Saturday, January 15, 2011

Godspeed Susannah York

Actress Susannah York passed yesterday at the age of 72. The cause was bone marrow cancer.

Susannah York was born Susannah Fletcher in London on 9 January 1939. When she was five years old her mother and father divorced. Her mother would later marry a Scottish businessman and they moved to Scotland. She trained in acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Miss York made her television debut in 1959 on ITV Television Playhouse.  She made her film debut in There Was a Crooked Man (1960). Also in 1960, she appeared in Tunes of Glory.

The Sixties would be the height of Susannah York's career. In 1961 she appeared in Loss of Innocence, before playing the lead in The Greengage Summer. During the decade she appeared in such films as Freud (1962), Tom Jones (1963), Scene Nun, Take One (1964), The 7th Dawn (1964), Sand of the Kalahan (1965), Kaleidoscope (1966), A Man for All Seasons (1966), Sebastian (1968), The Killing of Sister George (1968), Battle of Britain (1969), They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969), and Courtly Love (1970). On television she appeared as the storyteller on Jackanory for the episode "The Children of Green Knowe," as well as episodes of Armchair Theatre and ITV Play of the Week.

In the Seventies Miss York appeared in such films as Happy Birthday, Wanda June (1971), X, Y, and Zee (1972), The Maids (1975), That Lucky Touch (1975), Sky Riders (1976), Long Shot (1978), Superman (1978), The Awakening (1980), and Superman II (1980). She was a regular on the TV series Prince Regent and appeared on Armchair Theatre. In the Eighties she appeared in such films as Late Flowering Love (1981), Yellowbeard (1983), Prettykill (1987), Mio Min Mio (1987), A Summer Story (1988), Melancholia (1989), and Fate. She was a regular on the series We'll Meet Again.

From the Nineties to the Naughts, Susannah York appeared in the films The Higher Mortals (1993), So This is Romance (1997), The Book of Eve (2002), Maude (2007), and Franklin (2008). She was a regular on the TV series Devices and Desires, Trainer and Holby City. She appeared on the shows Ruth Rendell Mysteries, Casualty, Missing, and Doctors.

Susannah York also had a career stage She appeared on the West End in The Singular Life of Albert Nobbs and in Paris in Appearances. She played in productions of Hamlet and The Merry Wives of Windsor. She also wrote two children's fantasy novels: In Search of Unicorns and Lark's Castle.

Susannah York was a versatile actress who appeared in everything from drama to comedy. Her range was extensive, playing everything from mothers to royalty. Few actresses could play as many different roles as she could. If Susannah York became one of the more celebrated actresses of the Sixties, it was due to her enormous talent.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Facebook Blows It Again with Their New Profile

I have probably complained more about Facebook than other site in this blog. I must admit that as a social network site it is very useful in staying in touch with old friends, acquaintances through business or one's pursuits, and even making new friends. Obviously as much as I have complained about Facebook there is a the site. Quite simply, that downside is that Facebook consistently and regularly makes changes which reduce the functionality of the site.

Facebook's latest scheme to apparently drive every one of its users away is a new profile design. Sadly, this new design seems as if it was made to reduce social interaction than people rather than encourage it. Below is a screen cap of the old profile design:

Quite frankly, what had become the old profile for hardly ideal. Facebook had done away with profile boxes, the one means people had of personalising their profiles (and,. yes, I complained about that too). That having been said, it was superior in most ways to the new profile. One's latest status update (basically what one was thinking or doing at the time) was displayed prominently at the top of the profile. This is very important, as it encouraged interaction between friends on Facebook. Friends could comment on someone's status and often lively conversations would emerge. In fact, I know a good number of people who actually use their status to host discussions.

While you cannot see it on this screen cap, below the information  box on the left sidebar was the friends' box. On the profile one could control which friends were displayed. This was particularly handy in that one could reach his or her closest friends' profiles, those he or she interacted on a regular basis swiftly and easily. Another advantage of the old profile was that it was not crowded with images and other junk. It was very easy to read.

Below is a screen capture of the new profile:

As you can see, the status update is not at the top as it was on the old profile. Indeed, to even see someone's latest status update, one has to scroll down his or her profile! This would actually seem to discourage personal interaction. Certainly commenting on someone's status, let alone holding discussions under someone's status, becomes more difficult. So what is at the top of one's profile? One's birthday, one's work and education information, one's current location and one's hometown. Now most of my friends, even those I only know online, already know where I work, or at least what I do for a living. Most of my friends, even those I only know online, already know where I live. Indeed, a good many of them have my street address! For those who don't know what I do for a living or where I live, they could simply click on Info as they always have. Quite frankly, having one's work, home, and education information at the top of one's page is useless, as it can be accessed through Info. The status update should be there. By the way, I deleted my work and education information in protest of the new profile design.

Now they could have simply place the status update below the birthday, work, education, and home information, but I suppose that would have been too nice of Facebook. Instead what is below the birthday, work, education, et. al. information is a row of pictures in which one is either tagged or which are from one's galleries. You can't see it on this screen capture as I deleted the row of pictures. My reason for doing so is that these pictures simply make the page look crowded. For that matter, so does the birthday, business, home, et. al. information at the top.

Although you can't see it in this screen capture, the Friends' box is still in the same place it was on the old profile. There is just one problem. One cannot edit who is shown in the box! This makes it more difficult to get to the profiles of those friends one interacts with the most, as they may or may not be featured in the box. Like not featuring the status update at the top of the page, this would seem to hinder personal interaction. True, one can create Friends Lists for his or her closest friends, but why should he or she have to?

As I have said before, Facebook seems as if it has a death wish. They seem to be determined to drive away every one of their users. They have consistently made changes that have been unpopular with users, and have done so with a frequency that is alarming. It seems quite apparent that they do not listen to user feedback. Is it any wonder Facebook's  user satisfaction rating is a little bit above the IRS?

The shame is that Facebook was a very good idea. It has more users than any other social networking site. It is for that reason I hold out the blind hope that they might listen to complaints and change the new profile design, despite the fact that they have a long history of not responding to users' complaints about the site. If you want to give feedback on the new profile design, you can do so here. You can also complain to Facebook's Twitter, which is here. It's a long shot, but maybe if they receive enough complaints, they'll change the new profile design so it is more like the old one.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Director Peter Yates R.I.P.

Peter Yates, who directed the classic Steve McQueen movie Bullitt (1968) passed Sunday, 9 January 2010.

Peter Yates was born in Aldershot, Hampshire on 24 July 1929. He studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. He acted for a time, as well as drove a race car and managed other race car drivers. He worked as a dubbing editor on foreign films before serving as assistant director on The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (1958). He would serve as an assistant director or second unit director on such films as A Touch of Larceny (1959), Sons and Lovers (1960), The Guns of Navarone (1961), and A Taste of Honey (1961).

He made his directorial debut with Summer Holiday in 1963 and then directed One Way Pendulum (1964). Mr. Yates then moved into directing television, including episodes of The Saint and Danger Man. He returned to movies with Robbery (1967), then directed Bullitt (1968). The movie would be a box office success and would set the course for action movies for the next ten years. He would go onto direct Murphy's War (1971), The Hot Rock (1972), Mother, Jugs, and Speed (1976), The Deep (1977), Eyewitness (1981), An Innocent Man (1989), and Run of the Country (1995). His last movie was Curtain Call (1998).

Monday, January 10, 2011

Actor Aron Kinkaid Passes

Actor Aron Kinkaid, who appeared in beach movies in the Sixties and went onto become a voice actor in cartoons, passed on January 6, 2010 at the age of 70. The causes were related to his heart.

Aron Kinkaid was born Norman Williams in Los Angeles, California on June 15, 1940. His father was a second lieutenant in the U. S. Army who died during World War II. His mother would remarry and move the family to Oakland, California. Mr. Kinkaid graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles, and afterwards served in the Coast Guard Reserve. He made his television debut in 1952 in This is the Life. Throughout the Fifties he also appeared in the show The Star and the Story. He appeared in small parts in the films The Fall of Nineveh (1957), The Wasp Women (1959), and Spartacus (1960).

In the  Sixties Mr. Kinkaid had a regular role in the last season of Bachelor Father. He appeared in such TV shows as Thriller, Our Man Higgins, My Three Sons, The Donna Reed Show, The Patty Duke Show, Get Smart, and The Beverly Hillbillies. He appeared in such films as The Girls on the Beach (1965), Ski Party (1965), Beach Ball, Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine (1965), The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini (1966), The Happiest Millionaire (1967), and The New Wife (1968). In the Seventies and Eighties he appeared in such shows as Lassie, The Smith Family, and Mr. Merlin. He appeared in the telefilms Planet Earth and Brave New World. It was during this period that Aron Kinkaid began doing voice work, starting with The Smurfs. He provided voices in the Eighties revival of Jonny Quest, Transformers, and DuckTales He appeared in the films The Proud and Damned (1972), Gable and Lombard (1976), and Silent Night Deadly Night (1984).

In the Nineties Aron Kinkaid provided the voice of Killer Croc in Batman: The Animated Series. Mr. Kinkaid also an artist who painted landscapes. He sold his painting through galleries in Laguna Beach, California.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Actress Jill Haworth Passes On

Actress Jill Haworth, who originated the role of Sally Bowles in Cabaret on Broadway and starred in the movie Exodus (1960), passed on 3 January 2011 at the age of 65.

Jill Haworth was born in Sussex, England on 15 August 1945. She studied ballet while young (her mother had been a ballerina). She was only 15 when Otto Premminger cast her as Karen in Exodus. Following Exodus she appeared in such films as Ton ombre est la mienne (1962), Les mystères de Paris (1962), À cause, à cause d'une femme (1963), The Cardinal (1963), In Harm's Way (1965), It! (1967), and Horror House (1969). She appearedo n television in such shows as The Outer Limits, The Rouges, Burke's Law, 12 O' Clock High, Run for Your Life,. Rawhide, and Mission: Impossible. It was in 1966 that she first played Sally Bowles in Cabaret on Broadway.

From the Seventies into the Eighties, Miss Haworth appeared in such shows as Bonanza, The F.B.I., Barretta, and Vega$. She appeared in the films Tower of Evil (1972), The Mutations (1974), and Strong Medicine (1981). Her last appearance on screen was in Mergers and Acquistions in 2001.

Jill Haworth also appeared on stage in the off Broadway shows Seduced and Tunnel Fever or The Sheep is Out.