Tuesday, January 12, 2010

As we hear from other precincts…

I’m in the middle of a pair of old-time radio-related projects right now, so if the Pepsi/Mountain Dew Throwback post wasn’t sufficient for your nutritional blogging needs, here are a few articles of interest:

The tributes to the late Eric Rohmer continue with pastiches from Salon’s Andrew O’Hehir, Peter Nellhaus, Flickhead’s Ray Young and Joseph “Jon” Lanthier at Bright Lights Film Journal.

Classic film fans are celebrating the centennial birthday of “The Viennese Teardrop,” actress Luise Rainer herownself—and regardless of where you stand on the “two-Oscar” issue (for what it’s worth, Vince, I agree with you that Lombard was robbed in ’36), it’s an important celebration because—as Edward Copeland points out—Ms. Rainer is still with us, bless her heart (buh-less her little heart!). The Self-Styled Siren has the must-read on this subject, but please don’t discount the contributions from operator_99 at Allure, Greg Ferrara at Cinema Styles, FilmPhiles and Motion Picture Gems.

My friend Stacia has written a great essay on one of my favorite film comedies, Jack Benny’s The Horn Blows at Midnight (1945)—and the reason why I enjoyed this piece so much is that she fills in a little biographical info on why she resisted the charms of Benny over the years despite her parents’ devotion to one of the funniest men to ever walk the planet. Meanwhile, Mark Evanier at newsfromme continues to examine whether or not Benny actually appeared in Casablanca (1942) in a cameo role as a waiter (Jack was at Warners’ at the time working on George Washington Slept Here [1942] so it’s certainly plausible) in a series of posts and a poll that will determine with no scientific accuracy whatsoever if it is so. (Personally, I remain a skeptic…”We’ll always have Paris…” Now cut that out!”)

Finally, a pair of interesting articles courtesy of Salon.com—this one from John Blumenthal talks about the cathode ray tube precursor of TV’s loathsome American Idol, The Original Amateur Hour (with Ted Mack). (It pains me to use the words “American” and “idol” together on this blog but Blumenthal does write a nice piece of nostalgia, and even mentions the show’s original radio incarnation and the fact that some singer named Sinatra once appeared on the show.) My favorite, however, is this blurb from Erik Nelson—in which “in the spirit of late night '70s TV” he pairs Kathryn Bigelow's desert war adventure The Hurt Locker (2008) “with an earlier, better example”…none other than the 1943 classic Sahara (a longtime favorite of both Ivan, Jr. and Sr.). I’ve heard good things about Locker, and if it’s anything like the Bogey pic I may have to do my darndest to track down a copy once it hits DVD (as coincidence would have it…that’s today).

Bookmark and Share


Scott C. said...

Definitely find a copy of The Hurt Locker. It's every bit Sahara's equal.

Stacia said...

Thanks for the shout-out, man.

I had to go dig out my copy of "Casablanca", and no offense to Joan Benny, but I don't think that's Jack. You can see the same guy just as Rick storms up to Ilsa and Sam for the first time, the Benny-like waiter is carrying a tray and can be seen just to the left of Rick and moving right. The hairline doesn't look quite right and his walk is a little different.