Monday, April 21, 2014

HEALTHWATCH: GLEN CAMPBELL

Glen Campbell has been moved into a care facility three years after being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, People.com reports.

"He was moved to an Alzheimer's facility last week," a family friend told the title. "I'm not sure what the permanent plan is for him yet. We'll know more next week."

The singer, whose "Rhinestone Cowboy" topped the charts in 1975, had been suffering from short-term memory loss in recent years. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in early 2011.
The 78-year-old Grammy winner and his wife Kim initially shared the news of his illness back in 2011 because he’d hoped to give a series of goodbye concerts, in conjunction with an album "Ghost on the Canvas,” which was released later that year.

"Ghost on the Canvas” (Surfdog), Campbell’s 61st studio album, was expected to be his last. It wasn’t. A brand new collection of recordings from the legendary singer, "See You There" (Surfdog) was released last December. With Campbell’s health apparently in decline, it’s increasingly likely the collection will be the final studio recording of the Arkansas native's career.
The latest health setback comes just days before the documentary of that final tour, titled “Glen Campbell... I'll Be Me,” gets its world premiere April 18 at the 2014 Nashville Film Festival.

Campbell was named both CMA Entertainer and Male Vocalist of the Year in 1968, and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005. The veteran performer has sold more than 45 million albums over the course of his career...

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Friday, April 18, 2014

PHOTOS OF THE DAY: CLASSIC HOLLYWOOD AND EASTER

I've written it before, and I will write it again - there is just something beautiful in the photographes of classic Hollywood. Were the stars more beautiful? Where the photographers more talented? Whatever it is, I never get tired of looking at these vintage pictures. Here are some pictures of classic Hollywood stars celebrating Easter...

DORIS DAY (BORN 1924)
VERA-ELLEN (1921-1981)

LILLIAN HARVEY (1906-1968)

SHARON TATE (1943-1969)


SHIRLEY TEMPLE (1928-2014)

IDA LUPINO (1918-1995)











Wednesday, April 16, 2014

JIMMY STEWART BLOGATHON: THE MUSICAL SIDE OF JIMMY STEWART

When you think of the wealth of movies that Jimmy Stewart made in his career, you do not consider him a musical star. Anyone who has ever heard him sing would agree with me. However, Jimmy Stewart dimake a handful of musicals during his long and illustrious career which spanned decades. Most of them however we not that well received.

After debuting in a forgotten Spencer Tracy film The Murder Man in 1935, Stewart's next movie was a musical - Rose Marie (1936). The movie was an adaptation of the stage operetta and a starring vehicle for Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy. Stewart plays the second male lead that tries to steal MacDonald away from Eddy. Jimmy did not sing in this film, but Nelson and Jeanette would introduce the song "Indian Love Call" in the movie. It would be the duo's signature song.


MGM still had no clue what to do with Stewart so they stuck him in another musical right after. In Born To Dance (1936) he was paired with the beautiful Eleanor Powell. The musical score was done by the great Cole Porter, and Stewart was even given the task of introducing the Porter classic "Easy To Love". His voice brought tears to my eyes and not in a good way. Even in the 1974 documentary That's Entertainment Stewart poked fun and his attempt at singing. Thank goodness Eleanor Powell's tap dancing and the Cole Porter score took made audiences forget Stewart's vocal inadequacy.

By the late 1930s, Jimmy Stewart was making a mark for himself as the "every man" of film. His films like You Can't Take It With You and Mr Smith Goes To Washington cemented Stewart's place as a great leading man. However, in 1941 Stewart appeared in two musicals. For the horrible film Pot O Gold, Jimmy was loaned out to United Artists, a studio not known for great musicals. The movie was an adaptation of a popular radio show of the time. The film tells of a couple (Stewart and Paulette Goddard) romantically involved despite family feuds. Stewart and Goddard both were not singers so the musical part of the movie came from Horace Heidt and His Orchestra. Pot O Gold was a bomb, and Stewart later referred to the film as the worst one he ever appeared in.


The other musical Stewart appeared in in 1941 was MGM's lavish musical Ziegfeld Girl. Set in the 1920s, the film tells the parallel stories of three women who become performers in the renowned Broadway show the Ziegfeld Follies. Stewart had no musical numbers in the film. He was the main male lead, playing the boyfriend of a tortured Ziegfeld girl (Lana Turner). Stewart did not need to sing in this film, because it also had the talented musical stars Judy Garland and Tony Martin to make the film one of the best musicals of 1941.

In the 1940s Jimmy steered clear of the musical genre. Other than a humorous song he sang on Bing Crosby's radio show in the late 1940s, Jimmy stayed away from the musical. However, he did make one more musical of note. Not only was it his most profitable musical, but it was one of the greatest musicals of the 1950s. Stewart portrayed big band leader Glenn Miller in The Glenn Miller Story (1954). The film follows big band leader Glenn Miller (1904–1944) (James Stewart) from his early days in the music business in 1929 through to his 1944 death when the airplane he was flying in was lost over the English Channel during World War II. Prominent placement in the film is given to Miller's courtship and marriage to Helen Burger (June Allyson), and various cameos by actual musicians who were colleagues of Miller. Upon release in 1954, The Glenn Miller Story was massively successful at the box office.


In 1954, the film was nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Screenplay (by Valentine Davies and Oscar Brodney) and Best Score (by Henry Mancini and Joseph Gershenson). The film won the Oscar for Best Sound Recording, by Leslie I. Carey. Jimmy Stewart was definitely no rival to Bing Crosby or Fred Astaire in the musical genre, but it is interesting to look at the musicals the non-musical Stewart made during his career. His acting ability as America's "every man" is what made him one of the biggest stars of classic Hollywood. Again, it was definitely his acting ability and not his musical talent or lack of...

Monday, April 14, 2014

DORIS DAY AT 90

With reports of ill health, it is rare to see a new picture of screen star Doris Day. However, she made a rare appearance in Carmel, California for her 90th birthday, and here are the pics...




 
Just like beloved Betty White, 92 - Doris devotes her time to animal rights and founded the Doris Day Animal Foundation in 1978.
Affectionately nicknamed the 'Dog Catcher of Beverly Hills,' the Calamity Jane actress even held a charity doggie fashion show Thursday at her hotel, Cypress Inn.

Doris Day has officially been retired since the late 1980s...

Saturday, April 12, 2014

DIAMONDS & GOLD BLOGATHON: BING CROSBY AS DR. COOK

Bing Crosby was one of the biggest movie stars of all-time. He was the number one box office draw from 1945 to 1949. After his contract with Paramount Studios was over in 1956, Bing moved away from making movies and concentrated on raising his second family. However, even in Bing's "golden years" he did make an occasional movie. One of his last screen appearances was in the television movie Dr Cook's Garden on ABC television in 1971. Bing was 68 at the time the movie came out.

Dr. Cook's Garden was originally a Broadway play written by Ira Levin. It premiered on Broadway in 1967 with a cast including Burl Ives and Keir Dullea. George C. Scott was meant to direct but was replaced during rehearsals by Levin. When the play was made for television Bing took over the Burl Ives roles as a seemingly friendly elderly doctor. Frank Converse plays the young doctor that looks up to Bing, and a young Blythe Danner plays Bing's secretary and Converse's love interest. Originally airing as the ABC "Movie of the Week", Dr. Cook's Garden seems more relevant with the passage of time with the real world bringing us Doctor Kevorkian types in the decades since.

Der Bingle is a kindly G.P. in a Greenfield, arguably the most beloved person in this idyllic area. How idyllic? The town boats a very low crime rate and few unpleasant citizens. Greenfield is about to host recent medical school graduate Converse, returning to visit high school sweetheart Danner and mentor Crosby. The budding young doctor is pleasantly surprised by his home town's evolution into a paradise---and increasingly concerned about the number of abrupt, mysterious deaths occuring in heavenly Greenfield. Crosby's Dr. Cook is calm and rationalizing as his describes the thought he puts into his decisions, and admits that marking the "R" is always difficult for him. His unfailing composure adds creepiness that helps make up for the missing uncertainty and almost raises this otherwise average tale into the must-see category.


Two decades before Alec Baldwin brazenly declared himself God in Malice, Crosby let actions speak louder than his downright humble words possibly could, giving us a thriller more than interesting enough to watch despite its deficiencies. By 1971, Bing was no longer the leading man who made Dorothy Lamour or Mary Carlisle swoon with the notes of his beautiful voice. At an age now when many people were retired, Bing could pick and choose what movies he wanted to make. I am glad he picked the role of Dr. Cook. Some of the dialogue is as dated as a 1971 television movie, but I think Bing should have done more dramas. He definitely had the acting chops to do so. The ending of the movie is completely different than the ending of any other Bing Crosby movie, and Dr. Cook's Garden proved that Bing still had "IT" at the age of 68...

Friday, April 11, 2014

MICKEY ROONEY: A LIFE IN PICTURES

The death of Mickey Rooney is the greatest blow to classic Hollywood since the death of Elizabeth Taylor. It is so hard to capture a career like Mickey Rooney's in a blog entry, but I wanted to capture his life in pictures. He was one of the greatest stars that Hollywood would ever know...




with Judy Garland

With Ava Gardner

With Elizabeth Taylor

With Spencer Tracy

 

With Sammy Davis Jr.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

HOLLYWOOD REMEMBERS MICKEY ROONEY

Even though most of the late Mickey Rooney's contemporaries are gone like Judy Garland and Spencer Tracy, much of Hollywood is remembering the legendary actor at his passing. Here is what some of Hollywood had to say:



Margaret O' Brien:
Mickey was the only one at the studio that was ever allowed to call me Maggie. He was undoubtedly the most talented actor that ever lived. There was nothing he couldn't do. Singing, dancing, performing ... all with great expertise. Mickey made it look so easy. I was currently doing a film with him, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde -- I simply can't believe it. He seemed fine through the filming and was as great as ever."

Rip Taylor:
"Mickey was such a friend and pro, that he even gave me advice, when I replaced him in Sugar Babies. .. As if it could ever be possible to replace Mickey. It was the treat of my life, to receive tips from the great Mickey Rooney."

Carol Channing:
"I loved working with Mickey on Sugar Babies. He was very professional, his stories were priceless and I love them all ... each and every one. We laughed all the time."

Mia Farrow:
"RIP Mickey Rooney. We can only be awed and grateful for so many great performances."

Piers Morgan:
"I remembered interviewing Mickey once and he told me to always get married in the morning. That way if it doesn't work out, you haven't wasted the whole day. Mickey Rooney RIP."

Tim Conway:
Back in 1970 Mickey Rooney was on my show The Tim Conway Comedy Hour; I enjoyed every minute we worked together. Not only was he a great actor but he made me look tall. RIP.


Ben Stiller:
"He was crazy and fun and a legend. I just worked with him on scenes for Night At The Museum 3. It was a honor to get to know him and even be in the same room with him."