Friday, February 28, 2020

Doo Wop in the Desert



The other night I had the opportunity to see The Doo Wop Project in concert at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert. This is the fourth time I’ve seen them; does that make me a groupie?

We took a few shots before the concert. I can’t give enough praise for this talented quintet who are just about the nicest group of guys you could meet. Each one is uniquely gifted and together they create pure magic on stage.

There’s Charl:



Russell:



Dwayne:



and the two Doms:



Two Doms make it right!



The music will put a smile on your face and you’ll be singing it for days afterwards. Probably not as good they do, but you’ll still be singing.



Check out their tour schedule and get your tickets now!

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Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Dearly Departed



While it may not be everyone’s taste, I dearly loved the Dearly Departed Museum, so I was honored when owner Scott Michaels asked me to photograph it for posterity before all of its historic contents went into storage. Here is a look at some of the items one could find inside its Hollywood location on Santa Monica Boulevard.

This display of recently acquired items came from the Sharon Tate auction.



Tate is best known for her role in the campy “Valley of the Dolls” and sadly the Manson murders.



Her false eyelashes. NOW we know why they looked so lush!



One of her bras:



Her “let ’em droop” scene in “Dolls” is definitely one of the most memorable of the film.



Jayne Mansfield held a large portion of real estate inside the museum.



Here’s a section of the gate from her Pink Palace mansion which was located in Holmby Hills...before it was demolished in 2002.



Mansfield died tragically in a car accident on the way to New Orleans at the age of 34. The 1966 Buick Electra 225 she was in was also in display here. To see it in person was unbelievable.



These two vintage mugs/steins of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford are favorites of mine.



Karen Carpenter’s sink:



The death mask of notorious 1930’s Depression-era gangster John Dillinger:



For fans of Mae West, how about this framed display showing her autograph on a check to Bullock’s Department Store?



Last but not least...her dental bridges:



Want to see More Dearly Departed? Check out their youtube channel.

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Monday, February 24, 2020

Pee Wee and Terry



When I was recently at the Dearly Departed Museum in Hollywood photographing it for posterity, Scott (the man behind the museum) introduced me to Terry Bolo, who did tours for him. I had met her previously, but this was the first time I was told a little bit of her background. SHE WAS IN “PEE WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE”! As soon as he told me, I remembered her immediately. She had a bit part in the bar scene as “Biker Chick.”



Originally from Detroit, Terry always dreamed of being an actress. She moved to Hollywood as a teen to be closer to family. Once she was out of school, she started taking acting classes at the Strasberg Institute in the early 70’s and became one of the original founding members of the famous improv comedy troupe, The Groundlings, which led to her being cast in “Carrie” (1976).



Many of the Groundlings (including Terry, Edie McCurg and Doug Cox) got cast in “Carrie.” Terry also worked as a stand-in for Sissy Spacek. She was the only minor character to go to the 40th Anniversary of “Carrie” in 2016. Here she is with Nancy Allen and P. J. Soles (photo by David Sobel). “Mean Girls of Carrie, 40 years later! I wore the light pink dress à la Sissy, and the red scarf for the blood!”



Other roles included a passenger in “Animal House,” “Ghostbusters,” “Airplane 2,” “Little Miss Sunshine” (an uncredited pageant worker), and parts in the television shows “Newhart,” “St. Elsewhere” (as a hooker!), and “Alice.” She has taught improv classes and coached actors. But back to Pee Wee…remember when this actress tells all the bikers she wants to have her way with Pee Wee?



It’s none other than Cassandra Peterson, aka “Elvira.”



But back to Pee Wee…who saved his life by donning a pair of white shoes and dancing to “Tequila.”



The beer bottle never left Terry’s hand, even as Pee Wee rides off into a billboard when he borrows one of the gang’s cycles.



At the end of the film, Pee Wee’s “movie” debuts at the drive-in and all the cast reappears…



except for Terry. I couldn’t find her when the biker gang reappeared. BIG mistake on Pee Wee’s part.



See more Pee Wee Herman photos at my main website.

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Friday, February 21, 2020

Carthay Circle Comparison



The original Carthay Circle Theatre in Los Angeles opened in 1926 and was demolished in 1969 (the indignity!). Thanks to Disney Theme Parks, guests can now enjoy slightly smaller scaled recreations of the movie palace on both coasts. How’d the Disney team do on its versions? I’d say very well. Compare this 1953 shot of the original theater vs. the Carthay Circle Restaurant at Disney California Adventure, which opened in 2012:



They really did a great job on the marquee grillwork, too...except for that one time when they blinged it out for the Diamond Anniversary!



The WDW version was built first; sadly (but not surprisingly), they chose to make it a gift shop. The vertical neon marquee did not exist on the original, but thanks to good vintage design, it works.



See more original Carthay Circle Theatre photos at my main website.

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Thursday, February 20, 2020

Cruising in the Fifties



Two consecutive shots from August 1958 of the Disneyland Motor Boat Cruise. Brothers? Friends? Not sure...but it would appear that the one boy wants to take charge of the wheel. The lady in the boat on the left sums up this attraction for me. Looking off to her right, she seems thoroughly bored.



In shot two, the same little kid with the crew cut is really taking over. I bet he ended up running into another boat.



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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Alice, circa 1958



This overhead shot of the exterior of the Alice in Wonderland attraction at Disneyland was taken in August 1958.



Zooming in you can see that the cast members were dressed in Alice costumes. Surprisingly, Walt didn’t make them wear blonde wigs to complete the look. These are probably some of my very favorite attraction vehicles at the Park.



It’s amazing to see that they really haven’t changed at all over the years.



See more Disneyland Alice in Wonderland attraction photos at my main website.

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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Temple Tuesday: Six Degrees of Fields, Pt. 2



Back before it was hip for an actor to play the gay neighbor/coworker/comic relief role, Franklin Pangborn made a career of it. He didn’t necessarily get to say the punch line, but with his comic expressions and timing, he was able to make the most stale lines (and situations) seem funny. From a May 1939 article in the Boston Globe, he was described as:

Darling and Dandy Of Screen Colony

As raconteur and laugh-maker he’s unique. From flying coattails to raised eyebrow, he puts his all into telling a story—or a joke. And such is his comical personality, just to look at him is to laugh!…His earliest ambition was to “wring tears from people’s eyes,” but not from laughter. Born in Newark, N.J., Franklin started work for a life insurance company. But his hear wasn’t in it. “I always wanted to be an actor,” he told me. “A Shakespearean actor. I studied plays all the time, and I also studied music. Mother wanted me to be an organist.



One day I met at a party in New York the stage star, Mildred Holland. I was 17. I can see myself now, sitting in a Japanese chair—the room was filled with gorgeous antiques—telling the actress all about my ambitions. ‘I want to do plays,’ I said, ‘Sad Plays…I do hope I can bring tears to people’s eyes.’ She didn’t laugh at me. Instead, she decided to give the kid a chance. She asked me if I wanted to spend my two weeks vacation as an extra boy in her company…at $12 a week. That was more than I was making in the insurance business and so when the company went on tour and she offered me the job of the boy in the company to run errands and speak a few lines, I jumped at the chance to learn the acting business.…I got a gorgeous part in a George M. Cohan musical. My very first exit, they laughed at me so hard that I—not thinking I was comical—felt awful. After the show that night, they said: ‘Franklin, from now on, you are going to play comedy.’”


He played supporting roles in three films with W.C. Fields and two with Shirley. His first with Fields was in the pre-code “International House.” He played (not surprisingly) the “fussy” Hotel Manager. “Fussy” was code for gay back in the day, along with “prissy.” When the obnoxious and daffy Professor Quail (Fields) enters the hotel from his autogyro, he tries to figure out where he has landed.



Professor Quail: Hey! Where am I?

Peggy Hopkins Joyce: Wu-Hu.

Professor Quail: Woo-Hoo to you, sweetheart. Hey Charlie, where am I?



Hotel Manager (Pangborn): WU-HU!

[Professor Quail removes the flower from his lapel]



Professor Quail: Don't let the posey fool you!

This thinly veiled reference to a homosexual flirtation would not have been allowed after the production code began to be strictly enforced in 1934. Despite having a sizable role, Pangborn isn’t even listed on the movie’s advertising poster.



Pangborn had a small role in Shirley’s 1938 hit, “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.” He played the nervous Hamilton Montmarcy, the backup organ player (no pun intended I’m sure) who only got to play if someone got sick.



Rebecca (Shirley) feigns illness to get out of her radio contract and Montmarcy is called into action. He promptly faints right before he gets his big chance. Pangborn’s poor mother never got her wish!



Pangborn got an even larger role in Shirley’s “Just Around the Corner,” also 1938. As yet another building manager, Pangborn (Mr. Waters) was Penny’s (Shirley) nemesis throughout the film. Making sure that she stayed in her (social) place as the engineer’s daughter, he constantly had to remove Penny from situations that caused embarrassment for the rich snobs at his apartment building.



He even kicked Penny out of the playroom, despite her having been invited by Milton (Bennie Bartlett), the boy who lived in the building’s penthouse.



Penny ruined an evening of bridge at the penthouse when she brought Milton home with a black eye. Pangborn was on hand to give plenty of scowls at the curly-haired moppet who had ruined his opportunity to hang out with the elite.



Mr. Waters ended up in the pool when the two kids conspired to pay him back for his meddling. Pangborn was a master of physical comedy, and this scene is a delight to watch, as he slips and slides around the pool. According to the earlier quoted Boston Globe article:

Shirley Temple took a shine to Franklin Pangborn when he played with her in “Just Around the Corner.” She liked the way he took continual ducking in a pool without kicking and complimented him when he snagged his leg on a camera dolly track one day, and went on working without letting any one know. “You’re a good sport,” Shirley told Pangie, “and a sweet guy!”



Pangborn went back to Fields after two Temple films, beginning with “The Bank Dick” (1940), playing bank examiner J. Pinkerton Snoopington. Egbert Sousé (Fields) tries to get Snoopington drunk to delay the audit that would reveal his future son-in-law had “borrowed” some funds from the bank. The name of the bar? The Black Pussy Cat Café.



“Never Give a Sucker an Even Break” (1941) followed with Pangborn playing the Producer who can’t stand Fields’ character, but puts up with him because of his talented niece, played by Gloria Jean. Fields’ mistress, Carlotta Monti, played Pangborn’s receptionist. The original script (written by Fields) went through a number of revisions. The Hays office objected to references to Pangborn’s character as a "pansy."



His last film role was in “The Story of Mankind” (1957) as the Marquis de Varennes. It was also the final film that all three Marx brothers appeared (although not in the same scenes). Pangborn’s final performance was on The Red Skelton Show in the April 22, 1958 episode. He lived in Laguna Beach with his mother. He died in Santa Monica on July 20, 1958, one day after undergoing surgery.

See more Shirley Temple photos at my main website.

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