Monday, February 22, 2016

Fun Finds: TV Radio Mirror, August 1966

It's time again for another traipse down memory lane with a showbiz magazine from Hollywood's days gone by! This time, we have a mid-'60s issue of TV Radio Mirror (cover price $0.35 for a 90-page magazine!) that features a parade of photos and stories, many of which center on gals with the last name of Lennon or participants in the then-hot prime-time soap Peyton Place (1964-1969.) The colorful cover depicts two movie actresses who had made successful transitions into the world of television, Barbara Stanwyck and Dorothy Malone. (FYI - You may find these various page scans easier to read by opening them in a new tab or window.)

Most of us who are familiar with "Old Hollywood" recognize the name of columnist Earl Wilson who was a pretty prominent showbiz journalist in his day. His column "Inside Story" begins by questioning whether an actress (namely Marlo Thomas) can achieve what's necessary for a successful career without becoming too "mannish" in the process. Mention is made of her brother Tony, who'd been flirting with an acting career as well, but he ultimately turned to producing (in fact, he executive produced Benson, 1979-1986, and The Golden Girls, 1985-1992, both considerable hits, among other shows.) Also included is a picture of Miss Stanwyck accepting an Emmy (for The Big Valley) and blurbs about Sheila MacRae taking over from Audrey Meadows for The Honeymooners and Johnny Carson's recent bon mots.

The second page recounts a tribute to Mike Todd, created by his son Mike Todd Jr, and notes that Elizabeth Taylor refused to take a check for her times spent contributing to the project. Other blurbs concern upcoming TV specials with Tony Bennett and Robert Goulet and a blind item concerning an unruly music group. Photos include one of Sammy David Jr with his then-wife May Britt as he accepts a Man of the Year award from the Friars and another of Bill Cosby with his wife and mother. Forty years ago, his wife couldn't have dreampt what lay in store down the pike!

The end of his column has a sizable entry on actress Pamela Raymond (who I had never heard of) relaying her experiences as a heroine on the daytime drama The Secret Storm. Strangely, this article has her married to a writer named Larry Martin while today's www sites such as imdb.com and wikipedia.org have her married to actor Ben Cooper from 1960 to her death in 2008! He finishes up with bits about Jack Jones, Burt Ward and a plea for reporters to stop attacking celebs en masse when spotted at the airports or press conferences.

The next section, called "What's New?" is by Eunice Fields and centers on the recent Emmy Awards ceremony. Danny Kaye and Bill Cosby had co-hosted it from two coasts, something that seems almost surreal now although technology would actually make it far easier to accomplish. BTW, I love Mary Tyler Moore's hair in this photo, far removed from the usual way she wore in on The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961-1966) or The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970-1977.)

As the column continues, we get a rare photo of John Wayne and Claire Trevor reunited a dozen years after the last of their four movie collaborations. There are also blurbs about Batman (1966-1968) stars Adam West and Burt Ward, Yvette Mimieux and a new pet jaguar (!), a piece on how film actors were invading the Broadway stage, the infamous "singing" star Mrs. Miller, Ed Ames and Phyllis Diller.

Finally, she recounts the broken engagement between Aaron Spelling and Leticia Roman (which I hadn't ever known about), suggesting that Carolyn Jones might be re-entering his life. In actuality, he'd recently met Candy, who would become his longtime wife and the mother of his children. Roman soon went into California real estate with great success. She also touches on Raymond Burr, Bill Cosby, Nancy Sinatra, Natalie Wood & Stuart Whitman (!) and Judy Garland's latest failed marriage.
This featured biography of Cliff Robertson was done just prior to his marrying Dina Merrill. They were wed in 1966, but divorced in 1989.

This next segment "Show Biz" speculates about the televising of Luci Johnson's (daughter of then-President Lyndon Johnson) upcoming wedding as well as whether the President's other daughter Lynda would wind up married to actor George Hamilton. Luci's first marriage ended in 1979 while Lynda married a decorated marine who proceeded to a successful political career.

Some great pictures come up next, featuring Charles Chaplin, daughter Geraldine and Marlon Brando on the set of the huge flop A Countess from Hong Kong (1967), Honor Blackman of Goldfinger (1964), Jack Cassidy and Shirley Jones during the premiere of the Broadway show "It's a Bird... It's a Plane... It's Superman," opera star Gladys Swarthout, Hedy Lamarr, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans and the merry-go-round love lives of Barbara Parkins and Ryan O'Neal. In the accompanying article, Superman star Bob Holiday is touted as sure to go places on screen, but he never acted in any TV or film projects beyond those associated with Superman.

The next page has a photo of Christina Crawford on her wedding day with her famous mother (and matron-in-law) Joan. The article refers to their sometimes "stormy" relationship, though producer Herman Cohen claimed he saw Crawford slip her daughter $5,000 (a quite considerable sum then) to ensure that the newlyweds would have a terrific honeymoon. This first husband of Christina's reportedly never heard word one about any child abuse from her. There's a shot of Robert Vaughn and his son by Joyce Jillson (I had no clue...) At the bottom is a photo of Corinne Griffith, a silent movie actress who shaved twenty years off her age and disavowed her prior career during an annulment hearing with her fourth husband! Her behavior led to the writing of the novel Fedora by Tom Tryon.
Capsule summaries (and candid opinions from the author) of some then-in-release movies are found on this page of TV Radio Mirror.
Now we come to a succession of articles, some with fun color portraits like this one of Eva Gabor (of Green Acres, 1965-1971) and her fourth husband Richard Brown. Brown was a textile manufacturer and stockbroker who later worked for Filmways production company.

The article proceeds to cover all sorts of jibber-jabber about their marriage and home life (these magazines always have long, text-filled articles that look like so much, but which say so little!) More captivating are the various staged photos of their ornately-decorated home and glamorous existence together.

This was the longest-lasting of Gabor's five marriages, but even it was not to be forever. They divorced in 1972 and she wed for the last time in 1973, a union that ended in 1983. None of her five marriages resulted in a child. Ms. Gabor suffered a fall in 1995 at age seventy-six and complications from that eventually led to pneumonia and respiratory failure. Her equally-famous sister Zsa Zsa is still alive today at ninety-nine, though in miserably poor health.

This article about Dick Van Dyke's journey from young Christian to Athiest and back to believer. The article later describes his rise from the theatre to a starring role in Bye Bye Birdie (1963) when Laurence Harvey (!) couldn't fit it into his schedule and how Gower Champion made a dancer out of him when he doubted that he could even waltz.
 This is great color photo is of Chuck Connors of The Rifleman (1958-1963), currently starring in Branded (1965-1966) with his wife, Indian actress Kamala Devi. She costarred in Geronimo (1962) with him and appeared in several episodes of his series. 
Devi was extremely lovely on screen and was a decent actress, though she all but gave up her career to serve as Mrs. Connors (as the article states.) Things went swimmingly until about 1973 when Connors filmed Soylent Green and met one of the curvy ladies playing "furniture" (the sexist term for female companionship in the futuristic movie.) He and Devi divorced in 1973 and a couple of years later he married the gal in question. (They, too, divorced in 1980.) His first wife bore him four sons, but that marriage had ended in 1961.
  
This next article is really something. The tone of the piece is extremely friendly, fawning and positive and yet the whole thing is laced with a tinge of mystery and secrecy.  On the surface, it's about how Rock Hudson discovered and helped a small town guy named Harvey Lee Yeary, who would eventually become Lee Majors.
  
Here we see the young star from The Big Valley (1964-1969) enjoying a moment with his rod & reel in his home with a large portrait of Hudson looming in the background over his shoulder.
   
This is one of the rare instances in which I'm going to include the whole article because rumors of this association have been bubbling up for decades and decades. I knew better than to even mention Majors' name to my aunt who went to Eastern Kentucky University at the same time he did.
    
The rumors have included all sorts of things including those of a sexual nature. It's a nearly forgotten fact now, but Hudson used to come to Kentucky for the Derby, but keep a house nearby for all sorts of shenanigans. One year he allegedly took some of the players on the 1962 U.K. football team to bed, causing a huge local scandal! We may never know the exact circumstances of this scenario.

Now entering Lennon World! At left is the fairy tale wedding of Janet Lennon to then-stage manager Lee Bernhardi. (He later went on to become a producer and TV director.) This was quite obviously one big, splashy ceremony!
   
Seen on this page is the patriarch of the gargantuan family of singers, Bill Lennon. The caption reads that he will "long recall" this day, but in actuality he was horribly shot and killed by a deranged fan of Peggy Lennon just a few years after this (and at only age fifty-three.)
This is a great and gorgeous photo of the young couple on the big day with Maid of Honor Kathy Lennon by their side.
The magazine also includes snapshots from the large reception.
   
But it doesn't stop there. Now the story continues onto their honeymoon in Palm Springs!
   
Photo ops galore continue as the couple is shown in a variety of active or romantic poses.
   
This part of the article describes the way Bernhardi would continually surprise his love with a yellow rose throughout their courtship.
   
Not too long ago, the over-the-air channel Buzzr was showing vintage episodes of Tattletales from the early 1970s and Lee and Janet were on as a couple. Sad to say, after ten years of marriage and three children, they divorced. Janet remarried the same year (1976) to a man that remains her husband today.

Just when you thought you'd crossed the threshold on Lennons, we find christening photos from Dianne Lennon's son's big day.
   
This Lennon marriage is one that took. Dianne and her husband Dick Gass (yes, you read that right) are still wed today and have been since 1960.

Now we come to the story on Jill Ireland and her new love Charles Bronson. The one hitch was that she was still married to Bronson's friend David McCallum! The painting on this page is by Bronson, by the way.
   
The article notes that the portraits of McCallum and Bronson were inserted for the purposes of illustrating the story and were not on display this way in real life! Ireland and Bronson had met several years prior, but grew closer when they became partners in a gallery called "Art Actually." Ireland declares in the article that she and David were heading for separation long before Bronson entered the picture. She and Bronson wed in 1968 and remained that way until her death of cancer in 1990 when she was but fifty-four.

The cover story (or half of it) concerned the "man" that Dorothy Malone wept over. Who it turned out to be was her younger brother Bill, killed at sixteen when a freak storm blew up on the golf course for which he was a caddy and he was struck by lightning! That occurred in 1954 and in 1956 when Malone won her Oscar for Written on the Wind, she reportedly said, "This is for you, Bill..." unplanned and from her heart.
   
The man that Miss Stanwyck "weeps for" is also her brother, who'd recently passed away. Stanwyck was the youngest of five children. There were three older girls, then her brother Byron and then her. When Stanwyck was two, her mother (pregnant again) was dealt one of those cruel blows that seem to haunt the lives of so many people who later went on to movie stardom. A drunken man on a streetcar fell and kicked her in the stomach. She later began to hemorrage and died along with the unborn baby.
  
As a result, Stanwyck and her brother were passed around between their older, married sisters and a variety of families who kept them temporarily during hard times in New York City. Ultimately, Byron grew up to become the loving head of his own family and worked in the business as an extra (the siblings are seen here during an episode of The Barbara Stanwyck Show, 1960-1961.)
  
 Now we find another happy couple, costars of Peyton Place (1964-1969) Christopher Connelly and Pat Morrow.
  
The article is heavy on suggesting a pending engagement announcement for the pair, and they do seem blissfully happy in their variety of romantic poses.
   

The photos in this collection have the earmarks of one of those dating montages that you'd see in many movies of the late-'60s and early-'70s (later lampooned in the movie The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad, 1988, by Leslie Nielsen and Priscilla Presley!)
Unfortunately, this tan, toothy twosome was not to be. In 1969, Connelly married former teen actress Cindy Carol and in 1975 Morrow wed Rosalind Russell's son. That union lasted about eight years while Connelly's lasted until his untimely death in 1988 from lung cancer. He was forty-seven.
The results of a recent write-in poll reveal to all who was deemed "TV's Most Beautiful Girl" in 1966. Runners-Up were Sally Field (of Gidget), Linda Evans (of The Big Valley), Kris Nelson (of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - and mother of the twin singers who later made up Nelson!), Inger Stevens (of The Farmer's Daughter) and Anne Francis (of Honey West.)



While the winner (the "Queen!") was determined to be Barbara Parkins of Peyton Place (but soon to be selected as one of the leads in Valley of the Dolls, 1967.)
   
This lovey-dovey couple is Burt Ward (who played Robin on Batman from 1966-1968) and his wife Bonney. (She was the daughter of composer and musical director Mort Lindsey.) They'd met a couple of years prior and were wed in 1965.

At this time she was pregnant with their daughter Lisa, though (despite the goo in this article) this marriage would soon be kaput and Ward married an actress who'd appeared on Batman as one of The Joker's gang. Today Ward is married to his fourth wife (since 1990), having grappled with insurmountable typecasting from his days as The Boy Wonder.

Before we close, I'll leave you with two color advertisements from the magazine. The first one has a young lady enjoying the hell out of life thanks to Tampax tampons. This sort of approach led to the infamous joke about the boy who came into the drug store and demanded a refund on a box of tampons he'd recently purchased. When the clerk asked why, the kid responded that there was false advertising. The box had proclaimed that with these he could ride a horse and a motorcycle, play tennis and swim!  Ha ha!

The last one is one of the many, typically-oblique ads for Modess sanitary napkins. The campaign ran for years and usually consisted of a highly glamorous model in a gown with only the words "Modess... because" as copy. And that about does it till next time!

7 comments:

Gingerguy said...

Where to begin, I guess first off, thanks for your patience to read all this as there are some real treasures in those 90 pages. Laurence Harvey in "Bye Bye Birdie"? I can't even imagine it, he is so humorless(though handsome) that I just can't picture him doing comedy or singing. I never knew that Sammy Davis married Mai Britt, I thought it was too big a scandal in a racist era and he backed off, maybe that was someone else? Also that "Fedora" was based on a true story, that is one odd movie and just assumed it was a Garbo fantasy story. I would have bought any magazine with the Lennons on the cover, and baby Janet looked adorable. 60's wedding dresses are my favorite, they were regal and the veils were always beautiful. And Kathy's hair does not disappoint! fierce as always. I see them interviewed on Lawrence Welk reunion bits and they do mention their parents and how great they were but never mention that tragedy, which is probably as it should be. I saved the best for last-Elva Miller's manager was A King Family member!!! I almost fell off my chair. That connects the dots between two of my obsessions. Unbelievable. I will listen to Mrs Miller's Greatest Hits tonight. Bless your heart.

roberta steve said...

Ah, Poseidon, paradise is where YOU are! This brought so many memories of what a treat it was when my mom would bring home "movie magazines" after a trip she made to the hairdresser or drug store. My sisters and I would pore over them! I remember many years ago reading a "blind item" about a manly TV star who kept a picture of his famous "mentor" in his dressing room. I always guessed it was Lee Majors. I apparently guessed incorrectly about the mentor as I thought it was Chareton Heston (always got MAJOR gaydar from him). Guess it was Rock instead. Those obviously staged lovey dovey couples photos are hysterical! Sad thing is Hollywood still does the same publicity/bearding type things, it's just done on social media or on shows like Entertainment Tonight now. Don't get me started on the Lennon sisters. They were my mom's faces and we watched them religiously on Lawrence Welk. My !om was sooo Catholic that she was ashamed when Janet got divorced. I think one of the other sisters (Kathy? Peggy?) Got divorced too. Do remember when their poor dad was murdered on the golf course. We were watching Another World, I think, when the news bulletin broke in. Maybe we have such affection for these magazines now is because how innocent we were when we read them, and how reassuring they seemed to make the world for us. Everyone was glamorous, everyone was in love, famous people were all nice, decent folk. Ah, well, with age comes wisdom. And a big desire to know the real dirt!

PS. My mom thought those Tampax ads were shocking back in the day!

Ken Anderson said...

So much fun looking at these old movie magazines! Part of it feels like nostalgia for a more hokey "good news" type of reporting about Hollywood; another is the hindsight pleasure of knowing NOW what these articles spoke of new and happening (the careers that never took off, the marriages that fizzled); and then there's this whole film history angle. I never knew about the "Fedora" gal, and after having heard the Lee Majors/Rock Hudson rumors for so long, that article is a hoot.
Reading all this was more fun than a trip to the Academy Museum - they don't have anyone there to connect all the gossipy dots.
Thanks, Poseidon!

Skippy Devereaux said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Poseidon3 said...

Gingerguy, I cannot imagine Bye Bye Birdie with Laurence Harvey... for the same reasons you state. He did not have a very light touch (at least not in anything I've ever seen) and wouldn't have worked in that sort of musical. (The dour, more serious ones we have these days maybe..) Sammy was married to Mai (even had a child together) and it was definitely a controversy in some circles (and put a ton of pressure on them), but it was Kim Novak who he was warned off seeing. Harry Cohn, her boss at Columbia, was aghast. Someone (I'd have to look up if it was Cohn or a Cohn henchman) said to Davis that if he didn't stay away from Kim, he'd lose his "other eye!" BTW, May Britt's imdb.com page has a slew of their wedding photos including a cake that must be seen to be believed! My eyes bugged out, too, when I saw that Lex handled Mrs. Miller. You can bet your ass that his mother Alyce never sang any duets with her. LOL

Roberta, Charlton Heston was reportedly so straight and narrow that the homoeroticism in "Ben Hur" had to be shielded from him! Yet he was also very narcissistic in his youth, loving to lay by the pool (a semi-public one, like at a hotel!) in nothing but a glorified jock-strap that his wife made for him! I never felt a gay vibe from him myself, but find it interesting that you did. I appreciate you pointing out the way the Hollywood games are still in place, just in more updated ways. SO funny about how your mom took it personally when the scandal of divorce shrouded the Lennons. I remember my religious grandma being invested in celebrities, too, and feeling disappointed when they stepped outside what she thought were proper boundaries. And she was very much against tampons, considering them improper. When the toxic shock thing came about, she would say, "they were warned about 'those things' but wouldn't listen!" Sigh....

Thank you, Ken! I'm glad you found all this entertaining and informative. Could I be a docent at the Academy Museum? LOLOL "And here we have the closeted homosexuals wing and then over there we have our fifteen seconds of fame display..."

Skippy, I did the same thing as you at first, confusing Paula and Pamela Raymond. Trust me, I took a long time sorting through the two actresses to make certain I had the right one in mind. I have to assume that whoever wrote the article just got her husband wrong (odd since Ben Cooper was a busy working actor at the time!)

angelman66 said...

There are so many reasons I love your blog, Poseidon--your eye for beauty, your perfectly presented nostalgia, your sense of humor and fun--but one of the biggest is that I always learn something new about my beloved stars, movies or TV shows...

I had no idea that Lee Majors was discovered by Rock Hudson! It was definitely not common knowledge in Hollywood, as that rare article notes. I had heard vague rumors about Majors's sexuality, though he has been married to some beautiful women, and the Hudson connection (as opposed to the Devlin Connection!) may explain a bit of this...may totally not be true at all, but guilt by association, so to speak. Still, it would be sooo hot if Rock and Lee HAD been a couple. Sigh.

Thank you once again for sharing some more of that treasure trove of a library! The Poseidon Archives deserve a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts!!
-Chris

Poseidon3 said...

Thank you so much, Angelman, for your overwhelmingly generous compliments and comments. Obviously, I was not there and so can only speculate about Rock & Lee, but my own take is that Lee is/was straight, but allowed himself to be played (played with?) as a means of getting ahead (a head? lol) in the business. This article, if you read between the lines, is downright nefarious - despite its sweet tone - in its use of words like "come to light," "diligent reporting,"climax," "secret" and so on. Lee was Rock's type. No question about that: tall, athletic, light-eyed. Then there's the agent, Dick Clayton, a gay model and actor turned agent who handled James Dean, Tab Hunter, Richard Chamberlain and was for over two decades Burt Reynolds' personal manager (!) Then add in Lee's sudden divorce from his wife who'd just given him a son (what did she find out?) There's just a lot of smoke, so I say there's fire, too. Anyway, I deeply appreciate your remarks and thank you again!