Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Pop Quiz: Soaping Up the Celebrity Name Chain

Oh no... Another infamous Pop Quiz! This time all of the questions include at least one performer who had a featured role on a prime-time network soap opera during that genre's glorious 1980s hey-day. First, though, I must apologize for my extended absence from posting. This may be the longest I've ever gone since Poseidon's Underworld's inception! It's just been a perfect storm lately: a birthday trip out of town, a work convention out of town, a medical scenario (don't fret - I'm fine now!) and heaps of work (at the office and at home) that were waiting for for me upon each return. And I'm about to leave for Labor Day weekend again! I'm sorry if the radio silence led anyone to think I'd disappeared (perhaps like Fallon, into a spaceship on the last episode of The Colbys!) There have been treasured blogs that just up and ended without word or warning. But I'm still here. And the kicker?  I'd been preparing a gala post to commemorate this blog's "tenth" birthday, but when my blond head actually looked more closely and did the math, we ENTERED our tenth year on August 24th, 2018... we aren't yet ten years of AGE!  :::sigh:::  I'll blame the public school system. LOL Anyway, to play this game, you take the name of the person in the first photo and their last name is the first name of the person in the second photo. Hence, our cover boys today are John James (of Dynasty) and James Franciscus (in Beneath the Planet of the Apes, 1970) or John James Franciscus! Got it? Even if you hate the quiz, maybe you'll get a snicker out of some of the pics. Now on we go... and if you're good girls and boys, there may be a few bonus pics.

#1 - This one begins with a popular and omnipresent disc jockey turned television personality, whose professional moniker took its lead from one of Universal Studios' famous monsters. Next to him is the man who took over the role of Steven Carrington on Dynasty after Al Corley departed early on. 

#2 - The first gal is from the prime-time hit Falcon Crest, on which she played Melissa Agretti, locking horns with the matriarchal figure played by the show's star Jane Wyman. Next to her is an actress for whom I really should leave you "clueless."

#3 - The lady on the left is probably a toughie, even if her face may be familiar. She appeared on many, many 1970s and '80s television shows (including the prime-time soap Paper Dolls, which is why she's here) and in movies (like Slap Shot, 1978, and Ice Castles, 1978) as well.  The gent ought to be well known to most movie fans unless you've been living under a rock for quite a few decades, though he's better known to today's youth for screwing up the finale of an awards ceremony not too long ago.

#4 - The curvaceous blonde on the left was a musical comedy movie actress, notorious as being the longtime mistress of Bob Hope. Hint: Her first name is the same as another wildly famous blonde bombshell. On the right is the English hunk who slid into the role of California-bred Miles Colby on The Colbys.

#5 - The man on the left had a busy, lengthy career as a character actor in movies and on two hit TV series (Dragnet and M*A*S*H.) The gal on the left made several attempts at prime-time soaps from Flamingo Road to Paper Dolls to Falcon Crest, but never gained the long-term foothold that other stalwarts found in the genre.

#6 - The lady on the left (a cast member of our beloved The Poseidon Adventure, 1972) was an integral part of Dynasty before leaving to pursue other, mostly less successful, ventures. Her counterpart is a character performer who spent years in movies and TV (with series like Mission: Impossible and Space: 1999 on his resume) before becoming a late-in-life Oscar-winner.

#7 - The first pink pussycat played accused "Pollyanna" Karen Fairgate for all of Knots Landing's lengthy run. The second was an accomplished and versatile actress who scored a big hit as Damian's mom in The Omen (1976), but was later taken far too early by illness.

#8 - The gal on the left made a far bigger impression in the daytime soap world as part of a super (and I mean SUPER) couple than she did during her brief stab at prime-time success on Bare Essence. The gentleman next to her is a hard one, though he is known. The Czech-born actor's career stemmed from Louise Brooks' silent classic Pandora's Box (1929) to a successful stage and film career in the U.S. Much to his dismay, his 1958 turkey The Return of Dracula was one of the movie's he's most remembered for. He likely would have preferred Midnight (1939) or The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1944) as an epitaph.

#9 - I'd say this one is likely the hardest of all, but not impossible if you're an all-around movie and TV buff. The lady was a highly promising young actress in movies like Pride and Prejudice (1940), Blossoms in the Dust (1945) and The Valley of Decision (1945), all of which also starred Greer Garson. Then it all came crashing down when she was blacklisted by the House UnAmerican Activities Commission. To her right is one of Knots Landing's more deplorable bad guys. As Peter Hollister, he was bedding both a mother and her daughter and wound up with a pointy desk accessory driven through his chest!

#10 - The hirsute hunk on the left was Mark Jennings of Dynasty, a tennis pro who also bedded a mother and daughter (Alexis and Fallon) and was also murdered, but not for that transgression. The equally hairy - at least on top!) guy on the right was a flavor of the month (perhaps February?) who eked out a fairly lengthy career, but is still most likely known for playing Justine Bateman's boyfriend for several seasons of Family Ties.

#11 - We all should know the pretty blonde songbird on the left, who occasionally made a movie or worked on television. Her counterpart was the leading man of Dynasty, taking over at the eleventh hour for a fired George Peppard.

#12 - How much more of a clue can I give you about the man on the left other than that he was self-proclaimed "The Greatest?" And, though the pronunciation may be ever so slightly different, the spelling is the same for the first name of his ladyfriend next door. She too took a bit of a pummeling from fans, critics and the producers of Dynasty during her stay there, culminating in a christening of fake blood all over her as a means of telling her she was fired...

And now, on to the answers!






#1 - "Wolfman Jack Coleman" - The raspy-voiced DJ Wolfman Jack died of a heart attack at fifty-seven. Jack Coleman went on to success with the TV series Heroes, looking quite a bit different than he did as Steven.
Here is Coleman about to shuck his track pants at a Battle of the Network Stars installment and also as his character on Heroes. At the bottom are two of Steven Carrington's key love interests (which, on the 1980s show, were limited to an occasional embrace.) William Campbell played the ill-fated Luke Fuller while Kevin Conroy portrayed Bart Fallmont who, by the time of the 1991 reunion movie, was Steven's life partner (sadly played by someone else...)

#2 - "Ana Alicia Silverstone" - Ana Alicia left acting in the mid-1990s to raise her family. Alicia Silverstone - of Clueless (1995) fame - is now starring on American Woman, the series devised by Kyle Richards, loosely based on her upbringing.

#3 - "Jennifer Warren Beatty" - Jennifer Warren exited the realm of acting for the most part in the 1990s and turned to the field of directing. Warren Beatty, the star of many, many films from Bonnie and Clyde (1967) to Shampoo (1975) was part of Oscar-gate a while back when he helped to announce the wrong Best Picture winner.
Mr. Beatty in pajamas for a costume test during Splendor in the Grass (1961) and in Italian makeup for The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone that same year. The bathing suit shot is from an early TV appearance of his.

#4 - "Marilyn Maxwell Caulfield" - Marilyn Maxwell also had a lengthy affair with Frank Sinatra and was a close pal of Rock Hudson's. She died of a heart attack at only age fifty, but seemed to have had quite a time. Maxwell Caulfield "slid" - get it?! - from Grease 2 (1982) into his TV role. He still works at age fifty-eight and has been wed since 1980 to Juliet Mills.
In 1985, between Grease 2 and The Colbys, Caulifield appeared nude on stage opposite Elizabeth Wilson and Jessica Tandy in the play Salonika. You can read more about that here.
In 2012, in his early-fifties, he was still delivering the goods in the stage play Euripedes as Menelaos the King of Sparta, wearing only some torn fabric.

#5 - "Harry Morgan Fairchild" - Harry Morgan was in over 100 movies and did scads of TV. He died in his sleep at age ninety-six and was still working even then. Morgan Fairchild was seemingly everywhere in the 1980s. In recent years she has focused on work for AIDS research and on Screen Actors Guild business, as she is a board member currently.

#6 - "Pamela Sue Martin Landau" - Pamela Sue Martin went from nice girl roles in The Poseidon Adventure and The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries before turning 180 degrees to play Fallon Carrington. (She's now sixty-five!) Landau took home an Oscar f0r Ed Wood (1994) and kept working to acclaim (after a dismal period in the 1980s) up to his death at eighty-nine.

#7 - "Michele Lee Remick" - Broadway musical performer Michele Lee made the non-singing role of Karen a role model for many female fans. After the series' demise, she returned to the Broadway stage, among other things. Lee Remick was a busy, sought-after actress in many 1960s and '70s films and TV projects until kidney cancer took her life when she was only fifty-five.

#8 - "Genie Francis Lederer" - As one half of General Hospital's legendary couple Luke & Laura, Genie Francis became a national sensation. Despite attempting other roles, she is best known as Laura and is back doing it again even now. Francis Lederer was a proud stage actor who turned his film earnings into a real estate bonanza. His later years were spent in many civic and charitable tasks and when he passed away (at age one-hundred!) he was one of the last Austro-Hungarian veterans of World War I left.

#9 - "Marsha Hunt Block" - Marsha Hunt was one of the more notable victims of the Hollywood Blacklist, at least as far as actors go. She did make a tenuous return after the dust had settled and proved to be quite a survivor. Miss Hunt is still alive today at age one-hundred! Stage-trained Hunt Block had a promising start with a featured role in the miniseries The First Olympics: Athens 1896 (1984), but floundered a bit after his turn on Knots Landing. In 2000, he successfully reinterpreted the role of Craig Montgomery on As the World Turns, but was unceremoniously let go as part of a budget cut after five years.
This is the way Block looked when he assayed the role of Craig on ATWT. His dynamic, creative acting led me to return to the show after having abandoned it for a while.
During this period, the aforementioned John James turned up on the show as well, this time playing a doctor with a murderous side.

#10 - "Geoffrey Scott Valentine" - Geoffrey Scott (who'd previously worked for a bit on Dark Shadows and the short-lived Concrete Cowboys - in for Tom Selleck who'd done the pilot movie) worked up until the mid-1990s before moving to Colorado. Scott Valentine had an on-screen career spanning three decades, but few projects lent him the sort of public fame that his role on Family Ties offered. (Three attempts at getting him a spin-off were developed, but none succeeded in the end.)
Mr. Scott's towel scenes during his stint on Dynasty are legend. Unfortunately, his character was systematically destroyed by the writers until he was no longer useful to the show. And with Tom Selleck and Lee Horsley around, he had trouble establishing a notable TV identity. Also shown is a pic of him during his time on Dark Shadows.

#11 - "Olivia Newton-John Forsythe" - Ms. Newton-John, one of our favorite vocalists, has had us worried of late with the recurrence of her cancer which had been in remission since 1992. John Forsythe passed away at ninety-two. Recently, I've been re-watching a fair amount of Charlie's Angels and appreciating the vocal skills he brought to the unseen role of Charles Townsend. It's not as easy as it looks, kids.

#12 - "Muhammad Ali MacGraw" - Muhammad Ali wrote a book called, "The Greatest: My Own Story" in 1975 and starred in his own story in 1977's The Greatest. (Trivia: This is the project that gave the world the song "The Greatest Love of All," later covered to a fare thee well by Whitney Houston.) Ali MacGraw's career took a serious downward turn when she was lambasted for her performance in The Winds of War and then followed that up with the role of a predatory photographer on Dynasty which left the show's fans cold. In her defense, she was supposed to win Blake Carrington for a bit, but John Forsythe put a stop to that, leaving her role irrelevant and more bothersome than anything. She found out she wouldn't be back for the following year when a crew member liberally sprinkled her with stage blood during the notorious Moldavian massacre that ended the 1984-85 season.
Ali passed away at age seventy-four after a bout with Parkinson's disease. (By the way, I didn't blur the above-left shot of him back when he was known as Cassius Clay and I couldn't find another version of it, though I tried.) 
Till next time, friends!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Glad Tidings - Vol II

This installment of Glad Tidings is a series of photos from the gladiator movie Caesar Against the Pirates (1962.) Though it seems rather ridiculous on the surface (almost like Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, 1964, or Snow White and the Three Stooges, 1961), there was an actual incident in Julius Caesar's early life (around twenty-two) when he was indeed captured by a band of pirates and held for ransom. He not only demanded that the ransom be made higher, befitting his station, but he later returned and crucified all the pirates who'd previously held him. In a show of "leniency," he had their throats cut first to prevent suffering on the crosses! Handsome Uruguayan leading man Gustavo Rojo (who enjoyed a remarkable seventy-year acting career right up until his death at ninety-three) plays Caesar.  Singer-actress Abbe Lane shows up midway as the leading lady (Lane is still with us today at eighty-five) and bodybuilder-turned-actor Gordon Mitchell is the chief pirate. Check out the amazing neckwear he sports in his opening scene!
Rojo enjoys a massage...
...even better when his (first of three) wife taps in.
Love her hair.
His pal is supposed to be seeing to an injury...!
Watch the hands, there, buddy...
"See what you're missing?!"
Joan Crawford would have LOVED this...!
Rojo's friend still seems interested...
"Is there anyone here for love?"
"Jealousy is an ugly thing, Dorothy..."
I think Abbe Lane must have used up much of the wig budget...
Well, alrighty then...!
The End.