Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Fun Finds: Movie Stars Magazine, March 1968

This edition of Fun Finds was made possible by a grant from one of our loyal readers. A surprise care package arrived in the mail with several vintage magazines and this was one of them! On the cover are Miss Nancy Sinatra and the four popular Lennon Sisters. (This is one rare time in which I actually prefer Peggy's hairdo to Kathy's - and look how dark Dianne's is! I wonder if someone colorized it incorrectly...) Let's dig in and see what we find within its covers.
There's nothing at all unusual about a feminine protection advertisement in a magazine of this sort, but usually the models aren't wearing huge sanitary napkins themselves! LOL I hope the poor dear doesn't spill any red wine on this dress at dinner (though it will probably soak right into the "soft impressions" and no one would notice...)
This gossip section, authored by famous columnist Army Archerd, touches on the then-fresh split between Tony Curtis and his second wife Christine Kaufmann (the girl he left Janet Leigh for.) He would wed four more times before his death in 2010. Army refers to Sonny Bono's "high-powered" music! James Coburn's wife Beverly hung in there until 1979. What about the "date" between Lainie Kazan and Richard Chamberlain (in mime makeup)? 
Interesting to note that Frank Sinatra offered Candice Bergen the Mia Farrow role in The Detective (after he fired - and divorced - her for not leaving Rosemary's Baby to report to his movie.) The part was ultimately fulfilled by Jacqueline Bisset. Interesting that Roman Polanski's name is misspelled with a "y" on the end. Susan Hayward actually didn't make another movie until 1972, five years after Dolls. The previous owner of the magazine filled out this contest entry chit, but didn't clip and mail it in!
It's interesting to read the take on Lee Marvin and Michelle Triola's live-in arrangement when you know that six years after they broke up in 1970, she sued him, in a landmark case, for what became known in slang as "palimony." She wanted $1.8 million as well as $104K for "rehabilitation purposes," but wound up with $0.00.  It remains a tough row to hoe for those who pursue it with "cohabitation agreements" a common bit of advice to unmarried couples living together. Marlo Thomas never did marry this man. She wed for the first time in 1980 (at age 43) to Phil Donahue, who she'd met on his talk show three years prior.
This chatty section is far cattier than Archerd's column, picking at celebrity relatives who aren't as successful as their kin and taking Debbie Reynolds to task for her style choices. The wedding referred to in the caption for George Hamilton's photo was that of President Lyndon Johnson's daughter Lynda Bird Johnson, who Hamilton dated for a time.
The column continues onto this page, with another feature "Talk to the Stars" beginning as well. Pics include the kids from Family Affair and a trio of Kings (thus representing but a fraction of The King Family!) The Q&A section kicks off with a couple intended for then-hot Sajid Khan (whose Hollywood career only extended a few years after this, though he continued to act sporadically up to the millennium.) Incidentally, if you're curious about Barbara Bain's answer, she said that they had a pact to always work together and held out for the opportunity. Also, that the difficulty came in trying to keep up with his marvelous talent.
As "Talk to the Stars" continues, there's a question for Roger Ewing, an actor I'd never even heard of. After looking him up, I see he was a recurring cast member on Gunsmoke, appeared on several other shows and in some movies before concentrating on photography from the early-'70s on. He was reportedly a contender for the title role in Midnight Cowboy before Jon Voight won the part.
This periodical is big on slipping the text in-between columns of ads versus the more common method of lumping ads together on whole pages. For those that enjoy the vintage advertisements, this is a plus in your book! This continuation of the earlier gossip column reflects on Miss Dina Merrill's loss of social standing when she married an actor and has a Star Trek era pic of Leonard Nimoy, minus the pointed ears. Interesting that as early as 1968 Newman and McQueen were debating billing should they ever team up (which they memorably did in 1974's The Towering Inferno.) Donna Reed's husband at this time only lasted until 1971. Three years after that, she wed for a third and final time.
Ending on this page, we read about Eve Arden's children who may be pursuing show business careers. Connie doesn't appear to have gone on to much, but her youngest son (Douglas Brooks West) did a fair amount of writing, directing and producing as an adult. On a happy note, Mark Slade did indeed marry Melissa in 1968 and they remain together still today!
Robert Culp's marriage to France Nuyen lasted less than three years. He wed two more times while she remained single after 1970. At the bottom is a pic of Lynda Bird Johnson and her groom Chuck Robb. They remain wed to this day.
Having wed in 1960, Sammy Davis Jr. and Swedish actress May Britt faced a considerable uphill battle. (In fact, interracial marriage was forbidden by law in 31 states, eventually being accepted in 14 of them until 1967 when a Supreme Court ruling allowed for them countrywide.)
Having created one child and adopted two more, one might think they had a chance for enduring happiness, but it all fell apart in 1968 (Davis had become involved with frequent co-performer Lola Falana, though May gets all the blame in this article.) Britt (who had been wed once before him and did marry again after Davis) is still alive today at eighty-three. Davis had a successful third marriage in 1970 which lasted until his death in 1990 at age sixty-four. As for the bottom of the sidebar, Dean Martin rather foolishly ended his marriage to Jeanne in 1973 and married once more directly after, but it was over in three years. Joey Bishop stayed with his wife until her death in 1999.
Most folks, especially those who've read this blog (or as noted above!), know that the biggest fissure in Frank Sinatra & Mia Farrow's marriage came when she failed to report to The Detective because Rosemary's Baby was running over schedule and she (rightly, in retrospect) sensed it was going to be a landmark film while her part in The Detective could have been done by virtually anybody. 
The angle in this piece is that both Frank and Sammy were facing down divorce at virtually the same time. She had actually taken time during Baby to visit him on Detective, trying to keep their union alive, but when she missed the start date for her supporting role, she was served with divorce papers almost immediately after.
Say it isn't so? Cissy from Family Affair a slut?
Of course it's not true. One of the guys was a man she was paired with on The Dating Game and the other two were her brother (!) and his friend. Typical bait & switch headline.
Actor Frank Converse
Converse had been the lead on a failed amnesia-centered series called Coronet Blue before doing the show referenced in this article, N.Y.P.D., which focused on three police detectives: Jack Warden, Converse and Robert Hooks. He arguably became better known from the mid-'70s trucker series Movin' On with Claude Akins, but enjoyed a long career that extended to 2012. He's seventy-nine today.
Who knew that at one point Davy Jones and Sally Field enjoyed a series of dates together!?
The angle on this story is that he was the guest brought in to crown a Miss Teen International during a pageant in which she was taking part (but didn't win) and gave her a kiss then. But later during The Flying Nun they went on some dates. It didn't last terribly long because she wed first husband Steve Craig in 1968. Jones also wed in '68, but it was kept under wraps to avoid upsetting his teen fans from The Monkees. He had been married three times by the time of his death in 2012 at only age sixty-six.
Here's Davy Jones sidled up to two of Dean Martin's daughters!
Dean was proud of all his children, but Dean Paul Martin (who, for a time went by Dino and was in the music act Dino, Desi & Billy) was a particular favorite. Dean Paul had been married and divorced from both Olivia Hussey and Dorothy Hamel when he died in a National Guard-related plane crash at only age thirty-five. His father was never the same after that. Deana Martin had a thriving music/acting career in the 1960s, later turning to live performance (in Branson, MO, for example) and then recordings produced by her husband.
Here we find a splashy, two-page spread of paparazzi photos featuring Peter O'Toole and then-wife Sian Phillips.
The text refers to her as "ex-actress" though she wasn't exactly idle! She was raising their two children, but still worked occasionally and, in fact, had two films released in 1969. In 1976 came her most striking work, likely, as Livia in I, Claudius on the BBC. They divorced in 1979 after two decades of marriage and Ms. Phillips is eighty-four now. (After O'Toole, she was wed for a dozen years to actor Robin Sachs.)
Now, the cover story, about Nancy Sinatra and The Lennon Sisters (two acts you typically don't associate with one another!) "leaving the men they love. Though it is carefully done, Nancy was NOT in the middle of the sisters during this photo. She's been sneakily cut and pasted in!
The gist of the story is that The Lennon Sisters were departing The Lawrence Welk Show, where they began, to star on Jimmy Durante Presents The Lennon Sisters. The variety show was marred by the uneasy combination of costars, compounded by the horrifying murder of their father by a deranged fan in 1969. And as it turns out, Nancy wasn't leaving anyone! Her collaborator Lee Hazlewood was striking out on his own and moving to Sweden. After many 1960s hits, they reunited in the early-'70s to less fanfare.
Maureen O'Hara kicks off a two-part feature about her life and beliefs.
I thought it was fascinating that in 1968 she says about too much idle time for young people: "There are many, many conveniences, too. What it used to take hours to do, it now takes only minutes." Good lord, it must be seconds now! I've seen sweeping changes since I came along in 1967! She later goes into how she won a screen test at age sixteen and eventually came to Hollywood.
This feature, a continuing series "Complete Pocket Guide to Hollywood," offers photos and little thumbnail bios of any and all stars of movies and TV at that time. Equal weight is given to people whether they were Oscar-winning legends or regulars on a TV show.
As this installment only goes from Kellerman to Knotts and appeared in a monthly magazine, one assumes it took quite a while to amass the entire "pocket" guide! (They must have had bigger pockets than me...!)
Lynn Loring was a child soap actress (on Search for Tomorrow) who grew up and found much work on television. Thinnes also began on a soap (General Hospital) and later starred in the short-lived shows The Long, Hot Summer and The Invaders. And, of course, had a role in Airport 1975, making him a member of our "Disaster Movie Club."
The couple (who, according to the text met in 1964, though Thinnes was married until 1967 to his first wife!) seemed to have a successful union, working together often in the late-'60s and 1970s, divorced in 1984. She didn't remarry, but he did two more times.
I'm sorta doubting it...
I have to say I've never seen either of the movies featuring these two stars together. Anyway, all the text is just a bunch of gibberish to provide a reason for these press shots taken upon Rock's arrival in Rome for filming.
Wrapping up, I close with a couple of ads and one page that had more writing on it from our magazine's original owner. Again, he didn't clip and send it in, but maybe he was ashamed of his mess-up and scratch-outs. LOL
Kicky, '60s bargain fashions.
Finally, this lunatic ad that promises to increase cleavage to an eye-popping degree with Mark Eden exercises using a clamshell-like device... The company was indicted for mail fraud and these ads (and the "product") were withdrawn by the early-1970s.

I'm in the midst of learning a new position at work (after 17 years in the same one!), so it's been tough to gather time for posting. I hope that I'll be able to keep everything rolling as 2018 dawns, though it may result in some briefer, less-involved postings. I'll be back as soon as it's feasible!  Thanks.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Fond Farewell: Liz Smith 1923-2017

Well, we were terribly remiss in not acknowledging the recent passing of celebrity journalist Liz Smith on November 12th.  Ms. Smith, a Texan by birth, earned a degree in journalism and began writing in the late-1940s, continuing on until practically the day of her death. Her very long career began with everything from proofreading and editing to reporting and producing, in her early days for Mike Wallace. She even dreamed up quite a few gags for the venerable TV show Candid Camera during its hey-day.

Smith is seen in the inset with silver screen legend Myrna Loy.
Focusing more on celebrity gossip, promotion and other assorted tidbits during the 1950s (having taken over the popular "Cholly Knickerbocker" anonymous newspaper column), she also served as an entertainment reporter for such enduring magazines as Cosmopolitan and Sports Illustrated for a period of time. By the mid-1970s, she was the author of a very popular self-titled column (ultimately running in three New York papers simultaneously) and later began appearing on TV as well.

Among her many celeb pals are, as seen here, Candice Bergen, Liza Minnelli, Lena Horne, Barbara Walters, Carol Burnett, Beverly Sills and Bette Midler. These are but a smattering of those with whom she was associated.
Celebrating with Elaine Stritch.
Never a fearsome, taunting type of celebrity reporter, she won the trust of many a movie star and musician by relaying fair and often complimentary information. (She found herself on the receiving end of criticism and parody for her "soft" approach to the stars, but this same approach also lent her an inside track that some of her competitors were denied.) She literally knew everybody who was anybody. As her own name value grew, she took pleasure in helping to raise money for several charities.

Her recognizability took an upswing when she famously became embroiled in the Donald and Ivana Trump divorce, siding with the Mrs., who she felt was treated horribly by her wealthy and high-powered husband. (It's doubtful, however, that Ivana has a framed 5x7 of this particular snapshot in her home! LOL) In later years, Ms. Smith continued to stay active and informed about celebrities, though understandably was left confounded by what passed for fame after the advent of reality TV, the Internet and other modern forms of "entertainment" that yield people who are followed and adored for practically no reason whatsoever.
Still clicking away at a keyboard after seventy years in the biz, Ms. Smith was continuing to provide a viewpoint from her column in the online New York Social Diary website when she was claimed by natural causes at ninety-four years of age. To think that a person with her awe-inspiring connections and career would bother for a moment to wade through my blatherings here is mind-boggling, but she did. And she was kind in complimenting me more than once. We thanked her then, but we do so again now! Rest in peace, Ms. Smith.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving Turkey

Happy Thanksgiving! You know, in The Underworld, we really don't celebrate in the traditional manner, so when we carve up and serve a turkey, we're not dealing with white or dark meat or wings or legs. We're giving you movies that were real turkeys... at least to some of the people involved with them, if not the public at large. These fifteen pieces are from the delightful book "Hollywood Talks Turkey," which we have offered up once here and then revisited here. But there is still some meat stuck to its bones, so we're digging in AGAIN! Enjoy. And I hope you're holiday is great.

CAROL BURNETT: After my first film, Who's Been Sleeping in My Bed? (1963), I should have been given the award for "Worst Performance Ever Given in Movies by an Actress." I was confused, bored and I missed the [live] audience. Nothing was spontaneous. If CBS ever shows that turkey on their late show, I'll break my contract.
OLEG CASSINI: Despite the boycott [allegedly begun by Darryl Zanuck who was angry that his star Gene Tierney wed the designer], I did get some free-lance design jobs during this time. The first was one of Gene's films, The Shanghai Gesture (1941.) ... But the film was an overwrought turkey destroyed by the critics, who gave Gene her first bad reviews. ... As a souvenir of the experience, Gene had brought home carved figurines of each character of the film - they had been used in a particularly absurd dinner scene near the end. When the picture opened and bombed, I took the figurines out to the backyard, lined them up along the top of our fence and executed them with a hunting rifle. "How could you do it?," Gene screamed when she learned about the firing squad. "You know I wanted to keep them!" "Those characters deserved to die," I told her. "Now at least we won't be constantly reminded of that dreadful movie."
JOSEPH COTTEN: The Radio City Music Hall haunted me. Somehow, I felt I had been cheated out of a childhood ambition [to have a film open there]. Imagine my delight when, some 40-odd years later, my dream came true. I appeared in Heaven's Gate (1980), which cost over $40,000,000 and was the most expensive picture ever to open in the Radio City Music Hall. It was such a disaster that it closed the Music Hall.
VINCE EDWARDS: Frankly, I was discouraged by the poor previews for Mr. Universe (1951.) I never liked the plot in the first place. But I took it because it spelled opportunity. After I saw the picture, I was convinced I had done the wrong thing. It was a lousy way to make a debut in movies--as a big, dumb, blond kid. That kind of character gets you labeled.
JANE FONDA: Everyone has to start somewhere. But after Tall Story (1960), there was nowhere for me to go but up.
PAUL NEWMAN: I had the privilege of doing the worst motion picture filmed during the fifties--The Silver Chalice (1954.) ... How many other actors have you spoken to who can say with complete objectivity that they were in the worst motion picture made in the fifties--a film that cost $4,500,000? That makes me very special. When they ran The Silver Chalice on Los Angeles television three or four years ago, I took out ads in the newspapers apologizing for what was going to happen on channel nine that night. But it backfired. Everybody wanted to know what I was apologizing for, and the picture ended up with the second or third highest rating of any picture that station had ever shown.
ROSALIND RUSSELL: The first lead I played at Metro--it was forced on me, I went down hollering--was a B movie called The Casino Murder Case (1935), with Paul Lukas. It was so bad, and I was so bad in it, that it gave my maid Hazel ammunition for seasons to come. "If you don't behave," she'd say, "I'm going to tell people about that Casino Murder Case."
DINAH SHORE: Making movies was so boring. You sat around interminably. And I never thought I was photogenic. I thought I looked horrible on the Technicolor screen. To this day, if I hear some of those recordings and see those movies my knees start knocking. Now those monumental successes are played on TV at three o'clock in the morning. I've become and insomniac's nightmare! Anyone who'd stay up to those ungodly hours to see Aaron Slick from Punkin Crick (1952) deserves what he gets.
LEA THOMPSON: The "H" word--that's how I refer to Howard the Duck (1986.) I'd never seen the press go after something like that. I was in such shock. I wasn't prepared. You can say anything about the movie--I'm not defending it--but you have to realize how much work it was, six months, every single day. I was so committed to that duck--I had to fall in love with a mechanical ILM effect, and in order to do that you have to believe. So, yeah, it was really disappointing.
ELIZABETH TAYLOR: The final humiliation was to have to see Cleopatra (1963.) The British Embassy trapped me into it. They requested me to take the Bolshoi Ballet as my guests to a screening of Cleopatra. I couldn't very well say no. When it was over, I raced back to the Dorchester Hotel and just made it to the downstairs lavatory before I vomited. I'm being sued by 20th Century-Fox and one of their complaints is that when somebody asks me what I think of their film, I tell them.
MARLON BRANDO: The Freshman (1990)--it's going to be a flop, but after this, I'm retiring. I'm so fed up. This picture, except for the Canadian crew, was an extremely unpleasant experience. I wish I hadn't finished with a stinker. [Brando went on to further gems such as Christopher Columbus: The Discovery (1992), The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996) and Free Money (1998). his last movie actually being The Score (2001.)]
DIANA DORS: They brought me here as a sex bomb, a supposed threat to Marilyn Monroe. And who did they give me for leading men? George Gobel in I Married a Woman (1958) and Rod Steiger in The Unholy Wife (1957)! I should have had Bill Holden or Cary Grant. I had to carry the whole burden myself, and the pictures fizzled. I was a sex bomb, all right--with the accent on "bomb." [The Unholy Wife did also have Tom Tryon as Dors' lover.]
ROGER MOORE: It's a period in my life I just laugh about now. I remember my biggest part was opposite Lana Turner in a bomb called Diane (1956.) Time said, "Lana Turner as Diane de Poitiers walked on the screen in a clattering of heels and a fluttering of false eyelashes, followed by a lump of English roast beef." I was the English roast beef. The they [MGM] asked me to leave. "Just check your wardrobe and clear out" is the way they put it. I arrived in America on April Fool's Day, 1954. I should have known that meant something.
VICTORIA PRINCIPAL: I think I have an irrational fear of features. I did something called The Naked Ape (1973), which is arguably one of the 10 worst movies ever made. That began such a painful period in my life, and I always connect it to features.
And this was my favorite! ~~~~~
MARGUERITE CHAPMAN: The Amazing Transparent Man (1960) was filmed in Dallas, Texas, with oil money. They needed a money loser, and they sure got it. It was never publicized. I don't know of any theaters that played it, though a few little fleatraps somewhere may have had a death wish. When I arrived in Dallas, Les Guthrie, our director, had just done three films in a row for these people and told me, "I've never had so much trouble. All I need now is for the motel to burn down." Later that evening...the roof of the motel caught fire and it was spreading to where I was. Quick as a flash, Les rushed in--to save me, I thought. Instead, he grabbed my studio clothes lined up by the drapes and ran out with them. A minute later, James Griffith, one of the actors in the film, hollered in, "I've got to save my guns! I'll be back for you!" ... The motel was saved. ... The odor from the fire was so foul that I asked if I couldn't please be moved to a hotel. So they put me on the 13th floor of a Dallas hotel. I no sooner got settled in than a waiter blithely announced, "Oh, this is the room where a lady jumped to her death from one of the windows"! Everyone who came in said this to me. The day after the picture finished, I called a couple I knew in Fort Worth and pleaded with them to come and get me. "I can't stay in this room a minute more," I said. ... After a while trouble popped up there, too. My friend's husband tried to rape me! ... What do I think of The Amazing Transparent Man? What would you think of The Amazing Transparent Man?! Pukesville! It was my last movie.
Wishing all my Poseidon's Underworld readers a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving!