Thursday, October 20, 2016

Frankenstein for President!

With Halloween approaching, and the Presidential election not far behind, I thought this was appropriate. Now I know who I'm voting for! Thanks to Plastic Pumpkins for this beauty.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Must-See Movie: I Married a Witch

I Married a Witch (1942) 
This fantasy romantic comedy is the perfect find for some classic Halloween fun!  The film opens in 1672, where two witches were burned by puritan Jonathan Wooley. We are told that before her burning, the female witch cursed all future generations of the Wooley family; she deemed that all the sons will marry the wrong woman and be miserable. A tree grows over the place where they were hanged, trapping the witches' souls.

Fast-forward to the 20th century, and a bolt of lightning frees the witches, Jennifer and her father, from the tree. Jennifer assumes corporeal form (Veronica Lake) and decides to track down campaigning politician Wallace Wooley (Fredric March). True to the curse, Wooley is unhappily engaged to a shrewish woman and is miserable.  Jennifer concocts a scheme to make Wooley fall in love with her, thereby ruining his wedding and making his life even more disastrous. Wooley is not easily swayed by her charms, so Jennifer has to resort to a love potion. Unfortunately the potion backfires, and comedy ensues.

The TV show "Bewitched" was influenced by this film and later "Bell Book and Candle."  This film also solidified the iconic Veronica Lake hairstyle, platinum blonde and long, with her right eye covered. Many women copied the style during this time, which caused problems since they were working in war plants and their hair kept getting caught in the machinery. Lake was asked to change her style until after the war. When she did, she lost her iconic look and her popularity soon faded along with her career.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

"Va Va Voom" Star of the Day: Bette Davis

Bette Davis
From the official Bette Davis website:

Often referred to as "The First Lady of the American Screen," Bette Davis created a new kind of screen heroine. She was a liberated woman in an industry dominated by men. She was known as an actress that could play a variety of difficult and powerful roles, and because of this she set a new standard for women on the big screen. Independent off-screen as well, her battles with studio bigwigs were legendary. With a career spanning six decades, few in the history of film rival her longevity and appeal.

Bette Davis was born Ruth Davis on April 5, 1908 in Lowell, Massachusetts. Just before her tenth birthday, Bette's father, Harlow, left the family. Although she had little money, her mother, Ruthie, sent Bette and her sister to boarding school. Upon graduating Cushing Academy, Bette enrolled in John Murray Anderson's Dramatic School. In 1929, she made her Broadway debut in "Broken Dishes." She also landed a role in "Solid South." In 1930, she moved to Hollywood to screen test for Universal.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Monday's This & That

Whilst I deal with Monday's "dog-eat-dog" feeling, how's abouts we see what's floating around the interwebs?

Let's start with this article of some "secrets" of Lucy and have to click a billion times to get them all, but hey - you had nothing better to do, right?

Here are 25 cocktail recipes that apparently everyone should know.  Study them all for the test on Friday (when you can drink yourself in to oblivion over the weekend).

So you like to read about grisly deaths on set, do you?  Well then this article is for you...some you may have heard of, others not so much.  Unfortunately, most deaths are from dear stuntmen just doing their job.

And lastly, here's a list of 10 Audrey Hepburn Quotes with fabulous photos of her to peruse. #3's about makeup is particularly inspirational.


Thursday, October 06, 2016

Recipe For the Perfect Slumber Party

It's 1983 and you're hosting a slumber party.  What do you do?  Here is the recipe for the perfect 80's slumber party:
1. Rent yourself a video machine from the nearest Wherehouse store.
2. Rent Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video.
3. Watch Dad setup the machine to your Zenith TV.  Ignore the cursing and visible butt-crack as he can't figure out which wires attach where.
4. Pop popcorn.
5. Answer the door and welcome your guests.  Play said video and shush everyone.
5. Giggle incessantly.
6. Imitate dance moves.
7. Enjoy.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

My Name is Errol Flynn

As the poster on YouTube says: "This is the intro from a TCM TV doc on the life of Errol Flynn...This guy created the mold that Johnnie Depp has had so much fun breaking. Flynn would have absolutely approved." I just wish this clip was longer.
P.S. Special cameo by Don Knotts.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Must-See Movie: Pillow Talk

Pillow Talk (1959)
One of the greatest romantic comedies of all time, this movie sparked the Doris Day/Rock Hudson/Tony Randall trio that would be followed by two other hit comedies.

Doris Day plays a single working woman named Jan Morrow who lives in a nice apartment in Manhattan. Her only problem is that she shares a partyline with a playboy-slash-songwriter Brad Allen, played by Rock Hudson. She often picks up her phone to make a call and hears Allen crooning the same love song to a different woman. "You are my inspiration...(fill in the name of any woman)."

Incensed after many attempts to notify him of his rudeness, Day goes to the phone company to ask for her own number. It is explained to her that if this was an emergency, she'd jump to the top of the list. Perhaps if she were to get pregnant she would get her own line sooner. Day replies that she is not married, so of course she can't just go and get pregnant! (I heart 1959!)

Day goes back to deal with Hudson herself, making an agreement that they each use a half hour of phone time. Hudson breaks the rule almost immediately, not caring if he offends the "frigid" other half of the partyline.

Monday, September 26, 2016

All Hail the Bloody Mary!

I was blessed a while ago to receive a copy of Bloody Marys from author Judy Bennett, and have just had the time to write about it!

Bloody Marys: Sanguine Solutions for a Slew of Situations includes over 40 Bloody Mary recipes, but Bennett offers more than that... she also provides vintage photographs, trivia, insight, and myths, and tons of humor.

And the insight is not limited to mixology.  For example, Bennett writes, "Despite what the police and your dad tell you, a person is never more vulnerable than when sitting in the pumpty-up chair of a new hairdresser."  SO TRUE.

And next to the Bloody Mary recipe "I've Decided to Go Back to College" (that includes some tasty ingredients like hot sauce and a pepperoncini garnish) there is career advice.  "Try to remember what you wanted to be when you grew up, and see if that career path has the same appeal now."

If you notice, I'm not sharing any complete recipes here. BECAUSE YOU SHOULD BUY THIS BOOK!  Yes, my goal is to try every one of the 45 Bloody Mary recipes.  But just sitting and reading the book (sans cocktail) was equally entertaining.  All there's left to do is raise a glass to the Bloody Mary Manager, Judy Bennett!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Must-See Movie: Best Foot Forward

Best Foot Forward (1943)
A cadet at Winsocki Military Academy named Bud (Tommy Dix) sends an invitation to movie star Lucille Ball (as herself) to come to Winsocki's big dance. Ball's publicity-hungry agent Jack O'Riley (William Gaxton) convinces her to go in order to boost her career. Complications arise when Bud's girlfriend Helen (Virginia Weidler) unexpectedly shows up; she knows there is a dance that weekend and she wants to surprise him.

The real 40's slapstick unfolds when Bud asks Ball to pretend to be Helen, mostly because of the strict screening of the school that all guests must be pre-registered.

A subplot involves blind date (and hard up) Nancy (Nancy Walker), and her premiere role is hilarious.  But it's all a pretty straight-forward movie with some brief shining moments from supporting cast members Walker, Dix, Weidler, June Allyson, and Gloria DeHaven. Unfortunately, Ball's performance comes off as snobby and pretentious.  Yes, it's supposed to be a parody of herself, but not really a flattering one.

So why is this a "Must-See Movie"?  Two words: Harry James.  Not only does James execute rousing renditions of big band favorites like "Two O'Clock Jump," he demonstrates his true musical mastery with "The Flight of the Bumblebee."  (And if you can do that song with your fingers moving as fast as he does, well then I tip my proverbial hat to you as well!) Watch this, and see how seriously James takes his performance!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

"Va Va Voom" Star of the Day: Harry James

Harry James
Taken from the official Harry James website:
Harry Haag James was born in 1916 in Albany, Georgia, in the United States. He learned the trumpet from his father, a circus bandleader. James decided to pursue a professional career in music after winning a state high-school trumpet competition.

Harry began to perform with several dance bands, including that of Ben Pollack's popular group. The flawless, technically outstanding trumpeter played for several years with the Benny Goodman Band before forming his own band in 1939 with a gifted but little known vocalist, Frank Sinatra.

During the golden era of the big bands, Harry recorded a number of hits, including "I've Heard That Song Before," from the motion picture Youth on Parade (1942), "You Made Me Love You" (1941), the number-one instrumental hit "Sleepy Lagoon" (1942), "I Had the Craziest Dream" (1943), "You'll Never Know" and his theme song, "Ciribiribin." His band helped launch the careers of many pop music stars of the World War II era, including Frank Sinatra and Helen Forrest.  Ed. note: Doris Day sang with him on one of the greatest albums ever, "Young Man With a Horn," which was the soundtrack for the movie of the same name.