Sunday, November 28, 2010

Happy birthday today to…

Apologies for both the lateness and the brevity (didn’t have time to single anyone out for the spotlight—and it would have been tough, what with folks like Harry Bartell, Elliott Lewis and Gloria Grahame all celebrating birthdays) of today’s natal anniversary list—I spent a bit o’time over at the ‘rents during the holiday weekend and upon my return to Rancho Yesteryear decided to avail myself of the free EPIX preview being offered up by CharredHer.  I watched both Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls (which I actually liked; I can’t believe the critical shellacking this movie got upon its release) and that J.J. Abrahams Star Trek reboot, which was also entertaining…though I’m not sure I’m comfortable with both Kirk and Spock macking on Uhura—those of you who’ve seen the film will know what I’m talking about.

N-E-ways, I’ve got a couple of projects in the hopper to finish as well and so, without further ado, happy birthday to these fine people:

John Bunyan (1628-1688) – Author of Pilgrim’s Progress

William Blake (1757-1827) – Poet and painter

Friedrich Engels (1820-1895) – Sidekick of Karl Marx

Bobby Watson (1888-1965) – Stage, screen and television comic actor whose uncanny resemblance to Adolf Hitler got him work playing Der Fuehrer in movies like The Devil with Hitler, Hitler—Dead or Alive and Nazty Nuisance

Harry Carroll (1892-1962) – Songwriter-composer whose tunes include I’m Always Chasing Rainbows and By the Beautiful Sea

Brooks Atkinson (1894-1984) – Legendary New York Times drama critic

José Iturbi (1895-1980) – Conductor and pianist/harpsichordist

Lilia Skala (1896-1994) – Viennese stage, screen and character actress whose vehicles include Call Me Madam, Lilies of the Field, Ship of Fools, Testament and House of Games

Claude Lévi-Strauss (1908-2009) – Father of modern anthropology

Harry Bartell (1913-2004) – TDOY character actor god who worked in radio, television and movies but is revered for his work in radio, appearing frequently on Escape, Suspense, Gunsmoke and Dragnet…and also as the shill for Petri Wine on The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Elliott Lewis (1917-1990) – “Mr. Radio”; OTR actor, director, producer and writer best remembered as Phil Harris’ besotted sidekick Frankie Remley; also contributed to such programs as Suspense, Crime Classics, On Stage, Broadway’s My Beat, Zero Hour and The Sears Radio Theater

James Karen (1923-     ) – Stage, screen and television character great whose vehicles include Capricorn One, The China Syndrome, Poltergeist, Thirteen Days and Mulholland Dr.

Gloria Grahame (1923-1981) – Academy Award-winning TDOY actress goddess whose vehicles include It’s a Wonderful Life, Crossfire, In a Lonely Place, The Bad and the Beautiful and The Big Heat

Chuck Mitchell (1927-1992) – Film and television character actor best known for playing the proprietor of Porky’s, the hot spot featured in the 1980 “comedy” that a friend of mine once called “the funniest movie he’d ever seen”…so, naturally, I had to disown him

Berry Gordy, Jr. (1929-     ) – Founder of Motown Records

Hope Lange (1931-2003) – Emmy Award-winning stage, screen and television actress best remembered by legions of couch potatoes as widow Carolyn Muir in the sitcom The Ghost and Mrs. Muir and Dick Van Dyke’s wife on his 1971-74 (and not quite as funny) series The New Dick Van Dyke Show

Gloria Winters (1931-2010) – Moppet actress remembered by TV fans as niece Penny on the TV adventure series Sky King

Michael Ritchie (1938-2001) – Motion picture and television director whose oeuvre includes The Candidate, Smile, The Bad News Bears, Semi-Tough and The Survivors

Bruce Channel (1940-     ) – Rock ‘n’ roll musician (Hey, Baby!) who wrote a goodly number of country music hits, including this one:

Manolo Blahnik (1942-     ) – That shoe guy the women on Chicks in the City Sex in the City were always going on about

Randy Newman (1943-     ) – Singer-songwriter and film composer who, though he’s written some decent material, should have been tried and convicted for that annoying Short People hit

R.B. Greaves (1944-     ) – Pop music vocalist and nephew of the great Sam Cooke

Rita Mae Brown (1944-     ) – Author and mystery novelist whose screenplay for Slumber Party Massacre was intended to be a parody of the slasher genre…only the filmmakers didn’t see it as such

Dick Morris (1948-     ) – Un dickhead tres, tres formidable

Agnieszka Holland (1948-     ) – Polish motion picture and television director whose oeuvre includes Europa, Europa, Olivier, Olivier, The Secret Garden and Washington Square

Paul Shaffer (1949-     ) – Actor-musician-bandleader and comic sidekick to talk show host David Letterman

Alexander Gudonov (1949- 1995) – Russian ballet dancer who also landed an occasional motion picture role in the likes of Witness, The Money Pit, Die Hard and North

Ed Harris (1950-     ) – TDOY character actor fave whose vehicles include Under Fire, The Right Stuff, The Abyss, Glengarry Glen Ross and The Firm

S. Epatha Merkerson (1952-     ) – Stage, screen and television actress best known for her long-running role as Lt. Anita Van Buren on Law & Order

Pamela Hayden (1953-     ) – Actress renowned for her voiceover work and best known as Milhouse Van Houten on The Simpsons

Janice Oliver (1955-     ) – Sweetheart of the Rodeo and ex-wife of country music singer-songwriter Vince Gill

Judd Nelson (1959-     ) – Nostril-flaring actor whose vehicles include The Breakfast Club, St. Elmo’s Fire, New Jack City and TV’s Suddenly Susan

Martin Clunes (1961-     ) – English film and television actor best known for his roles on such series as No Place Like Home, All at Number 20, Men Behaving Badly, Doc Martin and Reggie Perrin

Jon Stewart (1962-     ) – Actor-standup and host of The Daily Show

Jane Sibbett (1962-     ) – Film and television actress seen regularly on such shows as Santa Barbara, The Famous Teddy Z and Herman’s Head but is probably best known as Ross’ ex-wife Carol on Friends

Armando Iannucci (1963-     ) – Scottish film and television writer-producer-director who’s had a hand in such TV shows as I’m Alan Partridge, The Thick of It and The Day Today

Cornelia Guest (1963-     ) – Debutante

Anna Nicole Smith (1967-2007) – Former model-gold-digger turned television personality and close, personal friend of Bill Crider’s

Stephnie Weir (1967-     ) – Comedy performer and MADTV regular who used to crack me up when impersonating fellow birthday celebrant Anna Nicole Smith

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Scott said...

MST3K fans will remember James Karen as the pompous president of a college besieged by an alien mummy in Being From Another Planet (AKA Time Walker). Fans of Larry Blamire's exquisite genre spoofs will also recognize Karen as a part of the writer-director's extended stock company, having appeared in Trail of the Screaming Forehead and Dark and Stormy Night.

quizshowbob said...

"Mama Told Me Not To Come" is one of the first 45's that I ever bought with my own money.

Jeff Overturf said...

You're right about "Indy and the Skull", I saw nothing wrong with it. People complain about Shia LeBeouf being a cloying addition? Not near the travesty of Kate Capshaw...she will always be the black eye that will not heal in this series as far as I'm concerned.