Frank McHugh, Everybody’s Pal

Frank McHugh (1898–1981)

Frank McHugh was never destined to be the top banana in a film. He lacked any traditional leading man looks. His voice was never skilled to ever become a songbird. And other than portraying a dancing cat with simple steps while chewing a cigar, he was certainly no Fred Astaire. But he had all the right stuff to be a very popular second banana in over 170 roles from 1929 to 1969, across Broadway, film, and television.

Francis Curray McHugh was born May 23, 1898 in Homestead, Pennsylvania into the entertainment industry to his vaudevillian parents, as he and his siblings joined the family business before Frank turned double digits. As a youngster in his parents’ McHugh Stock Company (Edward and Catherine McHugh based in Braddock, PA), he was schooled in Pittsburgh then joined the Marguerite Bryant Players at the age of 17, alongside Guy Kibbee. He went on to tour stages across the country, including a stint on Broadway in 1925. He married fellow actress Dorothy Spencer in 1928. He moved to Hollywood in 1929 and a year later, he was signed on as a contract player for Warner Brothers.

While he cranked out films in Hollywood like a racehorse, he claimed he never felt like one. If anything, he said that he found acting in Hollywood to be a pretty easy gig. He suggested that he never acted, instead his approach was natural and essentially himself. “Mostly I wound up as the friend- dumb but loyal. I guess my dumb look was convincing.”*

McHugh had the knack for the easy-going sidekick. Frequently as a drunken working guy. In those early talkies, when he wasn’t playing a drunk reporter, he was the prize-fighter’s second. Frank laughed, “… for the next three or four years I did nothing else but play drunken reporters. I finally had to call a halt to it. I didn’t mind being a drunken reporter, but it was getting to that the only time they called for me was for that role.”* 

By 1950, he was in his early fifties and moved his family from Hollywood to Connecticut, just outside NYC. Like many others of his experience and age, McHugh made the transition to television at this time, mostly of the ‘live drama’ productions. But he also found work on westerns, comedy, and variety shows like “F Troop” (1966), “The Red Skelton Hour” (1959), “The Lucy Show” (1967), and as “Willie” for 27 episodes on “The Bing Crosby Show” (1964-65). On September 11, 1981, at the age of 83, he died of natural causes.

Hollywood's Irish Mafia_All Irish Americans the original members of the group were Cagney, McHugh, O'Brien & Tracy_ Ralph Bellamy and Frank Morgan joined later

In the 1930s, decades before the ‘rat pack’ of Sinatra, Dino, Sammy and the rest of the swinging Vegas cool set, Hollywood originated the concept with an Irish-American version known as the ‘Irish Mafia,’ a term coined jokingly by columnist Sidney Skolsky, although they simply called themselves ‘the boys club.’ In addition to Frank McHugh, there was James Cagney, Pat O’Brien, Spencer Tracy. Later came Allen Jenkins, Lynne Overton, George Brent, Louis Calhern, William Gargan, Regis Toomey, Ralph Bellamy, Lloyd Nolan, Frank Morgan, with James Gleason and Bert Lahr tagging along.

In those early years, when he wasn’t paling around with his fellow Irish blokes off-set, he worked nearly every film Warner Brothers made….many with Cagney (11 films), O’Brien, and Jenkins. Because he often served as comic relief- with his unique laugh like a funny, wheezing squeezebox, “ha ha ha…”- he brought a good-natured ease next to some of the biggest names of classic Hollywood. Here are some stand-outs for me…

734full-ruth-chatterton

In William A Wellman’s LILLY TURNER (1933), McHugh gives a compelling performance as a more complex alcoholic than his typical lighter fare of jovial drunk. It’s a meatier role for Frank. Co-starring Ruth Chatteron and George Brent, it’s a Pre-Code I recommend.

download-6

During this same era of Pre-Code splendor, Busby Berkley musicals reigned supreme. Co-starring his friend James Cagney, Dick Powell, Joan Blondell, and Ruby Keeler, the same year turned out Lloyd Bacon’s FOOTLIGHT PARADE. McHugh gives a memorably funny spin on the exasperated dance instructor, who goes toe-to-toe with the great hoofer Cagney in a big musical production- of feline focus. Take a look as cigar-chewing Frank McHugh practices with crooning Dick Powell: CLICK HERE

OneWayPassage5

In Tay Garnett’s ONE WAY PASSAGE (1932), escaped murderer William Powell finds true love on the high seas with a terminally ill Kay Francis. McHugh is a mischievous petty thief who has some great albeit small scenes, including one where he fools a bartender. It’s a true Pre-Code so don’t expect a sunny or miraculous surprise. But you get hilarious McHugh (yes, he plays a drunk again but look for an especially funny gag with a mirror), plus Powell and Francis as the leads in a beautifully doomed romance, so who cares?

Frank McHugh (R) in Going My Way (1944)

Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Leo McCary’s GOING MY WAY (1944). Bing Crosby, Barry Fitzgerald, and Frank McHugh all as Irish-American priests… be still my shamrock heart. McHugh worked on many Academy Award nominated films, and this one, which won the Best Picture Oscar, along with many awards, is certainly a prime example. It’s a beautiful film saturated in Irish culture and McHugh does his smaller role justice aplenty.

Despite being such a reliable inclusion for decades in Hollywood, he earned few awards. He did earn accolades from both the US military and servicemen for his great contributions to WW2 war efforts. McHugh supported the war efforts through star-studded USO tours including the multi-city Hollywood Victory Canteen train tour. For more information, I encourage you to read this piece from the NY Public Library, based on his archived documents, the Frank McHugh Papers.

I don’t believe Frank McHugh gets the attention he deserves for such a prolific career. Hard-working folks like Frank rarely do because they are humble regarding their contributions and their talents make it look easy (when it’s not). What are some of your favorite FM films?


This article was my contribution to the WHAT A CHARACTER! BLOGATHON, Nov. 15 -17th, 2019. Hosted by Aurora @CitizenScreen of Once Upon A Screen, Paula @Paula_Guthat of Paula’s Cinema Club, and yours truly. We have enjoyed hosting this blogathon for eight years. I encourage you to read all entries and leave glowing comments on their sites. 

what-a-character-2019

*(“No Retirement For Frank McHugh,” The Blade, Toledo, Ohio, Nov. 19, 1967)

Seeing Donald Pleasence

Seeing Donald Pleasence

As a (slightly rusty) artist, I’m always people watching. I don’t sketch as much as I used to, and now it’s mostly dogs, but I still find myself looking deeply at people features, their body language, attitude, smile, and gate… but mostly I look at their eyes.

And it’s for that reason why my entry for the What A Character! Blogathon is the English Actor Donald Pleasence.

Donald had a remarkable demeanor which complemented any role he took on…with his bald, distinct look, his smile that could run the gamut from a sneer to a broad grin, and his eyes… eyes that could telegraph with equal weight and emotion… humor, madness, delight or sincerity. Couple that with his acting range and you find a memorable on screen, stage, and tv personality who will live on for generations.

Though he played a range of wonderful characters in his day, he became known as someone who could pull off the more extreme of character archetypes, from a fanatical President in Escape from New York (1981) to a double agent in Fantastic Voyage (1966) to the arch-villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld in You Only Live Twice (1969).

sketch-1574031659447

But far and above my favorite role was an early one, that of Colin Blythe, a mild-mannered prisoner of a German POW camp in The Great Escape (1963)

He isn’t an exaggerated character in this role, but a struggling one, a gentle, quiet, intelligent, prisoner, who while playing a vital role in a choreographed escape, starts to rapidly go blind. And just as his blindness is discovered and his only hope of escape vanishes, his friend (James Garner) steps in with an offer to take care of him and to lend him his sight. It is throughout all of this I see Donald’s eyes, so expressive in humor, grief, fear, despair, and friendship.

sketch-1574031644135

Beside Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid (1969), and the trio of friends in Gunga Din (1939), this is my favorite buddy relationship in any film. My reasoning, the characters are heroic and sweet, charming and good-natured, burdened and generous. You feel their growing friendship and leave no man behind promise. To my mind, it’s THE most authentic of any buddy relationship I’ve had a chance to view on film.

sketch-1574031650231

And throughout the film, as he experiences and expresses a range of emotion, from his early scenes forging documents for the escape, to when his realizes he would be a liability to the group, on up until the final moment when Colin meets his untimely end at the hands of a German patrol, I look at his eyes. For it’s there that I find the spirit of this character actor, time and again.


The above article and original artwork is a guest post- created by Gary Pratt. In addition to being my husband, Gary would likely describe himself as a Santa Claus wanna-be, who grew up on a pig farm, then became an artist. He has spent a majority of his adult years leading innovation in the corporate world, and loves being a dad when he’s not otherwise watching old movies and scribbling cartoons. 

This post is a contribution to the 8th annual WHAT A CHARACTER! BLOGATHON, hosted by Kellee Pratt @IrishJayhawk66 of Outspoken & Freckled, Aurora @CitizenScreen of Once Upon A Screen, and Paula @Paula_Guthat of Paula’s Cinema Club. Be sure to read all the entries from this multi-day event. 

what-a-character-2019

 

WHAT A CHARACTER! BLOGATHON: Day 1

Eve Arden

Today we bring you the first day of the 8th annual WHAT A CHARACTER! BLOGATHON, hosted by yours truly and my fellow co-hosts, your ambassadors of classic film: Paula of Paula’s Cinema Club @Paula_Guthat and Aurora of Once Upon A Screen @CitizenScreen.

In celebrating this annual event, this weekend we honor the unsung heroes of big and small screens everywhere, the unforgettable character actors. Who are those familiar faces who repeatedly steal every scene from the leads that you look for? Here and now, we salute you! Whether it’s the frustrated hotel manager, or sharp-witted maids, that sassy sidekick, or even the best friend… in so many ways, the character role is often our favorite, albeit small, performances of a film. We have invited bloggers to scribe on their favorite characters. Here they are!

Screen Shot 2019-11-15 at 2.47.27 PM

Joey at THE LAST DRIVE-IN aka @LastDrivein writes in his entry on THELMA RITTER… “With her warm and weather worn face, Thelma Ritter is the quintessential expression of a working class dame, the working class mother, the everywoman. And no one can deliver a snappy quip quite like Thelma Ritter.” Read on for What A Character! Blogathon 2019: Thelma Ritter “Always a bridesmaid and never the bride”  

MV5BYTRkNmE2NzgtMmI1Yi00NTU2LWFkODktYjlkNTA5NTk2ZDExXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMzI5NDcxNzI@._V1_

FlickChick over at A PERSON IN THE DARK scribes on ESTELLE WINWOOD, describing her as fascinating in her personal life as her on-screen persona… “She was smart, she smoked, she drank, she loved men and she looked down her veddy English nose at just about everyone. She lived to be 101 and remained feisty, irreverent and utterly charming in her crusty, dismissive and oh-so-British way.” Read more of, What A Character: The Ever Scandalous Estelle Winwood.” 

frank_faylen

Terry aka @mercurie80 at A SHROUD OF THOUGHTS outlines the prolific career of FRANK FAYLEN, including “…his three best known roles are very different from each other. Bim in The Lost Weekend is sadistic and actually takes joy in his taunting of the patients in his charge. Ernie Bishop in It’s a Wonderful Life is respected in his community and would do anything for his community. He truly has a heart of gold. Herbert Gillis is a bit of a curmudgeon, particularly with regards to his son Dobie, but in the end he is only looking out for his son’s best interests.” Discover more… “Frank Faylen: More Than A Cab Driver.”

FAY BAINTER_1357138879

Patricia at THE MOVIE NIGHT’S GROUP GUIDE TO CLASSIC FILM presents FAY BAINTER in “The Lady and the Mob” (1939). As Patricia states, “It’s not often that Ms. Bainter gets to lead a film, but when she does, it’s always a pleasure. She takes an okay script and an average part, and gives the audience a decidedly better experience.” To read more… “Fay Heads The Mob.” 

6811376_1033374661

Maddy over at MADDY LOVES HER CLASSIC FILM offers us HENRY DANIELL. As Maddy explains, “Henry could dominate and steal even the smallest scene that he appeared in. He always brought his A game to every single performance. He was also one of those actors like George Sanders, Richard Burton, or Claude Rains, who had been blessed with a truly magnificent and distinctive voice.” Explore more of Maddy’s thoughts on him… “What A Character Blogathon 2019: Henry Daniell.”   

download-5

Rich of WIDE SCREEN WORLD brings us UNA O’CONNOR. As Rich reveals, “Best known for playing saucy old broads with a wry sense of humor. A standout visibly as well as audibly: big round eyes and a, um, characteristic nose coupled with a sharp voice that was usually accented in either Cockney English, Scottish, or her own Irish brogue.” Explore more on his thoughts as he visits her gravesite… “Una O’Connor and Her Final Resting Place.”  


More entries are on their way. Keep check checking back with us here, and with my fellow co-hosts all weekend.

Saturday, 11/16: Day 2… Aurora/ @CitizenScreen at Once Upon A Screen

Sunday, 11/17: Day 3… Paula/ @Paula_Guthat at Paula’s Cinema Club

what-a-character-2019

My aunt Carolyn

I don’t usually post items so personal. Something so removed from my classic film thoughts. But as my family will come together today to honor my aunt Carolyn’s life, I felt compelled to share a few thoughts of my own.

AD8BDAA9-9877-4456-9091-926A0D363501

My aunt Carolyn…

A summation of one’s life cannot be judged on only one slant of their personality, nor on the declining years if they battled health challenges. We are complex, or even mysterious to our closest loved ones, and Carolyn was no exception. As the oldest grandchild growing up with six aunts, who range from 5 years older than myself to a bit older than my parents, Carolyn was the eldest, and the head of the “coven.”

I wondered, if being the oldest daughter when your parents have 7 children, was the reason as to why she never married and never had children. My understanding is that she was engaged, more than once. Perhaps she grew weary of being taskmaster. But then again, she also seemed to love having her brood of younger siblings, nieces, nephews, etc. to extoll her outspoken opinions, advice and direction.

When I think of Carolyn, I recall what a beauty she was. There are several pictures of her from her youth that I distinctly recall. I was impressed that she looked so much like Elizabeth Taylor in those photos. Like me, she had fondness for old movies and many of our conversations would center on that. She was fortunate enough to travel many times in her life, to many cool and exotic places. She possessed the family trait for archiving, as can be seen in her many genealogy binders that she and her sisters would work on. It wasn’t until I came to her townhouse to help organize her personal possessions for an estate sale, that I discovered she had archived her entire life. In surprisingly INCREDIBLE detail. It was as though she needed us to know every aspect of her life. Of its significance. For posterity.

While she may have been known for her inflammatory and nearly combative rhetoric in her later years by the younger generations of her family, I also recall her immense kindness. She had a heart of gold when you were lucky enough to be the recipient, which I was upon many occasions. As our parents split in the mid 70s, my sister and I briefly stayed at a house in Westport, up the street from Guardian Angels church- the first floor belonged to Bob Daniels, the 2nd floor to Carolyn, and the attic apartment to my father. It was a lot more fun to sneak down to Carolyn’s and spy on her. Perhaps to ask her a million annoying questions, as kids often do at that age. It was around this time that I was obsessed with anything on ancient Egypt. Carolyn seemed to share my passion and gave me a coloring book, brimming with images reflecting the walls of the pyramids. She was kind enough to notice my interests and that means a lot to a kid going through hard transitions.

Carolyn also inherited the family trait of creativity and artistic skill. She was a very good artist. I was always fascinated by her latest projects, but it was her large portrait of her sister Debi that stays with me as her best work. I know she played a heavy hand in my lifelong appreciation for art.

Ultimately, one of my favorite memories of Carolyn is at Christmas time at Gardner Lake. In my childhood, we often would spend a chunk of the holiday season at my grandparents’ house. As a kid, I would get excited to see all of my aunts and cousins. Holidays meant crowded chaos, and I loved every minute of it. Sometimes I was a bit jealous of the big family dynamic- how cool to have that many sisters! But I never felt completely on the frayed edge. We were in the family, too. We’d pile in to that little cottage, sleeping on any spot available, from the floor, to a couch, to an old army cot. We’d play board games and Grandma would cook up a storm- leaving an orange and an Archie’s comic book in my sock, dangling from a hook. But I’ll always remember Carolyn skillfully taking the time to work on a beautiful gingerbread house with us. That memory stays with me, too.

In her later years, we didn’t always agree. If she dropped an especially painful insult, I would call her out on it. To call her “feisty” is an understatement. But that’s not the whole picture. There are many strong, intelligent, and yes, BEYOND feisty women in my family. They don’t always rub people the right way, but I’m forever grateful for them. They helped mold who I am today- and helped me pass on these traits to my own daughters. Everyone has their own snapshot into the mysteries of a person’s life. She cared for me. I cared for her. That’s the Carolyn I remember.

Carolyn Jeanne Shindler (December 25, 1943 – September 21, 2019)

 

Ray Harryhausen Film Notes: THE 7th VOYAGE OF SINBAD (1958)

680136bceb9917fe3c059c15e85e86f5_3x3

*The following are my notes as part of an ongoing Ray Harryhausen film study course, which I currently instruct in Lawrence, Kansas.

We are about to set sail for a new type of adventure in our quest to explore the world of Ray Harryhausen. In this week’s screening and discussion, we take a marked turn from the black-and-white science fiction monsters and aliens. In Nathan H Juran’s THE 7th VOYAGE OF SINBAD (1958), Ray Harryhausen ventures into a fantasy voyage- in color- for the first time.

Filmed in Technicolor, this kicks off the first of the three Sinbad films in the Harryhausen filmography. It also denotes the first time we see the term “Dynamation” used. Dynamation was a new brand for Ray’s style of stop-motion animation painstakingly blended with live action. Now filming in color, producer Charles Schneer felt they needed to market Ray’s special talents and designate his special effects as a modern update that is a significantly different effect from standard animation. Schneer was inspired by his Buick automobile that was embellished with the word “Dynaflow” on the wheel, which led to the new branding. Interestingly, this “Dynamation” term didn’t always stick. Other terms such as “Dynarama” and “SuperDynamation” were used in later films.

CyHbCwIUoAAIjR0

As typical for many of the films partnering Ray Harryhausen and producer Charles Schneer, it all began with Ray’s drawings. Ray created a dozen such detailed drawings many tears prior to meeting Schneer, which he then presented for his concept for this particular film. Ray had his misgivings about the transition to color, which presented new challenges for his stop-motion animation techniques when sandwiching with live action. Ultimately, Schneer prevailed in convincing Ray to embrace color. Ray was able to produce this “dynamation” with stunning results.

Filmed in a remote section of Spain and on a tight budget, filming and production presented its own challenges. For example, after the long haul to this remote area in Spain far from any nearby cities, the prop crew realized the swords were left behind. So, they chopped down tree branches, formed and painted the wooden swords right on the spot.

681_1

Most of the filming was done on a sound stage in Madrid. To capture the ‘princess on a pillow scene,’ Kathryn Grant stood on a giant pillow that was 25 feet high by 40 feet wide in size, occupying a corner of the sound stage. A camera crane then pulled back 70 feet to create the effect that she is doll-sized. In the end, this sequence and all the scenes were processed through a Technicolor optical printer in London.

After the live action sequences were all filmed, it was then turned over to Ray Harryhausen who spent 14 to 18 months splicing in his work.

Music:

This is the first, of four, film collaborations between Ray Harryhausen and composer Bernard Herrmann. They additionally collaborated on THE THREE WORLDS OF GULLIVER (1960), MYSTERIOUS ISLAND (1961), and JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS (1963). In my opinion, this score is truly magnificent and should be considered not only one of Harryhausen’s best music scores within his filmography, but also as one of Herrmann’s, as well.

When you listen carefully to the opening titles score of this film, which takes just under two minutes, it’s as breath-taking and heart-thumping as many of his most-popular scores composed for an Alfred Hitchcock film. For example, listen to the overture (opening title music) of The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (https://youtu.be/s9eBhmIIf8k ) then listen to the overture music for North By NorthWest: https://youtu.be/db4LjufUY-Y Additionally, Herrmann’s treatment of the skeleton warrior scene is especially playful and memorable; a true signature.

maxresdefault

Well-known soundtrack producer Robert Townson has worked on many Herrmann projects, including the extended re-recording of a 7th Voyage Of Sinbad score by The Royal Scottish National Orchestra. In an October 1998 interview, Townson was asked about his attraction to this particular film score, he replied…

It’s always been one of my favorites and I don’t think I’m alone in feeling that way. It’s so rich and vibrant. Herrmann is clearly having fun with it. I mean, he really just went crazy. It’s so witty and charming. He covers so much ground. I would cite The 7th Voyage of Sinbad as one of the scores which most validates film music as an art form and a forum where a great composer can write a great piece of music. As pure composition I would place Sinbad beside anything else written this century and not worry about it being able to stand on its own.

For the full interview on the Bernard Herrmann site:  http://www.bernardherrmann.org/articles/interview-townson/

Cast:

MV5BYTRlOTJhMTAtZTA5Yi00YjIwLWE3NGUtOWZjMzA3OTg0MWYwXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMDUyOTUyNQ@@._V1_

Kerwin Mathews was under contract for Columbia and made the perfect choice for Sinbad. He was athletic, handsome, and adapted well to the unique skills needed for the action scenes to counter the stop-motion animation. From talking to a miniature princess on a pillow, to sword-fighting creatures like giant cyclops, a two-headed Roc, a skeleton warrior and even a dragon. Mathews worked with Italian Olympic fencing coach Enzo Musumeci-Greco for the fighting scenes. Greco stood in for the fighting skeleton but for the final shoot, Mathews had to pantomime fighting his opponent.

When Mathews was able to see the finished product for the first time at a premiere in Monte Carlo, even he was astounded by Ray’s work. He felt as though he was watching a completely different film from the one that he filmed in Spain, thanks to the magic of Ray Harryhausen. Mathews would work with the Ray Harryhausen magic again, when he appeared in the starring role in THE THREE WORLDS OF GULLIVER (1960), where once again he proved he could handle the task of portraying a ‘giant role’ in contrast to his miniature co-stars.

He retired from acting in 1978, when he moved to San Francisco to become an antiques dealer. He attended film conventions occasionally and always appreciated his fans and acting days. Overall, he kept his private life quiet. In 1961, he met Tom Nicoll, who was his life partner for 46 years, until his death. Tom was a British display manager for Harvey Nicolls. Kerwin died July 5th, 2007, at the age of 81.

kathryn-grant-n-mint-photo-7th-voyage-of-sinbad-ray-harryhausen-e1485089430710

 Kathryn Grant portrays Princess Parisa, who spends a majority of this film appearing tiny enough to fit in Sinbad’s hand. You may also know Kathryn as Bing Crosby’s 2nd wife, Kathryn Crosby. When Bing married Kathryn, he had been a widower for 5 years. He was 54 years old at the time, Kathryn was 24. Born Olive Kathryn Grandstaff, she had been performing since age 3 and continued to find work on the big screen. But this film was a big break for Kathryn, giving her a starring role. This was not the first time Mathews and Grant performed together. They both appeared in a little film noir, starring Kim Novak, FIVE AGAINST THE HOUSE (1955). Usually playing small roles [such as an uncredited party girl at the song writer’s party in REAR WINDOW (1954), Lt. Betty Bixby in OPERATION MAD BALL (1957) with Jack Lemmon, and as Mary Pilant in ANATOMY OF A MURDER (1959)], her career was just starting to gain traction when she semi-retired after marrying Crosby. Kathryn remains active and is still with us.

In a 2016 interview, she was asked, “Did you enjoy playing the leading lady in “The 7th Voyage of Sinbad,” which is now a cult classic?”

“It was wonderful. Jean Louis, Columbia’s big designer, made me gorgeous clothes. And then we shot in Spain, in Granada and Majorca and Barcelona and Madrid. We didn’t know what was going on much of the time. During the swordfight with skeletons, Kerwin (Mathews) was looking at a stick, and then (visual effects master) Ray Harryhausen did all of the drawings afterwards. Columbia Pictures was wonderful.”

To read the entire interview:  https://www.newsday.com/entertainment/music/kathryn-crosby-bing-crosby-s-widow-brings-irving-berlin-revue-to-li-1.11563275

MV5BNDAzMTZkNGYtMjRjYi00ZDMyLWFjNTItMjBhZmU3OTRmYjk3XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMzAwOTU1MTk@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,808,1000_AL_

Richard Eyer portrays the Genie boy. The studio cut costs by filming his scenes in California, at a salary of $600 per day. In comparison to his co-stars, Eyer’s acting career was in many ways more prolific, with twice the career under his belt by late puberty. He was a child actor with 54 acting credits from age 7 to age 22.

When I think of Eyer, I enjoy his role as little Billy Kettle in a couple of the Ma and Pa Kettle films, plus as the boy with the pet goose in William Wyler’s FRIENDLY PERSUASION (1956). But many science fiction fans may recall him more as the boy with Robby the Robot in the FORBIDDEN PLANET (1956) follow-up, THE INVISIBLE BOY (1957). Eyer was also known for westerns, many TV series, and even crime thrillers. After quitting acting, he married (now divorced), had three children, and taught elementary school in Bishop, California. He still resides in that area.

Dw81Y--WkAABpAn

Torin Thatcher, who spins troubles and magic as Sokurah in this film, boasted the largest filmography of them all, though. From 1927 to 1976, Thatcher performed 154 acting gigs. He firmly projects a commanding presence on screen and has a full resume of stern and villainous roles. Born to British parents in Bombay, India in 1905, he began with a more Shakespearean stage onset to acting, but then found his way to a multitude of genres on the big and small screen. He passed March 4th, 1981.

Ray’s Creatures Checklist:

Tonight, we will be looking for the following creatures of Ray Harryhausen’s creation…

Serpent Woman

giphy

Cyclops- TWO of them!

giphy-1 

Roc Hatchling

0a75360af848f98f1eb4b71e43a93131

Roc

sinbad_7_017

Fighting Skeleton

tumblr_o5fqavrOIz1sqf5tdo4_400 

Dragon

harryhausen-sinbad

Questions and thoughts for discussion:

How does this film compare to the film Ray made just one year (release date) prior with MILLION MILES TO EARTH, in terms of his special effects?

Now in color, what are, if any, noteworthy differences from his black-and-white work?

What do you notice about lighting, shadows, and live action blending?

What are some examples of Ray infusing personality and/or humanistic qualities to a creature?

In this film, what is your favorite stop-motion animated character?

What impact did the performances, Technicolor, Bernard Herrmann, and Jean Louis costumes have in adding to the success of this film?

For a fun bonus, we listened to a promotional song called, “Sinbad May Have Been Bad, But He’s Been Good To Me.” It’s swinging, sultry, little number that was given to select theatre managers (for playing in the lobby), as a marketing tool for the holiday 1958 release. Sung by Ann Leonardo. Take a listen: https://youtu.be/S_qZWzzAM3A

7voys_stl_18_h-1280x640

31 Days of Oscar 2019 – Day 3

And now for Day Three in our #31DaysOfOscar Blogathon, hosted by the amazing and lovely co-host Paula of Paula’s Cinema Club…

Paula's Cinema Club

While this year’s Academy Awards ceremony is officially host-less, the 31 Days of Oscar Blogathon has three! Kellee of Outspoken & Freckled, Aurora of Once Upon A Screen, and I, here at Paula’s Cinema Club have been celebrating the Oscars themselves and TCM”s tribute to same for the past seven years!

It’s almost a wrap on the third and final day, as I continue to collect the knowledge and opinions of our astute bloggers:

First up, Amanda at Old Hollywood Films focuses on Five Times the Academy Got It Right. Her picks include one of my favorites, George Sanders’ win for All About Eve; click for the rest.

Linda at Backstory: New Looks at Classic Films examines the life and career of “strikingly successful art director” Ward Ihnen.

Pale Writer analyzes Nat King Cole’s Best Song win for “Mona Lisa.”

at Crítica Retrô

View original post 24 more words

Day Two: #31DaysOfOscar Blogathon

I passed the baton for DAY TWO of the #31DaysOfOscar Blogathon to fellow and phenomenal co-host Aurora of Once Upon A Screen…

Once upon a screen...

I’m happy to say that we approach the halfway mark of this year’s 31 Days of Oscar Blogathon without incident or controversy. As is the case with my co-hosts, I will not be hosting any posts during commercials today, my day to host this year’s event. To put you at ease here is a 1957 Oldsmobile commercial, which aired during the Academy Awards ceremony that year. I will watch it with you thereby pausing my hosting duties.

Welcome back. Before we get to today’s list of entries, you might want to visit the Announcement post, which includes the entire participant roster. Also, be sure to visit Kellee at Outspoken & Freckled and the Day One submissions. Terrific stuff there. Otherwise, I’m getting to the main course of this entry, the tributes to the movies and the people who have had relationships with Oscar…or should have had. Enjoy!

  • We begin…

View original post 300 more words

Merry Christmas from the Pratts

This Christmas, we celebrate our 10th year as a married couple, as a blended family. My husband Gary, in his own creative way, has created some festive holiday cards over the past decade that express our love of our family, friends and classic film.

This year, we decided to go a slightly different direction to celebrate a decade of joy. So here is our twist on the song “My Favorite Things” (with apologies to Rodgers and Hammerstein), a la classic film. EnJOY!

(Sing to the tune of “My Favorite Things”)

Hitchcock and Spielberg, Welles, Capra and Wilder

Ford, Hawks and Huston; Lang, Kubrick and Wyler

Director geniuses, talents do sing

These are a few of my favorite things

 

Russell and Cary, Dunne, Stanwyck and Hepburn

Harlow and Hayworth, Jean Arthur and Coburn

Fast-talking through their mis-un-der-stand-ings

These are a few of my favorite things

 

Keaton and Davies, Lloyd, Harold and Astor

Pickford and Fairbanks. Gish, Brooks, Bow and Dressler

Silver screen antics and soundless acting

These are a few of my favorite things

 

When my mood sinks

When my job stinks

When our cable lags

I simply remember my favorite things

And then I don’t feel so bad

 

Dietrich and Henreid and Laughton and Gable

Cagney and Greenstreet, they’re actors well-abled

Dark smoky talent that gives my heart wings

These are a few of my favorite things

 

Tierney and George Raft, Dan Duryea and Bogie

Bacall and Ned Sparks and Bella Lugosi

Finely schooled actors with whose voices do ring

These are a few of my favorite things

 

John Wayne and Tom Mix and Carey (and Jr.)

Bond, Hunter, Cooper and Mitchum and Stewart

Rode tall in the saddle, our favorite gun slings

These are a few of my favorite things

 

When my mood sinks

When my job stinks

When our cable lags

I simply remember my favorite things

And then I don’t feel so bad

 

Caron and Gene Kelly, Astaire and Miss Rogers

Powell and Deb Reynolds plus Nicolas Brothers

Hoofing their way cross the stage and big screen

These are a few of my favorite things

 

I will have missed some, so sorry they’re lacking

Christmas is nigh and my presents need packing

Too many talented film queens and kings

These are a few of my favorite things

 

One final mention of TCM talent

Ben Mank and team, they’re really quite gallant

Passionate sherpas of classic film-rings

These are a few of my favorite things

 

When my mood sinks

When my job stinks

When our cable lags

I simply remember my favorite things

And then I don’t feel so bad

We hope you enjoyed our little song created to lift your spirits this holiday season, especially for our fellow classic film devotees. From our family to you and yours, we wish a very merry and bright! Here are some of the cards we made over the years…

IMG_7753

HoHoHo!

IMG_7778

Day 3 of the 2018 What A Character! Blogathon

Co-host Paula of the 7th annual WHAT A CHARACTER! BLOGATHON wraps up the 3rd and final day. Read on for all the terrific entries…

Paula's Cinema Club

‘Tis the season to recognize the names below the title, as our yearly recognition of those supporting players whose faces you know (but names you might not) concludes today.

Check out Day 1 by Kellee at Outspoken and Freckled and Day 2 at Aurora‘s blog Once Upon a Screen. All the nitty-gritty blogathon details are in the Announcement post. Thanks to my partners in cinematic tribute for making this such a fun project and to Turner Classic Movies for the blogathon title and inspiration. And now on with the show…


View original post 216 more words

WHAT A CHARACTER! Blogathon – Day Two

For Day Two of the WHAT A CHARACTER! BLOGATHON co-host Aurora of Once Upon A Screen brings in even more amazing entries to read!

Once upon a screen...

BREAKING: People are turning off the negativity and putting holiday preparations aside this weekend to make way for the characters! It’s thrilling news as sidekicks parade across the blogosphere. You won’t see anything like it anywhere else.

I’m thrilled to be hosting Day Two of the 2018 What A Character! Blogathon. This is the seventh consecutive year that I co-host this tribute to character actors and the excitement has multiplied. As you probably know my co-hosts are Kellee of Outspoken & Freckled who kicked things off with the Day one posts and Paula of Paula’s Cinema Club who hosts the third and final day tomorrow. We have lots of fun and informative posts to share so sit back and enjoy.

If you want a refresher on the back story for the What a Character! Blogathon take a look at the Announcement post, which includes the entire list of participants and chosen character…

View original post 425 more words

%d bloggers like this: