Sunday, May 29, 2022


On Sunday evening, January 7, 1945, Anaheim’s war news weary residents sat down again to listen to the nation’s favorite radio entertainer, Mr. Sunday Night himself, Jack Benny. Heard locally on KFI radio at 4 p.m. (for New York broadcast at 7 p.m. EST) and sponsored by Lucky Strike cigarettes, this night’s broadcast would be like no other before and forever change our community of Anaheim. On this show, Jack’s writers conceived 3 new characters and devices that were to remain among the most popular in broadcasting. We learned about penny-pinching Jack’s underground “vault” with its outlandish protection systems as well as meeting a young Sheldon Leonard playing the gravel-voiced “Race Track Tout.” The third “bit,” intended as a once-used throwaway line, will be long remembered by 3 Southern California communities.

The story goes like this: the L.A. Union Station conductor (played by Mel Blanc) announces to Jack’s entourage heading to New York: “Train leaving on Track 5 for Anaheim, Azusa and Cuc----amonga!” While Jack seems oblivious to the recitation of these rhythmic names, the residents of Anaheim are in disbelief. Known as the capital of the Valencia orange empire and the pre-war training grounds of Connie Mack’s Philadelphia Athletics, the name Anaheim was never known as a household word or the subject of national radio comedy. Regardless the 3 stops were not even on the same Santa Fe Railroad line, the audience response to Mel Blanc’s booming announcement was very positive and this bit was used often during Jack’s radio years and was heard again when Jack came to Television in the early 1950’s.

The national recognition that these 3 towns were starting to receive (humorous or not) was not lost on their local Chambers of Commerce. Wartime issues were still of top community interest but once hostilities ended, efforts began to “adopt” Jack as each town’s native son. Every plan must have a leader and Anaheim had Mr. Ernest W. Moeller, the Secretary-Manager of the Chamber of Commerce. Moeller, Chet Burke (The Anaheim Gazette Editor), Cornelius Smith from Azusa and Clifton Chappell of unincorporated Cucamonga began a campaign in late 1945 to declare Jack Honorary Mayor of the 3 communities...

Thursday, May 26, 2022


 Ray Liotta, the actor known for his roles in “Field of Dreams” and the Martin Scorsese mob classic “Goodfellas,” has died.

He was 67.

“Ray was working on a project in the Dominican Republic called ‘Dangerous Waters’ when he passed. He passed in his sleep. He is survived by his daughter, Karsen and his fiancée, Jacy Nittolo,” his publicist Jennifer Allen told CNN.

Born in Newark, New Jersey, Liotta was the adopted son of Alfred and Mary Liotta, who also adopted a daughter, Linda.

He attended Union High School where he excelled at sports and went on to attend the University of Miami. He studied drama and was cast in his first play, “Cabaret.”

Following his college graduation, Liotta moved to New York City where he got work in commercials and was cast as Joey Perrini on the daytime soap opera “Another World,” in which he appeared from 1978 to 1981.

His performance as crazed ex-con Ray Sinclair in the 1986 film “Something Wild” proved to be a breakthrough role for the actor.

Liotta followed that with an acclaimed performance as baseball player “Shoeless” Joe Jackson in the box office hit “Field of Dreams” with Kevin Costner.

His most memorable role, perhaps, was as real-life mobster Henry Hill in the 1990 film “Goodfellas,” which cast him opposite heavy hitters Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci.

Lorraine Bracco, who co-starred as Liotta’s wife in “Goodfellas,” paid tribute to him on Thursday.

“I am utterly shattered to hear this terrible news about my Ray,” Bracco wrote in a tweet. “I can be anywhere in the world & people will come up & tell me their favorite movie is Goodfellas. Then they always ask what was the best part of making that movie. My response has always been the same…Ray Liotta.”

When asked by The Guardian in 2021 why he never worked with Scorsese again given the director’s propensity for using some of the same actors in different projects, Liotta responded “I don’t know, you’d have to ask him. But I’d love to.”

Not that he didn’t find plenty of work over the years.

Liotta’s many film and television credits include “John Q,” “Blow,” “Operation Dumbo Drop,” “Shades of Blue” and “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.”

More recently, Liotta narrated the TV docuseries “The Making of the Mob” and starred in “The Many Saints of Newark,” the prequel film to the hit television mob series “The Sopranos.”

Despite playing plenty of tough guys, that was not Liotta’s true persona.

“I have never been in a fight at all, except for during sports, and that’s just pushing and goofy kid stuff,” he told People magazine last year.

Liotta was currently cast in multiple projects, according to his IMDB profile.

“It’s weird how this business works, because I’ve definitely had a career that’s up and down,” he added. “For some reason, I’ve been busier this year than I have in all the years that I’ve been doing this. And I still feel I’m not there yet. I just think there’s a lot more.”

Sunday, May 22, 2022


Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward had a love affair that lasted for decades. They were married on January 29, 1958 and stayed married until Newman's death on September 26, 2008 at the age of 83. Newman was married before, when he married Joanne he blended this families together. Here is a brief look at the children of Paul Newman...


Scott is Paul’s eldest son, who was born in 1950. Like his dad, Scott was an actor. According to IMDb, he made his debut in 1974’s The Towering Inferno, and also had credits in Marcus Welby, M.D., Harry O, S.W.A.T and Fraternity Row. Tragically, Scott died at the age of 28 from an accidental overdose in a hotel room in Los Angeles in November 1978. At the time, Paul was heartbroken and wished he could’ve been there for Scott. “Paul felt he should have done more,” a friend reportedly said in February of 2021.


Paul’s second child and first daughter, Stephanie, arrived in 1951. During her childhood, Stephanie made a few appearances alongside her father, but since she’s grown up, she’s stayed out of the spotlight. Per Vanity Fair, Stephanie lives a quiet life away from Hollywood, so there isn’t too much information known about her.


Paul welcomed his third child in 1953. Unlike Stephanie, Susan pursued a career in Hollywood, having acted in 1977’s Slap Shot, 1978’s I Wanna Hold Your Hand and 1978’s A Wedding. In addition to her career in showbiz, Susan is very dedicated to her philanthropic efforts. According to IMDb, she served as the Executive Director of several nonprofit organizations specializing in alcohol and drug abuse prevention, as well as child welfare. Nowadays, Susan lives in California, Vanity Fair reported.


Nell is the eldest of Paul and Joanne’s kids together. She was born in 1959. Nell focused on acting as a young girl as she appeared in Rachel, Rachel in 1968 and The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds in 1972, but as she grew up, she became an entrepreneur. Most notably, she founded the organic food and pet food production company called Newman’s Own Organics.


Paul and Joanne’s daughter Lissy was born in 1961. She also became an actress like her father and mother, appearing in films and TV shows like Time Patrol, Revenge of the Stepford Wives, Lou Grant, Gunsmoke and more. Lissy is also a singer and songwriter. Though it’s unclear when Lissy tied the knot, the actress is married to her husband, Raphael Elkind. The two share their kids, Henry Elkind and Peter Elkind.


The couple’s youngest daughter, Clea, arrived in 1965. Clea also works in Hollywood, though she opted to stay behind the camera. Per IMDb, she’s worked in the editorial department and helped produced shows like Big Little Lies, Mad Men and Raising the Bar. Clea is also a married woman, having tied the knot with her husband, Kurt Soderlund. When she’s not with her hubby or working in showbiz, Clea is very dedicated to philanthropy, per Vanity Fair.

Sunday, May 15, 2022


Here is the 1943 review of a Alfred Hitchcock classic as it appeared in the New York Times on January 13, 1943...

You've got to hand it to Alfred Hitchcock: when he sows the fearful seeds of mistrust in one of his motion pictures he can raise more goose pimples to the square inch of a customer's flesh than any other director of thrillers in Hollywood. He did it quite nicely in "Rebecca" and again in "Suspicion" about a year ago. And now he is bringing in another bumper crop of blue-ribbon shivers and chills in Jack Skirball's diverse production of "Shadow of a Doubt," which came to the Rivoli last night.Yes, the way Mr. Hitchcock folds suggestions very casually into the furrows of his film, the way he can make a torn newspaper or the sharpened inflection of a person's voice send ticklish roots down to the subsoil of a customer's anxiety, is a wondrous, invariable accomplishment. And the mental anguish he can thereby create, apparently in the minds of his characters but actually in the psyche of you, is of championship proportions and—being hokum, anyhow— a sheer delight.

But when Mr. Hitchcock and/or his writers start weaving allegories in his films or, worse still, neglect to spring surprises after the ground has apparently been prepared, the consequence is something less than cheering. And that is the principal fault—or rather, the sole disappointment—in "Shadow of a Doubt." For this one suggests tremendous promise when a sinister character—a gentleman called Uncle Charlie—goes to visit with relatives, a typical American family, in a quiet California town. The atmosphere is charged with electricity when the daughter of the family, Uncle Charlie's namesake, begins to grow strangely suspicious of this moody, cryptic guest in the house. And the story seems loaded for fireworks and a beautiful explosion of surprise when the scared girl discovers that Uncle Charlie is really a murderer of rich, fat widows, wanted back East.But from that point on the story takes a decidedly anticlimactic dip and becomes just a competent exercise in keeping a tightrope taut. It also becomes a bit too specious in making a moralistic show of the warmth of an American community toward an unsuspected rascal in its midst. We won't violate tradition to tell you how the story ends, but we will say that the moral is either anti-social or, at best, obscure. When Uncle Charlie's niece concludes quite cynically that the world is a horrible place and the young detective with whom she has romanced answers, "Some times it needs a lot of watching; seems to go crazy, every now and then, like Uncle Charlie," the bathos is enough to knock you down.However, there is sufficient sheer excitement and refreshing atmosphere in the film to compensate in large measure for its few disappointing faults.

Thornton Wilder, Sally Benson and Alma Reville have drawn a graphic and affectionate outline of a small-town American family which an excellent cast has brought to life and Mr. Hitchcock has manifest completely in his naturalistic style. Teresa Wright is aglow with maiden spirit and subsequent emotional distress as the namesake of Uncle Charlie, and Patricia Collinge gives amazing flexibility and depth to the role of the patient, hard-working, sentimental mother of the house. Henry Travers is amusing as the father, Edna May Wonacott is fearfully precocious as "the brat" and Hume Cronyn makes a modest comic masterpiece out of the character of a literal-minded friend.As the progressively less charming Uncle Charlie, Joseph Cotten plays with smooth, insinuating ease while injecting a harsh and bitter quality which nicely becomes villainy. He has obviously kept an eye on Orson Welles. And MacDonald Carey and Wallace Ford make an adequate pair of modern sleuths.The flavor and "feel" of a small town has been beautifully impressed in this film by the simple expedient of shooting most of it in Santa Rosa, Calif., which leads to the obvious observation that the story should be as reliable as the sets...

Friday, May 13, 2022


It has been a quick three years since Doris Day died. She is still missed...

Sunday, May 8, 2022


The plot of 1939's The Star Maker was slight, but the original story was much more different than what was filmed. According to Gary Giddins in his Bing Crosby biography “A Pocketful of Dreams”, Gary writes “The script somehow devolved from the story of Edwards to the story of Bing. By the time it was ready to shoot, The Star Maker so little resembled Edwards and his career that the name of the protagonist was changed to Larry Earl”. Bing himself would go on and comment about the film in 1976 that it was the most difficult film he had ever made because the director Roy Del Ruth wanted to film the original story, but he disliked what was done with the script. Roy had go ahead with the movie, but he was not happy.

Like most Bing movies of the day, the audience was not there for the plot but the music. Bing got to sing some older Gus Edwards composed songs like “If I Was A Millionaire”, “Sunbonnet Sue”, “In My Merry Oldsmobile”, and my personal favorite “School Days”. I taught my 8-year-old daughter to sing the song when she was five, and she still sings it now! Most if the songs that Gus Edwards wrote were written around the turn of the century, so they were pretty old when this movie was coming out in 1939. Some more contemporary songs were written for the film as well by Johnny Burke and Jimmy Van Heusen like: “Go Fly A Kite”, “A Man and His Dream”, “An Apple for The Teacher”, and my favorite song of the film “Still the Bluebird Sing” which is pretty forgotten today. Bing recorded these new songs for Decca, and his biggest hit was “An Apple for The Teacher” which he recorded as a duet with Connee Boswell.

The cast was great as well in The Star Maker. Bing’s leading lady as mentioned earlier was Louise Campbell. Campbell did not have much to do in the movie but frown when Bing made bad decisions. Louise never became a big star and only made movies for a decade between 1937 and 1947 before retiring from movies. Character actor and comic crabby Ned Sparks is a great comic foil in the movie, and he appeared with Bing earlier at MGM in 1933’s Going Hollywood. Some other great character actors appear in the film like Laura Hope Crews, Thurston Hall, Billy Gilbert, and Clara Blankdick – who would be appearing that year as Aunt Em in MGM’s The Wizard Of Oz. The Star Maker also tried to make a star out of newcomer Linda Ware. Billed third, Paramount was hopeful that Linda be their answer to Universal’s Deanna Durbin. Linda Ware was likeable in the movie, but she was involved in a custody case between her parents which would ruin any chances she had for stardom. She made a total of two movies, and then faded into obscurity.

The New York Times was tougher with its reviews than Variety: “The Star Maker,” the new Bing Crosby film at the Paramount, was inspired (to employ a euphemism) by the career of Gus Edwards, a show-minded Pied Piper who used to swing around the old vaudeville circuits followed by precocious little song and dance teams — the girls in sunbonnets, the boys in newsies’ tatters — who grew up, or at least some of them did, to become Walter Winchell, George Jessel, Eddie Cantor and Mervyn LeRoy...There isn’t much more to the picture. Mr. Crosby sings in his usual lullaby manner and hasn’t many good lines to play with. Ned Sparks sneaks away with a comic scene or two as the child-hating press agent who has to tell bedtime stories and spins a grim whopper about the mean old wolf who gobbled up the little kiddies... But it is all, if Mr. Edwards will pardon us, too much like a Gus Edwards revue and far too much of that."

Variety was far more positive. "Film is first-class entertainment, a lively combination of the conventional backstage story, which is played for comedy angles, and film musical technique, that is up to best standards...Audiences will quickly and cheerfully respond to the gayety [sic] which pervades the film. . . . It’s the Gus Edwards repertoire of pop tunes which gives the film zest and the feeling that yesterday is worth remembering. ‘School Days’ is recreated in an elaborate production number, including an interpolation when Crosby, speaking directly from the screen to the film audience, invites and obtains a spirited if somewhat vocally uncertain choral participation.”

Sure, The Star Maker bore little resemblance to the life of Gus Edwards, but film biographies of the 1930s and 1940s were not made to accurately portray their subject, they were made to entertain. This film definitely is entertaining. From the first moment of the film when Bing is singing “Jimmy Valentine” to the orphans to the end of the film when Bing is singing “Still the Bluebird Sing” on radio with his kid stars, the 94-minute movie is extremely entertaining. In the beginning of the film, I was tired of Bing being the lazy non-working husband, but Bing always worked well with children, and in this movie he surrounds himself with dozens of them. This movie is not on video or DVD, so it is hard to come by other than a bootleg copy. However, the full fill is available for free on You Tube as of this writing. Do yourself a favor and check out this whimsical and fun musical that Bing ended the decade of the 1930s with! I’m glad I had the opportunity to watch The Star Maker again...
MY RATING: 10 out of 10 


Thursday, May 5, 2022


 Bing Crosby made countless movies during his 40 plus years in the cinema, and some of his movies that were quite good seem to have fallen through the cracks of time. One such movie was his 1939 effort The Star Maker. Bing made the movie at the time when his stardom was rising and rising. The film was made in Hollywood from May to July of 1939, and it had a quick premiere on August 25, 1939. The film was directed by Roy Del Ruth with new music written by Johnny Burke and Jimmy Van Heusen. The film was “suggested” by the life of Gus Edwards. Edwards was a German songwriter and vaudeville dancer who settled in New York and became a talent scout and produce of children’s revues. Among the children that Gus Edwards discovered was: George Jessel, Eddie Cantor, the Marx Brothers, and Eleanor Powell among countless others.

The movie opens at an orphanage which seems surprisingly happy. The kids are all happy because Bing (as Larry Earl) is there entertaining them with songs. He starts off the movie straight away by singing the song “Jimmy Valentine”. We find out he is there to woo one of the women that work there, played by Louise Campbell. For some reason to me, Campbell always reminded me of Mary Martin. After constantly asking her to marry him, she says yes. Little does she know what she is getting herself into. Bing, in strictly older days fashion, makes her quit her job, and yet he bounces around from job to job! Bing tries his hand at songwriting but that does not work out. Even with the young married couple not having any money, Bing still buys a piano they cannot afford.

His wife convinces him to go on a job interview finally, and as he is walking to the interview, he sees young children performing on the streets. Instantly Bing gets the idea to create a vaudeville act around the children. He brings all these children home without even going on his job interview. Bing tries to get an audition with a stage producer (Thurston Hall) but is unable to. Bing’s wife Mary is tired of him not getting anywhere so she takes it upon herself to hide in the car of the stage producer and talk to him. The producer is so impressed with Bing’s wife that he gives Bing and his kids a chance. On opening night, they sing the great song “Go Fly A Kite”. Bing and his troupe are a success. However, that is not enough for Bing. He is always thinking bigger and bigger!

Bing forms a production company and hires a publicity manager (Ned Sparks), who hates children. They get the idea to tour the country in a train and audition and set up acts all around the country. However, as Bing is reaching the apex of his career as a kiddie show producer, the Children’s Welfare Society gets involved. They will not allow children under twelves of age to perform after 10pm. The Society gets all his shows shut down, but Bing realizes he can use radio to showcase the talent of the children without the interference of the welfare group...


Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Sunday, May 1, 2022


Previously unheard tapes are offering a glimpse at Marilyn Monroe's thoughts on her short-lived marriage to Joe DiMaggio as part of a new documentary about the late actor's life.

In an exclusive clip from “The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe: The Unheard Tapes,” the Hollywood icon talked about dating DiMaggio before they tied the knot in 1954.

“I saw him for around a year and a half, two years, and we married,” Monroe said in the clip, which showed her and the baseball legend smiling and climbing into their car after saying “I do” at San Francisco City Hall.

Monroe also hinted at issues in their relationship that led them to divorce just nine months after they wed.

“He understood some things about me, and I understood some things about him,” she said. “We based our marriage on it. And I say some things.”

Even after their divorce, DiMaggio reportedly felt affection for Monroe, and for years after her death in 1962, he had red roses delivered regularly to her grave.

After divorcing DiMaggio, Monroe married playwright Arthur Miller in 1956; they announced plans to divorce in 1960, two years before she died at age 36.

“The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe: The Unheard Tapes,” streaming April 27 on Netflix, features previously unheard recordings of people who knew Monroe personally, including director John Huston and her “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” co-star Jane Russell, as well as lesser-known figures from her inner circle, such as the family of her psychiatrist.

The documentary’s director, Emma Cooper, says that hearing intimate tapes of people who knew Monroe gave her a more nuanced understanding of the legendary star.

“I thought that she was this one-dimensional character. I just absolutely adore her in a way that I didn’t before. She’s just an extraordinary icon. She’s a much more relatable woman than anybody has really given her credit for,” Cooper said in a Netflix interview. “She’s not just the person that stands on the air vent and looks pretty ditzy. There is a lot of pain and there’s a lot of strength in her. I’m completely obsessed with her.”