Sunday, August 28, 2022


For six years during the 1930s, Patty, Maxene and LaVerne Andrews toured the United States, first with a vaudeville show and then with their chaperoning parents, singing in any club, dive or theater that would hire them. In late 1937, their father was becoming increasingly disgruntled with their struggling career and gave them a deadline for breaking into the big time. If they didn’t make it by the end of the year, they would leave New York, return home to Minneapolis and attend secretarial school. 

The deadline was approaching when Dave Kapp, head of Decca Records, happened to hear the Andrews Sisters singing on a New York radio station. Impressed by the young sisters, he asked them to audition for a contract with his record company. They did so and were hired. The contract they signed was a flat fee of $50 without royalties for each two-sided record they made, a common arrangement at that time. Their first record went nowhere on the charts, but Kapp liked the trio and called them in for a second recording session on November 24, 1937. The Aside of the new record was “Nice Work If You Can Get It,” a Gershwin song from the popular Fred Astaire film “A Damsel in Distress.” The B-side, or throw-away side, was an obscure Yiddish love song called “Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen,” often translated as “To Me, You Are Beautiful.” 

The song was composed by Sholom Secunda with lyrics by Jacob Jacobs for a short-lived 1932 Yiddish musical comedy called “I Would If I Could.” Accounts vary as to how the song ended up in the Decca recording studio. Sammy Cahn, who wrote the English lyrics with Saul Chaplin, claimed that he first heard the song performed by an African-American act at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem, and later found the sheet music in a store in the Jewish Lower East Side of Manhattan. At that time he shared an apartment with Lou Levy, who was managing the Andrews Sisters. Cahn played the song for the sisters; they liked it and would eventually record it. Vic Schoen, the sisters’ arranger, said he discovered the song in a little shop in the lobby of a Yiddish theater on Second Avenue. He gave it to Lou Levy who in turn gave it to Sammy Cahn who with Saul Chaplin wrote English lyrics for it. Levy, however, claimed that he bought the song for fifteen cents in the Lower East Side and passed it on to the sisters to sing in Yiddish at various Jewish clubs and functions in New York City. 

However the song got there, it was chosen for the B-side of “Nice Work If You Can Get It.” The recording session was piped into Jack Kapp’s office and when he heard the song being recorded in Yiddish, he interrupted the session and said he wanted it in English. Conflicting stories relate how the English translation came about. Cahn claimed he didn’t want to do a translation, but eventually did so after a couple of days. Levy maintained the song was translated within a few minutes in the recording studio. In another interview, he said the translation was made over the telephone. Vic Schoen created a swing arrangement for the song and directed the studio musicians for the recording. Schoen and Bobby Hackett played trumpet, Al Philburn was on trombone, Don Watt on clarinet, Frank Froeba on piano, Dave Barbour on guitar and Stan King on drums. All were unknown at the time, but several would go on to illustrious careers. 

The record was released in December 1937 and to the surprise of all involved, it was “Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen” that drove sales. Word spread rapidly about the new song and record stores were flooded with requests for “Buy a Beer, Monsieur Shane,” “Mr. Barney McShane,” “My Dear Mr. Shane” and “My Mere Bits of Shame.” The customers may not have known how to pronounce the title, but they bought the record. According to one story at the time, a woman’s leg was broken when she was knocked down by a crowd that mobbed a record store to buy copies. The song became such a national sensation that “Life,” the leading photo-news magazine of the day, published a photo essay giving its version of the song’s history. “Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen” reached the Navajo Indian reservation in Utah where it was chanted by Navajo and Ute Indians to aid polio victims in a ceremony celebrating President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s birthday. Some sources claim the song was a hit in several European countries, including Germany until the Nazi Party banned it after learning its composer was Jewish and the song’s title was Yiddish and not a southern German dialect. 

“Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen” sold 100,000 copies in its initial release and by the end of January had sold a quarter million copies, an enormous number in those days. Bing Crosby was the only other Decca artist at the time with records surpassing the 100,000 sales mark. The song became a hit before it was published as sheet music, a rare phenomenon back then. Twelve other artists, including Ella Fitzgerald and Kate Smith, recorded the song in hopes of cashing in on its popularity. The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) named “Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen” the most popular song of 1938.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022


Film roles were drying up for Yvonne De Carlo in the early 1960s. She had few prospects and was deeply in debt. So when her old employer, Universal Pictures, phoned her up looking for a leading female for a sitcom about a family of monsters in suburbia, Yvonne De Carlo signed the contract.

That sitcom was The Munsters. The show premiered on September 24, 1964, and the world would soon see Yvonne De Carlo in a whole new light as the family matriarch, Lily Munster. This role would define Yvonne’s acting career for the rest of her life. Initially, Lily Munster was played by actress Beverly Owen. Owen played the family’s matriarch for the first 15 episodes of the series before she was replaced by Yvonne.

As soon as Yvonne adjusted to her role on the show, her skepticism and concerns faded away. Even costar Fred Gwynne, who played her Herman Munster and had some concerns about the new cast addition, warmed up to De Carlo’s on-set presence. And Fred wasn’t the only one. Adults and children across America were charmed by the new Lily Munster and were swept up by the fever of this hilarious new show. Yvonne was told to play the role like “Donna Reed” which you may not have been able to immediately tell by her makeup—which took roughly three hours each shoot to put on and included a De Carlo, expressive when playing Lily Munster, constantly gestured with her hands to make the character something of her own. Lily looked glamorous and fashionable despite her age—over 100 years old. She also always managed to show off her chops as one spooky, spunky mother and loving wife.

Despite The Munsters’ lasting influence, the show only lasted a surprisingly paltry two seasons. Universal Pictures later produced a feature called Munster, Go Home in 1966. This was was the first time The Munsters ever appeared in color since the original pilot episode. Unfortunately, the movie was not a commercial success and soon spelled the end for America’s favorite frightening family. De Carlo would return, however, in the 1981 TV movie, The Munsters’ Revenge with costars Gwynne and Grandpa Munster, aka, Al Lewis.

After The Munsters, Yvonne took some time to guest star in shows like The Girl from U.N.C.L.E and The Virginian and went back to her western roots in the late 60s films, Hostile Guns, and Arizona Bushwackers.

The actress then took some time to focus on her musical career and starred in a five-month tour of Hello Dolly and a 15-week run of Little Me. She also appeared in the Steven Sondheim musical Dollies as Carlotta Campion—a role she said was “written especially for her.” De Carlo continued until 1995 when she unofficially retired from acting. Some highlights include the 1975 sex comedy film, Blazing Stewardesses, the 1980 horror film American Gothic and the 1990 horror film Mirror, 

Yvonne De Carlo’s final performance was as Norma in the 1995 Disney television film, The Barefoot Executive. This was a remake of the 1971 film of the same name. In 1998 De Carlo suffered a minor stroke and almost ten years later she died of heart failure on January 8th, 2007. Her career might have been a large and varied tapestry of film, musical, and television roles, but the world will always remember Yvonne De Carlo as Mrs. Lily Munster...

Monday, August 22, 2022


Singer Maureen McGovern announced in an emotional message on social media that she’s been diagnosed with a rare form of dementia.

The 73-year-old singer, best known for her Oscar-winning song “The Morning After,” took to her Facebook page on Friday (Aug. 19) to share the sad news with her fans.

“I’ve been diagnosed with posterior cortical atrophy with symptoms of Alzheimer’s and/or dementia,” McGovern says in a sentimental video clip after recounting her career highlights.

“What I do, or what I am still able to accomplish, has changed,” she continues. “I can no longer travel or perform in live concerts. In fact, I can no longer drive — how’s that for a kick in the butt?”

The Mayo Clinic describes posterior cortical atrophy as a “degenerative brain and nervous system (neurological) syndrome that results in difficulty with eyesight and processing visual information.” Common signs and symptoms include hallucinations, anxiety, confusion, and changes in behavior and personality.

McGovern also shared a transcript of the nearly seven-minute Facebook video on her official website.

The songstress won an Academy Award in 1972 for her song “The Morning After” from the The Poseidon Adventure. The track spent two weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 the following year. She was also nominated for best new artist at the 16th annual Grammy Awards in 1974.

In her announcement, McGovern noted that the diagnosis “is not going to keep me from living my life” and that her “passion for music, for singing, remains profoundly robust.” The singer also plans to bring more awareness to music therapy.

“We are all patients and caregivers at some time in our lives,” McGovern says, noting that she has spent time performing hospitals, hospices, women’s prison, senior facilities and schools. “I have experienced how music and the arts free our spirits and opens our hearts to our common humanity.”


Sunday, August 21, 2022



One of the tragic stories in Hollywood is the death of Gig Young. This is the original obituary from the Associated Press on October 19, 1978...

Gig Young, the handsome veteran actor who won an Academy Award as the fast-talking promoter of a Depression-era dance marathon, apparentlyshot his wife of three weeks to death and then killed himself
Thursday, police said.

Police said a diary in the blood-soaked bedroom where the couple died was open to Sept. 27, and "We Got Married Today" was written on the page.

Young's gilt Oscar for best supporting actor in "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" was in the den of the Manhattan apartment. Police said the 60-year-old actor apparently killed his wife, 31-year-old Kim Schmidt, and himself at about 2:30 p.m. The .38-caliber pistol was in Young's hand, and the case was being treated as a murder-suicide, police said.

The manager of the building on West 57th Street, who did not wish to be identified, said he had heard noises that sounded like gunshots earlier in the day, but did not become suspicious until he noticed
groceries still standing outside the apartment hours after they were delivered.

Police said the pair appeared to have died at about 2:3 p.m. Their bodies were discovered about five hours later.

Young appeared in recent years in "Hindenberg" and "The Killer Elite," as well as in television dramas, and bad toured in "Harvey" and "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever."

Before winning the Academy Award as best supporting actor 1969 for "They Shoot Horses, Don't They," Young had received two nominations, for his work in "Come Fill the Cup," a somewhat true-to-life role as an alcoholic and the 1958 "Teacher's Pet."

Young starred with Charles Boyer in the 1950s television series "The Rogues." Boyer was a suicide earlier this year.

Liam O'Brian, producer of the Young's 1976 TV series "Gibbsville," said the actor was a "tremendous, talented and genial human being.  He was a delight to work with, a careful worker, a precisionist with
great style and humor."

Young's first marriage ended in divorce after his return from World War II, which he spent in the Coast Guard ferrying troops across the Pacific.

His second wife, Warner Brothers drama coach Sophie Rosenstein, died of cancer in 1952 after only a year of marriage. His marriage to actress Elizabeth Montgomery ended in divorce in 1963, and his fourth marriage, to Beverly Hills realtor Elaine Young, also ended in divorce. He had one child in that marriage, Jennifer, now 14.

Young's real-life beginnings didn't suggest his familiar movie roles of glamour and sophistication. He was born Byron Barr in St. Cloud, Minn., in 1917, the son of a reformatory chef.

After graduating from high scholl, he became a used car salesman while attending acting classes at night. Young came to Hollywood when a pal offered to give him a ride if he'd pay for half the gas.

In Hollywood, young lived the fabled life of the struggling young actor, sleeping a $12-a-week hotel and waiting on tables.

He got his big acting break at the Pasadena Playhouse, where he worked a few stock plays and was spotted by a Warner Brothers' talent scout who signed him to a long-term contract.

Young earned his first movie role while reading the Charles Boyer part for an Alexis Smith screen test. Still Byron Barr, he earned rave reviews in his first film, "The Gay Sisters."

Studio head Jack Warner urged his young employe to take the name of the character he played in "The Gay Sisters" - Gig Young.

He quickly earned his first Academy Award nomination, for "Come Fill the Cup," with James Cagney.

Young once said that out of 55 pictures in 30 years, "there are not more than five that were good or any good for me.

But he called the Academy Award "the greatest moment of my life."

Tired of his bad Hollywood roles, Young came to Broadway in the mid-1950s and had considerable success in "Oh Men Oh Women," "Under the Yum Yum Tree," "Teahouse of the August Moon," and "There's a Girl in My Soup."

His post-Oscar films also included "Lovers and Other Strangers," "Neon Ceiling," "Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Grrcia," and "A Black Ribbon for Deborah."

Red Buttons, who played with Young in "Horses," once said of his friend:

"Down under that light-hearted sophistication, Gig's a big baby, and needs an arm around him. He needs a lot of loving."

Wednesday, August 17, 2022


Cinema icon Gina Lollobrigida will compete for a Senate seat in Italy's elections next month.

The 95-year-old actor is running as part of the Sovereign and Populist Italy (ISP) party. The political faction was founded in July and described by Marco Rizzo, one of the party's leaders, as "the only alternative against the liberal, warmongering and sanitary totalitarianism."

"I was just tired of hearing politicians arguing with each other without ever getting to the point," Lollobrigida told Italian outlet Corriere della Sera on Sunday. "I will fight for the people to decide, from health to justice. Italy is in bad shape, I want to do something good and positive."


The character of Pam's sister only appeared in one of the three Meet the Parents movies, and you might be wondering why. In the first movie, Greg Focker (played by Ben Stiller) joins his girlfriend Pam (Teri Polo) at her parents' house for her sister Debbie's wedding. Debbie — played by Nicole DeHuff — doesn't appear to attend Pam and Greg's wedding in Meet the Fockers, however. Unfortunately, there's a sad reason for this.

In Meet the Parents, Greg is trying to impress Pam's family before he proposes. It doesn't go well with either her parents (especially her dad played by Robert DeNiro) or with her sister and future brother-in-law (at least at first). Greg memorably accidentally breaks Debbie's nose and gives her a black eye while playing a game of pool volleyball and later burns down the altar. Because this is a comedy, after all, all is put to right in the end when Greg surprises Debbie and her fiance with a honeymoon. Playing Debbie Byrnes in Meet the Parents was Nicole DeHuff's first big role in 2000. After the success of the wacky comedy, she went on to appear in several popular TV shows over the next few years, including CSI: Miami, Without a Trace, Dragnet, The Practice, and Monk, as well as a regular role on The Court. Tragically, her career was cut short with her untimely death at age 30 in 2005. This explains why she did not appear in the third movie, Little Fockers.

In February of 2005, DeHuff, who had asthma, spent four days in the hospital after having difficulty breathing, but was then sent home, according to People. A few days later, she collapsed and was rushed again to the hospital, where she was found to have an aggressive bout of pneumonia which then led to her death on February 16, 2005

According to the friends, the actress' friend stated, "Whenever you saw her and asked her how she was doing, she'd grin and say, 'Living the dream. I'm living the dream.'"

Between 2004 and 2005, DeHuff worked on three feature films. One of these, Unbeatable Harold, her final film which was released posthumously, was directed by her husband...

Sunday, August 14, 2022


Some of these recipes from classic Hollywood don't sound good. It was a different era with different taste palates. This dish sounds pretty good...

Bette Davis’ Red Flannel Hash

2 cups cooked corned beef
3 cups cold boiled potatoes
1 1/2 cups cooked beets.
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup or more of cream
1/2 stick butter

Chop all ingredients and combine in a large bowl. Season to taste and moisten the mixture with cream. Place in a hot buttered skillet. Stir and spread evenly in pan. Brown slowly over medium heat. Serve with poached eggs on top.

Sunday, August 7, 2022


Here is an excellent article by David Soren...

Fanny Brice (October 29, 1891 – May 29, 1951) was one of the greatest stars of vaudeville, and was also successful for a time in movies and a sensation later in her life on radio as well. Portrayed by Barbra Streisand on stage and in the movie Funny Girl , she was best known for her comic and dramatic songs and her radio persona as Baby Snooks. Rather ungainly in appearance, she could twist her face into knots or open wide her cavernous mouth to express exaggerated emotion in her comic songs, or she could come on-stage dressed to the nines and belt out a dramatic torch song such as My Man, the American version of the French success Mon Homme.Fannie Brice posing as her famous character.

Born Fania Borach in New York City to an immigrant Jewish family, she dropped out of school and knocked around in burlesque long enough to be offered a spot in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1910 and 1911 which brought her great fame, made even greater by her return in 1921 to introduce the mega-hit My Man, a song which had become a standard for the sexy French goddess Mistinguett who sang it with a husky voice slightly off key. Brice belted it out with tremendous feeling it became one of the great hit songs of the Roaring Twenties. It was still so popular by 1928 that it became the title of a feature film starring Fannie which is today considered lost.

In vaudeville Fannie developed a character who came to be known as Baby Snooks, a bratty little kid, and she always wore a child's short dress which showed off her spindly legs. The character was based on a George McManus early newspaper cartoon character and caught on with the public until by 1944, with Fannie having played the part for more than 30 years on stage, the character was featured on its own hit radio program. The character as she portrayed it in vaudeville exhibited a devilish grin when she was about to cause somebody to get into trouble and she always wore an angelic bow in her hair.

From the time she first entertained, Fanny Brice was a crowd-pleaser who quickly became a superstar. Unlike her contemporaries who were often known for one thing, Fannie could bring either broad slapstick comedy or pathos to her performances and sometimes both. She was so popular and such a workaholic that she was still a top performer up until two days before her death, of a cerebral hemorrhage.

In her choice of men and in her marriages, Fannie was remarkably unsuccessful. Her first marriage while she was still in her teens was simply a youthful mistake but her second, to gangster Nicky Arnstein, led to two jail terms for him and enormous expense for her for his trials. A third marriage to diminutive theater impressario and music composer Billy Rose, was yet another venue for heartbreak as Billy had quite an eye for the ladies and the nine year marriage of the unlikely couple was full of heartbreak, culminating in Rose's obsession with the beautiful Olympic swimming star and would-be singer Eleanor Holm. Their very public affair led to another divorce for Fannie. The Barbra Streisand movie Funny Lady deals with her trials and tribulations with Billy Rose while the first film goes through the Nicky Arnstein period.

When movie musicals became the rage in the late 1920s and early 1930s, Fannie Brice was immediately picked to star but musicals quickly fell out of favor and her movie career never took off despite a few appearances in films such as Everybody Sing (1938). She did not live long enough to become a force on television and only made one appearance, as Baby Snooks, for CBS in 1950.

Despite her personal difficulties and tragedies, Fannie remained a major star for more than 40 years and in the finest tradition of vaudeville went out still leaving them laughing, even into the 1950s when vaudeville was quickly becoming a memory...