Olivia de Havilland Dies – Last of the Great Movie Stars
Olivia de Havilland 1943 photo: Ernest Bacharach
A couple of weeks ago Turner Classic Movies was showing Captain Blood. The 1935 Michael Curtiz directed adventure film stars Errol Flynn, Basil Rathbone, Donald Meek, Lionel Atwill, Guy Kibbee and a 19-year-old making her fourth film – Olivia de Havilland. Except for Flynn and de Havilland, the names are mostly forgotten except to the hardiest of film fans. Continue reading →
A Rare Photograph Of Fred Astaire With His Daughter Ava – 1958
1/5/1958 – HOLLYWOOD – Fred Astaire poses with his daughter Ava, 16, in a rare family portrait taken on the set of the General Electric Theater TV show. This is reportedly the first picture of the entertainer and his daughter to be released in 15 years. Photo- United Press International Telephoto
With the paparazzi of today there are no limits to what constitutes an invasion of privacy. Nobody is off limits – especially the children of the famous. Then there are the celebrities that don’t stop at just cooperating with paparazzi. They shamelessly publicize their children (who have no say in the matter) to promote themselves.
Some old-time celebrities had ethics. They didn’t exploit their families to get publicity. Actor, dancer and singer Fred Astaire (1899-1987) falls into that category.
A Private Man
When he was big star in the 1930s, most people didn’t even realize Fred Astaire was married. Continue reading →
Five Of The Greatest & Least Known UK Hard Rock Songs (Unless You’re a Fan Of The Band)
Slade on stage photo Paul Cox
I’ve seen hundreds of rock bands live. Working in the music industry afforded me a close-up look at greatness. Unfortunately many times the public does not recognize, let alone buy greatness. Continue reading →
Planet of the Apes Star Maurice Evans Talks About Playing Dr. Zaius
The Most Challenging Operation In History
The biggest and most challenging makeup operation in the history of Hollywood is currently underway for a new film called “Planet of the Apes”. One hundred artists and laboratory men have been given the job of turning out a cast of ape-like beings who inhabit another planet.
Faces of the apes are especially difficult to make since they must be pliable and able to express emotion. Experiments have been going on for a year to be ready for the commencement of the $5-million production.
The makeup substance is made partly of foam rubber and allows the actors to sweat without effecting their grotesque looks. Makeup men start on the cast as early as 4 o’clock in the morning to be ready for filming.
Story of the film is about astronaut Charlton Heston who lands on the weird planet peopled by sophisticated apes. Chief ape is played by Maurice Evans. – photo Keystone Press Agency 1967
The original choice to play Dr. Zaius was not Maurice Evans, but Edward G. Robinson. Supposedly Robinson could not bear the grueling makeup regimen and bowed out before filming began.
According to John Chambers, head makeup man for Planet of the Apes it took three and a half hours to turn a man into an ape. Continue reading →
Lana Turner, Stephen Crane & Frank Sinatra At The Stork Club 1943
Nation’s Heart Throbs in Gotham
Two of the three persons at this Stork Club table probably account for more of the male and female heart throbs in America. Lana Turner takes care of the male faction while Sinatra the singer accounts for the fairer sex. In center is Stephen Crane who is fortunate enough to be Lana’s husband and personal heart throb. (October 9, 1943) Photo: International News
From the look of this press photo it seems film star Lana Turner (1921-1995) and singer Frank Sinatra have more chemistry than Turner and her husband Stephen Crane. Quick romances do not always lead to satisfying marriages. Lana Turner eloped with bandleader Artie Shaw in 1940 when she was just 19-years-old. The marriage lasted four months.
Only three weeks after meeting merchandiser and tobacco heir Stephen Crane, 21-year-old Lana Turner married him on July 17, 1942. In December of 1942 the couple announced they were expecting a child. Continue reading →
Badfinger (l-r) Pete Ham, Mike Gibbins, Tom Evans, Joey Molland
There are literally hundreds of songs that qualify for this category: hit songs, that are not the original version. Among these are some songs you probably never knew were cover versions. We’re focusing on classic rock songs so let’s cut right to the chase.
First we’ll present the more famous cover version, followed by the original.
Hanging on the Telephone
Blondie’s 1979 breakthrough album, Parallel Lines, opens with a telephone ringing which is the intro to the frantic opening track Hanging on the Telephone. The album contains one catchy song after another. In a June 2008 interview with Sound on Sound magazine, producer Mike Chapman says he told the band, “Think of being onstage. Imagine you’re playing this to an audience, because we’re trying to record something that you’re going to have to listen to for the rest of your lives. So if this is not a high-energy performance, you’re going to say, ‘How come we now do it better live than on the record?’ In the case of ‘Hanging On The Telephone‘, that’s probably the best track on the album in terms of energy, although ‘One Way Or Another‘ has a similar edge.”
The Nerves, were a power trio comprised of Jack Lee, Paul Collins and Peter Case. They released only one four song EP in 1976 which included Hanging on the Telephone. In 1973 composer Jack Lee came up with the title for the song after reading The Illustrated Beatles. The book contained a cartoon of a woman with a phone wrapping around her neck. The illustration was above the lyrics of All I’ve Got To Do. Lee thought Hanging on the telephone and kept repeating it to himself.
The next day the lyrics just came to him in a flash. He began playing G and E flat chords and banged out the song. Lee says, “the quality of hanging of the telephone is a lot was sacrificed in time and in tension into that song and I think it really gave me such confidence in my skill. Because before anybody gave me any validation on the song I know I was on to something
and also the reaction I was getting from people that had other agendas other than to give me unsolicited compliments that I knew that I was on to something.”
The Nerves never broke big, but Hanging on the Telephone results in a continuing music publishing income stream for Jack Lee.
Harry Nilsson had a string of top 10 hits in the late 60s through the mid 70s including Everybody’s Talkin’; I Guess The Lord Must Be In New York City, Coconut; Jump in the Fire and many others. But Nilsson’s career defining song was a 1971 release, Without You.
Without You was written by Pete Ham and Tom Evans of Badfinger and released in 1970 on the album No Dice. Badfinger is much better known for No Matter What, Baby Blue, Come and Get It (written by Paul McCartney) and Day After Day. Their catalog of great songs runs deep.
But due to mismanagement, most music fans are familiar with songs the band released during its abbreviated period of popularity. Stan Polley, manager of Badfinger, should have his picture in the dictionary next to the word evil. Ham hanged himself in the garage of his Surrey home in 1975 implicating Polley for his despondency. In his suicide note Ham wrote, “P.S. Stan Polley is a soulless bastard. I will take him with me.” Eight years later in 1983 Tom Evans, was arguing with bandmate Joey Molland about the royalties for “Without You.” Evans put down the phone, went to the garden and hanged himself. Many of Evans friends believe he had never gotten over Ham’s suicide. A sad story attached to a sad song.
Neil Peart Had Brain Cancer For Over Three Years…And Told Almost No One
Neil Peart of Rush – A Farewell To Kings tour book 1978
The surprising news that Rush’s extraordinary drummer and lyricist Neil Peart has died at age 67, comes as a shock to the world. While music lovers will try to absorb the stunning news, only Peart’s family, band mates and a few close friends knew this day was imminently closer than anyone realized.
Peart passed away quietly in Santa Monica, CA on Tuesday, January 7 of brain cancer. For over three years Peart was fighting the disease. His close circle of friends knew his predicament. Everyone else had no idea.
Peart’s survivors include his wife Carrie and daughter Olivia. Peart escaped a media frenzy of reporting on his illness, as doubtless there would be, had anyone known about his cancer. That’s the kind of man Neil Peart was. Ferocious on drums. Private, quiet and introspective in life. Peart did not want consolation from the world by sharing that he was ill. His reticence to speak publicly, well established.
Rush 1978 (l-r) Neil Peart Geddy Lee & Alex Lifeson
On tour in the early 1990s I met both Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee backstage shortly after a show at Madison Square Garden. We talked for a minute. Continue reading →
The Original Def Leppard, LIVE In 1980 Perform Almost The Entire On Through The Night LP
Def Leppard Was Once A Heavy Metal Band: Then They Started Writing Pop
Their Main Hard Rock Songwriter & Guitarist Was Fired
Can We Forget About The Past?
Here is Pete Willis and the original Def Leppard performing almost in its entirety, one of the ten greatest debut rock albums of all-time.
UPDATE JULY 8. 2020 – No surprise, you will not see the video. For now it has been pulled by original poster – FresnoMediaRestoration. I wonder why??? Hmmmmm.
UPDATE JULY 21 – The video is back! (For now…)
When Def Leppard recorded their first major label album, they were a heavy metal band though they never called themselves that.
l-r Rick Savage, Joe Elliott, Pete Willis, Rick Allen & Steve Clark c 1980
It was 1980 and Def Leppard had just been signed to a deal with Mercury Records. They were signed on the basis of what three years of honing and craft perfection had wrought – On Through The Night. Previously in 1979, the band printed its own EP and sold an astounding 18,000 copies.
Within the music industry, in order for any band to get a record deal, the band must put forth only their best material. And that is what On Through The Night is. Eleven mostly blistering songs played at a frantic pace with songwriting that displays an ear for catchy and memorable songs.
Here’s the most incredible thing about this video performance of that first album — singer Joe Elliott is 21, guitarists Steve Clark & Pete Willis are 20, bass player Rick Savage is 19 and drummer Rick Allen is – are you kidding me? — 16!!!!