Saturday, February 18, 2017

MUSIC BREAK: EDMOND HALL - THE MAN I LOVE

Friday, February 17, 2017

A PREGNANT MARILYN MONROE

Extraordinary photographs purporting to show a secret pregnancy of film icon Marilyn Monroe can today be revealed for the first time.

The world exclusive images of the beautiful Some Like It Hot actress and model were sold as original color slides at an auction in Hollywood in November last year from the estate of well known Monroe confidante Frieda Hull.

But the stunning photos went under the radar, selling for a mere $2,240 with wealthy collectors not aware of their true significance.

Now DailyMail.com can reveal the six unique images were the prized possession of Monroe's loyal friend Hull, which she dubbed the ‘pregnant slides’ – a reference to a shocking secret the screen siren kept right up until her death.

The shots were taken on July 8, 1960, outside Fox Studios in New York after Monroe had completed costume and hair tests for her film The Misfits, starring Clark Gable and Montgomery Clift .

The images clearly show a prominent bump from Monroe’s belly which Hull claimed was evidence the star was in the early stages of pregnancy.

And DailyMail.com can reveal the would-be father was not Monroe's then husband, playwright Arthur Miller, it was in fact Italian-French actor Yves Montand – who she met on the set of film Let's Make Love and who she had a very public affair with.


DailyMail.com spoke to Tony Michaels, the man who bought the color slides at the ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ Marilyn Memorabilia Auction held by Julien’s Auctions in LA.

Tony, 56, was a close friend and next door neighbor of Frieda Hull before she passed.

He reveals that Hull had confided in him about Monroe’s secret pregnancy and claims the ‘pregnant slides’ are genuine evidence that she was with child.

The images were the prized possession of Hull, who died in 2014

And in an extraordinary and tragic Hollywood tale Tony says Monroe kept her pregnancy a secret from the world before 'losing' the baby during a hospital visit.


Tony told Daily Mail: ‘Frieda was very proud of those slides and she was very proud to keep them a secret until the day she died.

‘But she told me the story behind them, that Marilyn got pregnant by Yves Montand.

‘It wasn’t a guess or a presumption, it was something she knew for sure, she was very close to Marilyn.

‘As far as she was concerned Marilyn was pregnant in the summer of 1960 and the slides prove it.’

Monroe had wanted a baby more than anything in the world, but that joy was denied her.

She had three miscarriages prior to losing this baby, all of which played out in the public eye. The star suffered with a condition called endometriosis her entire life that caused severe menstrual pain and she also struggled to conceive.

‘I suggested she sell the slides and all her other memorabilia so she could afford a better place to live, but again she refused, she said she would never sell out on her friend of ten years Marilyn...



Monday, February 13, 2017

RECENTLY VIEWED: SINGIN IN THE RAIN

It was a sad day for movie musicals when Debbie Reynolds died in December of 2016. She was really the last tie to the classic movie musical. Even before her death my friend mentioned how him and his son (who is friend's with my son) were going to see a viewing of Singin In The Rain. My son is very picky when it comes to movies, and unlike my friend's son, my son does not like to watch different movies. So after some sweet talking, I convinced my seven year old to go with me to see this 1952 classic. I'm glad I did because he loved it! His favorite part of the movie was the comedic parts with Jean Hagen, but he always loved the song Singin in The Rain. (I used to sing it to him as I gave him a bath). It was sad to see the talented Debbie Reynolds on the screen only two weeks after she died, but it was awesome to see it on the big screen. The showing was sold out ,and people applauded after the musical numbers - it literally brought tears to my eyes.

More on the actual movie though - The film was only a modest hit when first released. Donald O'Connor won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, and Betty Comden and Adolph Green won the Writers Guild of America Award for their screenplay, while Jean Hagen was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. But it has since been accorded legendary status by contemporary critics, and is frequently regarded as the best movie musical ever made and the best film ever made in the "Freed Unit" at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Singin' in the Rain
was originally conceived by MGM producer Arthur Freed, the head of the "Freed Unit" responsible for turning out MGM's lavish musicals, as a vehicle for his catalog of songs written with Nacio Herb Brown for previous MGM musical films of the 1929–39 period. Screenwriters Betty Comden and Adolph Green wrote two entirely new songs, "Make 'Em Laugh" and "Moses Supposes", the latter with music director Roger Edens providing the music.


In the famous dance sequence in which Gene Kelly sings the title song while spinning an umbrella, splashing through puddles and getting soaked to the skin, Kelly was sick with a 103 °F (39 °C) fever. The rain in the scene caused Kelly's wool suit to shrink during filming. A common myth is that Kelly managed to perform the entire song in one take, thanks to cameras placed at predetermined locations. However, this was not the case, as the filming of the sequence took place over 2–3 days.Another myth is that the rain was mixed with milk in order for the drops to show up better on camera; but the desired visual effect was produced, albeit with difficulty, through back lighting.


Debbie Reynolds was not a dancer when she made Singin' in the Rain; her background was as a gymnast. Kelly apparently insulted her for her lack of dance experience, upsetting her. In a subsequent encounter when Fred Astaire was in the studio, he found Reynolds crying under a piano. Hearing what had happened, Astaire volunteered to help her with her dancing. Kelly later admitted that he had not been kind to Reynolds and was surprised that she was still willing to talk to him afterward. After shooting the "Good Morning" routine, which had taken from 8:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. to shoot, Reynolds' feet were bleeding. Years later, she was quoted as saying that "Singin' in the Rain and childbirth were the two hardest things I ever had to do in my life."

Donald O'Connor had to stay in bed in the hospital for several days after filming the "Make 'Em Laugh" sequence, due to his smoking up to four packs of cigarettes a day!


I could go on and on about this movie, but fans of classic musicals know all about this film. What was so great about this 2017 movie theater viewing was how the film really held up. It was great to see young people in the audience - my seven year old son one of them - laughing and tapping along to the movie. A few observations I made watching the film was how great Donald O'Connor was in the film. He was really amazing, and he was such an underrated performer I feel. In some of the scenes you can see how scared Debbie Reynolds was, but she was a great match to Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor. One of my favorite dancers, Cyd Charisse, was in the movie for one dance number with Kelly, and it was great to see her larger than life as well - except in the movie theater I could see a big black and blue mark on her upper leg! 

Seeing Singin' In The Rain in a 2017 movie theater - what a glorious feeling...

MY RATING: 10 OUT OF 10


Monday, February 6, 2017

BORN ON THIS DAY: BABE RUTH

Usually when a profile a birthday on the blog, it is someone directly related to Hollywood. However, since my son is not addicted to baseball, I wanted to profile who I think is the greatest baseball player of all time - Babe Ruth. He would have been a young 111 today! George Herman Ruth Jr. was born on February 6,1895 at 216 Emory Street in Pigtown, a working-class section of Baltimore, Maryland, named for its meat-packing plants. Its population included recent immigrants from Ireland, Germany and Italy, and African Americans. Ruth's parents, George Herman Ruth, Sr. (1871–1918), and Katherine Schamberger, were both of German American ancestry. According to the 1880 census, his parents were born in Maryland. The paternal grandparents of Ruth, Sr. were from Prussia and Hanover, respectively. Ruth, Sr. had a series of jobs, including lightning rod salesman and streetcar operator, before becoming a counterman in a family-owned combination grocery and saloon on Frederick Street. George Ruth Jr. was born in the house of his maternal grandfather, Pius Schamberger, a German immigrant and trade unionist. Only one of young George's seven siblings, his younger sister Mamie, survived infancy.


Many aspects of Ruth's childhood are undetermined, including the date of his parents' marriage. When young George was a toddler, the family moved to 339 South Woodyear Street, not far from the rail yards; by the time the boy was 6, his father had a saloon with an upstairs apartment at 426 West Camden Street. Details are equally scanty about why young George was sent at the age of 7 to St. Mary's Industrial School for Boys, a reformatory and orphanage. As an adult, Babe Ruth suggested that not only had he been running the streets and rarely attending school, he was drinking beer when his father was not looking. Some accounts say that, after a violent incident at his father's saloon, the city authorities decided this environment was unsuitable for a small child. At St. Mary's, which George Jr. entered on June 13, 1902, he was recorded as "incorrigible"; he spent much of the next twelve years there

In early 1914, Ruth was signed to a professional baseball contract by Jack Dunn, owner and manager of the minor-league Baltimore Orioles, an International League team.Babe Ruth's first appearance as a professional ballplayer was in an inter squad game on March 7, 1914. Ruth played shortstop, and pitched the last two innings of a 15–9 victory. Arriving in Boston to play for the Red Sox from 1914-1919, Babe emerged as a great star of the sport. Playing with the New York Yankees from 1920 to 1934, cemented himself as an icon of the game. Many of his records have been broken, but he is still the Great Bambino to anyone who has a love of the game. Happy birthday Babe...


Saturday, January 28, 2017

RIP: JOHN HURT

John Hurt, the esteemed British actor known for his burry voice and weathered visage — one that was kept hidden for his most acclaimed role, that of the deformed John Merrick in David Lynch’s The Elephant Man — died Friday in London. He was 77.

The two-time Oscar nominee's six-decade career also included turns on the BBC’s Doctor Who and in A Man for All Seasons (1966), Midnight Express (1978) and three Harry Potter films.

He announced in June 2015 that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

On screens big and small, Hurt died what seemed a thousand deaths. “I think I’ve got the record,” he once said. “It got to a point where my children wouldn’t ask me if I died, but rather how do you die?”

One of his most memorable came when he played Kane, the first victim in Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979), in which he collapses over a table and a snakelike alien bursts out of his chest. (How'd they do that? There was an artificial chest screwed to the table, and Hurt was underneath.)

“Ridley didn’t tell the cast,” executive producer Ronald Shusett told Empire magazine in 2009. “He said, ‘They’re just going to see it.’ ”

“The reactions were going to be the most difficult thing,” Scott explained. “If an actor is just acting terrified, you can’t get the genuine look of raw, animal fear. What I wanted was a hardcore reaction.”

Hurt then lampooned the famous torso-busting scene for director Mel Brooks — whose production company produced 1980's The Elephant Man — for the 1987 comedy Spaceballs.


The Elephant Man received eight Academy Award nominations, including one for Hurt as best actor, but went home empty on Oscar night. (Hurt lost out to Robert De Niro as boxer Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull.)

Hurt also garnered an Oscar best supporting actor nomination and a Golden Globe win in 1979 for Midnight Express, in which he portrayed a heroin addict in a Turkish prison. The Alan Parker drama was based on the true story of Billy Hayes (played by Brad Davis), an American college student caught smuggling drugs.

“I loved making Midnight Express,” he said in 2014. “We were making commercial films then that really did have cracking scenes in them, as well as plenty to say, you know?”

His more recent film appearances came in Snowpiercer (2013), The Journey (2016) and Jackie (2016). He is set to be seen in the upcoming features That Good Night and My Name Is Lenny and was to play Neville Chamberlain in the upcoming Joe Wright drama Darkest Hour.


John Vincent Hurt was born Jan. 22, 1940, in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, England. He studied art at his parents’ behest, earning an art teacher’s diploma. Disillusioned with the prospect of becoming a teacher, Hurt moved to London, where he won an acting scholarship at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. He studied there for two years, securing bit parts in TV shows.

Hurt made his London stage debut in Infanticide in the House of Fred Ginger in 1962. That year, he acted in his first film, The Wild and the Willing, and his role as the duplicitous baron Richard Rich in Oscar best picture winner A Man for All Seasons helped him become more widely known in the U.S.

Hurt brought his peculiarly powerful persona to the role of Mr. Ollivander in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001) and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010) and Part 2 (2011).

Hurt also was known for his rich, nicotine-toned timbre, which won him many voiceover assignments. He was the narrator in The Tigger Movie (2000), Dogville (2003), Manderlay (2005) and Charlie Countryman (2013).


For the small screen, Hurt starred in the TV shows The Storyteller, The Alan Clark Diaries, The Confession and Merlin and in the miniseries Crime and Punishment and Labyrinth. He notably played the War Doctor in the 2013-14 season of Doctor Who.

The accomplished stage actor performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company and Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. In 1994, he starred opposite Helen Mirren in Bill Bryden’s West End production of A Month in the Country, and he scraped out an edgy and vigorously dour performance in Samuel Beckett’s autobiographical one-man drama Krapp’s Last Tape in 1999.

When asked about the difference between film and stage acting, Hurt explained: “It’s rather like two different sports. You use two completely different sets of muscles.”

In 2012, Hurt was honored with a lifetime achievement award by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, then was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in July 2015.

Survivors include his fourth wife Anwen Rees-Myers, whom he married in 2005, and sons Alexander and Nicholas...


RIP: BARBARA HALE

LOS ANGELES — Barbara Hale, a movie actress who found her most famous role on television as steadfast secretary Della Street in the long-running Perry Mason series, has died. She was 94.

Hale was surrounded by family when she died Thursday at her Los Angeles areahome, said Jaqueline Stander, an agent for Hale's son, actor William Katt (The Greatest American Hero, Carrie).

"She was gracious and kind and silly and always fun to be with," Katt posted on his Facebook page Thursday, calling Hale a wonderful actress and a "treasure as a friend and mother."

Stander declined to provide the cause of death.

Hale appeared in Perry Mason on CBS from 1957 to 1966, winning an Emmy as best actress in 1959. When the show was revived in 1985 on NBC as an occasional TV movie, she again appeared in court at the side of the ever-victorious lawyer played by Raymond Burr.

She continued her role after Burr died in 1993 and was replaced by Hal Holbrook for the movies that continued into 1995.

"I guess I was just meant to be a secretary who doesn't take shorthand," she once quipped. "I'm a lousy typist, too — 33 words a minute."


Hale was born in DeKalb, Ill., daughter of a landscape gardener and a homemaker. The family moved to Rockford when she was 4, and she later took part in local theater. But her goals were to be a nurse or journalist.

When her ambition turned to art, she studied at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, where she was often sought as a model. Her work for a modeling agency prompted an offer for a contract at the RKO studio in Hollywood.

When she reported to the casting director, he was speaking on the phone to someone who needed an immediate replacement for an actress who was sick.

"It hit every paper the next day: the Cinderella story," she recalled in a 1993 Chicago Tribune interview. "Of course they said it was a starring role. I had one line, but you know about those things."

The movie was a quickie, Gildersleeve's Bad Day, but she went on to appear with Pat O'Brien in The Iron Major, Frank Sinatra in Higher and Higher and Robert Young in Lady Luck.

Another co-star was a blond actor named Bill Williams (real name: William Katt), with whom she appeared in West of the Pecos and A Likely Story. They met over coffee in the studio commissary and married in Rockford in 1946. The couple had three children: Nita, William and Jody.

Williams, who died in 1992, later gained TV fame as star of The Adventures of Kit Carson. Their son goes by his father's original name, William Katt.

After her RKO contract ended, Hale worked at other studios, usually as the adoring wife of the leading man. She played opposite Larry Parks in Jolson Sings Again, James Stewart in Jackpot and James Cagney in A Lion Is in the Streets.
In 1957, she joined the memorable cast of Perry Mason that included Burr as the defense attorney who solved his cases in the courtroom, William Hopper as investigator Paul Drake, William Talman as never-winning prosecutor Hamilton Burger and Ray Collins as police lieutenant Arthur Tragg.


"When we started, it was the beginning of women not working at home," Hale said in the 1993 interview. "I liked that she was not married. My husband, Bill, didn't have to see me married to another man, and our children didn't have to see me mothering other children."

In the early 1970s, Hale took on another widely recognized role, touting Amana Radarange microwave ovens in TV commercials and print ads.

Burr and Hale were the only original cast members when the show resumed on NBC in 1985 in the movie format. Her son, William Katt, appeared in nine of the two-hour shows, as the investigator son of Paul Drake.

Hale's later films included the original Airport, playing the husband of Dean Martin's pilot character; The Giant Spider Invasion and Big Wednesday, in which she appeared with her son. She retired from making movies in 1995...


Friday, January 27, 2017

FORGOTTEN ONES: BUDDY DOYLE

The entertainment world is full of forgotten artists, talented people who just never quite made it. One name that will not be remembered by anyone is the name of Buddy Doyle. Doyle was born on April 20, 1894 in Brooklyn, New York. Born Benjamin Taubenhaus) to Russian immigrants, he began acting in high school in minstrel shows in Brooklyn, New York. After he was discovered by comedian and vaudeville actor Lew Dockstader, his career as an impersonator, comedian, and singer landed him lead roles in all the major vaudeville circuits.

He had to quit vaudeville to fight during World War I, but returned after the war had ended. On Broadway he performed in the original 1923 revue Artists and Models. His film credits include At a Talkie Show (1929) and The Great Ziegfeld (1936), which he understudied for before playing Eddie Cantor. He also performed in several editions of The Ziegfeld Follies and was a replacement actor for Henry Williams in the 1928 Broadway production of Whoopee. Buddy was not only a performer but a song writer as well. He wrote a song with Gene Austin entitled All That You Left Me Were Two Empty Arms in 1926.

In 1927, Doyle married the beautiful Peggy Hoover. Peggy Hoover was an American dancer and actress for vaudeville, Broadway, and regional theater. She began dancing as a child in Denver, Colorado under Gladys Moore. During her freshman year of high school she was picked up by vaudevillian Gus Edwards to perform in his fifteenth annual revue at the Orpheum Theatre in Denver. Hoover would continue to perform with Edwards for several years in shows across the United States and in London. She also appeared in Bobby Sanford's well-received Showboat Revue and performed in multiple editions of Earl Carroll's Vanities. She made her Broadway debut in Hello, Yourself in 1928.

Buddy died suddenly during an appendix operation on November 9, 1939 in New York City, New York. He was only 45. Peggy Hoover later remarried and continued her career in radio and melodrama under the name Peggy Bloodgood. It's sad because as forgotten as Eddie Cantor is today - Buddy Doyle is forgotten even more...