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Summer Under the Stars: George Sanders

These films are airing the morning of August 30 on George Sanders' day:

 

CAIRO (1963)
 

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George Sanders collaborated with Wolf Rilla again, the same director he had worked with three years earlier on VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED. This time around George plays a British major who plans a daring heist in Cairo. The goal is to rob a museum which houses King Tut’s jewels and various other artifacts. A cast of shady characters is in on the deal, and the caper goes off perfectly until an alarm inside the museum is triggered. They make a getaway but not before one of the men has been shot. The police close in on several suspects, and things really fall apart when a double cross is attempted. By the end of the picture, practically everyone is dead except George. Eventually he gets caught during a police raid, while he’s admiring a belly dancer. His best laid plans to flee the country have suddenly gone belly up.
 

BLUEBEARD’S TEN HONEYMOONS (1960)
 

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If you’re a producer and you’ve got a script where the main character seduces and kills lonely middle-aged women for their money, and it’s 1960, you know which actor to call and offer the part to. Yes, you dial 1-800-SANDERS. You hope he’s home and willing to answer the phone. You tell him there’s a decent salary. Plus he can work with gorgeous leading ladies like Corinne Calvet, Patricia Roc and Jean Kent. You tell him the director will be Billy Wilder’s brother and it will be filmed in England. You tell him he will have as much fun as he can possibly imagine. You tell him, by George, he is just perfect for this role and he must agree to do it. And if he doesn’t do it, then Vincent Price will be more happy to step in.
 

VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED (1960)
 

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At the end of 1960 George Sanders returned to motion picture screens in a big way. He was headlining a British science fiction horror film that would quickly become a cult classic, lead to a sequel and inspire countless rip-offs. The MGM production was directed by Wolf Rilla, was written by noted screenwriter Stirling Silliphant, and made back seven times its budget. To say VILLAGE was a runaway hit is a gross understatement. In the story George plays Gordon Zellaby, a man who’s concerned when local women start producing children that grow fast and have similar eerie characteristics. Within a short period of time, the entire community begins to experience several strange phenomena. Because of the kids’ deep penetrating eyes, people start doing things they wouldn’t normally do. Moviegoers were under their spell too– the children kept telling people to come back and watch the film again.
 

THE SAINT STRIKES BACK (1939)
 

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This was George Sanders’ first film at RKO, and his first one playing Simon Templar (a.k.a. The Saint). It also paired him with leading lady Wendy Barrie for the first time, and they would make five movies together– in this franchise and in the follow-up franchise known as The Falcon. Sanders had taken over the crime fighter role from Louis Hayward and would make four films as the Saint and four more as the Falcon.
 

THE GAY FALCON (1941)
 

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A contractual dispute with the writer of the source material prevented the studio from making any more Saint films for a while. But in the meantime, RKO decided it could use a story idea from another author and fashion it into a new franchise that vaguely resembled the Saint. So in late October, the first one of these titles premiered. Again, George was cast as the lead crime solver, and Wendy Barrie– who had played his leading lady several times before, was also featured. THE GAY FALCON did very well with audiences and earned a tidy profit. As a result, the studio forged ahead and many sequels were produced. Though George would only appear in four of the Falcon films.
 

THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY (1945)
 

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One of his most memorable screen roles. He was cast in a handsomely mounted production based on Oscar Wilde’s well-known story. The title role was played by Hollywood newcomer Hurd Hatfield, but George practically stole the picture away from him as the corrupt Lord Henry Wotton. The story begins simply enough, but gains traction when George’s character meets Dorian and becomes an evil influence on him. Things spiral out of control from here, leading to the suicide of a singer played by Angela Lansbury. This was the first motion picture George made with Lansbury; they would go on to make two more together in the 1940s, plus another one in the mid-60s.
 

FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT (1940)
 

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An Alfred Hitchcock thriller which starred Joel McCrea and Laraine Day. While REBECCA had been produced by David Selznick (and became the year’s Best Picture Oscar recipient), FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT was a United Artists release from producer Walter Wanger. George plays a reporter named Scott ffolliott, who somewhere along the way lost the capital letter of his last name. The picture was a hit with audiences and critics, and in addition to its nomination for Best Picture, it had nominations in five other categories. Unfortunately, it did not win any.

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TopBilled, your write-up of BLUEBEARD'S TEN HONEYMOONS was one of the funniest things I've read lately.

 

Thanks. I'm glad TCM is airing it in a few days.

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Summer Under the Stars: George Sanders

These films are airing the evening of August 30 on George Sanders' day:

 

A SHOT IN THE DARK (1964)
 

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George Sanders may have earned an Oscar for dramatic work but one gets the feeling he enjoyed making comedies a bit more. In the 60s he had the chance to play a variety of amusing characters, usually in farces that involved some sort of major crime. In the sequel to THE PINK PANTHER, he gets to share scenes with Peter Sellers, who as Clouseau, is inspecting a series of murders that take place on George’s lavish estate. A SHOT IN THE DARK was rushed into production on the heels of the first film’s overwhelming success and it was actually not intended to be a sequel (the main character was not Clouseau), but it was revised to fit the Pink Panther format. It was a huge success– probably George’s biggest film of the decade after VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED.
 

DEATH OF A SCOUNDREL (1956)
 

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This film was kind of a ‘family affair.’ It featured George Sanders' older brother, actor Tom Conway, in a minor role. Previously they costarred in THE FALCON’S BROTHER. Another notable cast member in this RKO production was George’s ex-wife Zsa Zsa Gabor. She portrayed one of the women that his character went through like water. Not sure if Zsa Zsa ever considered George a scoundrel in real life; it’s doubtful since she was willing to make a movie with him after their divorce. DEATH OF A SCOUNDREL was based on the life of noted financier Serge Rubinstein who died under very mysterious circumstances.


JOURNEY TO ITALY (1954)
 

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George Sanders took a break from Hollywood studio filmmaking when he went off to Europe to make this independent production with Ingrid Bergman and her husband Roberto Rossellini. He had previously costarred with Ingrid in 1941’s RAGE IN HEAVEN. This time around they’re more mature, wiser. They play a couple on vacation in Italy, dealing with the fact their marriage is falling apart. In the beginning they tour the Italian countryside together in a 1950 Bentley but soon separate. She then explores Naples on her own, and he goes off to Capri to be with other women. The absence of romance between them is a sore spot, and both are haunted by demons in their relationship– including the fact they are childless. In the end, he comes back from Capri and they reunite, willing to start over as a couple and recapture the magic they once shared. This is one of George Sanders’ very best films and is included in Steven Schneider’s ‘1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.’
 

A TOUCH OF LARCENY (1960)
 

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This film was released at the end of 1959 in Britain and found its way to North American screens in early 1960. James Mason plays a military officer who makes it seem like he’s selling secrets to the Russians so he can sue the newspapers for libel. He falls in love with a woman (Vera Miles) who happens to be engaged to a stuffy English aristocrat– you guessed it, George Sanders. When George’s character catches wind of the scheme, he sets out to expose Mason in order to keep the guy away from Miles. The clever screenplay was nominated for a BAFTA award. Critic Pauline Kael describes it as a pleasant adult comedy that should be better known.
 

LURED (1947)
 

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A United Artists release directed by Douglas Sirk. George Sanders had collaborated with Sirk before, but this was the first (and only) time he worked with Lucille Ball and Charles Coburn. The film is a remake of a French film called PIEGES which was directed by Robert Siodmak and starred Maurice Chevalier. George is a dashing man about town who falls for a dancer (Ball) that is assisting the police. It is her job to nab a killer, and though she begins to fall in love with George, she is not sure of his innocence. 


CONFESSIONS OF A NAZI SPY (1939)
 

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A Warner Brothers tale about espionage. In this tense pre-war drama an FBI investigator (Edward G. Robinson) looks into suspicious activities sponsored by the Nazi party in America. Other costars included Francis Lederer and Paul Lukas. But it was George who stole the show as one of the villainous Nazis.

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Coming up in September

 

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Happy (“gay”) titles…sometimes the title takes on a whole other meaning.

 

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More visiting the set…memories of other visits I made to Hollywood sets.

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Conversation piece…a new feature; every other month I will share a dialogue I have had with another classic film fan.

 

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When Klaatu arrived in a saucer…I was so excited I couldn’t stand still THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL.

 

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The news about James Dean’s death…looking at newspaper articles printed just after September 30, 1955.

 

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Join me in September!

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Happy (“gay”) titles

 

When I was first discovering classic movies, there was a Barbara Stanwyck film with a strange title. No, it was not THE STRANGE LOVE OF MARTHA IVERS, though I do agree the relationship between young Martha and her wicked old aunt (Judith Anderson) was quite unusual.
 

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The title that stood out as being incredibly strange was THE GAY SISTERS. I know the word ‘gay’ can be used as a name. Actress Marcia Gay Harden comes to mind. So I thought maybe this Stanwyck flick was about a group of sisters who had the last name ‘Gay.’ But it wasn’t exactly so– their last name in the story is actually Gaylord. I have no idea why Warner Brothers didn’t call it THE GAYLORD SISTERS. Perhaps they wanted audiences to see they were gay sisters as in happy sisters. If you go with this idea, then you can probably enjoy the film quite a bit.
 

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Other films have used the word ‘gay’ in the title. For instance there is THE GAY FALCON (where George Sanders’ character is named Gay Laurence). And there’s the Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers musical THE GAY DIVORCEE. If it was remade today, Hollywood would probably retitle it THE HAPPY DIVORCEE. If the word ‘gay’ remained in the title, it might be marketed towards a certain audience and screened at a pride festival.
 

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One film I haven’t seen is a Paramount coming-of-age drama called OUR HEARTS WERE YOUNG AND GAY. If that title was used for a new release, it would definitely be a coming of age drama about a gay teen struggling with his or her sexual identity. And it would likely not be in the past tense but the present tense. Unless it was a story about people whose orientations evolved. I don’t even want to go there.
 

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During the 2003-04 television season NBC aired a sitcom called Happy Family. It starred John Larroquette and Christine Baranski. It only lasted a season. Maybe that’s because it wasn’t ‘gay’ enough. Speaking of sitcoms, do you remember the theme song for The Partridge Family?  Yeah, that’s right– 
 

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More visiting the set, part 1

 

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The most fun I ever had on any set was on The Drew Carey ShowDrew had a lucrative contract with ABC, like Roseanne Barr had. By the time the series reached its final season, it had declined significatly in the ratings. But the network couldn’t cancel it, because they still owed Drew another full season on his contract. So during the last year he was making new episodes, ABC pulled it from the schedule and put it on an extended hiatus instead of canceling it. They aired the whole final season the following summer, with two episodes per week. It ended up getting better ratings at the end, because it was competing against other programs that were by then in reruns.
 

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When I visited the set, it was in the early fall of 2003. The atmosphere on the set was very relaxed. They knew what they were filming wouldn’t be broadcast until ten months later and it was the last season, so there was no pressure except to entertain. Marion Ross was the special guest star; she played Drew’s mom. He truly admired her and brought her over to us and encouraged her to play Happy Days trivia with everyone. It was cute.
 

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The show used a lot of extras in the office scenes. Plus he had a large cast of supporting and recurring characters. Those guys were his buddies, and most of them also appeared on his other show Whose Line Is It Anyway?— they were crazy in a good way. Like a vaudeville troupe, that’s the best way to describe their work environment.
 

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At one point they had to pause to reset the cameras. It took longer than usual. So to relieve the boredom, Ryan Stiles (who played Lewis for all nine seasons) came out of the wings and rode downstage on a unicycle. He did juggling routines while balancing himself on the unicycle, then someone else joined him onstage walking on stilts. They were outrageous. As soon as the cameras were ready the unicycle, juggling balls and stilts were put back into the wings. Then they quickly took their places in the scene and continued as if everything was business as usual.
 

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There were quite a few scenes for this particular episode. I had never been to Drew’s set before so I am not sure if it normally took them this long, but because we had all been there for several hours, people were getting hungry. So Drew had boxes of pizza delivered. Everyone was eating pizza while the last scene was being filmed. Drew was really down to earth, lots of fun.

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Loved THE DREW  CAREY SHOW especially the first couple of seasons.

 

It's been fun writing these. Some of the visits occurred almost 15 years ago. When I was at the Golden Girls set, it was over 25 years ago (still a kid and quite naive about the television production process).

 

It's interesting how the details come flooding back, like it was just yesterday. The next one I will post is when I went to the set of Reba McEntire's sitcom. In October and November, I will share my memories from the sets of Designing Women, Evening Shade, Will & Grace and Soap Talk. I went to DW several times; and I attended almost 100 tapings of ST so I could write a book about that show.

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It's been fun writing these. Some of the visits occurred almost 15 years ago. When I was at the Golden Girls set, it was over 25 years ago (still a kid and quite naive about the television production process).

 

It's interesting how the details come flooding back, like it was just yesterday. The next one I will post is when I went to the set of Reba McEntire's sitcom. In October and November, I will share my memories from the sets of Designing Women, Evening Shade, Will & Grace and Soap Talk. I went to DW several times; and I attended almost 100 tapings of ST so I could write a book about that show.

We want that book - nostalgia does sell.

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We want that book - nostalgia does sell.

 

Thanks Ray for the encouragement. I will keep that in mind!

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More visiting the set, part 2

 

The episode I watched being filmed on Reba was called ‘Happy Pills’ produced at the end of season 3. In the outside hallway people were lining up for a Golden Girls reunion special for Lifetime. This was at Fox studio in Century City. The set for Reba’s show was very orderly, almost solemn at times.

 

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They were making a comedy, but it was more like going to church. Unlike other shows where people showed up and it was rather informal, Reba was considerably formal. Everyone was given a little booklet (printed program) like when you go to see a play. They took this filming very seriously.

 

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The set for Reba’s living room and front porch was downstage right, and the kitchen was center stage. Downstage left was her ex-husband’s home. Literally all side by side. So when she walked from her home into their home (and vice-versa), she stepped from one right into the other with no fake background in between.

 

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The guy who played Reba’s son-in-law Van (Steve Howey) was a practical joker. Probably in defiance of the strict filming atmosphere. There was a scene where Reba was supposed to jump off the sofa and hop into her boots, then run out the door. But this guy had put marbles in one of the boots. She tried to maintain her composure as she put the boot on with the marbles in it. But she could barely walk and started to crack up. She took the boot off, then handed it to him and said he lost his marbles. After a good laugh, they redid the scene correctly.

 

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She had a good rapport with the kid (Mitch Holleman) who played her young son. And the actress who played her ex-husband’s new wife (Melissa Peterman) seemed to be in awe of Reba McEntire. We all were.

 

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Conversation piece No. 1

 

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It’s fun to “meet” new people online who enjoy classic films. Earlier this year a guy named Curtis liked one of the reviews I posted on the IMDb. He found me on Facebook, and we’ve corresponded quite a bit. 
 

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Curtis: Good evening Jarrod, I enjoyed LURED and found Lucy to be more effective than she was in her role in THE DARK CORNER.  I did feel like the story lost momentum and became somewhat convoluted in the middle only to pick up steam again in the final third.  I truly enjoyed the presence of character actors Charles Coburn, George Sanders and Cedric Hardwicke.
 

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Me: Yes, I would agree the middle part of the story drags– the stuff with Alan Mowbray and the girls taking jobs in South America could have been eliminated without affecting the main story. Lucy’s line readings are kind of odd in some scenes. But she does have chemistry with Sanders.
 

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Curtis: Thank you for also recommending BLANCHE FURY. The movie had an engaging storyline and strong performances from Valerie Hobson and Stewart Granger. Valerie Hobson was immediately familiar to me from GREAT EXPECTATIONS and THE INTERRUPTED JOURNEY.
 

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Me: I’m glad you enjoyed BLANCHE FURY– the minute the horse rides up in the beginning, I’m hooked. The Technicolor cinematography is amazing, and I love the whole gothic feel to it, especially the cryptic ending. Another thing I like is how the subplot with the gypsies seems independent of the main plot, but then there’s an event that connects everything and that’s when we start to see what kind of man Granger’s character is.
 

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Curtis: I can easily see why you would enjoy BLANCHE FURY.  The film is very engaging and holds one’s interest from beginning to end.  The opening scene with the galloping horses grabs the viewer right away in addition to exhibiting fantastic cinematography and energy.
 

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Valerie Hobson and Stewart Granger both nailed their roles and were perfectly cast.  There are many stylish scenes and touches in addition to the wonderful gothic atmosphere.  I love the segment when Valerie Hobson first spots Stewart Granger wearing the red bandana shortly before the murders take place. For some reason, the film makes me think of THE WICKED LADY with Margaret Lockwood.

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When Klaatu arrived in a saucer

 

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It was a summer morning when he arrived. A fast-moving object circled the planet and landed in Washington D.C. Then a crowd quickly gathered around the large, metallic saucer; and a man named Klaatu emerged. He told everyone he had brought a gift for our president.

 

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A group of soldiers surrounded the alien aircraft. One of the soldiers didn’t believe that Klaatu had come in peace and shot him.

 

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Then an enormous robot named Gort stepped out of the saucer, and people ran in terror. Gort emitted a mysterious ray that melted the soldier’s weapon until Klaatu told him to stop.

 

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Klaatu was taken to Walter Reed Hospital, where it was learned he had journeyed 250 million miles to Earth. Klaatu said he needed to talk to all of our leaders, but due to the world’s unstable political climate, they couldn’t agree on how to meet. Klaatu emphasized that his mission was too important to be derailed by international squabbles. The future of each nation was at stake.

 

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The next day Klaatu had sufficiently recovered from his wound. He was told our president invited the world’s leaders to meet, but many refused unless they could host the summit. Klaatu then decided to learn more about us, and he escaped from the hospital. News broadcasts announced Klaatu’s disappearance, but they didn’t have any pictures of him.

 

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Klaatu began to use the name Carpenter. This was when he rented a room at the boardinghouse where I lived with my mother. Klaatu wanted to go on a tour of Washington, so I went with him. During our tour, he took me to visit the saucer. But when we returned to the boardinghouse, a government agent picked up Klaatu. He tried to explain that Earth’s people are reaching a technological level at which they might be a danger to other planets. He was here to warn us all of the consequences of our actions. But would we listen?

 

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The news about James Dean’s death

 

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James Dean died on Friday September 30, 1955 at 5:40 p.m. Everyone read about it in the newspaper:
 

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This article, published on October 1, compared him to Marlon Brando and said he was the second young movie star to die this year. The first one was Robert Francis who perished in a plane crash at the end of July. James Dean was described by the writer as an amateur racing enthusiast who was on his way to a road race in Salinas when he was killed in a head-on collision. Apparently a college student named Donald Turnupseed was in the other car that James Dean hit. But Turnupseed only suffered minor injuries. The actor was still alive when the ambulance arrived, but he died on the way to the hospital. He had a broken neck, his arms were fractured, and he had internal injuries. A passenger named Ralph Wuetherich survived; he had serious injuries.
 

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The above clip was published on October 2, and it gives us a bit of irony. Supposedly he had received a speeding ticket about two hours before the crash that claimed his life. As you can see in the last paragraph, they figured out how fast he was driving from when he got the ticket to where his car went off the road.
 

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Here’s a newspaper from Jimmy’s home community in Indiana (he is called Jimmy in the article). It was published on October 6, which leads me to believe The Fairmount News was a weekly paper. It repeats most of the same information from the first article I included, with one notable exception– they claim he was struck by the other car, not that he struck the other car. He is not remembered as being at fault.
 

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Coming up in October

 

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Glasses in the movies…eye thought it was time to take a closer look at classic cinema.
 

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Writing the first review…when nobody else has commented about what’s on screen.
 

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Visiting the set of Will & GraceI wish I had been there more often.


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Actresses marrying into royalty…Grace Kelly wasn’t the first one.
 

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Marion Crane is driving out of Phoenix…and she’s never coming back.
 

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Join me in October!

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Glasses in the movies

 

Eyewear can be memorable in the movies. Just ask Harold Lloyd. It became a trademark for him.

 

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When Hildegarde Withers solved crimes she used her specs to make sure she could see all the clues and stare at anyone who might be guilty.

 

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Harpo Marx had his horn and a harp. Brother Groucho had a cigar, a mustache and these:

 

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Marilyn made lenses look sexy.

 

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In DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES Jack Lemmon experienced blurred vision when he used these glasses:

 

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TopBilled:  Remember the important part glasses play in STRANGERS ON A TRAIN.

 

Dorothy Parker allegedly said "guys don't make passes at girls who wear glasses" but Ingrid Bergman looked good in them in SPELLBOUND.  Dorothy Malone removed hers for Bogart in THE BIG SLEEP.

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TopBilled:  Remember the important part glasses play in STRANGERS ON A TRAIN.

 

Dorothy Parker allegedly said "guys don't make passes at girls who wear glasses" but Ingrid Bergman looked good in them in SPELLBOUND.  Dorothy Malone removed hers for Bogart in THE BIG SLEEP.

And Christopher Gable took Twiggy's glasses off in "The Boyfriend" and told her that she was beautiful.

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TopBilled:  Remember the important part glasses play in STRANGERS ON A TRAIN.

 

Dorothy Parker allegedly said "guys don't make passes at girls who wear glasses" but Ingrid Bergman looked good in them in SPELLBOUND.  Dorothy Malone removed hers for Bogart in THE BIG SLEEP.

 

I love your mentioning Ingrid Bergman and Dorothy Malone. I easily could've done a two-parter on glasses in the movies.

 

And Christopher Gable took Twiggy's glasses off in "The Boyfriend" and told her that she was beautiful.

 

I still haven't seen THE BOYFRIEND. And I know TCM airs it a few times each year.

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And Christopher Gable took Twiggy's glasses off in "The Boyfriend" and told her that she was beautiful.

 

Funny but today's Dear Abby had a future in-law saying that the bride-to-be demanded that family members get contact lenses because glasses look awful in photos.      Wow, some people have nerve.   If I got such a request, even if it was from my own sister or niece, I would just decline to attend. 

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Writing the first review

 

screen4.jpg?w=660

Recently I watched The White Shadow on Hulu. It stars Ken Howard and is about a basketball coach at an inner city high school in the late 1970s.

One episode was about a gay athlete. I went to the IMDb expecting to find a few comments from others who might have seen it– to see if they had perceived the story as I did. However, no other user reviews had been posted. So my review became the first one:

 

A gay kid on the team? (“One of the Boys” from season 1, episode 8)

 

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I was too young when the show originally aired to remember much about the stories, so it’s been interesting to look at the episodes again. 

Mostly I feel this episode is a product of its era. It’s obvious the writers and producers are trying to cover different social issues and it’s interesting they chose to do a story about a potentially gay youth right near the beginning. (The troubled kid is played by Peter Horton in his first acting role.) But the biases of the era are prevalent, despite any good intentions. They never use the word gay. The word homosexual is used continuously throughout the story, making it seem clinical, like the kid has an affliction that can and should be cured.

Also, they never come right out and say the kid is actually homosexual. They deliberately leave it ambiguous, meaning the audience is free to think he’s confused or misunderstood and even mislabeled by the ones who pick on him. Despite his not being confirmed as gay, they make a point of exiting him from this environment so they are not obligated to use him (or any other related gay character) again. If this episode had been produced now, he might be a regular member of the cast or at least recurring.

It’s noteworthy they made him have a breakdown in his last scene. Where he has a huge emotional catharsis then gains the fortitude to go forward in life and be a man, presumably one who can put homosexuality in its place.

 

screen-shot-2017-09-27-at-6-41-54-am.png

Hulu labels this as a Fox Television Classic. When I look at the episode and see its treatment of the subject, I wouldn’t say it’s classic. I’d say it’s archaic.

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TopBilled, It is archaic as you so rightly point out.  It is symptomatic of the times in movie & TV portrayals of gays.  Actually, the show was considered progressive in that white liberal way of the 1970's.  I remember watching the show pretty regularly when it was originally broadcast but haven't seen it since then.

 

If the show was made today there is no way you're going to have three white kids on an eight-man team in an inner city high school.

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Writing the first review

 

screen4.jpg?w=660

Recently I watched The White Shadow on Hulu. It stars Ken Howard and is about a basketball coach at an inner city high school in the late 1970s.

One episode was about a gay athlete. I went to the IMDb expecting to find a few comments from others who might have seen it– to see if they had perceived the story as I did. However, no other user reviews had been posted. So my review became the first one:

 

A gay kid on the team? (“One of the Boys” from season 1, episode 8)

 

screen-shot-2017-09-27-at-6-41-30-am.png

I was too young when the show originally aired to remember much about the stories, so it’s been interesting to look at the episodes again. 

Mostly I feel this episode is a product of its era. It’s obvious the writers and producers are trying to cover different social issues and it’s interesting they chose to do a story about a potentially gay youth right near the beginning. (The troubled kid is played by Peter Horton in his first acting role.) But the biases of the era are prevalent, despite any good intentions. They never use the word gay. The word homosexual is used continuously throughout the story, making it seem clinical, like the kid has an affliction that can and should be cured.

Also, they never come right out and say the kid is actually homosexual. They deliberately leave it ambiguous, meaning the audience is free to think he’s confused or misunderstood and even mislabeled by the ones who pick on him. Despite his not being confirmed as gay, they make a point of exiting him from this environment so they are not obligated to use him (or any other related gay character) again. If this episode had been produced now, he might be a regular member of the cast or at least recurring.

It’s noteworthy they made him have a breakdown in his last scene. Where he has a huge emotional catharsis then gains the fortitude to go forward in life and be a man, presumably one who can put homosexuality in its place.

 

screen-shot-2017-09-27-at-6-41-54-am.png

Hulu labels this as a Fox Television Classic. When I look at the episode and see its treatment of the subject, I wouldn’t say it’s classic. I’d say it’s archaic.

 

Even the title of the episode is demeaning.

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