Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Happy anniversary to the ‘rents!

Forty-eight years ago on this date in a North Carolina church—it’s just like something out of Mayberry R.F.D.!—Ivan G. Shreve, Sr. finally decided to settle down and make an honest woman out of Irene A. Sullivan.  They experienced nine months of reckless and carefree honeymoon abandon until the second of September the following year, when your humble narrator was born.

A friend of mine once asked me how my parents managed to stay married for so long at a time when divorce seemed to be the thing to do among the cool kids…and I’m not sure there’s any one right answer.  My mother and father are more than just husband and wife—they’re best friends; they’re fiercely devoted to one another and will leave no stone unturned to make sure the other is happy.  Do they “argue, fuss and fight” as mentioned in that song by Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes?  Hell, yes—sometimes it’s like an Everybody Loves Raymond episode run amok.  But it’s all part of a complicated formula that continues to work after all these years, and not a day goes by when I don’t love and treasure the fact that the two of them continue to be the poster people for doing something right, marital-wise.

I love both of them very much…and I think they’ll get a kick out of seeing all these celebrity notables who were born on their special day…well, before asking me “What the hell do you do with all your spare time?”

Maxwell Anderson (1888-1959) – Playwright, author, poet and founding member of the Playwrights Company whose works include What Price Glory?, Saturday’s Children and Key Largo; he also wrote this little ditty:

J. Paul Getty (1892-1976) – Oil magnate and capitalist swine

Nudie (1902-1984) – Haberdasher to rock ‘n’ roll and country music musicians whose specialty was gaudy, rhinestone-covered outfits; designed Elvis’ famous gold lame suit and Hank Williams’ music symbol outfit

Jan Grippo (1906-1988) – Hollywood agent who, in tandem with client Leo Gorcey, created the Bowery Boys film series and served as their producer from 1946-51

Gordon Douglas (1907-1993) – Motion picture and television director (and former teen actor) whose oeuvre includes The Black Arrow, Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye, Robin and the 7 Hoods and Rio Conchos; directed many of the Our Gang comedies at Hal Roach in his formative years

Nicholas P. Dallis (1911-1991) – Psychiatrist and creator of the comic strips Rex Morgan, MD, Judge Parker and Apartment 3-G

Stan Kenton (1911-1979) – Composer, arranger and pianist who led a highly influential and innovative jazz orchestra beginning in the 1940s…and who was no stranger to controversial statements

Betty Kean (1915-1986) – Sister of Honeymooners’ Jane Kean who formed a comedy duo with her sis and also appeared in such films as Hi, Good Lookin’!, Murder in the Blue Room, The Seduction and Dreamscape

Jeff Chandler (1918-1961) – Beefcake stage, screen, radio and television actor whose vehicles include Broken Arrow, Red Ball Express, Taza, Son of Cochise, Away All Boats and Man in the Shadow; had an extensive radio career—notably as the original “bashful biologist,” Philip Boynton, on Our Miss Brooks

Max Yasgur (1919-1973) – Bethel, NY dairy farmer who gave the A-OK for a “3 Days of Peace and Music Festival” (Woodstock) to be held on his land from August 15-18, 1969

Kurt Schaffenberger (1920-2002) – Comic book artist who while at DC Comics oversaw the adventures of Captain Marvel and the Marvel Family and Superman’s Girl Friend, Lois Lane

Bob Todd (1921-1992) – Bald English comedy actor best known for his work with Benny Hill and Spike Milligan; starred in the 1972 Britcom In for a Penny…a series about a lavatory attendant (I swear I’m not making that up)

Alan Freed (1921-1965) – Disc jockey credited with coining the term “rock ‘n’ roll” and who appeared in such films as Rock Around the Clock, Rock, Rock, Rock, Mr. Rock and Roll, Don’t Knock the Rock and Go Johnny Go!

Kasey Rogers (1925-2006) – Stage, screen and television actress best known as Louise Tate on the sitcom Bewitched and Julie Anderson on Peyton Place*

Jerry Wallace (1928-2008) – Pop music vocalist who revived his career in the 1970s as a country music singer; his #1 smash If You Leave Me Tonight I’ll Cry was featured in the Night Gallery episode, “The Tune in Dan’s Cafe”

Jimmy Nelson (1928-     ) – Ventriloquist who, along with dummy Danny O’Day and puppet dog Farfel, started out on Milton Berle’s TV show before becoming shills for Nestle’s chocolate**

Ernest Ashworth (1928-2009) – Country music vocalist

Ernest Pintoff (1931-2002) – Academy Award-winning motion picture and television director-writer-producer whose oeuvre includes Flebus, The Critic, Harvey Middleman, Fireman, Dynamite Chicken, Who Killed Mary Whats’ername and Blade

Tim Conway (1933-     ) – Actor-comedian whose television gigs include McHale’s Navy, Rango, The Tim Conway Show, The Carol Burnett Show, Ace Crawford, Private Eye and Yes, Dear

Karen Morrow (1936-     ) – Stage, screen and television character actress best known for her work on The Jim Nabors Hour and regular roles on the sitcoms Tabitha and Ladies Man

Cindy Birdsong (1939-     ) – Supreme

Geoffrey Davies (1942-     ) – English stage, screen and television actor best known as malingering med student (and later doctor) Dick Stuart-Clark on the Britcom Doctor in the House and its various permutations and spin-offs

Dave Clark (1943-     ) – Front man/drummer for the Dave Clark Five

Melanie Chartoff (1948-     ) – TDOY comic actress fave who first got my attention as the anchorwoman on the ABC SNL rip-off Fridays and was later the only good thing on the lame sitcom Parker Lewis Can’t Lose; does a good deal of voice work, notably on the animated series Rugrats

Don Johnson (1949-     ) – Beefcake stage, screen and television actor best known for his starring roles in the TV series Miami Vice and Nash Bridges

Randy Parton (1953-     ) – Country singer-musician sibling of Dolly whom she used to introduce in concert by saying: “This is my brother—he’s Randy!”***

Alex Cox (1954-     ) – English motion picture and television director-writer-actor whose oeuvre includes Repo Man, Sid and Nancy, Walker, Straight to Hell and Highway Patrolman

Heidi Bohay (1959-     ) – Stage, screen and television actress best known as desk clerk Megan Kendall on TV’s Hotel

Reginald Hudlin (1961-     ) – Motion picture and television writer-director whose oeuvre includes House Party, Boomerang, The Great White Hype and The Ladies Man

Helen Slater (1963-     ) – Stage, screen and television actress whose vehicles include Supergirl, The Legend of Billie Jean, Ruthless People, The Secret of My Succe$s, Stickey Fingers and City Slickers

*My best friend the Duchess didn’t believe me when I told her that she also played Miriam Haines in the Hitchcock film Strangers on a Train (where she’s billed as Laura Elliott).

**Nelson’s son Larry was working as a morning DJ in Morgantown, WV during my years of exile and one day on the air he was giving away free grub at a local eatery if anyone could call in and tell him the name of the Nestle’s dog.  Well, since I had a reputation for knowing such arcane crap I gave him a ring and got the question right—he then asked me how old I was and when I told him he responded incredulously: “How would you know something like that?”  So I told him I was a trivia maven and he beamed: “That dog put me through college!”

“What did he do, scrub floors at night?” I quipped.  High-fiving a million angels…

***Parton’s recording career wasn’t much to write home about but he did release a fairly decent cover (it hit the Top 30) of Shot Full of Love in 1981 that I liked until I heard the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s version two years later.

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Stacia said...

until the second of September the following year, when your humble narrator was born.


Happy anniversary, Ivan's parents!

Pam said...

Happy Anniversary to Mom and Pop Shreve!