Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Fun Finds: TV Radio Mirror, October 1972

Here we go again with another entertainment gossip rag from Hollywood's past. This one was rescued from an antique store during a recent visit to Nashville, Indiana. We tend to feature 1960s magazines more often than not, so I thought it might be fun to look into one a little bit later, in this case 1972. Burt Reynolds and Dinah Shore's relationship was still in full bloom and was frequent fodder for these magazines.
We kick things off with well-known columnist Earl Wilson. For a period in the early-'70s, Wilson seemed to be practically obsessed with the idea of starlets showing off their bodies to the world as part of Tinseltown's new permissiveness. He published a book of interviews in 1974 called "Hollywood Laid Bare." His penchant for the topic continues here. Angel Tomkins, surprisingly enough, continued working up to the early-1990s. The picture of Shelley Winters is from a period just after she'd filmed The Poseidon Adventure and she was probably looking over that plate of food and trying to withstand it in order to lose some of her character's weight. We're gonna have to bet that she dug in regardless...
Patrick Macnee is justified in his annoyance over not being paid any residuals for reruns of The Avengers. The Gabriel Dell mentioned here was a one-time Dead End Kid of the 1930s and '40s. He would soon show up as Victoria Principal's brother Sal in Earthquake (1974.) I learned something new here, thanks to the lower left picture. Ray Milland's son Dan was an actor briefly (in 1963) who became heavily involved with drugs and later shot himself to death in 1981 at age forty-one. George Peppard is looking good here. (We'll return to Earl Wilson in a moment.)
In this gossip section, there's word about a new man in Doris Day's life, but she wouldn't wed again until 1976 - and not to Don Genson. Her fourth and final union ended in 1982. If you read the "Shocking Conduct" section, you'll find evidence of an unnamed male star behaving boorishly and out of line. Alas, his identity was protected... Lucie Arnaz' glossy looking pal is the famed Jim Bailey, who did impersonations of Marilyn, Judy and others. As for Sandy Duncan, she and her doctor friend did wed in 1973, but were through by 1979. She married her third (and present) hubby in 1980.
This page relays more info on Sandy, as in her attending a stage production featuring her soon-to-be ex-husband Bruce Scott. No moss grew between Duncan's three marriages. They were one right after the other. I'd never in my life heard of Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett, but they were busy music-makers and had just had a hot with the ditty "Never Ending Love for You" (the title of which was premature, apparently!)
A cross section of book titles that were in release at this time. Frances Farmer's auto-bio was turned into a telefilm in 1983 starring Susan Blakely and Lee Grant. The reviewer gave it an unqualified rave. The Water is Wide was made into the 1974 film Conrack and later redone for TV in 2006.
And now back to Earl Wilson's column. I take it Joanne Carson won her bet because Johnny wed Joanna on September 30th! I wonder if Dot Lamour's dresses were done in tropical prints...
Now a cross-section of record albums then in release. Peggy Lee might not have used her name on that first album mentioned, but she also wasn't taking any chances. Her FACE was plastered across the cover of it.
The "news" snippets that go with these pictures are on the next page. Mia Farrow looks typically crazed in her large pic. I wonder if any of you can recognize the blonde in the lower left photo. She was once a stunning beauty. And you will not believe what it was that put Bonanza's "Hop Sing" in the hospital...!
Mia's marriage to Andre Previn limped along until 1979. Jack Jones didn't wind up marrying Susan George (who I wouldn't have known here), but he did wed three more times for a total of six! The last one's been hanging on since 2009. The Broadway actor at lower-right, Ed Zimmermann, was only thirty-nine when he was felled by a heart attack. If you match up the "Ample Grounds" photo on the previous page to the text on this one, you'll see that our onetime glamour-puss was Anita Ekberg! And don't forget to read about Victor Sen Yung of Bonanza. How awful!
And now we take a gander at what movies were in release at this time. The review for Deliverance contains a spoiler, though not specifically. I have, for whatever reason (such as rarity in airings) never seen Portnoy's Complaint. The Man was a 1972 film examining the prospect of a Black President, something that was practically science fiction in 1972.
This page features some stars of country-western music (along with one-time child star Gloria Jean.) Check out Tom T. Hall's groovy shirt.
Until this page, I wasn't aware that one could take a bad picture of Chad Everett, but it was apparently possible. The bottom two aren't so bad, but that large one at the top is pretty dreadful and doesn't show him to his best advantage.
Though he and his wife Shelby did have a few rough spots along the way, they remained wed from 1966 to 2011 when she passed away of a brain aneurysm. Lung cancer claimed him a year and one month later.
Kay Medford, perhaps best known today for her role as Barbra Streisand's mother in Funny Girl, lived until 1980, when cancer finally did claim her at age sixty.
Elvis and Priscilla Presley's marriage did manage to hang on until October of 1973, though it did later come out that she had, in fact, had an affair with his karate instructor Mike Stone.
It's just that who ever knew that Mike Stone looked like this?! In any event, Elvis certainly wasn't faithful to Priscilla, perhaps ever...
This article features some photos of stars from Hollywood's golden days at a time when we didn't get to see a great deal of them. For example, Claudette Colbert seemed to disappear completely (for me anyway!) from 1961 to 1987 when she finally - and briefly - returned to acting in TV's The Two Mrs. Grenvilles. Likewise, James Cagney was AWOL from 1968 to 1981 when he popped up in Ragtime. You'll notice that some of the pages of this magazine, the ones with some color on them, haven't been bled to B&W like the rest. I always try to enhance my photos here, but there isn't an app yet to remove nicotine from the pages!!
Vivian Blaine had been off-screen for about a decade, though she did begin making rather frequent TV guest appearances in the mid-1970s through the early-1980s. Lash LaRue is an interesting case. A western star from the mid-'40s to about 1960. He played a villain in the movie Hard on the Trail without being informed that it was actually a hardcore porno movie!! So horrified was he by this that he left the business for nearly a dozen years to repent as a missionary. In the mid-'80s, he began to act again in the odd western. He later trained Harrison Ford to use a bullwhip, a specialty of his, for Raiders of the Lost Ark. Barbara Britton, a movie actress who segued to TV in the mid-'50s all but retired in 1950, but returned to the biz five years later to play Laura Petrie in "Head of the Family," the pilot for The Dick Van Dyke Show. Almost two decades later in 1979, she returned to TV on One Life to Live, but was felled by pancreatic cancer and died at only age sixty.
Here begins a lengthy tribute to Sandy Duncan, whose series Funny Face was cancelled when she underwent an operation on her optic nerve. She was then brought back with a new format on The Sandy Duncan Show, though it was equally short-lived.
There's an assortment of rare childhood photographs to be found in this article.
More rare early photos follow in this 4-page spread.
Shown here lower-right is her aforementioned first husband. Her second husband was the doctor who removed her tumor. (I guess their eyes met?) Contrary to popular belief, she doesn't have a glass eye. Her eyes are her own, though one (her left) doesn't actually provide vision.
Dick Van Dyke with his wife Margerie and their youngest child Carrie.
The eldest son Chris(tian) mentioned in this article went on to a career as a district attorney in Marion County, Oregon. Van Dyke and his wife split around 1975 or so, though they were married until 1984. He'd long since taken up with Michelle Triola, the woman who unsuccessfully sued Lee Marvin for "palimony." She died in 2009 and in 2012 he wed for a second time. He's now ninety-two!
Ed McMahon's marriage to Alyce came to it's official end in 1974, after two years of separation. His second marriage was from 1976 to 1989 and a third and final one was from 1992 until his death in 2009 at age eighty-six. 
Maureen Robinson: Cougar! June Lockhart didn't wind up marrying Bob Corff, in fact she never wed again after her 1970 divorce. Corff, apart from his stage career, had a run of TV parts in the mid-1970s, but later emerged as a highly-regarded voice & dialect/dialogue coach. Anne Lockhart, now sixty-four, still acts occasionally.
Fans of The Lawrence Welk Show might appreciate this two-page spread on dancer Bobby Burgess.
Wed in 1971, Bobby and Kristie are together still today and have four children.
I really can't figure this one out at all. The Zimbalists were divorced in 1961. Wikipedia makes no mention of this and says they rewed in 1962. But this article has them remarrying in 1972 (!), so who knows...?! But they remained together, whatever the case, until her death from cancer in 2007. He lived to be ninety-five, passing away in 2014.
I can never quite fully grasp why people got so balled up over Burt Reynolds' "nude" centerfold in Cosmopolitan. Granted, it was an unusual move and a striking photo, but it's not like he was letting it all hang out or anything. One could see almost as much of a man at any beach or pool in 1972. I guess one had to be there and I was only five at the time.
As for this drink... Jesus!! What was in those "Pep Up" tablets?? The article says that they were sold at health food stores and that Burt was a health food addict. Well, he's made it to eighty-one.
This marriage certainly didn't last long. She recorded and had a hit song with Bobby Russell's "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia" in 1973. By 1974, she'd divorced him and remarried to make-up artist Al Schultz. They had two children together and are still wed today.
At the time of this article, Peter Falk had been married to wife Alice for a dozen years and had two children together.
In 1976, Shera Danese won a small role on Columbo and, soon after, Falk was divorced, wedding Danese in 1977. They remained together until his 2011 death.
And we leave you with some of the ads from this issue. Get a load of the breast enhancer/death trap that was for sale! I expected it to be something one hooked up to her vacuum cleaner, but it actually attached to the faucet!
These items are so corny and crappy (the dolls at the top are each 4" tall!), but what made me hoot is the toning vibrator at bottom-left. The text reads, "reaches difficult areas with its gentle penetrating action." It also tones "throat muscles" (!!) and relieves "daily tensions."
These "designer" outfits are strangely appealing despite their flammability. LOL The black get-ups are made from "rayon bonded crepe," making them perfect to wear on the S.S. Poseidon since they'll retain their shape under duress and drip dry.
Help me, Jesus. A "triumph of fashion and value."
Which lash fits you best? I want to be a Flair, but am probably a Demi-Wisp at heart...  Ha ha!  Till next time!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Guest Who: Reunited (and it ain't so good...)

The gentleman shown here is Mr. Larry Kert, the original Broadway Tony from "West Side Story," during a televised perfor- mance from the smash 1957 show. Already twenty-seven at that time, albeit reading younger on stage, he would not be permitted to recreate his role in the Oscar-winning 1961 movie nearly four years later. He was almost completely unable to transfer his stage notability into a movie career, appearing only in the 1965 drug rehab drama Synanon in a supporting role.
He was, however, able to make some television acting appear- ances in the wake of "West Side Story." There was a 1961 episode of the detective series Checkmate, followed in 1962 by an installment of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. In it, he played a circus performer who is romancing the already-married Diana Dors. The episode is of interest for a couple of reasons, one being that Dors is a magician's assistant who is eventually cut in two, something that occurred five years (and about 20 pounds) later when she filmed Joan Crawford's Berserk!

In only one of what seemed a lifetime of unlucky breaks for Kert, the grisly (yet unseen) ending of the episode prevented it from being broadcast on television when the sponsors deemed it too ghoulish. Thus, he was prevented from being seen in this featured bit of acting until later when the episode finally made it to air in syndicated reruns.

He finally appeared on a 1964 episode of Kraft Suspense Theatre in a supporting role, followed by the aforementioned Synanon in 1965. 1966 brought an episode of Combat!, wherein he played a petrified soldier who's being hunted by a vengeful German officer. All during this time he remained active on Broadway, but often in shows that were plagued with either production issues, bad notices or other concerns which kept them from succeeding (including "Breakfast at Tiffany's," which closed in previews.)

A later show, "La Strada," was cancelled on its opening night. He finally landed a hit with "Company," but only when Dean Jones vacated the part very soon after the show opened. Still, his performance was considered strong enough to warrant a Tony nomination when it was generally felt that only originators of roles were eligible for such. Which brings us (finally!) to the subject at hand today. (I've coined a new term for the way I approach certain subjects with my opinionated, serpentine style: meanderizing! Ha ha!)

In 1973, Kert was a featured guest star on a fifth season episode of Hawaii 5-O. In it, he played the incarcerated boyfriend of Patty Duke, herself a prison inmate. In what is a rather bizarre and uncharacteristic installment of the series, Duke promises to inform on a far more important criminal who Jack Lord's Steve McGarrett has been aching to bust for his crimes. Duke insists that she and Kert be given immunity for her testimony AND that the couple be given a wedding ceremony in a church, followed by a honeymoon in a resort hotel! Then they will serve brief sentences for some lesser crime of theirs.
Under constant threat of attack from the primary criminal or his band of henchmen, Lord takes the couple to a guarded, dilapidated church where the ceremony will take place. He even winds up walking the beaming (and pregnant!) Duke down the aisle of the church! Only one outside guest is permitted, a prominent photographer who seizes the opportunity to take pictures of the loony event.
As Lord strolls down the aisle by the photo- grapher, he shoots her an enigmatic look, one of mild derision, as she snaps away endlessly with her camera. Who is this persistent photog? Well, it's almost not to be believed. It's...
"West Side Story's" Maria, Carol Lawrence!
There is no way to adequately describe the lunatic way that Lawrence decides to play her scenes as the photo- grapher. This supposedly cosmo- politan, neo Margaret Bourke-White, relentlessly snaps shots that couldn't possibly be in focus or framed correctly (or in some cases even aimed at her subject.) She resorts to throwing rice in the air out of a feedbag and then snapping pics as it falls to the ground (or into Duke's hair.) Look at the inset. Have you ever seen a wedding photographer position herself the way she does during the ceremony (not to mention the deranged expression!)

Once the happy couple has made their way to a waiting helicopter, which is spiriting them off to an ocean-side suite, Duke insists that Kert carry her over the threshold. Duke is still stuck in her abrasive, shrill Neely O'Hara mode from Valley of the Dolls (1967) without the campy songs or eye-popping fashions to help diffuse the vinegar. She and Lawrence tag team each other to see who can come up with the highest level of over-emoting, with Lawrence still projecting her expressions to the back row of the Winter Garden Theatre and Duke squawking to the back of the Playhouse Theatre where she played Helen Keller.

We find out that Lawrence is actually a former lover of Lord, the two having broken up 8 years, 2 months and a couple of days prior...! They start to rekindle the affection they once shared until their dueling careers drove them apart.

Lawrence's long hair is styled okay, but I wish I could understand her choice in eyebrow makeup and contouring. People carped about Joan Crawford's in 1962 and beyond, but this was now 1973 and they have a life of their own. And no one on set noticed that the heavy face powder had left one of them partly patted down and partly alone, giving her a strangely unkempt aspect in this scene?!

Anyway, Lawrence and Lord take a walk along the shoreline and eventually begin to feel their old fires reigniting.

Lord has a hotel room adjacent to the newlywed jailbirds lovebirds and it seems rather clear that ol' McGarrett has gotten lucky! Lawrence is in a new set of clothes and is apparently spending the night with him in his room.

Thing is, in the suite next door, someone is trying to silence  witnesses Kert and Duke for good. Their sumptuous honeymoon dinner, which is literally set afire before their eyes, ("ooohh, flambe!) is accompanied by some deadly cyanide gas! While Lord is canoodling with Lawrence, Kert and Duke are struggling to catch their breath.

Before the episode is over, things don't end up particularly well for either Lawrence or Kert. (In the interest of beefcake in all its forms, I include below the only shirtless shot of Kert that occurs in the episode.) The real crime, though, is that the makers of Hawaii 5-O neglected to arrange even one fleeting scene between these actors apart from the frenetic wedding photography.
I mean, it's frigging Tony & Maria, fer chrissake!! The director couldn't find one teensy way to have them share a fleeting moment together? Maybe she drops a roll of film and he picks it up for her or she stumbles and he helps make her right. Anything?! Their casting is presented completely free of any irony or nostalgia. The same thing happened once on Partners in Crime, in which costars from The Bad Seed, Eileen Heckart and Patty McCormack, were in the same episode yet shared no scenes...
Anyway, Lawrence went on to many more TV series and TV-movie appearances over the next couple of decades, receding from view around 2000. She also became the high-profile spokeswoman for General Foods International Coffees. Oddly enough, she worked on the TV remake of Duke's Valley of the Dolls, Jacqueline Susann's Valley of the Dolls (1981) - in the Lee Grant role - and later worked on the 1994 syndicated series Valley of the Dolls as well! She is eighty-five at present.
Kert, on the other hand, continued to struggle with work outside the stage. He did a bit more TV, including the miniseries Rich Man, Poor Man - Book II before landing a part in a Martin Scorcese film. In 1977's New York, New York, he played the leading man in a film-within-a-film opposite star Liza Minnelli. However, in what by now seemed like a bewildering pattern of misfortune, the over-long film was shorn of his 11-minute sequence prior to release. (It was later put back in, well after the movie had flopped at the box office.)
The 1975 Broadway revue "Musical Jubilee" ran for 92 performances.
Though he continued to work on Broadway, the projects ranged from marginally successful to downright disastrous (1986's "Rags" closed two days after it opened.) Nevertheless, he still retained a marvelous voice which he sometimes was permitted to show off at concerts and during awards shows. Here, his dear friend Chita Rivera introduces him to sing "Maria," more than thirty years after he introduced it and here a positively regal Angela Lansbury introduces him to sing "Being Alive" nearly twenty years after he had performed it nightly. He was fifty-nine and still sounded terrific. The song choice wound up being terribly ironic.

The following year Larry Kert would be dead of AIDS at age sixty. He was one of many remarkable people in the performing arts to have fallen to the scourge of the 1980s (and beyond.) He had more than a few tough breaks and is hardly a household name to most folks, but he did leave a mark and was noted by many of his peers as having been one of the nicest people in the business. Considering the way some people behave in order to get ahead, perhaps that was one of the problems.

None of us truly knows what lies in store once we pass from this earth, but I do hope that Larry Kert found a peaceful and wonderful place "Somewhere."