has been of entertainment.

However, media consumption has changed rapidly in the past 10 years. Cable television viewership among younger audiences has become a rarity thanks to streaming services that offer everything possible without much curation. TCM made an effort to respond to this need by partnering with Criterion for the beloved but short-lived streaming service Filmstruck. TCM now has a sizable and diverse catalog on HBO Max. But many of their films lack the hosted introductions that make the brand unique. Fortunately, those intros are available through TCM’s on-demand option, Watch TCM.

The new “brand refresh” follows Warner Media’s dissolution of Turner Broadcasting System, leaving the future of TCM up in the air. However, it also follows many successful efforts to modernize TCM programming in the past few years.

Balancing an interest in the past with updated perspectives is not always easy, but the channel has found a way to further incorporate contextualizing old content with incredibly knowledgeable hosts such as Jacqueline Stewart and Alicia Malone. Their programs, “Silent Sunday Nights” and “TCM Imports,” have brought in films from varying perspectives, places, and time periods, allowing a stretch beyond the typical “classic” canon.

Last year, the “Women Make Film” program was a multi-week series of documentaries and films made by women from around the world. There has been a very clear effort to include more people of color in regular programming, as well, like with Star of the Month, which is currently highlighting Paul Robeson for the first time.

This kind of evolution not only attracts younger or previously uninterested viewers, but it also challenges long-time fans as well. There can be quite a push by a large portion of TCM viewers to exclusively play the hits. While showing Singin’ in the Rain at least four times a year ensures that there are ample times for someone to experience it for the first or fiftieth time, showing “new” movies is what keeps viewers tuning in again and again.

Having the tough conversations about rampant racism in Hollywood, the queer-coded characters of early American film, and the stars whom people have forgotten about challenges the nostalgia that can keep many people away from classic movies. That nostalgia is also challenged when we connect themes and attitudes from the past to today, which can uncover systemic problems within America that many people choose to ignore or believe have faded in time. Overall, recent efforts from TCM have set out to make more well-rounded and critical audiences, which feels so rare in media today.

It would be foolish not to recognize the power of marketing and branding as a way of showing off this work to modernize the brand while continuing its original goal, showing classic films. The TCM team, along with Sibling Rivalry, came up with a sleeker and easily malleable look for the logo and graphics associated with the new and improved TCM. These aesthetics look similar to many film festival graphics, like those of the New York Film Festival and Sundance. These festivals are associated with the future of film, which the TCM rebrand seems to be going for as well.

Inspired by shades found in Technicolor films and modern color movies, the palette for the branding is bright and colorful. This is a direct antithesis to what people think of when they think of old movies. “We want classic films to live,” says Dexter Fedor, Vice-President, Brand Creative & Marketing.

With the new tagline for TCM, “Where then meets now,” this desire is clear. The imagery alone would be bland. But it becomes a pedestal that stills and clips from TCM movies can stand on and stand out. Old films are still alive in the conversations we have about them and their influence on modern movies.

The TCM logo now focuses on the “C,” which has many different forms depending on its use. The “C” now embodies the core of what TCM will continue to focus on in the future: curation, context, connection, culture, and of course, classics. These aspects have been a part of TCM all along, so what people love about the channel is not changing. There is just a larger emphasis on what will keep TCM growing and evolving with generations to come.

Branding and aesthetics feel like a secondary thought to people focused on the movies that TCM provides. But it is a sign of efforts being made to grow TCM and keep it from being a casualty of streaming services. There is so much value in recontextualizing films of the past. We can learn as much about ourselves as we can about history and art. That can only be appreciated and influential if TCM can reach a wide audience. Here’s to hoping this attractive refresh will do just that...

Tuesday, September 14, 2021


Norm Macdonald, the deadpan comedian, actor, writer and “Saturday Night Live” star, has died after a private battle with cancer, Variety has confirmed. He was 61.

Macdonald’s cancer diagnosis was kept secret from the public, but he battled it for nine years. “Norm was an original! He defined American humor with honesty and blunt force,” Jeff Danis, president of DPN Talent, told Variety in a statement. Dozens of comedians, like Seth Rogen, Jon Stewart, Ron Funches and Jim Gaffigan, paid tribute to Macdonald, “one of the greatest comedians to have ever lived,” on social media. The comedian got his start in showbiz as a writer on “Roseanne” in 1992 after making rounds at comedy clubs in Canada. He joined the cast of “Saturday Night Live” in 1993, and the next year he began his memorable stint as Weekend Update anchor until early 1998, when he was replaced by Colin Quinn. Macdonald was known for his dry humor, non-sequiturs and impressions of Burt Reynolds, David Letterman, Larry King, Quentin Tarantino and many more during his five-year run on the show.

Macdonald anchored Weekend Update during the O.J. Simpson trial, where he delivered one of his most memorable jokes at the top of the episode following Simpson’s acquittal: “Well, it is finally official: murder is legal in the state of California.” After his removal from Weekend Update, Macdonald accused NBC exec Don Ohlmeyer of firing him over his controversial Simpson jokes, though Ohlmeyer cited poor ratings.

After exiting “SNL,” Macdonald created “The Norm Show” with Bruce Helford on ABC, which ran from 1999 until 2001. The comedian starred as Norm Henderson, an NHL player who is banned for life because of gambling and tax evasion, so he must perform five years of community service as a social worker. The cast included Laurie Metcalf, Ian Gomez, Max Wright, Artie Lange and Faith Ford, and the show ran for three seasons.

In the 1990s, Macdonald appeared in films like “Billy Madison,” “The People vs. Larry Flynt” and Eddie Murphy’s “Dr. Dolittle” as the voice of Lucky the dog. In 1998, he starred in the film “Dirty Work,” directed by Bob Saget based on the Roald Dahl short story, about two friends who raise money to pay for heart surgery for one of their fathers by starting a revenge-for-hire business. The cast included Lange, Chris Farley, Jack Warden, Traylor Howard, Chevy Chase, Christopher McDonald and featured cameos by Don Rickles, Adam Sandler, John Goodman, and more.

Macdonald went on to provide voice work in the “Dr. Dolittle” sequels and other animated films and shows. He voiced Lieutenant Yaphit, a gelatinous, shape-shifting engineer on Fox’s sci-fi comedy “The Orville,” starring Seth MacFarlane. A third season of the show is set to release on Hulu...

Saturday, September 11, 2021


Nicholas Brothers, tap-dancing duo whose suppleness, strength, and fearlessness made them one of the greatest tap dance acts of all time. Fayard Antonio Nicholas (1914-2006) and his brother Harold Lloyd Nicholas (1921-2000) developed a type of dance that has been dubbed “classical tap,” combining jazz dance, ballet, and dazzling acrobatics with tap dancing. Growing up in an era of “hoofers” and “board beaters,” the Nicholas Brothers elevated tap dancing with their singular elegance and sensational showmanship.

The brothers’ parents were both college-educated professional musicians. Their mother, Viola, was a classically trained pianist, and their father, Ulysses, was a drummer. They performed together in pit orchestras for black vaudeville shows throughout the 1910s to the early 1930s, forming their own group called the Nicholas Collegians in the 1920s.

From the time Fayard was an infant, his parents brought him to the theatre for their practices and performances. There he gained an early education in show business by watching great black entertainers such as the jazz musician Louis Armstrong, the dance team Buck and Bubbles, the singer Adelaide Hall, and the dance teams Leonard Reed and Willie Bryant and the Berry Brothers. The Nicholas family traveled from city to city to play with various orchestras, but, after the birth of two more children, Dorothy and Harold, they settled in Philadelphia in 1926 and continued working with the Nicholas Collegians. Their orchestra played at the Standard Theatre, one of the city’s largest and most prestigious black vaudeville houses.

Fayard taught himself how to dance, sing, and perform by watching the entertainers on stage. He then taught his younger siblings, first performing with Dorothy as the Nicholas Kids; they were later joined by Harold. When Dorothy opted out of the act, the Nicholas Kids became known as the Nicholas Brothers.


Friday, September 3, 2021


Entertainer Dan Dailey had his share of problems in Hollywood. He suffered from alcoholism and also reports of him being a closest cross dresser. None of the issues he had in Hollywood was as tragic is living through the suicide of his only son - Dan Dailey Jr. 

On July 1, 1975 - The younger Dailey walked outside of a hospital, pulled out a gun and shot himself in the side of the head. He died instantly. He was only 29.

Reportedly once his son died, actor Dan Dailey turned to drinking even more. He broke his hip in 1977, and died from complications on October 16, 1978.

Reportedly a note was found on the young Dailey when he died, but it has never been released. There is a rumor that he received bad health news at the hospital and decided to end it all. 

Even though it has been 47 years later, does anyone out there have any info what happened. As of now, it is still a mystery...