Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy 99th Birthday to Charita Alden, Hawaiian Hula Dancer

Today is the 99th birthday of Hawaiian hula dancer Charita Alden, professionally known only by the name 'Charita'. She was born Evelyn Thorstensen in Manila, Philippine Islands, on November 26, 1911 (unverified, but that's the date she gave on a passenger manifest when she arrived in Los Angeles in 1930).

I've been searching for more about her, including when and where she died, but haven't been successful. So at this point in my research, I'm exploring the other possibility - that she may still be living. Maybe someone who reads this blog will be able to share something more about Charita.

She's prominently seen in this clip from 1933's Laurel & Hardy feature "Sons of the Desert", dancing around Ty Parvis as he sings 'Honolulu Baby'.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sethma Williams semi-signed photo added

In 2008, I offered a lengthy blog about the search and locating of Sethma Williams. That blog can be read here.

Some months ago, I acquired an autographed photo of Ms. Williams. Well, not completely autographed. She signed only her first name, in silver ink. Here is the photo:
Ms. Williams currently lives in Carpinteria, California, and she is 95.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Maury Dexter

Maury Dexter was in the motion picture business all his life. He first entered the business as a teen-aged actor, appearing in an uncredited role as a Union soldier in "Uncivil War Birds", a 1946 comedy short starring The Three Stooges. After a few additional movie roles, he busied himself with stage and TV work until the Korean War and military service intervened.

Upon his discharge, he returned to acting on tv, but for a limited time. Soon after, he began working behind the scenes, eventually producing and directing feature films for Regal Films and American International Pictures. Later he became an Assistant Director working mostly for Michael Landon on his two tv series, "Little House on the Prairie" and "Highway to Heaven".

Mr. Dexter kindly signed this photo to me, a scene from "Uncivil War Birds", in which he is pictured with Faye Williams who played the part of "Mary Belle". He also included a current photo.

Mr. Dexter retired from the business after Michael Landon's death in 1991.

There is an entertaining and informative interview with Mr. Dexter in Tom Weaver's book, I Talked With a Zombie (McFarland and Co., 2008).

Friday, November 19, 2010

Marilyn Hanold - From Stooges Amazon to Playboy Playmate

Marilyn Hanold was a showgirl who performed in revues in clubs such as El Rancho in Las Vegas and Ciro's in Hollywood in the late 1950s. She also appeared in a few films and tv shows.

One of her film appearances was as an "Amazon" in the 1957 comedy short, "Space Ship Sappy", starring The Three Stooges. Some of the tv shows in which she appeared in small roles over the next several years are "The Texan", "Have Gun - Will Travel", "Bewitched", "Batman", and "Felony Squad".

Here are two photos of Marilyn in costume. In the second photo, from "Space Ship Sappy", Stooge Moe seems to be enjoying an Amazon-sized hug.

Marilyn's biggest claim to fame, though, was being chosen Playboy magazine's Playmate of the Month for June 1959. Here is the cover and one of the photos from that issue.

However, her time as a Playmate was brief, and she knows her everlasting fan base is actually within The Three Stooges Fan Club. Here is a photo of Marilyn taken in April 2010 outside the Stoogeum, "the world's first and only museum of Three Stooges memorabilia".

Thanks to Frank Reighter for obtaining the two autographed photos for me, and to another friend for providing the Playboy photos.the world's first and only museum of Three Stooges memorabilia.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Three "Stooges" Movie Babies

There have been many movies in which babies have been given screen time, sometimes even being the "star" of the movie. They have very brief movie "careers", with very few people ever knowing they were in movies.

Here are three movie babies who have a common connection: all have appeared with The Three Stooges. Well, almost all - one appeared with one of the Stooges. Each was located by Frank Reighter of The Three Stooges Fan Club, with the assistance of a few other of "us researchers".

Joyce Gardner - appeared as "Little Jimmy Collins" in the 1942 comedy short "Sock-a-Bye Baby" starring The Three Stooges, with Julie Gibson and Clarence Straight as the parents of "Little Jimmy". This photo is signed in silver ink, at the lower right.

Michael Barnitz - appeared as "The Baby" in the 1942 comedy feature "Butch Minds the Baby" starring Broderick Crawford as "Butch". Also appearing in this mildly humorous movie is Shemp Howard of The Three Stooges, Virginia Bruce, and Dick Foran. This photo is signed at the lower right.

David Windsor - appeared as "Junior" in the 1951 comedy short "Baby Sitters Jitters" starring The Three Stooges, with Lynn Davis and Myron Healey as the parents of "Junior". Here are two photos of David, taken nearly 60 years apart. He signed both at the upper left.

Thanks to Frank Reighter for obtaining these photos for me.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sid Melton

I've always liked character actor/comic Sid Melton in the many movies and tv shows in which I've seen him, but never wrote a letter of appreciation to him. He's retired now, having last worked more than ten years ago.

While I've seen him in many movies, it's his various tv characters I'll always remember, from the 1960s through the 1990s. Mr. Melton played recurring characters on "The Danny Thomas Show", "Gomer Pyle", "Green Acres", "Make Room for Granddaddy", "The Golden Girls", and "Empty Nest".

A few months ago, friend Steve Cox sent me this signed photo of Sid Melton, to add to my collection.