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Winter Under the Stars


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Charley Grapewin is one of my favorite character actors.    So many great roles.     I really like him in The Petrified Forest,  but that is just one out of many, many roles. 

Reviewed by Dan Stumpf: THE PETRIFIED FOREST (1936).

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Our sixth western star is 

DALE EVANS

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A true beauty.

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She appeared in countless B westerns.

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But is best known as the wife of Roy Rogers.

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They were together for many years.

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For me, Dale Evans is always the lady who wrote "Happy Trails." 😀She was also the author of quite a few books. One of them, "Angel Unaware", was inspired by her Down Syndrome- born daughter who died as a toddler. The book also inspired a  community vocational training center for the developmentally disabled to change its name to "The Dale Rogers Training Center" in her honor.

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13 hours ago, sagebrush said:

For me, Dale Evans is always the lady who wrote "Happy Trails." 😀She was also the author of quite a few books. One of them, "Angel Unaware", was inspired by her Down Syndrome- born daughter who died as a toddler. The book also inspired a  community vocational training center for the developmentally disabled to change its name to "The Dale Rogers Training Center" in her honor.

Thanks for mentioning the books she wrote.

When I lived in Los Angeles in the early 2000s an elderly neighbor friend of mine knew Dale Evans. She would go up to Apple Valley, where Dale was still living at the time, to see her. So I heard things about Dale that way. I think Dale and Roy ran an inn or some sort of lodging there, in their later years, which is how my neighbor met her. My neighbor had all the books, several of them had lovely inscriptions in them written by Dale.

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Our sixth post-code star is the one and only

BURT REYNOLDS

Have you seen him in ANGEL BABY (1961)..?

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What about DELIVERANCE (1974)..?

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And SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT (1977)..?

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13 hours ago, TopBilled said:

What about DELIVERANCE (1974)..?

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This is by far the best thing he ever did (even he has admitted that). And Smokey And The Bandit is just OK. However I think he has done several of the worst movies I ever saw, like Fuzz (1972), City Heat (1984) and Rent A Cop (1987). I once tried to watch Stroker Ace (1983) but it was too painful to finish it.

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6 minutes ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

This is by far the best thing he ever did (even he has admitted that). And Smokey And The Bandit is just OK. However I think he has done several of the worst movies I ever saw, like Fuzz (1972), City Heat (1984) and Rent A Cop (1987). I once tried to watch Stroker Ace (1983) but it was too painful to finish it.

Did you see him in BOOGIE NIGHTS (1997) or was that not your type of film?

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Just now, TopBilled said:

Did you see him in BOOGIE NIGHTS (1997) or was that not your type of film?

Yes, I thought it was a good film, and he gave a pretty good performance, though not Oscar worthy. Julianne Moore and Phillip Seymour Hoffman were the real acting standouts in it.

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22 hours ago, TopBilled said:

Our sixth post-code star is the one and only

BURT REYNOLDS

I think I like him in DELIVERANCE and BOOGIE NIGHTS best, although I think I saw him much more on the nighttime chat shows than in any other films or TV shows.

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In 1962 Patty Duke played Helen Keller in the feature film version of THE MIRACLE WORKER (1962), after performing the role on Broadway for nearly two years.

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In 1979, she played Anne Sullivan in the NBC TV-movie version of the story. That time young Melissa Gilbert was Helen.

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I used to watch reruns of the fun THE PATTY DUKE SHOW on TV when I was a teenager. THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS  is the film I remember Duke from the most, aside from her wonderful performance in THE MIRACLE WORKER.  She was also fun as the teenaged daughter of Jane Greer and Jim Backus in the 60's musical BILLIE.

Her personal life was as sad and tumultuous as Judy Garland's. Luckily for her, though, she was able to find a way to finally manage her mental health. I have great admiration for her son, Sean, who no doubt must have had a very difficult childhood and yet has never spoken one ill word concerning his mother's illness in a day and age where it is so common to do so. 

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Our sixth precode star is

GENE RAYMOND

He was charming in EX-LADY (1933) with Bette Davis.

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Charming in SADIE MCKEE (1934) with Joan Crawford.

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In WALKING ON AIR (1936) with Ann Sothern.

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And with Jeanette MacDonald, his wife and costar in SMILIN’ THROUGH (1941).

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2 hours ago, sagebrush said:

I liked Gene Raymond in FLYING DOWN TO RIO, RED DUST and MR. AND MRS. SMITH.

Yes, those are great ones. Thanks for mentioning them.

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Our seventh musical star is

MARY MARTIN

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Here she is in Paramount's KISS THE BOYS GOODBYE (1941) with Don Ameche:

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And in NIGHT AND DAY (1946):

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Of course she is also known for playing Peter Pan on Broadway:

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And for being Larry Hagman's mother.

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Mary Martin provided Margaret Sullivan's singing voice in the film THE SHOPWORN ANGEL. She was adorable singing "My Heart Belongs To Daddy" in NIGHT AND DAY,  but I thought her voice was a little thin compared to the powerhouses who played in the film versions on those musicals. Then my mother told me "but when Mary sings, she is the role". That was something I had completely missed because I didn't have the visual. A Great actress can often sing and be wonderful even though they may not be the best singer, but a great singer isn't necessarily a great or even good actress.

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3 hours ago, sagebrush said:

Mary Martin provided Margaret Sullivan's singing voice in the film THE SHOPWORN ANGEL. She was adorable singing "My Heart Belongs To Daddy" in NIGHT AND DAY,  but I thought her voice was a little thin compared to the powerhouses who played in the film versions on those musicals. Then my mother told me "but when Mary sings, she is the role". That was something I had completely missed because I didn't have the visual. A Great actress can often sing and be wonderful even though they may not be the best singer, but a great singer isn't necessarily a great or even good actress.

Your mom's right. :) 

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12 hours ago, TopBilled said:

Our seventh villain is

LYLE BETTGER.

He mistreated Babs in NO MAN OF HER OWN (1950).

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And he caused a lot of trouble in westerns too.

Bettger was a fine villain.   The way he would smile when what he was saying was very threatening was very effective.  Just saw him this week on The Rifleman.   Very menacing but in a controled way.  

Bettger would team up with Stanwyck again 3 years later in All I Desire.

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9 hours ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

Bettger was a fine villain.   The way he would smile when what he was saying was very threatening was very effective.  Just saw him this week on The Rifleman.   Very menacing but in a control way.  

Bettger would team up with Stanwyck again 3 years later in All I Desire.

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When looking at some of these actors, it's tough not to compare them. For instance, when I compare Bettger with Widmark and Duryea, I see how one may be more effective than the others. Dan Duryea always does a fine job but he can't resist making his characters smarmy. Richard Widmark annoys me half the time because he tends to think playing evil means throwing in homoerotic vibes, which is what a lot of method actors like to do, and it isn't exactly necessary at times.

But Lyle Bettger plays his villainous roles without resorting to those kinds of tricks. As you say, he's very much in control of the characterization. The other thing Bettger has going for him is that he looks like an All-American football jock, someone everyone would love to know...and when we find out that underneath his winning facade, there is a dangerous or heartless man, it makes his performance even more devastating.

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In the recent thread about the death of Christopher Plummer I mention the night before having watched my disc of THE SILENT PARTNER in which Plummer plays the villain who goes after bank teller Elliott Gould who foiled his attempted robbery and made off with what Plummer's character considered HIS $50,000.   And Plummer was well capable of displaying his character's incarnate evil without the typical movie histrionics of other movie villains.  

Sepiatone

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4 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

In the recent thread about the death of Christopher Plummer I mention the night before having watched my disc of THE SILENT PARTNER in which Plummer plays the villain who goes after bank teller Elliott Gould who foiled his attempted robbery and made off with what Plummer's character considered HIS $50,000.   And Plummer was well capable of displaying his character's incarnate evil without the typical movie histrionics of other movie villains.  

Sepiatone

Yes, he's worth mentioning. Thanks.

I have a list of stars that did not make the cut, because there are only so many days in the winter season. 

Looking back on this now, I should have included stars not born in the U.S. And I could have also profiled lesser known matinee idols, people who were not exactly character actors or had a niche in a specific genre, but deserve a bit of recognition.

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