Friday, June 16, 2017
TV critics were not impressed, and predicted a hasty -- and well-deserved -- demise. But as one observer later said, "Nobody liked it but the people." The show caught on immediately, making leading lady Gale Storm a full-fledged television star. The series lasted four seasons, and played in reruns for decades afterwards.
Be on the lookout next spring for my book on the life and career of Gale Storm.
Friday, June 9, 2017
Congratulations to my friend and colleague Roberto Curti on the publication of his newest book, Riccardo Freda: The Life and Films of a Born Filmmaker (McFarland). His knowledge of and appreciation for the Italian motion picture industry would be difficult to match. I had the privilege of giving him a small assist in preparing this book, for which he kindly acknowledged me in print. It was my pleasure to do so.
Roberto is that rare author who does excellent work while being prolific enough to make me feel like a real slacker. He also imparts a tremendous amount of valuable information and commentary without sacrificing readability.
I'm eager to see what he produces next.
Saturday, June 3, 2017
Keep this sort of thing up, and I just might write more books!
Friday, May 26, 2017
Peggy Lee was both popular with listeners, and respected by critics, winning a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995. Among the peers who admired her work were Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, and Frank Sinatra, who said, “Her wonderful talent should be studied by all vocalists; her regal presence is pure elegance and charm.”
Her career lasted from her early days with the Benny Goodman orchestra in the 1940s through the 1990s, when she sometimes performed from a wheelchair — and still charmed audiences. In her later years, she successfully sued Disney for her share of the profits from the video releases of Lady and the Tramp, the hit 1955 animated film for which she contributed not only her vocal but her songwriting skills. (Remember “The Siamese Cat Song”?) She passed away in 2002.
I listen to her almost every day.
Sunday, May 21, 2017
Burr deserved a better biography than the one he got in 2008, whose author wasted quite a bit of space and energy making disparaging remarks about the actor's weight, and treating his sexual orientation with minimal respect. But Burr still has plenty of fans who respect both the man and his work. Which is as it should be.
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
I'm all for that. I just hope those lured in by the gossipy fun of the TV show go past that to discover the fine body of work she left behind, and appreciate the achievements of a woman from a disadvantaged background who reached the top not only through talent and opportunity, but through sheer force of will.
Wednesday, May 3, 2017
That year in particular demonstrated what a versatile player Gale had become after only five years as a professional actress. In short order, she would be presented to moviegoers as the star of three markedly different films -- a drama (They Shall Have Faith, ultimately released as Forever Yours), a Gay 90s musical revue (Sunbonnet Sue), and a fast-paced contemporary comedy (G.I. Honeymoon).
My favorite of the three is Honeymoon, a clear precursor to the kind of comedy she would do as TV's My Little Margie. But they're all well worth a look, and deserve to be better-known than they are today. Let's change that.