8/8/2010 - UPDATED - PATRICIA NEAL PASSES AWAY!
Let me clear up some confusion from last week's post about my retiring from coaching. More then one reader emailed me and asked what the reason was for me hanging up the spikes. Was I tired of it? Was I "forced out" because we lost that last game? No, nothing that dramatic. The real reason was that, since I started with the last group of boys (normally they join me at 14 and stay until 19, which is the oldest you can compete in the American Legion program) I moved sixty miles away from Kansas, where the team is based, to Missouri. Day to day trips from June to August not only rack up the miles on the car but also take up a lot of my free time which, when you throw in my job, my obligations to the PCR and MovieMikes.com, playing the occasional baseball game with my son and spending some time at home, make for a hectic summer. I'm still going to be involved in the Kansas program since I'm a member of the Legion Post there, but in a minor time consuming capacity. Hope that clears up the questions.
Dimension Films has hired Fernley Phillips to write the update of "An American Werewolf in London." Why? I don't know. Are there no more original stories in Hollywood?
Director Stephen Sommers says he will helm the sequel to his popular film "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra." The film will be called, naturally, "G.I. Joe 2."
Q-BERT WAS ROBBED
Ottumwa, Iowa is probably best known as the fictional home town of "MASH" character Radar O'Reilly. This week it gained more popularity as the Video Game Hall of Fame opened there. The first class of 29 inductees include many inventors and gamers but an old friend was also inducted: PAC MAN. Way to go buddy. On behalf of Blinky, Inky, Pinky and Clyde I send out my congratulations.
"Hello, Michael, this is Patricia Neal." So began one of the greatest phone calls I've ever received. My friend Donna, who lives on Martha's Vineyard, was very close to Ms. Neal. Knowing my love for pretty much anything and anyone Hollywood, Donna asked Ms. Neal to give me a call one day. Much to MY surprise, she did. The Academy Award winning actress passed away today at her Edgartown, Massachusetts home. She was 84.
Born Patsy Louise Neal in Packard, Kentucky on January 20, 1926, her family moved to Knoxville, Tennessee three years later when her father, William, accepted a new job. At age 10, intrigued by a Christmas production she saw at church, Ms. Neal wrote Santa Claus and told him she wanted to study the "dramatics" for Christmas. A friend of her aunt Maude had recently opened a drama school so her parents granted her request and sent her there. By high school, she was performing monologues in her Aunt Maude's sitting room. As word of her talents spread she soon found herself giving dramatic readings at various local events. Her talent did not go unrecognized as she was awarded the Tennessee State Award for dramatic reading. She also performed with the Tennessee Valley Players. As she graduated high school she decided that acting was the career path she wanted to follow. She enrolled at Northwestern University in 1943. Among her classmates: Cloris Leachman, Charlotte Rae, Paul Lynde and Charlton Heston. After spending the summer doing regional theatre Ms. Neal left school and moved to New York City, where she was soon cast as the understudy for both leads in the Broadway show "The Voice of the Turtle." At the suggestion of the shows producer she changed her first name to the more proper "Patricia."
On November 20, 1946 she opened on Broadway in Lillian Hellman's "Another Part of the Forest." Both the show and Ms.Neal were critically lauded. For her work Ms. Neal won several awards including the Donaldson Award, the Drama Critics Award and, in the first year they were presented, the Antoinette Perry Award, better known to fans as the Tony. In 1948 she signed a contract with Warner Brothers and appeared in her first feature, "John and Mary." She next co-starred with Gary Cooper in both "The Fountainhead" and "Bright Leaf" and with Ronald Reagan in "Hasty Heart." As shooting on "The Fountainhead" ended she entered into an affair with Cooper, who was married at the time. The affair lasted until 1951. She returned to Broadway where she starred as Martha in Hellman's "The Children's Hour." It was while she was rehearsing for this show that she was introduced to author Roald Dahl. Dahl had come to America in 1942 to work for the British embassy in Washington. He later became a contributing author to several magazines, including The New Yorker. Ms. Neal was not interested in Mr. Dahl at first introduction but slowly and surely he wore her down. As she noted in her autobiography As I Am, "Deliberate is a good word for Roald Dahl. He knew exactly what he wanted and he quietly went about getting it. I did not yet realize, however, that he wanted me." On July 2, 1953, Ms. Neal and Dahl were married. They divorced in November 1983 after 30 years of marriage and five children.
Ms. Neal spent most of the 1950s traveling back and forth between New York City and London, appearing in such shows as "A Roomful of Roses," :Suddenly Last Summer," "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" and "The Miracle Worker." She also did the occasional film, appearing opposite Andy Griffith in "A Face in the Crowd" and Audrey Hepburn in "Breakfast at Tiffanys." In 1963 she starred as Alma Brown, a maid who finds herself wanted by Paul Newman's Hud Bannon in "HUD." According to author Shawn Levy in his recent biography of Newman, Brown is a black woman in the Larry McMurtry novel "Horseman, Pass By" that the film was based on. The part was expanded to accommodate Ms. Neal's talents. And those talents paid off as she was awarded the Academy Award for Best Actress for her work in the film. She also received the BAFTA Award as Best Foreign Actress for her performance. Tragically, at the height of her success, she also had to deal with several devastating personal incidents. In 1962 the stroller containing her youngest son, Theo, was struck by a taxi. Later that year her oldest daughter, Olivia, contracted encephalitis and, at the age of seven, passed away. But the biggest blow came while filming the movie "Seven Women" in 1965. Ms. Neal suffered three strokes and, after surgery, spent 21 days in a coma. Though several news agencies, including Variety, published stories saying she had died, she continued to fight. The aftermath of the strokes left her paralyzed on her right side and greatly affected her speech. She relied on her husband to help her back. A stroke victim himself, Dahl worked day and night with her and, within ten months, her speech was restored. The only permanent damage was the loss of vision in her right eye.
With her husbands support she returned to acting and in 1965 she won a second BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actress in the film "In Harm's Way." In 1968, she earned her second Academy Award nomination for her role in "The Subject was Roses." Three years later she received an Emmy Award nomination for her performance in the film "The Homecoming: A Christmas Story," which became the basis for the popular television series "The Waltons." She continued to work almost exclusively in television, earning two more Emmy nominations for roles in "Tail Gunner Joe" and "All Quiet on the Western Front."
Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band - The Beatles
Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack - Featuring the Bee Gees and Peter Frampton
If you're saying to yourself "Wow, Mike sure has a lot of Beatles albums (and solo off shoots as well) you would be right. I had a friend in Baltimore who encouraged me to not only collect the albums (which I was already doing) but to collect variations of them. By variations I mean maybe the album has the Capitol Record label. And if so, is it red? Orange? Or does it have the Apple label. Anyway, when I'm pulling off the shelf it's very easy to snag a Beatles album. Same with the Monkees, the Stones and Rick Springfield. Sue me.
I can't believe it's taken me eight months to pull down what is often recognized as the greatest album of all time. After playing their last full concert in August 1966 the Beatles took some time off and, right before Christmas, met up at Abbey Road Studios. For the next four months they would craft an album that, more then four decades after it's release, still inspires.
Released on June 1, 1967, the album spent 22 consecutive weeks at #1, where it was finally knocked out by Bobbie Gentry's "Ode to Billie Joe." It should also be noted that the album it knocked out of #1 was the Monkees' "Headquarters."
The original issue of the album came with a special "psychedelic" inner sleeve and a cardboad sheet of "extras" you could cut out, including badges, uniform stripes and a moustache, which were designed by Peter Blake. The album went on to win four Grammy awards, including Album of the Year, the first rock and roll album to earn that honor.
Here is a list of the images that made the cover:
Sri Yukteswar Giri (Hindu guru)
Aleister Crowley (occultist)
Mae West (actress)
Lenny Bruce (comedian)
Karlheinz Stockhausen (composer)
W. C. Fields (comedian/actor)
Carl Gustav Jung (psychologist)
Edgar Allan Poe (writer)
Fred Astaire (actor/dancer)
Richard Merkin (artist)
The Vargas Girl (by artist Alberto Vargas)
Huntz Hall (actor)
Simon Rodia (designer and builder of the Watts Towers)
Bob Dylan (singer/songwriter)
Aubrey Beardsley (illustrator)
Sir Robert Peel (19th century British Prime Minister)
Aldous Huxley (writer)
Dylan Thomas (poet)
Terry Southern (writer)
Tony Curtis (actor)
Wallace Berman (artist)
Tommy Handley (comedian)
Marilyn Monroe (actress)
William S. Burroughs (writer)
Sri Mahavatar Babaji (Hindu guru)
Stan Laurel (actor/comedian)
Richard Lindner (artist)
Oliver Hardy (actor/comedian)
Karl Marx (political philosopher)
H. G. Wells (writer)
Sri Paramahansa Yogananda (Hindu guru)
Sigmund Freud (psychiatrist) - barely visible below Bob Dylan
Anonymous (hairdresser's wax dummy)
Stuart Sutcliffe (artist/former Beatle)
Anonymous (hairdresser's wax dummy)
Max Miller (comedian)
A "Petty Girl" (by artist George Petty)
Marlon Brando (actor)
Tom Mix (actor)
Oscar Wilde (writer)
Tyrone Power (actor)
Larry Bell (artist)
Dr. David Livingstone (missionary/explorer)
Johnny Weissmuller (Olympic swimmer/Tarzan actor)
Stephen Crane (writer) - barely visible between Issy Bonn's head and raised arm
Issy Bonn (comedian)
George Bernard Shaw (playwright)
H. C. Westermann (sculptor)
Albert Stubbins (soccer player)
Sri Lahiri Mahasaya (guru)
Lewis Carroll (writer)
T. E. Lawrence ("Lawrence of Arabia")
Wax model of Sonny Liston (boxer)
A "Petty Girl" (by George Petty)
Wax model of George Harrison
Wax model of John Lennon
Shirley Temple (child actress) - barely visible, first of three appearances on the cover
Wax model of Ringo Starr
Wax model of Paul McCartney
Albert Einstein (physicist) - largely obscured
John Lennon holding a Wagner Tuba
Ringo Starr holding a trumpet
Paul McCartney holding a Cor Anglais
George Harrison holding a flute
Bobby Breen (singer)
Marlene Dietrich (actress/singer)
An American legionnaire
Diana Dors (actress)
Shirley Temple (child actress) - second appearance on the cover
Among the images rejected: Jesus Christ, Mohandis Ghandi and Adolph Hitler.
Of course the band never played any of the songs from the album live since they never toured again. However, here is a clip of Paul McCartney and his band playing the reprise and The End from Abbey Road:
Speaking of Abbey Road, it was songs from that album and Sgt Peppers that make up a majority of the music from "Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band" the movie.
Hoping to capitalize on the popularity of Peter Frampton and his own clients, the Bee Gees, producer Robert Stigwood came upon the idea of fleshing out the "Band" into a film. Ironically the Bee Gees had recorded three Beatle songs ("Golden Slumbers/Carry that Weight", "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window" and "Sun King") for the musical documentary "All This and World War II" (which is on the short list to be included in a future Record Shelf). Soon the four musicians were filming the loosely produced story of Billy Shears and the Henderson brothers. Along for the journey were such musical artists as Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, Paul Nicholas and the fifth Beatle himself, Billy Preston. Though the Beatles themselves had nothing to do with the film, their longtime producer, George Martin, handled the arranging and producing chores on the film. Also on board were non-singers George Burns (who narrated the tale) and Steve Martin, who most critics agreed was the highlight of the film doing his rendition of "Maxwell's Silver Hammer."
OK, the film is one of my guilty pleasures so I'm not going to slam it too much. And the performers seem to be having a good time. You have to remember, this was less then a decade after the band broke up so the music and memories were still quite strong in the minds of both the performers and the audience. Like the original "Pepper" cover the film went out of it's way to include a who's who of talent(?) at the film's finale. Here is a list of everyone that sang the title song during the end credits:
Peter Allen, Keith Allison, George Benson, Elvin Bishop,
Stephen Bishop, Jack Bruce, Keith Carradine, Carol Channing, Rick Derringer, Donovan, Randy Edelman, Yvonne Elliman, JosÚ Feliciano, Leif Garrett, Heart, Nona Hendryx, Barry Humphries, Etta James, Dr. John, Bruce Johnston, Mark Lindsay, Nils Lofgren, Jackie Lomax, Curtis Mayfield, 'Cousin Brucie' Morrow, Peter Noone, Alan O'Day, Robert Palmer, Wilson Pickett, Anita Pointer, Bonnie Raitt, Helen Reddy, Minnie Riperton, Chita Rivera, Johnny Rivers, Monti Rock III, Sha-Na-Na, Del Shannon, Jim Seals, Dash Crofts, Connie Stevens, Al Stewart, John Stewart, Tina Turner, Frankie Valli, Gwen Verdon, Grover Washington Jr., Hank Williams Jr., Johnny Winter, Wolfman Jack, Bobby Womack and Gary Wright.
Ah the 70s! Here's a look at the trailer for this cinematic gem:
Well, that's all for now. Have a great week. See ya!
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