Sunday, July 31, 2011

Baby Jane, Dirty Dozen, and Lady Wrestlers

In 1980, after a dreaded actor's strike, Robert Aldrich made his final film: ALL THE MARBLES starring Peter Falk as a manager of two female wrestlers played by Broadway dancer vet Vicki Frederick and newcomer Laurene Landon.

The R-rated rags-to-riches tale of Peter Falk's "California Dolls" was a blast for me to find as a teen. It all ends with a big ROCKY-esque showdown in the ring which gets viewers all riled up. A few years later, Matt Cimber created the G.L.O.W. (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling) for TV syndication gold.

The DVD is available as a special order archive collection. Reviews say: Vicki Frederick lends a real emotional gravity to her struggles with her chosen career and Laurene Landon has a girlish charm that is positively ingratiating. However, All The Marbles really belongs to Peter Falk, whose grizzled charisma is a natural fit for the role of the manager.

Here is a brilliant interview with the blonde star of the film- Laurene Landon- you will love it. She was 19 and called director Aldrich "Mr Altman" on her first day on the set. He laughed it off - thinking she was being a jokester. Nope- she was just 19 and being 'blonde'.

Her brunette co-star Vicki Frederick was 10 years older and more showbiz savvy. Frederick had just left Broadway to try her hand in Hollywood. She found roles as dancing/voluptuous gals on Laverne & Shirley, Mork & Mindy- and would later be cast as Sheila in the 1985 feature film version of A CHORUS LINE - however, back in 1980, All the Marbles promised to be her biggest feature film role and she wanted that part! The actresses trained for weeks with local LA-area Mexican wrestlers and were more than ready to take it to the mat when cameras started rolling.

With the passing of the great Peter Falk recently, I remembered all the entertaining moments he gave to filmdom - and the night I went alone to the cinema and got caught up in ALL THE MARBLES.

Jayne Mansfield: That Makes It


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Blithe Spirit

Really, this scene is the template for so many of those charlatans out there today. Brilliant.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Googie Withers

Big fan. If only for "Dead of Night"'s terrifying mirror sequence-but Googie was more than that.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Life in Reruns

Sherwood Schwartz has died in his sleep at age 94. His 4 children were nearby - along with his wife of 69 years, Mildred.

Schwartz started in radio working with Bob Hope, Ozzie & Harriet and moved to televsion with Red Skelton.

His own creations Gilligan's Island and The Brady Bunch have a lasting power that are due partially to great casting decisions, fun cartoony writing, and kicky theme songs (written by Schwartz) that hooked you within seconds and didn't let you go. His sitcom worlds (tropic island, suburbia) were cleverly made more fun for viewers with a steady stream of dopplegangers, guest stars, and dream sequences. Returning to watch these shows is like visiting a favorite amusement park, or eating a favorite candy from our youth.

His "Gilligan's Island" (which aired for 3 years) became a 4-decade franchise of
2 cartoons, 3 TV-reunion films, a summer stock stage musical, a reality show, and a planned feature film.

His "Brady Bunch" (which aired for 5 years) became a 4-decade franchise of
1 cartoon, a 70s Variety Show, a spin-off sitcom The Brady Brides, and a short-lived dramedy The Bradys (we dubbed: Bradysomething). He hit gold again when he visited a storefront Chicago theater in 1991 and saw that audiences loved sharing in the memories of the original sitcom by attending a show called: Real Live Brady Bunch. He didn't sue the non-profit tiny theater - he simply ran with that satire idea and produced 2 feature film parodies and a TV-film where the parody bunch moved to the White House.

The actors in his 60s shows were kept in the limelight by his reruns, reunions,
and were given an immortality that many in showbiz seldom enjoy. Some were embittered by lack of residual money and the type casting. Schwartz knew it was a double-edged sword. He said: "That's the damaging thing about being terrific in what you do as an actor, everybody wants you to be the same person.”

Being the true Producer he was - he had to make his own living, and move on to the next project. He would bring back these "same persons" again and again as long as the public wanted to embrace them.

If anybody could re-invent his properties (or squeeze every last penny from them) it was Mr. Schwartz. He was kind and personable to fans, and loved his work. We loved it back.

Sleep well, Sherwood Schwartz.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Perfect Host

David Hyde-Pierce knocking it outta the park in this work directed by nobody and starring nobodies - all nailing it. Plus - hey! Helen Reddy! This was a great companion piece to Girly (posted below) and would also be a good double feature with Christopher Nolan's Following.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Real Estate divinity

This charming 3 bedroom, 1 bath $149,900 priced home in Baltimore seems like a perfect place to raise a family, doesn't it?

However, the RedFin real estate site's photos don't really give you the full history of this "historical" home at 3900 Greenmount Avenue.

Lucky for us filthy people, the TRASHY TRAVELS facebook page does - even showing us the unfinished basement just the way Channing left it - as well as a banister once licked by Divine. This indeed was once the Pink Flamingos movie home of filthy perverts Connie & Raymond Marble (while the real residence of John Waters and Mink Stole). Talk about curb appeal.