Thursday, October 28, 2021

Oh, The Horror....!

If you haven't noticed, I basically dropped off the face of the earth this month, blog-wise. It's been a wild ride (and not the fun kind!) I blinked and October was nearly at an end. I'd been chugging away pretty well for a while, but then the wheels came off. I'm not going to dwell on the negative or bore you with the details (a perturbed - and now former - reader once took me to task for complaining too much about my lack of time, which I guess was true. But I felt I needed to explain any large gaps between posts!) After today, I truly can't say when my next entry will be. Just know I haven't given up. I simply cannot post with my usual regularity. I did snatch away a little time, though, to put this up. It's not a representation of all horror movies I enjoy, but more of a small selection of guilty pleasures. Some posters, photos and captions from five scary movies that I happen to like a lot. To all of my loyal Underworld visitors, I wish you a Happy Halloween!

Berserk! (1967)

Doesn't matter how many times... if this is on and I stumble onto it, I'm in for the duration! There arr precious few Joan Crawford movies that I am uninterested in watching multiple times. This one is a colorful, zesty, campy hoot! (Oddly enough, some of the more dull bits are the ones in which we watch lengthy circus acts! But that's the biggest problem on repeat viewings.)

Joan's still got "that face" and is virtually always lit in ways to emphasize it. I like her cruller bun 'do, but the less said about her long fall the better. But then there's humpy Ty Hardin on hand to help perk things up.

Not only that, but the deliciously bitchy and tart-tongued Diana Dors is also around. The two have some fun repartee here and there. The inset has a hysterically juxtaposed image. No way was Joan's character smiling while Diana's gave Ty a try! (In real life, the ladies got along well and Joan was fond of Diana, less so the comparatively ill-prepared Judy Geeson.)

La Crawford was proud of her figure and called upon pal Edith Head to whip up an appropriate ringmistress costume (otherwise, the clothing in the film was her own!) What's really a hoot, though, is seeing the difference between the heels she has on in the costume shot versus the little flat slippers she sports in the inset. (Presumably, this was to be a medium two-shot, but a still photographer caught the moment...)

As seen in this publicity shot, Joan was initially set to costar with arch-rival Bette Davis, but negotiations fell through....! Ha ha!! Relax, I'm just having a little laugh. Anyway, Miss D. shows up in a bit, too.

The Devil Within Her (1975)

It took me years and years to finally see this one. A belated rip-off of Rosemary's Baby (1968), there were many, many like it. Naturally, we gravitate to Miss Joan Collins, however.

Things begin happily enough between Collins and her husband Ralph Bates as they welcome a new bundle of joy into their lives. Note Eileen Atkins on hand as a nun.

It's not long, though, before their bouncing baby boy is wreaking havoc all around.

You really haven't lived until you've seen Collins terrorized by an angry dwarf! And though these particular shots don't emphasize it, she looks lovely throughout, especially in one sequence with a turban-like head-wrap.

I can never forget once reading Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide in which he reviewed this movie. In a backhanded compliment he referred to Collins as "uncharacteristically excellent!" True enough, a fair share of her feature films didn't turn out to be immortal classics, but like most enduring divas, she's usually worth watching nevertheless.

Burnt Offerings (1976)

An update on the venerable haunted house genre, this one features the presence of the aforementioned Bette Davis along with crazy-eyed Karen Black.

I mean, just look at that face! She's not given enough to do in the movie, but (again!) it's rare to watch Bette Davis and not be captivated on some level. I wouldn't dare spoil it for you, but the way she looks towards the end of the movie... well, it's positively curdling! No vanity involved there, anyway!

Another big plus is the presence of Oliver Reed as Black's husband. Trim, tan and handsome, he has a couple of key scenes centered around a pool. (In one of them, he begins tormenting his son horrendously... but the poor kid is so annoying to start with we can only drum up a certain level of sympathy!)

I can recall being thrilled at the prospect of Black from Airport 1975 (1974) and Reed from The Three Musketeers (1973) being paired as husband and wife, though they really don't seem to go together particularly well.

A fun bonus is seeing the home's owners, Eileen Heckart and Burgess Meredith, two talented veteran performers.

The Sentinel (1977)

The '70s were so much about all-star casts and this one has an impressive one, though most of the action centers on comparative newcomer Christina Raines. Raines, a print model by trade, rents a reasonable brownstone only to come upon some seriously out there neighbors.

John Carradine is scary enough. By the time a passel of others show up at the end, it's unforgettably creepy. (And controversial, too. The films director used - or exploited as the case may be - people with actual deformities to help enhance the atmosphere of the finale.)

About as disturbing is the sequence with lovers Beverly D'Angelo and Sylvia Miles in which Raines is greeted with the sight of D'Angelo having fun with herself during the conversation!

It's a great chance not only to "spot the star" from the roster of known names, but also to spot rising stars such as Jeff Goldblum (with his original teeth) and Christopher Walken.

For our money, though, the thrill is a sleek and vaguely mysterious real estate agent played by Miss Ava Gardner. By 1977, so many people considered her "past it," but I've always greatly enjoyed seeing once-breathtaking actresses performing as mature women. (This, of course, being before so many began turning their faces into rubberized, immobile masks with inflated lips. No thanks... Well, okay, I'll still take a little Faye Dunaway now and again! LOL)

Friday the 13th (1980)

I'm gonna bet that not too many of you saw this one coming...! But I can't help it. I love the low-budget, early-'80s atmosphere before action and horror got so polished (and, to me, more fake looking despite "advances" in technology.) I love the unstudied, carefree way characters cavort around with so little regard for what we might see.

I'm quite ashamed, however, that I didn't know until LAST WEEK that the young man on the far right, Harry Crosby...

...was the very same Harry Crosby whose father was the legendary Bing Crosby! This was Bing's second set of children (the four sons from his deceased first wife Dixie reportedly receiving a much harder time of things than the three shown here.) Der Bingle passed away in 1977, so he didn't see Harry in Friday the 13th (nor did he witness Mary Crosby sleeping around on Dallas and eventually shooting ol' J.R. Ewing!)

Even this "contemporary" horror movie has the added bonus of a vintage actress in the mix. Betsy Palmer (who'd costarred with Joan Crawford in the delicious drama Queen Bee, 1955) was a longtime TV panelist on I've Got a Secret. Her usual perky persona was little to be seen in her portrayal of Mrs. Voorhees!

The era of the first few Friday movies was Speedo time, and star-to-be Kevin Bacon trots around in one. (At one point something seems to be stirring in there, lurking... Ha!) Maybe the lakeside setting is what made me go for these more than for the equally enduring Halloween films.

::::: Bonus Posters :::::

Foreign posters are so often far more vivid than those for the U.S or U.K markets. This one is no exception. Thing is, the artwork at the bottom... Um, this is absolutely derived from Die! Die! My Darling! (1965) and is based upon Stefanie Powers and Yootha Joyce in a confrontation scene in that!! So I hope no one was marching up to the ticket counter for a refund when that moment didn't roll around in Berserk!

Lastly, I had to share this striking depiction of Crawford's startled eyes. Someone really put his or her heart into this artwork.

I'll be back as soon as I can be with more movies, TV and stars. Thanks!

Friday, October 8, 2021

Fun Finds: TV Radio Mirror, February 1967

Back again with another of the battered finds (this is older than even your webmaster!) gleaned from Ohio's biggest antique show, The Springfield Extravaganza. I made sure to select this particular mag from a pile that was up for sale because there were two stories in it featuring stars from one of my all time favorite TV shows, The Big Valley, then in its third season. Cover price was $0.35 and it's thicker than the ones which sold a few years later for $0.60. Thanks, inflation. Now off we go to turn back the pages of time...


Connie Stevens' marriage to Eddie Fisher turned out to be a fiasco, regardless of the two girls they had together. He was remarkably derisive towards her in his auto-bio (though he certainly didn't come off well himself in any case!) A-M and Roger Smith weren't married as soon as Earl speculated, but he wasn't far off. They wed on May 8th.

This really amazed me. The blurb on Lily Tomlin mentions an idol of hers, Jean Carroll. But I'd never even heard of Jean Carroll! Turns out she'd been a successful comedienne, even had her own TV show in the '50s and lived to be 98, only passing away in 2010. The piece about CBS Playhouse mentions "Oily (!) Winter" when the play was about "Olly Winter." Ivan Dixon of Hogan's Heroes starred. (Incidentally, I didn't scan the slim final part as it was not anything particularly celeb-oriented.)

As we later found out, Burt Ward was dipping his Batwand into every conceivable chick who came into his path! Leigh Taylor-Young actually married Ryan O'Neal this same year. It was happy for a moment, but they divorced by 1971. I really knew nothing about Robie Porter, who had a brief 1960s acting career before morphing into a music producer who helped give the world Air Supply (while also fixing lyrics - he turned, "I'm all out of love, I want to arrest you" into "I'm all out of love, I'm so lost without you." - !!)

I LOVE Nancy Ames, who was a very lovely presence on many a TV variety show in the '60s (and had a strong alto voice.) Stu Whitman's marriage to Caroline ended in 1976. Thirty years later, he wed for a third and final time.

I was watching a Dean Martin roast of Evel Knievel the other day and one of the comics quipped that the stunt driver was next going to attempt to leap over the entire King Family! Marilyn and Kent divorced in 1975. The wed a third and final time in 1983.

Granny Clampett offers up insight on being around children when one has none of her own.

I love seeing this photo of Barbara Stanwyck and Chuck Heston together nearly two decades before they would play sister and brother together on yet another of my favorite shows, The Colbys.

There was indeed gray area surrounding Sandra Milo and Moris Ergas' marriage. Some sources don't list it at all...! It would have been fascinating to see Ms. Davis take that role in The Killing of Sister George (1968.) As it was, original stage star Beryl Reid was cast. Lucy's "chance" to portray Dolly Levi on screen was a "fat" one...! No one seemed particularly interested in getting Carol the part and immortalizing her famous role! Neat to see old friends Ginger and Lucy out and about. I always love seeing anything on Joan Crawford. "Circus of Blood" became Berserk! (1967.) Tina Sinatra only acted on screen a handful of times and "Heaven Train" was not among them.

Soupy Sales' Broadway show, by the way, opened on January 26th and closed January 28th...! Not only did Patricia Neal endure a severe stroke, but two of her five children died and then her husband left her! (She's right up there with Elizabeth Taylor when it comes to sufferin'!) Love Joan experiencing "nail-biting" suspense with her legs in full view thanks to the handiwork of Edith Head.

I really was not familiar with Patricia Harty AT ALL. The dancer and stage actress had unusually bad luck when it came to TV series. She proceeded from Occasional Wife, which lasted only one season, to failed shows Blondie, The Bob Crane Show and Herbie, The Love Bug. Ironically, Wife was about a couple posing as married. In real life, she and costar Michael Callan left their spouses and wed one another in 1968! They were divorced in 1970. She's still alive today at 79.

I always want to like The Quiller Memorandum (1966) a little more than I do when I re-watch it. But I adore Senta Berger in almost anything. And try as I might, I could never get into Grand Prix (1966.) Rage is noted for the lovely Mexican landscapes, but the blurb neglects to mention the scenery of Stella Stevens which is also eye-catching.

Popular TV & movie actor Christopher George.

Girl-crazy George opted out of the seminary (even though Greek Orthodox priests were permitted to marry) and instead joined the Marines! Later, he earned a degree in finance from the University of Miami, before earning his living by acting.

Some insights from a variety of stars as to how they'd relive (or redo) one key day of their adolescent if they could.

I rarely scan all of an article, but for some reason today I did more than usual. So you'll get to see all of these...

Christopher Connelly of Peyton Place, who's nose-to-nose with...

costar (and real life girlfriend) Pat Morrow. Someone decided to tear out a strip of this page, perhaps to wrap up their used chewing gum! Sorry, Pat...

I wonder how "different" (or worse!) things would have been if Cosby had become a doctor...!

Several of you enjoy the vintage ads anyway, so there are plenty of those sprinkled in as well.

Here we have the other side of that page that was rendered damaged by an evil gum chewer. LOL But even worse, the whole next (color!) page is torn out, too! Dammit! If not for a recent over-the-air channel rerunning it, I probably wouldn't have ever even known that there was a Shane TV show...!

Cute pics of the Howard boys.

The aforementioned Christopher George was then starring on The Rat Patrol, a WWII desert adventure series. French singer-"actress" Claudine Longet was a guest star in a multi-part episode.

Lord, if they only knew what was to come...!

Between domestic photo spreads like this and appearances on Andy Williams' television shows, the image was of a blissful family unit.

This ultimately came unglued by 1970 and the couple was amicably divorced in 1975. The following year, she "accidentally" fatally shot her lover and it was a huge scandal. Williams stood by his ex-wife throughout, though she wound up marrying her attorney! He'd done his job well as she served only a month in jail for the incident.

For my money, no one was more beautiful than Linda Evans during the latter half of The Big Valley.

As you might guess, the reason Evans wanted her father to pass was because he was in daily excruciating agony from cancer. One can only imagine the mid-1950s treatment options...! With her mother less than healthy as well, she pursued acting gigs in order to bring money into the family of five. He father died in 1958 and her mother in 1969, so neither of them lived to see the sensation that was Dynasty!

Dean Martin had four children with his first wife and three with Jeanne.

The couple stuck it out off and on until he wanted to wed a third time in 1973. But that was over by 1976 (and after he'd adopted that wife's little girl!)

Plenty of nice shots of the Martin household. One cannot accuse TV Radio Mirror of scrimping on the photos in this issue.

The Fugitive, a wildly popular show, was just about to end its run with 72% of all viewers tuned in to that final episode! The arc of this story was that Janssen wasn't helping his half-sister Jill (15 years his junior) get a foothold in the acting world. This despite her just having filmed an ep of The Fugitive as a stand-in and extra.

Jill Janssen had been wed and divorced young and had a toddler in tow. What's interesting is that David harbored a long-held suspicion that he was the love child of Clark Gable and his Ziegfeld Follies showgirl mother. Yet it turns out that Jill had the same ears he did, but from a different father! The article describes how David offered to pay for hers to be fixed. Fun Fact: Berniece Janssen showed up as a courtroom spectator in the big-screen remake of her son's TV series in 1993!

Lord knows it had to have been hard for the four singing Lennon Sisters to keep any sort of schedule or regimen going while each one wed and proceeded to bear children!

Apparently they couldn't even nail down Dianne for this photo op.

Oh boy... Hold on! The second feature on a Big Valley favorite. "This is it!" They feel like they're on to something?

Probably one of the most carefully coded stories evah...! The surface story is that Majors didn't want any fuss made over his rise to stardom from the relative oblivion of eastern Kentucky. The implied, hinted at, story is that he was plucked from that obscurity by Rock Hudson, who anyone in H-Town knew was gay, though the world at large was generally clueless about. Note the use of the word "climax" here...!

Again, scads of pictures along with the "story." The wording all along is incredible.

The rumored real deal is that Rock Hudson (seen above) used to come to Lexington (a per capita gay hot spot) for occasions like The Kentucky Derby or UK football games and stay with a notorious gay couple who hosted salacious parties. The 1962 UK football team was scandalized by at least four of its members having taken part.

Young, married Majors (then Harvey Lee Yeary) played football for Eastern Kentucky University and found himself positioned at one of these parties where he drew the attention of soon-to-be patron Hudson. Before long, he was convinced to move to Tinseltown for acting opportunities and encouraged to lighten his hair to a strawberry blond by his newfound "mentor."  This is the situation the magazine is dying to allude to, but can only skirt in its generally positive, yet obscure, article. Take note, if you haven't already, of Lee's snug trousers. A word about those later.

Reportedly, Majors' young wife was not only a fish out of water, but also was appalled at the situation in Hollywood, with Rock trotting his protegee out at parties, trying to promote his handsome looks and athletic build. She was soon, as the article does state, back home with their young son and soon divorced. 

The final lines: "This is the story Lee Majors didn't want anyone to write. And we still don't know why." Sure ya do! Anyway, once The Big Valley was landed and he took off, the expanse between Majors and Hudson - while friendly enough - grew greater and greater until there was no there there. Majors was not in attendance at his sponsor's 1985 funeral.

No matter who has it on, I almost always love this wig which was (for me anyway!) made immortal on Jacqueline Bisset in Airport (1970.)

Lord, the marriage between Judy Carne and Burt Reynolds was simply made in hell... Never should have happened! Her auto-bio revealed one serious mess of a young lady, not that he was perfect by any means.

Robert Lansing, who was fired after one season of Twelve O'Clock High and, though he remained busy thereafter, could not find regular series success.

The wife seen here, Emily McLaughlin, divorced him in 1968 after a dozen years together. As we noted in a prior post, she then wed Jeffrey Hunter who died soon after.

Fans of classic soaps might like this photo montage along with a rundown of the roles these people essayed to that time. As a HUGE fan of As the World Turns, I would write to various stars of that show and Helen Wagner always wrote back in longhand the most wonderful replies.

Elizabeth Hubbard is my all-time favorite soap actress. It was so much fun a few years back to catch her early work as a heroine on The Doctors when a local station opted to rerun the program. She later made a big splash on As the World Turns.

Believe it or not, this is the very same Johnny Gilbert who still works (remotely these days) as a much-valued announcer. The 93 year-old marvel still heralds "This... is... Jeopardy!" although I no longer watch the show.

Dayton, Ohio is less than an hour north of me. I didn't realize he'd been working there all those years ago or that he'd enjoyed having his own local show.

This ghost-written tome came out at a wild time in Hedy Lamarr's life. Hailed as one of the movie colony's most beautiful faces of the 1930s and '40s, by 1966 she had not been acting for years and this book would be of help financially. Then she had a new movie role as well. But then an arrest for shoplifting put the quash on the movie part and she also spoke out about the book being "fictional, false, vulgar, scandalous, libelous and obscene" after she finally sat down and read it!

Maybe I have no taste (maybe? Ha ha!) but I actually like these get-ups on the back of the magazine...! I'm betting that $24.98 was not exactly dirt cheap in 1966 when this was published. In fact, I looked it up and it's about $204.00 in today's value!

~~~~~~EXTRA MATERIAL~~~~~~

All this Lee Majors/Rock Hudson business could have been its own Tinseltales post here. Like most things, there are a lot of rumors, speculation, etc... I can tell you this much. As a kid, I LOVED The Six Million Dollar Man (only first seeing The Big Valley later in reruns) and when I heard that he was from Eastern Kentucky, not terribly far from where I was living as a tot in Northern Kentucky, I was amazed. I had an aunt who went to EKU at the same time he did and I asked her if she knew him. Her face went white (as did my grandmother's)... but she wouldn't elaborate to my 7 year-old self. So, true or not, the story was well-known to people in the area.

Time and again, TV historians have remarked on the incredible career that Majors had on the tube. One teensy movie role then series after series after series, most of them very successful. That sort of stellar opportunity doesn't come along every day, so a leg up would be hard to resist. Incidentally, I hated the blond hair on him and am glad he let it go back to brown rather quickly.

Before long he had a new, picture-perfect wife to go along with the Hollywood image. If the Rock stories are true, Farrah may not have known or, if she did, may not have cared. After all, she'd done a bedroom scene with Raquel Welch in her starlet days. It's all good.

I simply had to share this... It's out there on the web, so I don't feel as if I'm doing anything untoward in presenting it. (God help us if it was the Richfield Oil station. LOL The mind reels...!)

He did wear some fun pants in the '60s & '70s.

"See anything you like...?"


We may never know exactly what did or did not happen. The key figure in it sure isn't talking about it! But if he did use the considerable connection that came his way in order to get a foothold in the industry, at least he made good on it. He generated his own broad appeal which kept him in good stead for decades. The casting couch might get one a part, but the public determines who really makes it. And he surely did.