December 10, 2002 · 11:00 AM PST ·
THE ALL-KNOWING, all-seeing Jerry Beck calls my (and therefore,
your) attention to a wonderful new website that is attempting to catalog all the available info on the many cartoons produced by the Walter Lantz
Studio. That's Walter up above and the site is here. The folks responsible for it are
Jack Tatay, Thad Komorowski, Pietro
Shakarian and Jon Cooke, and they're providing an invaluable public service to the oft-neglected field of animation history. I say that as someone who, after he reached around age ten, had trouble generating much interest in all but about a handful of Mr. Lantz's
cartoons. One can certainly respect the achievement and the craft even if one never thought Woody was all that funny...
THE WASHINGTON POST couldn't find much room to report on Trent Lott's stupid/racist (pick one or both) remarks until
after everyone else had jumped on the story. They have, however, fearlessly tackled the vital issue of comic books discontinuing their letter
columns. Here's that breaking news.
December 10, 2002 · 9:30 AM PST ·
OVER AT The Corner, which is a group weblog for
the Conservative National Review, a
reader is quoted as making what the editor there calls a good point...
How can a fictional character be anything but "openly" gay? When they describe Barney Frank as the first openly gay
congressman, they mean that there may have been others, but they kept it to themselves. Fictional characters don't have lives outside of what
their audiences can see. We, the audience, know everything they do and everything they think (via those little bubbles). It's only a
comic book for crying out loud!
The easy answer, I suppose, is that the character can be "non-openly" gay in the continuity of his or her stories. The readers,
may know he or she is gay via "those little bubbles" — we in the know call them thought balloons — but the other characters don't.
So the character is "openly" gay in the sense that the plots deal overtly with that.
But a more useful answer is that, as company-owned characters get handed about from writer to writer, each of us creates our own
version of the hero — one that we usually hope does not conflict with the ongoing continuity. (I say "usually" because some writers
consciously wish to leave their stamp on a classic character, which can be a good idea if they have good ideas and are there for a while; a bad idea
when the writer is especially transient or just trying to grab attention.)
And in doing our versions, we project some aspects of ourselves and/or our acquaintances into the character and supply our own subtexts
and motivations which may not be evident. Certainly, when I've written Superman or some other iconic character, I have thoughts about him that
never make it onto the printed page. It's the same way an actor, called upon to display a certain emotion, may reference a personal memory in
order to evoke that emotion. You have to weep over your dead mother but since your real mother is still alive and sitting out in the third row,
you privately think about that goldfish that died when you were eight. In the same way, writers are always secretly drawing upon experiences
and personal feelings, or basing some facet of a character on themselves or a friend or relative.
There have been comic book writers — openly gay or closeted — who have written classic characters over the years.
Just as gay songwriters write about loving "her" when they really mean "him," some comic book scribes have probably penned scenes of Superman loving
Lois Lane when they really meant Jimmy Olsen. They don't put it overtly into the script because they know it won't be accepted...but it's there
and, once in a while, some readers pick up on it. And it isn't just gay writers who can impose a gay subtext. It wouldn't surprise me at
all if some heterosexual writers had written Batman and decided to base their Robin on a homosexual they knew. We've certainly seen a lot of
cardboard, unconvincing lesbian tendencies imposed on female characters in lieu of more realistic characterizations.
The critic above is right that fictional characters don't have lives outside of what's on the paper. But we don't always know
everything they do and think. At least with the more ambitious writers, there's always that which is implied between the word balloons.
And it could just be that the villain would rather kiss the hero than kill him...and is attempting the latter because he can't do the former.
December 10, 2002 · 12:30 AM PST ·
CLICK HERE TO SEE THE WHOLE PICTURE
AS IF that Chevy Chase roast wasn't embarrassment enough for one of them, I just came across a copy of this photo of the
original cast of Saturday Night Live promoting (I guess) a special Valentine's Day broadcast. It's not that clear an image but you
can see that John Belushi is wondering if fame and fortune are worth having to do publicity pics like this one. I'm also theorizing that
Michael O'Donoghue is in the upper right slot because Dan Aykroyd refused to participate. If so, my opinion of Mr. Aykroyd has just gone up a
MARVEL COMICS is bringing out a new mini-series of their old western comic, The Rawhide Kid...only in this version, the
Kid is depicted as a gay gunslinger. This revelation seems to come out of left field, and surely comes as a surprise to anyone who read (or
even wrote) the character's earlier exploits. In fact, it sounds like someone knew there was zero interest in the property and figured they'd
have to come up with something really outrageous in order to get any attention for a revival. This is not to say it's impossible that the
writer has come up with an interesting, worthwhile "take" on the premise; only that it's being marketed as a gimmick, the point of which is to
generate publicity like this story.
Some longtime Marvel fans appear to be outraged, not at the notion of a gay cowboy but at the fact that they didn't just create a new
character, instead of hijacking the heritage of The Rawhide Kid. Frankly, I don't care much. I have long since resigned myself to
the notion that, in search of sales and/or some way to "modernize" that which seems out-of-date, comic book companies will do just about anything to
a character I liked when I was a kid — kill him, cut off a limb, have him go crazy, whatever. Making a hero gay is probably one of the
gentler things they've done in search of a hook. And besides, very few of us cared about the Rawhide Kid when his comic was being published,
In any case, someone seems to have the history wrong. The above-linked news story says that, "The new series pairs the original
artist, John Severin, now 86, with Ron Zimmerman, a writer for The Howard Stern Show." Actually, the first issue of The Rawhide
Kid was drawn by Bob Brown, with a cover by Joe Maneely. Severin did a handful of covers later on but in no way could he be considered the
strip's "original artist." Also, every bit of biographical material I've seen on John Severin says he was born in 1921, which would make him 81
now, not 86. Either way, I think it's great that Marvel is bucking the tide of rampant ageism in the industry and employing an 80+ year old
artist on a high-profile project.
TWELVE OF YOU have now sent me links (like this one) to obituaries for William "Tex" Henson, an animator who worked for Disney and on
the Bullwinkle show. I didn't post anything about him because, frankly, I've barely heard of Mr. Henson, and wasn't even sure why his
passing was getting so much coverage. More important figures in animation history have left us with nary a mention in the press. I hope
this signals a new trend.
I AM TOLD that the remodel of the Cinerama Dome theater up on Sunset has been finished for some time, and that the place is open
and running movies. I guess I was fooled by all the construction work that still seems to be in progress on the adjoining shopping center.
December 9, 2002 · 3:30 PM PST ·
VARIOUS CHANNELS (including Cartoon Network and StarZ) are running Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas this week
and next. It, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer are my four favorite bits
of holiday animation and the only four that really developed into perennials. For many of us, the holidays are not complete without a viewing
of one or more of these, and I have to note: Magoo was produced in '62, Rudolph in '64, Charlie Brown in '65 and Grinch
in '66...and that was it. The Golden Age of Animated Television Christmas Specials was over. Many have been done since but not one has
had anywhere near the staying power or affection of those four.
I have no idea why this is, so I'll just mention this link to an
article about the Grinch, complete with quotes from the lovely June Foray, who did the voice of Cindy Lou Who. Her role was uncredited and less
than a dozen words in duration...but even if I hadn't seen the special repeatedly since '63, I'd still remember her letter-perfect performance.
December 8, 2002 · 3:00 PM PST ·
UNITED AIRLINES is reportedly filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection any day now. I am not surprised, and you know
why? Because United Airlines once lost my luggage, and when an airline loses my luggage — even though they always eventually find it
— they're in big trouble. Remember PSA? Western? TWA? Two different airlines named National? All gone or
acquired, within a few years of losing my luggage. Here is a column I just posted about how United sealed
their fate a few years ago by losing my luggage.
WE'VE BEEN TALKING about NBC's plans to air Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol this year in prime-time, and even managed to get
the network to correct errors in a press release saying they'd be airing it. So just when in December is it airing? This article in today's Miami Herald discusses Holiday
specials and of Magoo, it has this to say...
NBC has purchased the broadcast rights and guaranteed Classic Media, the show's owner, that it will appear on a Friday this
December. But as this story went to press, NBC was still mum about which Friday or the time slot.
Perhaps it's a secret because it isn't going to happen. NBC has released its prime-time schedule through the end of the month and
the near-sighted guy is nowhere to be seen on it. Next Friday, they have Providence, NBC Dateline and Law & Order: Criminal
Intent filling the evening. The Friday after — the last before Xmas — they have a two-hour Providence, followed by
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. And the following Friday (December 27, two days after Christmas Day) is a two-hour NBC
Dateline, followed by another Law & Order: Something. Quincy Magoo is not to be found on the other December nights,
either. So if he's getting on, they're really keeping it a secret.
As we mentioned here, we thought airing the 1962 special was a great idea. It's still a great
idea. But it looks like if you want to watch it, you'll have to do so via VHS or DVD. That's fine for those of us who winced to think
what would probably get cut, but I don't imagine they're in a holiday mood over at Classic Media.
Jack Paar was a nervous, superstitious gent and when he was working at NBC, he usually declined to ride the
elevators at Rockefeller Center. Instead, he would reach his office each morning by an intricate series of stairwells and short-cuts. His
route took him through the usually-deserted Studio 6B where later that evening, he would do The Tonight Show.
One day, Paar arrived at the studio much earlier than usual and, when he walked into 6B, he found himself walking onto a broadcast of
the game show, Play Your Hunch.
The studio audience went berserk and Paar, finding himself unexpectedly on live TV, attempted to flee. But the show's host, Merv
Griffin, ran over and got a vise-grip on the bewildered star's arm to keep him there so he could conduct a brief, funny interview. Paar swore
he had no idea that his studio was being used by another program each morning. "So this is what you do in the daytime," Paar quipped to
Griffin, who had occasionally sung on The Tonight Show.
Later, Paar admitted he was impressed with how Griffin had "milked" the accident for its maximum entertainment value by keeping him
there. He gave Merv a shot guest-hosting The Tonight Show and when that went well, it led to Griffin becoming a candidate to succeed
Paar. When Johnny Carson got the job instead, NBC signed Griffin to do an afternoon talk show which debuted the same day. It was their
way of keeping Merv "on deck" in case Johnny bombed — which, of course, didn't happen. Griffin went on to host his own long-running talk
show in syndication and also became a producer of hit game shows.
Around the peak of his success, Griffin was asked to reflect. He said, "If Jack Paar hadn't been afraid of elevators, I'd be
hosting shows like Wheel of Fortune or Jeopardy! instead of owning them."
MY PIECE ON old movie houses seems to have touched some nerves, with many of you e-mailing me your own memories of theaters from
your pasts. Two folks also informed me that I prematurely closed the Aero Theater in Santa Monica, which is still up and operating.
What fooled me is that its closing was announced a few years ago (here's a 1999 news story, complete with photo) but protests were mounted, and the place is still
hanging in there, albeit barely. Over at its website, one can read a bevy
of recent news articles about the battle to keep its doors open.
Here's a silly trivia item. In 1961, not long after George Reeves died, DC Comics decided to try to sell a Superboy series
and produced a pilot with Johnny Rockwell in the title role. It was a pretty awful pilot and it never went anywhere. You can view it
online at this site if you have QuickTime installed and a half-hour to
So what does this have to do with the Aero Theater? Well, the pilot is about a doorman who works at...the Aero Theater. It
was shot outside the place back in '61. The last time I drove by the Aero, it hadn't changed much.
December 8, 2002 · 4:00 AM PST ·
THAT'S A photo of the Pacific Cinerama Dome up on Sunset Boulevard, as it looked in '63 when it was housing its debut
attraction, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. The place is currently undergoing extensive remodeling and will soon reopen as part of some
sort of shopping mall. God knows L.A. could use more malls. There are parts of this town where you can go an entire block without
encountering a Victoria's Secret, a Gap, a Foot Locker and/or a Mrs. Fields' Cookies shop.
But at least the Cinerama Dome will exist. As I think back to movie theaters I patronized in the sixties and
seventies, I recall a lot of buildings that are no longer there...or if they are, they're no longer movie houses. Out on Sepulveda, just north
of LAX, there are two that have long since been converted to office buildings. I can't drive out to the airport without noticing the Loyola and
the Paradise. The Paradise is a special memory. One of the first movies I ever saw in a theater — Jerry Lewis's Don't Give Up
the Ship — I saw there. And I was also there for one of its closing attractions, which was the animated Disney version of Robin
A lot of other such palaces are gone — like the Picwood, which once sat near the intersection of Pico Boulevard and
Westwood. It and the adjoining bowling alley were there for fifty-some-odd years but my personal history spanned Hey There, It's Yogi
Bear (1964) and Fame (1980). There's a block-long shopping mall there now, with a Tony Roma's rib joint at the approximate location
of the Picwood.
About a mile northwest, at the corner of Olympic and Bundy, there's a huge Cadillac dealership, erected on land which once comprised
the Olympic Drive-In. There, around age seven, I saw (with my parents) a double-feature of the old Fleischer Brothers' animated Gulliver's
Travels, paired with the then-recent cowboy comedy, Once Upon A Horse. The latter was an unsuccessful attempt to sell the new comedy
team of Dan Rowan and Dick Martin as the new Martin and Lewis. In fact, it was so unsuccessful that — eleven years later, when they made
their next feature, The Maltese Bippy — they publicized it as their first movie. The Maltese Bippy, by the way, had its
world premiere at the Picwood.
Many other movie theaters of my youth are gone, and a few others — like the Fairfax — have been carved up into multiplex
cinemas. I am not suggesting they should have been preserved just because they were a part of my childhood. I just think it's interesting
what these old buildings mean to us. I have a great memory but I'll bet that even if I didn't, I could still remember that I first saw 101
Dalmatians at the Meralta in Culver City, first saw Doctor No at the Aero in Santa Monica, and first saw Robin and the Seven Hoods
at the Fox Wilshire in Beverly Hills. The theaters are no longer there but the memories never get replaced by California Pizza Kitchens.
December 7, 2002 · 12:00 AM PST ·
AN EARLIER ITEM here brought a few e-mails from folks who were surprised to hear that Charles Lane is
alive. He's 97 years old but, happily, he's reportedly still with us. If you're a fan of incredible careers, click here to jump over to the Internet Movie Database and peruse the exhaustive list of motion
pictures and a partial (quite incomplete) list of TV programs this man appeared in. It includes It's A Wonderful Life, 42nd Street, You
Can't Take It With You, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Arsenic and Old Lace, The Music Man, films with the Marx Brothers, Harold Lloyd, Abbott and
Costello... well, as you can see, it just goes on and on. He only had one or two lines in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World but then,
that's more than some people.
MORE SHEMP ON THE WEB. Two of Shemp Howard's granddaughters have a site devoted to Grandpa over at www.shempcompany.com. I'm grateful to Randal May for the referral because, after all, you can never get
too much Shemp.
AN ALLEY in Muncie, Indiana has been named in honor of David Letterman. But the dedication ceremony was marred by a
protest by fans of Garfield the Cat. This actually happened. Here's a link to a press account.
NOEL NEILL was the second actress to portray Lois Lane on the original Superman TV show and — no offense to her
predecessor, Phyllis Coates — Ms. Neill will forever occupy a warm spot in many of our hearts. I never met Noel Neill but I aim to say
howdy to her in person on the weekend of January 18-19. She's been announced as among the guests (along with Soupy Sales, Don Knotts, Rip
Taylor, Judy Strangis, Rod McKuen and many others) at the Hollywood Collectors Show out in Studio City. Go here for details on how you can be there and say hello to the first Lois Lane most of us knew.
December 6, 2002 · 11:00 AM PST ·
AT THE MAD WORLD SCREENING — and I promise I'll stop talking about it in a day or so — I met a couple of
e-mail acquaintances, including Daniel Frank, a clever guy who publishes this
weblog. Writing of the movie over there, he remarks...
One minor negative note is that (and I don't know if this is a function of the big screen or of seeing the movie) the stunt doubles
in some scenes were glaringly obvious (as in an actor's face would turn to the camera and was obviously not his face).
He's right. In fact, I think I could pick the guy who doubled Dick Shawn out of a police lineup. But then, I always wonder
how big a deal that is. Does anyone ever not know when they're seeing the stuntman instead of the star? Even when I first saw the
film at age 11, I knew that Spencer Tracy hadn't really swung across the street and crashed into a building. Matter of fact, I might have
enjoyed the film less if I'd believed it was him. One of the things that impairs the last few Laurel and Hardy movies for me is that it's not
as funny to see an old man fall down as it is to see someone in reasonably good health. (Actually, I've always been one of those folks who
watches slapstick comedies and rarely laughs at the slapstick...but you know what I mean.)
I suspect the stunt doubling in Mad World is like a lot of magic tricks: It only really fools you the first time. It isn't
the big screen since the movie was made to be shown on an even bigger screen than the one Daniel and the rest of us saw it on the other night.
It's that the more you see a film like that, the more you notice the wires, the continuity errors and, yes, the stunt people.
One time when I can recall an obvious stuntman switch really spoiling a movie for me was the last James Bond film with Roger Moore in
the lead. Someone had decided that, to make things exciting on the screen, 007 had to perform incredible athletic feats — and though the
substitutions were expertly done, they struck me as too jarring. Mr. Moore was close to sixty and, even as a young man, he never seemed
particularly physical. My grandmother was more likely to be swinging on the cables of a suspension bridge.
I found that distancing. I'm just as conscious of the stuntwork in Mad World but I don't find it distancing. Go
figure. Maybe it's that the latter film hooks me with strong performances, or maybe it's just that it's intentionally sillier, or maybe I just
plain like it better and am more forgiving. All movies involve a suspension of disbelief but some disbelief is easier to suspend than some
December 6, 2002 · 1:00 AM PST ·
WE'RE STILL talking about It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World here, starting with a special guest article. A lot of
folks write to ask me where the famed Big "W" is located and can they visit it? No, they can't. But I asked my good friend Earl Kress,
who has made the pilgrimage, to tell us all about that experience. So click here to read Earl's report on how he
found this sacred patch of ground.
Also, some of you have written to ask me what's up with the reported restoration of the missing footage. I don't know any more
than was reported some time ago in this article over on a website
called Home Theater Forum. There probably has been progress. At the screening the other night, Karen Sharpe Kramer spoke of her hope to
debut the reassembled 4-hour version at the Cinerama Dome in time for the film's 40th anniversary, which is next year. I just don't know what
this progress involves.
Finally, I dug into my 1982 interview with the legendary Phil Silvers and extracted every single thing he said the day I brunched with
him that was about It's a Mad, Mad, Mad Mad World — a movie he was genuinely proud to have been a part of. You can read the
recollections of Phil "Otto Meyer" Silvers over in the section we call NOTES from me.
December 5, 2002 · 11:00 AM PST ·
SOMEONE HAS set up a website devoted exclusively to Shemp Howard.
This is a very noble deed and it calls to mind the one time I was foolish enough to attend a Three Stooges Film Festival. (I like the Stooges'
shorts but eight in a row? By about the fifth, I was ready to poke my own eyes out.) All the films featured Curly and halfway through
— during the intermission — I casually wondered aloud if perhaps the second batch would include one or two featuring Shemp, who preceded
and later replaced his brother Curly in the act. "Might we be getting a little Shemp?" I innocently inquired. This is what you call your
basic Wrong Thing To Say.
All around me, Stooge buffs gasped and expressed shock that anyone with an I.Q. greater than, say, Larry's would want to sit through
— yechh! — a Stooge short with Shemp in it. Boo, hiss. It all sounded a lot like the way others talk about
Three Stooges shorts in general, and I never quite knew why. Samuel "Shemp" Howard was the most accomplished comedian of the troupe and even if
Curly's infantile mutterings struck some as more amusing, didn't the Shemp films have at least a lot of the same appeal? Apparently, for
die-hard Stooge lovers, no. I can understand preferring one over the other but not the outright hostility. It was almost as if Shemp was
somehow to blame for his brother having a stroke and having to retire.
Anyway, it's nice that someone likes Shemp enough to put up a site in his honor. I don't think it'll ever lead to true
respectability — we're talking Stooges here — but it's nice to see a little bit of justice in the world. Can due esteem for Joe
Besser be that far off?
MY FRIEND of many years, writer Marv Wolfman, has personally refurbished his website — yes, it's www.marvwolfman.com — and you might like to drop by. Marv has been responsible for some fine comic
books, including Tomb of Dracula, The New Teen Titans, and Blade, and he once helped Len Wein crate up Tony Isabella and attempt to
ship him to the Middle East. That alone deserves your respect.
December 5, 2002 · 3:00 AM PST ·
IT WAS AN amazing evening. It was the 39th anniversary screening of the comedy spectacle, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
with several members of the cast and crew present, as well as a whole lot of us who love that movie. If you couldn't be there, you can still
get a little sampling of what went on merely by consulting NOTES from me.
December 4, 2002 · 1:00 PM PST ·
THERE'S AN ARTICLE about It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World here and another one over here. The first of these pieces
Karen Sharpe Kramer said her husband also broke cinematic ground with the project, presenting it in the then-new process of
Cinerama, and keeping the show going during the intermission with an interactive feature — the playing of scripted police radio transmissions
over speakers located throughout the theater.
The male voice on most of those (apparently lost) faux police calls was that of the aforementioned Lennie Weinrib, who is also
heard in many places during the film. He's most identifiable as the voice on the police radio that announces that the cabs are chasing Captain
Culpeper, and dubbing for the stuntmen at the end who play fire fighters.
Lennie may be better known to you from his many on-camera appearances which ranged from Magic Mongo to The Dick Van Dyke
Show. On the latter, he was the guy who phoned Rob, got him to dismantle his phone and told him to "Scream like a chicken!" He was in
two other episodes of that, as well, and just about every sitcom of the sixties and seventies. His voice appeared on hundreds of cartoon shows,
and many a Krofft production. He was the voice of H.R. Pufnstuf, for example. A talented, funny man...and a regular reader of this
website, I'm happy to say.
December 4, 2002 · 2:00 AM PST ·
OH, MY GOD. I hope you didn't watch — here's the entire, official title — Comedy Central Presents The NY
Friars Club Roast of Chevy Chase. If you did, you saw one of the all-time great train wrecks in television history. If you didn't and
you enjoy feeling ill at ease, it airs again December 6, 7, 14 and 24. As a piece of entertainment, it's truly amazing — a "comedy roast"
that is largely devoid of humor, affection or even big stars. Steve Martin, Nathan Lane and Martin Short appear via a segment taped elsewhere
but otherwise, Mr. Chase is called an untalented, drug-addicted moron by a lot of folks, few of whom have any real connection to him. Talk
about shows that make you wonder how they could have happened.
One assumes Chevy was chosen for the honor because someone figured that superstars would flock to participate. They didn't.
The Martin/Lane/Short piece looked like a later drop-in engineered by producers who knew they didn't have much of a line-up based on those who
actually showed up for the event. Of all the performers who worked with Chevy on Saturday Night Live, the only ones in attendance were
Al Franken, Laraine Newman and roastmaster Paul Shaffer. Beverly D'Angelo was there from the Vacation movies...but that was about it for Chase
co-stars. Instead, the dais was padded out with comedians who barely knew him...and didn't have anything particularly funny to say about
him. Gilbert Gottfried and Kevin Meaney, who have been known to be hilarious elsewhere, were among the many who apparently performed but were
edited from the tape. Others, like Richard Belzer, were included but obviously had large chunks of their speeches trimmed in the editing
room. Given what stayed in, you have to wonder about the material that couldn't be used.
But the big squirm was seeing Chevy Chase, who seemed to hate every moment of it — and who wouldn't? A line of strangers
and slight friends paraded to the podium to announce that he was a doper, a jerk and a performer in crappy movies...and very little of this was said
with the kind of loving twinkle we used to see when Don Rickles told Sinatra his voice was bad. Past entries in this series (Hugh Hefner, Drew
Carey, etc.) featured a lot of character assassination but you got the idea that most of those on the premises really liked the guy they were
smearing. Not here.
What could possibly have been on Chevy Chase's mind when he agreed to this? He'd been roasted once before at the Friar's so he
knew the drill. He must have had an inkling that it wouldn't be an evening of Danny Aykroyd and Goldie Hawn reminiscing about what a kick it
was to co-star with him. Throughout, the roastee sat wearing sunglasses that failed to mask his discomfort, and feigning slight laughter at an
occasional line. He looked for all the world like a man undergoing a painfully slow root canal, sans Novocaine.
Folks have wondered how he could have accepted certain movie scripts and the gig on his short-lived talk show...but at least those can
be explained by money. Someone was shoveling millions of dollars at him. So why sit for this public stoning? Given the books and
articles that have recently portrayed him in a bad light, you have to guess he either had some terrible, terrible advice that this would help his
image...or that it's all true, and he felt the need for some public humiliation as a form of punishment. Either way, the result is pretty much
FROM Army Archerd's column in yesterday's Daily Variety...
Stars of Stanley Kramer's "It's a Mad (4) World" skedded to attend the 43rd anni screening at the Egyptian Wednesday include:
Jonathan Winters, Sid Caesar, Stan Freberg, Buddy Hackett, Mickey Rooney, Edie Adams, Madlyn Rhue, Carl Reiner, Peter Falk, Don Knotts, and Marvin
Kaplan. The screening's hosted by Karen Sharpe Kramer, American Cinematheque, TCN and MGM/UA.
I'll be there tonight. And I'll be back here with a full report after what I expect will be a very long but wonderful
evening. And before anyone asks: That's most of the surviving cast members but not all. Among those who are still with us who won't be
with us are Arnold Stang, Dorothy Provine, Barrie Chase, Cliff Norton, Jerry Lewis, and Charles Lane. Also, Lennie Weinrib — who supplied
many of the uncredited voiceovers — is alive and well in Chile, of all places. (Hey, Lennie! Hope you're okay. Haven't heard
from you lately.)
I CONTINUE to savor the late night black-and-white programming on the Game Show Network, though I've Got a Secret hasn't
been nearly as enjoyable since they ran out of episodes hosted by Garry Moore. His replacement, Steve Allen, was extraordinarily gifted at many
things but game show hosting was not among them, and the contrast points up how good Moore was. With Garry, the game was the most important
thing and he knew how to keep it going and when to drop a hint. He also made the panel look good and, if and when those two causes had been
served, he might drop in his own funny comments. On the Steve Allen Secret, the priorities were exactly reversed. You can even
sense the occasional annoyance of panelist Henry Morgan, who clearly did not like finding himself on The Steve Allen Show.
When I get a moment, I'll write something here about Henry Morgan, who probably deserves a lot better than to be remembered only for
game shows. He was, like Fred Allen, a brilliant radio humorist who never quite found a place in television to do what he did best. But
he was brilliant on radio to the extent of inspiring countless others. To cite but one example, a lot of the running gags in Harvey Kurtzman's
seminal Mad were right off the Morgan program. Can anyone remind me of some others before I write my big piece on him?
is available at any comic book shop with a lick of sense. This scintillating collection of Evanier's POV columns features amusing
pictures by Sergio Aragonés and bizarre articles about the history of comics and the world of comic book fandom. If your store is
senseless, you can order a copy over at the website for TwoMorrows Publishing or
from Amazon.Com. You'll be glad you
did...or, at the very least, I will be.
Click here to read the previous NEWS FROM ME