Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Born in Bloomington in Victoria County in southeastern Texas, Josephine was the youngest of five children. Even as child, her talent was evident. She learned to be an accomplished dancer and became an excellent ice skater at Houston's Polar Palace. At Albert Sydney Johnston Junior High School and San Jacinto High School, she performed in the drama club. When she was a 17-year-old senior, two of her teachers urged her to enter the contest on Gateway to Hollywood, broadcast from the CBS Radio studios in Hollywood, California. The first prize was a one-year contract with a movie studio.
She won, and she was immediately given the stage name Gale Storm, while her performing partner (and future husband), Lee Bonnell from South Bend, Indiana, became Terry Belmont. After winning the contest in 1940, Storm made several films for RKO Radio Pictures, the first of which was Tom Brown's School Days. She worked steadily in a number of low-budget films released during this period. In 1941 she sang in several Soundies, three-minute musicals produced for "movie jukeboxes." She acted and sang in Monogram Pictures' popular Frankie Darro series, and played ingénue roles in other Monogram features with the East Side Kids, Edgar Kennedy, and The Three Stooges.
American audiences warmed to Storm and her fan mail increased. Altogether, she performed in more than three dozen motion pictures for Monogram. The early exposure from these film appearances paved the way for her success in other media. Storm became an American icon of the 1950s, starring in two highly successful television series, and it was in this decade that her singing career took off.
Her television career skyrocketed from 1952 to 1955, with her starring role in My Little Margie. The show, which co-starred former silent film actor Charles Farrell as her father, was originally a summer replacement for I Love Lucy on CBS. After becoming a hit, the show ran for 126 episodes on NBC and CBS. In an unusual move, the series was broadcast on CBS Radio from December 1952 to August 1955 with the same lead actors. Only 23 episodes of the radio show are known to survive. If you look at the right sidebar you'll see a video of a 1952 episode of My Little Margie.
Storm's popularity was capitalized upon in The Gale Storm Show (aka Oh! Susanna), featuring another silent movie star, ZaSu Pitts. This show ran for 143 episodes between 1956 and 1960. Storm appeared regularly on other television programs in the 1950s and 1960s as well. She was a panelist and as a "mystery guest" on What's My Line?
In Gallatin, Tennessee in 1954, a 10-year-old girl, Linda Wood, was watching Storm on a Sunday night television comedy show hosted by Gordon MacRae, singing one of the popular songs of the day. Linda's father asked her who was singing and was told it was Gale Storm from My Little Margie. Linda's father, Randy Wood, was president of Dot Records, and he liked Storm so much that he called to sign her before the end of the television show. Her first record, "I Hear You Knockin'", a cover version of a rhythm and blues hit by Smiley Lewis, in turn based on the old Buddy Bolden standard "The Bucket's Got a Hole In It", sold over a million copies. It was followed in 1957 by the haunting ballad, "Dark Moon" that went to No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. Storm had several top ten songs and headlined in Las Vegas and appeared in numerous stage plays.
In 1981, Storm published her autobiography, I Ain't Down Yet, which described her battle with alcoholism. She was also interviewed by author David C. Tucker for The Women Who Made Television Funny: Ten Stars of 1950s Sitcoms, published in 2007 by McFarland and Company.
Storm lived alone in Monarch Beach, California, near two of her sons and their families, until failing health forced her into a convalescent home in Danville where she died June 27, 2009 at the age of 87.
Gale Storm has three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contributions to recording, radio, and television.
Monday, June 29, 2009
This is Max's famous cousin. he's a private detective. http://snupes.blogspot.com/2009/06/lancelot-link-and-reluctant-robot.html.
Here's another distant relative that's currently trying to make his way in Hollywood. He's very good but can't seem to find the right part. http://marshmallowpeeps.blogspot.com/2009/06/its-jungle-out-there-jobs-are-hard-to.html.
And here are a couple more cousins who have actually found gainful employment in another country. http://marshmallowpeeps.blogspot.com/2009/06/blog-post.html.
Saturday, June 27, 2009
There has long been theories of conspiracy regarding the assasination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas back in November of 1963. This scientist has worked out a new theory that may have some validity. You decide.
Please feel free to leave your comments and opinions on this, or other theories.
The show was sponsored by Buick, and the opening credits ended with an advertisement ("Brought to you by your Buick dealer. And away we go!"). The show concluded with a brief Gleason sales pitch for the company. All references to the car maker were removed when the show entered syndication.
It was immediately popular and quickly garnered the #2 position in the ratings. However, competition was stiff, and production ended after only 39 episodes The final episode aired on September 22, 1956. Despite its relatively brief run, The Honeymooners is considered a premier example of American television comedy, and it has inspired successful television comedies such as The Flintstones and The King of Queens.
First we have Ralph Kramden, played by Jackie Gleason. Ralph is a bus driver for the Gotham Bus Company, although we never actually see him driving a bus. He’s frustrated because success continues to elude him, and he continually thinks up get-rich-quick schemes, which is a continuing theme. He has a quick temper and is prone to tossing insults and threats. His anger usually results in a hollow threat of “You wanna go to the moon? Bang! Zoom!”
Thelma “Trixie” Norton is Ed’s wife and is played by Joyce Randolph. Although she doesn’t appear in every episode, she’s usually depicted as being a bit bossy to Ed. In one episode she is depicted as a pool hustler.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
This video is from She Demons released in 1958. It's rather interesting if you watch it all the way through. I'm seeing some reminders of the scene from Pulp Fiction in which John Travolta and Uma Thurman dance the twist to the song C'est La Vie. Also, there's something in the soundtrack of this video that is strangely reminiscent of Michael Jackson's Thriller.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
If you’ve never eaten one, you need to, because there are nothing like them. If you bite into one and the liquid marshmallo filling drips off your chin, you know you've got the real thing.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
If you’re a Baby Boomer, you’re probably familiar with the term “Duck and Cover.” You may have seen the video (actually it was probably a 16mm film back in those days) when you were grade school. The video above is from the original 1950 airing.
We have a lot of unexplained mysteries today. The Mayan calendar predicts the world to end in 2012. Apparently, the government is building facilities to house and protect the "chosen ones" should this occur. The rest of will have to fend for ourselves.
And if you've never visited the Denver Airport, that's a whole different mystery in itself. Jesse Venture has investigated it and he seems to think there's something strange afoot.
So, with the threat of nuclear war still at our threshold, just as it was then, I thought it might be a good time to revisit those instructions, just so everyone knows what to do.
Monday, June 22, 2009
I've watched that film over 50 times, and I thought I knew it well. But in doing some research, I ran across something related to that story that I was totally unaware of. I’d like to share it with you loyal readers so we’ll all know it and be wiser because of it. It involves the “Major Award” won by the Old Man. By the way, you can get your own Major Award if you'd like. They are available on the Internet. Just Google "leg lamp."
It all started when the Chero-Cola company added Nehi Cola to its line of sodas in 1924 in order to offer more variety of soda flavors.
The answer, Victor, is actually supplied by the wife. While this is not made clear in the film, it is explained in Jean Shepherd’s book, “In God We Trust — All Others Pay Cash,” on which the film is based. And there you have it. And I dare you to keep it a secret. I triple dog dare ya!
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Geritol is currently a brand name for several vitamin complex plus iron or multimineral products in both liquid form and tablets, containing from 9.5 to 18 mg of iron per daily dose. The name is derived from the root "geri-", meaning old (as in "geriatrics") with the "i" for iron. The product has been promoted from almost the beginning of the mass media era as a cure for "iron-poor tired blood". In the early 20th century, many medical doctors and other health professionals felt that much of the tiredness often associated with old age was due to iron deficiency anemia.
Subsequent trials and appeals from 1965 to 1973 concluded some of the FTC demands exceeded its authority. Even so, Geritol's claims were discredited in court findings as "conduct amounted to gross negligence and bordered on recklessness.” The manufacturer was penalized with fines totaling, $812,000, the largest FTC fine up to that date (1973). However, Geritol was already well known and continued to be the largest American selling iron and B vitamin supplement through 1979.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
The ambitious Holly became increasingly interested in the New York music/recording/publishing scene, while his younger and more easygoing bandmates wanted to go back home to Lubbock. As a result, in 1959 the group split.
Friday, June 12, 2009
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Klatu. Baratta. Nikto.
And Nikto on the new version.
I went to Red Box and rented the new version of this classic film last night. It was, to say the least, quite disappointing. Since the original version was so good, I felt the new film would be even better. Brother, was I wrong. Sometimes "New and Improved" simply means new.