Friday, August 13, 2010

Happy birthday today to…

Aurania Rouverol (1886, playwright whose work Skidding was adapted into the 1937 feature film A Family Affair…and gave birth to the Hardy Family, whose film series generated big bucks for M-G-M in the 30s and 40s)

Sam Taylor (1895, screenwriter and co-director [with Fred C. Newmeyer] of many of Harold Lloyd’s classic comedies, including Grandma’s Boy, Safety Last!. Why Worry?, Girl Shy, The Freshman, For Heaven’s Sake and The Cat’s-Paw)

Bert Lahr (1895, veteran vaudevillian who can be seen in Flying High, Just Around the Corner, Ship Ahoy, Meet the People, Always Leave Them Laughing, The Night They Raided Minsky’s…and of course, The Wizard of Oz; vocal inspiration for pink cartoon lion Snagglepuss)

Regis Toomey (1898, venerable character actor seen in gazillions of movies and TV shows including Murder on the Blackboard, ‘G’ Men, The Phantom Creeps and Adventures of the Flying Cadets; achieved television immortality as Detective Les Hart on Burke’s Law)

Alfred Hitchcock (1899, pictured, cinema’s Master of Suspense and director of such classics as The 39 Steps, The Lady Vanishes, Rebecca, Suspicion, Shadow of A Doubt, Notorious, Strangers on a Train, Rear Window, Vertigo, North by Northwest, Psycho, etc.)

Charles “Buddy” Rogers (1904, silent/sound movie idol who’s featured in Wings, My Best Girl, Abie’s Irish Rose, etc.; husband to Mary Pickford)

Gene Raymond (1908, bland beefcake actor seen in vehicles such as Red Dust, If I Had a Million, Ann Carver’s Profession, Flying Down to Rio, Sadie McKee, Hooray for Love and Mr. and Mrs. Smith)

Dave Willock (1909, actor/second banana who partnered with Jack Carson in vaudeville and later co-starred on Carson’s radio show as his nephew, Tugwell; has appeared in a glut of movies and TV shows but lives on in television immortality as the narrator on the animated cartoon series Wacky Races)

Skinnay Ennis (1909, bandleader whose orchestra appeared in films such as College Swing, Blondie Meets the Boss, Swing It Soldier and Radio Stars on Parade; provided the music on both the Bob Hope and Abbott & Costello radio shows)

Tristam Coffin (1909, venerable character actor whose forte was B-westerns and serials [Spy Smasher, Perils of Nyoka]; starred in the 1949 cliffhanger King of the Rocket Men and then later conquered TV as the star of the western series 26 Men)

John Beal (1909, B-movie actor seen in programmers like Doctors Don’t Tell, One Thrilling Night, Atlantic Convoy and Let’s Have Fun; can also be glimpsed in studio product like Les Miserables, The Cat and the Canary and Edge of Darkness)

Robert Krasker (1913, Academy Award-winning cinematographer whose films include Brief Encounter, Odd Man Out, The Third Man, Cry, the Beloved Country, Alexander the Great, El Cid, Billy Budd, The Fall of the Roman Empire and The Collector)

Kurt Kasznar (1913, stage, screen and television veteran seen in films such as Lovely to Look At, The Happy Time, Lili, Kiss Me Kate and My Sister Eileen—but remains firmly entrenched in my TV-obsessed memories as capitalist swine Alexander B. Fitzhugh on Land of the Giants)

Rita Johnson (1913, film and television seen in vehicles such as Honolulu, Nick Carter, Master Detective, Congo Maisie, Forty Little Mothers, Edison the Man, Here Comes Mr. Jordan, The Major and the Minor and The Big Clock)

Melvin Frank (1913. radio, stage and movie scribe/director/producer who with partner Norman Panama wrote for Rudy Vallee, Jimmy Durante & Garry Moore and Bob Hope’s radio shows; also collaborated with Panama on films like Knock on Wood, The Court Jester, Li’l Abner and The Facts of Life)

Neville Brand (1920, decorated WW2 veteran who turned to acting and can be spotted in D.O.A., The Mob, Kansas City Confidential, Stalag 17, Gun Fury, Riot in Cell Block 11 and The Tin Star; cemented TV immorality as Al Capone on The Untouchables and as Texas Ranger Reese Bennett on the comedy western Laredo)

Pat Harrington, Jr. (1929, 81, actor-comedian who achieved fame on television in the 1950s on The Steve Allen Show and The Danny Thomas Show—but became a real household name in the 1970s as superintendent/gigolo Dwayne Schneider on One Day at a Time; also the voice of the cartoon version of The Inspector)

Don Ho (1930, inexplicably popular vocalist [Tiny Bubbles] and one-time goodwill ambassador of Hawaii)

Rod Hull (1935, inexplicably popular English comic who worked with an emu puppet)

Dave “Baby” Cortez (1938, 72, pop music organist [The Happy Organ])

Kevin Tighe (1944, 66, film, stage and television character actor best known to couch potatoes as paramedic Roy DeSoto on Emergency!—but also has nice turns on the John Sayles films Matewan, Eight Men Out and City of Hope)

Gretchen Corbett (1947, 63, television actress whose lasting TV fame is that of defense attorney Beth Davenport on the classic crime drama The Rockford Files—why she never wound up married to Jim remains a mystery to this day)

Jeff Altman (1951, 59, stand-up comedian and actor who gained much boob tube exposure as a regular guest on David Letterman’s show and comic relief on Solid Gold; other notable TV gigs include Pink Lady and Jeff, The Dukes of Hazzard and Nurses)

Dan Fogelberg (1951, pop music singer-songwriter [Longer, Hard to Say, Same Old Lang Syne])

Danny Bonaduce (1959, 51, annoying moppet actor whose success on The Partridge Family transformed him into an even more annoying adult…a walking yardstick of un dickhead formidable)

Dawnn Lewis (1961, 49, film and television actress best known for TV gigs on A Different World and Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper…and as the voice of LaBarbara Conrad on the classic cartoon show Futurama)

Debi Mazar (1964, 46, TDOY actress fave seen in films like Goodfellas, Jungle Fever, So I Married an Axe Murderer, Empire Records and Trees Lounge; TV gigs include Civil Wars, L.A. Law, Working, That’s Life and Entourage)

Quinn Cummings (1967, 43, annoying moppet actress in films like The Goodbye Girl and on TV’s Family…though I did like her in that Remington Steele episode where she played ‘Minor’ Descoine)

Andy Griggs (1973, 37, country music vocalist [If Heaven, You Won’t Ever Be Lonely, She Thinks She Needs Me])

Bookmark and Share


Amanda said...

Gotta give a Happy Birthday to Alfred, director god

Scott said...

Actually, Quinn Cummings (like a lot of precocious actors) is smart and funny, and writes a blog which is both (

MST3K fans will remember Tristram Coffin from THE CRAWLING HAND (actually, they won't, his minor role was cut out of the Satellite o' Love version of the film), RADAR SECRET SERVICE, in which he essayed the suave, skunk-haired villain, and the Lugosi stinker THE CORPSE VANISHES, in which he played plucky girl reporter's all-wood love interest.

Mystery Science fans will also remember NEVILLE BRAND, who was in ANGEL'S REVENGE, although he suffered the same fate as Tristram and was cut out of the MST version, but they'll remember him anyway because HE'S AWESOME.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

Actually, Quinn Cummings (like a lot of precocious actors) is smart and funny

In the TDOY universe, precocious is a dog whistle for "annoying." Po-tay-to, po-tah-to.

they'll remember him anyway because HE'S AWESOME

It's all about the common ground. And Neville is da man.