Monday, October 30, 2023

The Marx Bros. 1940--Variations on a Publicity Still


Saturday, October 28, 2023

It's Me, Dilly!-1957


Here's some examples and publicity for a new-to-me comic strip from the 1950s by Alfred Andriola (KERRY DRAKE) and Mel Casson. Seems to be based on the premise of "What if Marilyn Monroe starred in MY FRIEND IRMA?" 



Monday, October 16, 2023

Top Cat Meets J. Evil Scientist

Here we have a rare and unsung team-up if ever there was one! TC, of course, was starring in his own cartoon series when this came out in 1964 (reruns of his sole original season from 1961-62). It would be easy to call Mr. and Mrs. J. Evil Scientist an ADDAMS FAMILY or MUNSTERS "homage" except both those shows were just starting as this particular issue came out and the comics characters were already appearing in their own title, having first appeared several seasons earlier in a Snooper and Blabber cartoon!


Sunday, October 15, 2023

Cameos in The Phynx

Dorothy Lamour

THE PHYNX is the legendarily bad late '60s flick about a rock group formed by the government and trained as spies/secret agents (by Clint Walker and Richard Pryor!) in order to rescue scores of iconic American celebrities kidnapped by the Armenian government!

The film got a lot of pre-release publicity due mainly to the gathering of these and numerous other celebs  but ended up caught in Warner Bros-7 Arts transition to the Kinney Corporation and barely released. The teen mags had played up the film's title rock band ("The Finks" you see) as possibly the next Monkees but their music is so bad throughout the film, and they don't show much personality, so that was never a real possibility.

Number one on my "Want to See" List for a couple decades, I finally got hold of a copy via Video Search of Miami around 1994! It's more widely available now, so folks can see for themselves how bad it is. 

Best remembered, if at all, as the final screen appearance of Leo Gorcey, teamed here once again with Huntz Hall, his long-time sidekick from The Dead End Kids, The east Side Kids, and The Bowery Boys.

The Champ, The Colonel, and Tarzan

Andy Devine, Tonto, and the Lone Ranger

Georgie Jessel, Charlie McCarthy and Edgar Bergen

Joan Blondell and Xavier Cugat

Butterfly McQueen

Cass Daley, Leo Gorcey, and Huntz Hall


Tuesday, October 03, 2023

Connecticut in the Movies by Illeana Douglas is Out!

It's not my book. I didn't write it but it almost feels like I did. Illeana Douglas did say it's okay if I feel somewhat proprietary about CONNECTICUT IN THE MOVIES, though, her new book (her second) which was published today, several years after the idea for the book came to the popular actress early on in the pandemic.

Partly raised in Connecticut, the star of Grace of My Heart, Cape Fear, and To Die For bought a house there near her mother's, a bit of a fixer-upper akin to Cary Grant's and Myrna Loy's in the classic screwball comedy Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House, and started writing. Having been a film historian for TCM for tears, too, as well as the granddaughter of Hollywood legend Melvyn Douglas, she knew movies and Connecticut equally well!

Some time later, she was looking for a proofreader and her friend Kliph Nesteroff, the perceptive author of the brilliant history of comedy, THE COMEDIANS, an Internet acquaintance of mine who had once sent me a big box of nifty collectibles (Like Soupy Sales coloring books!) he didn't want to take when he moved to the US from Canada, remembered that I had sent him a number of corrections for his blog and an ARC of his book. Kliph asked if I would be interested and then connected us via email.

Illeana asked for my number but never called. After a couple of months, I presumed she had decided to pass on me. Then one day her name popped up on my Caller ID but she said she was calling someone else and had the wrong number. I explained that I had been expecting her call for a while and she remembered, apologized, and we talked for a while. Next thing you know, I was hired!

She sent me her manuscript, with strict first. As I got into it, and we began exchanging regular emails and phone calls, a trust developed and I ended up as her copy editor, as well as a sounding board, a researcher, and helped with the book's design. I even pieced together a 700-page advance reading copy pdf which was sent around to various people such as Leonard Maltin, Michael McKean, and Ronan Farrow for blurbs.

After nearly a year of us working together and bonding, the book was sent off to the publisher. We expected that to be it for our involvement but there was still more work she was expected to do and my sounding board gig continued on.

But today, it was all worth it. The book is here and it's gorgeous! It's larger than we expected, nearly 400 pages with a great mix of mostly color movie stills, posters, and photos taken personally by Ms. Douglas, who is just as talented a photographer as she is an actress or writer. 

Illeana is going to be doing public appearances for CONNECTICUT IN THE MOVIES for the rest of the year, including events in Chicago and Los Angeles. Also, she's already started work on her next book, and I'm scrambling to finish up several assignments and projects of my own so I'll be ready to jump in and help when she needs me. 

You gotta love the Internet!

Order your copy here!