Friday, March 20, 2020

THE 6TH ANNUAL FAVOURITE TV SHOW EPISODE BLOGATHON: Magnum, P.I., Holmes is Where the Heart Is, 1984


Terence Towles Canote is hosting The 6th Annual Favourite TV Show Episode Blogathon. This is one of my top favourites of the annual blogathons and I am looking forward to all of the contributions to be found HERE.


HOLMES IS WHERE THE HEART IS
Written by Judy Burns and Jay Huguely
Directed by John Llewellyn Moxie
First aired Thursday, March 8, 1984 (Season 4)

Jonathan Quayle Higgins (John Hillerman) is a very busy man. As the caretaker of the Robin's Nest estate on Oahu for the successful author Robin Masters, Higgins has many duties that became more complicated with the arrival of private investigator Thomas Magnum (Tom Selleck). What the two men have in common is a military background, Higgins attended Sandhurst and Magnum is a retired Navy Seal. 

Magnum has been installed on the estate as the head of security after having done a favour for Robin Masters. From this place of luxury, he works at his leisure, annoying Higgins, wrecking Mr. Masters' Ferrari, and tricking his friends, and fellow vets, T.C. (Roger E. Mosley) and Rick (Larry Manetti) into assisting on his assignments.

Tom Selleck

On his downtime, Higgins is busy writing his memoir. He appears to currently be involved in that activity, but something feels different. For the past few days, Higgins has been incommunicado locked in his den. The sound of the typewriter is driving Magnum crazy. It is not the noise, it is his curiosity that has been piqued, plus he needs a special lens for a job and that lens is in the den.

John Hillerman

Higgins: "It is the singular purpose of this narrative to factually present the details of my detective friend's adventure. Without bias, on his behalf, I offer his inferences, deductions, and solutions leaving to the reader the task of final judgment."

Higgins was appointed executor to the estate of his late friend Sir Alec Ramsay. Upon the sad occasion of Sir Alec's funeral, their mutual friend David Worth (Patrick Macnee) arrives, acting mysteriously and confusing Higgins by using Sherlock Holmes' alias "Sigerson."

Patrick Macnee

David, as if undercover, is deep into the persona of Sherlock Holmes. Nothing Higgins says about reality has an impact on David; he is "Holmes." Higgins' devotion to his friend makes him powerless to do anything other than become his "Watson."

Holmes is persuaded that Sir Alec's death was caused by murder, and that murderer is none other than Moriarty. Adding to the puzzle are two suspicious men, Hopkins (Maurice Roeves) and Lever (Michael Billington) claiming the right to Sir Alec's papers for the British Museum.

While the strangers' credentials check out, Higgins intuitively retains Sir Alec's diary. The diary leads Higgins to believe that his friend Holmes has a right to be skeptical about Sir Alec's death. It appears to Higgins that the illegal drug trade on the islands is involved.

Patrick Macnee

Holmes reveals to Higgins that he has tracked Moriarty who is in disguise as a respected Chinese businessman Hoon Ching (Danny Kamekona). Our modern-day Holmes and Watson find themselves in the midst of a power-play for the illegal drug trade between Ching and his son Victor (George Cheung).

Patrick Macnee, John Hillerman

In the course of their tracking the actions of the Ching criminal enterprise, Higgins learns some disturbing news. The British Museum men are actually MI6 agents tracking their former colleague who has escaped from a sanitorium. David had been placed in the facility when his mental health began failing him. No matter how befuddled, 30 years as a spy makes him too much of danger to be allowed to wander free.

After capture, Higgins is about to be tortured by Victor Ching when his dear friend Holmes comes to his rescue. Sadly, as David is about to, once more, escape MI6, it is his Watson who enables capture by his enemies. Holmes had solved the case but lost his freedom.


Throughout this day, Thomas keeps coming up with hair-brained schemes to get Higgins out of the den, and finally one of them works. While Higgins is walking with "the lads", the Dobermans Apollo and Zeus, Thomas invades the den and reads Higgins' confidential memoir. Higgins is naturally resentful of Thomas' trickery and his cavalier humour toward what he has read.


Chastened, Thomas sincerely asks about the case and what has made Higgins devote so much time to it now. David had forgiven Higgins for his transgression as Watson and during recent years, the two friends corresponded and enjoyed solving intricate puzzles. What led Higgins to relive this amazing and emotional adventure of ten years past?

Thomas: "Forgive me for being such a boor these last few days."
Higgins: "My obsession, as you call it. It did, however, seem terribly important that it be done now."
Thomas: "He died."
Higgins: "Last week. It seemed terrible for a man who so loved excitement. Simple pneumonia."

Patrick Macnee was perfect in the role of the fantasy Holmes, displaying tenacity, energy, and the surety of the rightness of his cause. The force of his personality took Higgins on a grand adventure with real world consequences. We should all be so crazy!

Homes Is Where the Heart Is has a lovely melancholy feel mixed with character-driven humour making it a charming and memorable episode in the series.


John Hillerman was nominated for the Emmy (4 nominations) and the Golden Globe (5 nominations) awards for Magnum, P.I. He won the Emmy for playing Higgins in 1987, and the Golden Globe in 1982.












Friday, March 13, 2020

THE POP STARS MOONLIGHTING BLOGATHON: Chad and Jeremy and Catwoman and Batman, 1966

Chad Stuart and Jeremy Clyde

Gill at Realweegiemidget Reviews is hosting a unique blogathon devoted to the acting gigs of pop stars on March 12th to 14th. You'll find all the contributions by clicking on DAY 1DAY 2, and DAY 3.

Composer John Barry was influential in getting the folk-pop duo of Chad and Jeremy a recording contract and developing their sound. The duo enjoyed their greatest success with hit records and concert tours was in America between 1963 and 1968. After taking separate roads in their music and acting careers, Chad and Jeremy would reunite in the 1980s and then again in the 2000s. Chad Stuart is now retired and Jeremy Clyde tours with Peter Asher of Peter and Gordon.

We are returning to the 1960s when the classic send-up Batman was "new" and guest stars, like Chad and Jeremy, were a great treat for regular viewers.

Chad and Jeremy met while students at London's Central School of Speech and Drama. While the work in these television programs didn't stretch any acting chops, they ably played "themselves" as quirky British musicians.



BATMAN
The Cat's Meow
Wednesday, December 14, 1966
Written by Stanley Ralph Ross
Directed by James B. Clark

Special Guest Villainess Julie Newmar as The Catwoman has fooled many citizens of Gotham City into believing in her reformation, particularly Commission Gordon played by Neil Hamilton. Chief O'Hara played by Stafford Repp isn't quite so certain Catwoman can be trusted. For once, the Chief may be unto something.

Catwoman has perfected a machine that steals voices (Holy Ursula the Sea Witch!). She has stolen the voice of morning television host Harry Upps (Peter Leeds) framing Penguin, Joker and the Riddler. The jig, however, is up when the too-sure-of-herself CW makes her presence and intentions known when she steals the voice of our beloved Commissioner Gordon himself!

Stafford Repp, Julie Newmar, Neil Hamilton

The Catwoman's reign of terror isn't the only big happening in Gotham City. Chad and Jeremy are in town to perform at the Policeman's Benevolent Society concert. Catwoman and the Kittens (Eenie, Meenie, Miney, and Moe) were also scheduled to perform, but her recent outing as a not-so-reformed-criminal put a crimp in the lineup.


Millionaire Bruce Wayne has offered Stately Wayne Manor as the perfect stopping place to protect the British imports from their over-zealous teenage fans. Aunt Harriet played by Madge Blake is a little anxious due to the rowdy reputation of rock musicians and Alfred played by Alan Napier is none too keen on this "modern" stuff, but they perform their hosting duties diligently and find the boys to be pleasant company, even if they don't get their jokes.

Catwoman's attempt to case Stately Wayne Manor in the guise of a not so graceful dance teacher eventually led Batman and Robin to her dance studio hideout, and her frontman played by Joe Flynn. It is there the caped crusaders find themselves trapped by the special guest villainess and imprisoned in an echo chamber with a million times amplified refinement on the Chinese water torture. Their brains will be scrambled and Batman will belong to the lovestruck Catwoman!

Julie Newmar, Burt Ward, Adam West

ZOUNDS! WHAT SOUNDS!
WILL BATMAN BE REDUCED TO A HANDSOME ROBOT FIT ONLY TO SERVE CATWOMAN?
IS ROBIN TO BECOME LITTLE MORE THAN A CUDDLY TEDDY BEAR FOR EENIE?
THE ANSWER TO THESE AND OTHER EAR-SHATTERING QUESTIONS TOMORROW!!
SAME CAT-TIME!! SAME CAT-CHANNEL!!


BATMAN
The Bat's Kow-Tow
Thursday, December 15, 1966 
Written by Stanley Ralph Ross
Directed by James B. Clark

Batman brilliantly comes up with a plan to affect his and Robin's release. "Every room has its sympathetic vibration. A note that will shatter glass like the great Caruso did with his voice. The note for this room should be F-sharp above high C." And, of course, it was!

THEFT!

Catwoman has thus far been unable to enact her true plan, stealing the voices of Chad and Jeremy to hold for ransom to the British government. Her opportunity presents itself at the Police Benevolent Society Concert where "thousands" of teenage fans keep Batman and Robin from pursuing the thieves.

Burt Ward, Adam West, Steve Allen

Batman and Robin attempt to assuage the fears of the citizenry by appearing on the Allan Stevens (Steve Allen) television program. Fear is only heightened when the Catwoman steals the voice of Allan Stevens!

Both crimefighters and criminals are stymied in reaching their goal by official British channels as represented in Gotham City by Sir Sterling Habits played by Maurice Dallimore. The word from Harold (Wilson, Prime Minister) regarding Chad and Jeremy, "Millions for their records, not a cent for their ransom!"


Don Ho visits Gotham City

In order to avoid those thousands of screaming teenagers surrounding the consulate, Batman and Robin leave the building by means of their bat-ropes and run into another visiting pop star, Hawaii's Don Ho.

Mr. Oceanbring's salon is in the middle of a Bat-Cat fight

Chad and Jeremy, voiceless though they may be, are desperate to attend the salon of the world-famous hairdresser Mr. Oceanbring played by trendy stylist Jay Sebring. Would you believe the salon is Catwoman's latest lair? Batman and Robin discover the hiding place and this time the fight falls in the favour of our dynamic duo.

Lovesick Catwoman cannot bring herself to vanquish Batman when the opportunity is presented. However, she does try to wrangle a date for when she next gets free from prison. Robin interrupts a smooch (Holy Mush!) cementing the Boy Blunder's place in the Catwoman's bad books.

Judy Strangis and thousands of screaming teenage fans

Catwoman's formula for returning the purloined voices consists of sweet basil, garlic, salt, and goat's milk in the right proportion, plus a stylish atomizer. The gift of song is returned to our Chad and Jeremy and thousands of screaming teenage fans are happy. Even the "old folks" get into the fun at the concert.

Madge Blake

Aunt Harriet: "Very hep, Alfred."
Dick Grayson: "It's 'hip', Aunt Harriet. They changed it."



OF NOTE:
 

Jeremy Clyde as Lord Buckingham in The Musketeer, 2001. One of the hundreds of movie and television credits listed on his IMDb page.


The Jungle Book has been a favourite of mine since childhood. These days my special needs son can imitate all of the characters. His only problem is trying to use his one voice to sound like all the vultures singing in harmony! 



A SUMMER SONG - LIVE



















Monday, March 9, 2020

THE 110 YEARS OF CLAIRE TREVOR BLOGATHON: The Desperadoes, 1943

Claire Trevor
1910-2000

Virginie of The Wonderful World of Cinema and Crystal of In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood are hosting The 110 Years of Claire Trevor Blogathon this March 8 - 10. The tributes to the memorable actress can be found HERE.


Claire Trevor's Hollywood career features characters with an odd and appealing mix of toughness and vulnerability. From her first Oscar nomination as the pitiable prostitute Francey in Dead End, 1937 to her win as Gaye Dawn, the alcoholic mistress of a gangster in Key Largo, 1948 Claire Trevor made us cheer and fear for the women she brought to the screen.

Film-noir is where Claire has perhaps her greatest acclaim, but she is a mainstay for western fans as well. Consider Stagecoach, Dark Command, Honky Tonk, Texas, Best of the Badmen, The Stranger Wore a Gun, Man Without a Star, and Columbia Studio and Claire's first Technicolor feature, The Desperadoes.


Ladies and gentlemen, is the daily grind getting you down? Do you want a good, old-fashioned oater to fill the early evening hours? Well, it's all here for you folks in Charles Vidor's 1943 production The Desperadoes.

You've got your stalwart lawman played by Randolph Scott, your good-bad man played by Glenn Ford, the tough but tender saloon owner played by Claire Trevor, the spunky romantic interest played by Evelyn Keyes, and the none-too-bright sidekick played by Guinn "Big Boy" Williams. There's Technicolor, stampedes, bronco riding, crooks, jailbreaks, and an explosion or two! So pop that corn and melt that butter.

Irving Bacon

What's that, you want more? You want scene-stealers? We have got the greatest. Watch Mr. Edgar Buchanan and Mr. Raymond Walburn commit grand larceny before your very eyes. Mr. Porter Hall and Mr. Irving Bacon also do their bit for the character actor fraternity. And for the "they had faces crowd" look for Noah Beery and Francis Ford.



Robert Carson (Western Union) wrote the screenplay from an original story by Max Brand (Internes Can't Take Money). Director of Photography George Meehan, whose bread and butter for many years were black and white westerns and crime pictures like The Whistler did an outstanding job with this important first for the studio. The outdoor sequences filmed in Kanab, Utah are particularly breathtaking.

Edgar Buchanan, Porter Hall

A crooked banker (Porter Hall) and a ne'er do well mailman/livery owner (Edgar Buchanan) plan a twisted plot to rob their own bank, cheating the local citizens and have them in their debt. They hire a gunman (Glenn Ford) to handle the delicate job who promises no killings. Anxious at the gunman's late arrival, the banker hires a local thug, Jack Lester (Bernard Nedell) who is not so squeamish about a killing or three.

Evelyn Keyes, Glenn Ford, Randolph Scott

Cheyenne Rogers had backed into the life of a gunfighter, but he's not a bad guy. There will be reasons for Cheyenne to want to change when he reaches Red Valley. The ne'er do well's daughter Alison (Evelyn Keyes) will be one reason and his friend Steve (Randolph Scott) being the town's sheriff is another.

Glenn Ford, Guinn "Big Boy" Williams

Cheyenne is also in town to meet up with his impulsive partner Nitro (Guinn Williams). Nitro did Cheyenne a favour once and is owed. Nitro is hiding out with The Countess (Claire Trevor). The Countess and Cheyenne grew up together. The Countess owns a hotel/gambling hall. She has influence in town because money talks. She also has a fondness for Cheyenne that goes beyond his for her.

Raymond Walburn, Francis Ford, Randolph Scott

The anxious banker tries to frame the earlier crimes on Cheyenne and Nitro doesn't help matters by impulsively robbing the bank. This places the two strangers in town at the mercy of a crooked Judge (Raymond Walburn) and a town ready to avenge the murders during the first robbery.

Claire Trevor is a force of nature as the Countess. Her strong personality is complemented by a number of colourful and eye-filling gowns. The producers draw your attention to this matter by the credit, "Miss Trevor's Costumes by Travilla."

TREVOR AND TRAVILLA

















Bonus:


The Desperadoes, 1943
Isn't Claire cute as a button in those shorts?

Charles Vidor (director), Evelyn Keyes, Randolph Scott, Claire Trevor
Edgar Buchanan, Glenn Ford, Sally Eilers, her husband Harry Joe Brown (producer)

Uncredited assistant director Budd Boetticher would join forces with Harry Joe Brown and Randolph Scott a decade later directing the well-regarded westerns The Tall T, Decision at Sundown, Buchanan Rides Alone, Ride Lonesome, and Comanche Station.

















Saturday, March 7, 2020

O CANADA! BLOGATHON: Songbirds Dorothy Collins and Gisele MacKenzie


"A weekend in Canada a change of scene..."
- Canadian Sunset

Ruth of Silver Screenings and Kristina of Speakeasy are once again hosting their O Canada! Blogathon. The event runs from March 6th to the 8th.

Blogathon contributions can be found HERE


Where you see a song title highlighted, click to hear the performance.

Dorothy Collins and Gisele MacKenzie of Your Hit Parade

Your Hit Parade, an entertaining presentation of contemporary song hits began on radio in 1935 and was a popular television program that ran on NBC from 1950 to 1959.

Two talented and personable Canadian gals made their mark on Classic American entertainment. Dorothy Collins was a popular star of the program from 1951 to 1958. Gisele MacKenzie was equally popular during her time on the show from 1953 to 1957. Here's a 1957 performance of a hit of the day, Don't Forbid Me.

Dorothy Collins
1926 - 1994

Born Marjorie Chandler in Windsor, Ontario on November 18, 1926, the singer known as Dorothy Collins began her career in her teens singing on Windsor and Detroit radio stations. At the age of 15 she became lead vocalist for Raymond Scott's orchestra. Scott became her coach, mentor and in 1952, her husband. The marriage would last 13 years, produce two daughters and some great music. Dorothy's second marriage was to actor Ron Holgate in 1966. That marriage also ended in divorce but gave her another daughter.


Along with Your Hit Parade, Dorothy was ubiquitous on television in the many of the variety, talk, and game shows that inhabited the airwaves. Perry Como, Steve Allen, Garry Moore, Danny Kaye, The Hollywood Palace, Mike Douglas, Merv Griffin, Password and American Bandstand and other programs featured Dorothy has a guest more than once.


Dorothy was a co-hostess and stunt participant for two seasons on Candid Camera.


This Bing Crosby and Dorothy Collins duet of The Christmas Glow Worm from The Hollywood Palace Christmas episode in 1965 has become a holiday tradition for me.


Dorothy left an eclectic set of albums including the 1958 release Picnic: Dorothy Collins Sings Steve Allen where you can enjoy a Banana SplitExperiment Songs included in the 1960 set Ballads for the Age of Science, along with Songs by Dorothy Collins with the Barney Kessel Trio, At Home with Dorothy and Raymond (Scott), Won't You Spend Christmas with Me, and A New Way to Travel with the standard Perfidia. You can also hear Dorothy in the 2019 release The Jingle Workshop: Mid Century Musical Miniatures 1951-1965.

Dorothy Collins, Follies

Dorothy and her audience came together through concerts, night club engagements, and theatrical performances. On the road, Dorothy appeared in The Wizard of Oz, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Good News. Dorothy made her mark on Broadway in 1971 creating the role of Sally Durant Plummer in the Stephen Sondheim musical Follies, produced and directed by Harold Prince.


Losing My Mind

"Dorothy Collins' version of Losing My Mind should be studied as a how-to-do-it lesson in singing."
- Stephen Sondheim

Dorothy was nominated for the Best Actress in a Musical Tony Award for Follies. The award was given to fellow-Canadian castmate Alexis Smith in the role of Phyllis Rogers Stone. 

All I have read about Dorothy shows that we lost a lovely person, as well as a great talent, when she passed away from asthma and heart disease on July 21, 1994, at the age of 67. Fortunately for fans, we can enjoy her many recordings which are still available. 


Gisele MacKenzie
1927- 2003

Gisele Marie Louise Marguerite LaFleche was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba on January 10, 1927. Gisele took her father's middle name MacKenzie as her professional name in 1951, lest her real name sounded like a striptease artist. Oh, those Canadian girls and their sense of humour!

Gisele studied at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto and was an excellent violinist, pianist as well as a vocalist. She hosted her own CBC radio program Meet Gisele where she interviewed celebrities passing through Toronto. In 1951 Gisele moved to Los Angeles to work for CBS (radio and television) with fellow Canuck Percy Faith and with Bob Crosby on Club Fifteen program.


Gisele recorded for Capitol, RCA and other labels, producing wonderful albums and hit singles. Hard to Get and Seven Lonely Days were popular hits. Among her albums, you will find delightful musical storytelling for children in Gisele Mackenzie Sings and Tells Babar Adventures and Travels as well as Sings And Tells Cinderella And Alice in Wonderland. A must-have is Christmas With Gisele.



Gisele hosted a radio program while appearing on television, and after her time on Your Hit Parade, hosted The Gisele MacKenzie Show for the 1957-1958 season. Gisele and her variety show guest star Roger Williams with a stirring piano duet of Richard Rodgers' Slaughter on Tenth Avenue. Sometimes good things don't last, like Gisele's variety show, but her time on television went on with appearances on other variety shows.

Like Dorothy, Gisele was married and divorced twice. She had two children, a son Mac and a daughter, Gigi.


Gisele spent quality television time with Dinah Shore, Milton Berle, Jonathan Winters, Steve Allen, Eddie Fisher, Ed Sullivan, "Tennessee" Ernie Ford, George Gobel, Perry Como, Jack Paar, Mike Douglas, and of course, Jack Benny. Gisele and Jack toured and appeared together often and their most popular routine was Getting to Know You.

Game show buffs can seek out Gisele on Password, Stump the Stars, Hollywood Squares, and The Match Game.

Gisele, Annie Get Your Gun

Gisele hit the road in the mid-1950s on tour in the great musicals. She was a popular player in starring roles in Annie Get Your Gun, South Pacific, The King and I, Gypsy, Mame, and Hello, Dolly!. Not a fan of live theatre (why not?!), you could find Gisele performing at top clubs and making recordings just for you. Or you could just stay home at watch Gisele on The Perry Como Show promoting her latest album.

Gisele Mackenzie as Katherine Chancellor

It is not likely that television fans could miss Gisele's work as an actress during the 1960s to the 1990s. She appeared as Sid's wife on The Sid Caesar Show and guested on Burke's Law, Crazy Like a Fox, Murder, She Wrote, MacGyver, and Boy Meets World. In 1986 she was a temporary replacement for Jeanne Cooper as Katherine Chancellor on The Young and the Restless.

Sadly, Gisele passed away from colon cancer on September 5, 2003. It is sad to think of her struggle at the end so I will concentrate on the joy she brought us through the years. I will leave you with two musical treats. First, one of my favourite of Gisele's records (full disclosure: I have yet to find one that isn't a favourite), Leroy Anderson's Blue Tango.


And from Gisele's daughter Gigi Mackenzie's album Skylark, a wonderful blending of their voices in Stranger in Paradise from Kismet.


Russell Arms and Gisele MacKenzie and Dorothy Collins and Snooky Lanson
Your Hit Parade












THE 6TH ANNUAL FAVOURITE TV SHOW EPISODE BLOGATHON: Magnum, P.I., Holmes is Where the Heart Is, 1984

Terence Towles Canote is hosting   The 6th Annual Favourite TV Show Episode Blogathon . This is one of my top favourites of the a...