CMBA Spring Blogathon, “Big Stars on the Small Screen,” Vincent Price in “The Brady Bunch”

In support of National Classic Movie Day on May 16th, the members of the Classic Movie Blog Association (CMBA) were asked to write on the topic of “big stars on the small screen.” I decided to write about one of my favorite big stars who appeared on many small screens over his impressive 60+ year career–Vincent Price. Price is best known for his horror films, such as The House on Haunted Hill (1959), Theatre of Blood (1973), and The Pit and the Pendulum (1961) to name just a few. He was also a known “foodie” and gourmet cook as well as a major art collector. Price’s love of acting and celebrity as an icon of horror films coincided nicely with his hobbies. Since obviously, he could pay for fancy food and artwork with the money earned from his acting.

Vincent Price shows Johnny Carson how to cook dinner in the dishwasher.

Vincent Price appeared on every type of television show under the sun. His voice made a very early television appearance in 1949 when he narrated a version of “The Christmas Carol.” In the 1950s, he appeared in numerous episodes of dramatic series, such as Robert Montgomery Presents and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Price’s great voice and presence definitely lent itself well to drama, however, he was also adept at comedy. He had a great sense of camp and the absurd, I never got the sense that he took himself too seriously. In 1966, Price appeared in seven episodes of the cult classic television series, Batman, as the villain, Dr. Egghead. He also appeared in multiple episodes of Laugh-In as a guest performer. In 1975, Vincent Price made a memorable appearance on Johnny Carson where he taught Johnny how to cook an entire dinner in the dishwasher. I recommend watching this clip on You Tube, you won’t regret it.

::Cue the Tiki music::

However, it was in 1972 when Vincent Price made his greatest television appearance–Professor Whitehead in the second and third episodes of the classic 3-part Hawaii episodes in The Brady Bunch. In the first episode of the fourth season, “Hawaii Bound,” Mike is sent by his architecture firm to check on the status of a construction project. And because Mike’s boss, Mr. Phillips, is apparently the greatest boss ever, he allows Mike to take all six of his kids, his wife, and his housekeeper with him to Hawaii for vacation. When the Bradys arrive in Hawaii, it doesn’t take long for hijinks to ensue. While accompanying Mike to the construction site, Bobby finds a cursed Tiki idol. ::cue Tiki music:: (You know you hear it). Bobby, Peter and Greg later take the Tiki ::cue Tiki music:: to a local man, Mr. Hanalei, who tells the boys that the idol is cursed and brings bad luck to whomever has it in their possession.

The boys are skeptical about the superstition but begin to believe the legend when multiple members of the family have bad luck wearing the tiki ::cue Tiki music:: . Bobby sits on his ukulele and crushes it. Later, a heavy wall decoration almost crushes Bobby when Greg accidentally hits it when throwing a pillow. The next day, Alice is wearing the idol and throws her back out during a hula lesson. Then, Bobby inexplicably gives the tiki ::cue Tiki music:: to Greg to wear during the surfing contest he’s entered. During the contest, Greg is doing well, until he’s not. He wipes out and is nowhere to be seen.

Greg will regret surfing with the tiki idol ::Cue Tiki music::

Oh no! Is Greg dead? No of course not, this is The Brady Bunch! In the second episode of the arc, “Pass the Tabu,” Mike finds Greg and helps him to shore. He recovers, though presumably lost the surfing contest. The tiki ::cue Tiki music:: has fallen off Greg during his wipe-out. But never fear, it washes up on shore and Jan finds it. She places it into her bag. Later, while out sightseeing, a giant spider crawls into Jan’s bag. Jan returns the tiki ::cue Tiki music:: to Bobby. The spider also ends up in the boys’ room. At this point, Bobby is completely creeped out by the idol, convinced of its unluckiness. Peter puts the idol on and says “bad luck come and get me.” Right at that point, the giant spider has made its way out of Jan’s bag and onto Peter’s chest.

Deciding that they’ve had enough, the boys decide they need to return the tiki ::cue Tiki music::. The boys return to Mr. Hanalei to find out how to dispose of the idol and absolve themselves of its curse. Mr. Hanalei tells them that they’ll need to return it to the ancient burial ground where the idol was originally found. Greg, Peter and Bobby confide in Marcia, Jan, and Cindy about the idol and where they need to go. The next morning, they board a bus and head to the other side of Oahu. At this point, one has to wonder how much free reign the kids have on this vacation that they can literally get up and get on a bus and not expect their parents to wonder where they are, but I digress. That is not important, because it is at this point where we meet the Special Guest Star–Vincent Price!

Professor Whitehead (Vincent Price) interrogates the Brady boys about the idol.

Price is only featured briefly at the end of the second episode, but is fully featured in the third and final part of the Hawaii trilogy, “The Tiki Caves.” Price plays Professor Whitehead, a disgruntled archaeologist who was cheated out of recognition a few years prior after finding a major treasure in Egypt. When he happened upon this ancient burial cave in Hawaii, he was determined to not let that happen again. However, his paranoia has led to him becoming a bit eccentric, as well as lonely. His only companion is an oversized tiki statue whom he has named “Oliver.” When the Professor first hears the boys walking about, he stalks them and tries to scare them out of the cave, but to no avail. There’s a funny scene where the Professor puts on some feathers and a mask and pops out of a casket in front of the boys, which startles them and they take off running. However, they run further into the cave, not out.

Eventually the Professor catches up with Greg, Peter and Bobby and captures them. He ties them to tikis to try and force them into explaining why they’re in the ancient burial ground. The boys explain that they were only in the cave to return the tiki idol ::cue Tiki music:: . Professor Whitehead accuses them of finding a find he didn’t find. Throughout all of this discussion, he continues to confide in Oliver who seemingly offers him advice and consolation. Greg finally manages to wriggle free; but their escape is thwarted by Professor Whitehead and his spear.

Professor Whitehead and Oliver.

At this point, Mike and Carol have finally realized that their children are missing and have managed to coax the truth out of the girls. While they close in on the cave, Greg, Peter and Bobby have managed to convince Professor Whitehead to free them, so that they can show him where they found the idol. Obviously this is just a ruse, and the Professor figures it out when the boys obviously do not know their way around. He finally believes their story and says that he will tie them back up and escape with all the treasure he can, so that his claim isn’t usurped. Being the nice guy that he is, the Professor says he’ll send someone back for them. Before he can finish tying up the boys, Mike and Carol walk in, understandably upset that their children were kidnapped and held hostage. The tiki idol ::cue Tiki music:: is returned to the cave and all is well again.

Despite Professor Whitehead kidnapping their children, the Bradys proudly attend a luau held in Whitehead’s honor.

THEN. Mike tells Professor Whitehead that not only does he forgive Professor Whitehead for kidnapping and holding his children hostage, but all five of them will serve as witnesses and corroborate the Professor’s claim on all the treasure. And if that wasn’t enough, ALL the Bradys attend a luau being held in Professor Whitehead’s honor. Unbelievable. Mike really lives by his advice, “a wise man forgets his anger before he lies down to sleep.”

Vincent Price warns Greg that his apartment is haunted in The Brady Bunch Variety Hour.

However, this wasn’t the end for Vincent Price and the Bradys. In 1977, Price would make an appearance on what might be simultaneously the worst show and the greatest show I’ve ever seen–The Brady Bunch Variety Hour. In this episode, Greg (who has got to be in his early 20s at this point) decides that he needs to move out of the family home. The Brady Bunch’s house by the way is not their iconic home, it is this random house set constructed for the show. It is explained that Mike moved them closer to the beach after the family accepted the variety show offer. Yes. Anyway, Greg is trying to write a new song (unfortunately, it was not a reprise of his “clowns never laughed before, beanstalks never grew” song) and keeps being interrupted. He dramatically announces his intention to move and with the help of the Bradys’ neighbor, realtor Rip Taylor, Greg has a new pad.

Finally, I have an opportunity to post this image of Vincent Price from Theatre of Blood.

Unfortunately for Greg, his new apartment is really tacky and rundown. However, FORTUNATELY for Greg, one of his neighbors is none other than Vincent Price. It’s unclear whether Price is playing himself or playing a character named “Vincent Price,” but nonetheless he warns Greg about his apartment being haunted by the spirit of Kitty Sheehan. Despite the absurdity of The Brady Bunch Variety Hour, Vincent Price is awesome per usual. This only proves how great an actor and personality Vincent Price was. It doesn’t matter what the project is, whether it’s Shelby Carpenter in Laura, The Brady Bunch Variety Hour, providing the voiceover in Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” playing Dr. Egghead in Batman, acting as The Inventor in Edward Scissorhands, Edward Lionheart in Theatre of Blood, or cooking fish in the dishwasher, Vincent Price is always worth watching.

Even Vincent Price can’t believe that he’s on this show.

My First TCM Film Festival–Part 3

During my last post, Jimmy and I had just gone to bed at 2:00am after finishing our midnight movie, Xanadu. We were on the go from 9:00am all the way until 2:00am. It was a long day.

April 16, 2023

Today was our last day at the TCMFF. We were going to get up early for the 9:00am screening of Heaven Can Wait with Don Ameche and Gene Tierney. However, having gotten to bed at 2:00am, this screening was not happening. I’d seen this film before and I own it, so we decided that sleep sounded more appealing. We also skipped the last spotlight breakfast, in favor of sleeping in. Unfortunately, because we didn’t get out and about until around 10:30am, all the good ribbons were already gone from the information desk. We decided to have an ice cream/coffee breakfast at Ghirardelli across the street from Grauman’s. Jimmy had wanted to get the Lands End sundae ever since he saw it on the menu at the Disneyland Ghirardelli (actually California Adventure. It’s in the Pacific Wharf area).

The amazing ceiling at Grauman’s. This is the most gorgeous ceiling I’ve ever seen in my life. I hate to imagine how much work it takes to clean it.

Originally I wanted to go see the Carole Lombard/Clark Gable precode, No Man of Her Own. However, it started at 12:15pm. By the time we got over to the theater, it was almost noon. Seeing that they start seating movies 30 minutes prior, and the precode was in the tiny Theater 4 in the multiplex (a theater I’ve heard referred to as “The Thunderdome”), Jimmy thought that even with our Spotlight passes, we might not get in, due to them having already started seating. He didn’t want to risk missing the start of another film trying to get into theater 4. Instead, we opted to see the classic to end all classics, Casablanca (1942) at Grauman’s. Even though we’d seen this film in the theater four times previously, it turned out to be the right choice. Eddie Muller and Ben Mankiewicz delivered a delightful introduction and we were off. Seeing one of my favorite movies on “the biggest screen in North America” was absolutely amazing. You could hear a pin drop in the theater. It is definitely one of the best theater experiences I’ve ever had.

The inside of Grauman’s

After Casablanca, we did head over to theater 4 to see Mr. Cohen Takes a Walk (1935). This wasn’t a film that I originally planned to attend, however, I wanted to see Leonard Maltin who was introducing this film. He also introduced Heaven Can Wait, which we missed because we chose to sleep instead. We also already knew what our 4:45pm movie was, so ‘Mr. Cohen’ fit perfectly in the schedule. Leonard Maltin’s introduction was excellent. He was absolutely correct when he said that “this isn’t a great film, but it’s a good film and deserves to be shown.” Shout-out to the woman who spent Maltin’s entire introduction taking pictures of herself sitting in a theater seat instead of being a polite and attentive audience member. ::Rolls eyes.:: ‘Mr. Cohen’ ended up being exactly what Maltin said it was. It was a very charming movie.

This is the most gorgeous theater I’ve ever seen in my life.

After ‘Mr. Cohen,’ we had a 45 minute break before our next film. We wanted to find something quick but substantial to eat. We spotted Johnny Rocket’s at the mall outside the multiplex. Jimmy asked the waitress what the lead time was on a burger (he used to be a sous chef) and we were told that she could rush the burgers if we ordered those first. Jimmy and I quickly ordered a burger and she ran the order to the kitchen. We also got fries and sodas. Shout-out to Johnny Rocket’s who got our burgers out in less than 10 minutes. We got to the restaurant a little after 4:00pm, and had our food by 4:15. We had 30 minutes to eat and get back to Theater 4. We made it and were back in the theater to see Larceny Inc (1942) with time to spare.

A bust of Bette Davis’ head that was on display in Club TCM. This was used for makeup tests during production on “The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex.” Can you imagine having this in your house?

Larceny Inc was one of the TBA films. At the TCMFF, a handful of timeslots on Sunday afternoon will display TBA. On Saturday, the TBAs will be announced. The TBA titles are films that sold out during their original screening and festival attendees are given another chance to see something they may have missed. Larceny Inc originally screened on Friday, but we were seeing Footlight Parade. The TBAs on Sunday ended up being, Larceny Inc, Footlight Parade, The Killers, One Way Passage, and The Old Maid. We spent all afternoon in theater 4, which up until Sunday had been the only theater we hadn’t seen yet. Larceny Inc was hilarious. It isn’t often you see a comedy with Edward G. Robinson where he dresses like Santa while smoking a cigar. After the film ended, we immediately got back in line at theater 4 for our final film–The Old Maid (1939) with my queen, Bette Davis, and Miriam Hopkins.

I’d seen The Old Maid before, but I wanted to see it because I’d heard that Mario Cantone had delivered a hilarious introduction during the first screening. Jimmy and I were seeing Harvey during The Old Maid‘s first go around. I’m glad how the TBAs turned out, because The Old Maid was my second choice if Harvey were sold out. We had just seen the new King Kong restoration at the Hollywood Theatre in Portland in January. King Kong was at Grauman’s during the Harvey/The Old Maid timeslot as well. However, because we’d just seen it, it wasn’t on our radar.

Mario Cantone’s The Old Maid introduction encore performance was hysterical. I don’t know how politically correct a post-stroke Bette Davis impression is, but it was hilarious. Jimmy and I met Mario during the cocktail party on our first day of the festival. The Old Maid did not disappoint with the melodrama and for the record, I am Team Bette.

Eddie Muller, Alicia Malone, Dave Karger, me (!), Jimmy, my phone and my wine. I’m so happy I didn’t spill my wine on their table, that would have been so embarrassing!

After The Old Maid, we headed back across the street for the closing party. They were using Club TCM and the Roosevelt lounge again for the party. Both rooms were very crowded and the drink lines were long. As a note, people: if there is a long line, just order something easy (e.g., glass of wine, beer, rum and coke, crown and coke, etc.) stop waffling when you get to the front of the line, just order something. But I digress, despite the crowd, the closing party was a lot of fun because Jimmy and I finally got to talk to the last host that we hadn’t met yet despite spending so much time with him–Dave Karger.

I am so happy to report that all five of the hosts: Ben Mankiewicz, Eddie Muller, Alicia Malone, Jacqueline Stewart and Dave Karger were as nice as could be. Not an air of pretension surrounding any of them. They graciously shook hands with and talked to the festival attendees and even posed for photos. Dave even told Jimmy and I that we should go on one of the classic cruises, which he said is even more fun than the festival. Jimmy and I actually looked at pricing for this year’s cruise, which is actually slightly cheaper than the TCMFF (for two people). Unfortunately, I don’t think we can swing both the festival and the cruise in the same year. However, we’re interested in the cruise and may go when it casts off from the West Coast again. It’s leaving from San Diego this year, which would be super convenient, plus San Diego is awesome, but we can’t swing going this year.

Jimmy and I had an absolutely amazing time at our first TCMFF. While I wish that the weather was a little better, it was better than it was in Portland, so that’s something. We are already planning to return next year as it will be both the 15th TCMFF and the 30th anniversary of TCM. It’ll also be the 40th anniversary of films made in Jimmy’s and my year (1984, eek), so I’m hoping for a Spinal Tap reunion. What I wouldn’t give to hear “Big Bottom” live. When we returned from the festival, Jimmy said that he expected to have fun, but he didn’t expect to have as much fun as he had. Thank you, TCM!

Total number of films seen: 13

Total numbers of panels seen: 2

Total number of Laurel & Hardy shorts seen: 1

Films that we’d seen before: Footlight Parade (1933), Beach Party (1963), Bye Bye Birdie (1963), Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954), The Old Maid (1939), Sorry Wrong Number (1948), Casablanca (1942) and Xanadu (1980)

New to us films: Harvey (1950), Rio Bravo (1959), Larceny Inc (1942), Mr. Cohen Takes a Walk (1935), and Enter the Dragon (1973)

Panels: Looney Tunes at the Oscars and The Evolution of Henson Puppetry

Laurel & Hardy Shorts: “Going Bye-Bye” (1934)

Favorite Parts of TCMFF: The Henson Puppetry Panel, seeing Casablanca in the IMAX, Enter the Dragon, meeting all the hosts, seeing Jacqueline Stewart and Alicia Malone in the elevator, and the cocktail party.

Least Favorite Parts of TCMFF: The crowds at the opening and closing night parties in Club TCM and the Roosevelt Hotel lounge (larger space would have been better), the weather, the Friday night incident, and the fact that it ended!

Other things I saw at the TCMFF:

John Travolta’s suit from “Saturday Night Fever.”
An ice bucket from “Casablanca”
Rita Hayworth’s famous dress from “Gilda.”

Click on the photo to read Part 1 of my trip to my first TCMFF!
Click on the photo to read Part 2 of my trip to my first TCMFF!

My First TCM Film Festival– Part 2

When we left off in Part 1, Jimmy and I had just finished watching Rio Bravo (1959), the opening night film. We also attended the cocktail gala which was awesome. At around midnight, we were back in our room at the Roosevelt, ready to hit the sheets, as we had a 9:00am movie to make the next morning.

April 14, 2023

We woke up at around 6:30-7:00 to get ready and make it downstairs for the Spotlight breakfast which started at 8:00am. The breakfast was fine, nothing spectacular. We had some scrambled eggs, potatoes, bacon, sausage, fruit and a croissant. The sausage turned out to be turkey sausage and it was not very good. Very tasteless. However, the rest of the breakfast was good. We also got a to-go coffee. The best part of the breakfast was that it was free (so to speak, it is a perk of the Spotlight pass). We also saw Alicia Malone who was milling about the breakfast. My only minor complaint is that I wish there were more tables. Both days we attended the breakfast, we had to balance our plates on our laps. There was also a raffle. It was also on this day that I learned about the ribbons that attendees attach to the bottoms of their passes. I found out that I could get them at the Information Desk. And I also learned that you had to get them early in the day, otherwise all the good ones would be gone very quickly.

The ribbons are available early mornings at the TCM Info desk.

We left the breakfast at around 8:30 to head across the street to the multiplex (theater #1) to see our first film of the day, Harvey (1950). Neither Jimmy nor I had ever seen this film. Harvey was introduced by Joe Dante, the director of the 1984 classic, Gremlins. But before Dante’s intro, TCM programmer Scott McGee delivered the customary opening remarks, thanking sponsor Citi. But, that was not all, at this screening was a special guest! Cue the TCM staffers walking into the theater helping the special guest, none other than Harvey himself. All 6’3.5″ of him. This whole scene was pretty funny. The staffers helped Harvey to his reserved front row seat and even took a photo of him. I enjoyed Joe Dante’s intro. He is obviously just as much a film fan as he is an expert.

Jimmy and I loved Harvey. We knew that Harvey was James Stewart’s invisible friend and we knew Harvey was a rabbit. Otherwise, we didn’t know how the film was going to play out. We absolutely loved it. Josephine Hull, who played Stewart’s sister, was absolutely hysterical. She earned that Best Supporting Actress Oscar. Literally right after the film, we added it to our list of movies to purchase, alongside the previous evening’s Rio Bravo, which we’d also never seen.

After Harvey, we headed over to multiplex #6, for Footlight Parade (1933). When this film was announced, I knew it was a must see. I’ve seen this movie before, I’m not sure if Jimmy had. Even though ‘Parade’ conflicted with East of Eden, which I also wanted to see, I absolutely had to see Busby Berkeley’s choreography on the big screen. The screening was packed and it was absolutely fantastic. I loved Bruce Goldstein’s introduction. He also had an excellent closer as well where he had put together a presentation showcasing banned scenes in Footlight Parade. We were treated to a montage of different scenes and a caption stating which country/state/province banned this specific scene. Let’s just say that Quebec should have just banned the film completely. They also had a hilarious complaint about Berkeley’s scene where the dancers stand in three tiers, while revolving. Quebec specifically objected to “revolving women.” If we make it to the TCMFF next year, I would definitely prioritize seeing Bruce Goldstein again. I believe he has a reoccurring gig every year.

3 of the working violins from “Gold Diggers of 1933” were on display in Club TCM

After Footlight Parade, we headed back across the street to Club TCM for our first panel presentation–Looney Tunes at the Oscars. Jimmy had made it clear that in addition to seeing the films, he wanted to make sure to take advantage of seeing some of the special presentations, as these experiences couldn’t be replicated anywhere else. While he wanted to see the films, he wanted to also do/see things he wouldn’t be able to do at home. Jimmy and I both love Looney Tunes, and seeing that this was Warner Brothers’ 100th birthday, how could the Looney Tunes not be featured. This presentation was a lot of fun. Animation historian, Jerry Beck, and Executive VP at the Academy Museum, Randy Haberkamp, were both on-hand to deliver a delightful discussion about Looney Tunes shorts that were nominated for and/or won Oscars. In between segments of the conversation, we were treated to one of the Oscar-nominated or Oscar-winning shorts. Some of the shorts we’d seen before, like the two Bugs Bunny cartoons, the Sylvester & Tweety cartoon, and the Pepe LePew one. However, there was one with two mice called “Mousewreckers” which we’d never even heard of, let alone seen.

After Looney Tunes, we took a slight break in our room and then headed down to the Tropicana pool to line-up for that evening’s poolside film–Beach Party (1963). I knew for my first festival that I wanted to do at all of the special activities (Club TCM, poolside film, midnight movie) at least once. And I wanted to see at least one film in all the venues. I’m happy to say that I achieved all these goals. Next year if we go, I won’t necessarily need to be so strict as I know what everything is about. There were three poolside films at the TCMFF–Hairspray, Beach Party, and A Mighty Wind. Hairspray was automatically out as it was during the opening night film and cocktail party. Plus, it rained that night so it was moved indoors into Club TCM. A Mighty Wind is fine, but there were films in that block that I wanted to see more. Beach Party with Frankie Avalon in attendance was the obvious choice.

Dave Karger and Frankie Avalon at the Beach Party poolside screening.

Jimmy and I were actually first in line at the poolside screening. It is crazy how much you have to defend your spot at the front of the line when people try to just casually stroll up and act oblivious to there being a line when they’re called out. I’d read that to get one of the lounge chairs, you needed to be there early. Jimmy and I had our eye on one of the big, round 2-person chairs on the side of the pool. We scored our big chair and lucked out even further when the staff brought out heaters and placed them around the pool. They placed a heater right next to our chair which was awesome. Then there was wait staff taking drink orders. I got a Cava sparkling wine.

As a side note, during this event, there was a shooting (someone was shot in the head) on Hollywood Blvd. We received messages on our apps that the venues were on lockdown. We eventually were given the all clear. Due to the incident however, there were helicopters flying above the pool during Frankie’s interview and the beginning of the film. It was annoying. However, seeing the severity and scariness of the situation, I cannot be too upset. I was lounging poolside sipping sparkling wine while attending a film festival, meanwhile someone was lying in the hospital with a gunshot wound to the head. I can get over it. I would like to give a shoutout to the TCM staffers for keeping the festival goers safe and getting the word out quickly.

Dave Karger introduced Frankie Avalon, one of the stars of Beach Party. Avalon was excellent and he looked great. He talked about how he’d met Annette while she was still on the Mickey Mouse Club and even went out on a date with her, but the relationship never progressed beyond friends. They were friends when both were cast in Beach Party. Frankie talked about how much he loved Annette. The conversation even turned serious for a moment when he talked about Annette receiving her MS diagnosis in 1987 while they were filming their Beach Party reunion film, Back to the Beach. Sadly, she would succumb to the horrible disease in 2013 at the age of 70. This part of the interview was obviously very bittersweet for Frankie, as he obviously cared very much about Annette and was saddened by her suffering and passing.

The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel at night during the Beach Party screening.

Thankfully, the conversation shifted into something a little more upbeat when Dave and Frankie began to talk more about the Beach Party films. Frankie said that he didn’t think the dancing aged well. And while I can’t say I disagree with him per se, I will say that the dancing in all the ‘Beach’ movies and Gidget and everything else of that ilk, is my favorite. It’s very much of it’s time, but it’s actual dancing that I could do. Lol. Dave asked Frankie how many pies to the face he took when filming the end of Beach Party, and Frankie said it only took one take to film the scene, so he only took a single pie to the kisser. And with that, the film started.

Jimmy and I were so comfy at the Beach Party screening and were underneath the heat lamp, we didn’t want to leave early to see Clooney.

The Beach Party screening was happening as George Clooney was appearing across the street at Grauman’s to discuss Ocean’s 11. As one can imagine, many people left the Beach Party screening after Frankie’s interview. Jimmy and I wanted to see Clooney, despite not really wanting to only see parts of events. We had tentatively planned to leave Beach Party (we’d seen it before) and see Clooney. However, when the time actually came, we were so comfortable lounging in the big round pool chair, underneath the heat lamp, that we decided to stay for the entire screening. I’m happy we did. Sorry Clooney, maybe we’ll see you next year? I hope you come back to talk about O’Brother, Where Art Thou?.

After Beach Party ended, we briefly thought about going to The Batwoman midnight movie. However, it was 10:00 and there weren’t any other films starting at that time. We didn’t particularly want to wait two hours to go back out to see the midnight movie. Instead, we opted to return to our room and watch TCM instead. When we got back to the room, Gentleman Jim with my man, Errol Flynn, was starting. Perfect! We went to bed after the movie ended, as we had another 9:00am film to see.

April 15, 2023

We woke up early again for the Spotlight breakfast. This time, we wisely skipped the bland turkey sausage. We picked up our new ribbons for that day’s screenings. Jimmy and I both took a Muppets-inspired ribbon that said “The frog is staying!” After breakfast, we walked across the street to Grauman’s, to see the 9:00am screening of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954). The last surviving brother, Russ Tamblyn, was going to be interviewed before the screening. Tamblyn was being honored at the festival and had been interviewed the day prior during the Peyton Place screening, but Jimmy and I were attending the Looney Tunes panel. When I saw the schedule announced, I knew I wanted to see Tamblyn at least once. Given the choice between ‘Brides’ and ‘Peyton,’ I knew it had to be the former. I wanted to see the barn-raising dance on the IMAX screen.

Dave Karger interviews Russ Tamblyn during Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

Prior to Russ Tamblyn coming on the stage, we were treated to a video tribute celebrating his entire career. The tribute was very well done. Russ was introduced by Dave Karger. The interview was hilarious. Commenting on the acrobatics he performed in the aforementioned tribute video, Russ said that the only acrobatics he’d done recently was getting out of bed. There was also a hysterical moment during the interview when Russ’ wife coached him from the audience, correcting him on how many grandchildren they had together. Dave and Russ talked about the plot of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and how it could never be done today. Dave also mentioned the movie being shown as part of TCM’s “Reframed” series on problematic films that they presented during the pandemic. Russ then did a funny bit where he pretended to be pitching the plot of the film to a modern producer.

Then, the interview got even funnier when Russ offered his suggestion for a Mormon-remake of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. He called it, Seven Brides for ONE Brother. Lol. Dave seemed like he might have been getting a little nervous, but cleverly segued the conversation into asking Russ about the Pontipee Brothers’ red hair. Russ had a funny story about that as well. He said that all the brothers got their hair dyed red on the same day. After the last red dye job was done, they all hopped into Howard Keel’s convertible to drive somewhere for lunch. Russ said that people’s heads turned as a car full of seven red-headed men cruised down the street. Finally, it was time for the movie to start.

I don’t have any other photos from the ‘Seven Brides’ screening to include, so here’s a photo of Howard Keel singing that earworm, “Bless Your Beautiful Hide.”

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers on the IMAX screen, aka “the largest screen in North America,” was absolutely fantastic. The color was gorgeous. And the barn raising dance was absolutely amazing on the big screen. I could not ask for a better experience. Even a few weeks later, I still cannot get Howard Keel’s voice singing “Bless Your Beautiful Hide” out of my head. Jimmy and I watched Calamity Jane the other day and I desperately wanted Keel to sing “Bless Your Beautiful Hide” to Doris Day. And even though I knew he didn’t, because I’d seen the film before, I wanted him to do it anyway.

After this film, Jimmy and I headed over to the Multiplex to see the Laurel and Hardy presentation. This is the one screening where we planned to leave early. There were three shorts listed in the schedule for Laurel and Hardy. The first short, “Going Bye-Bye!” was the only one we hadn’t seen. Jimmy and I were happy when this was in fact the first short screened. I will say that the introduction for this presentation was extremely lackluster. A TCM staffer could have done the introduction. It would have had about the same effect. But I digress, the “Going Bye-Bye!” short was hysterical. Laurel and Hardy testified at a trial that led to a man being imprisoned. After the sentence is handed out, the man vows revenge on Laurel and Hardy. The two men decide to leave town for their own safety. But not having any money, they decide to share a ride with someone also traveling. They place an ad in the paper, and a woman answers it. When they go over to her house to meet, it turns out that her boyfriend is there. Her boyfriend turns out to be the now escaped prisoner who wants to avenge his incarceration by taking out Laurel and Hardy.

We weren’t allowed to take photos in the Henson panel, so I’m including this picture of Fozzie and Kermit’s dad from The Great Muppet Caper. This picture makes me laugh every time I see it.

After the short ended, Jimmy and I left to attend what was hands down the best thing we saw at the TCMFF–The Evolution of Henson Puppetry panel at Club TCM. Jim Henson’s son, Brian, now the chairman of his father’s company, led the presentation. He started with a demonstration of some simple hand puppets and he and his puppeteer performed a routine that Brian’s parents performed before Jim hit it big with his Muppets. This routine, “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Your Face” was absolutely adorable and hilarious. Making the presentation even better was that Brian had a camera set up to show the audience how the puppets were filmed for television and film audiences. As the title would suggest, Brian presented how the puppets evolved and the technology evolved. In addition to hand puppets, we learned about how they would put gloves inside the puppet arms for puppets, e.g., Swedish Chef, who needed to be able to hold things. There were also animatronic puppets and digital puppets. We were also told how the Henson company achieved different shots, such as the big Muppet bicycle scene in The Great Muppet Caper. Even after hearing Brian’s explanation as to how it was done, I still don’t understand it. Lol. Unfortunately, none of the famous puppets were in attendance, but I imagine that the cost and risk of security wouldn’t be worth it.

My queen, Ann-Margret, wearing these fabulous black boots and being interviewed by Dave Karger.

After the Henson panel, we were back at Grauman’s IMAX, because ANN-MARGRET was going to be there. When Ann-Margret was announced, Jimmy and I knew that nothing else that was scheduled was going to keep us from seeing her in person talk about Bye Bye Birdie (1963). It didn’t matter what was scheduled. We were seeing Ann-Margret. I’m happy to report that we were successful. Once again, Dave Karger conducted the interview. Ann-Margret was absolutely amazing. She said that ‘Birdie’ didn’t feel like 60 years ago, as she has much energy now (at 82) as she did then. Yes! That’s what I like to hear. Ann-Margret has just released a rock n’ roll album, which she laughed and said she didn’t yet have a copy of it. She also talked about some of the cast members, like Maureen Stapleton and Paul Lynde. She also talked very briefly about Elvis in relation to him being the inspiration for Conrad Birdie. She was amazing. In honor of her April 28 birthday, Dave presented her with a birthday cake inspired by her famous legs. Then we all sang “Happy Birthday” to her. It was awesome.

Saying good bye to Ann-Margret and Birdie, we were off to our next film. This is where Jimmy and I had a bit of a compromise. He wanted to see Enter the Dragon introduced by his now BFF, the RZA, later that evening. I would have seen In the Heat of the Night or Unfinished Business. However, I’d already seen Beach Party in lieu of Ocean’s 11 (which he wanted to see, because he wanted to see Clooney), so I figured I’d acquiesce to his movie choice. In the meantime though, we needed a movie to fill the block. I picked Sorry, Wrong Number (1948) because I wanted to see an Eddie Muller introduction and I figured that this ending would be really awesome on the big screen. Remarkably, Jimmy and I were in the minority of having actually seen the film when the ubiquitous “How many of you haven’t seen this film?” question was asked. I’m happy to report that neither the film nor Eddie Muller disappointed.

Ann-Margret blowing the candles out on her cake.

After Sorry Wrong Number, we hopped on the shuttle to go down to the Hollywood Legion to see Enter the Dragon (1973). This ended up being an excellent choice because I’d never seen a Bruce Lee movie and it was the only film we saw at the Legion, so I still achieved my goal of seeing one film in every venue. Jacqueline Stewart conducted the interview with the screenwriter, Michael Allin and the RZA (aka Jimmy’s new BFF). This was an excellent conversation. The RZA is a huge fan of Kung Fu and has done a lot of work scoring kung fu related films and shows (Kill Bill and Afro Samurai), in addition to kung fu influencing his music with the Wu-Tang Clan. We then ended up sitting behind the RZA. I was surprised how much I loved Enter the Dragon. I didn’t think I would, but it was an absolute blast. I’m considering buying the Bruce Lee box set in the upcoming Barnes and Noble Criterion sale. After the film, we lucked out and the shuttle had just arrived when we walked out the door, which is good because we had 45 minutes to get back down to the multiplex for the midnight movie…


Finally at midnight, we were ready for our midnight movie, my favorite roller disco movie–Xanadu (1980). By this point, I was wearing my silver sequin bomber jacket, sparkly shoes, Xanadu shirt, and ribbons in my hair a la Olivia Newton-John. This experience was absolutely fantastic. The entire audience was into it, despite it being midnight. Who doesn’t love the Gene Kelly glitz makeover sequence? It is not surprising that the musical number Gene Kelly directed and choreographed himself was the best number in the film. This was absolutely amazing and I loved seeing it on the big screen. An unexpected side effect of this screening was that Jimmy became interested in learning about Don Bluth after learning that he animated the random sequence in which Kira and Sonny turn into animated fish.

At 2:00am, we were exhausted and walked back to our room across the street and piled into bed. Tomorrow was our last day 😥

My favorite part of Xanadu and my favorite gif from Xanadu. Gene Kelly gets his glitz makeover.
Click here to read Part 1 of my first-time trip to the TCMFF!
Click here to read Part 3 of my first-time trip to the TCMFF!

The Master of Suspense Blogathon- “Rebecca” (1940)

“Last night, I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”

Joan Fontaine as “Mrs. DeWinter” in Rebecca (1940)

Rebecca, based on Daphne Du Maurier’s novel of the same title, is the devastating gothic thriller that served as Alfred Hitchcock’s first American film. At the beginning of the film, a young woman (Joan Fontaine) whose first name is never learned, stops the wealthy Maxim de Winter (Laurence Olivier) from jumping off a cliff. de Winter is a widower whose wife Rebecca perished some time earlier. Later, the young woman and Maxim meet again in the lobby of a hotel. It turns out that the young woman is a companion to an acquaintance of Maxim’s, Mrs. Van Hopper (Florence Bates). While Mrs. Van Hopper chastises the young woman for not being more grateful of her surroundings, she and Maxim steal glances at one another. Eventually the young woman and Maxim enter a courtship and marry. Maxim brings his new bride, the new Mrs. de Winter, to his estate titled, Manderley.

Shots like this epitomize the creepy, dreamlike quality of the film.

Throughout the film, the new Mrs. de Winter never seems to be able to live up to the standard set by her predecessor. Rebecca de Winter was a prominent member of society, always the perfect hostess, giving the perfect party in her immaculate, ornate home. Despite having just married and presumably still in the throes of newlywed bliss, Maxim is cold to his new wife. He is condescending, such as when he tells her to “eat up, like a good girl” at dinner (ick) and makes a point of telling her what they’re doing, versus asking her if she’d like to do whatever. Mrs. de Winter always seems like a wide-eyed fish out of water in this story, never seeming confident as to what her place is in the household.

Joan Fontaine as “Mrs. de Winter” and Judith Anderson as “Mrs. Danvers.”

Another person in the Manderley estate who makes things difficult for Mrs. de Winter is Mrs. Danvers (Judith Anderson), the housekeeper who took care of the home when Rebecca lived there. Mrs. Danvers almost has a fanatical obsession with Rebecca. It makes you wonder if she was actually in love with Rebecca, versus highly devoted. Mrs. Danvers is terrifying in this film. During filming, Alfred Hitchcock instructed Judith Anderson to refrain from blinking during her scenes. Her continual eye contact, combined with her black Victorian high-necked gown makes Mrs. Danvers an intimidating and frightening villain in the film.

Mrs. de Winter is portrayed as mousy and somewhat plain–a far cry from the glamorous and elegant Rebecca de Winter. Mrs. Danvers makes a point of telling her new boss about Rebecca and how she could not possibly compare. Rebecca de Winter was beautiful, accomplished in everything, popular, intelligent, basically everything that anyone could want in a person. Mrs. Danvers doesn’t hide the fact that she doesn’t think much of the new Mrs. de Winter. At one point in the film, she convinces Mrs. de Winter to dress in a replica of the last dress Rebecca wore at the last costume party she attended before her untimely death. Maxim is absolutely horrified. Oof.

Eventually, we learn the truth about Rebecca and Maxim’s relationship and it makes it even more confusing as to why Maxim is so devoted to this woman. I have to assume that part of his devotion is a response to trauma and sheer heartbreak. That’s the only explanation.

Laurence Olivier as “Maxim de Winter” and Joan Fontaine as “Mrs. de Winter.”

The set decoration of Manderley is fantastic. The set is a massive, cavernous, empty house. As Mrs. de Winter ambles about inside, she looks small and lost. The large set lends to her feelings of isolation and loneliness as she moves room to room and sees no one. The fireplace is larger than she is. The breakfast table looks like it’ll seat 50 people and Mrs. de Winter sits there alone. Many of the exterior shots were just models and many of the unused, but seen portions of the home are matte paintings. The cinematography and use of the matte paintings gives Manderley an eerie, yet ethereal quality. As if Mrs. de Winter is forever in a dream state.

Rebecca was Joan Fontaine’s first starring role and she is excellent. When I first saw her for the first time in The Women, I wasn’t impressed. I thought she was just this namby pampy simpering woman. Then I saw her in Rebecca where her meekness and mousy quality worked to their advantage. Mrs. de Winter is terrified of her new life. She used to be a commoner, working as an assistant to the rich, and suddenly she’s thrust into high society, expected to fill the shoes of a woman who was beloved by her society peers and who seemed to do everything perfectly. Mrs. De Winter is constantly seen with a wide-eyed look of terror, sitting with hunched shoulders, as she tries to absorb her surroundings and her new life. Her feelings of self-consciousness and anxiety leap off the screen. I feel uncomfortable on Mrs. de Winter’s behalf when she has to deal with Maxim and Mrs. Danvers. After seeing Fontaine in Rebecca, she’s now one of my favorites, especially when she plays against type in films like Ivy (1947) and Born to be Bad (1950).

Joan Fontaine as “Mrs. de Winter.”

During the making of Rebecca, Alfred Hitchcock wanted his heroine, Mrs. de Winter, to exhibit those same uneasy qualities described above. Prior to filming, Laurence Olivier campaigned hard for his wife, Vivien Leigh, to receive the co-starring role. However, David O. Selznick didn’t think that Leigh was right for the part and refused to give her the role, instead offering it to Joan Fontaine. Olivier, apparently not above throwing a passive aggressive hissy fit, making it very clear to Fontaine that he preferred his wife for the role. Fontaine was very nervous throughout filming, partially because of Olivier’s cold treatment of her throughout filming. Hitchcock, always one to sense an opportunity, opted to use Olivier’s treatment to make Fontaine even more insecure. Hitchcock made sure to remind her of her inexperience, how much less she was being paid than the other actors, and told her that nobody liked her. Despite this treatment (or maybe because of this treatment), Fontaine ended up turning in an Oscar-nominated performance.

Rebecca has an eeriness about it. The entire film feels like a bad, yet beautiful dream. The set is exquisite as are the performances. I’ve always enjoyed the Gothic thrillers. There is something about the ornate, yet ghostly setting of Manderley, the creepy Mrs. Danvers, and the omnipresent spirit of Rebecca that gives the film a spooky, yet beautiful quality. The black and white cinematography is gorgeous and lends to the creepiness of the film.

The beautiful Manderley estate is its own character in the film.

The Futurethon Blogathon–“Barbarella” (1968)

In the 2018 documentary, Jane Fonda in Five Acts, Fonda discusses her experience filming the 1968 cult classic, Barbarella. She has gone on record previously, stating that she disliked how Barbarella shamelessly used her body and sexuality to advance her own needs, and also didn’t like how her character or the film itself, completely ignored the social and political realities of the time. In ‘Five Acts,’ Fonda also talks about how at the time, she was 30 years old, bulimic and very insecure about her body. The famous opening scene where Barbarella floats in space and strips off every piece of her space suit, was excruciating for Fonda to film. She said that she drank a bunch of vodka before filming, so that she’d work up enough liquid courage to get completely nude in front of the crew and in front of the camera. Looking back on the sequence and the film fifty years later, in ‘Five Acts,’ Fonda says now that she likes the film and how she looks, saying it is a lot of fun.

The iconic “Barbarella” title sequence featuring Barbarella undressing in zero gravity.

“A lot of fun” is really all one can say about Barbarella. This is not a masterpiece. This is not groundbreaking cinema. But it is a spectacle and it is a blast to watch–especially in a packed house at the Hollywood Theatre in Portland, which is what my husband and I experienced this past January. Seeing Barbarella in the theater was one of the best theater experiences I’ve ever had. This movie is peak camp cinema and the audience was into it. The vibe was awesome. One audience member even cosplayed as Barbarella, despite it being a January evening in Oregon. She must have been freezing; but she looked great, and I appreciated her commitment.

Barbarella is based on Jean-Claude Forest’s 1962 French comic book of the same name. Barbarella originally appeared as a small comic strip in the French periodical, V Magazine. In 1964, these comic strips were published as a standalone comic, which caused a major scandal. Barbarella officially became the first erotic comic book, published exclusively for adults. One of the major social and cultural issues to come out of the 1960s was the sexual revolution. Despite Jane Fonda’s claims that Barbarella did not reflect the social and political realities of the time, the comic book heroine was intended to embody the modern, sexually liberated woman. After watching Barbarella, there is no doubt that Barbarella is sexually liberated. Though I suppose to Fonda’s point, it could be that Barbarella feels that she has nothing else to offer except for her body and sex. That is a whole other topic that could be researched and argued further, but that is not my intent for my entry into this blogathon.

Director Roger Vadim, Fonda’s husband at the time, was hired by producer Dino De Laurentiis after having expressed interest in comic books and science fiction. How convenient for him that De Laurentiis had just purchased the rights to the French sci-fi comic, Barbarella. Vadim’s first choices for the titular role were Brigitte Bardot and Sophia Loren, before finally choosing his wife, Jane Fonda. Vadim was quoted by Fonda as saying “I want to do this film as though I had arrived on a strange planet with my camera directly on my shoulder–as though I was a reporter doing a newsreel.”

Barbarella would strip out of this number during the opening title sequences of the film.

Strange planet indeed. Barbarella takes place in the year 40,000. At the beginning of the film, “space adventurer” Barbarella is returning to her pink spaceship, the Alpha 7. The Alpha 7 is its own character in the film. It seems to have a single room, completely covered (literal wall-to-wall) in caramel-colored shag carpeting. In one part of the room is Alphy, Barbarella’s computer that she can use via voice activation. To the right of Alphy is her video phone. The cockpit of the ship features a lot of buttons and gizmos, but Barbarella, a 5-star double-rated Astro Navigatrix, handles the flying of the ship with ease. The Alpha 7 unfortunately sustains a large amount of damage during the film, which eventually will be repaired by Professor Ping.

Barbarella receives a phone transmission from the President of Earth. He informs her that scientist Durand Durand has gone missing during a mission to the North Star and is believed to to have landed somewhere in the Tau Ceti star system. Because not much is known about this region of space, the President is concerned that Durand Durand’s invention, the positronic ray, might fall into the wrong hands. It is inferred that the positronic ray is powerful and has the potential to start an intergalactic war, should the wrong people obtain possession of it. Earth no longer has a military nor does it have police, as it has been free from conflict for centuries. It falls to Barbarella to find Durand Durand. In a funny sequence, the President electronically transmits various weapons and a device that will light-up if Durand Durand is nearby. This device also conveniently has a “tongue box” which will also translate any language so that Barbarella can communicate.

Barbarella’s shag-covered spaceship.

After crash landing on Tau Ceti’s 16th planet, Barbarella is knocked unconscious by two children. The children load Barbarella up onto a sled, that is pulled by a giant manta ray that glides across the ice. When she awakens, Barbarella finds herself surrounded by multiple sets of twins and blue bunnies. These children are very creepy. Making the scene even creepier, is when the children tie Barbarella up and unleash a bunch of mechanical dolls with sharp teeth and hinged jaws to attack her. The children take sadistic glee in hurting Barbarella. As she looks around her settings, Barbarella realizes she’s inside the wreckage of the Alpha 1, Durand Durand’s old ship.

These creepy dolls attack Barbarella.

Before the scary dolls can inflict any further damage on Barbarella, a man named Mark Hand appears and saves her. He unties her from her bindings and carries her off to safety. This is where a common motif is introduced into Barbarella. Men who encounter Barbarella often want to have sex with her in the form of a payment of sorts for helping her out. Barbarella will nonchalantly agree and proceed, as if this is just a normal thing for her. However, this scene is very funny when Barbarella starts to take out her “transference pills.” She explains to Mark that on Earth, people have sex by each taking a transference pill and putting their palms against one another. Obviously overwhelmed by such a hot sounding suggestion, Mark suggests that he and Barbarella have sex on his bed the old-fashioned way. Barbarella is skeptical about engaging in such archaic traditions but agrees. Of course she agrees and the two appear to have a very satisfactory encounter underneath the sheets. Mark repairs the Alpha 7, and Barbarella is on her way.

Barbarella is trapped inside a bubble full of adorable budgies.

Barbarella eventually ends up in the Labyrinth, and meets a blind angel named Pygar (John Phillip Law). He takes her to see Professor Ping (Marcel Marceau). The Professor explains that Pygar, despite having wings, does not fly. He can fly, but lacks the morale to do so. All the inhabitants of the Labyrinth are prisoners, being held there on the orders of the Great Tyrant. They apparently are not evil enough to live in Sogo, the City of Night. Wanting to restore his will to fly, Barbarella and Pygar have sex in his nest. Because their romp was a success, Pygar is more than willing to fly Barbarella to Sogo, a den of iniquity. They are captured by the Black Queen (Anita Pallenberg).

Pygar is forced to endure a mock crucifixion, while Barbarella is placed in a cage full of adorable budgies. Despite being adorable, the birds attack Barbarella, slowly pecking at her and drawing blood. She ends up being saved by Dildrano (David Hemmings), the leader of the underground, who is willing to join her pursuit to find Durand Durand. He gives Barbarella an invisible key to the Black Queen’s “Chamber of Dreams.” The plan is to sneak in while she’s asleep. The scenes of Dildrano passing the invisible key to Barbarella is pretty funny. Also, to thank Dildrano, Barbarella offers to have sex with him. At this point, Barbarella is completely into old-fashioned sex, but Dildrano is not into that at all. He prefers the new method with the transference pills. Finally, the audience gets to see what the pill and the palms method is all about. Despite not yet having exchanged psychocardiograms, Barbarella agrees. The scene of Dildrano and Barbarella having sex via their palms, is one of the funniest parts of the movie.

Barbarella inside the Excessive Machine.

After sneaking out of the headquarters, via a chute that deposits her somewhere else, Barbarella is found and re-captured. In what is probably the funniest part of the movie, she is placed inside the Concierge’s (Milo O’Shea) torture device, “The Excessive Machine” which is supposed to murder its victim by giving them more sexual pleasure than the victim can handle. However, this machine is no match for Barbarella. The Concierge cannot believe his eyes when his precious machine bites the dust, and Barbarella is still alive, experiencing intense afterglow.

Eventually, Barbarella finds Durand Durand and discovers his true intentions with the positronic ray. She and the Black Queen join forces and Barbarella and Pygar eventually fly to safety.

There is surprisingly a lot of plot in Barbarella and not a lot of plot at the same time. This entire film is about the spectacle and I will say that the art director, prop, and costume departments worked overtime creating the sets for this film. The sets are absolutely insane as are the costumes. One of the highlights of Barbarella are the amount of costume changes that its heroine has throughout the film. Sometimes the costume changes make sense, such as when Barberella has no clothes and has to wear something else. Other times, her clothes are destroyed and she needs another outfit. And other times, it’s just that Barbarella decided to do a costume change. Barbarella’s costumes are amazing at one point, she wears a short costume with see-through plastic cups covering her breasts. Unlike many film productions, Barbarella utilized the skills of an actual fashion designer, versus a studio costume department. Barbarella’s costumes were designed by Jacques Fonteray. He did an extraordinary job!

I absolutely love this movie, and I’ve even seen it in the theater in 35mm no less. This film doesn’t make any sense, but it’s a great late night movie to watch when you just want to watch something frivolous. This is not a film that will make you think, unless it’s to think about either what is happening in the film or wondering what you just watched. Despite her criticisms of the film, I think Jane Fonda did a great job as Barbarella and was very believable as a “five-star double-rated Astronavigatrix.”

A tribute to Barbarella’s Costumes:

Barbarella throws this green number on after destroying “The Excessive Machine.”
Barbarella would later be attacked by dozens of adorable parakeets in this outfit.
Barbarella sports this one-piece black ensemble with see-thru breast plate.
Barbarella dons this fur number after having sex with Mark Hand
After Barbarella is attacked by the dolls with sharp teeth.
Barbarella’s costumes incorporated a lot of capes which I appreciate.
She sports this jazzy outfit in the Labyrinth.

My First TCM Film Festival–Part 1

On April 17, my husband (Jimmy) and I returned home to rainy Portland, OR after spending 9 fun-filled days in Los Angeles. We had an absolute blast at our first ever TCM Film Festival (TCMFF). We’re hopefully going to be able to go again next year, when the TCMFF will be celebrating its 15th anniversary and TCM will be celebrating its 30th. Jimmy and I are also looking into going on one of the TCM Classic Cruises, as we’ve never been on a cruise before. This year, the cruise is setting sail from San Diego, which would be very convenient versus flying to somewhere like Miami, but we can’t swing the cruise and the TCMFF in the same year–though the cruise is cheaper. This would be an instance where we would do either the TCMFF or the cruise, but not both.

But I digress. Back to the TCMFF.

April 9 & 10, 2023

We flew out of Portland at 6:00am and landed in Los Angeles a little after 8:00am. Originally, we planned on spending a couple days at the beach before moving to Hollywood. However, about a week before our trip, we had a change in plans and ended up ditching the beach and purchasing a 2-day Disneyland package instead. Had this been in the itinerary from the start, we would have flown into Orange County instead of LAX. Anyway, after picking up our rental car, we drove to Anaheim and were scanned into Disneyland by 10:00am.

Because this post is devoted to Jimmy’s and my experience at the TCMFF, I won’t go into detail about the 2 days we spent at Disneyland, only that it was awesome. Though if I were to do Disneyland and the TCMFF in the same trip again, I would do Disney at the end of the trip, because our legs were still burning on the first day of the TCMFF. I suppose it also didn’t help that after Disneyland, we drove to LA and went to the Los Angeles Zoo for the day. For the record, the Los Angeles Zoo is fun, but I think that the Portland Zoo is better. But neither compare to the San Diego Zoo which is on a completely different plane, compared to these two smaller zoos.

April 11, 2023

We stayed in Room 928 where Montgomery Clift lived for three months while filming From Here to Eternity.

We left Anaheim early in the morning and headed to Griffith Park to go to the Los Angeles Zoo. Before the zoo however, we went to In-N-Out on Cahuenga Blvd. This was the busiest In-N-Out in the World’s Smallest Parking lot that I’ve ever seen. Not wanting to risk getting trapped in the parking lot with 10 spaces, we went through the Drive-Thru and took our lunch to the Zoo parking lot. After the zoo, Jimmy and I checked into our room at the famous Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, which serves as the center of the TCMFF. We were assigned Room #928, which I learned later was the room that Montgomery Clift lived in for three months while he filmed From Here to Eternity. Supposedly, Clift’s ghost haunts the ninth floor and people have reported hearing faint sounds of the bugle. Jimmy and I didn’t hear any commotion or bugle, but we were hitting the sheets pretty hard every night. It was really fun to find out though that we were in one of the famous, haunted rooms. I didn’t even request it.

The Blossom Room at the hotel is also the site of the first Academy Awards ceremony in 1929. During the TCMFF, this room serves as the location for the Club TCM panels, as well as the spotlight breakfast. We also attended the opening and closing night parties here. The parties spilled over into the lounge across the walkway. I understand however, that this isn’t the norm and that these parties are typically held poolside, next to the Roosevelt’s famous Tropicana pool. This definitely would have been better as the area is more spacious, however, it was uncharacteristically chilly in Los Angeles during this time and would have definitely been cold at night. As someone from Oregon, the weather was par for the course for us, though we obviously would have preferred the sunshine. Fortunately it was sunny and warm at Disneyland and at the Zoo.

After checking into our room at the Roosevelt, we headed over to Koreatown to Guelaguetza Oaxacan Mexican Restaurant. IT WAS SO GOOD. Jimmy wanted to get some molé and figured Los Angeles would have a good Oaxacan restaurant. I found this restaurant which had amazing reviews. Their website is This restaurant was freaking awesome and I highly recommend it. You can also order their molé to be shipped to your home, which I can definitely see us doing in the future.

April 12, 2023

We woke up incredibly early at 5:00am to be at the Los Angeles Breakfast Club where Eddie Muller was appearing as a speaker. I’d read that he would be signing copies of two of his books, the reprint of Dark City, and The Art of Noir. I already have a signed copy of the Dark City reprint (signed by Eddie Muller, courtesy of Larry Edmunds online). I purchased a copy of The Art of Noir ahead of time with the hopes of getting it signed, as well as save myself some time.

Eddie Muller signed my copy of The Art of Noir.

The Los Angeles Breakfast Club was an experience to say the least. Let’s just say that if Jimmy and I go to LA next year, and nobody TCM-related is appearing, we will not be returning. The breakfast was fine. Nothing special, though honestly, I wasn’t expecting anything spectacular. Anyway, the first hour of the two hour event was absolutely excruciating. It was way too early in the morning for the amount of obnoxious nonsense that we endured. There were songs, staged heckling, calisthenics, breakfast board business, bad jokes, corny banter, everything but Eddie Muller. The only part of this absurd ritual that Jimmy and I enjoyed was when we got to shake hands with the guests and the board, thus getting to shake hands with Eddie Muller. As one can imagine, we were indifferent to shaking hands with the board members.

All of the ridiculous traditions of The Los Angeles Breakfast Club are rooted in tradition, a tradition that started in the 1920s. I do have to hand it to the board members of this club, they are committed. I wouldn’t have it in me to carry on like this, ESPECIALLY at 7:00am. Regardless, it was a lot to endure. However, at around 8:00am, Eddie Muller finally took the podium. He delivered a great talk about film noir. He defined film noir, talked about the formation of his Film Noir Foundation, how he got involved with TCM, and gave some humorous anecdotes about people he’s met along the way, including the beloved late TCM host, Robert Osborne. Eddie was definitely the best part of the presentation and it was worth putting up with everything we did to get to that point. Jimmy thinks that all the hijinks at the club were a spoof of an Elks Lodge, or something like that. Having never been the member of a lodge, I will take his word for it.

After the Los Angeles Breakfast Club mercifully ended, we had a one hour window between the end of the breakfast and the beginning of our Classics tour at Warner Brothers. Thankfully, they set up the book signing table near where we were sitting at the breakfast, so I was able to get into the signing line very quickly. After listening to the person in front of me bare her soul to Eddie about film noir for what I swear was 10 minutes (though was probably only like 5 minutes), I got my book signed. We headed over to Burbank and quickly found the studio tour and were inside. On the tour, Jimmy and I got to sit at the front of the cart with the tour guide, which was awesome. We saw all kinds of locations, such as the ACME Bookshop and A.A. Geiger’s Rare Books from The Big Sleep, as well as filming locations from East of Eden, Cool Hand Luke, The Music Man, Casablanca, The House of Wax, History of the Wax Museum, Rebel Without a Cause, Bonnie and Clyde, and Now, Voyager. Backlots are always so interesting, because without the set dressing, they look rundown and kind of cheesy. It’s amazing how these sets seem so realistic with the right lighting, camera angles, and set decoration.

My Day #4 pass. I changed up the buttons everyday and added new ribbons when good ones were released.

After the tour, we went to the famous Pink’s hotdogs in West Hollywood. I had a philly cheese steak dog and it was really good. We then headed back to the Roosevelt to pick up our TCMFF passes. Jimmy and I opted for the Spotlight passes, because we wanted to get the full experience. For those who are unaware, there are four pass levels at the TCMFF. The Spotlight pass gets you into every experience, gives you a swag bag, as well as entry into the opening night film and opening night cocktail gala. I will say that the swag bag wasn’t that exciting as it was mostly just one of everything from the gift shop. And since Jimmy and I were both spotlight pass holders, we got two of everything. However, the opening night film experience and the opening night cocktail gala were awesome. The cocktail gala was so much fun. We also enjoyed not having to wait in line at the venues. Spotlight passholders in the lines were issued queue numbers, but were seated prior to the other pass levels. The queue numbers in this line I imagine were more for headcount, versus determining who will or who won’t get in.

After picking up our passes, we headed down to the Hollywood Heritage Museum to attend the Facebook Going to the TCMFF group pre-party. The party was fun, though it only being our first year, we didn’t really know anybody. However, we were able to go inside the museum and look at the exhibits, including a replica of Cecil B. DeMille’s 1924 office, which was interesting. There was also a Creature From the Black Lagoon head as well as correspondence from Robert Osborne’s personal collection. I also purchased Lara Gabrielle’s Captain of Her Soul: The Life of Marion Davies as well as Kimberly Truhler’s Film Noir Style: The Killer 1940s. I got both books signed by their respective authors as both were in attendance signing their books. I also got a signed bookplate from Darrell Rooney, co-author of Harlow in Hollywood. He was also in attendance signing his book. I already owned that book and unfortunately didn’t bring it with me, as I didn’t know he’d be there signing copies. I have since placed the signed bookplate in my copy of the book. In the gift shop, I found an I Love Lucy commemorative plate that is part of the same collection as my other ‘Lucy’ plate. For $10, I couldn’t pass up the plate. After hiding in the back of the group during the big group photo (I hate pictures of me), Jimmy and I left to get to our 7:30 dinner reservation at Musso & Frank’s.

Musso & Frank’s is a Hollywood institution, having opened in 1919 and being well-trodden ground for Hollywood’s Elite. Charlie Chaplin in fact had his own booth built at the restaurant. You can request the Charlie Chaplin booth. Unfortunately for Jimmy and I, the booth is a 5-top and he and I are obviously only a 2-top. Since I will assume that Musso & Frank’s is always busy, they can’t seat us at table meant for a larger party. I tried to get seated in the booth when we visited the restaurant for the first time at the end of October 2021. The remarkable thing about Musso & Frank’s is that they haven’t changed their menu since 1919. Jimmy got a steak that he said was delicious and I got the best pork chop I’ve ever had in my life. It was so good. And thanks to the Oregon Bottle Drop program, I was able to pay for our Musso & Frank’s dinner with my bottle return money.

April 13, 2023

Thursday was the official start of the TCMFF; but it didn’t start until 5:00pm. We started the day out at the Formosa Cafe, which I wanted to try. The Formosa Cafe was delicious. I loved the food and the decor. We then went to Amoeba Music, an awesome store that I love. They have an amazing record selection (obviously), but more importantly, they have an amazing classic film DVD/Blu Ray section!! I could have gotten so much stuff, but settled on something like 8 different titles. We headed back to the Roosevelt and hung out until it was time to start getting ready for opening night. Jimmy took a nap. We got ready for opening night and headed downstairs. We went to the opening night party in Club TCM and then headed across the street to walk the red carpet.

Here is a picture of my shoes from opening night. I hated the picture of me that was taken, so I’m not posting it. I liked this photo.

I wish that the red carpet event had been organized a little differently, but it might always be like this and I didn’t know. The red carpet experience didn’t allow us to walk the carpet with the hosts and the celebrity guests. Not sure if that is how the red carpet is normally done, or whether we did something wrong. Suffice it to say, the red carpet was fine, though it wasn’t what I expected.

The opening night film was Rio Bravo, which neither Jimmy nor I had seen. We were seeing the opening night film no matter what it was, so I didn’t consider any of the other options. If we didn’t have the Spotlight or Essential passes (which get you into the opening night film), I would have gone to see One Way Passage and The Wild One. But we got into the opening night film, which special guests Steven Spielberg, Paul Thomas Anderson, and Angie Dickinson. This was also our first time inside the famous Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. It is now the TCL Chinese IMAX, but for all intents and purposes, it’s Grauman’s.

Grauman’s Chinese Theatre is absolutely gorgeous on the inside and is everything you would expect it to be. The ceiling is absolutely amazing as is the women’s bathroom. The Grauman’s Chinese Theatre women’s bathroom is hands down the fanciest bathroom I’ve ever seen. There’s an entire circular room lined with floor-length mirrors that you walk through before you even get to the bathroom.

Directors Steven Spielberg and Paul Thomas Anderson came out to talk about the 4k restoration of Rio Bravo, which was completed by Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation. Scorsese founded the Film Foundation over 30 years ago, and many directors, including Spielberg and Anderson are board members. Spielberg explained that the board has restored almost 1,000 films since its inception. Then it was time for Ben Mankiewicz to introduce and interview Angie Dickinson, the only surviving star from Rio Bravo. Angie’s interview was very funny, albeit a little scattered. I’m not sure if that was due to her age (91), nerves, a little of both, or maybe that’s just how she normally is. I have no idea, I’ve never seen an interview with her before. But the interview was funny. She and Ben talked about their mutual love of See’s Candies. There was another part where Angie was telling a story about John Wayne and briefly seemed to forget his name. Her memories of making the film and little anecdotes were funny and definitely added to the overall experience.

Angie Dickinson and Ben Mankiewicz. Pardon the quality of the photo. We were a ways back, so I took a photo of the screen.

Jimmy and I absolutely loved Rio Bravo. We weren’t sure we were going to enjoy it, as neither of us are big fans of Westerns or John Wayne, but we absolutely loved this movie. I’m attributing it to the strength of Dean Martin’s absolutely fantastic performance. He deserved an Oscar nomination for this film. Walter Brennan was hilarious as Wayne’s deputy. Angie was gorgeous and a nice change of pace from female characters I usually see in Westerns. And Ricky Nelson was gorgeous and I enjoyed seeing him in this film. I also hoped for a Dean Martin/Ricky Nelson duet and I’m happy to report that Howard Hawks did not disappoint. Jimmy and I loved this movie so much, we made a note to purchase it and add it to our film collection.

After the film, we walked outside and it was raining. Instead of cowering under an umbrella, we just started walking and boarded an awaiting shuttle. We were brought to the Mother Wolf restaurant on Wilcox Ave. This restaurant was awesome. TCM had obviously rented out the entire venue, there were two main party areas. One area had a bar and a DJ and the other area was another bar, with tables and chairs. The tables and chairs side was the place to be as all the TCM hosts were there, though we never saw Alicia Malone. That’s not to say she wasn’t there, however. Jimmy and I stood next to the kitchen where all the fresh hors d’oeuvres were coming out. We had tray after tray of hors d’oeuvres being offered to us and every single one was delicious. At one point, we found ourselves standing next to The RZA’s table. Later in the evening, Jimmy would get his picture taken with The RZA. We left the party about a quarter to midnight when it seemed to be winding down. Back at our hotel, we went to bed, as we had a 9am movie to make it to the next morning.

Click here to read Part 2 of my trip to my first TCMFF!
Click here to read Part 3 of my trip to my first TCMFF!

Shades of Shane Blogathon- “The Glass Key” (1942)

It’s the 70th anniversary of Shane, a western widely considered one of the best of all time–it’s even one of the movies on my scratch-off poster, “100 Essential Films.” However, I’ve never seen it. It’s definitely on my list though. I recently discovered Alan Ladd over the past year or so and I love Jean Arthur. Shane is her last film. Anyway, when I saw this blogathon, and saw that the objective was to discuss anyone associated with Shane, a la Alan Ladd, I thought it would be a good opportunity to talk about my favorite Ladd collaboration with frequent co-star, Veronica Lake–The Glass Key.

Veronica Lake and Alan Ladd in The Glass Key.

The Glass Key is based on the 1931 Dashiell Hammett novel of the same name. I haven’t read Hammett’s novel, so I am not going to attempt to compare and contrast the film and book. In the film, Alan Ladd plays Ed Beaumont, the right-hand man for the corrupt politician, Paul Madvig (Brian Donlevy). Madvig is presented as being arrogant and full of bravado, when he really doesn’t have room to do so. He also fancies himself as a ladies’ man and has his eye on Janet Henry (Lake), the daughter of gubernatorial candidate, Ralph Henry (Moroni Olsen). Janet finds Paul repulsive and crass, but she puts up with him for the sake of her father’s political campaign. Paul is very influential and is working tirelessly to get Ralph elected, no matter how sketchy the tactics.

One evening at the Henry estate, Paul is having dinner with Janet, Ralph and her brother Taylor (Richard Denning). Paul and Janet are engaged, despite Janet’s distaste of Paul’s crude manner. Ed shows up at the home because he distrusts Janet and Ralph, thinking that they’re using Paul, and he wants to protect his boss. Janet is instantly attracted to Ed (because duh, Alan Ladd is hot). Ed is also attracted to Janet, but keeps the relationship platonic out of loyalty to his boss. Meanwhile, Paul’s sister, Opal (Bonita Granville), is dating Taylor, despite his constant gambling and drunkenness. Paul is against his sister’s involvement with this ne’er do well and Ralph is exasperated by his son’s behavior as it could negatively impact his political campaign.

Veronica wears a couple different hats with fabric that covers her hair in this film.

Finally, if all this plot weren’t enough, Paul has also angered the local mob, led by Nick Varna (Joseph Calleia) and his henchman, Jeff (William Bendix). Paul informs Nick that he’s trying to clean up the city and will no longer help protect Nick from the police. When Ed overhears Paul’s threat, he is concerned about what type of revenge Nick and his boys will seek against Paul. Meanwhile, Paul catches Opal with Taylor and is incensed. He leaves his and Opal’s apartment in a rage. Later, Taylor’s body is found lying on the side of the road and Paul is the main suspect. Ed then takes it upon himself to investigate Taylor’s death and help exonerate his boss.

William Bendix beat the crap out of Alan Ladd in The Glass Key. It’s not often you see the attractive lead look so horrible.

I think The Glass Key is a great movie–full of twists and turns. The story definitely didn’t resolve in the way that I thought it would and the answer to the murder mystery isn’t clear at first. There is a shocking brutal scene where Nick Varna has his boys rough up Ed after he refuses to join their gang. William Bendix beats the pulp out of Alan Ladd and the makeup artists did not mess around when it came to making Ladd look like he had his face beaten in. Normally in these movies, the director/studio doesn’t want their attractive lead to look bad, so they’ll have them be beat up and then be seen later with a tiny band-aid above one of their eyes. Not in this movie. Alan Ladd’s face is swollen, bruised and bloodied.

I loved the scene when Ed shows up to the newspaper editor’s home and crashes a party that the local newspaper editor is holding. Ed swiftly reveals that the editor is about to be ruined when news gets out that he has accepted bribes from the mob. With just a few words, Ed deftly ruins a marriage and the man’s wife, Eloise, moves on instantly…with Ed. In a rather bold scene, it is implied that Ed and Eloise have sex on the couch. They are then seen drinking and making out on the couch, all while Eloise’s now-estranged husband watches from the top landing on the stairs. The first time I saw this film, I was actually pretty shocked how salacious and straight-forward this scene is, what with the production code and all. We don’t see Ed and Eloise have sex, but it’s pretty obvious–much more obvious than some other implied sex scenes I’ve seen.

Eloise gives Alan Ladd the come hither look and I don’t blame her for a second.

Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake are often held up as one of film noir’s great romantic couples. I’m always surprised in their films how long it takes for them to actually be romantic. The Glass Key has a bit of a “will-they or won’t-they?” type vibe, but ultimately the film resolves in the way that you would want, after so much brutality. Poor Alan Ladd really runs the gamut in this film, from having the snot beat out of him by William Bendix, to having sex with a stranger on the couch. However, I absolutely love this movie. The story is compelling and the cinematography is excellent. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to see a great film noir or great movie in general!

I love the use of shadow in this scene with Brian Donlevy and Alan Ladd.

Seen On Screen Blogathon–“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (1975)

I am a little late with this post; but I have a good excuse. I was at my first ever TCM Film Festival!! More on that in a future post. Anyway, I wanted to complete my blog entry because I did watch the movie prior to leaving for LA to attend the festival.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is based on Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel of the same title. It tells the story of Randle McMurphy (Jack Nicholson) who is admitted to an Oregon mental institution in 1963. It is established that McMurphy is a repeat offender whose recent crime has him doing hard labor on a work farm for having sex with a 15-year old girl. Despite being the protagonist of the story, McMurphy is not a good person. To avoid further hard labor, McMurphy feigns insanity so he will be transferred to the mental institution. The ploy works and he feels pretty slick for his deception. He instantly gets on the wrong side of the head nurse, Mildred Ratched (Louise Fletcher).

The Oregon State Hospital in Salem, OR as I remember it

Having lived in Salem, OR since the age of 5 (though I have since moved to a Portland, OR suburb), I grew up driving past the Oregon State Hospital where One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was filmed. The dirty cream colored, derelict building covered in rust stains, was the eyesore we drove past every time we took NE Center Street to go to the other side of town. While it was still a functioning mental institution, the building always looked dark and abandoned. Frankly, it looked scary. This section of Center Street is not the greatest, besides sitting in an area known as “Felony Flats,” it was also near the Dome Building which served as the administrative offices of the Oregon Department of Corrections (ODOC). This is where the director of the ODOC, Michael Francke, was stabbed to death in 1989. There was a 1991 episode of Unsolved Mysteries where Robert Stack introduces the segment from the site of Francke’s murder. The Oregon State Hospital section of Center Street also houses the jail for juvenile offenders and is close to the Oregon State Penitentiary. And if that wasn’t enough, famous Oregon serial killer, Jerry Brudos lived on Center Street. His home was where he took his victims, murdered them, and mutilated their bodies. Suffice it to say, this was not a great area of town.

Louise Fletcher as Nurse Ratched. Ratched wears her hair in 40s Victory Rolls, which I thought was an interesting choice.

In One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, I was amazed to see that the hospital that I knew looked exactly the same twenty years prior when it was filmed. The same dirty cream colored paint, the same bars on the windows, the same circular driveway. Having read that they actually filmed inside the hospital, this film gave me a chance to see what it looked like on the inside. The hospital looked exactly how I thought it would. Dirty, sparsely furnished and decorated, colorless, and frankly depressing. Unfortunately, all throughout my life growing up in Oregon, I have heard about the conditions of Oregon mental health facilities. Oregon is not known for good treatment of mental health patients (see articles about Fairview Training Center. There is also an OPB (PBS) documentary called “In the Shadow of Fairview” that covers all the problems with the Fairview Training Center in Salem). Though the action in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest does not specifically state which hospital is depicted, the conditions shown in the film live up to Oregon’s reputation in regard to mental health treatment.

Jack Nicholson as Randle McMurphy and Will Sampson as the Chief.

After Randle McMurphy arrives at the hospital, he quickly meets some of the patients. There’s “Chief” Bromden (Will Sampson), a tall Native American man who is seemingly deaf and mute. The other patients think that Chief is dumb as well as deaf and mute. However, McMurphy learns that there is more to the Chief and the two men become allies as well as friends. Another patient is Dale Harding (William Redfield) who is desperate and always philosophizing about life and experiencing existential crises. Martini (Danny DeVito) is childlike and in denial about his mental health. Billy Bibbit (Brad Dourif) stutters and is depressed and anxious after his mother ruined his relationship with the love of his life. It seems that Billy’s mother has some sexual hang-ups that she takes out on his son. Other patients also include the violent, mean and profane Max Taber (Christopher Lloyd) and epileptic Bruce Fredrickson (Vincent Schiavelli).

McMurphy driving the wrong way down Court Street in downtown Salem. The furniture store is now a bookstore.

McMurphy begins to exert his influence on the other men seeing that they’re capable of more than Nurse Ratched is allowing them to show. He convinces them to play basketball during the daily exercise session and even convinces the men to participate in a vote to be allowed to watch the World Series on television before their daily chores session. Despite a majority of the men voting watching the baseball game, Nurse Ratched finds a way to not allow it to happen. She seems to relish the control she has over the men. Upset, McMurphy stages a breakout and he and the men take the hospital bus to the beach for a fishing trip. I did notice that McMurphy was driving on Court Street in downtown Salem, which doesn’t really make sense as a route you’d take from the Oregon State Hospital as it runs parallel with Center Street where the hospital is located. It’s also not a route that one would take to get to Highway 22 which takes you to the beach. I also noticed that McMurphy is driving the wrong way down Court Street, which is a one-way (though maybe in ’75 it was a one-way in the other direction). He’s also driving in the opposite direction of the highway that goes to the beach. However, it is Hollywood, so it doesn’t need to make sense, they just need to be seen driving. They probably had that block closed for the shoot–it was just something fun that I noticed.

While not mentioned explicitly in the film, the men’s fishing trip takes place in Depoe Bay, OR, which is a little more than an hour west of Salem. I recognized the charter boat company in the background of the scene and the bridge and stairs they walk down to get to the Depoe Bay Harbor, which is known as “The World’s Smallest Harbor.” The harbor is off Highway 101 heading south. Underneath the bridge are stairs that pedestrians take to cross under the highway to get to the harbor. Dockside Charters on the east side of Highway 101 is where McMurphy charters the boat. This is still there today. Across the highway is the Oregon State Parks Whale Watching Center, which is not seen in the film; but this is an awesome place to visit should you find yourself on the Central Oregon Coast.

The men charter a boat in Depoe Bay, OR

Eventually as one can expect, McMurphy finally has it out with Nurse Ratched in the film. Having never seen One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest prior to watching it for this blog entry, I was expecting her to be more explicitly evil. However, Nurse Ratched’s evilness comes in her manipulation of her mentally ill patients. She knows exactly what to say and what to do to set off her patients and get them to bend to her will. This is definitely true in the case of young Billy, who at one point actually overcomes his stuttering. However that lasts all of five minutes as Nurse Ratched knows exactly what to say to ruin his confidence and make his stuttering even worse than it was previously. It’s clear that Nurse Ratched thrives on controlling her patients. She doesn’t want them to get better or even to learn how to effectively manage their illness so they can live fulfilling lives. I was surprised how violent the final confrontation between Nurse Ratched and McMurphy was.

I thought this was an excellent film though it isn’t something that I’d want to watch again and again. The ending scenes with the water fountain I had seen on an episode of The Simpsons. I found the performance of the Chief particularly touching and am hoping that he had a good life after the events depicted in this film. It was also interesting seeing a part of Salem that I’d seen all my life, but in 1975.

The Oregon State Hospital has since been repainted and refurbished. Part of it is still a working mental institution, but they’ve also converted part of it into a museum.

The newly refurbished Oregon State Hospital in Salem, OR

My TCMFF 2023 Picks

On Sunday, I leave for my first-ever Turner Classic Movies Film Festival (TCMFF)!! I am so excited. This is something that I’ve always wanted to do. My husband and I splurged on Spotlight passes and we’re staying at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. I wanted to go all-out for my first experience. We’ve been saving for for months, so it’s very exciting. If we go again next year, I am not sure that I’ll go all out again; though I will definitely have quite some time to save, so who knows. Anyway, but I digress.

My husband and I leave on Sunday on a 6AM flight from Portland to Los Angeles. Oof. However, prior to going to Hollywood, we are spending two days at Disneyland. This was a last-minute (decided less than a week ago) decision and we came just under the wire in booking a package and making reservations. Now I’m in the world of cutthroat dining reservations. After Disney, we’re headed to Hollywood and are going to visit the Los Angeles Zoo and hopefully Griffith Observatory. On the 12th at the un-godly hour of 6:45am, we are visiting the Los Angeles Breakfast Club for breakfast with Eddie Muller. We’re also scheduled for a WB Studio Classics Tour. I have dinner reservations at Formosa Cafe and Musso & Frank’s. I’m also hoping to fit in visits to: Frolic Room, Amoeba Music, Boardners, Hollywood Heritage Museum, Edelweiss Chocolates in Beverly Hills, Pink’s, and Tail O’ the Pup. We’ll see.

Then Thursday is when the 14th annual TCMFF starts. I have been obsessing over the schedule since it was released. My husband and I are trying to collaborate on a schedule, as we’re planning on attending the whole event together, no splitting up. He’s pretty easy going, so it hasn’t been difficult, but I definitely want him to have input. We’re also trying to take advantage of book signings and other activities that would be difficult to have outside the festival. While we are definitely going to watch movies, actually getting to see the big stars, and attending book signings is something I want to do as well. I hope that we’ll be able to see all five of the hosts.

This year’s festival has the overarching theme of “Legacy” with special emphasis on WB’s 100th anniversary. My goal is to see at least one program at each of the venues. Without further ado, these are our stream of consciousness decisions as we work through the schedule:

Thursday, April 13th, 2023

Since we have spotlight passes, we’ll definitely be doing the red carpet and attending the opening night film, which is Rio Bravo. Angie Dickinson is set to appear as well as Steven Spielberg and Paul Thomas Anderson. Neither my husband nor I have seen Rio Bravo, and while Westerns aren’t my favorite, I don’t want to miss a chance to see Angie, nor am I planning on missing an event that my premium pass allows me to attend. We were going to see the opening night film regardless of what it was. After the film, we’ll be attending the opening night gala cocktail party. I imagine that the cocktail party will fill the remainder of the evening, so we’ll probably be missing out on the rest of the evening’s events. If for some reason we were back at the festival in the evening and it’s not too late, I’d see The Wild One, but I doubt it.




As you can see, the evening is a bit of a mess right now–everything sounds so great.

Friday, April 14, 2023

Friday morning we’re getting up early and heading down to the Chinese Multiplex #1 to see James Stewart in Harvey. I’ve heard a lot about this movie and have never seen it. It was also a title that my husband was interested in watching and has expressed interest in seeing it in the past. This is a tough timeslot as King Kong is scheduled at the same time at the IMAX. However, my husband and I literally just saw ‘Kong’ a couple months ago in the theater. If The Old Maid had been the originally-scheduled Old Acquaintance, that would have also been on my list.



BACK-UP CHOICE: King Kong (1933)

After Harvey, we are moving to Chinese Multiplex #6 for James Cagney and Joan Blondell in Footlight Parade. I’ve always wanted to see a Busby Berkeley movie in the theater, so this is the perfect chance. I would have preferred my favorite, Golddiggers of 1933, but I will settle for ‘Footlight.’ This is a tough timeslot, because I would have also happily selected East of Eden or Larceny, Inc. I could potentially risk ‘Footlight’ in hopes that it would repeat on Sunday in one of the TBA slots and see ‘Eden’ instead, but I really want to see Berkeley’s choreography on the big screen and don’t want to risk missing it.



BACK-UP CHOICE: East of Eden (1955)

At 3:00pm, we are planning on attending the Club TCM event devoted to the Looney Tunes. Looney Tunes are definitely a big part of WB’s legacy and I am happy that they are being celebrated. It’s painful that the event is blocking Blood on the Moon which I wanted to see; but I just purchased the blu ray during the recent WB Archive sale. Maybe I’ll get lucky and ‘Moon’ will be a TBA.

BACK-UP CHOICE FOR CLUB TCM EVENT: Blood on the Moon (1948)

This is where the evening gets tough, because I want to attend the poolside screening, but it starts at 8pm and Looney Tunes ends at 4pm. My husband isn’t interested in the 5pm Club TCM event and I could take it or leave it. There’s definitely room in the schedule for a film; but TCM has scheduled the poolside screening in a way that completely interferes with two entire blocks of films. I hate to be that person who leaves early from something; but that might be the situation this evening so that we can use our time the most efficiently. We might go to American Graffiti to see Richard Dreyfuss. Or perhaps Paris Blues, because it’s awesome and it ends only a little bit before the pool event so that we wouldn’t miss as much of the film. We’d also see The Killers, but we just saw it in the theater a few months ago. I know Penny Serenade is a big deal; but that movie was so sad, I don’t know if that will be the movie I’ll be drawn toward at the festival. Regardless of what film we see, we’ll be leaving early to get to the poolside screening.







BACK-UP: These are all back-ups to each other.

I wanted to go to a poolside screening, and of the three offered, Beach Party is the most appealing. Frankie Avalon is scheduled to appear, which makes this event even more exciting. I even have a “Beauty School Dropout” shirt for the occasion. This film would also be really fun to see poolside. However, its 8pm to 10pm timeslot effectively interferes two blocks of films. The entire block is awesome. I’m interested in the Spencer Tracy/Loretta Young precode, Man’s Castle, and I love Ball of Fire. Dana Delany is introducing ‘Fire,’ and I liked her appearances on TCM. She’s the one who introduced me to Alain Delon in Once a Thief. So we might leave Beach Party early, so that we can get to either House of Wax in 3D or 12 Angry Men. I can hope that ‘Castle’ or ‘Fire’ are one of Sunday’s TBAs.







BACK-UP: House of Wax 3D or 12 Angry Men

Then, because it looks so ridiculous, we’ll probably close out the evening with the midnight movie, The Batwoman. I don’t expect quality; but I expect a lot of fun.



Saturday, April 15, 2023

Straight off the bat, at 9am, the schedule is difficult. I want to see the precode, The Wiser Sex with Claudette Colbert, The Muppets Take Manhattan, and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. I’d even watch Paths of Glory which I really like, though for me I think I’d rather watch it later in the day. I’m going to gamble on The Wiser Sex being one of the TBA, because I wanted to see one of the two films that Russ Tamblyn is appearing at. He is introducing Peyton Place on Friday, but it’s interfering with Looney Tunes. Of the two films he’s introducing, ‘Brides’ would be my pick for a movie to see in the theater.



BACK-UP: The Wiser Sex (1932)

‘Seven Brides’ ends at 11am. We could possibly go to the Laurel & Hardy Shorts (though I think I’ve seen all the ones being featured) and leave a little early for our next event. Or we could take this time to eat an early lunch (if we’re hungry). We’re planning on attending the Club TCM event The Evolution of Henson Puppetry with Jim Henson’s son, Brian, leading the discussion. I’m hoping that Kermit the Frog or Grover make an appearance. The Club TCM event ends at 1:30pm. The next event we want to attend is at 3:00pm, so we could attend the Paramount Short Subject feature or go eat lunch if we didn’t eat earlier.

Because at 3PM…


Once Ann-Margret was announced as a guest, it didn’t even matter to me what was scheduled against her. We were going to go see Ann-Margret. Thankfully my husband was in complete agreement. Ann-Margret is scheduled against Crossing Delancey, The Jackie Robinson Story, A Club TCM event with Russ Tamblyn, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde and Treasure of the Sierra Madre. In any other world, the pre-code Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde or Treasure of the Sierra Madre would be my choice. I’ve seen ‘Treasure’ and have even seen it in the theater; but I’d love to hear the discussion with John Huston’s son, Danny. I’ve also seen the precode Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, and can only hope that it is one of Sunday’s TBAs. But it’s Ann-Margret, this block isn’t even open for debate. Bye Bye Birdie it is. I have an Ann-Margrock shirt and Conrad Birdie and Paul Lynde buttons!



BACK-UP: There is no back-up for this event in my world; but if I had to pick a back-up, it’d be Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948).

After the excitement of Ann-Margret wears off, we’ll be into another whole block of great films. Despite liking Donald Bogle and him receiving the Robert Osborne Award, I am not a fan of Carmen Jones. I hate that Harry Belafonte was dubbed. Now if Harry Belafonte himself were to appear at the screening, I would definitely go see him. But he’s 96 and not announced, so this film is not on my list of must-sees. The Exorcist is immediately eliminated, because I don’t like that movie. The equally awesome Sorry Wrong Number and How to Steal a Million are both scheduled at 6:30. Of the two, I want to go to Sorry Wrong Number with Barbara Stanwyck and Burt Lancaster, because I think that movie would be really exciting to see in the theater. I’m interested in A Mighty Wind poolside, which I have seen before and in the theater even. I liked that movie because they declared my birthday “National Folk Music Day.” But I think the allure of Stanwyck and Lancaster is more appealing than ‘Wind.’ Now if it were This is Spinal Tap, we might be having a different discussion.



BACK-UP: How to Steal a Million (1966)

At the 9pm block, I’m leaning toward Enter the Dragon, because I’ve never seen a Bruce Lee movie, and if I don’t go to 12 Angry Men, this would be the first potential screening for me at the Hollywood Legion. If I don’t go to ‘Dragon,’ I’d be interested in In the Heat of the Night, which I really like, or Unfinished Business, an Irene Dunne movie I’ve never even heard of, let alone seen. But of these films I mentioned, ‘Dragon’ might be the one I will try to attend. I hope Unfinished Business ends up as a Sunday TBA.



BACK-UP: In the Heat of the Night (1967)

Then at midnight is one of my most-anticipated events, Xanadu, starring Olivia Newton-John who passed away in August. I love Xanadu, so seeing it in the theater would be really exciting. I even have a silver sequined bomber jacket and other things just for the occasion.



Who knows?

Sunday, April 16, 2023

A lot of this day is up in the air because of the TBAs. So we’ll have play this day by ear somewhat. We possibly might head out for the 9am screening of Heaven Can Wait at the Chinese Multiplex #1. Or we can sleep in a little and head down to Larry Edmunds, because Nancy Olson is scheduled to appear at 11am. I already have an autographed copy of her book, but she’s supposed to have a talk with Alan K. Rode prior to the signings.

The 12 o’clock hour is difficult. I am thinking either the pre-code No Man of Her Own with Carole Lombard and Clark Gable, or the tried and true Casablanca, which I’ve seen in the theater four times, but never in an IMAX at the classic Grauman’s Chinese Theater no less! It’s a safe bet that No Man of Her Own will be a precode that will not repeat, seeing that it’s airing for the first time on the day of all the repeats.



HAVE I SEEN CASABLANCA? Yes a million times



After whichever film we decide on, I’m trying to decide between Mr. Cohen Takes a Walk with Leonard Maltin, who I’ve always wanted to see. Or possibly All About Eve or The Music Man with Shirley Jones scheduled to attend. I’ve seen ‘Eve’ in the theater before. There’s also a 3PM TBA that could completely change my mind. The “con” with The Music Man is that it’s such a long event, it blocks a lot of the evening. There are also a bunch of other TBAs that could change my mind. We’re considering Clash of the Wolves, because we wouldn’t have seen a silent film yet and seeing it with live music would be really neat. However, there are more TBAs that could seem more exciting.

Then of course, we’ll close out our festival and our vacation with the Closing Night Party.

As one can clearly see, Sunday is really up in the air. The TBAs could help me catch up with all the films I missed in the previous days due to the interfering events.


I will have another post after the festival to report back on what we actually ended up doing!

Favorite Stars in ‘B’ Movies Blogathon- Lucille Ball, “Queen of the Bs”

Today Lucille Ball is widely regarded as a legend and the Queen of Comedy. Prior to her legend-making role as Lucy Ricardo in the pioneering sitcom I Love Lucy, Lucy was considered royalty in a less esteemed field–Queen of the ‘B’ movies. A ‘B’ movie does not necessarily mean that it is bad or lesser, it is just a film not given the prestige of A-list above the title type stars, the big directors, and the big budgets. During the studio era, films were often shown on a double bill. A newsreel, cartoon, and short film or serial would be shown first, followed by the B movie, and ending with the headliner, or an A film. B movies were also known as “programmers.”

Lucille Ball, Queen of the Bs

Lucille Ball toiled away for a few years in uncredited and small bit roles at RKO before she was finally given a small supporting role in the A-list production, Stage Door (1937), starring Katharine Hepburn and Ginger Rogers. This film put Ball on the map and RKO started giving her leading roles in their B-list productions. Her first starring role was as Annabel Allison in The Affairs of Annabel (1938), co-starring Jack Oakie. In the film, Oakie plays Annabel’s agent who keeps getting her involved in one zany publicity scheme after another to promote her latest acting project. ‘Affairs’ was followed up by the sequel, Annabel Takes a Tour (1938). RKO originally intended to turn the Annabel films into a serial, but the project was aborted when Jack Oakie wanted more money.

After Annabel, Lucy starred in one B film after another, Go Chase Yourself (1938). In this film, Lucy plays the wife of a man who is mistaken for a bank robber and ends up in a high-speed police pursuit. In another film, The Next Time I Marry (1938), Lucy plays a woman who is set to inherit $20 million if she marries an American. She is in love however, with a Count from another country. Lucy meets an American man and convinces him to marry her. Eventually she ends up trapped in a trailer a la The Long Long Trailer (1954). In an excellent B film, Beauty for the Asking (1939), Lucy plays an entrepreneur who ends up inventing a new face cream after being dumped by her boyfriend, Patric Knowles. Lucy also appeared in another fantastic B-movie, Five Came Back. In this film, she plays a loose woman who ends up being a passenger on a plane that crashes in the jungle. After the plane is fixed, it is revealed that only 5/9 passengers can return home.

Lucille Ball in another B movie, Look Who’s Laughing (1941)

Lucy continued to appear in B films at RKO through the early 1940s. In fact, by the early 1940s, she had appeared in so many B movies, she earned the nickname, “Queen of the Bs.” One of the most pivotal B movies that she appeared in was Too Many Girls (1940), co-starring a young 23-year old Cuban named Desi Arnaz. Lucy and Desi met on set and it was love at first sight. She would later appear in the very charming A Girl, A Guy and A Gob (1941), co-starring a young and adorable (!) Edmond O’Brien, and George Murphy who plays a character named Coffee Cup. This is a great movie and I highly recommend it. Unfortunately, despite how awesome A Girl, A Guy and A Gob is, it was not a film that was going to elevate Lucy to A-list star status.

Despite appearing in dozens of starring roles by the early 1940s, Lucy had yet to get that one part that would change her career. There was no Morning Glory (1933; Katharine Hepburn’s first Oscar-winning role), or Of Human Bondage (1934; Bette Davis’ breakthrough part), or Captain Blood (1935; Errol Flynn’s breakthrough, star-making role) in her future. Lucy had proven herself a capable comedienne. She also had demonstrated excellent dramatic skills in films such as Dance Girl Dance (1940). This woman had “it.” She was gorgeous. She was talented. She had everything that any of her contemporaries had. So why couldn’t RKO make her a real star?

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz in Too Many Girls (1940). Lucy and Desi would marry and buy RKO in 1957.

In 1943, Lucy left RKO and moved to MGM. Despite the move, she continued to appear in one film after another that really didn’t do much for her career. The biggest impact MGM made was dying her hair its signature shade of red. Later, she worked at a variety of different studios and made a lot of great films: Lured (1947), The Dark Corner (1946), Miss Grant Takes Richmond (1949); but nothing made her a star. It would take her CBS radio show, My Favorite Husband, where she portrayed the first incarnation of Lucy Ricardo (albeit with a different name, Liz Cooper) to finally give her the break she needed. The success of My Favorite Husband led to being offered a television show. And thanks to Lucy and Desi’s tenacity, that television show ended up being I Love Lucy–which finally gave her the break she wanted and deserved.

Fast forward to 1957, Lucy and Desi, now the owners of the highly successful Desilu Studios television production company, were able to purchase the failing RKO Studios–the very studio that couldn’t make Lucille Ball into a movie star. Thanks to the new medium of television, Lucille Ball, the former “Queen of the Bs” was now “The First Lady of Television” and the “Queen of Comedy.”