Thursday, October 1, 2015

Skip Homeier

A child actor on radio in the late '30s, "Skippy" Homeier made his mark as a Hitler Youth member in films and went on to memorably play bad guy character parts in movies and on TV ever after, even going so far as to revisit Nazism in one of his two STAR TREK roles (the other being the infamous space hippie with the cauliflower ear). He retired in the '70s to a private life but remains a welcome presence in any old movie  in which I find him.


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Champagne for Caesar

A spoof of both mindless television and intellectualism, debonair Ronald Colman is classy and funny as the genius who decides to break a game show run by network producer Vincent Price--said to be playing a thinly veiled version of NBC's Pat Weaver. I first saw it on television in the early 1980s and  found it one of the funniest films I'd ever seen. Watching it again tonight on YouTube, I stand by that...although modern audiences aren't likely to appreciate the topicality of it all.

Colman and Price were reunited nearly a decade later for THE STORY OF MANKIND, often present on lists of the WORST movies ever made!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Jimmy Durante

A TV fixture when I was a kid, the Great Schnozzola had a long and fascinating showbiz career behind him including early talkie film success, as seen here in this 1934 article by his former Vaudeville partner. (Pardon a certain word in this vintage article)

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Two On a Guillotine

The passing of actor Dean Jones today reminded me that I once won the grand prize on the TV game show SCREEN TEST because I had just watched this horror film/black comedy on TV a few days earlier. I was give the initials DJ and had 20 seconds to name the actor. For each clue--in the form of one of the actor's film credits--I would lose points. The host said, "The initials? D...J. His movie, TWO ON A..." At that point, I shouted out, "DEAN JONES!"

About ten years later, Dean Jones came through town appearing in the musical, SHOWBOAT. I wrote to thank him for helping me win the prize and he actually called me at the book store! BUT I WAS OFF THAT NIGHT!!!! 

R.I.P. Dean Jones.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Lionel Jeffries

One of my favorite character actors since I was a young child, British actor/director Lionel Jeffries, with his bald, egg-shaped head, was fated to play older, often eccentric, men his entire career. In CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG, he was, in fact, a year younger than Dick van Dyke who played his son but you'd never know it.

As director, his few films include two memorable productions--THE RAILWAY CHILDREN and THE AMAZING MR. BLUNDEN.


Friday, August 7, 2015

The Girls of St. Trinians

Based on a series of popular books and starring or co-starring some of Britain's best--including Alistair Sim, Terry-Thomas, Frankie Howerd, Dennis Price. Sid James, George Cole, Cecil Parker, Joyce Grenfell, Michael Hordern, Thorley Walters and, in the revival. Rupert Everett, David Tennant and Colin Firth--the real stars are the well-organized tribe of wild girls' school students.