Saturday, August 9, 2008

Reasons To Be Cheerful: week of 08/08/08

1. The recent departures of super-manager Bernie Brillstein, comedian and actor Bernie Mac, and Arthur Ferrante's piano partner Lou Teicher affords us an opportunity to look back at the very different lives and achievements of three flamboyant and distinctly unique show business personalities.














Click on the pictures above to see their obituaries in a new window.

2. There were a couple of other celebrity tidbits reported over at IMDb that caught my eye this week, amid the usual bad news, scandals, lawsuits and other effluvia - -

- Woody Allen talking a bit about the statue of him erected a few years back in Oviedo, Spain, calling it "...one of the great mysteries of western civilization".

"I never saved someone from drowning and they put a statue up of me in the town. I thought it was a joke.
"And it's a good statue of me; I've got my sports jacket on and corduroy trousers."











- The small
Luke Wilson -
Monty Python connection
is a handy morsel of trivia.

Owen's brother Luke apparently has some involvement in a new documentary about the popularity British comedy troupe Monty Python has had in the United States.

It turns out that the connection is the Wilson brothers' father, Robert Andrew Wilson, an advertising executive who was president of PBS station KERA in Dallas, Texas in 1975.

His VP of programming, Ron Devillier, brought him a batch of videotapes of 'Monty Python's Flying Circus' the station had received in a box from Time-Life containing "...some BBC shows that nobody was interested in".

Despite a pronounced lack of interest from the station's board, it was Bob Wilson who gave the
go-ahead that made KERA the first station in the U.S. to air 'Flying Circus' in May of 1975, just a few months after the series had ceased production in the U.K.
An immediate ratings success in Dallas, by the end of that summer the show had been picked up by 130 additional American PBS stations.

- Police in New Zealand have used Robbie Coltrane's photo on a wanted poster, in an effort to catch a teenage 'look-alike' burglar.

(Follow link above to read more at The Times Online)

Laws in the city of Christchurch forbid them from publishing photographs of juvenile-aged criminals, so the poster is a ploy to get around the law but bring attention to a wave of burglaries.

The police information leaflet, posted locally and placed in mailboxes, states: “Robbie Coltrane is not the burglar, but imagine him aged 16 with lank greasy hair and you have the picture”.

It continues: “Because of the Children and Young Persons Act 1989, police cannot show you a picture of the 16-year-old burglar operating in your neighborhood.”

Thus far, 58-year-old British actor and OBE recipient Robbie Coltrane - - whose credits include the 'Cracker' TV series and 5 'Harry Potter' films - - has not been reached for comment.



3. I've made reference a few times on this blog to illustrator Jim Flora, known primarily for the singularly cool album covers he produced in the 1940's and '50's.

Doing a bit of research for the most recent mention, I was amused and quite pleased to come across the 'Not! Flora' Gallery at Jim Flora.Com.

It's a collection of some suspiciously similarly inclined album covers, created by artists OTHER than Flora.

The site states that the posted examples are "... presented herewith to help you settle arguments."

A noteworthy public service on their part, but it's also just a nifty little assortment of jacket designs...

4. Speaking of cool by definition...










I'd seen other versions of it around the web before, but I just recently stumbled upon the 1944 edition of
Cab Calloway’s 'Hepster’s Dictionary'
, on view at Dinosaur Gardens.

Mr. C sold a couple million copies of his jive-guide and released updated editions over the years, as the lexicon began to grow.
Check it out - - It's a gasser!

Just for good measure, follow the link to view a video clip of Cab and his band performing 'Jumpin' Jive' from 1943's 'Stormy Weather' - - before turning the dance floor over to The Nicholas Brothers.

5. Okay, taking a moment to try and make sure you see a new link I recently added to a piece I posted last year about the 'Herbie' comics of the late '50's and 1960's.

- Follow the link to a shockingly thorough and scholarly website, 'Herbie Popnecker: Examples of Recurring Themes'!

The site catalogs over 1000 examples of 48 different recurring themes in Herbie Comics.

- - And it's about time, I say.








































Lollipop-bopping, walking in air, swooning women, time travel - - it's all here, and way too much more - - and you need to check this out.
Really.

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