Sunday, April 14, 2024

HOLLYWOOD BEAUTY: MARILYN MONROE

Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962) was and is one of the most beautiful women to ever enter the borders of Hollywood. She died too soon, but her memory and beauty lives on...

















Sunday, April 7, 2024

COOKING WITH THE STARS: LARRY PARKS


 

Here is a great clipping showing a recipe from the underrated actor Larry Parks...




Thursday, April 4, 2024

PHOTOS OF THE DAY: FINAL PICTURES OF THE STARS - 2024 EDITION

 Sometimes these pictures are hard to look at, but we think Hollywood stars are different than us. They really are not. They have issues just like we do, and despit the plastic surgry industry, they for the most part age like us too. Here are some more last pictures of our favorite stars...


Betty Grable - April of 1972. She died in July of 1973


Myrna Loy (with Lauren Bacall) - June of 1993. She died in December of 1993


Racquel Welch - July of 2022. She died in February of 2023


Terry Thomas - April of 1989. He died in January of 1990.


Marlon Brando - March of 2004. He died in July of 2004.


Steve McQueen - April of 1980. He died in November of 1980.


Past editions:




Monday, April 1, 2024

RIP: BARBARA RUSH

Barbara Rush, the classy yet largely unheralded leading lady who sparkled in the 1950s melodramas Magnificent Obsession, Bigger Than Life and The Young Philadelphians, has died. She was 97.

Rush, a regular on the fifth and final season of ABC’s Peyton Place and a favorite of sci-fi fans thanks to her work in When Worlds Collide (1951) and It Came From Outer Space (1953), died Sunday, her daughter, Fox News senior correspondent Claudia Cowan, confirmed to Fox News Digital.

“My wonderful mother passed away peacefully at 5:28 this evening. I was with her this morning and know she was waiting for me to return home safely to transition,” Cowan said. “It’s fitting she chose to leave on Easter as it was one of her favorite holidays and now, of course, Easter will have a deeper significance for me and my family.”

A starlet at Paramount, Universal and Fox whose career blossomed at the end of the Hollywood studio system, Rush also played opposite Frank Sinatra in Come Blow Your Horn (1963) and Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964), the last of the Rat Pack movies. Filming on the latter was stopped twice, once when President Kennedy was assassinated and again when Sinatra’s son was kidnapped.


In Douglas Sirk’s 1954 remake of Magnificent Obsession, Rush portrayed the adorable sister of Oscar nominee Jane Wyman, whose character is blinded in an accident caused by a reckless playboy (Rock Hudson).

Rush, Hudson and Sirk had warmed to the task by collaborating on the tongue-in-cheek film Taza, Son of Cochise (1954), in which the actors played Native Americans, and the three would work together again in the Ireland-set love story Captain Lightfoot (1955).

Rush portrayed the harried wife of James Mason, whose life unravels when he becomes addicted to cortisone, in Nicholas Ray’s controversial Bigger Than Life (1956), and she exceled as a disappointed socialite driven away by would-be lawyer Paul Newman in The Young Philadelphians (1959).


Rush also was seen as the despairing wife whose husband (Kirk Douglas) is having an affair (with neighbor Kim Novak) in Strangers When We Meet (1960), and she romanced Dean Martin and Richard Burton, respectively, in The Young Lions (1958) and The Bramble Bush (1960).

Rush never received an Oscar or Emmy nomination; she was given a Golden Globe in 1954 as most promising female newcomer for her performance in It Came From Outer Space, where she played the fiancee of an astronomer (Richard Carlson) as well as her seductive alien duplicate.

But who needs trophies? She was acknowledged in the 1975 film Shampoo when Warren Beatty’s Beverly Hills hairstylist and ladies man asked for references when applying for a business loan, bragged, “Well, I do Barbara Rush.”

The high-society Hollywood figure was married to actor Jeffrey Hunter (The Searchers) and legendary showbiz publicist Warren Cowan. Barbara Rush pretty much retired by 2007, but she continued to make appearances until around 2019 at movie conventions...



Friday, March 29, 2024

RIP: LOUIS GOSSETT JR

Louis Gossett Jr., Star of ‘An Officer and a Gentleman’ and ‘Roots,’ Died at 87/

The Brooklyn native also appeared in the original Broadway production of 'A Raisin in the Sun' and wrote a song with folk legend Richie Havens.

Louis Gossett Jr., the tough guy with a sensitive side who won an Oscar for his portrayal of a steely sergeant in An Officer and a Gentleman and an Emmy for his performance as a compassionate slave in the landmark miniseries Roots, died Friday. He was 87.

In a statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, his family said, “It is with our heartfelt regret to confirm our beloved father passed away this morning. We would like to thank everyone for their condolences at this time. Please respect the family’s privacy during this difficult time.”

With his sleek, bald pate and athlete’s physique, Gossett was intimidating in a wide array of no-nonsense roles, most notably in Taylor Hackford’s Officer and a Gentleman (1982), where as Gunnery Sgt. Emil Foley he rides Richard Gere’s character mercilessly (but for his own good) at an officer candidate school and gets into a memorable martial arts fight.

He was the second Black man to win an acting Oscar, following Sidney Poitier in 1964.


For the role, the 6-foot-4 Gossett trained for 30 days at the Marine Corps Recruitment Division, an adjunct of Camp Pendleton north of San Diego. “I knew I had to put myself through at least some degree of this all-encompassing transformation,” Gossett wrote in his 2010 biography, An Actor and a Gentleman.

In 1959, Gossett played George Murchison in the original Broadway production of Lorraine Hansberry’s domestic tragedy A Raisin in the Sun, then segued to Daniel Petrie’s 1961 Columbia film adaptation along with his stage co-stars Poitier and Ruby Dee, launching his career in Hollywood.

It was his eloquent portrayal as Fiddler, an older slave who teaches a young Kunta Kinte (LeVar Burton) to speak English on the eight-part ABC miniseries Roots, that earned him his first significant dose of national recognition. Eighty-five percent of the U.S. population tuned in for at least a portion of Roots, and the finale drew more than 100 million viewers in January 1977.


“All the top African-American actors were asked, and I begged to be in there,” Gossett once said. “I got the best role, I think. It was wonderful.”

Gossett also starred in the critically acclaimed telefilm Sadat (1983), in which he played the assassinated Egyptian leader (Sadat’s widow, Jehan, personally chose him for the part), and he portrayed a baseball immortal in Don’t Look Back: The Story of Leroy “Satchel” Paige in a 1981 telefilm.

During his 60-year-plus career, Gossett excelled in a number of non-stereotypical racial roles, playing a hospital chief of staff on the 1979 ABC series The Lazarus Syndrome and the title character Gideon Oliver, an anthropology professor, on a 1989 set of ABC Mystery Movies. He work up until last year and appeared in the movie musical remake of  "The Color Purple"...


Tuesday, March 26, 2024

A DISCOGRAPHY MOMENT: JO STAFFORD - MARCH 26, 1946

Jo Stafford (1917-2008) was one of the greatest female vocalists in all of pop music history/. In the 1940s and 1950s she had a huge musical output. On this studio session she got to record with the great Nat King Cole on piano...


March 28, 1946 (Thursday)

Baby, Won’t You Please Come Home (with Nat King Cole - piano) (Matrix No. 1054) * Recorded for single Capitol 15171
Cindy (with Nat King Cole - piano) (Matrix No. 1055) * Recorded for single Capitol 259
Ridin’ On The Gravy Train (with Nat King Cole - piano) (Matrix No. 1056) * Originally unissued
I’ll Be With You In Apple Blossom Time (with Nat King Cole - piano) (Matrix No. 1057) * Recorded for single Capitol 277

‘Ridin’ On The Gravy Train’ (Matrix No. 1056) was issued in 1991, on the CD ‘Capitol Collectors Series: Jo Stafford’ (Capitol CDP 7 91638 2)



Thursday, March 21, 2024

RIP: M. EMMET WALSH

M. Emmet Walsh, the character actor who brought his unmistakable face and unsettling presence to films including Blood Simple and Blade Runner, died Tuesday, March 19, 2024, at age 88, his manager said Wednesday.

Walsh died from cardiac arrest on Tuesday at a hospital in St. Albans, Vermont, his longtime manager Sandy Joseph said.

The ham-faced, heavyset Walsh often played good old boys with bad intentions, as he did in one of his rare leading roles as a crooked Texas private detective in the Coen brothers' first film, the 1984 neo-noir "Blood Simple."

Joel and Ethan Coen said they wrote the part for Walsh, who would win the first Film Independent Spirit Award for best male lead for the role.

Walsh played a crazed sniper in the 1979 Steve Martin comedy "The Jerk" and a prostate-examining doctor in the 1985 Chevy Chase vehicle "Fletch."

In 1982's gritty, "Blade Runner," a film he said was grueling and difficult to make with perfectionist director Ridley Scott, Walsh plays a hard-nosed police captain who pulls Harrison Ford from retirement to hunt down cyborgs.


Born Michael Emmet Walsh, his characters led people to believe he was from the American South, but he could hardly have been from any further north.

Walsh was raised on Lake Champlain in Swanton, Vermont, just a few miles from the U.S.-Canadian border, where his grandfather, father and brother worked as customs officers.

He went to a tiny local high school with a graduating class of 13, then to Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York, and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City.

He acted exclusively on the stage, with no intention of doing otherwise, for a decade, working in summer stock and repertory companies.Walsh slowly started making film appearances in 1969 with a bit role in "Alice's Restaurant," and did not start playing prominent roles until nearly a decade after that when he was in his 40s, getting his breakthrough with 1978's "Straight Time," in which he played Dustin Hoffman's smug, boorish parole officer.

Walsh was shooting "Silkwood" with Meryl Streep in Dallas in the autumn of 1982 when he got the offer for "Blood Simple" from the Coen brothers, then-aspiring filmmakers who had seen and loved him in "Straight Time."


"My agent called with a script written by some kids for a low-budget movie," Walsh told The Guardian in 2017. "It was a Sydney Greenstreet kind of role, with a Panama suit and the hat. I thought it was kinda fun and interesting. They were 100 miles away in Austin, so I went down there early one day before shooting."

Walsh said the filmmakers didn't even have enough money left to fly him to New York for the opening, but he would be stunned that first-time filmmakers had produced something so good.

"I saw it three or four days later when it opened in LA, and I was, like: Wow!" he said. "Suddenly my price went up five times. I was the guy everybody wanted."

In the film he plays Loren Visser, a detective asked to trail a man's wife, then is paid to kill her and her lover.

Visser also acts as narrator, and the opening monologue, delivered in a Texas drawl, included some of Walsh's most memorable lines.

"Now, in Russia they got it mapped out so that everyone pulls for everyone else. That's the theory, anyway," Visser says. "But what I know about is Texas. And down here, you're on your own."

He was still working into his late 80s, making recent appearances on the TV series "The Righteous Gemstones" and "American Gigolo."

And his more than 100 film credits included director Rian Johnson's 2019 family murder mystery, "Knives Out" and director Mario Van Peebles' Western "Outlaw Posse," released this year.



Sunday, March 17, 2024

CELEBRITY ADS: JANE RUSSELL

Here is the beautiful Jane Russell with an advertisement for Westmore cosmetics. This was around 1952/1953 because the ad talks about Jane appearing in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes...



 

Sunday, March 10, 2024

MUSIC BREAK: WOODY HERMAN - GOLDEN WEDDING

This recording contains to one of my favorite drum solos of Dave Tough. What a genius!



Friday, March 8, 2024

DRUM MASTER: DAVE TOUGH

If you are a fan of jazz and big band music, please familiarize yourself with the drummer of Dave Tough. He was a brillant and yet troubled soul. He was born  on April 26, 1907 in Oak Park, Illinois and died December 9, 1948 in Newark, New Jersey. From an early age he was passionate about drumming. While in high school, Tough became a member of the Austin High School Gang. The Austin High Gang was an ever evolving group that formulated the Chicago style of jazz which was very popular in the 1920s, initially comprised of Bud Freeman, Jimmy and Dick McPartland, Frank Teschmaker, Jim Lanigan, and Dave North. From early on Tough was an ensemble player, who preferred to solidify a groove rather than transform or change it. In doing so, Tough relied on his great sense of musical quality.

In 1932 he was forced into temporary inactivity through illness, returning to the scene in 1935. Although his work up to the time of his illness had been primarily in small groups, he now slotted into the big band scene as if made for it. He played first with Tommy Dorsey and later with Red Norvo, Bunny Berigan, Benny Goodman and Dorsey again. Tough then joined Jimmy Dorsey, Bud Freeman, Jack Teagarden, Artie Shaw and others. His employers were a who's who of the best of the white big bands of the swing era.

There were a number of reasons for his restlessness, among them his insistence on musical perfection, irritation with the blandness of many of the more commercial arrangements the bands had to play, and his own occasionally unstable personality.


During World War II he was briefly in the US Navy (where he played with Shaw) but was discharged on medical grounds. On his discharge he joined Woody Herman, with whom he had played briefly before the war. The records of Herman's First Herd demonstrated to fans worldwide that the physically frail and tiny Tough was a powerful giant among drummers. Despite his broad-based style, Tough believed himself unsuited to bop and for much of his career he sought to develop a career as a writer.

His disaffection with the changing jazz scene accelerated his physical and mental deterioration. Although helped by many people who knew him, among them writers Leonard Feather and John Hammond, his lifestyle had numbered his days. Walking home one night, he fell, fractured his skull and died from the injury on 9 December 1948. His body lay unrecognized in the morgue for three days. Whether playing in small Chicago-style groups or in any of the big bands of which he was a member, Tough consistently demonstrated his subtle, driving swing. It was with Herman, however, that he excelled, urging along one of the finest of the period's jazz orchestras with sizzling enthusiasm...



Thursday, March 7, 2024

RIP: STEVE LAWRENCE


Steve Lawrence, the Fifties and Sixties crooner, actor, and comedian who teamed with his wife Eydie Gormé to form the duo Steve and Eydie, has died at the age of 88.

Lawrence died Thursday at his home in Los Angeles from complications from Alzheimer’s disease, a spokesperson for the family told Variety; Lawrence was forced to retire from touring after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2019.

“My Dad was an inspiration to so many people,” his son David Lawrence said in a statement. “But, to me, he was just this charming, handsome, hysterically funny guy who sang a lot. Sometimes alone and sometimes with his insanely talented wife. I am so lucky to have had him as a father and so proud to be his son. My hope is that his contributions to the entertainment industry will be remembered for many years to come.”


The New York City-born Lawrence got his start in show business as an 18-year-old singer hired by Steve Allen’s late-night show in 1953; a year later, the program was rebranded as The Tonight Show, with Allen its first host. While at The Tonight Show, Lawrence met fellow singer and cast mate Eydie Gormé, with the pair marrying in 1957.

The couple together embarked on a recording career in addition to their television appearances — after Allen left the Tonight Show, the duo briefly launched their own The Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gormé Show — with Steve and Eydie releasing a string of singles over the late Fifties and early Sixties. Steve and Eydie also won a pair of Grammy for Best Performance By a Vocal Duo or Group.


Over the ensuing decades, Lawrence was a fixture on the small screen, appearing on programs like the Carol Burnett Show, What’s My Line? and his own variety show. Lawrence also appeared on Broadway, starring and earning a Tony Award nomination for his role in the 1964 musical What Makes Sammy Run? Eyde Gorme died in 2013...



Monday, March 4, 2024

RECENTLY VIEWED: GIRL IN THE BASEMENT

My son asked if I wanted to watch a movie with him. As a teenager, he still does not want to do much stuff with me so I jumped at the chance. He picked a Lifetime movie of all things. The movie was called  Girl In The Basement. It originally aired on Lifetime, but it was streaming on Hulu. Based on the infamous true story of Elisabeth Fritzl, who was locked up and abused for 24 years (from 1984 to 2008) by her father Josef in Amstetten (Austria). In these years of imprisonment she was mother of seven children as result of the abuses.

Judd Nelson, of  The Breakfast Club fame, headlined the movie as the evil father. Joely Fisher, half sister of Carrie Fisher, played his clueless wife. The real story of the crime of Josef Fritzl is more horrid than this cheap imitation. Here the american version, for america has no cases like this within its borders. Here the ceiling in the basement is high and room plentiful. It's still horrific but read up about the case for a true perspective on the horrors of this man.

Performance wise, it's a tv movie but better than most but still has a certain sheen to proceedings even through the dirtiness of matters. Judd is very good in the controlling role but I can't help but think, the way this is handled to sanitise for the American market cheapens the horrors from Austria. Even though this was a sanitized Lifetime version, I still found some parts difficult to watch. Any normal father of children, would have a difficult time.


So of the acting is weak, and this was a strange movie for a first time director Elizabeth Rohm to direct, and it shows. However, Judd Nelson really does a great job as the evil father, and Stefanie Scott is exceptional as the imprisoned and abused daughter. It's not a bad movie, but it is pretty far away from a great movie. After you watch this movie, research the true case. I believe there are some documentaries out there. You will be truly horrified...

MY RATING: 6 out of 10



Wednesday, February 28, 2024

RIP: RICHARD LEWIS

Richard Lewis, the stand-up comedian who also starred alongside Larry David in “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” has died due to a heart attack, Variety has confirmed. He was 76.

Lewis announced last April he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and was retiring from stand-up comedy. He most recently appeared in Season 12 of “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” currently airing on HBO.

In 2021, Lewis announced he would not appear in Season 11 of “Curb” in order to recover from three surgeries. He surprised viewers by returning to set for one Season 11 episode, telling Variety at the time, “When I walked in and they applauded, I felt like a million bucks. Larry doesn’t like to hug, and he hugged me and told me how happy he was after we shot our scene.”

Lewis, who played a semi-fictionalized version of himself throughout the 24 years of “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” was known for his neurotic, self-deprecating style of comedy. After making his screen acting debut in 1979’s “Diary of a Young Comic,” Lewis rose to prominence in the 1980s and ’90s with appearances on “The Tonight Show” and the “Late Show With David Letterman.” He showcased his dark, yet brightly animated persona in his 1985 Showtime comedy special “I’m in Pain,” following it up with the HBO specials “I’m Exhausted” (1988), “I’m Doomed” (1990) and “Richard Lewis: The Magical Misery Tour” (1997).

In 1989, Lewis landed a leading role in the ABC sitcom “Anything but Love,” in which he starred opposite Jamie Lee Curtis as coworkers at a Chicago magazine who fall in love and fail to uphold a strictly professional relationship. The series ran for 56 episodes across four seasons before ending in 1992...



THE CENSORSHIP OF MARY POPPINS

The age rating for the 1964 “Mary Poppins” has been increased in the U.K. due to “discriminatory language.”

On Friday, the British Board of Film Classification upped the Disney movie’s cinema rating from U, meaning it contained “no material likely to offend or harm,” to PG for “discriminatory language.”

In a statement to Variety, a BBFC spokesperson said that the film “includes two uses of the discriminatory term ‘hottentots’. While ‘Mary Poppins’ has a historical context, the use of discriminatory language is not condemned, and ultimately exceeds our guidelines for acceptable language at U. We therefore classified the film PG for discriminatory language.”

The word is a racially insensitive term for the Khoekhoe, an indigenous group in South Africa. The BBFC further explained that the word is used in the film by Admiral Boom (Reginald Owen), including when referring to the chimney sweeps whose faces are covered in soot.

“We understand from our racism and discrimination research, and recent classification guidelines research, that a key concern for people, parents in particular, is the potential to expose children to discriminatory language or behavior which they may find distressing or repeat without realizing the potential offense,” the BBFC spokesperson continued. “Some language or behaviors are therefore not permitted at U or PG in any circumstance, or are wholly dependent on context.”

The original “Mary Poppins” starred Julie Andrews as the magical nanny and Dick Van Dyke as her sidekick Bert. The cast also included David Tomlinson, Glynis Johns, Hermione Baddeley, Karen Dotrice, Matthew Garber, Elsa Lanchester, Arthur Treacher and Ed Wynn...


Sunday, February 25, 2024

GUEST REVIEW: LARCENY

The later great Bruce Krogan is back with another great review. This time around he is reviewing a forgotten 1948 film noir...

Watching Larceny I thought the way the film was building toward the climax I was sure of a sentimental ending. But far from it with this film. What we get is a crackerjack and original realistic ending in this noir film.

John Payne plays a smooth talking confidence man who is part of a gang headed by Dan Duryea. Duryea has set up a big score and Payne has to romance war widow Joan Caulfield who thought her hero husband walked on water. The con involves swindling Caulfield ot of money to build a youth center for the town's young people and Payne poses as a GI buddy of the late husband.

Payne's working a few cons here. He's also going out with the sultry and possessive Shelley Winters who is two timing Duryea. In the end though he falls for Caulfield and that sets up the climax.


Shelley Winters also has one of her good career roles in Larceny. The kind of woman that ought to come with a warning label. And Duryea gives us one of his classic bad guy roles as well.

The script is a fine piece of writing and the director gets some great performances out of his ensemble cast. Do not miss this one, it's one of the best noirs out there.

BRUCE'S RATING: 8 out of 10



Sunday, February 18, 2024

BEHIND THE SCENES: THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939)

One of the greatest movies ever made was The Wizard Of Oz. I have heard and read about many of the back stories of the filming of this 1939 classic, but here are some photos from the time - many of which I have never seen!