Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving Dressing

No, not the food kind! We instead offer up this hooty two-page spread from (I think!) TV Guide in which The Young and the Restless' Jeanne Cooper is given a vintage version of What Not to Wear by none other than Irwin Allen's very favorite costume designer and close friend Paul Zastupnevich.

Sadly, the next page of text isn't included/available, though what's there is choice. Zastupnevich gave each one of these get-ups a name! Ah, the '50s and early-'60s. There is a bit of misinformation in this brief article, though, but leave it to The Underworld to snake out the truth. Zastupnevich was not the costume designer for Cooper's musical. He was her co-star! Under the name Paul Kremin, he and Cooper did "Plain and Fancy" at the Riverside Tent Theater in North Hollywood. But Cooper's husband's client (the man was an agent) needed a dress for an event and in desperation turned to Zastupnevich, who had several years of experience in costume design.

The client was Rhonda Fleming. She was so happy with what he came up with that he was touted by her as the full-on designer for her next picture, The Big Circus (1959.) He presented his ideas to the producer, Irwin Allen, and the rest is history. Once grand showman Allen witnessed the flair with which the young designer presented his work, he utilized him forever after. Even then, Allen had assembled an all-star cast. Seen below are Vincent Price, Gilbert Roland, Rhonda Fleming, Victor Mature, Red Buttons, Adela Mara, David Nelson and Peter Lorre.
Surely one of the delights of costuming this mammoth motion picture would have been the fitting of hunky David Nelson (son of Ozzie & Harriet and brother to teen crooner Ricky) for his trapeze leotards!
Under Allen's supervision, Zastupnevich went on to design countless clothes for TV shows like Lost in Space, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Land of the Giants and The Time Tunnel along with movies like The Poseidon Adventure (1972), The Swarm (1978) and When Time Ran Out... (1980), among others.  Prudish Allen and he tangled over Stella Stevens' cleavage during Poseidon, resulting in a sizable brooch being plopped into the lowermost regions of it.  One of my favorite quotes of his about Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea was that the show was "... all men and monsters, and some of the men were monsters!"

Zastupnevich was also nominated for Oscars with these films, losing to Anthony Powell for Travels with My Aunt, Anthony Powell for Death on the Nile and, yes, Anthony Powell for Tess!  (What are the chances?!)  One presumes that Zastupnevich's office had an Anthony Powell voodoo doll dangling over a lit candle with needles in its head!

Of course he wasn't even nominated for The Towering Inferno (1974) which contained one of my all-time favorite dresses in cinema history, that of Faye Dunaway's. The dress was the subject of my sixth ever post here!

Mr. Z passed away at the age of seventy-five in 1997, his final project having also been Irwin Allen's, a TV-movie called Outrage! (1986), which was uncharacteristic for the duo in content (the trial of a man who killed his daughter's rapist and murderer), but not casting. The parade of names involved included Robert Preston, Beau Bridges, Burgess Meredith, Mel Ferrer, Anthony Newley and Linda Purl!  It was a long way from both Jeanne Cooper and Rhonda Fleming.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Mini Pop Quiz: Who's That Guy?

This muscle-bound man is familiar to most moviegoers, though to a good many of you, his face is unfamiliar. Folks who hail from the same geographic area as he will more than likely find it simple, as will diehard fans of the film(s) he is associated with, but for a lot of us, this is something of a stumper.

The shots of this gentleman in a skimpy leather get-up are from a 1972 horror flick called Vampire Circus. The circus is filled with shape-shifting vampires, dangerous animals, diminutive clowns and others. The guy in question is the resident strongman and flunky. His role in the movie is wordless.

His chief function, apart from occasionally knocking someone around or disposing of a body, is to look strapping and hunky in his li'l outfit, which he does rather nicely.

As I say, practically all of us have seen him in a famous role on-screen. Thing is, we never saw his face (or, as in this case as well) heard his voice! His voice was provided by another actor, one who was renowned for its quality. The physically imposing character he enacted was really a force to be reckoned with. Does that sew it up for you?

Yes, this man is David Prowse, the body behind the black helmet and costume of one Darth Vader, chief villain of Star Wars (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983.) Vader's voice, of course, came courtesy of James Earl Jones.

Here is a shot of Prowse decked out in his suit, minus the iconic helmet:
To a generation of moviegoers, Darth Vader was the epitome of a powerful, threatening menace. While it's true that Jones (and the heavy respiration of the helmet) contributed enormously to the success of the part, Prowse's build and movements also aided in putting the part across.

Somewhere along the line, the once- amiable relationship between Prowse and series creator George Lucas (seen here with beard and glasses, along with director Irvin Kirschner) disintegrated into outright animosity. It stems from allegations that Prowse revealed key plot plots to the media about the sequels despite being sworn to secrecy and/or from the fact that in the third film, the character's unmasking was played by someone other than Prowse, a Shakespearean actor named Sebastian Shaw, whose less-than-three minute scene was shot in one day under a blanket of secrecy.

As a result, Prowse has been banned since 2010 from any official Star Wars conventions. Despite Jedi (a movie budgeted at $32 million) having taken in $475 million, Prowse has never been paid residuals due to what he calls "Hollywood accounting." I thought you might like to see the man behind the mask (he's seen here as a weightlifter in a 1968 episode of the British TV series The Champions.)

The 6'6" bodybuilder, who competed as a weightlifter prior to acting on TV and in movies, had slimmed down quite a bit by the time of Star Wars, as one can see from this portrait. Now eighty years of age, he has been stricken by several physical ailments from hip replacements to arthritis to prostate cancer, but is still well-regarded by many fans for his work in the legendary movie trilogy.

Friday, November 13, 2015


Yes, we are back with more male stars taking a moment to scrub off the harsh realities of life with a dip in the bathtub (or some similar setting.) We've had this topic bubble up before here, here and here, but now we've amassed a few more examples, so it's time to draw upon them again! Thanks to our cover boy this time out, Jeff Bridges in Hearts of the West (1975.)
In a scenario you'll see more than once in this post, Martin Milner can't seem to achieve any privacy during his bath in this scene from an unidentified film.
Here is Milner years later taking a dip in a lake during a 1965 guest appearance on Laredo.
Miss Susie Slagle's (1946) was a heart-tugger about med school students rooming in Lillian Gish's boarding house, but Billy De Wolfe provided comic relief as one of the residents (who, as seen here, has plenty of company during his bathtime!)
Robert Tayler is lent a hand for his back in 1951's epic Quo Vadis.
We love Maurice Evans' bathtub in the 1952 film Androcles and the Lion.
Before becoming a household name in I Love Lucy, Lucille Ball was a movie actress in many now-obscure films like Valley of the Sun (1942), a western in which she had the terrific fortune of interrupting James Craig during a dip in a barrel. (As you can see, though, he has pants on...)
While we're out west, let's take a gander at Ward Bond and Jon Hall bobbing in the water as Dana Andrews (in uniform) looks on in Kit Carson (1940.)
Robert Mitchum took a remarkable number of baths in his movies and this shot is from El Dorado (1966.)
Henry Fonda washes off some prairie dust in Welcome to Hard Times (1967.)
You know... my grade school rented The Light in the Forest (1958) for us to watch, way back in the mid-'70s and that's the last time I ever saw it. Having seen this shot of Fess Parker watching James MacArthur take a bath, maybe it's time I took another look!!
James Garner does double-duty, shaving and bathing in Skin Game (1971.)
Now kicking off a mini world tour, we find Red Buttons getting some bath time assistance (not to mention an Oscar!) in Sayonara (1957)
In Italy, Gian Maria Volante gets a hand from Irene Papas in Christ Stopped at Eboli (1979.)
Barry Evans gets plenty of attention from Moyra Fraser in the British sex romp Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush (1968.)
Rod Steiger as Napoleon can't get much peace in Waterloo (1970.)
The Russian-set drama Fury (1973) finds Oliver Reed sharing a cozy tub with Claudia Cardinale.
As noted earlier, Robert Mitchum took quite a few on-screen baths, so we round out our mini-world tour with a series of shots from The Angry Hills (1959), a WWII drama set in Greece.

I included this last one of Mr. M freshly out of the tub and in a towel because it better shows off his forty-two year-old chest.
In Wild in the Streets (1968), Christopher Jones luxuriates in a deluxe bathtub.
Here's a closer look.
In Bloody Mama (1970), Shelley Winters likes to add the personal touch with her boys on bath day. Here, Robert Walden is being scrubbed down.
And here Walden is scalded with hot water from his brother Clint Kimbrough.
Next up, Robert De Niro (yes, that Robert De Niro!) is washed up by Mama Winters.
In this, one of my favorite bathtub scenes, all of the men were nude on set and with a little freeze-framing one can make out Kimbrough's and De Niro's private parts.
Here we see a rear view of Albert Popwell about to enter a soothing bath in Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold (1975.)
Popwell and his brother Caro Kenyatta are prisoners of the evil crime boss Stella Stevens, but she allows them to enjoy the on-site facilities during their stay.
After some hesitation, Kenyatta gives into temptation and joins the fun.
I have never seen an episode of M*A*S*H, but I might be tempted to at least watch part of this one, in which three of the castmates (McLean Stevenson, Alan Alda and Wayne Rogers) take a communal bath.
Exotic-looking actor Judson Scott takes the plunge during his short-lived series The Phoenix (1981-1982.)
If you've never seen the 1981 rendition of Lady Chatterley's Lover, you owe it to yourself to check it out. In it, she (Sylvia Kristel) spies her gardener Nicholas Clay (a hunk for the ages!) giving himself a standing bath outside his cottage. :::sigh:::
Steve Martin suds up in The Jerk (1979)?
River Phoenix has a reflective moment in My Own Private Idaho (1991.)
A.J. McLean of the Backstreet Boys.
Handsome John Hamm relaxes with the paper in this magazine spread.
The 1985 romp Private Resort has provided a lot of fodder for my posts on towels, underwear and so on and here it is again in the post about bath time! Hector Elizondo has too much soap in his eyes to know that he's got accidental company in his bubble bath.
Rob Morrow, who is on the run after a bizarre encounter with a female guest of the resort, is in the tub, too!
Elizondo finds out (the hard way?) that his bathtub companion is not his wife.
We do love our Martin Kove and were perfectly willing to watch Steele Justice (1987), at the suggestion of a friend of Poseidon's Underworld, to see his bathing scene.
Like so many in this post, he is joined by company. Is real life like this or is it a cinematic conceit?!
The humpy Mr. Kove is a true joy to behold in his skin-baring scene.
We come to a close with a rather unusual sequence from The Waltons. In the episode "The Heritage," a therapudic hot spring provides relaxation and rejuvenation to Grandpa Walton (Will Geer) and John Boy (Richard Thomas.)
The two are quite cozily intertwined as they take their dip, but are interrupted by some passersby who wind up wanting to buy the place for its water.
I'm not aware of any other Waltons episode that showed this much skin (even if Will Geer isn't at the top of my list of cast members I want to see shucked down!)
I end with this, though, because it has a funny postscript. This scene, obviously done on a soundstage, would normally have the actors in some sort of moleskin undies or patches or something, but they were apparently nude or, at least, ditched whatever they'd been wearing because at the end of this brief blooper reel, they are singing "Yankee Doodle Dandy" to the crew and flip around to moon everyone! Geers gonads have to be edited out with a white dot!
We hope you enjoyed this trip to the bathtub and can luxuriate in your own, like Liberace, the first chance you get.