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Jerry Lewis 1926-2017: Martin & Lewis: “At War With the Army” was so funny!

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We learned that Jerry Lewis died today at age 91.    He was born Joseph Levitch on March 16, 1926 in Newark, New Jersey.    

Lewis & Martin started to work in 1946 and the partnership ended in 1956.    

Lewis made some solo movies and did some incredible work for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.   It became a real favorite on Labor Day weekend every year.    My guess is that many young people associated Lewis more with the MDA than movies.

It’s hard to pick a favorite movie.   I prefer the comedies that he made with Dean Martin in the 1950’s, such as “At war with the Army”:

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August 20, 2017 at 4:04 pm

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It didn’t have much of a plot but “A Hard Day’s Night” was a smash!

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It was August 1964 and The Beatles were suddenly movie stars!  The movie, “A hard day’s night“, was released in the UK in July and in the US in August.

As someone said, the movie didn’t have much of a plot but lots of people paid to see it.   The theaters were full from coast to coast.

The plot was sort of like a day in the life of the group.    We saw The Beatles running around from concerts to studios to interviews……there was one funny old man (Wilfrid Brambell) playing Paul’s grandfather.

In retrospect, the movie was very funny.  It was full of crazy comedy and some great dialogue that sounds better with age.

I liked it, and continue to like it a lot!

The soundtrack was great, such as the title song “A hard day’s night” also released as a 45 with “I should have known better” as the B-side.   There were two great ballads:   “And I love her” plus the beautiful “If I fell“.

We remember that there were two LP’s, one for the US and the other for the UK.   The US version had several George Martin instrumentals, such as “This boy:  Ringo’s ‘s theme“.

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August 1, 2017 at 1:00 pm

We remember Bruce Lee (1940-1973)

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The amazing Bruce Lee was born in 1940.  He became a legend in the early 1970’s and then suddenly died in 1973.  

Along the way, his movies became hugely popular and continue to over 40 years after his death.   He did not make a lot of movies but they were great indeed.

His story is rather interesting:   

Lee was born while his father, a Chinese opera star, was on tour in America. The Lee family moved back to Hong Kong in 1941. Growing up, Lee was a child actor who appeared in some 20 Chinese films; he also studied dancing and trained in the Wing Chun style of gung fu (also known as kung fu). In 1959, Lee returned to America, where he eventually attended the University of Washington and opened a martial-arts school in Seattle. In 1964, he married Linda Emery, who in 1965 gave birth to Brandon Lee, the first of the couple’s two children. In 1966, the Lees relocated to Los Angeles and Bruce appeared on the television program The Green Hornet (1966-1967), playing the Hornet’s acrobatic sidekick, Kato. Lee also appeared in karate tournaments around the United States and continued to teach martial arts to private clients, including the actor Steve McQueen.In search of better acting roles than Hollywood was offering, Lee returned to Hong Kong in the early 1970s. He successfully established himself as a star in Asia with the action movies The Big Boss (1971) and The Way of the Dragon(1972), which he wrote, directed and starred in. Lee’s next film, Enter the Dragon, was released in the United States by Hollywood studio Warner Brothers in August 1973. Tragically, Lee had died one month earlier, on July 20, in Hong Kong, after suffering a brain edema believed to be caused by an adverse reaction to a pain medication. Enter the Dragon was a box-office hit, eventually grossing more than $200 million, and Lee posthumously became a movie icon in America.

Like Hendrix and Morrison, you can identify his face in a heart beat.

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July 20, 2017 at 2:00 pm

1956: Grace Kelly and “High Society”, her last film

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On this day in 1956, “High society” was released.   

It was Grace Kelly’s last movie before marrying Prince Rainier of Monaco.    She was one of the most popular ladies of Hollywood in the 1950s.

She died in 1982 after an automobile accident:     

Princess Grace of Monaco, whose stately beauty and reserve gave her enduring Hollywood stardom even long after she ended her film career, died yesterday in Monte Carlo of injuries suffered when her car plunged off a mountain road Monday. She was 52 years old.
The Princess, the former Grace Kelly, died of a cerebral hemorrhage, a palace spokesman said in Monaco. Princess Grace wa driving her British Rover 3500 on a snaking road at Cap-d’Ail in the Cote d’Azur region when she lost control and plunged down a 45-foot embankment. The car burst into flames, and the Princess suffered multiple fractures, including a broken thighbone, collarbone and ribs.
Initial reports gave no sense that her life was in jeopardy. But a Monaco Government announcement yesterday said that her health had ”deteriorated during the night.”
”At the end of the day all therapeutic possibilities had been exceeded,” the announcement said. 

It was quite a shock.  I remember hearing about the car crash and the death the next day.    

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July 17, 2017 at 10:30 am

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The famous “monkey trial” of 1925: Adam & Eve vs evolution!

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The “monkey trial” began on this day in 1925.
It started when John Thomas Scopes, a young high school science teacher, was accused of teaching evolution in violation of a Tennessee state law.

The trial consumed the country. At the end, Adam & Eve won. Later, in 1968, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a similar Arkansas law on the grounds that it violated the First Amendment.

It did give us a great movie, “Inherit the wind” from 1960:


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July 10, 2017 at 10:00 am

We remember Basil Rathbone (1892-1967)

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Philip St. John Basil Rathbone was born on June 13, 1892, in Johannesburg, South Africa.   His family eventually moved to the UK.      

In 1939, Basil Rathbone made his first Sherlock Holmes film: “The Hound of the Baskervilles“.  

After making the first two Holmes films, Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce began doing Sherlock Holmes stories on radio. They continued playing Holmes and Watson on radio and in films for seven years.  

Rathbone died in 1967.   He remains my favorite Holmes, along with Bruce as Dr. Watson:


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June 13, 2017 at 2:00 pm

“Annabel”: Lucy before Desi

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A few days ago, I caught a bit of this movie:   “The affairs of Annabel” with Lucille Ball.  

The movie is from 1938 or years before Lucille Ball met Desi Arnaz.    It was very funny and it gives us another angle into Lucy’s amazing talents:


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June 13, 2017 at 9:30 am

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