Monday, June 30, 2008

Jonathan Harris - 'Dr. Smith' on "Lost in Space"

Jonathan Harris was a character actor with many movie and tv credits before I noticed him in the 1960s sci-fi tv series "Lost in Space", in which he played the comedic role of Dr. Zachary Smith. Since that series, I looked forward to any of his guest appearances on many other tv shows right into the 1990s.

In 1982, I sent him a letter requesting an autographed photo, to his home in Encino, California, and he sent this photo within two weeks. He signed it using some kind of white ink, which fortunately didn't smudge as such inks are likely to do.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Cab Calloway

Cab Calloway was a jazz singer and band leader who also acted in some movies and tv shows. His most famous song was "Minnie the Moocher" which he recorded in 1931, and several more times over the years. One of the lines he repeated in the song was 'hi-de-ho' and he eventually became known as 'The Hi-De-Ho Man'.

In 1982 I sent Mr. Calloway this photo, to his residence in White Plains, New York, and he signed and returned it within two weeks.

Here he is singing "Minnie the Moocher" in a vintage movie short.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Ray Walston - 'My Favorite Martian'

Ray Walston was an actor with many years of credits on stage, in movies and on tv before I became familiar with him. It was in 1963, when he starred as the title character in the sitcom "My Favorite Martian". Bill Bixby was his co-star.

After enjoying his performance in that tv series, I'd look for any past movies he was in, as well as future appearances. I enjoyed his role as 'Mr. Applegate' in the 1958 musical comedy "Damn Yankees!", and continued to like his roles in many other movies. Who can forget him as the stern teacher in 1982's "Fast Times at Ridgemont High"?

In 1982, I wrote to him at his Los Angeles residence, requesting an autographed photo. He sent this photo within one month.

Friday, June 27, 2008

June Lockhart

June Lockhart is a movie and tv actress who's perhaps best remembered for portraying the mother on two popular tv shows. The first is 'Ruth Martin' , mother of 'Timmy', in the late 1950s tv show "Lassie", and the second is 'Maureen Robinson' on the 1960s sci-fi show "Lost in Space".

Ms. Lockhart had a very active movie career before being cast in the above-mentioned two roles, but it is those for which I'll always remember her.

In 1981, I sent Ms. Lockhart this photo to her residence in Los Angeles, and she returned it, signed only, within a month.

Here is a 1991 brief retrospective on her career and what she was doing at that time. But Ms. Lockhart is still active, with several tv and feature credits in recent years.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Scatman Crothers

Scatman Crothers was an actor/singer/musician whose career started in the mid-1920s. His real first name was Benjamin, but because he specialized in a jazz style of singing called 'scat singing', which is improvising lyrics with nonsense words, he was given the name 'Scatman' in 1932 when he auditioned for a radio show in Dayton, Ohio.

Mr. Crothers started his movie acting career in the 1950s, and later became active on many tv shows, especially on animated series where he provided voices. However, I'll always remember him as 'Louie the Garbage Man' on the 1970s sitcom "Chico and The Man" for which he's best remembered.

In 1981, I wrote to Mr. Crothers, to his residence in Van Nuys, California, and requested an autographed photo, as I hadn't been able to find an appropriate one to send. He promptly replied in less than two weeks, with this photo.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Larry Manetti - 'Rick' on "Magnum P.I."

Larry Manetti is an actor who is perhaps best known for his role of 'Orville "Rick" Wright' on tv's 1980s series "Magnum P.I." which starred Tom Selleck as the title character. He's guest-starred on many other tv shows too, and has been in many feature movies, but I know him best as 'Rick'.

I've been enjoying "Magnum P.I.", catching up from the very first show, on dvd. I did watch the show when it was on first broadcast on tv, but only sporadically, so now I can watch all of the shows I missed, and I'm still on the first season, so I have plenty to go - the show was on for eight seasons!

In April of 2003, I met Larry Manetti at a Chiller Theatre Show in New Jersey. My very good friend Peter and I went to the show and spent a few hours roaming the celebrity rooms, seeing who was there. Peter knew Mr. Manetti was scheduled to appear, but there are always others who are interesting to see, too.

Mr. Manetti was selling his book, Aloha Magnum: Larry Manetti's Magnum P.I. Memories. Peter and I each bought a copy, and Larry signed them for us. Also, he was gracious to let us take pictures with him, without charging extra as many celebrities do. The photo of Larry and me can be seen here.

Here is the cover and the signed inside page from the book.
I remember the price I paid for the book - $15 - (and I don't remember if Mr. Manetti charged a few extra dollars to sign it) but I've noticed that resellers on Amazon have it priced from $64.99 for used copies, to $488.88 for a new, signed copy!

Larry Manetti has his own webpage which can be viewed here.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Anita Garvin

Anita Garvin was a comedic actress who appeared in many movies from silents in the mid-1920s right into the sound era, ending her career in the early 1940s. She is best remembered for her roles in some Laurel & Hardy and Charley Chase comedies.

While I was living in Los Angeles in the mid-1970s, my friend Dick Baldwin, who was then the Corresponding Secretary for the Sons of the Desert (the Laurel & Hardy appreciation group) Founding Tent in New York, asked me if I could find a couple of actresses who worked with 'the Boys'. One was Rosina Lawrence, and you can read my blog about her here. The other was Anita Garvin.

Dick's request came shortly before I was to leave California and return to New York permanently, in May 1976. But I did what I could on short notice. I wrote to Ms. Garvin in care of the Screen Actors Guild, and they kindly forwarded my letter to the address they had on file, which was from the 1940s. A week or so later, the letter was returned to me, stamped by the post office "no such street number". The address was on Sunset Boulevard as I recall, and the following Saturday I drove to that location, and surely the number no longer existed. There were some tall office buildings on that block, and no residences. I had to put this search on hold as I needed to prepare for my cross-country move.

Once back in New York, I frequented the New York Public Library Performing Arts Collection at Lincoln Center, to which I've previously referred in other blog postings. They had a clipping file for Anita Garvin, mostly containing movie reviews in which her name was listed in the credits. But there was one article, actually just a couple of lines, clipped from a Variety or Billboard magazine, from around 1929. It mentioned Ms. Garvin's marriage to a movie comic named Jerry Drew, whose his real name was Clem Beauchamp.

I looked in the clippings files for Jerry Drew/Clem Beauchamp, and found references to his being a director, assistant director, and unit producer for various tv shows in the 1950s and 1960s. The Library had some member directories for the Directors Guild, and one had an entry for Mr. Beauchamp, who was living in North Hollywood. I was hoping the phone number was still a good one.

When I returned home, I called Mr. Beauchamp, and when he answered, I naively asked if he was married to the actress Anita Garvin. I say 'naively' because I was still relatively new to this 'hobby' of locating movie people from long ago, and hadn't thought that a person's life circumstances could change over so many years. He replied "Yes", and then I asked "Is she there now, may I speak to her?". He then stammered somewhat, explaining that she wasn't there because they were divorced many years ago. I then asked him if he knew anything of her present whereabouts, and he told me she'd married a musician named Red Stanley, and I could probably locate him through the Musicians Union.

I called the Los Angeles Local of the American Federation of Musicians, and their membership department gave me Mr. Stanley's phone number. His first name was actually Clifford. I eagerly called, as by this time I was "thisclose" to finding Anita Garvin, who was apparently long sought after by Laurel & Hardy fans. Mr. Stanley answered and I introduced myself, explaining the purpose of my call. He was very cordial and told me Anita was there and he'd give the phone to her.

Ms. Garvin was courteous and happy to be remembered for her movie work of many years earlier. She told me she was aware of the Sons of the Desert but nobody had ever contacted her, and she never attempted contacting the group. When I told her of my search for her, and that I'd talked to her first husband, Clem Beauchamp, she replied, with a sarcastic tone, "Oh, is HE still alive?". She explained that there was no love lost for him, as during their first year of marriage, she walked in on him committing a marital infidelity with her best friend, another actress. She said she turned around and walked out, and filed for divorce. She later met her present husband, Clifford Stanley, a musician, and they married and raised a family.

With her permission, I gave her information to Al Kilgore of the Sons of the Desert, and he followed up by passing the information to others in California 'tents', and soon after, Mr. and Mrs. Stanley were on their way to attending dinners and meeting fans.

Over the following several years, Anita and I talked many times by phone, and exchanged Christmas cards. She sent me a couple of signed photos, a few years apart. The first was accompanied by this note in which she apologized for the autograph not being readable due to the dark area of the photo (but she wrote this note on the back). Some years later, she sent this photo, via my friend Steve who'd become a close friend of Anita's, and visited her during his travels to Los Angeles.

I never did meet Anita in person, as I never returned to California as I'd thought I'd do from time to time. I had the opportunity to meet her when she was in New York, some time in the early 1980s. I believe she attended the annual banquet of the Two Tars Tent in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and afterwards would be staying for a few days with somebody on Long Island, and the plan was for me to drive out there and spend a day. But it was not to be, because Anita had to return to California promptly upon hearing of a family emergency.

Here is one of the Christmas cards I received from her. All of her cards had a religious motif.

After several years of declining health, Anita Garvin died July 7, 1994, age 87.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Angela Lansbury

Angela Lansbury is an English actress who has been in theater, movies, and television since the 1940s.

I'd seen her in some movies from the 1940s, and liked her in "The Picture of Dorian Gray" (1945) and Frank Capra's "State of the Union" (1948). But it was her character in 1962's "The Manchurian Candidate" when I really noticed her acting ability. Later, in the 1980s, she had her own tv series, "Murder, She Wrote", in which she played mystery writer Jessica Fletcher who helped to solve 'real-life' murders.

In 1982, I sent this vintage portrait photo to her, at her residence in Los Angeles, and she returned it within one month.

Here is a scene from "The Manchurian Candidate" in which Ms. Lansbury's character describes 'the plot'. Want to know more? - then see the movie! I strongly recommend it especially during this Presidential election year.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Pigmeat Markham - "Here Comes De Judge!"

Dewey Markham was a veteran performer of black theater, primarily vaudeville and night clubs, but also acted in some movies.

His most famous comedy routine was "Here Comes De Judge", in which he played the role of a judge listening to various 'cases'. The routine made a mockery of formal courtroom etiquette, and must be heard (and seen when possible) to be fully appreciated. The recording he made in 1968 has a cool funky beat accompaniment.

Mr. Markham lived in Bronx, New York during his later years, and I wrote to him in 1980, requesting an autographed photo. He sent two photos, which can be seen here and here. The second photo pictures him as "De Judge".

Here is the recording of "Here Comes De Judge", from 1968.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

In Search of.....Frances McCoy

In Search of…..Frances McCoy

Frances McCoy was an actress who had the distinction of appearing in the first movie featuring the men who would later become known as The Three Stooges: Moe Howard, Shemp Howard, and Larry Fine.

The movie was “Soup to Nuts”, a 1930 Fox Film, which starred Ted Healy. Healy used ‘stooges’ in his vaudeville act for several years, and Fox signed all of them to appear in this comedy.

Frances appeared in a few musical shorts in the 1930s also, but that seemed to be the last of her movie career.

For several years, a group of us have been trying to locate, or find out whatever happened to, Frances McCoy. The group is comprised of Frank Reighter, Gary Lassin, Ed Shifres, Rich Finegan, and myself, among a few others - we’re all fans and researchers of anything/anybody and everything/everybody pertaining to The Three Stooges. One of the things we’ve been doing, and have had a high degree of success with, is locating supporting players in their movies.

Biographical information, including birth and death years, is readily available, for all of the leading players in “Soup to Nuts”, except for Frances McCoy. There is some information on her, but nothing that’s led us to finding her or whatever became of her.

According to a biographical profile in a Motion Picture Almanac, Frances McCoy was born in New York City on December 25, 1912 (1911 has been given in a studio contract). Her mother’s name was Harriet. She lived in The Bronx and attended Roosevelt High School.

US Census Records have been searched for listings for Frances and her mother, for 1920 and 1930, first for New York, then for California, and finally for the entire U.S. There is no record for them under those names.

I’ve checked the Index of Births at the Municipal Archives in NYC, and did not find an entry for any ‘female-McCoy’ born on December 25, 1907-1913. Assuming that Frances returned to New York after her Hollywood days, I’ve checked the NYC Death Index books in the Genealogical Section of the NY Public Library for any entries for Frances or Harriet, from 1956-early 1980s, and while a few names were found, the ages were no where near what would have been appropriate.

I’ve also checked the California Death Index for any Frances and Harriet McCoy, but again nothing age-appropriate was found.

I searched Manhattan/Bronx City Directories for the late 1920s and into the early 1930s, and found Frances and Harriet only once, in 1933, residing at 2390 Davidson Avenue, Apt. 2D, in The Bronx. Frances was listed as the “Head of Household” - occupation actress, and Harriet was listed as “Resident” - occupation fur finisher.

The Fox Film Legal Department has on file, a contract from March 20, 1930, between Fox and Harriet McCoy, as mother to Frances McCoy (who was a minor at the time). Their New York City address is given as 314 East 206th Street, which is in The Bronx.

On October 27, 1930, the Los Angeles Times published an article about Frances McCoy suffering from nervous exhaustion (a polite way of calling it a nervous breakdown) and referred to her returning home to The Bronx, where she was residing at 2390 Davidson Avenue. Since this is the same address as the 1933 City Directory, it’s the last known address for Frances McCoy.

So now that our group has exhausted every possible source available, we’re asking for assistance from anybody who may have something to share about Frances McCoy.

Please contact either me at or Frank Reighter at

We’ll be most grateful for any information provided that may help us find out whatever became of Frances McCoy.

Below are a few scenes from "Soup to Nuts", the first two picturing Frances at her 'job' as receptionist:

With Lucille Browne and Ted Healy:
With Ted Healy:

Friday, June 20, 2008

Spanky McFarland - What a 'Rascal'!

It was in the Fall of 1991, my very good friend Jack called me and invited me to come along with him, to meet Spanky McFarland. Spanky was the most popular and well-known of "The Little Rascals". He was currently in New York to promote the video (vhs) release of many of those movies, I believe for Republic Home Video.

I drove to Jack's house in Yonkers, where he and another friend, Steve, were waiting for me. Jack drove us to the LaGuardia Airport, where we picked up Spanky at his hotel. He sat in the back with me, and we had a pleasant chat about various subjects. One of the things I was 'into' at the time, was exploring businesses worthy of investing in, via the stock market. Spanky suggested I buy some stock in King World Entertainment, which had tv syndication rights to 'The Little Rascals" movies, as well as many other shows. Spanky said "You can make money with King World, it's a well-run company and has lots of good things going for it". (I did look into it further, but being short of funds, I didn't follow through with a stock purchase).

Jack drove us back to Yonkers, where we had dinner at an Italian restaurant on South Broadway (I don't recall the name, and I believe it may have new owners and a new name now). We were quite full after the hearty meal (which was preceded by appetizers), and none of us wanted dessert, except Spanky. He wanted some ice cream, but since Jack, Steve and I weren't having any, he decided to forgo dessert.

After dinner, we went to Jack's house, where Jack showed some memorabilia to Spanky. It was during our time here where Spanky autographed this photo to me.

Soon after, we took Spanky back to his hotel. As we neared the hotel, he pointed to a 7-11 store, and asked Jack to stop. Spanky ran in, and in a few minutes came out with a small bag. None of us asked him what he'd bought, but we think it was a container of ice cream.

Spanky McFarland died less than two years later, June 30, 1993. Here is a video with the news of his passing, and a retrospective of his career.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Beverly Garland

Beverly Garland has been a movie and tv actress for about 50 years, and while I've seen her in many roles, it's her appearances in B-horror/sci-fi movies that I first remember. Some of those movies are "It Conquered the World" (1956), "Curucu, Beast of the Amazon" (1956), "Not of this Earth" (1957), and "The Alligator People" (1959).

In 1981, I sent Ms. Garland a photo for autographing, and she returned it within two weeks, including an additional photo. The photo she provided can be seen here and the one I sent her can be seen here.

Ms. Garland has been the owner of a hotel in North Hollywood, California for many years. It's appropriately named 'Beverly Garland's Holiday Inn'.

Here is a trailer for "The Alligator People".

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Herb Vigran

Herb Vigran was a character actor who was recognizable in many movies from the 1930s into the 1980s, and on many tv shows from the 1950s into the 1980s. He was adept at playing many characters but was often cast as a gangster or some other tough-talking person. I remember him for his role of 'Mugsy Maples' on an episode of "The Adventures of Superman", and also for various appearances on "I Love Lucy" and "My Little Margie".

I wrote to Mr. Vigran in 1981, asking for an autographed photo, as I was unable to find one appropriate to send. Mr. Vigran sent this photo.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Rolf Harris

Rolf Harris is an Australian singer and musician who has had several hit records over the years, but is most well-known for "Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport", a novelty song featuring the sound of the "wobble board" which was an 'instrument' created by Mr. Harris. The song charted in 1959 and became a big hit.

I've been a fan of Rolf's for many years, but it has never been easy finding his music in the U.S. But thanks to the Internet over the past several years, I've been able to find and purchase his music. He has available several cd's of his 'old' hit songs as well as newly recorded ones.

Mr. Harris is a cartoonist and artist as well as a musician and song writer. He has had several tv shows in the United Kingdom featuring these talents.

In 1997, I found his fan club on the Internet and joined it. The autographed photo I received, as well as the membership card and an unsigned photo, can be seen here.

During the summer of 1999, I arranged to meet Rolf's business manager, Tony Cordwell, when he was in New York City. Two other fans of Rolf's joined us at a pub in the South Street Seaport. Tony had brought along a few items I'd ordered from the fan club. Upon his return to England, I wrote him and told him of my enjoyment of the cd's and to please pass along my thanks to Rolf. Here is the email I received from him (it's a copy of one he sent to Rolf), and Rolf's reply directly to me:
----- Original Message -----
From: Tony Cordwell
To: rolf
Sent: 25 October 1999 08:56
Subject: Fwd: Received parcel

I thought I'd forward this one to you as Bill (who I have met during one
of my trips to New York) is in fact the longest standing fan club member. I
think a brief forwarded message from you would go down a treat! He ordered
"She'll be Right", "Bootleg" and a bootleg tee shirt, as well as renewing
his subscription.

Date: Tue, 26 Oct 1999 20:23:33
Subject: Reply from Rolf

Dear Bill,

Tony passed on your message about getting the T-shirt and the
CDs. I'm knocked out that you like the CDs so much. We're really happy
with the new stuff, and most of the old ones are songs that were really
great, but somehow never grabbed the public's attention at the time, so it's
good to see them getting an airing again. I was just going to go into lots
of historical detail about them, but remembered that I've done all that in
the sleeve notes.
We're doing a live gig this Friday, and we're doing a DAT recording of the
proceedings, so there should be a good live CD in that, and you'll be able
to see how the songs are recieved by an audience. I hope you continue to be
a fan. We're going to keep going with the shows and the recordings,(got all
sorts of new stuff planned). Keep checking out the web site.

Cheers mate, Rolf.

Rolf's website can be seen here, and it has loads of information about him.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Diane Keaton

Diane Keaton is an actress who's also ventured into directing and producing. She is perhaps best known for her various roles in several of Woody Allen's comedies, including 1977's "Annie Hall", for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress as the title character. She later became a fine dramatic actress in such features as "Looking for Mr. Goodbar" (1977) and "Reds" (1981).

In 1987, Ms. Keaton wrote and directed a documentary, "Heaven", which was about various beliefs concerning the afterlife. It is an excellent movie on the subject, in my opinion.

In 1982, I sent Ms. Keaton two photos, including one of her receiving her Oscar, to her New York City residence. She signed and returned them in just over a week. They can be seen here and here.

Here's the trailer for "Annie Hall".

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Burl Ives

Burl Ives was a folk singer/actor during the 1940s through the 1980s. Some of his more popular songs were "Big Rock Candy Mountain", "A Little Bitty Tear", "Funny Way of Laughing", and "A Holly Jolly Christmas", but that is just a tiny sampling of his vast song repertoire.

One of his most memorable acting roles was as 'Big Daddy' in the 1955 Broadway play "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" - he also played the character in the feature movie three years later.

In 1964, Mr. Ives gained a new audience of children when he narrated the tv stop-motion-animated production of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer". His character was 'Sam the Snowman'. This has been shown each year during the Christmas holiday season since its original telecast.

His credits are numerous and can be found on the Burl Ives International Web Site.

I wrote to Mr. Ives in 1982, requesting an autographed photo. He sent me two photos, and they can be seen here and here.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

"In Search Of....The Real Marjorie White"

This is being posted as a courtesy to Gary Olszewski, who is researching for a comprehensive biography on 1930s actress Marjorie White. Please contact Gary directly if you have any information, materials, etc. to share.

In Search of….Marjorie White

Hi, Everyone! My name’s Gary Olszewski, I live in Henderson, Nevada, and I’m doing a comprehensive life bio of actress Marjorie White, her life and times, and her work. Been at this now for over three years, and still pushing ahead with the project. I’ve compiled just about all the demographic documentation available to include the birth records of her and all other family members, her immigration documents, all I can find about her death, as well as those others associated with her like Thelma Wolpa (her partner in the White Sisters act), husband Eddie Tierney, and several other people pertinent to her story. I’ve gone far and beyond, in depth, into her life, but there are still several areas open I’ve yet to gather information on. I’ll welcome any and all contributions of material I don’t yet have. This is a serious work of genealogy, light-hearted at times, but not at all funny, and far removed from the comedy of The Three Stooges.

Seeing her in WOMAN HATERS, I wondered “Who was she, and whatever became of her?” What started as an idle curiosity, has evolved into taking me deep into the disciplines of genealogical history, and I’ve made contacts in several different countries concerning this work, some far removed from the crux of the story, but all relating to her. I have hundreds and hundreds of files, photos, and references, on dozens of discs, anything anyone has and is willing to share to help me in this project, feel free to contact me with anything you might have or know of.. Thanks to all. Gary

GMZEWSKI@AOL.COM --- Phone: 1-702-565-3961

Friday, June 13, 2008

Charles Lane

Everyone knows Charles Lane! He was a character actor whose career began in the 1930s, and he made hundreds of appearances in movies and tv shows, right into the late 1990s. Everybody who has seen any number of movies over the years, has definitely seen Charles Lane.

Mr. Lane was listed in the Los Angeles phone directory, but I never called him, something I regret. I should have done so, even if it would have been a brief call, to tell him how much I appreciated his characterizations in so many movies. Instead, I sent him this photo, in 1985, and he returned it within a few weeks.

Charles Lane lived to the ripe age of 102 in 2007, having been retired for only about 10 years.

Below is a brief TVLand retrospective of his career, on his 100th birthday in 2005. He can be seen at the end with the birthday cake, and just listen to what he says!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Blythe Danner

Blythe Danner is an actress whom I thought was one of the prettiest young screen ladies of the 1970s. I fondly remember her in several movies, and tv guest appearances from that era, right into the 1980s. I know she's still active today, but I haven't seen anything in which she's appearing.

I wrote to Ms. Danner in 1981, and sent her this portrait photo, which she signed and returned within a month.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Benny Rubin

Benny Rubin was an actor who was known for his ability to talk in many dialects. This trait was put to use in his many movie and tv appearances, and many of his roles were of a comedic nature.

In 1980, I called Mr. Rubin, who was listed in the Los Angeles phone directory. He didn't sound too well, talked softly and seemed to be tired. Maybe I woke him, I don't know, as he was polite but obviously not up to talking. I told him I'd write to him and send a photo for signing.

I mailed the photo the next day, and two weeks later, he returned it, signed with only his first name.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Angie Dickinson

Angie Dickinson is a movie and tv actress, active from the 1950s to the present. Her most memorable tv role for which I remember her, is the lead in "Police Woman", a 1970s crime drama. Later, in 1980, I remember her for her role as the primary murder victim in "Dressed to Kill".

It was after seeing Ms. Dickinson in "Dressed to Kill", that I sent her two photos to sign, to her home in Beverly Hills, California. She returned them within a couple of months, and they can be seen here and here.

Ms. Dickinson can be seen in the trailer for "Dressed to Kill" below.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Dr. Demento

Dr. Demento is the stage name for Barry Hansen, a Los Angeles-based radio personality who specializes in playing records of novelty songs and parodies of pop music from all eras. I became familiar with his radio show while living in California in 1974. His show was on Sunday evenings, and I was a faithful (more or less) listener each week.

There were a few times when I called the show to request a favorite novelty or comedy record I'd remembered from years earlier, and sure enough, he had all of those in his massive collection. But there were some obscure records he didn't have, and in 1975 I wrote him, offering to make audio cassettes of those that may be of interest to him.

He replied with this letter and photo. I did make the cassettes for him, and requested a few songs in return, which I never did receive.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Dorothy DeHaven - article by Frank Reighter

Here is a brief biography on Dorothy DeHaven, who was in some comedies of The Three Stooges, and a 'long lost player' until Frank Reighter made the right contacts. (Above photo of Ms. DeHaven in character in "Three Little Pirates").

Dorothy DeHaven has been one of the longest-looked-for Stooges Supporting Players for Ed Shifres, Bill Cappello and me. With their help, and a lucky eBay buy of a book called "Burlesque" (2004) by Jane Briggeman, and the key help of Joyce Moore, archivist of Special Collections at the University of Nevada - Las Vegas (UNLV), I have located and spoken to Dorothy's adopted son, Richard Saunders, who confirmed her birth and death information, some of the "non-Stooge" details of her life, and will help me craft a biography for this formerly "long-Lost Stooge lady".

She was born in Rhode Island Oct. 27, 1909 and died in Monterey, CA Oct 1, 1996. In addition to "Three Little Pirates" (1946), she was one of the "senoritas" in "Cuckoo Cavaliers" (1940). She also had a very interesting and full life.

Thanks to everybody who assisted in this LONG search. It really shows that any of the ladies we're looking for may be only ONE clue away!

Frank Reighter c 2008

The photo below is a scene from "Cuckoo Cavaliers" with Ms. DeHaven on the left.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

John Newland

John Newland was an actor who became a director and producer of television series in the 1960s. He had acted in many dozens of tv shows, but will always be remembered as the host for the late 1950s anthology series "One Step Beyond", which presented dramatizations of 'true' paranormal events and personal experiences.

In the late 1970s, I called Mr. Newland at his home in Beverly Hills (he was listed in the phone directory) to tell him how much I enjoyed seeing the episodes of "One Step Beyond" which had been in syndication at the time. He asked that I call him at his office the following day, and gave me the number. I did call, and he told me he was producing a newer version, to be called "The Next Step Beyond". I recall seeing the latter, but it was only on for a dozen or so episodes before being canceled.

In the early 1990s, I wanted to contact Mr. Newland again, to ask for a signed photo. He was no longer listed in the Beverly Hills phone directory, so I called the Directors Guild in Los Angeles, and they gave me a phone number which was in New Mexico. I called, and talked very briefly to Mr. Newland. He said "You seem to be a nice fan, so here's my address and you can send me the photo". I sent him this photo and he returned it within two weeks. During our brief chat, I told him some of my favorite "One Step Beyond" shows, and that is probably why he wrote 'Good memories' in his inscription.

Here is the introduction by John Newland for the "One Step Beyond" show.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Slim Pickens

Slim Pickens was an actor mostly known for tough-talking cowboy roles, but I'll always remember him as 'Major King Kong' in the 1964 dark comedy "Dr. Strangelove". Who could ever forget his speech to his flight crew members, and for the scene in which he's 'riding the bomb' being dropped on Russia. Another memorable role, though, is as the head of the roughneck cowboy gang in the 1974 comedy "Blazing Saddles".

I sent Mr. Pickens this photo in 1981, to his home in Columbia, California, and he returned it within a month.

Here is a clip of his "Dr. Strangelove" speech to his crew.

Here's the scene of 'riding the bomb'.

And finally, a clip of his character 'Taggart' from "Blazing Saddles" (also featuring the recently deceased Harvey Korman).

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Eartha Kitt

Eartha Kitt is as well-known for her acting as well as her singing. She has a distinctive voice and, in song, she can be sweet and sultry. Her most popular song is the sexy "Santa Baby" which charted in the early 1950s, and her most well-remembered acting role is most likely that of the 'Catwoman' on the 1960s tv series "Batman", though she has been in many Broadway productions of note, too.

I sent her this vintage portratit photo in 1980, to her home in Beverly Hills, California, and she returned it within two weeks.

Ms. Kitt has her own website, with more information about her career and what she's doing today.

Here is a vintage film clip of her singing "Santa Baby".

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Harvey Lembeck - 'Von Zipper'

Harvey Lembeck was a comedic actor whom I best remember as the character 'Eric Von Zipper' in the series of "Beach Party" movies in the 1960s. 'Von Zipper' was a bumbling outlaw biker in those movies, the leader of the biker gang The Ratz and Mice, a sort of 'Three Stooges' version of Hell's Angels.

I sent this character portrait to Mr. Lembeck in 1981, and he signed and returned it within two weeks. He died the following year at the too-young age of 59.

Here is a color photo scene from one of the movies.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Ruth Godfrey White - article by Frank Reighter

Here is another article researched by my friend and fellow "people locator", Frank Reighter.
Ruth Godfrey White
Born Feb. 24, 1922 in Illinois, Died Jan. 7, 1985 in California

Ruth was trained as a dancer, and worked with the Jack Cole Dancers. Ruth moved to California. She worked in several Three Stooges shorts as Ruth Godfrey, and after marrying Jules White's son, Harold (Hal) White, worked in several more as Ruth Godfrey White. Ruth and Hal adopted two children, Jonathan (B 7/7/59) and Gretchen (B 6/8/61), and retired from films to become a full-time mother and housewife.

Ruth and Hal resided at 10822 Reseda Blvd. in Northridge, CA. Harold White died of a heart attack while on a fishing trip in Mexico, Feb. 10, 1979. Ruth Godfrey White died Jan. 7, 1985 at Northridge Hospital of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Her body was cremated by Coastal Cremations, Inc., in Pasadena, CA., after services at Bastian and Perott Mortuary.

Her Columbia film credits are as follows:

A Merry Mix-Up (1957) Leona
Muscle Up a Little Closer (1957) May Trent
The Ten Commandments (1956) choreographer
Rumpus in the Harem (1956) Sheba, Reba or Heba
Shot in the Frontier (1954) Bella
Knutzy Knights (1954) Lady in Waiting
Pals and Gals (1954) Belle
Musty Muscateers (1954) Tillith
Pardon My Backfire (1953) Nettie
A Blissful Blunder (1952) ?
Rhythm and Weep (1946) Tilda

Below is a posed scene from "Rhythm and Weep", with Ruth on the left. The other two ladies are Gloria Patrice and Nita Bieber.

Also I recently found two listings for "Soundies", the 3 minute musicals that were played on a projection juke-box type of machine at amusement parks, penny arcades & bars in the 1940's. One listing was filmed 10/25/1943, called "Chicken Reel" and it featured the Rhythmaires and the Godfrey Dancers, led by Ruth Godfrey. The other was filmed 11/8/1943 and was called "Hawaiian Holiday", and featured only the Godfrey Dancers.

Frank Reighter c 2008

Monday, June 2, 2008

Don Beddoe

Don Beddoe was a character actor who started his career in 1929, on Broadway. He entered the movies in the late 1930s, and continued his acting into tv, retiring in the early 1980s. As character actors are known to do, he was adept at playing various roles, both comedy and drama.

I sent him this photo in 1981, to his home in Mission Viejo, California, and he signed and returned it within two weeks. He was one of those who used a ballpoint pen, but he must have pressed very hard, because just about the entire inscription can be read easily.

Below is a posed scene from "Two Latins from Manhattan", a 1941 musical comedy. The two ladies with Mr. Beddoe are Joan Woodbury and Jinx Falkenburg.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Hillary Brooke

Hillary Brooke was an actress who is best remembered today for her role on "The Abbott and Costello Show" tv series in the 1950s, as the beautiful blonde resident of the boarding house in which the title characters lived. Second to that show, she was also a leading player in three "Sherlock Holmes" features in the 1940s.

Ms. Brooke appeared in many features of the 1940s and 1950s, and made many tv guest appearances throughout the 1950s.

I wrote to Ms. Brooke in 1981, sending her two photos, to her home in Bonsall, California. She promptly signed and returned them within two weeks. They can be seen here and here. The latter is actually a character portrait from the 1953 sci-fi movie "Invaders from Mars", hence the stern look.

Below is a character pose from an unidentified movie.