Sach would say: "Ohp! Ohp! Ohp!"
My third published book is Behind Sach: The Huntz Hall Story, by Jim Manago (BearManor Media). Yes, we did get to bring a copy to Joe Franklin. He smiled when he saw his name was in the acknowledgements. It reads:
Special thanks to Joe Franklin for inspiring my life-long study of movies.
Oftentimes we'd visit him at his 43rd Street office in New York City. Thought I'd never live to say this giant is now gone. We have so many wonderful memories over the years. We will miss his love, enthusiasm, and friendship.
Our time was brief as he was hurriedly leaving his office to appear at a local club, Don't Tell Mama. We walked over to the club with Joe and his associates. Just before he entered he gave us a glance, a last memorable smile. Sadly, we just sensed on our way home that it would be the last time we would see him alive. A little over a month later, on January 24th, 2015, he died. His 89th birthday would have been several months later on March 9th.
I am the author of five books, with two of them on Shirley Booth. My first one, Love is the Reason for It All: The Shirley Booth Story by Jim Manago (BearManor Media), is the story of her life from 1898 to 1994, available in paperback and Kindle. Pictured above is Joe Franklin reading it in 2009 (photo courtesy of Steve Friedman).
My second book, For Bill, His Pinup Girl: The Shirley Booth & Bill Baker Story by Jim Manago, tells the story of Shirley's second marriage from 1943 to 1951, with several never-before-published family photos. That's when she lived on a farm in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. As of August 26, 2014, For Bill, His Pinup Girl is no longer in print.
All content on this site, unless otherwise noted, is the property of Jim and Donna Manago. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Nothing may be reproduced without prior written permission.
Monday, February 13, 2017
Sunday, January 1, 2017
Holiday Inn (1942) - This entertaining film is saturated with thirteen Irving Berlin tunes. One of my favorite moments comes early on as the amazing Astaire and Virginia Dale number, "You're Easy to Dance With." It is the simplest though best dances ever filmed, being shot in almost one continuous take (with only two cuts). I just love it!
by Jim Manago
First opening during the beginning of August, in a month lacking any holidays, Holiday Inn "offers a reason for celebration not printed in red ink” concludes the reviewer for The New York Times.
The 1946 slice of life classic looks better with each passing year. This inspirational film makes it known once and for all time that life, despite its trials, disappointments and sadness, is indeed worth living!
Sunday, December 25, 2016
A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!
The best TV Christmas episode ever is the one entitled " 'Twas the Night Before Christmas" from The Honeymooners...
The Year Without a Santa Claus is one of the best programs Shirley Booth did. The classic also had Mickey Rooney reprising the voice of Santa Claus, which he did originally in Santa Claus Is Coming to Town (1970).
The animated classic tells the story of the year when Santa Claus is sick with a cold. Thanks to the dire advice from Santa’s physician that nobody cares anymore about Christmas, Santa Claus decides he will not deliver presents. However, his elves, Jingle Bells and Jangle Bells, think that if they could convince Santa otherwise, he might change his mind.
In order to accomplish this, the elves have to get to Southtown, U.S.A. to find children who care. However, there is Heat Miser and Snow Miser to contend with who have a problem deciding on whether it should snow or not in Southtown. Mrs. Claus intervenes by going to Heat Miser and Snow Miser’s mother. By the conclusion, Santa realizes the error of his thinking and decides to deliver presents after all.
The music includes Rooney singing "I Believe in Santa Claus." The mayor and townspeople offer "It’s Gonna Snow in Dixie." The Snow Miser and Heat Miser both sing a song. In addition, the best number is when the little girl sings "I’ll Have a Blue Christmas Without You." The children all joined in the finale with "Here Comes Santa Claus."
This television program could have been more aptly titled, "Almost the Year Without a Santa Claus." Shirley sings the title track and "I Could Be Santa Claus."
Interestingly, "I Could Be Santa Claus" is Mrs. Claus' wishful transgender desire that anyone could be Santa Claus. Mrs. Claus notes how she has "fantasized it a lot," and that no one would know the difference. She questions, "why can't a lady like me?" be Santa Claus.
Unfortunately our culture gets too stuck up in this gender binary world, with males dominating everything. So Santa Claus is defined and always seen as male-gendered. Apparently society ridiculously and staunchly insists on such rigid male and female gendered roles that if we transgress those "norms" somehow we are toppling our civilization. It's unusual to see something, if ever so slightly, challenge those "norms" back in the 1970's.
Monday, December 19, 2016
And now with a very uncertain future for our country, one cannot celebrate Christmas without acknowledging this reality - and doing something about it.
MGM. 1944. Running Time: 113 minutes.
Produced by Arthur Freed
Directed by Vincente Minnelli
Screenplay by Irving Brecher and Fred Finklehoffe,
based on The New Yorker stories and novel by Sally Benson
Music Adapted by Roger Edens
Dances by Paul Jones
Photography by George Folsey
Dance Director: Charles Walters
Art Directors: Cedric Gibbons and Lemuel Ayers
Songs by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane
Musical Numbers: “The Boy Next Door”
“The Trolley Song”
“Meet Me in St. Louis” (by Andrew Sterling & Kerry Mills
“Skip to My Lou”
“Have Yourself a Merry Christmas”
Awards: National Board of Review Awards – Ten Best Films of the Year List
National Board of Review Awards – Best Acting – Margaret O’Brien
Cast includes: Judy Garland, Margaret O’Brien, Leon Ames, Mary Astor and Harry Davenport
“This is a musical even the deaf should enjoy….”
James Agee on Meet Me in St. Louis
Saturday, December 10, 2016
What makes Larceny, Inc. so funny is that the actors played it really straight and serious!
I didn't like Hot Spell as it's just too melodramatic. It seems the problem lies in the writing. The film doesn't satisfy me - even though Booth has some shining moments.
ON THIS DATE 42 YEARS AGO: December 10, 1974 - Shirley Booth offered her voice to play Mrs. Santa Claus in The Year Without a Santa Claus. This was her final project. She sang and told the story in this Rankin-Bass stop-motion puppet special that appeared on ABC. Mickey Rooney reprised the voice of Santa Claus, which he did originally in Santa Claus Is Coming to Town (1970).
Friday, December 2, 2016
Christmas in Connecticut is one of the few films that gets better each passing year. I have written before about the basics, such as the plot. Here’s some more thoughts on my favorite Christmas film of all time…
THANKS FOR VISITING!
Saturday, November 26, 2016
"Can You Forgive The Pig-Headed Old Fool For Having No Eyes To See With Nor Ears To Hear With All These YEARS?"
Langley's contribution lives on in the definitive version of Charles Dickens' immortal tale.
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JOIN ME AGAIN SOON!
Thursday, November 17, 2016
It will also be shown on Christmas Day at 1 p.m.
I offer a special "Thank You" to the intelligent management at PIX for keeping this film alive for so many years now!
Thanksgiving reminds me of my dearly departed Aunt Mary from Brooklyn. Money was so tight that my Aunt could not afford a turkey and so she served-up a large roasted chicken to her four children every Thanksgiving. The best part of this is that she told them it was a turkey - and they did not really know the truth till years later because they never ate turkey before!
March of the Wooden Soldiers was regularly referred to as an ingenious classic back in the 1960's when I was growing up - and now fifty years later it stands alone as one of the few really worthwhile films to see every year. It has definitely stood the test of time.
There are so many great moments. If I had to pick just one I would say I just love the appearances of that mouse that looks like Mickey. Of course, it was really a Capuchin monkey - indeed a quite intelligent animal. Just hope the trainers were kind back in those days - though I doubt animal rights were a consideration then.
And are as old as I,
You'll often ponder on the years
That roll so swiftly by, my dears,
That roll so swiftly by.
And of the many lands,
You will have journeyed through,
You'll oft recall
The best of all,
The land your childhood knew!
Your childhood knew.
2. When you've grown up, my dears,
There comes a dreary day.
When 'mid the locks of black appears
The first pale gleam of gray, my dears,
The first pale gleam of gray.
Then of the past you'll dream
As gray-haired grown-ups do,
And seek once more
Its phantom shore,
The land your childhood knew!
Your childhood knew. *Chorus
Little girl and boy land.
While you dwell within it,
You are ever happy then.
Mystic merry Toyland,
Once you pass it’s borders,
You can never return again.
The 1933 film King Kong, with that monstrous-sized beast, always seemed to get all the attention because it was an early 1930's film classic. I still love that film's sound effects and superb Max Steiner score. However, you will have to ignore the film's racist depiction of all natives as stereotypical crazed savages as that era's bias. See it for what it is; namely, the limitations of that period of American/European culture.
The later Mighty Joe Young uses the same creators - director Ernest B. Schoedsack and producer Merian C. Cooper, with the addition of John Ford as executive producer. Robert Armstrong appears in a prominent role again.
I chose this film as my after-dinner film today because I love the more detailed movements and expressions of the lovable Joe Young. Especially notable is the wonderful orphanage rescue scene. This film lends a credibility and sympathy to the character - which King Kong lacks. Of course, special thanks to many - but mostly to the late Ray Harryhausen for his superb stop-motion animation. In some ways this makes Mighty Joe Young substantially better than King Kong.
I especially enjoyed seeing young actress Terry Moore in another film (besides playing the boarder in Shirley Booth's famed Come Back, Little Sheba). Interestingly, 85-year old actress Moore is still making appearances and signing autographs. I would also enjoy interviewing her as well.
MIGHTY JOE YOUNG is not scheduled for broadcast or cable-TV as far as I can determine, but it is available on DVD. That disc features a commentary with Harryhausen and Moore, besides two featurettes with Harryhausen on the making of the film.
For too long Native Americans ("savage Indians" as we were taught) have been deprived of their fundamental rights and respect as human beings. Hollywood perpetuated the distortions we were taught in schools. Not only were they dehumanized and their history distorted, but sadly so much of their culture has been decimated in the name of Manifest Destiny and American progress.
We have chosen to enjoy the myths associated with this day - such as Pilgrims and Indians eating together in unity. The reality is starkly disturbing.
I cannot celebrate this day without acknowledging the suffering of Native Americans, and hope that someday we can fully learn to respect other cultures and peoples throughout this world.
We need to stop getting too involved in the affairs of other countries. If only our leaders would study and learn from our first President. Although he was a product of an era that offered no rights to many people, George Washington did offer much wisdom regarding the dangers of political party power struggles, as well as the destructiveness of involving ourselves in the unrest of foreign countries.
I respectfully appreciate that it is a day that all people give thanks, as well as A National Day of Mourning for some.
Producer/screenwriter Robert Youngson:
(November 27, 1917 - April 8, 1974)
Youngson's compilation films:
The Golden Age of Comedy (1957)
Shirley gave Sally Edwards credit for these tarts.
1/4 c. butter or margarine
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup seedless raisins
1/2 cup snipped, pitted dates
1/2 cup chopped California walnuts
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup heavy or whipping cream
slivers of preserved orange peel
slivers of preserved citron
green seedless grapes
Christmas and The Hopes:
May 27, 1909 - September 19, 2011
Rest in Peace
In memory of Dolores Hope, I dedicate this post. I offer my condolences to her family and friends throughout the world.
Dolores reached her 102nd birthday, and husband Bob Hope died two months after his 100th birthday eight years ago.
In addition, the song displayed Bob with the 17 various female guest stars who sung this song with him over his years on television. The segment ends with idyllic footage of their horse-drawn sleigh being pulled across a snowy landscape. This "music video" captures a beautiful energy in those three minutes. It's somehow transcends the mundane reality that it depicts - and provides a timeless piece of Christmas nostalgia!
Dolores & Bob, WE THANK YOU! You both will be always missed and remembered!
THANKS FOR VISITING!
Tuesday, November 8, 2016
Those final images of several galaxies with the existential voice-over is unforgettable. With the last line of the film Scott comes to a new understanding: "To God, there is no zero, I Still EXIST!"
"My fears disappeared -
As if tuned to some great directing force
I was getting smaller – what was I?
Still a human being or was I the man of the future?
So close the infinitesimal and the infinite -
The unbelievably small and the unbelievably vast eventually meet -
Like the closing of a gigantic circle
I looked up, as if to somehow I could grasp the heavens –
God’s silver tapestry spread across the night,
I had thought in terms of man’s own limited conception,
I had presumed upon nature that
“Existence begins and ends,” – Is man's conception - not nature’s.
My fears melted away – and in their place came acceptance.
To God there is no zero –
from the conclusion of
Universal – International Studios, 1957
Directed by Jack Arnold
Screenplay by Richard Matheson from his novel
Produced by Albert Zugsmith
Starring Grant Williams as Robert Scott Carey
& Randy Stuart as Louise Carey
This film is one of the best science fiction films ever made. Not only is it a masterpiece of special effects but it is also a powerful meditation on how a person can overcome his/her fears and accept his/her life as it is.
The shrinking man becomes so small he could fit through one of the holes in a window screen. But his fear of getting even smaller disappears. He realizes what really matters most is that he’s still alive! That's something I wish we all would never forget for a single day of our lives!