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Bob Ullman Dies: Veteran Broadway Press Agent Was 97

Robert “Bob” Ullman, a longtime Broadway and Off Broadway press agent whose career spanned Ethel Merman, A Chorus Line, Curse of the Starving Class and many others, died of cardiac arrest on July 31 in Bayshore, Long Island, New York. He was 97.

His death was announced by longtime friend (and former Broadway press agent) Rev. Joshua Ellis.

Among the many Broadway productions on which Ullman worked were Ethel Merman and Mary Martin: Together on Broadway, A Chorus Line (from workshop to Public Theater to Broadway), Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne in The Visit, Lauren Bacall in Cactus Flower, The Dining Room, Driving Miss Daisy, Sunday in the Park with George, and over 150 additional Broadway and off-Broadway plays and musicals.

Actors and theater greats with whom Ullman worked include Tallulah Bankhead, Luise Rainer, James Dean, Dame Edith Evans, Geraldine Page, Phil Silvers, Bert Lahr, Rosemary Harris, James Earl Jones, Sam Waterston, Colleen Dewhurst,
See full article at Deadline »

Summer Stock

I don’t know if Garland fans still go around chanting ‘Judy Judy Judy’ at her every appearance, but they do have a timeless song ‘n’ dance number to celebrate here. Her last MGM movie is only a so-so vehicle but Gene Kelly and the studio’s top music & dance talent work hard to put it over the top. Garland’s lack of stability is still an issue. For much of the movie she looks visibly overweight, yet in the showstopper ‘Get Happy’ she suddenly slims down to the best — maybe not the healthiest — look of her career.

Summer Stock


Warner Archive Collection

1950 / Color / 1:37 flat Academy / 109 min. / Street Date April 30, 2019 / available through the WBshop / 21.99

Starring: Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, Eddie Bracken, Gloria DeHaven, Marjorie Main, Phil Silvers, Ray Collins, Nita Bieber, Carleton Carpenter, Hans Conried, Jeanne Coyne, Carol Haney, Almira Sessions.

Cinematography: Robert H. Planck

Film Editor: Albert Akst
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Kaye Ballard Dies: TV, Film & Stage Veteran Who Starred In ‘The Mothers-In-Law’ Was 93

Kaye Ballard Dies: TV, Film & Stage Veteran Who Starred In ‘The Mothers-In-Law’ Was 93
Kaye Ballard, a comic actress and singer who was a regular presence on TV for decades and starred in the late-’60s NBC comedy The Mothers-in-Law, has died. Palm Springs-area paper The Desert Sun reported that the star also known for The Girl Most Likely and a half-dozen Broadway musicals died Monday at her home in Rancho Mirage.

Ballard had appeared on a couple of TV programs when she was cast as Marge opposite Jane Powell and Cliff Robertson in the 1958 big-screen musical comedy remake of The Girl Most Likely. She would appear in a handful of movies in the ensuing decades, but TV was her go-to medium.

In 1967 she starred with Eve Arden in The Mothers-in-Law, playing half of an unconventional couple, the Buells, who was best friends with their very-straight suburban neighbors the Hubbards (Arden and Herbert Rudley). The series struggled to lure viewers in its 8:30 Sunday
See full article at Deadline »

Dennis Norden Dies: Veteran UK TV Host & Comedy Writer Was 96

Dennis Norden Dies: Veteran UK TV Host & Comedy Writer Was 96
Veteran TV host and comedy writer Denis Norden has died aged 96, his family has said.

Best known as the frontman for long-running ITV blooper show It’ll Be Alright On The Night, Norden died on Wednesday morning following a spell in a London hospital. He hosted the hit ITV series from 1977 until his retirement aged 84 in 2006.

After an early career working in cinemas, Norden began scriptwriting during the Second World War. He wrote his first script for the BBC at the age of 19 and from 1948 to 1959, he co-wrote the successful BBC Radio comedy programme Take It From Here with comic Frank Muir with whom he was a regular collaborator.

Norden also wrote a number of film scrips in the 1960s and 70s, including Paramount comedy The Bliss Of Mrs Blossom, starring Shirley MacLaine and Richard Attenborough, United Artists rom-com Buona Sera, Mrs Campbell (which scored a WGA nomination) with Gina Lollobrigida,
See full article at Deadline »

Neil Simon dies at 91 by Amber Wilkinson - 2018-08-26 18:09:44

Neil Simon with Cy Coleman in 1982 Photo: AP

Neil Simon has died at the age of 91, following complications from pneumonia.

Much of the playwright's comedy work, including The Odd Couple, Barefoot In The Park, The Sunshine Boys and Biloxi Blues were also adapted into hits for the big and small screens.

He also wrote original screenplays including The Heartbreak Kid and The Out Of Towners.

The New York-born writer wrote for comedy stars including Phil Silvers and Sid Caesar before forging a career on Broadway, which began with Come Blow Your Horn in 1961.

Last night, stars paid tribute to him on Twitter. Danny DeVito, who starred in a stage revival of The Sunshine Boys with Richard Griffiths, wrote: "Neil Simon the true Sunshine Boy. Happy I got to have fun with him. Peace."

Actor Vincent D'Onofrio described him as "a genius".

And Mrs Doubtfire writer Randi Mayhem Singer wrote: "If you write comedy,
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Neil Simon, King of Comedy Playwrights, Dies at 91

Neil Simon, King of Comedy Playwrights, Dies at 91
Neil Simon, one of the rare late-20th century playwrights who was a brand name for plays such as “The Odd Couple” and “Barefoot in the Park,” died Sunday. He was 91.

A statement from his reps said, “Neil Simon, the Pulitzer Prize-winning American playwright, died last night at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. The cause was complications from pneumonia.”

“His wife, Elaine Joyce Simon, was at his bedside along with Mr. Simon’s daughters, Ellen Simon and Nancy Simon.”

In addition to his four Oscar nominations and 17 Tony nominations, Simon’s works brought an unsurpassed 50 Tony nominations for their actors. His competitive Tony wins came for “The Odd Couple” (best playwright) and for best play for “Lost in Yonkers” and “Biloxi Blues.”

Beginning in the 1960s, Simon could guarantee good Broadway advance sales, a rare feat for a writer. He had more than 30 plays mounted on Broadway, including
See full article at Variety »

Exclusive Podcast: 'Behind the Curtain' Welcomes Golden Age Musical Comedy Star, Kaye Ballard

It's not going to be a lazy afternoon when the great Golden Age musical comedy star, Kaye Ballard, sits down with Rob in her Palm Springs home to look back on her incredible career that includes the original productions of The Golden Apple, Carnival, Molly, Plus Top Banana with Phil Silvers, The Mothers-in-law with Eve Arden, Cinderella with Julie Andrews, and countless appearances on The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson, The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, and The Muppet Show.
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The Last Word on ‘Sing’

You know, I don’t exactly go after him as much as I should, but, yeah, there’s a segment of Hell out there somewhere waiting for Chris Meladandri. For those who aren’t 100% familiar with him, he’s somewhat of an allusive figure, there’s actually not a lot of material out there on him, but I think I’m not gonna disappoint too many people by saying in animation terms at least, he’s probably the biggest hack out there. Well, I should say that he’s most known for animation, but honestly, he doesn’t have much of an animation background; he’s spent his whole career producing in fact, and his career didn’t start in animation. He’s not illustrious as a producer; the pre-Disney movies he made, range from the forgotten to the forgettable, until he had relatively minor hit with ‘Cool Runnings’. He
See full article at Age of the Nerd »

‘It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World’ Blu-ray Review (Criterion)

  • Nerdly
Stars: Spencer Tracy, Milton Berle, Ethel Merman, Jimmy Durante, Buddy Hackett, Mickey Rooney, Dick Shawn, Phil Silvers, Terry-Thomas, Jonathan Winters | Written by William Rose, Tania Rose | Directed by Stanley Kramer

If you are a fan of comedy films, you’ll already know that It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World is one of the greatest ones ever brought to the silver screen. Including most of the biggest names in comedy, it quite simply is a film that could never happen again. Now the Criterion Collection release has come to the UK and it is well worth buying.

When Smiler Grogan (Jimmy Durante) has a high-speed crash, a group of drivers who come to his aid find him close to death. Before he literally kicks the bucket, he shares with them the location of a $350,000 treasure, leading to a frantic race to be first to the prize. One thing they
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30 Years of Trash: The true story behind The Garbage Pail Kids Movie

On its 30th anniversary, Luke Owen revisits The Garbage Pail Kids Movie

“This is it. The worst. The absolute worst. No story, no character, no plot, just pain. Pure concentrated pain. There has never been anything this bad in the history of man. It should be studied, it should be analysed. It is pure evil. I don’t know whether to give it to a doctor to examine or a priest to exorcise. It is remarkable. Absolutely remarkable. Even the closing credits hurt. Everything about this movie is plain horrendous.” – Doug “Nostalgia Critic” Walker

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. During the late 1960s, Art Spiegelman tried this theory when he worked on revival of a series of gum card stickers called Wacky Packages, which parodied all kinds of consumer products from food to floorwax, and the novelty lasted deep into 1970s. By the mid-1980s,
See full article at Flickeringmyth »

From Lollobrigida to Gidget: Romance and Heartache in Italy

Here's a brief look – to be expanded – at Turner Classic Movies' June 2017 European Vacation Movie Series this evening, June 23. Tonight's destination of choice is Italy. Starring Suzanne Pleshette and Troy Donahue as the opposite of Ugly Americans who find romance and heartbreak in the Italian capital, Delmer Daves' Rome Adventure (1962) was one of the key romantic movies of the 1960s. Angie Dickinson and Rossano Brazzi co-star. In all, Rome Adventure is the sort of movie that should please fans of Daves' Technicolor melodramas like A Summer Place, Parrish, and Susan Slade. Fans of his poetic Westerns – e.g., 3:10 to Yuma, The Hanging Tree – may (or may not) be disappointed with this particular Daves effort. As an aside, Rome Adventure was, for whatever reason, a sizable hit in … Brazil. Who knows, maybe that's why Rome Adventure co-star Brazzi would find himself playing a Brazilian – a macho, traditionalist coffee plantation owner,
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

TCM's Pride Month Series Continues with Movies Somehow Connected to Lgbt Talent

Turner Classic Movies continues with its Gay Hollywood presentations tonight and tomorrow morning, June 8–9. Seven movies will be shown about, featuring, directed, or produced by the following: Cole Porter, Lorenz Hart, Farley Granger, John Dall, Edmund Goulding, W. Somerset Maughan, Clifton Webb, Montgomery Clift, Raymond Burr, Charles Walters, DeWitt Bodeen, and Harriet Parsons. (One assumes that it's a mere coincidence that gay rumor subjects Cary Grant and Tyrone Power are also featured.) Night and Day (1946), which could also be considered part of TCM's homage to birthday girl Alexis Smith, who would have turned 96 today, is a Cole Porter biopic starring Cary Grant as a posh, heterosexualized version of Porter. As the warning goes, any similaries to real-life people and/or events found in Night and Day are a mere coincidence. The same goes for Words and Music (1948), a highly fictionalized version of the Richard Rodgers-Lorenz Hart musical partnership.
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Scott Reviews Charles Vidor’s Cover Girl [Masters of Cinema Blu-ray Review]

How did a film like Cover Girl slip away? When it was shown at the TCM Classic Film Festival in 2012, it was considered something of a discovery, with Robert Osborne frequently singling it out in pre-festival interviews and publicity as a must-see, which makes me feel a little better about having not heard of it at all before seeing it a few months prior at the New Beverly. But the film was immensely popular in its day. Its success instantly pulled Gene Kelly out of limbo at MGM, where he’d been assigned to a series of B-movies and rarely allowed to dance his own choreography, when he was even allowed to dance at all.

Columbia Pictures was not interested in placing such limitations on him. The film’s producer, composer Arthur Schwartz, must have known how lucky they were, because they gave Kelly immense control over its production, especially his dance numbers.
See full article at CriterionCast »

Film News: Character Actor, Oscar Winner George Kennedy Dies at 91

Middleton, Idaho – On the day of the 88th Academy Awards, Hollywood lost a venerable character actor and Oscar winner, George Kennedy. Kennedy won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar at the 40th Academy Awards for his role in “Cool Hand Luke.” He passed away at a care facility in Idaho, age 91.

George Kennedy in 2010

Photo credit: Joe Arce of Starstruck Foto for

George Harris Kennedy was born in New York City in 1925. He parlayed a military career that began during World War II into a technical advisor role for “The Phil Silvers Show” in the late 1950s. Encourage by Silvers to begin acting, he made his debut in the film “Little Shepard of Kingdom Come” (1961). The beefy, solid character actor made numerous TV and film appearances, including “Charade” (1963), “Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte” (1964) and “The Dirty Dozen” (1967).

It was in 1967 that he won the role of “Dragline” opposite Paul Newman in “Cool Hand Luke.
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Sex Kitten Turned Two-Time Oscar Nominee on TCM Tonight

Ann-Margret movies: From sex kitten to two-time Oscar nominee. Ann-Margret: 'Carnal Knowledge' and 'Tommy' proved that 'sex symbol' was a remarkable actress Ann-Margret, the '60s star who went from sex kitten to respected actress and two-time Oscar nominee, is Turner Classic Movies' star today, Aug. 13, '15. As part of its “Summer Under the Stars” series, TCM is showing this evening the movies that earned Ann-Margret her Academy Award nods: Mike Nichols' Carnal Knowledge (1971) and Ken Russell's Tommy (1975). Written by Jules Feiffer, and starring Jack Nicholson and Art Garfunkel, the downbeat – some have found it misogynistic; others have praised it for presenting American men as chauvinistic pigs – Carnal Knowledge is one of the precursors of “adult Hollywood moviemaking,” a rare species that, propelled by the success of disparate arthouse fare such as Vilgot Sjöman's I Am Curious (Yellow) and Costa-Gavras' Z, briefly flourished from
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Early Black Film Actor Has His Day

Rex Ingram in 'The Thief of Bagdad' 1940 with tiny Sabu. Actor Rex Ingram movies on TCM: Early black film performer in 'Cabin in the Sky,' 'Anna Lucasta' It's somewhat unusual for two well-known film celebrities, whether past or present, to share the same name.* One such rarity is – or rather, are – the two movie people known as Rex Ingram;† one an Irish-born white director, the other an Illinois-born black actor. Turner Classic Movies' “Summer Under the Stars” continues today, Aug. 11, '15, with a day dedicated to the latter. Right now, TCM is showing Cabin in the Sky (1943), an all-black musical adaptation of the Faust tale that is notable as the first full-fledged feature film directed by another Illinois-born movie person, Vincente Minnelli. Also worth mentioning, the movie marked Lena Horne's first important appearance in a mainstream motion picture.§ A financial disappointment on the
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Richard Benjamin Reflects On "The Sunshine Boys": A Cinema Retro Interview

By Lee Pfeiffer

On June 16, the Warner Archive will release the 1975 screen version of Neil Simon's comedy classic "The Sunshine Boys" as a Blu-ray special edition. The film stars Walter Matthau and George Burns as Lewis and Clark, a legendary vaudeville comedy team who have not been on speaking terms since they broke up their act eleven years ago. For their work in the film, Matthau was nominated for the Best Actor Oscar, George Burns won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar and Richard Benjamin, who co-stars as Matthau's harried nephew and agent who tries the Herculean task of reuniting the team for a television special about comedy greats, won a Golden Globe award. Cinema Retro had the opportunity to speak with Richard Benjamin about his memories of working on the film.  

Cinema Retro: "The Sunshine Boys" must have had a very personal meaning to you, given the fact that your uncle,
See full article at CinemaRetro »

Review: "Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell" (1969) Starring Gina Lollobrigida, Telly Savalas, Peter Lawford And Phil Silvers; Blu-ray Release From Kino Lorber

By Lee Pfeiffer

If there is such thing as a family-oriented sex farce, the 1969 hit "Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell" fits the description. The delightful concoction stars Gina Lollobrigida as Carla Campbell, a vivacious woman of relative wealth who lives in a modest Italian village. She is known for her rather upscale lifestyle that includes a live-in maid, Rosa (Naomi Stevens) and the fact that she can afford to send her 18 year-old daughter  to a fancy American university in Switzerland. Life is very pleasing for Carla, who is known for using her money for charitable purposes. She has told everyone that she came by her wealth when her husband, an American officer named Captain Campbell died in action during WWII. She tells a moving tale about how she married him when he took shelter at her house when she was only 16 years old. They fell in love, married and had only
See full article at CinemaRetro »

The Simpsons' top 30 movie references

The Simpsons has pastiched hundreds of movies in its time. From Hitchcock to Kubrick to Disney, we select our top 30 favourites...

The Simpsons has a long history of peppering its stories with pop culture references, and some of the show’s finest gags stem from the world of cinema. These have ranged from the briefest of quotes, to full on shot-for-shot parodies and extended episode-long homages.

Most striking in trying to put this list together was the sheer volume of movie references there are to choose from. In pretty much any given episode of The Simpsons, there are at least a couple, with nods to James Bond, 2001: A Space Odyssey and the work of Alfred Hitchcock proving three of the most regular candidates. The tributes to numerous great horror movies in the show’s Treehouse Of Horror episodes could have been used to fill this list all on their own.
See full article at Den of Geek »

Boob on the Tube: Top Ten Worst Movie Adaptations of TV Shows

Some of the greatest (or at least heavily favored) American television shows got the big screen treatment when they were selected to have their small screen following turn into a cinematic experience. Unfortunately, for every beloved nostalgic television show that translated successfully in movie theaters (The Brady Bunch Movie, Star Trek, Batman, etc.) there are boob tube stinkers that overtake the good crop. Sure, there are middle-of-the-road movie adaptations of television programs that have a mixed bag reception (1997’s Leave It To Beaver, 1987’s Dragnet, 2012’s Dark Shadows, etc.). Nevertheless, it is always the unflattering fare that receive the bulk of the attention (do you register, 1999’s The Wild, Wild West ?).

In Boob on the Tube: Top Ten Worst Movie Adaptations of TV Shows we will take a look at the top ten televised offenders that dared to venture into cinema’s stratosphere only to end up floating down shamefully
See full article at SoundOnSight »
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