Veteran Actor Abe Vigoda Dead At Age 94

Abe-Vigoda

(PCM) We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of veteran actor Abe Vigoda at the age of 94. Abe Vigoda who played over the hill Detective Phil Fish on the sitcom “ Barney Miller” and Mafia lieutenant Sal Tessio in The Godfather movie, died Tuesday morning at his daughter Carol’s residence in New Jersey.

The success of the “Godfather” movies in the 70’s eventually led Vigoda to the sitcom “Barney Miller”. The series ran from 1972-84. Vigoda was on the show until 1977. He was nominated for three Emmy’s for his performance as Detective Fisk on the show who was always complaining about his aches and pains.

Vigoda was born in 1921. He grew up on New York’s Lower East Side. He was the son of a tailor who studied acting at the American Theatre Wing and played characters parts for much of his early career. Vigoda established himself as a successful theater actor in the 1960’s. Francis Ford Coppola, the director of “The Godfather” took a liking to Vigoda on the stage and cast him in his movie. The rest in cinema history.

Vigoda was sort of an internet sensation when it was reported by People Magazine in 2008 that he had passed away. But he lived on for many more years and made fun of the magazines mistake.
Vigoda would go onto act in many more movies after his success with “The Godfather” including:  “Cannonball Run”, (1984) with Burt Reynolds. “Look Who’s Talking” (1989) with John Travolta and Kristie Alley, “Joe Versus the Volcano” (1990) with Tom Hanks. And 1997 film “Good Burger”.

Vigoda was married to his wife Beatrice for 24 years until her death in 1992. They had one daughter, Carol. Our sincere condolence go out to Abe Vigoda’s family and friends during this incredibly difficult time.

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Ethel Merman Born January 16, 1908

EthelMermanNoBusinesstraileEthel Merman (Born Ethel Zimmerman) was born on January 16, 1908.  She passed away on February 15, 1984.

Ethel Merman was born in Astoria New York.  Merman got her big break in 1930. Previously to that she worked as a stenographer.  This job, however was only to pay the bills, in the evenings in she performed in Nightclubs.  She was first hired by Lou Clayton, Jimmy Durante’s’ partner.

Merman was soon noticed and she was contracted to Warner Brothers.  In those days movie professional did not go from project to project being produced by different studios.  In the 1930s it was the studio system.  Actors and actresses would be hired by a single studio and only worked for them.  They could occasionally be lent out to other studios, but basically you worked where you were hired.

She was cast in only one film during her time in Hollywood.  That was Follow The Leader starring Ed Wynn and Ginger Rodgers.  This was produced by Paramount so she was lent out for that.  She was paid $125.00 a week by Warner Brothers who never used her.  In those days you were paid by the studio whether you worked or not.  Ethel began to get bored and so she again began performing in Night Clubs.  It was during this time that she actually met Durante and the two would become lifelong friends.

Merman soon went back to New York.  She was hired by The Palace Theater as a Torch Song singer.  Merman’s voice was a powerful Mezzo Soprano and she could be heard throughout a theater without a microphone.  She was paid $500.00 dollars a week for her work at the Palace.  Soon she was noticed by George and Ira Gershwin and was hired to work in their new show Girl Crazy.  Her show stopping number in that show was I Got Rhythm, a song that would go on to be popular for many years  New York Times noted Merman sang “with dash, authority, good voice and just the right knowing style”, while The New Yorker called her “imitative of no one.”

Merman was kept busy between Hollywood and New York for four years.  In 1934, she was hired in her first starring role that of Reno Sweeney in Cole Porter’s Anything Goes.  This show spotlighted Merman’s talents both as an actress and as a singer Beside the title song Merman had two other songs that would become standards, I Get A Kick Out Of You and You’re The Top.  Anything goes still performed to this day in professional, regional, community and High School Theaters.

From that point on Merman’s career was set, she performed in many films and Broadway musicals but her next big show was Annie Get Your Gun which opened in 1945.  Annie Get Your Gun was loosely based on the life of Annie Oakley a female sharp shooter who made name for herself working with Buffalo Bill Cody.  Merman’s role of Annie gave her many memorable moments, You Can’t Get A Man With a Gun, Doing What comes naturally, and Anything You Can Do I can Do Better were a few of the big numbers performed by Merman.  The big hit form the show and the song which Merman would perform the rest of her life was There’s No Business Like Show Business.  This song would have an entire movie wrapped around the song itself which stared Ethel Merman, Dan Dailey, Donald O’Connor and the forever remembered Marylyn Monroe.  The music and lyrics were composed by the great Irving Berlin who was at least one of if not the most prolific song writer of the 20th century; many of his songs are recorded by artists even today, most notably White Christmas.

Ethel’s next big hit was the musical Call Me Madam again with a score by Irving Berlin.  In this show Ethel played a ambassador to a small European country where she falls in love with one of the government officials which causes a scandal and sends her back to Washington.  Of course all turns out right in the end.  The songs from this show which are notable are You’re Not Sick You’re Just In Love, The Hostess With The Mostest and It’s A Lovely Day Today.

On May 21, 1959 Ethel Merman would again star in a show that is still performed today.  GypsyGypsy was based on the life on the world renowned Stripper Gypsy Rose Lee.  Though the show as was called Gypsy it was the story of the relationship between Gypsy and her mother Rose.  Rose was the leading role, a scheming woman that would go to any lengths to make her girls stars.  Merman’s Co-Star in this musical was Jack Klugman who would go on to make a name for himself in the TV shows The Odd Couple and Quincy.  Three of standout numbers from this show were, Everything’s Coming Up Roses, Together and Small World.

Annie Get You’re Gun, Call Me Madam and Gypsy all had Hollywood adaptations the only one Merman was allowed to star in was Call Me Madam.  The loss of the role of Rose in Gypsy to Rosalind Russell, according to Merman herself, was the most disappointing time in her career.

Merman would go on to star in revivals of her hit shows and the Broadway world still loved her.  Merman was called “the undisputed First Lady of the musical comedy stage.”  In the 1960s, however music styles changed and The Beatles along with Elvis Presley and many others would soon reign over the musical scene while the Broadway style would fade into the back ground.

Merman however still continued to perform.  She was featured in the Comedy It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World in the 1960s and in the 70’s she had a cameo appearance in the Movie Airplane.  Where she sang Everything’s Coming Up Roses.  This appearance gave her career a brief resurgence and she recorded a disco version of her hits.

She would be featured in many variety and other types of TV shows.  Memorable performances were on such shows as The Lucy Show, That Girl and The Love Boat  When her career slowed down Merman began to volunteer in a gift shop in New York City Hospital.  Merman died in her home at the age of 76 on February 15, 1984 from Brain Cancer.  On the evening of her death all 36 theaters on Broadway dimmed their lights at 9 P.M. in her honor.

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Banchee Actor Joins Supernatural Offering “Don’t Kill It”

Miles-Doleac

(PCM) Banshee’s Miles Doleac has joined the cast of director Mike Mendez’s Don’t Kill It, currently shooting in Canton, MS.

Actor, who joins Dolph Lundgren, Kristina Klebe, and Courtney Gains in the film, plays Agent Jackson, head of the FBI in the supernatural thriller.

Dan Berk and Robert Olsen’s script fixes on an ancient demon that is accidentally unleashed in a sparsely populated Alaskan town, and the only hope of survival lies in the hands of a grizzled old demon hunter Jebediah Woodley and his reluctant partner FBI agent Evelyn Pierce.

Doleac, known for his recurring role on Banshee, will next be seen on the small screen in The CW’s Containment and on the big screen in The Hollow, which he also wrote and directed.

Don’t Kill It is being repped by Archstone Distribution.

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N.W.A., Cheap Trick, Steve Miller, Deep Purple And Chicago To Be Inducted Into The Rock n’ Roll Hall Of Fame!

Rock-Hall-2016

(PCM) The names of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 2016 Inductees have been released. They are:

Performer Category:

Cheap Trick
Chicago
Deep Purple
N.W.A.
Steve Miller

NWA1
Photo Credit: Ithaka Darin Pappas

The 31st Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, presented by Klipsch Audio, will take place on Friday, April 8, 2016 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York for the second time. HBO will broadcast the ceremony in spring 2016.

Artists are eligible for inclusion in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25 years after the release of their first recording. The 2016 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Performer Inductees were chosen by more than 800 voters of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, as well as the aggregate results of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s online fan vote. The top five artists, as selected by the public, comprised a “fans’ ballot” that was tallied along with the other ballots to determine the 2016 Inductees. Three of the top five artists from the fans ballot will be inducted in 2016.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, will also open a special exhibit on the 2016 Inductees in conjunction with the 2016 Induction Ceremony.

Klipsch Audio, a leading global speaker and headphone manufacturer, is a strategic partner and presenting sponsor of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and its Induction Ceremony events. Klipsch’s renowned products deliver the power, detail and emotion of the live music experience throughout the iconic museum.

Tickets will go on sale to the public in February. A limited number of pre-sale tickets will be available for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members in advance of the public sale date. To be eligible for the member pre-sale, you must be an active Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member by December 31, 2015. Exact sale dates and ticket information will be announced in late January. Details available at www.rockhall.com. To receive Induction Ceremony updates, announcements and ticket information, sign up for the Rock Hall’s e-newsletter at www.rockhall.com/e-newsletter, follow the Rock Hall on Facebook, Twitter (@rock_hall) and Instagram (@rockhall) or join the conversation at #RockHall2016.

This post came fromN.W.A., Cheap Trick, Steve Miller, Deep Purple And Chicago To Be Inducted Into The Rock n’ Roll Hall Of Fame! - unSkinny Pop

A Christmas Carol Published December 17, 1843

marley620_2084815b1843 was not a good year for Charles Dickens.  He had published two books Barnaby Rudge and Martin Chuzzlewit Both had very low sales.  All of his work, up to that time had done very well on both sides of the Atlantic.  The Pickwick papers, Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby and The Old Curiosity Shop, had all been received with great fervor.

The Old Curiosity Shop, for example had sold over 100,000 copies.  This may sound like a small number by today’s standards, but when you consider that literacy numbers of the 1800s, Dickens was selling to about a quarter of the reading public.  Then there were the copies that were lent out so the total number of readers may have been much higher.  The Old Curiosity Shop was so popular on both sides of the Atlantic, that when the main character, Little Nell, fell ill in one installment, there were people waiting on the docks in New York for the next installment and yelling to the sailors asking if Little Nell had lived.

It is important to note here how novels were published in the 1800s.  Instead of the whole book being published at one time, novels were published by the chapter in magazines.  After the book had ended, the whole book would then be published in a three volume set.  If a book starts slow and then gains readership as it goes, the publisher makes money.  If the book starts slow and numbers bought stayed to a minimum, this indeed, was a problem.  And this was the problem Charles Dickens faced at the end of 1843.

Dickens, like many of us today, liked to spend beyond his means.  He owed 3000 pounds to his publisher and with the last two books having done badly, the publisher was ready to drop Dickens salary in order to repay the debt.  If the publisher decided they wanted payment in full Dickens would be bankrupt.  Dickens was at his wits end.  He believed his genius had left him and he would not write well again, but a miracle was about to take place.

Dickens was to speak in Manchester in April of that year.  He was there to help raise funds for a theater which was very important for Manchester.  The city was one of the worst in England, some even calling it the Gateway to hell.   Educational levels were low and many were poor.  The Athenaeum, the theater, was the cultural center of the city and the only place that both the working man and the upper class could get a small amount of art and beauty that is important to all people.

Dickens topic that night was on the need for more education and to help relieve the distress of the poor.  His talk did very well and the Athenaeum was saved.  The lecture Dickens gave though would begin to wake something up in his mind.  He began to think of Ignorance and want and slowly a story began to take shape in his head and A Christmas Carol was conceived.

The author came home very excited and began to write in earnest.  His children, friends and household staff could hear him both weeping and laughing as he wrote and he would take long walks at night to think more about the project. It took a total of 6 weeks for A Christmas Carol to be written and Dickens was very pleased with the outcome, however his publishers were not, and they were leery about publishing the work.  Dickens believed so much in the book that he decided to publish it himself.

A  Christmas Carol, he decided, would be printed, not in installment form, but in a single volume which he designed himself.  The cover was red, the title embossed in gold and the illustrations, which were created by John Leech, were to be in color.  He made the price affordable and released the book on December 17, 1843.  It took at exactly four days for the book to sell out.

Dickens was ecstatic.  He gave parties for Christmas and New Years to celebrate his success.  All the reviews that came in were glowing.  He felt more himself again and back on track with his career.

Dickens hoped to bring in 1000 pounds in profits from his book, and the book came close to that at 992 pounds. However, Dickens did not calculate the expense of publishing the book on his own and his total profit from the initial printing was a meager 137 pounds.  That however was not the end of the story.  The book would continue to sell throughout the year of 1844 and in the end sold 15,000 copies with a total profit of 792 pounds, and would continue to sell to this very day with new editions coming out almost yearly.

Charles Dickens was a new man.  His genius had returned and his best work would come after A Christmas CarolDavid Copperfield, Great Expectations and A Tale of Two Cities were soon to make Dickens the most popular author of his time.

The story of A Christmas Carol is known to most.  Scrooge the miserly old man, whose heart is filled with anger, is visited by three spirits who, in showing him his past, his present and his possible future, change him into a generous and loving human being.  The story would impact society in many positive ways.  One industrialist upon reading the book immediately went out and bought all of his employees a turkeys, as Scrooge did for his Clerk, a practice that some employers still use today.  A factory owner proclaimed, after his reading of the novel, that his shop would be forever closed on Christmas day.

Acts of Charity began to abound during the Holiday Season as people began to, as Dickens wrote, “ open their shut up hearts freely and to think of people below them as really fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race creatures bound on other journeys.”

Dickens would go on to write 4 other Christmas books and in 1874 Robert Louis Stevenson, the author of Treasure Island, would say of all of them, “I feel so good after them and would do anything, yes, and shall do anything to make it a little better for people.”

But that was not the only impact that A Christmas Carol would have.  In writing A Christmas Carol Dickens would give the public a revisionist’s view of Christmas.  In other words he wrote how he would like to see Christmas celebrated and not as it actually was celebrated.

Christmas had gone out of favor in both England and The United States.  While Cromwell reigned in England Christmas was banned, and in America, when the puritans landed at Plymouth Rock, Christmas was outlawed and a person could be fined for celebrating the day in anyway.  Though these laws were repealed, Christmas was never celebrated as it had been previously.

Dickens family, though, enjoyed the celebration of Christmas.  The games they played and the food they enjoyed were all part of Dickens Carol.  Dickens, by himself, basically began the Christmas holiday as we know it today.  In England, for example, the goose was the traditional meal for Christmas. But with Scrooge giving his poor clerk Bob Crachitt a turkey for the holiday, the sales of geese went down and the sales of turkeys went up, so much so that the turkey supply in England ran out.

There is also no knowing how many productions in total of A Christmas Carol have been presented on stage, on television or in movies.  One estimated number from 1950 to 1980 is about 255 and that is only professional productions and not those done in churches and schools.  This would have pleased Dickens as he loved writing and performing in amateur theatricals.

A Christmas Carol is a book, but also so much more.  It has the power of changing our hearts and also in changing our world and has done so.  Even the name Scrooge is more than just a name as it has come to be the very essence of what it means to be a miser or a nasty person in general especially around the holidays.

A Christmas Carol has affected all of society and will probably do so for many years, if not centuries to come.  As Dickens ended his novel so I will end this article, “And it was always said of Scrooge that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed that knowledge. May that be said of us, and all of us!  And as Tiny Tim observed “God bless us everyone!”

The post A Christmas Carol Published December 17, 1843 first appeared on Movie News & Reviews.

Television history: A glimpse into the 1980’s

Few members of this generation would recall television in the 1980’s. The light-hearted atmosphere. The almost always focus on technology and machinery. And of course, the big fluffy hairstyles and clothing that would sometimes not even fit!

But the 1980’s has a heavy nostalgia effect that is fondly remembered by people who are over the age of 35. It was a much more simpler time in a world that was viewed as much brighter for most.

Today we are going to talk about a few of 1980’s best television shows for those that wish to look back with a penchant for simplicity in a more agreeable world with less complications that has now seemed to have overshadowed the lives of many.

Knight Rider

Premiering with it’s pilot episode in September of 1982, the plot of Knight Rider was about a cop, who reached lieutenant status, that was supposedly fatally shot in the head in the Nevada desert by thieves who wanted to steal the latest microchip designs for their own dastardly purposes. But little did they know that Michael Long was rescued by a multimillionaire who invested his fortune in the technology industry to design an advanced vehicle that was capable of fighting crime in the form of a black sports car, more precisely a Pontiac Trans-Am, that was loaded with many special abilities. Included was ejector seat and rocket thrusters that could make it boost up into the air. It even came with its own artificial intelligence! This was David Hasselhoff’s claim to fame, a show that he tends to still remind people with when in the spotlight. While the pilot episode was quite dark in mood, the television series that soon followed was more child friendly, A new episode would premiere every week for four years before being cancelled in 1986 by NBC. Numerous reboots have come and gone but none have had the same success as the 1982 original series.

A-team

The A-team was another Universal Studios production that succeeded in the footsteps of Knight Rider, but the back story wasn’t as sophisticated. Four military soldiers, who served in the Vietnam war, escaped from capitivity after being framed for a murder. While fugitives on the run from the authorities, they helped civilians for the greater good who found themselves being wronged. Unlike Michael Knight in Knight Rider, however, they charged a fee for their services in order to keep surviving. The fun elements of the A-team was seeing what creative inventions they would come up with toward the conclusions in order to defeat the bad guys, most of which would involve some sort of ridiculous presentation of machinery. The four heroes, BA, Face, Murdock and Hannibal all had their own individual personalities that would border on the comical side. To date, the A-team has not had any kind of revival on the small screen but it did have a 2010 feature length theatrical movie that has now mostly been forgotten about. Mr. T is known for this role, as well as his part in Rocky III, the third instalment in the dramatic boxing franchise.

Dallas

One for the adults, Dallas was a thirteen year long soap opera debuting in 1978. But the show did not reach the pinnacle of its success until the early 1980’s when famous villain, J.R was shot in what turned out to be a nationwide “whodunnit.” Like other shows, it had its own memorable theme tune that became one of the most illustrious in television history. J.R had something to do with most of the scenarios featured in the weekly episodes, although occasionally other people out to dethrone the Ewing family made their presence known. However, conflict often occurred within the family itself, with members often switching sides for their own personal gain! A reboot once again hit the small screen in 2012 but did not survive to see a fourth season, no doubt due to the death of Larry Hagman. Dallas is probably the most prominent soap opera you will ever come across that was screened in the ‘golden decade.’ Shhhh, Dynasty!

The post Television history: A glimpse into the 1980’s appeared first on Age of The Nerd.

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