Friday, July 22, 2011

How does this inbox get so full?

Well, you let a day go by between posts and suddenly the inbox is stuffed to the gills with announcements.  Chiefly among these is the proclamation from TDOY faithful Indian companion (okay, he’s not really an Indian) and supporter VP81955 that his blog Carole & Co. is going to host a blogathon in honor of the website’s chief subject, Hollywood legend Carole Lombard.  The celebration of Lombard’s centennial took place in 2008 but in the timeless American spirit of not letting a good thing go to waste, the VP is going to commemorate Carole’s 103rd natal anniversary…which is why the blogathon is titled “Carole-tennial [+3].”  The blogathon will commence on Mrs. Gable’s birthday (October 6) and run until October 9.  I tossed a few ideas at VP for my contribution—I wanted to do my favorite Lombard outing, 1934's Twentieth Century—but he tells me that someone already called dibs on that so I'm going to do a write-up on a 1932 pre-Code, Virtue.

The Carolethon has reminded me that the blogathons are coming fast and furious within the next few weeks—there’s Nathaniel Hood’s 50’s Monster Mash at Forgotten Classics of Yesteryear, which runs from July 28-August 2; Nate was able to sign up a whopping forty participants for this event, so we can all breath a little easier that he will not unleash his giant Destructo-Ray on the good people of Perth Amboy, NJ.  (Some of you might feel that this is not necessarily good news…I will forward those comments to the Perth Amboy Chamber of Commerce along with a nice fruit basket.)  Then Brandie, Nikki and Carrie at True Classics: The ABCs of Classic Film roll out a trolley with a big honkin’ birthday cake containing 100 candles for the First Lady of Television herself, Lucille Ball as they host the Loving Lucy Blogathon in honor of her centennial.  (So I really need to get cracking on listening to some of these My Favorite Husband episodes that my good friend—oh, like you people never saw a gratuitous plug before—at was nice enough to send my way.

One of my favorite online film critics is Salon’s Andrew O’Hehir…who’s got an interesting piece up at that site in which he offers forth a list of ten of the greatest “missing movies—films that have apparently disappeared through the cracks, not available on DVD or have been withheld from public gawking due to whatever particularly thorny legal issues are involved.  O”Hehir’s list is pretty interesting (though not infallible; he had The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover listed until a couple of people clued him in that the movie is available for viewing at and that other steaming movie site that I will no longer sully the good name of this blog by mentioning) and lists a few missing silents (though not nearly enough for my tastes) like Alfred Hitchcock’s The Mountain Eagle (1926) and the 1926 version of The Great Gatsby.

This is sort of old news but every movie buff worth his or her salt knows that Barnes and Noble’s annual Criterion DVD/Blu-Ray sale is in full swing, with titles being offered at a generous 50% off the sticker price.  SBBN’s Stacia e-mailed me from poolside to remind me, and though she was also fully aware that the recent acquisition of the TV set here at Rancho Yesteryear was going to put the kibosh on any Criterion purchases I was able to persuade Mom into digging into her purse for the necessary wherewithal to buy one title for my upcoming birthday (and if you’re curious as to when that is, Pagey, you’ll have to dig back into the voluminous TDOY archives).  So a copy of Criterion’s 3 Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg will soon be in my fat little paws shortly…a collection that I am looking forward to watching with all the enthusiasm of a kid at Christmas.

But it’s not about Christmas—it’s about birthdays…and it just so happens that the aforementioned Page, blogging doyenne at My Love of Old Hollywood, is celebrating her natal anniversary today.  (She’s “turning the page,” so to speak…gad, but I slay myself.  She was also foolish enough to mention that it was a couple of days after Errolette’s birthday…when will people cease announcing these tidbits of info so easily within my earshot?)  Unlike Beckers, who appears to be outright slumming with the number of very important people that share her birthday, Page is in distinguished company with the likes of poet Emma Lazarus (the lady who wrote the inscription at the Statue of Liberty), painter Edward Hopper, Kennedy matriarch Rose Kennedy, author Stephen Vincent Benet and fashion guy Oscar de la Renta…who turns 79 today.  (I won’t swear to this, but I think Page is a little younger.)  As always, however, the people that matter most here in the Thrilling Days of Yesteryear universe will be listed here for your perusal:

James Whale (1889-1957) – Distinguished motion picture director who directed the first two Frankenstein films and The Invisible Man; Whale is also the subject of the wonderful 1998 film Gods and Monsters

Dan Totheroh (1894-1976) – Brother of longtime Chaplin cameraman Rollie who, as a screenwriter and novelist, contributed to such films as Zoo in Budapest, The Dawn Patrol and the movie adaptation of fellow birthday celebrant Stephen Vincent Benet’s The Devil and Daniel Webster

Marjorie White (1904-1935) – Spunky platinum blonde starlet whose career was tragically brought to an end as the result of a car accident; she can be seen working opposite the likes of Joe E. Brown (Broadminded), Wheeler & Woolsey (Diplomaniacs) and the Three Stooges (Woman Haters)

Amy Vanderbilt (1908-1974) – Etiquette scold

Luana Walters (1912-1963) – B-movie actress best known for her roles as Fury Shark in the 1942 serial Captain Midnight and as the reporter on Bela Lugosi’s trail in The Corpse Vanishes; also the first actress to play The Man of Steel’s ma—in a brief sequence in Chapter 1 of the 1948 serial version of Superman

Lee Van Atta (1922-2002) – Another serial stalwart; a moppet actor remembered for his appearances in Undersea Kingdom and Dick Tracy

Dan Rowan (1922-1987) – Straight man partner to comedian Dick Martin who appeared in the films Once Upon a Horse and The Maltese Bippy…and a popular comedy series from 1968-73 whose name escapes me at the present

Bob Dole (1923-     ) – Former Senate Majority Leader, failed Vice Presidential candidate (1976) and failed Presidential candidate (1996) whom columnist Mike Royko once observed: “The problem with Dole is that when he smiles he looks like he just evicted a widow”

Margaret Whiting (1924-2011) – Actress-singer who recorded hit duets with such artists as Johnny Mercer and Jimmy Wakely; also did a hitch as vocalist and straight woman on Bob Hope’s radio show

Joseph Sargent (1925-     ) – Emmy-award winning television director who also dabbled in silver screen work, notably White Lightning and Vince Keenan fave The Taking of Pelham One-Two-Three

Bryan Forbes (1926-     ) - Actor-writer-director whose films include Whistle Down the Wind, The L-Shaped Room, Séance on a Wet Afternoon and The Wrong Box

Orson Bean (1928-     ) – Stage, film and television character actor best known for his regular role as Loren Bray on TV’s Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman

Vivien Merchant (1929-1982) – British stage, screen and TV actress whose oeuvre includes Alfie and Frenzy; first wife of renowned playwright Harold Pinter

Perry Lopez (1929-2008) – Peerless stage, screen and TV character actor whose films include Mister Roberts, McLintock! and Kelly’s Heroes…but his best remembered turn is as Lt. Lou Escobar in the 1974 classic Chinatown

Jeremy Lloyd (1930-     ) – British comedian-writer who collaborated with David Croft on the classic Britcoms Are You Being Served? and ‘Allo ‘Allo

Louise Fletcher (1934-     ) – Academy Award-winning actress whose oeuvre includes Thieves Like Us, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Cheap Detective and Brainstorm

Chuck Jackson (1937-     ) – R&B vocalist whose best-known hit was Any Day Now

Terence Stamp (1939-     ) – Renowned British character thesp glimpsed in films like Billy Budd, The Collector, Superman/Superman II and The Hit

Alex Trebek (1940-     ) – Game show icon (Jeopardy!, The Wizard of Odds, High Rollers) who is apparently now spending time on TV shilling insurance to senior citizens

Estelle Bennett (1941-2009) – Ronette

George Clinton (1941-     ) – Legendary leader of Parliament/Funkadelic and not—as persistent rumors suggest—married to Secretary of State Hillary*

Thomas Wayne (1941-     ) – Pop music vocalist who was a one-hit wonder with this 1959 hit (credited to Thomas Wayne and the DeLons):

Anthony James (1942-     ) – Film and television character actor best remembered as the diner guy who won’t sell Warren Oates’ cop any dessert in In the Heat of the Night; his other films include Vanishing Point, High Plains Drifter, Return from Witch Mountain and Unforgiven

Kay Bailey Hutchison (1943-     ) – Senior U.S. Senator from Texas who was memorably dubbed “The Breck Girl” by the late, great Molly Ivins

Bobby Sherman (1943-     ) – When I contemplate that the former teen idol star of Here Come the Brides and recording artist of Little Woman and Julie Do Ya Love Me is now collecting Medicare it makes a man concerned about the fleeting passage of time

Guich Koock (1944-     ) – Film and television character actor who had regular roles in such TV series as Carter Country, Lewis and Clark and She’s the Sheriff…but whom I always remember as the one-time owner of Luckenbach, Texas (he later sold the town)

Peter Jason (1944-     ) – Veteran character thesp best known for regular roles on such TV series as Mike Hammer, Private Eye (as Capt. Gleason) and Deadwood (as Con Stapleton) and who’s also worked in a good many John Carpenter-directed flicks like They Live and In the Mouth of Madness

Paul Schrader (1946-     ) – Writer-director whose films include Blue Collar, Hardcore, Light Sleeper and Auto Focus

Danny Glover (1946-     ) – Film and television actor whose oeuvre includes the Lethal Weapon films, The Color Purple and Silverado…and who turns 65 today, firmly establishing that he’s too old for this shit

Don Henley (1947-     ) – Eagle

Erica Gavin (1947-     ) – Star of Russ Meyer’s Vixen! and Beyond the Valley of the Dolls who attempted to branch out into mainstream films but the only one I’ve seen is Caged Heat

Albert Brooks (1947-     ) – Writer-comedian-director who’s helmed classic comedies like Real Life, Modern Romance, Lost in America and Defending Your Life

S.E. Hinton (1948-     ) – Author of teen angst-ridden fiction such as The Outsiders and Rumble Fish…both of which became films directed by a desperate Frances Ford Coppola

Tisa Farrow (1951-     ) – Actress-sister of Mia who appeared in a few films (notably Fingers, Manhattan and Winter Kills) and then later went into nursing

Lonette McKee (1954-     ) – Actress and stone fox whose films include Cuba, The Cotton Club, ‘Round Midnight, Jungle Fever and Malcolm X

Willem Dafoe (1955-     ) - Crazed-looking actor glimpsed in films like Streets of Fire, Platoon, The Last Temptation of Christ, Light Sleeper and Auto Focus

John Leguizamo (1964-     ) – Talented comedian-actor whose range can stretch from comedy (The Brothers Garcia) to drama (Executive Decision, Carlito’s Way)

David Spade (1964-     ) – Snarky television icon (Just Shoot Me, 8 Simple Rules, Rules of Engagement) and former Not Ready for Prime Time player

Patrick Labyorteaux (1965-     ) – Dentist’s drill-annoying moppet actor best known as Andrew on TV’s Little House on Prairie; later landed a gig as an adult on TV’s JAG

*Well, somebody might be saying this.

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Pam said..., you can't keep, like, keep the Labyorteaux brothers, like, straight! Matthew played Albert. Patrick played Andrew Garvey! Geez...duh!

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said..., you can't keep, like, keep the Labyorteaux brothers, like, straight! Matthew played Albert. Patrick played Andrew Garvey! Geez...duh!

So...if what you're saying is true...then I still don't care. But I corrected the error to stave off the ire of the millions of Little House fans that read this blog...

Page said...

You are so sweet (other than the gigantic mug pic) Ha Ha! I do share a birthday with some very impressive people. Thanks for adding those, I had no idea. July 22nd is a very good day and it will be even better if I get those gourmet cupcakes I asked for.

Thank you for the very thoughtful tribute and Stacia, I'm so glad you're having a wonderful vacay.

Page said...

Oh, and P.S, I don't really have that much hair! There's a clothes hanger and some other stuff behind my head.

Pam said...

Yeah... I don't care either. But that was a, like, fun post to, like, write.

However, I didn't know Margaret Whiting died this year. I used to know those things.

VP81955 said...

Thanks for promoting "Carole-tennial(+3)!", Ivan; I'm looking forward to your comments on "Virtue," arguably Lombard's best film before "Twentieth Century." And anyone who wants to participate (it doesn't necessarily have to be on a particular film -- if you have another Carole-related theme, go for it), just head over to the site via the link above, leave me your idea (and URL), and we'll take it from there.

ClassicBecky said...

HEY Marlo(n)!! Page gets JAMES WHALE? I want him! He's one of my favorite directors, and besides they made a really good movie about his life. I don't remember that I got anybody THAT dear to me. No fair! Oh, by the way, Happy Birthday Page! I think I see an edge of the clothes hanger behind your head!

And where was MY picture on my birthday? Oh, wait a minute, I don't have one online. OK, well you're forgiven, but you could at LEAST have put my Big B there. (I can hear your twisted mind now wishing you could say just what that makes you think of..)

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

OK, well you're forgiven, but you could at LEAST have put my Big B there.

Errolette, I did use your trademark "B" on Wednesday's post -- go back and check if you don't believe me. (I toyed with the idea of putting up a photo of Mr. Flynn in drag but that would require Photoshopping skills beyond my ken.)

ClassicBecky said...

Oh Lord, Ivan -- it must be old age. Just put me down for a big S for senility

Errol in drag? Blasphemy! The Apocalypse! ARMAGEDDON!