Sunday, November 30, 2008

Kim Novak

Kim Novak is an actress who began her career in the 1950s. Her first few roles were uncredited, but she became known shortly after, for her roles in movies such as "Pushover" (1954) co-starring with Fred MacMurray, "Phffft!" (1954) opposite Judy Holliday and Jack Lemmon, and "Picnic" (1955) co-starring with William Holden.

Ms. Novak starred in Hitchcock's "Vertigo" (1958), with James Stewart. That same year, another movie for which she may be remembered is "Bell, Book and Candle" which co-starred James Stewart again as well as Jack Lemmon. She continued starring in several other feature movies, as well as many guest appearances on tv shows, into the 1990s.

In 1985, I sent Ms. Novak this photo. She returned it within two weeks.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Joan Woodbury

Joan Woodbury was an actress in many movies from the 1930s into the 1960s. She appeared mostly in 'B' movies, including some Westerns, in which she played the heroine opposite 'cowboy' stars such as Tex Ritter and Roy Rogers.

I sent her this photo in 1983, and she signed and returned it within two weeks.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sandy Duncan

Sandy Duncan is an actress and singer who was very active on tv from the 1960s into the 1990s. I remember her many guest appearances on tv shows. She has pixie-like qualities in her appearance and voice mannerisms.

She also had her own tv show, "The Hogan Family", in the late 1980s. This show was a continuation of actress Valerie Harper's sitcom, "Valerie", which was discontinued after Harper had some kind of dispute with the producers. Ms. Duncan's character became the star of the show and it was renamed.

It was in the late 1980s I sent her this photo, and she signed and returned it within one month.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Dennis Christopher

Dennis Christopher first came to recognition in the 1979 coming-of-age movie "Breaking Away". I liked his portrayal of the character 'Dave' and looked forward to seeing him in other movies. Some of his other prominent roles were in 1980's "Fade to Black" and 1981's "Chariots of Fire". Since that time, he has been in many other movies and tv shows.

I wrote to him in 1981, sending him two photos. He signed each and returned them promptly, within two weeks. The photos can be seen here and here. The latter he signed to me with only his first name, as if we were friends.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

William Windom

William Windom is an Emmy-winning actor who's had an extensive career in movies and television.
One of his finest roles was in 1962's "To Kill a Mockingbird". A few years later, he had his own tv series, "My World and Welcome To It", for which he won his Emmy.

I'd never requested a photo from Mr. Windom during my active years of collecting, mainly because I never obtained an address for him. But in 1998, I had the pleasure of meeting him at the same banquet at which I met Gale Storm (see blog from November 18). He signed this photo for me.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Gale Storm

Gale Storm is one of Hollywood's most versatile performers. In addition to her work in movies and television, she's a successful recording artist.

In the 1940s, she appeared in many features for RKO Pictures and Monogram Pictures. She also sang in several "Soundies", 3-minute musical shorts that were shown on "movie jukeboxes".

In the 1950s, Miss Storm had a recording career, and hit the music charts with a couple of hits, "I Hear You Knockin' " and "Dark Moon". At the same time, she starred in two consecutive tv sitcoms, "My Little Margie" and "The Gale Storm Show" (the latter was also known as "Oh! Susanna").

In 1985, I sent Miss Storm this photo, to her residence in California. She signed and returned it within two weeks.

I had the pleasure of meeting Gale in 1998. She was a guest of honor at The Two Tars Tent of The Sons of the Desert Banquet on November 28th, at the Cherry Hill Holiday Inn. Here is a photo of us taken during the autograph session.

Here is a YouTube slideshow of her singing "Dark Moon".

Saturday, November 15, 2008

David Seville - "Father" of "The Chipmunks"

David Seville was the stage name of Ross Bagdasarian, who was an actor, singer/songwriter and record producer. He is best remembered today for creating "The Chipmunks" - Alvin, Simon and Theodore.

The voices of the "Chipmunks" were performed by recording voices at 'normal' speed, and then speeded up on a tape recorder. Mr. Bagdasarian had used this effect on a hit record he had in 1958, "The Witch Doctor", which was also his first experiment with speeding an audio track to get the distinctive, comical, squeaky, high-pitched voices.

The 'big hit' for "David Seville and The Chipmunks" came in 1958, with the seasonal song "Christmas Don't Be Late" (also known simply as "The Chipmunk Song").

Mr. Bagdasarian died in 1972, at the young age of 52, long before I became very active in acquiring autographed photos. Over the years, I always had him on my list of 'desired autographs', and in 1995, was fortunate to buy this photo of him from a reliable autograph dealer. I recall paying about $10 for it.

Here is a link to a YouTube video of "The Chipmunk Song" from the 1960s animated tv series "The Alvin Show".

And here is a video slideshow with the original recording of "The Witch Doctor".

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hayden Rorke

Hayden Rorke was an actor whose career began on stage in the 1930s and in movies in the 1940s. He was adept at playing various characters. In the 1950s, he began an extensive career guest-starring on many tv shows.

In 1965, he played his most well-known role: 'Dr. Bellows' on the tv sitcom "I Dream of Jeannie", costarring with Barbara Eden and Larry Hagman. He continued in this role for the entire series, through 1970.

I wrote to Mr. Rorke in 1980, to his residence in Studio City, California. I requested a signed photo, and he sent this one, in character as 'Dr. Bellows'.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sylvia Sidney

Sylvia Sidney was a leading actress in many movies of the 1930s and 1940s, and then transitioned to tv in guest-starring roles on dozens of shows from the 1950s through the 1970s. Among her memorable feature roles: 'Winnie Verloc' in Alfred Hitchcock's "Sabotage" (1936) and 'Joan Taylor' in Fritz Lang's "You Only Live Once" (1937).

I sent this photo to Ms. Sidney in 1981, to her Connecticut residence, and she returned it within one week.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Walter Pidgeon

Walter Pidgeon was an actor in many movies in the 1930s through the 1950s, in which he received top billing. Also, he guest-starred on many tv shows from the 1950s into the early 1970s. He played various roles throughout his career.

In 1981, I sent him this photo, to his residence in Los Angeles, which he signed and returned within two weeks.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Lloyd Nolan

Lloyd Nolan was an actor who appeared in many dozens of movies from the 1930s through the 1980s, and on many tv shows from the 1950s through the 1980s. He played various characters in supporting roles, such as police officers, doctors, judges, detectives, etc.

I sent this photo to Mr. Nolan in late 1981, to his residence in Los Angeles, and he returned it within one month, in early 1982.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Frank Nelson - "Yeeesssssss???????"

Frank Nelson was a veteran comedic character on radio and television, beginning his career in the 1930s.

Mr. Nelson found fame during the 1940s appearing on Jack Benny's radio show. He typically portrayed a sales clerk or customer service worker. For example, needing airline tickets, Benny would call the ticket agent, "Oh Mister? Mister?" Nelson's appearance began with his catchphrase, a bellowed "Ye-e-e-e-s?". The two men would banter, with Nelson gleefully delivering one-liners such as "Is that a hairpiece or did someone plant moss on your head?" and sarcastic responses like "Do I work at this airport? No, I'm a DC-4 with a mustache."

Mr. Nelson continued his association with Jack Benny into the 1950s and 1960s appearing on many of the latter's television shows. He also provided voices for many tv and movie characters into the 1980s. One of his last performances was as a spokesperson for McDonald's, appearing in a series of tv commercials.

I wrote to Mr. Nelson in 1985, requesting a photo, because I couldn't find one through the usual sources. He sent this one, of himself in character for McDonald's.

Here he is in a scene from a Jack Benny Christmas Show in 1960.

And here he is in a 1981 McDonald's commercial.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Ethel Merman

Ethel Merman was a star entertainer of the musical stage for many years, beginning in the 1930s. She is known for her powerfully loud voice, whether singing or talking.

Miss Merman appeared in many Broadway shows and movies, as well as guest starring on many tv shows, during her lengthy career. Among her memorable movies are "Kid Millions" (1934), co-starring with Eddie Cantor and Ann Sothern; "Anything Goes" (1936) co-starring with Bing Crosby; and "Call Me Madam" (1953), co-starring with Donald O'Connor.

In 1963, she did a very good comedy turn in Stanley Kramer's "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World". Her character, Mrs. Marcus, was the overbearing mother to Dick Shawn's character.

In 1980, I sent this photo to Miss Merman, to her residence in NYC, and she returned it within two weeks.

Here's a video of La Merman singing "There's No Business Like Show Business".