Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Fun Finds: Modern Screen Magazine, March, 1971

Today's Fun Find was made possible by a generous donor, one of my devoted Underworld divers who occasionally sends me delightful little tidbits in the mail, which I sometimes then share with you. As this was close to the dawn of the 1970s, just one year in really, it's an interesting time frame that I don't always find myself examining that closely, tending to focus on the 1960s or the mid-1970s. It's neat to see who and what were popular at the time. I mean, Carol Burnett gets a large cover photo over Paul Newman? That's the power of TV, I think, not to knock her in any way. It just surprised me. Stay tuned after the magazine for some additional photojournalism contributions of my own! ;-)
A glance at some movies that were then opening. Staggering how much plot is given away for Love Story (1970)! I am very averse to spoilers myself and even in my microscopic tributes to movies try to hold back certain key plot points. As have many others, they get it wrong about the book. The movie wasn't based on the book. The screenplay was first and Paramount asked Erich Segal to turn it into a novel as a pre-release (timed for Valentine's Day) publicity device. It worked in spades! I have never, ever seen Fools (1970) aired on television. It's a practically forgotten film!
I've gone ahead and skipped to the rest of the reviews (the earlier pic said, "Continued on page 96," but it's actually page 95...)
One of the chief social occasions at this time was the wedding of Nancy Sinatra to show producer Hugh Lambert. There was some hubbub over the previously divorced twosome being hitched in a Catholic ceremony, but when your last name is Sinatra... The bigger surprise is that Nance wore white for her second wedding, the first having been five years to Tommy Sands.
Oddsmakers had Nancy's sister Tina Sinatra set to wed Robert Wagner, but she remained single until 1974 when she became the second of four wives for songwriter Wes "Hang on Sloopy" Farrell. They were divorced within two years and she never remarried. A second story has a nutbag trying to extort money out of Johnny Cash. Those with myopia might have thought it was James Earl Jones, but it wasn't!
The author of this gossip column, Dorothy Manners, is pictured in a couple more pages down, and it helps to see what she looked like when reading about how she gave Tom Jones what for after he tossed garbage from his limo into her yard! The bottom half of the page contains material that we have covered before both here and here.
Love Story made quite a splash. I wonder if a Hollywood premiere today would include fried chicken!? Body-conscious stars don't seem like they'd go near it. I had to titter at Julie Andrews being so overcome she couldn't eat and Ann Miller crying a false eyelash off! As for the bottom story. It may not have been then, but it practically is now!
Upper right, with Robert Young, is columnist Dorothy Manners. The movie "The Best of Friends" was renamed What's the Matter with Helen? (1971) prior to release. If you're wondering, the Rick Ely pictured was the costarring on The Young Rebels and would later proceed to the daytime soaps Love of Life and One Life to Live.
Gregory Peck showed little more than a bare back in Shoot Out (1971), though he did have topless Rita Gam (not really showing anything) against him at the time, which was pretty racy for him... It's interesting to see this photo of Paul Newman and Faye Dunaway a couple of years prior to their co-starring roles in The Towering Inferno (1974.) He helped produce her then-current movie, Puzzle of a Downfall Child (1970.)
Probably Frank Langella's biggest success was in the stage production (1977) and resultant film Dracula (1979), though since then he's mostly been seen in character/supporting roles, though he did score a Best Actor Oscar nomination for Frost/Nixon (2006), another part he'd previously done on the stage. (That was the year Sean Penn won for Milk.) Interesting that Natalie Wood was apparently up for the title role in Diary of a Mad Housewife (1970) until pregnancy prevented it. Seen also are close pals Agnes Moorehead and Debbie Reynolds. Debbie apparently dropped an "F bomb" at Agnes' party! I had to smile that anyone thought George Kennedy's "love scene" in Airport (1970) was the sexiest they'd ever seen...! Donald Sutherland did indeed divorce that year and began an activism crusade with Jane Fonda.
At this juncture, It-girl Ali MacGraw was close to having her first and only child, a son named Joshua. (She hadn't even considered girls' names and wanted a boy tremendously.) Blissfully happy, redesigning her mansion with Paramount chief Bob Evans for a nursery and nurse's quarters, it would only last until a couple of years later when she met Steve McQueen on The Getaway (1973) and left Evans for him. That union only lasted five years. Her son went on to be a writer, producer, director and sometimes actor, much like his father.
This article sort of threw me. I didn't know John Fink, Renne Jarrett or the TV show Nancy (!) and then there were four people pictured... But my blond head was finally able to understand that the costars of Nancy are happily in love with their respective mates.
Nancy's peculiar concept had Jarrett playing the daughter of a U.S. President who falls in love with a veterinarian while having the Secret Service on hand and in the way. Lasting 17 episodes, it was notable for it's sugary sweet content. Fink (whose marriage to "Sharkey" isn't listed on imdb or Wikipedia!) went on to work on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, then from 1990 on appeared in eight of Joel Schumacher's movies!
Jarrett did end up marrying Jack Stauffer (who had a prolific TV career of his own) in September of 1971 and they had a son together. However, they divorced in 1979 and Jarrett wed director Bruce Bilson, who'd helmed a couple of her TV roles (and would do so  a few more times.)
Oddly enough, after I read this article, Jarrett popped up on an episode of Petrocelli I was watching! She, Stauffer and Fink are all still with us, though they are more or less retired from acting on screen.
Here's a full-page shot of Nancy Sinatra and her new husband Hugh Lambert.
Sinatra was quoted as anticipating grandfatherhood and indeed Lambert and Nancy Sinatra had two daughters. They remained together until his premature death of cancer at age fifty-five in 1985.
One of the hot gossip topics of the day... the Maria Callas, Jackie O., Ari Onassis triangle.
Last summer I read a rather explosive 2005 book all about these folks and members of the Kennedy family called "Nemesis: The True Story of Aristotle Onassis, Jackie O, and the Love Triangle That Brought Down the Kennedys." What a head-swirling collection of bed-hopping and manipulation that volume contained...!
Well, hello there, Miss Connie...!
Connie Stevens is one of several celebs who weigh in on the topic of going braless under the day's new fashions. I was "stunned" by Lawrence Welk's reaction. I figured he'd be all in for the nipple-bearing look! LOL
I scanned all of this one because I figured it would be quite a pressing issue for some of you and you'd want to know on which side these various stars fell... Phyllis Diller had an amusing reaction, and Sue Ann Langdon an interesting one.
Here's the last little bit of Elizabeth Allen's take.
There's a big ol' mess of Lennons and stars from The Lawrence Welk Show in this four-page spread of Bobby Burgess' wife-to-be's bridal shower.
Burgess married the daughter of Welk accordionist Myron Floren.
No word on whether Bobby's dance partner Cissy dumped a bowl of punch on his former partner Barbara Boylen, who was also in attendance! LOL  Just kidding. I'm sure the whole affair was brimming over with that special family feeling that all the performers seemed to enjoy.
Bobby and Kristie are still wed today more than 46 years later.
This was a real shocker of a story when it came out in 1970.
Joey Heatherton's pro football playing husband Lance Rentzel was caught exposing himself to an underage girl. Then it was discovered that he'd done it once before years earlier! Rentzel barely clung to his career for just a season or two more and the marriage broke apart very soon after his arrest. Check the end of this post for a bit more on this story.
Elizabeth Taylor, then still wed to Richard Burton, was reportedly considering helping her prior spouse, Eddie Fisher (who'd just divorced Connie Stevens after siring two daughters with her) and had fallen on hard times.
I am a voracious reader of celebrity bios & autobios. If I read an autobio and come out of it loathing the author - who's telling the story completely from his or her own lips! - then you know it's bad. Even Carrie Fisher, his daughter from Debbie Reynolds declared, "That's it. I'm having my DNA fumigated." Fisher, who wed two more times, died in 2010 at age eighty-two.
Shirley Jones and her trio of Cassidy boys, Ryan, Shaun and Patrick.
Jack Cassidy, who dealt with career jealousy over both his wife Shirley and his superstar son David, had trouble keeping his angst at bay. The couple's rocky marriage limped along only until 1974. Two years later he died in a fire caused by his falling asleep while smoking. He was forty-six.
Karen Jensen probably had some reason to fear unemployment after the cancellation of Bracken's World because she only worked sparingly on TV and in one minor movie afterwards until the end of the decade. Her husband did win the lead in a minor movie called Honky (1971) about interracial high school romance, but didn't proceed to any notable stardom. They divorced in 1990. She then wed Dark Shadows alum Michael Stroka, but he was claimed in 1997 by kidney cancer at only age fifty-eight. She married again in 1999 to her present husband. John Neilson died in 2000 at age fifty-five of unknown causes.
I recall the first time I read that Michelle Phillips and Dennis Hopper had been married, it seemed unreal. Maybe that's because it only lasted eight days!!
Thus, what was probably initially intended as a honeymoon photo spread suddenly became an instant archival document of one of crazy Hollywood's briefest wedded unions.
Phillips, despite divorcing Hopper barely a week in, later described the eight days they were together as "the happiest" of her life...!
I had a feeling when reading this that Paul Newman's "suicidal impulse" was going to involve his racecar driving, but it sort of went beyond that. The terror he feels (according to the quoted interview with David Frost) is of experience, communication and exposing oneself (hey, no Lance Rentzel jokes here!) Thus, the racing, motorcycling and other activities are ways of his testing his fear and overcoming it...
Although Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) had been a staggering hit, Newman's other films around the time of this magazine such as WUSA (1970) and Sometimes a Great Notion (1971) were less so. He really wasn't back on top again until 1973's The Sting, his second teaming with Robert Redford.
Carol Burnett's fears about  safety and home security and the protection of her daughters aren't really all that different than any parent's would be. She'd come from New York to avoid the crime-ridden jungle that it had become only to have the Tate-LaBianca murders occur right in her California neighborhood! They were about a year and a half prior to this article. She was living in the former home of Harry James and Betty Grable.
I can remember as a kid (though at this particular time I was only four) seeing countless photos of Jackie Onassis being captured by the Paparazzi as she was walking here or there. It was just a way of life for her at the time. And she almost always had on those large, bug-eye sunglasses, which used to freak me out! LOL
Following the endless trail of Kennedy love affairs and scandals is both fascinating and ultimately a little sickening. I know I got my fill for a while after reading the aforementioned book, "Nemesis." I have to say, though, that John Jr. was someone I rather admired and when he died in a plane crash at age thirty-eight, I decided I was going to live my life a little bit less clenched because if it could happen to him (being snuffed out in a flash) it could certainly happen to me!
This is a pretty wretched picture of then thirty-seven year-old Gardner McKay, who walked away from his Top 20 TV series Adventures in Paradise because it had become mired down in crime plotlines that he felt weren't really representative of the Tahitian setting. (Jack Lord never seemed to have such qualms with a dozen seasons of Hawaii 5-O! Ha!) McKay mentions an independent film he shot with Rory Calhoun for Jerry Schafer called, "The Low Price of Fame," but it doesn't seem to have ever been completed or released. Schafer had at least two projects like that.
Lastly, Richard Conte's explanation for why he's not a superstar is pretty much the same as mine for him. When he came to Hollywood in the early-1940s, he was not the traditional conventional type of leading man, looks-wise. His dark, hard-ish features led to edgy or villain-ish roles. And by the time "normal" looking leads came in, he was getting older. And he never had an important role in a huge, runaway hit.
And now some bonus pics to fill out this Fun Find a bit further. Here is Lance Rentzel in his prime as a nearly 1,000 yard per season receiver.
Shown with Dandy Don Meredith during his Dallas Cowboys days, Rentzel in just four seasons set franchise records that held for decades. In fact, it took Jason Witten to unseat his record for most receptions in a game in 2007.
Wed to purring blonde pussycat Joey Heatherton, who was a variety show singing and dancing staple at that time, he seemed to have it all. Stunning career, good looks, perfect wife, security...
He even had the components to segue out of sports and into show business. He and Heatherton appeared on the game show It's Your Bet. Right as the Cowboys were primed for a potential Super Bowl win, his self-defeating, anxiety-fueled psychological defect robbed them of their leading receiver and took his career and wife from him.
Victoria Principal didn't seem to mind...! Rentzel wrote an insightful, rather courageous book, "When All the Laughter Died in Sorrow" about his struggle with having it all and subconsciously destroying it through his inappropriate actions. He tried to continue on the field (he was traded to the L.A. Rams), but it after a 1973 arrest for marijuana possession, it was all over.
Had TV been ready in the early-1970s for a story with this sort of touchy subject matter, Nick Nolte could probably have played Lance and gotten an Emmy nomination for his trouble!
More bonus pics! The aforementioned Gardner McKay, gracing a European magazine cover and looking pretty dreamy. Although it is never shown and never mentioned, he costarred in 35 episodes of a 1957 series prior to Adventures in Paradise, an Arizona-set cavalry western called Boots and Saddles.
The outdoorsy, seafaring McKay never seemed comfortable in a suit and tie. In 1964, he sleep-walked through his role in The Pleasure Seekers as Carol Lynley's secondary love interest.
But acting was never really his dream. He wanted to be a writer and did, in fact, write a collection of one acts, some short stories, a weekly radio drama and novels, including one called "Toyer," about a serial attacker who turns his victims into comatose vegetables. It retains a following twenty years after its publication. (He died two years after that.)
One of his opportunities for big-screen immortality came when the 6'5" hunk was approached to play Marilyn Monroe's fellow shipwreck victim in "Something's Got to Give," but he turned the part down (it went to the similar-looking Tom Tyron) and then the project was shelved before completion after Monroe's demise. 
As much as he came to dislike the typecasting that Adventures in Paradise gave him, it is the chief thing for which he is remembered. Had the show been in color versus black and white, it would likely have ruled the airwaves in syndicated reruns by the mere virtue of its leading man's face and physique on frequent display.
McKay wasn't willing to play the Hollywood game, however, and ultimately married, had two daughters and concentrated on the projects he enjoyed most such as sculpting, photography, writing and writing instruction. Unfortunately felled by prostate cancer at only age sixty-nine, he likely had far more stories in him to tell. A posthumous memoir called "Journey Without a Map" was made up from collected journal entries he had been organizing prior to his death.

6 comments:

Gingerguy said...

Poseidon, this is as fun as finding one of those old gossip rags and having it come to life. I grew up on Carol Burnett but recently discovered she can still surprise me. A Drag performer FB friend recently posted a parody Carol did of "Valley Of The Dolls that I had never seen. Let me repeat that, a parody of "Valley Of The Dolls" that I had never seen. You can imagine my surprise. She is still an interesting read in interviews at 85.
Nancy Sinatra looks happy at her wedding. The daughter of that union is also a performer. I recently saw A.J. Lambert sing a cabaret show of songs from her Grandfathers torchy "Wee small hours of the morning" album (I think that's what it was called) she's not bad.
"What's The Matter With Helen" is for me the tail end of the Hag Cycle movies and not a big favorite.
I love the picture of Frank Langella. I am just reading his memoir "Dropped Names" which covers all the greats that he met or bedded. I can recommend it without hesitation as one of the juiciest celebrity tell alls, but with the added bonus of good writing and intelligence. That boy got around.
Tit's up! Connie Stevens. Always kind of liked her, a little cheap and sweet seeming.
The Joey/Lance saga is Greek tragedy. How sad for both of them. Every once in a while there is a Joey sighting here in NY (I have a network) and I don't think she is a well person. Last but not least I got a big laugh out of a tv movie called "Honky", only in the underworld!

Ken Anderson said...

Every time I look back at one of these old movie magazine posts, it takes me back to when my older sister religiously bought them. In retrospect it's kind of nice to think there was a time when the only thing we ever heard/learned about celebrities was through these rags.
Whether PR fluff or scandal sheet overstatement, it was nice when their comings and goings were not reported 24/7 from news networks.
I remember the whole Lance Rentzel period, and even read his book. At a time when most celebrity scandals were of the bed-hopping, multiple marriages type, his stood out as one that seemed so sad it didn't lend itself to the Rona Barrett treatment (in whose magazine I first heard of it). Thanks for another trip down memory lane. Quotes from Chelsea Brown, news of a "The Love Machine," and "future star" status bestowed upon Frank Langella...all in the same issue. Simpler times, indeed!

Scooter said...

Really enjoyed this one. Lots of juicy tidbits about a variety of stars. Although I've never really been awed by the Kennedy mystique, the Jackie O, Onasis and Callas love triangle holds a bit of fascination for me. So I got the bonus of a book recommendation in Nemesis. Thanks!

Poseidon3 said...

Hello, my loves! Thanks for your comments.

Gingerguy, that parody of VOD would be AWESOME! I always loved how her styling would be so spot on that even though she in no way resembled the people in her movie parodies, she still suggested them immediately. Karen Black of "Airport 1975" comes to mind... the hair parted in the middle and curled under. I think that, though she didn't exactly disappear after her variety show ended, Ms. B. still had plenty of untapped comedy fuel that we didn't really get to see enough of. How neat that you saw A.J. Lambert perform! (Of course you did...) I was also left rather uninspired by "Helen" though it seemed like a no-brainer from that genre. Hmmm That's interesting about Frank Langella and his ups and downs, so to speak! LOL Lastly, "Honky" was a feature release, not TV! LOLOL Has an interesting cast including Blaxploitation staple Brenda Sykes, Lincoln Kilpatrick, William "Blacula" Marshall and John Fielder and Marion Ross!

Ken, I can't help but absorb some of what passes for celeb news these days, but I find it all not only overwhelming, but often staggeringly tasteless and uninteresting! I'm sick to death of seeing celebs walking to or from someplace with cameras and/or flashbulbs clicking while an obnoxious photog asked loaded questions. And the people that we (collectively as a nation) seem interested in... Lord. I love these mags for the pics taken at parties or premieres that one isn't likely to have seen a dozen times elsewhere. :-) Thanks!

Scooter, my copy of Nemesis, read over the summer, began falling apart from the sun and heat! LOL I wanted to lend it to a friend of mine who loves juicy behind the scenes politics and history, but it was like a folder of loose leaf by the time I was done. Many people (including Lee Radziwill) come off coolly to the point of sociopathic at times! The whole thing, apparently stringently researched, comes off like an international chess game/key party. LOL

Andrea L said...

Oh! I’m so late to this post and Fun Finds are my absolute faves! Thanks for posting it, Poseidon!

Gotta agree with Ken Anderson. I too miss the era in which stars didn’t tell us everything that popped into their head. There’s something so nice, even innocent and refreshing, about these old gossip magazines. They’re largely staged pics and manufactured stories but who cares? I really like the “candids” of the old stars out and about. They look normal and not overdone by a glam squad and stylists which is really great to see. Some of them even have *gasp* shiny faces!

Ali MacGraw - I like her in theory. I read her autobiography and she seems like a very nice woman. She had great style - that boho chic thing that became popular again a few years back - and I love that she was an “imperfect” beauty, but she’s just an awful, awful actress. In Love Story, she always had a smug smirk on her face! I thought it was a character quirk, like she found Oliver endlessly amusing, but she does it in every role. Dreadful.

Re: Jackie O! I love the Kennedys and have nearly every book about them. It’s a sad obsession. Jackie really was quite the little saucy, devious minx. Her signature sunglasses always freaked me out too! I can’t recall if I have or even read Nemesis. I think I saw it and never bought it. I’ll have to get it now. Truth be told, nearly all the Kennedys were/are kinda trashy save for JFK, Jr. (He was also the only Kennedy of the “new” generation who wasn’t a bowser!). RFK’s kids are some real hot messes! Not even in the good, gossipy way. They’re just mess-y!

How strange is it that Shirley Jones outlived not only Jack but also David? Oh, and remember when she revealed in her book that Jack was bisexual? Spicy old school tea!

Michelle Phillips is another hot mess, but I like her. She really meant it when, after the band fired her, that she would bury them all.

Lance Rentzel & Joey Heatherton. I LOVE Joey! She also became a hot mess which is extra unfortunate as she’s a terrific dancer and singer. I have her album - got for it $1! - and it’s really good. Her acting is meh. I think the Rentzel scandal and divorce threw her for a loop from which she never really recovered. Anyone else remember when she posed for Playboy years ago and was doing the rounds? She was loopy and goofy and just so cringey. Lance just disappeared off the face of the Earth.

Thanks for including bonus pics of hunky Gardener McKay. Hubba hubba! I especially like the sailing pic. The inset picture of him grasping something look rather...suggestive. Or I’m just a dirty old lady.

Take care, Poseidon!

Poseidon3 said...

Never too late, Andrea! I'm always alerted to comments, even if the post is eight or more years old...! I'm so glad you liked this. I know that old mags like this had photos which had been airbrushed somewhat, but if you haven't you ought to see just how much they photoshop today's magazine pics! It's truly ridiculous..... With Ali MacGraw, I had to deal with her on "Dynasty" which was just agony and then "The Winds of War" in which she was criminally wrong and bad... but I also read her book and liked it and somehow when she cut her hair I grew to like her better (maybe that just coincided with a change in her general outlook and being?) Anyway, I'm pretty much in line with you! Again, with The Kennedys I'm pretty much in agreement! But my God, they've made for some intriguing reading and watching over the years. I can't forget the William Kennedy Smith televised rape trial. LORD! Even though Lance was out and about after his scandal, you're right... I couldn't find any sort of recent photo of him. Down the rabbit hole! And don't be silly about the "dirty old lady" thing...! Of course I used that very photo for the reason you state! LOL Thanks!!