Wednesday, August 30, 2023


This blog has been in existance since 2010. Since that time, I have loved to share my love of nostalgia. I often say I was born too late, but I love remembering the past era. To produce this blog takes a lot of time and money to do research, etc. At this point 13 years later, to help defray the cost of creating a continuing blog like this, I have to ask for some help.

Any donations will be glady accepted. You can venmo the funds to me. My venmo name is @David-Lobosco-2. To send the donation the classic Hollywood way, please send it to David Lobosco, 107 Wetzel Road, Glenshaw, PA 15116.

I appreciate your continued support through the years. Keep the comments and suggestions coming as we take a stroll down memory lane...

Sunday, August 27, 2023


I remember as a young boy watching Lucille Ball's last sitcom "Life With Lucy" on ABC, and even as a boy I realized how bad it was. The show aired for one season on ABC from September 20 to November 15, 1986. It is the only Lucille Ball sitcom to not air on CBS and the very last sitcom she starred in before her death in 1989. Only 8 out of the 13 episodes produced were aired before ABC cancelled the series. Unlike Ball's previous sitcoms, Life with Lucy was a failure in the ratings and poorly received by critics and viewers alike.

Ball plays a widowed grandmother who has inherited her husband's half interest in a hardware store in South Pasadena, California, the other half being owned by his business partner, widower Curtis McGibbon (played by Gale Gordon). Lucy's character insists on "helping" in the store, even though when her husband was alive, she had taken no part in the business and hence knows nothing about it. The unlikely partners are also in-laws, her daughter being married to his son, and all of them, along with their young grandchildren, live together.

During the 1984–1985 television season, NBC had experienced a huge success with its Bill Cosby comeback vehicle The Cosby Show, following it up the next year with The Golden Girls, which likewise revitalized the careers of Bea Arthur and Betty White. ABC, looking to stage a similar resurgence for an older sitcom star and to boost Saturday night ratings, approached 75-year-old, five-time Emmy award winner and cultural icon Lucille Ball. Producer Aaron Spelling had been in talks with Ball and her second husband Gary Morton since 1979 about possibly doing another series; the popular success of her dramatic turn in the television film Stone Pillow had proved she was still popular with audiences. Ball was initially hesitant about returning to television, stating that she did not believe she could top the 25-year run of success she had had with I Love Lucy, The Lucy Show and Here's Lucy, especially without Vivian Vance, who was deceased. She eventually agreed, conceding she had missed having a regular project to work on daily, on the condition of having total creative control.

ABC offered Ball the writers from the critical and ratings hit M*A*S*H, but Ball insisted on hiring her longtime writers Bob Carroll Jr. and Madelyn Pugh (credited as Madelyn Davis). Both had worked for Ball since her 1948 radio show My Favorite Husband and had written over 500 television and radio episodes for Ball, plus the occasional TV special and feature film. Ball also called in crew members who had worked for her since the days of I Love Lucy. The most notable was sound man Cam McCulloch, who joined the crew during I Love Lucy’s third season in 1954. By 1986, however, McCulloch was 77 years old and quite hard of hearing (he was still working actively in Hollywood at the time, mixing audio for WKRP in Cincinnati, Square Pegs and select episodes of Newhart). Ball also insisted on hiring her former co-star Gale Gordon, who by that time was retired from acting and living in Palm Springs. Gordon had worked with Ball on Jack Haley's radio show and more consistently on My Favorite Husband. He was the first choice for the character of Fred Mertz and had guest starred on I Love Lucy and The Lucy–Desi Comedy Hour before becoming a main cast member on The Lucy Show in its second season and acting on all six seasons of Here's Lucy.

Gordon agreed to do the show with the promise of a full season's pay for all 22 episodes regardless of whether the show was picked up. According to cast and crew members, the then 80-year-old Gordon never once flubbed a line on the set during the 13-episode duration. Ball was reportedly paid $100,000 an episode. Ball’s husband Gary Morton, carrying the title of executive producer, negotiated for $150,000 per episode. The pilot was created and shot, all without network interference or even test screenings. ABC and producers believed Life with Lucy would be a critical and ratings success that would run for many years, just as Ball's previous shows had been.

Fourteen episodes were written, thirteen filmed, but only eight aired. On the day of the last filmed (but unaired) episode, producer Aaron Spelling learned of the show's cancellation by ABC; he decided to tell Ball's husband Gary Morton, who decided not to reveal the news to her until after filming ended. The last episode to be aired, "Mother of the Bride", featured Audrey Meadows, who was offered to be cast as a regular to give the show a new direction and Ball's character a comic foil and partner, similar to the role of Vivian Vance in Ball's previous series. (This was the only Ball sitcom in which Vance, who had died in 1979, never appeared.) Meadows turned down the offer. The show destroyed Lucille Ball, whose health went downhill after the cancellation. Lucille Ball died in 1989. Everyone always loved Lucy, just not the show "Life With Lucy"...

Tuesday, August 22, 2023


There are a million unsolved mysteries of classic Hollywood. One such mystery involving one of the most beautiful starlets was of the 1930s was the mystery of Thelma Todd. Throughout the late '20s and early '30s, Thelma Todd was one of the most prominent comedic actresses in film. She is perhaps best remembered for her roles in the Marx Brothers' Monkey Business and Horse Feathers, as well as a slew of Charley Chase's short comedies and Laurel & Hardy films.

On the morning of Monday, December 16, 1935, Todd was found dead, wearing a mauve and silver gown, mink wrap and expensive jewelry in her chocolate-colored 1934 Lincoln Phaeton convertible inside the garage of Jewel Carmen, a former actress and former wife of Todd's lover and business partner Roland West. Carmen's house was approximately a block from the topmost side of Todd's restaurant. Her death was determined to have been caused by carbon monoxide poisoning. West is quoted in a contemporaneous newspaper account as having locked her out, which may have caused her to seek refuge and warmth in the car. Todd had a wide circle of friends and associates and a busy social life.

Police investigations revealed that she had spent the previous Saturday night (December 14) at the Trocadero, a popular Hollywood restaurant, at a party hosted by entertainer Stanley Lupino and his actress daughter Ida. She had a brief but unpleasant exchange there with her ex-husband, Pat DiCicco. However, her friends stated that she was in good spirits and were aware of nothing in her life that suggested a reason for her to commit suicide. She was driven home from the party in the early hours of December 15 by her chauffeur, Ernest O. Peters.

LAPD detectives concluded that Todd's death was accidental, the result of her either warming up the car to drive it or using the heater to keep herself warm. A coroner's inquest into the death was held on December 18, 1935. Autopsy surgeon A. P. Wagner testified that there were "no marks of violence anywhere upon or within the body" with only a "superficial contusion on the lower lip." There are informal accounts of greater signs of injury. The jury ruled that the death appeared accidental, but recommended "further investigation to be made into the case, by proper authorities."

A grand jury probe was subsequently held to determine whether Todd was murdered. After four weeks of testimony, the inquiry concluded with no evidence of foul play. The case was closed by the Homicide Bureau, which declared the death "accidental with possible suicide tendencies." However, investigators found no motive for suicide, and Todd left no suicide note.

Todd's memorial service was held at Pierce Brothers Mortuary at 720 West Washington Blvd in Los Angeles. The body was cremated. After her mother's death in 1969, Todd's remains were placed in her mother's casket and buried in Bellevue Cemetery in her hometown of Lawrence, Massachusetts...

Saturday, August 19, 2023


 After five years at the top of the box office powerhouses, Bing Crosby was dethroned as king of the box office in 1949 by none other than Bob Hope!

Here are the top box office stars of 1949...

1. Bob Hope
2. Bing Crosby
3. Abbott & Costello

4. John Wayne
5. Gary Cooper
6. Cary Grant
7. Betty Grable
8. Esther Williams
9. Humphrey Bogart
10. Clark Gable

Monday, August 14, 2023


This weekend I was just looking at the movies on cable, and I decided to watch Ghostbusters: Afterlife finally. I was 10 when the original Ghostbusters came out, and I enjoyed the movie but I never thought it was a great as people said it was. Ghostbusters: Afterlife is a 2021 American supernatural comedy film directed by Jason Reitman from a screenplay he co-wrote with Gil Kenan. It is the sequel to Ghostbusters (1984) and Ghostbusters II (1989), and the fourth film in the Ghostbusters franchise. The film stars Carrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard, Mckenna Grace, and Paul Rudd, alongside Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts, and Sigourney Weaver reprising their characters from the earlier films. Set 31 years after the events of Ghostbusters II, it follows a single mother and her children who move to an Oklahoma farm they inherited from her estranged father Egon Spengler, a member of the original Ghostbusters.

A third Ghostbusters film was in development since the release of Ghostbusters II, but production stalled because Murray refused to return to the series. After cast member Harold Ramis died on February 24, 2014, Sony produced a female-driven reboot that was released in 2016. In 2019, Jason Reitman confirmed a sequel to the original films, the new cast was announced by July, and the original cast signed on two months later. Filming took place from July to October. This was the final film to be produced by and involve the franchise's co-creator Ivan Reitman before his death in February 2022.

Produced by Columbia Pictures in association with Bron Creative, Ghostbusters: Afterlife was screened unannounced during the CinemaCon event in Las Vegas on August 23, 2021, and was then released in the United States on November 19, after being delayed four times from an original July 2020 date due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The film received praise for the cast's performances, Reitman's direction, nostalgic tone, and its respectful tribute to Ramis, with criticism mostly being directed towards its screenplay and fan service. It grossed $204.4 million worldwide against a production budget of $75 million. A sequel is set to be released on March 29, 2024.

I won't tell you the whole plot of the film, but there are a lot of great moments honoring the original film as well as the memory of Harold Ramis. The new cast of Ghostbusters are excellent, and even the the original Ghostbusters appeared, it was sad to not really have Harold Ramis among them. If you liked the orignal Ghostbusters, you will like this movie. Even if you are a new viewer, the movie has a sort of Stranger Things vibe to it, and you will still like the film. As a movie to watch on a lazy Saturday evening, Ghostbusters: Afterlife really fit the bill...

MY RATING: 8 out of 10

Wednesday, August 9, 2023


One of the most compelling figures for me in the world of musicals is Lorenz Hart. Since I was little, I have loved the lyrics that came from his pen. Sadly, Hart did not have a happy life, and he died very young. Recently his nephew Larry Hart talked about the lyricist's final days. Hart,  a political consultant in Washington, D.C. read an essay on his famous uncle filled with falsehoods.

The essay repeated the oft-told tale of how Hart arrived at the opening of a revival of the show in 1943 drunk and unruly. Ejected from the theater at intermission, he “wandered off into the snow, apparently passed out in a snowdrift, and was taken to the hospital on the early morning of Nov. 18 . . . Four days later, he died of acute pneumonia,” the program said.

(Alan Jay Lerner once claimed his writing partner, Fritz Loewe, was the person who found Hart drunk and sitting in a gutter, not a snowdrift, outside a bar on Eighth Avenue.) But Hart’s nephew says this story is inaccurate. It is, he says, “a myth” that was created for “Words and Music” – the 1948 MGM biopic about Rodgers and Hart – “and has been perpetuated ever since.”

What the nephew believes happened, as told to him by his mother, Dorothy, Hart’s sister-in-law, is this:

By 1943, Hart was suffering from acute alcoholism brought on by years of depression (he was gay at a time when that was unacceptable, he was short and thought himself ugly, and he was desperately lonely).

While rewriting of the show for the new production, he was in and out of Doctor’s Hospital “and in fact wrote some of the lyrics for the revival while there,” says his nephew.

Hart was sloshed on opening night and started singing along with the chorus, “which he had a tendency to do when he was drunk.”

Rodgers had him thrown out of the theater, but he did not leave alone. He was with his sister-in-law.

“My mother poured him into a cab and they got out at my parents’ apartment,” Larry Hart says. “My uncle passed out on the couch. He was never found lying in the street or in a snowdrift. I’m a weather buff and I’ve checked the records: There was no snow in New York in November of 1943.”

After Hart sobered up, he left the apartment and was not heard from for two days. On Nov. 19, gravely ill with pneumonia, he was taken from his apartment on Central Park West to Doctors Hospital, where he died on Nov. 22.

Larry Hart says he wants to set the record straight because his mother and father, Teddy (Hart’s brother), “have been cut out of the record. People have tried to portray my uncle as this guy who was all alone in the world. But he had my parents, and they tried to take care of him.”

Lorenz Hart could express himself lyrically in countless songs he wrote, but unfortunately could never get over the demons that plagued his life...

Saturday, August 5, 2023


Just like there was a lot of big band singers from the 1930s and 1940s, there were a lot of big band leaders. Sadly some of those big band leaders are forgotten even more of their singers. I think one such band leader was Bob Chester,a great bandleader and tenor saxophonist.

He was born in Detroit, Michigan, United States. Chester's stepfather ran General Motors's Fisher Body Works. He began his career as a sideman under Irving Aaronson, Ben Bernie, and Ben Pollack. He formed his own group in Detroit in the mid-1930s,with a Glenn Miller-influenced sound. This band was unsuccessful in local engagements and quickly dissolved. He then put together a new band on the East Coast under the direction of Tommy Dorsey and with arrangements by David Rose. This ensemble fared much better, recording for Bluebird Records.

Chester's group, billed "The New Sensation of the Nation," had its own radio show on CBS briefly in the fall of 1939. The twenty-five-minute program aired from the Hotel Van Cleve in Dayton, Ohio late on Thursday nights (actually 12:30 am Friday morning, Eastern Time); the September 21, 1939 edition can be heard on the One Day In Radio tapes, archived by Washington D.C. station WJSV.

Chester's Bluebird records have proved excellent sellers, both for retail dealers and coin phonograph operators such as "From Maine to California"; "Wait Till the Sun Shines, Nellie"; "Madeliaine"; and two songs from "Banjo Eyes" - "Not a Care in the World" and "A Nickel to My Name". His only national hit was "With the Wind and the Rain in Your Hair" (b/w "I Walk With Music"; Bluebird 10614), which featured Dolores O'Neill on vocals and went to No. 18 on the chart in April 1940.

Chester's orchestra included trumpeters Alec Fila, Nick Travis, Lou Mucci, and Conrad Gozzo, saxophonists Herbie Steward and Peanuts Hucko, drummer Irv Kluger, and trombonist Bill Harris. His female singers included Dolores O'Neill, Kathleen Lane, and Betty Bradley; among his male singers were Gene Howard, Peter Marshall, Bob Haymes, and Al Stuart.

The orchestra disbanded in the mid-1940s, due in part to the shrinking market for big band sound. After a stint as a disc jockey at WKMH radio, Chester assembled another band for a short time in the early 1950s, but after it failed he retired from music and returned to Detroit, to work for the rest of his life in auto manufacturing. Bob Chester died in October 1966, at the age of 58. Forgotten in 1966, he is even more forgotten today...

Tuesday, August 1, 2023


Not many people remember the name Keefe Brasselle. In the 1950s, he was supposed to do for Eddie Cantor what Larry Parks did for Al Jolson in their respective bio pics. This was not meant to be for Keefe, and his career suffered for it. Keefe Brasselle broke into motion pictures while serving in the U. S. Navy. His first co-starring role was opposite singing star Gloria Jean in the waterfront mystery River Gang (1945). His dark, chorus-boy looks landed him featured roles in movies through the early 1950s.

He was groomed for stardom in The Eddie Cantor Story, filmed in response to the wildly successful The Jolson Story and Jolson Sings Again starring Larry Parks as Al Jolson, one of Cantor's musical-comedy contemporaries. The Eddie Cantor Story could not equal the success of the Jolson films, largely because Brasselle didn't fit the role physically. Standing almost a foot taller than the real Cantor, and unable to convey Cantor's natural warmth, Brasselle's performance became a caricature: the actor played most of his scenes with bulging eyes and busy hands, which was effective in the musical numbers but awkward in the dramatic scenes. Ultimately, Brasselle's career did not launch as anticipated. In 1954, he was a guest on an episode (season 4, episode 21, Feb. 21, 1954) of The Colgate Comedy Hour with host Gene Wesson, as a promotional tie-in for the film.

Eddie Cantor commented on his bio pic that if that was his life that "he hadn't really lived at all". I could find no mention of what Eddie thought of Keefe's performance though. Brasselle turned to nightclubs, where he appeared as a singer and comedian. In 1961, an Edison Township, New Jersey, nightclub owned by Brasselle burned under suspicious circumstances. Fire officials came across six empty cans of gasoline at the scene, while their caps and spouts were found separately in a paper bag.

Keefe was later blackballed in Hollywood for writing a novel which was a thinly disguised account of his dealings in Hollywood called The Barracudas (1973). In 1974, Brasselle signed on as director of the low-budget sex comedy If You Don't Stop It... You'll Go Blind (released 1975; shown in Britain as You Must Be Joking). This was a feature-length parade of burlesque blackouts, double-entendre jokes, and bawdy song-and-dance numbers. Brasselle staged the musical numbers himself and even appeared as a specialty act, embellishing his performance with Eddie Cantor's gestures and mannerisms. The film was booked into hundreds of theaters for midnight shows and, despite scathing reviews from mainstream critics, was very popular with college students; it earned more than four million dollars.

Keefe Brasselle died forgotten in 1981 at the age of 58 of liver disease. Hollywood was never his friend, and it probably contributed to his early demise...