Friday, May 10, 2019

Fun Finds: Rona Barrett's Hollywood, September 1976

During the same sojourn to Lexington that gave fruit to a previous Fun Find post, I nabbed this poor tattered gem from a huge stack of magazines. Like the issue of PreVIEW from the same publishing company (and close to the same time), the staples sometimes made scanning difficult, but hopefully you can see what you need to see. This is jam-packed with photos and chatty tidbits. Miss Rona Barrett left the business abruptly years ago, but is still very attractive looking and remains a fascinating person to hear from as demonstrated in the Emmy TV Legends interview. Now here we go with this latest Fun Find!
It's always a treat to get color photos in a mag from this time period since so many tended more towards black & white. It always made me smile that Carol Burnett and Cher were friends back then and would cross over onto one another's variety shows (both costumed by Bob Mackie.) Perry King was devilishly handsome.
Ooh... I'd love to read that book by Irene Sharaff. Probably not tremendously dishy, but she worked with so many stars...
The movie Rona refers to here as "Jill Came Tumbling After" eventually emerged as the dreary Bittersweet Love (1976.) About two years after this, Gig Young killed his young wife and himself! How in the hell did I not know that Tuesday Weld and Dudley Moore were once married and even had a child together!? Moore's Hollywood dry spell ended in 1978 when he practically stole Foul Play from its stars Chevy Chase and Goldie Hawn and led to several leading roles thereafter. Levar Burton did in fact shoot to stardom, though it turned a bit dormant until Star Trek: The Next Generation resuscitated him.
Bob Yeager was shot and killed by three young burglars while taking out the trash one night at his home. Senseless indeed...! The punks did a bit of time at the California Youth Authority juvenile prison.
Y'all don't have to wonder about the Helen Reddy spread in PreVIEW because I covered it in living color during a prior Fun Find post!
Hmmmm... We have to assume that Miss Diana Ross already had her gears turning (or else this is where the seed was planted) to play Dorothy in the later film version of The Wiz (1978) when she dropped by to see the production on stage! Victoria Principal really had intended to give up acting until she got ahold of the script for Dallas in 1978 and submitted herself for the lead!
I wouldn't say I'm a tremendous fan of Carol Lawrence, but to read her auto-bio and its account of Robert Goulet during their marriage is to read about a true jerk! But that's her side and the facts usually fall somewhere closer to the middle.
I think I'd have liked some snapshots from that fashion show with Tina Louise, Lee Meriwether and the others!
Ooooh! Fascinating casting info from the dreadful Exorcist II: The Heretic (1978!) Richard Burton wound up with the George Segal role. I don't think I ever knew that Louise Fletcher had taken over for Jon Voight. I think the pic of Raquel and Chevy is from when she guest-hosted SNL during the first season and was a sexy nurse in "One Flew Over the Hornet's Nest." Chase was the Jack Nicholson character while John Belushi was in "Killer Bee" mode.
I always forget that Doris married again after Marty Melcher's death. This romance began to bloom when restaurateur Comden would give meat scraps to Day for her menagerie of dogs at home!
Day and Miss Betty White (not in this picture of White's hubby Allen Ludden) are both still alive and both really into animals still. In fact, Day's marriage ended in 1982 with Comden complaining that she cared more about her four-legged pals than her two-legged husband!
Take a hard look at this picture of Henry Fonda (bottom left) and tell me that it isn't Peter Fonda looking back at you!
You know, when I think of Mae West in the 1970s, I always picture her in a dimly-lit (with pink bulbs) apartment with plenty of lavish drapery and lounging sofas, not visiting a movie set with Kevin Dobson!! But she did attend the premiere of The Hindenberg (1975), so I don't know why I'm surprised to see her here.
Fun to see Kate Jackson on set (and Edward with no shirt on!)
I could swear I read that The Burtons' plan for a Botswana hospital fizzled out at about the same time their remarriage did, by which I mean swiftly! I recall Elvis got a fair share of derisive publicity at this point until his death led to near canonization (albeit replete with all sorts of sordid tale-telling in the wake.) Wow... I never think of Brian Aherne as having been alive past the mid-'60s, but he actually lived until 1986(!) when he died of heart failure at eighty-three.
Nice pics of then-hot Peter Strauss and a good color shot of the Rich Man, Poor Man trio.
Strauss went on to star in several miniseries like Masada (1981) and Kane & Abel (1985), and kept working for decades, but I bet you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone under forty who's even heard of him!
Liz looks pretty good here, though almost appears to have "5 o'clock shadow!" Jennifer Jones and Cher are two names I certainly never put together...! Miltie looks ridiculous in that raincoat, like a deranged flasher.
Check out Angelica Huston here! Quite a far cry from the way we're used to seeing her. Michelle Phillips was quite natural looking versus the peroxide blonde she later favored. How fun that Susan Blakely (in Fred Astaire's leftover tux?), Jones' fellow costar from The Towering Inferno (1974), took part in the fashion show.
It may come as a surprise to know that The Bay City Rollers had come into existence in 1966, almost a decade before they really hit the big time. Ian Mitchell was only with the band seven months, recording one album, before quitting. The group is still together, long after many personnel changes. Longmuir fell ill in July of 2018 while in Mexico with his wife and died at age seventy.
Keitel's replacement Martin Sheen famously suffered a mild heart attack during filming. Strangely enough, both Keitel and Sheen worked together in Eagle's Wing (1979), the same year that the beleaguered Apocalypse Now made it to theaters. 
Those rumors of "The Front Runner" persisted for years and years, but the movie never did get made. If you want to read a really, really out there book, try Sachi Parker's memoir about life with her parents Shirley MacLaine and Steve Parker! Egads...!
Even way back then I thought Susan Flannery was an odd casting choice in this film about a no holds barred car racing rally, but seeing it for the first time about a year or two ago it wasn't quite as crazy an idea as it initially seemed.
There were several movies of this ilk at the time (based on a real event) such as Cannonball (1976) and later Cannonball Run (1981.)
In his day (which was right about the time of this magazine's publication), Paul Michael Glaser was about as hot a celeb as any TV personality could get. After the show Starsky & Hutch ended, however, he gravitated more and more to behind the scenes positions.
Glaser eventually did marry his girlfriend Elizabeth in 1980 and when she was giving birth to their daughter in 1981, she was given a blood transfusion that contained the HIV virus (this at a time before little, if anything, was even known about the disease.) Their daughter died at only age seven from AIDS and Elizabeth perished at age forty-seven of the same. A boy born three years after his sister also was HIV+ but has been able to survive it. You may be familiar with the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, which Mrs. Glaser founded prior to her passing. Paul Michael took it over in her stead for several years after and remains involved today.
Glaser was, and still is, inexorably linked to his costar David Soul, the two of them forming one of TV's most popular "bromances" before the term had ever been coined.
As far as I know, Nancy Walker never did land a successful series of her own despite a couple of attempts. She always did better as the zesty comic relief on other shows like Rhoda and McMillan & Wife.
Lee Grant's show Fay (which was something of a forerunner to The Golden Girls) caused Grant to have a bit of a tirade on The Tonight Show over the way the network kept moving it around before cancelling it altogether. Look at Guy Madison still out and about! Kevin Dobson and his wife Sue are one of Tinseltown's rarities. They are still married today after more than half a century...
Oh my gosh... I had forgotten about Mac Davis' wife trading him in for Glen Campbell! How I don't know since my mother used to go on about it frequently for some reason. I recall Carol Burnett once saying that the key to a happy marriage was "separate houses!" Close to one another, next door even, but separate...!
Not only did M*A*S*H not end in 1977, but it ran until 1983! There was even a sequel series (After M*A*S*H) that ran for two more years. Edie Adams never made any further appearances on The Blue Knight. Richard Crenna was married to Penny (his second wife) from 1957 up until his death in 2003. I always thought Chris Stone was a nice looking man.
Did any of you ever take part in this sort of memorabilia exchange? It seems so foreign to me, though I remember pages like this in many magazines.
Oh my God, I was howling over the letter about Tatum O'Neal (who we always called "Tantrum O'Neal!") It's not as good as that Youtube comments diatribe against someone who didn't "love Lucy," but it's still funny.
We just LOVE the conglomeration of a cast found in The Cassandra Crossing (1976) and consider it an underrated, albeit offbeat, disaster flick. I've never seen Swashbuckler (1976), but I think it was an absolute flop!
Well... I don't think I could possibly have recognized Ann-Margret in the photo above-right were it not for the caption! Valerie Perrine has never married... anyone! Not only did Glenda Jackson not win an Oscar for The Incredible Sarah (1976), but she didn't even get a nomination.
Rita Hayworth never stepped before a film camera after 1972, so "Circle" did not come to fruition (with her anyway.) Get a load of bespectacled Cantinflas with Elena Verdugo! Incidentally, the one time I saw Steve Lawrence in person, he was wearing glasses similar to that only thicker and without them was nearly blind!
An entire book could be (and, in fact, was) written about the trials, tribulations and conflicts that went into Rich Man, Poor Man. You can see how much they focused on Peter Strauss around this time. Oh goodness, La Liz's '70s fashion taste was just bad...
The critics just SLAUGHTERED Lipstick (1976) and its new star and in truth it is bad, but we often enjoy bad. You can read more about it, and Margaux, here.
I may very well have exhumed THE worst photograph ever taken of The Brady Bunch's Florence Henderson! LOL
Even though there wasn't "bad blood" per se, Henry Winkler did end up overtaking Ron Howard as the lead on Happy Days. Winkler was with the show for all of its eleven seasons. To his credit, though Howard had by then left for greener pastures behind the camera, he did occasionally return to the show for special episodes, including the final one.
It's been a long while since I viewed RM, PM, but I did read the book for the first time a summer or two ago and enjoyed it a lot. I have the second one Beggar-man, Thief in hardback for the pool this year.
Any interest I ever had in Mr. Travolta was always limited. I think I have only seen maybe one or two episodes of Welcome Back Kotter in my life. Naturally, I was on the Grease (1978) train and while I could recognize that Saturday Night Fever (1977) was good, I enjoyed Staying Alive (1983), in all its infamous awfulness, more. Hairspray (2007) was the last movie I ever saw of his (and, for the record, I thought he was abysmal.)
This color spread was really the reason I picked up this particular magazine! Lots of rare snaps of Miss Bea Arthur and her Maude pals. Even though only a few years separate them, I have so much trouble visually reconciling the Bea of Maude and the Bea of The Golden Girls! Changes in weight, hair color/style and perhaps a nip/tuck?
Bea's sons need to learn how to pose for a picture! LOL Was this the best one?! I loved seeing Jean Stapleton out of Edith drag and cozying up with Bea. And I was flabbergasted to see Bea and frenemy Betty White having fun like this together years before TGG!
Some unusual faces at the premiere of All the President's Men (1976) including Penny Marshall, as glitzy as ever, and Danny Kaye with his wife-collaborator Sylvia Fine. Carol Rossen was Hal Holbrook's second wife, though he is probably better remembered for his marriage to Dixie Carter, who left him a widower after more than twenty-five years together. He is here today at ninety-four and acts occasionally still!
Bette Midler had done a special that aired on HBO and did in fact do one with NBC in 1977 after the ABC plans fell through. I don't think much ever became of Roy Clark's Dieter's Choice...
As a preteen, I thought there could be nothing more grotesque than Tanya Tucker... LOL I used to dread seeing her on TV and in print. By the way, columnist Dianne Bennett later became a regular contributor to The Hollywood Reporter during the 1980s before eventually creating a matchmaking service that paired beautiful women with wealthy men. She definitely loved to get her photo taken with celebs!
I had to admit the placement of Jane Withers' and Michael York's photos made me grin.
Ms. Rona tangles a bit with one of the gays in this column.
I don't know what, if anything, ever became of "Moontrap," though Jack Nicholson didn't direct it. I don't believe he ever portrayed Huey Long either... Kathryn Grayson did not appear on screen between 1958 and 1978, when she did a brief bit on Baretta. Later, she did three installments of Murder, She Wrote.
Had the real deal not been on hand, Marlo Thomas would have been about my fourth or fifth choice for who that wax dummy was intended to be!!  LOL The episode in which John Amos' character dies on Good Times is rather notoriously legendary for a moment when Esther Rolle has held it together for an entire episode and then hurls a punch bowl to the floor hollering, "Damn, damn, DAMN!" Marisa Berenson did indeed wed Jim Randall, but it only lasted from 1976-1978. They had one daughter together.
Perry King was well out of doing King Kong Lives which didn't come to fruition until 1986! By then, the heavily derided film starred Brian Kerwin. And you can see how much it did for him.
The inside back cover has more rare color photography of the stars. Dom DeLuise looks downright slim in that picture (and I wouldn't mind reading that issue of the magazine myself!)
Lastly, we have the back cover, which blessedly contains more chit-chat peppered with color pics. This is probably one of the cattiest pages of the mag in tone and information. I had to roll my eyes at Jean Stapleton's "low-cut" top. Anything would seem low-cut at that angle, but if you look at the earlier photos, it's a scoop-neck with barely any cleavage. Liv Ullman wound up with the Audrey Hepburn part in A Bridge Too Far (1977), not exactly a high point on her resume. Ryan O'Neal did indeed film Oliver's Story, which was released in 1978. The (Filipino) movie referred to as "The Vengeance of Cleopatra Wong" came out in 1978 as simply Cleopatra Wong, later retitled for DVD as "They Call Her Cleopatra Wong." Sounds like several things went Wong along the way...! Ha. Bye for now.


Gingerguy said...

This is gossip heaven. I have seen Rona recently doing an Emmy legends that someone sent me, she was telling a hilarious story about Tina Sinatra launching her career. I know! what career? I think Rona has a lavender farm now. I read that depressing Front Runner book and had heard all the rumours. Back when gay people had to die in everything.
I love Peter Strauss and thought he was so handsome. I cannot imagine Lee Grant doing a sitcom, she seems funny only situationally, like in sinking planes. Geez I could sit under a hair dryer and read this stuff all day.

Anonymous said...

Poseidon....look at Charlton Heston's suit in the photo of him with Liv Ullman and Eastwood...look familiar? It's the suit he wore in the first scene of AIRPORT 1975!

hsc said...

You wrote "Bette Midler had done a special that aired on HBO, but I don't think she did any network TV specials in the mid-to-late-1970s."

Actually, she did have an Emmy-winning special that ran on NBC in Dec. 1977, "Bette Midler: Ol' Red Hair Is Back," with Dustin Hoffman as special guest.

Great find and analysis as usual-- I love these vintage magazines you share!

Poseidon3 said...

Gingerguy, I was going to say something along the lines that Lee Grant is better at the humor when it's unintentional! Haha! I've never even seen a clip of "Fay." I'd love to just to see what it was all about. I read the front-runner about a decade ago and I cannot imagine the book or the movie being popular in our current sociopolitical climate! I'll leave it at that...

Michael, I looked at that picture closely because I had to retouch a couple of spots where the photo had been worn and torn from use. I thought it was interesting that he had a three piece suit on, but for some reason it never dawned on me that that was his "Airport 1975" suit! Maybe because I always think of him in that horrible clingy yellow turtleneck! Thanks for pointing that out!

hsc, if you only knew how much I absolutely hate making mistakes like that! But I do appreciate you bringing it to my attention. I really did research the situation. I guess the title of it escaped my notice because it didn't really sound like a special in terms of something like "Bette!" Or "Here Comes Bette!" Or the like. Ha ha! I have since fixed it. Thanks!

BrianB said...

Wonderful posting that brought up so many memories. I would have been 23-24 at the time this was published, so I remember a lot!

Of course Rona was one of my faves after she interviewed my idol (for lack of a better word because idol sounds so icky), David Bowie and Angie earlier this same year for Good Morning America. For me the most fascinating thing about Rona was her hairstyle and the way she'd position her head on camera! I would just sit and study it!

Susan Flannery was our favorite on The Doctors soap opera on NBC! Then it was Another World when Robin Strasser played evil Rachel Matthews. And I mean evil! And Constance Ford as Ada, Rachels mother! I don't think she made Rachel take a virginity test like she did poor Sandra Dee in A Summer Place! Wait, we were talking about Susan weren't we?

My memories of Lee Grants show Fay was that it just wasn't funny enough. You really wanted to laugh but you just chuckled. It was too bad because I loved her.

I read The Front Runner at the time and even have the paperback still and don't remember feeling too depressed about it because, well, you took what you could back then. But I do remember The Lord Won't Mind and in the 3rd book, the one guy was killed off at the end and I threw the book across the room! I learned how to do drama from watching Robin Strasser!

I have a picture of myself and Jane Withers at the Gene Marshall doll convention at the Biltmore Hotel in LA some years back. I "art directed" the convention doing illustrations of the convention doll and outfits and other things, and still can't believe I had my arm around Shirley Temple's "bully" in "Bright Eyes"! Let alone Josephine the Plumber! I told Jane I loved how she tormented Shirley and she said, "I was bad wasn't I?"

Oh and I remember walking to get my hair cut in downtown Pittsburgh and was on the block where they had recently imploded the Carlton House hotel (which I got to see on an early Sunday morning because I had just come out of the Club Baths - Pittsburgh which was about 2 blocks away) and saw this couple coming towards me in the construction zone and as they got closer I realized it was Hal Holbrook in town to do Mark Twain and he was with this woman, all big, pink tinted sunglasses and tons of hair. A few months later I saw her on TV in Filthy Rich, Miss Dixie Carter. I remember they were yakking like crazy as they squeezed past me on the narrow sidewalk.

I don't live in the past but I sure welcome these memories!


Poseidon3 said...

Brian, thanks for all your fun, amusing remembrances! I finally took the bull by the horns and strove to find me some "Fay." On youtube, there are usually only EXTREMELY faded or blurry snippets of the show, which makes it hard to ascertain what it was actually like, but lo and behold some dear soul DID post a full episode (minus the credits) and I watched most of it. Lee is very attractive, but there seem to be too many costars (and played in some cases by subpar performers.) Everyone is busy acting, Acting, ACTING in a loud, highly theatrical, almost presentational, style that wears thin swiftly. These are things that were corrected for the most part by the time of Susan Harris' later series "The Golden Girls," which contained many elements from "Fay" and had actors far more at home in the TV sitcom realm. It can be found here: LOVE the Jane Withers tale. She was a hoot. I had a good friend from Tennessee who was a bit of a successful character actor there. He was invited at least once to one of Hal & Dixie's large soirees wherein she waited upstairs until the place was full before descending the staircase in all her cosmetic and fashion regalia to greet the masses. LOL BTW, I think Susan Flannery was Dr. Laura Horton on "Days of Our Live" rather than "The Doctors?" :-] Thanks!!

Andrea said...

As I’ve said many, many times, I live for these posts.

Louise Lasser - I never understood her appeal. She just struck me a strange and kooky in a “I might stab you” kind of way. I only learned a few years ago that she was married to Woody Allen. Obviously she’s a few burritos short of a fiesta. In your last post, the magazine also mentioned her drug bust so I guess the rags had a field day with that!

Jennifer Jones is another actresses whose appeal I never got. She’s featured quite a bit in Dominick Dunne’s wonderful book The Way We Lived. She looked exactly like Dunne’s first (and only) wife. Eerie!

Anjelica Huston was so stunning. She’s gone a bit off the rails lately, but her memoirs were a great read.

I love Bea Arthur. It’s strange that she looked younger on The Golden Girls than she did on Maude. It still tickles me that Mr Drummond was on Maude!

Poseidon3 said...

Andrea, I too never "got" Louise Lasser. I think he brand of humor was over my head as a kid (and I guess still is now that I'm an old man! LOL) I do recall Carol Burnett doing a hilarious send-up of "Mary Hartman" (was it "Mary Heartburn?") with a great wig just like the goofy Louise's oddball hairdo. Woody seemed drawn to kooks. I'm really glad you enjoyed this Fun Find magazine (and others!) Thanks!

Ken Anderson said...

I absolutely love when you post these old movie magazines! But as fun as the articles and gossip are, your comments, input, and asides are the best part. Just hilarious! (Like the one for Marlo Thomas' wax "likeness"...seriously, I've been there, nobody in that Movieland Wax Museum looked like who they were supposed to be.)

Poseidon3 said...

Ken, since I NEVER stop prowling around old junk shops and antique shows, it's likely I'll never stop sharing these sort of Fun Finds. :-) I'm glad you like my commentary. I always have something to say, good or bad. LOL It's a blessing and a curse. Take care and thanks!

Laurence said...

Doris Day's career is a fascinating one to study. She is another of those stars, like Kim Novak, who got into films by accident and became a huge success, even though she never intended to.
She wanted to be a dancer, but an auto accident ended that dream. During her convalescence she idly sang along with the radio, and discovered that she could sing.
Slim and attractive, but not a great beauty, she was the stereotypical "All-American Girl" of the 1950s, but by the late 60s her character had gone out of fashion.
Alas, apparently she was naive about both money and men, and allowed her third husband, Marty Melcher, to mismanage her funds and leave her broke when he died. Luckily she won a huge settlement from her former financial manager.
It would be interesting to know what happened to her body, since she left instructions that she was to have no funeral, no grave marker, nothing.
Oh well, she doesn't need a memorial, since her songs and films will serve that purpose for years to come.