Hollywood Actor Gene Raymond Standing in His Backyard With A Huge Pile of Scripts
Wouldn’t you just love to root through those scripts?
Looking through the What Up Hollywood Archives, I found this great old photo of Gene Raymond. Lord knows where it came from, but it looks to have been taken in the late 1940s or 1950s. I really hope this pile of scripts went to an archive rather than the bin. Raymond was in a lot of films and also tons of television. He was one of the most talented men in Hollywood, an actor, composer, producer, director, and much more. Click Here to check him out on IMDB. He was married to the beautiful Jeanette MacDonald for 28 years.
Hollywood Fails to Improve Despite the 1973 Wake-Up Call at the Oscars
by Robert S. Newport, Jr.
There has been a lot of talk lately that minorities have been pretty much shut out of Hollywood, especially the Academy Awards. It has really been obvious that most movies that are the big bread and butter for the industry have been lacking of a presence of African American, Hispanic, Native American, and Asian actors, stories, and awards. The African American community has been the forefront on this issue, they have the most organized voice and the biggest muscle in the press to get noticed, and recent talk shows, entertainment shows, and web sites have started to discuss this.
There is a wide variety of opinion on this issue. Some members of the Academy claim that they choose the best actors and movies for awards, and those who are not chosen are just sore losers. Others, mostly African Americans have claimed that there is a deeper, structural problem at work. Taking an overall view, this certainly would seem to be the case. American audiences seem to be so self-involved and arrogant that foreign films, for instance, that have many different ethnic actors, stories, directors, and producers are largely ignored. This leads to the question, which comes first, the chicken or the egg, meaning which comes first, the appreciative audience or the massive exposure of these films to develop an audience. Cable and Public Television could be a big help.
There are also, no doubt, many films made right here in the United States that are not considered for one reason or the other, really low budget art films for instance, that might have more exposure to minority participation. It really seems that the entire Hollywood system is weighted to continuing to churn out films directed toward a young box-office market, and reflecting in its majority of presentations only a white perspective.
Native Americans Ignored More Than Others
Marlon Brando, “The Godfather”
Lost in memory today is the huge controversy that occurred at the Academy Awards back on March 27, 1973. That night, Marlon Brando got the Oscar for his role in The Godfather. It was the culmination of a tremendous come-back for Brando, and would probably have been one of the highlights of his life. But Brando did not show up to the ceremony, he boycotted the event, shocking everyone. In his stead, he sent Sacheen Littlefeather, who did not accept the Oscar, but attempted to read a statement from Brando, that was considered a slap in the face to the old boys who had run Hollywood since the beginning. But it was a wake-up call, because Brando was aware of what the Native American community had been suffering for years, and today would be a good time to re-read his statement of 43 years ago, and to realize that not much has changed either in society or in the tight old-boy world of Hollywood. Here’s Brando’s entire statement:
That Unfinished Oscar Speech
By MARLON BRANDO
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — For 200 years we have said to the Indian people who are fighting for their land, their life, their families and their right to be free: ”Lay down your arms, my friends, and then we will remain together. Only if you lay down your arms, my friends, can we then talk of peace and come to an agreement which will be good for you.”
When they laid down their arms, we murdered them. We lied to them. We cheated them out of their lands. We starved them into signing fraudulent agreements that we called treaties which we never kept. We turned them into beggars on a continent that gave life for as long as life can remember. And by any interpretation of history, however twisted, we did not do right. We were not lawful nor were we just in what we did. For them, we do not have to restore these people, we do not have to live up to some agreements, because it is given to us by virtue of our power to attack the rights of others, to take their property, to take their lives when they are trying to defend their land and liberty, and to make their virtues a crime and our own vices virtues.
But there is one thing which is beyond the reach of this perversity and that is the tremendous verdict of history. And history will surely judge us. But do we care? What kind of moral schizophrenia is it that allows us to shout at the top of our national voice for all the world to hear that we live up to our commitment when every page of history and when all the thirsty, starving, humiliating days and nights of the last 100 years in the lives of the American Indian contradict that voice?
It would seem that the respect for principle and the love of one’s neighbor have become dysfunctional in this country of ours, and that all we have done, all that we have succeeded in accomplishing with our power is simply annihilating the hopes of the newborn countries in this world, as well as friends and enemies alike, that we’re not humane, and that we do not live up to our agreements.
Perhaps at this moment you are saying to yourself what the hell has all this got to do with the Academy Awards? Why is this woman standing up here, ruining our evening, invading our lives with things that don’t concern us, and that we don’t care about? Wasting our time and money and intruding in our homes.
I think the answer to those unspoken questions is that the motion picture community has been as responsible as any for degrading the Indian and making a mockery of his character, describing his as savage, hostile and evil. It’s hard enough for children to grow up in this world. When Indian children watch television, and they watch films, and when they see their race depicted as they are in films, their minds become injured in ways we can never know.
Recently there have been a few faltering steps to correct this situation, but too faltering and too few, so I, as a member in this profession, do not feel that I can as a citizen of the United States accept an award here tonight. I think awards in this country at this time are inappropriate to be received or given until the condition of the American Indian is drastically altered. If we are not our brother’s keeper, at least let us not be his executioner.
I would have been here tonight to speak to you directly, but I felt that perhaps I could be of better use if I went to Wounded Knee to help forestall in whatever way I can the establishment of a peace which would be dishonorable as long as the rivers shall run and the grass shall grow.
I would hope that those who are listening would not look upon this as a rude intrusion, but as an earnest effort to focus attention on an issue that might very well determine whether or not this country has the right to say from this point forward we believe in the inalienable rights of all people to remain free and independent on lands that have supported their life beyond living memory.
Thank you for your kindness and your courtesy to Miss Littlefeather. Thank you and good night.
This statement was written by Marlon Brando for delivery at the Academy Awards ceremony where Mr. Brando refused an Oscar. The speaker, who did not have the time to read the statement was Sachheen Littlefeather. Click below to see the very humble, loving presentation that Ms. Littlefeather made:
Finally, A Recent Science Fiction Story Featuring Native Americans Generating Film Interest
Red Eden Graphic Novel
Over the Christmas holidays an unusual graphic novel was published that featured Native Americans. The story, called “Red Eden” looks into the future and postulates that the Native Americans levereged their casino revenue and became technologically proficient and got to the planet Mars, which they “terraformed” into a paradise. Every thing was going well for a while, but back down on earth, which had become polluted, corrupted, and suffering governmental collapse, a group of thugs and criminals escaped the dying planet and headed for Mars, to take the paradise away from the courageous Native Americans now living there. The story follows a young Indian woman who is coming of age during all this chaos. Will history repeat itself? Or will the Native Americans fight off an invasion of thugs and continue to live on their peaceful planet? That’s the story line for a ground-breaking graphic novel that explores a lot of the past issues and gives attention to the past treatment of Native Americans in the United States.
The question is how serious is the chance of a major studio picking up this story, and in fact does any production company have the guts to do a project like this? One of the writers on the book, Greg Simay, claims that it is appealing to a young female audience as equally as it appeals to a young male audience, which is important to filmmakers who are always trying to target their biggest box office supporters. The story is somewhat controversial in many ways, but since it is science fiction, it has a chance to break through the Hollywood establishment that has ignored the real story of the American Indians and given such shoddy, disrespectful treatment of them that watching some of the old “cowboy and indian” films today is painful for many folks. Marlon Brando’s 1973 speech seems more true today. Hollywood has sporadically done the right thing and brought up social and racial issues, especially for African Americans, but it has not been an across the board effort. Author – publisher Simay says that he has had some interest from Hollywood, but nothing firm. It’s beyond past time for Hollywood to put its magic into telling great stories about everyone, including Native Americans and certainly African Americans. One of the films up for an award is The Martian, about the rescue of one, lone white dude on a failed Martian exploration. Much more dramatic would be the fate of an entire Civilization on Mars, especially if it were Native American.
There is great talent in the Native American and African communities that are waiting to be tapped. Is Hollywood up to the task? The Oscars are almost upon us, and this is a controversy that is not going to disappear.
Click Here to see Sacheen Littlefeather’s web site.
Click Here to hear Frank Morano’s radio interview with Sacheen Littlefeather
Besides writing the first episode of Star Trek and the story that became the film “Ocean’s Eleven” as well as “Logan’s Run”, he also wrote a few of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes “Nothing in the Dark”, “Game of Pool” & :”Kick the Can”. I had the pleasure of meeting him a number of times at various book signing events, but the most memorable time was when he gave a wonderfully fascinating and informative talk on his writing career upstairs at the Bookfellows store in Glendale.
Join Classic TV Preservation Society at Barnes and Noble on November 19th Celebrating
The Classic TV Preservation Society is presenting Thomas J. Watson and Michael Stern. The Show starts at 7pm and is hosted by Herbie J Pilato. If you are a Lucy fan, you do not want to miss this presentation, which is free, but seating is limited.
Michael Stern is known as Lucille Ball’s number one fan. Here he is when he was just a kid, hanging out with Lucy!
Thomas Watson, author of I Love Lucy: The Classic Moments,Loving Lucy: An IllustratedTribute to Lucille Ball (with author Bart Andrews), The Quotable ‘I Love Lucy’, and Color Me Lucy. Mr. Watson does much more, including his Still in Love with Lucy newsletters on the LucyFan.com website.
and ?????? Possible Mystery Guest ??????
If you are a Lucy fan you might want to show up…….
Barnes and Noble Burbank is located across the street from Ikea in Downtown Burbank at 731 San Fernando Blvd., Burbank.
Stories Books & Cafe Hosts Francesca Lia Block and other authors on Friday, November 13th at 7:30pm
Stories Books & Cafe
Francesca Lia Block
Francesca Lia Block is the author of more than twenty-five books of fiction, non-fiction, short stories and poetry. She received the Spectrum Award, the Phoenix Award, the ALA Rainbow Award and the2005 Margaret A. Edwards Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as other citations from the American Library Association and from the New York Times Book Review, School Library Journal and Publisher’s Weekly. Her work has been translated into Italian, French, German Japanese, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish and Portuguese. Francesca has also published stories, poems, essays and interviews in The Los Angeles Times, The L.A. Review of Books, Spin, Nylon, Black Clock and Rattle among others. In addition to writing, she teaches fiction workshops at UCLA Extension, Antioch University, Writing Pad and privately in Los Angeles where she was born, raised and currently still lives.
Now on Kindle
Her new book, Rough Magick, at the present a Kindle Edition, is a collection of stories by other writers, that was edited by Francesca and Jessa Marie Mendez. Francesca: ” In Rough Magick, we have gathered together a collection of haunting, sometimes chilling, short stories and poems about the darker side of love and sex. Some of the stories are magical; some are more realistic and the “magic” comes through in language and lyricism. Some protagonists are teens and some are adults. There is romanticism and eroticism and even horror. What unites the stories is that the writers have boldly faced love’s shadows in unique and gripping ways.” The writers are Amanda Yates Garcia, Jessa Marie Mendez, Ashley Inguanta, Daniel Weizmann, Mary Pauline Lowry, Justina Aura Nemoy, Sarah Herrington, Francesca Padilla, Alise Wascom, Tracy DeBrincat, Denise Hamilton, and Manuel Chavarria. At this event, some of the authors will be reading from the book.
Stories Books & Cafe is at 1716 Sunset Blvd., in Echo Park. For further information call 213-413-3733
Join us at Larry Edmunds Bookshop on Wednesday, November 11th at 7:30pm
Authors John Brady and Lawrence Grobel
Join us as author John Brady signs & discusses his new book, “Frank & Ava-In Love and War” with author Lawrence Grobel.
*** BONUS***Also, as part of the evening festivities, Ava’s original recording of “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man,” which was deleted from the Show Boat movie track when MGM execs decided to dub Ava’s songs. The program also includes a home movie (in color) of Frank and Ava at their wedding reception on November 7, 1951, in a private home outside Philadelphia, with Frank’s March 1951 recording of “We Kiss in a Shadow” as quite appropriate background music.
“If I had to go back in Hollywood history and name two people who were most desperately and passionately in love with each other, I would say Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner were It.”—Liz Smith.
It began in Hollywood’s golden age when Ava was emerging as a movie star. But she fell in (and out of) love too easily. Mickey Rooney married her because he wanted another conquest. Artie Shaw treated her like a dumb brunette, giving her a reading list on their honeymoon. Neither marriage lasted a year. Then, after being courted by Howard Hughes and numerous others, along came Frank Sinatra. His passion for Ava destroyed his marriage and brought him close to ruin. Their wild affair broke all the rules of the prudish era as Frank left his wife and children and pursued Ava on an international stage. They became romantic renegades, with the press following them from location to location. “Oh, God, Frank Sinatra could be the sweetest, most charming man in the world when he was in the mood,” said Ava. They married, but then came the quarrels, separations, infidelities, and reconciliations. Eventually, there was a divorce, and they thought it was over. It wasn’t. Through all of the tortured years of separation and splintered affairs with others, they maintained a secretive relationship known only to those who recognized that this was the love of a lifetime. Over the years, they attempted to reconcile, romanced and nurtured each other, right to the end. The love story of this couple has never been fully explored or explained—until now. Frank & Ava delves deeply into the lives of these two iconic stars and their turbulent lifelong relationship. More than anything else, this is the story of a romance lived out under battlefield conditions.
Two authors who have written books about Ava Gardner and Frank Sinatra meet and discuss the origins of their books, and how they how they overcame problems on the road to publication. Lawrence Grobel, author of Conversations With Ava Gardner, was one of the last American journalists to interact with the actress (when she was in LA for medical treatment shortly before her death in 1990).
John Brady, author of Frank & Ava in Love and War, met Sinatra and worked for his recording company in the ’70s when Frank was reinventing himself as Ol’ Blue Eyes. (Brady and Grobel have known each other since 1976 when John was editor-in-chief at Writer’s Digest — and put master interviewer Larry on the cover with one of his numerous Playboy subjects: Barbra Streisand.) This program will explore the byways of the celebrity biography and the uncertain credibility of sources, including “as lied to” memoirs. John Brady’s Frank & Ava in Love and War is the first book to tell the full story of the rocky road to romance traveled by Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner. Their encounter in Hollywood’s so-called golden age led to an affair that broke all the rules of the prudish era. Frank was married with children. Their reputations could be ruined if this got out — and it did, as Frank left his family and pursued Ava across Europe while she taunted him. They married, but then came quarrels, separations, and occasional truce between emotional wars. Eventually there was a divorce, but afterward they maintained their long, hot, messy, glorious, painful romance right to the finish line.
Publishers Weekly: “Veteran editor and author Brady approaches the love-hate history of Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner with reliable thoroughness. He knows how to keep readers turning pages all the way to the end of Sinatra’s career, when everything that he had collected was sold at auction. Anyone remotely curious about either of these larger-than-life characters will want to read Brady’s book.” John Brady is the author of five books, including The Craft of Interviewing, Craft of the Screenwriter, and Bad Boy: The Life and Politics of Lee Atwater. He has been editor-in-chief at Boston Magazine, Writer’s Digest, and founding editor of The Artist’s Magazine. His byline has appeared in scores of publications, and he conducted the Playboy interview with naughty-naughty TV host Jerry Springer. After Sinatra’s death in 1998, Brady started work on a book about the man and his music, conducting interviews with many of Frank’s colleagues. After visiting the Ava Gardner Museum in North Carolina, he shifted to a dual biography. “She was the most important woman in his life,” says Brady. Thus, Frank & Ava in Love and War, after years of research and occasional interruptions. Brady lives and writes in Newburyport, Massachusetts. He is currently working on a book about Marilyn Monroe.
Lawrence Grobel is a freelance writer who has written 24 books and hundreds of articles for national magazines and newspapers, including the New York Times, Newsday, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, Reader’s Digest, American Way, Parade, Details, TV Guide, Redbook, Cosmopolitan, Penthouse, Diversion, Writer’s Digest, and AARP. His 1985 book Conversations with Capotere received a PEN Special Achievement award and reached the top of several bestseller lists. Grobel’s books include: The Hustons; Conversations with Brando; Talking with Michener; Above the Line: Conversations About the Movies; Endangered Species: Writers Talk About Their Craft, Their Visions, Their Lives; Climbing Higher with Montel Williams (a N.Y. Times bestseller and Publisher’s Weekly Best Book in 2004); The Art of the Interview: Lessons from a Master of the Craft (also a Publisher’s Weekly Best Book in 2004); Al Pacino: In Conversation with Lawrence Grobel(French Film Critics Award for Best International Book of 2009); Conversations with Robert Evans;The Book of Shmoga (a yoga satire); Icons (a collection of 15 celebrity profiles); I Want You in My Movie! Al Pacino’s 5 Year Obsession with Wilde Salome; a memoir, You Show Me Yours; Celebrity Salad: Close Encounters for the Verse Inclined (152 poems about celebrities); and the novels Catch a Fallen Star and Begin Again Finnegan. From 2001—2011 he taught seminars on The Art of the Interview, The Literature of Journalism, His blog, books and articles can be found on his website: www.lawrencegrobel.com.
Larry Edmunds Bookshop is located at 6644 Hollywood Blvd. just a few blocks east of the Metro Red Line Station at Hollywood and Highland. Phone 323-463-3273 for additional information.
Join Us At Barnes & Noble Burbank Thursday November 12th at 7pm For Another Classic TV Preservation Society Special Event
Note: If you have Periscope we will be live streaming the event! Click on the red dot Los Angeles and look for ottofocus44. Go to Twitter and follow @ottofocus44 to be notified of streaming events.
Lawrence H. Levy
Lawrence H. Levy
Lawrence H. Levy is a two-time Emmy nominee and a WGA Award winner for SEINFELD. His credits include SEINFELD, ROSEANNE, FAMILY TIES, SAVED BY THE BELL… and the list goes on. Mr. Levy has also written for hour shows like SEVENTH HEAVEN, SAVANNAH, TRAPPER JOHN, and many more. He has run animation shows and has sold features to Columbia and Disney. Needless to say, he has had a very eclectic career and has just started on a new chapter. His first novel, SECOND STREET STATION, was published by Random House/Broadway Books this year. It is an historical fictional mystery based on a real story about a young woman, Mary Handley. During the late 1800’s when there were no policewomen, she was asked by the Brooklyn Police Department to help sleuth a high profile murder. During her investigation, she comes upon Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, J.P. Morgan, the inventor of Coca-Cola, etc, all of whom are suspects and about whom certain interesting, little known facts are revealed. His second book in the Mary Handley series, BROOKLYN ON FIRE, will be out on January 19th.
Barnes and Noble Burbank is located at 731 N. San Fernando Blvd, in Burbank. It is across the street from Ikea, 1 block south of Burbank Blvd. Plentiful free parking! Call 818-558-1383
Barnes & Noble Burbank – Thursday Nov 5th – 7:00pm
Classic TV Preservation Society Presents
Great Moments in Television Comedy
Herbie J Pilato moderates tonight’s event with several of the greatest television comedy writers, including:
Sam Bobrick, award winning playwright who from the late 1950s to the 1990s wrote for scores of television shows. Click here to go to his website for a list of his shows and his biography. He says about his shows:
” Most of them were on the air before many of you were born. I think some of them were on the air before I was born.”
He’s written and co-written over thirty-five plays, many of them performed throughout the world, including: Murder At The Howard Johnson’s, Weekend Comedy, Getting Sara Married, and Hamlet II (Better Than The Original). Twenty four of them have been published by Samuel French.
Born in Chicago in 1932 he joined the Air Force after his first year in college following a futile attempt at accounting. It was in the Service that he commenced a writing career as the editor and sole contributor to “The Tribe Scribe” – a bi-monthly politically incorrect base newspaper which, while very popular with the troops, was not held in the highest esteem by the military bureaucracy. After three years, nine months and twenty eight days in the Air Force he was honorably discharged and attended and graduated from the University of Illinois.
He soon made his way to New York where after several years of living on hot dogs and jelly donuts he landed his first big job as a writer for the legendary Captain Kangaroo children’s program. His TV writing career is long and varied, and includes The Andy Griffith Show, Get Smart, and The Smother’s Brothers Comedy Hour.
It was while doing The Kraft Music Hall in New York that he became involved with theatre, co-writing his first play NORMAN, IS THAT YOU? which has been produced throughout the world.
A prolific talent, he has also composed songs which have been recorded by Elvis Presley, Brian Ferry, and Los Lobos. He also co-wrote all the songs for the two MAD Magazine albums, MAD Twists Rock ‘N’ Roll and Fink Along With MAD – both of which have become collector’s items.
Recently – he and his son Joey wrote and released a hilarious but wickedly rude CD called Totally Twisted Country sung by the great country and western group The Cow Pies.
He is married and lovingly-devoted to playwright Julie Stein with whom he co-wrote several plays (including THE OUTRAGEOUS ADVENTURES OF SHELDON & MRS. LEVINE and LENNY’S BACK (a one man show about the legendary comedian Lenny Bruce).
Besides his son he has two fantastic daughters Lori and Steffy, two wonderful son-in-laws, Caleb and Geoff, one magnificent daughter-in-law, Linda and two outstanding grand-children, Ariel and Joshua.
Ed Scharlach, another multi-talented writer who wrote for both television comedies and more serious stuff, like Mike Hammer.Click here for a list of his extensive television writing credits.
He has written and produced more than 300 episodes of TV comedy, including: segments for classic shows such as “The Odd Couple,” “Happy Days,” “Mork and Mindy,” and “Love American Style.” He also penned pristine episodes of acclaimed variety shows like “The Dean Martin Show” and shows for Steve Martin, Bette Midler, and Jay Leno.
He is also worked for several TV hour mystery dramas include writing/producing for “Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer” and writing for sci-fi classics such as “Quantum Leap.”
His writing/producing also include such acclaimed animated series as “Duckman,” “The Wild Thornberrys”, “Pinky and the Brain,” the pilot for the cult favorite, “Invader Zim, as well as producing the TV series revival of the famed “Scooby-Doo” franchise.
His work as been heralded in TV Guide’s “101 Best Written TV Series,” as well as in TV Guide’s “100 Greatest Episodes of All Time.” He is an Emmy, Annie, and Writer’s Guild Award nominee and the winner of a Cable ACE award.
He also happens to be one of the kindest and most beloved human beings in the entertainment industry.
Arnie Kogen, another major comedy writer and producer joins the group tonight. Mr. Kogen has written for many of the major stand-up comedians, including Don Adams, Soupy Sales, Jackie Gleason and Johnny Carson. Not only did he write for many television shows, but he wrote for years for our favorite Mad Magazine. Click Here for a list of his credits, and Click Here for the list of Mad Magazine pieces.
He’s written and/or produced for The Carol Burnett Show, The Tonight Show, Newhart, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Empty Nest, Mad TV, The Dean Martin Show, Sinbad, Donnie & Marie, The Jackson Five, Evening At The Improv, The Bob Newhart Show, Tim Conway, Candid Camera, The Golden Globes and The Academy Awards.
Has also written comedy material for Phyllis Diller, Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gorme, Shelley Berman, Debbie Reynolds, Connie Stevens, Totie Fields, Jackie Vernon, Diana Ross, Flip Wilson, Ann Margret, Sammy Davis, Morty Gunty, Mal Z Lawrence and Freddie Roman.
For over five decades he has been one of the leading contributors to Mad Magazine.
He has won three Emmy Awards (seven nominations) and one Writers Guild Award (three nominations)
He has been planning on writing a novel but doesn’t have enough material. He feels he has a “leaflet” in him.
Periscope fans: We will broadcast live stream from time to time during the show. Click on L.A on the map and find ottofocus44 between 7:30 and 9pm.