Friday, November 23, 2018

Ken Swofford Passes On

Ken Swofford, who played Frank Flannigan on the TV show Ellery Queen and Quentin Morloch on the TV show Fame, died on November 1 at the age of 85.

Ken Swofford was born on July 25 1933 in Du Quoin, Illinois. He attended the Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. He made his television debut in a guest appearance on Surfside 6 in 1962. In the Sixties he guest starred on such shows as The Big Valley, Cimarron Strip, The Wild Wild West, I Spy, Daniel Boone, Gunsmoke, Adam-12, The Outcasts, The Virginian, Here Come the Brides, The F.B.I., Lancer, The Odd Couple, and Mission: Impossible. He had uncredited role in the movies Captain Newman, M.D. (1963), Father Goose (1964), First to Fight (1967), Gunfight in Abilene (1967), How Much Loving Does a Normal Couple Need? (1967), and The Lawyer (1970).

In the Seventies Mr. Swofford played the recurring role of journalist Frank Flannigan on the single season of Ellery Queen. He also had the recurring role of Lt.. Griffin on the TV show Switch and J.J. on The Eddie Capra Mysteries. He appeared in the mini-series Rich Man, Poor Man--Book II. He guest starred on the shows Gunsmoke, The Streets of San Francisco, The Rookies, Columbo, The Girl with Something Extra, The Waltons, The Partridge Family, Dirty Sally, Kung Fu, Amy Prentiss, Paper Moon, Petrocelli, Police Story, The Six Million Dollar Man, and The Rockford Files.  He appeared in the films The Andromeda Strain (1971), Bless the Beasts and Children (1971), Skyjacked (1972), One Little Indian (1973), The Black Bird (1975), and The Domino Principle (1977).

In the Eighties Ken Swofford had a regular role on the TV show Fame. He guest starred on such shows as The Incredible Hulk, Fantasy Island, Code Red, The Fall Guy, Trapper John M.D., Knots Landing, Riptide, Knight Rider, Remington Steele, Scarecrow and Mrs. King, Falcon Crest, Max Headroom, Highway to Heaven, Simon & Simon, Our House, The Wonder Years, Dynasty, and Dallas. He appeared in the films S.O.B. (1981), Annie  (1982), Hunter's Blood (1986), and Black Roses (1988).

In the Nineties Mr. Swofford guest starred on such TV shows as Matlock;. Baywatch; Murder, She Wrote; and Diagnosis Murder. He appeared in the films Thelma & Louise (1991), The Taking of Beverly Hills (1991), and Cops n Roberts. Into the Naughts he was the voice of Coach on the animated TV series Recess.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving 2018

I want to wish all of my American readers a happy Thanksgiving! And without further ado, here is this year's batch of vintage Thanksgiving pinups.

First up is the lovely Ann Byth with a Thanksgiving greeting!

Next up is model Dusty Anderson with a large, feathery friend!

If I were that turkey, I wouldn't trust Angela Greene with that musket!

Debbie Reynolds at Plymouth Rock!

Leila Hyams prefers friending turkeys to shooting them!

And the only thing better than turkey for Thanksgiving is turkey served by Ann Miler!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The Late Great William Goldman

Legendary novelist and screenwriter William Goldman died on November 16 at the age of 87. The causes were colon cancer and pneumonia.

William Goldman was born on August 21 1931 in Chicago. In 1952 he graduated from Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio with a Bachelor of Arts degree. Afterwards he was drafted into the United States Army where he served in the Pentagon as a clerk for two years. He earned a Masters of Arts at Columbia University. It was in 1956 that he started writing his first novel, The Temple of Gold. It was published in October 1957 by Knopf.

Mr. Goldman would write several more novels over the years, including Your Turn to Curtsy, My Turn to Bow (1958), Soldier in the Rain (1960), Boys and Girls Together (1964), No Way to Treat a Lady (1964), The Thing of It Is... (1967), Father's Day (1971), The Princess Bride (1973), Marathon Man (1974), Magic (1976), Tinsel (1979), Control (1982), The Silent Gondoliers (1983), The Colour of Light (1984), Heat (1985), and Brothers (1986).

William Goldman began working in the theatre when he and his brother, playwright and screenwriter James Goldman, did some rewriting on the musical Tenderloin (1960). They then collaborated on the play Blood, Sweat and Stanley Poole (1961). They also collaborated on the musical A Family Affair (1962), with music by John Kander.

It was through his novel No Way to Treat a Lady that Mr. Goldman became a screenwriter. Cliff Robertson read an early draft of the novel and hired him to adapt Daniel Keyes's short story "Flowers for Algernon" as a movie. It was before Mr. Goldman had even finished the script, Mr. Robertson suggested him for rewrites on the spy spoof Masquerade (1965). William Goldman finished his screen adaptation of "Flowers of Algernon", but Cliff Robertson did not like the finished product. He then hired Stirling Silliphant to write a new screenplay for what would ultimately become the film Charly (1968).

In the late Sixties William Goldman wrote the screenplay for the movies Harper (1966) and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969). William Goldman had researched the screenplay for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid for eight years. He was paid $400,000 for his work, then the highest price ever paid for a screenplay. He would ultimately win the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for the film.

The Seventies would see William Goldman write the screenplays for The Hot Rock  (1972), The Stepford Wives (1975), The Great Waldo Pepper (1975), All the President's Men (1976), Marathon Man (1976--based on his own novel), A Bridge Too Far (1977), and Magic (1978--based on his own novel). The Eighties would see Mr. Goldman adapt what might his most beloved novel, The Princess Bride, for the screen. Save for perhaps Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, the 1987 film The Princes Bride would become perhaps his most beloved film as well. He also adapted his own novel Heat as the 1987 film of the same name and Stephen King's novel Misery as the 1990 novel of the same name.

In the Nineties William Goldman wrote the screenplays for Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992), Year of the Comet (1992), Chaplin (1992), Maverick (1994--based on the TV series of the same name), The Chamber (1996), The Ghost and the Darkness (1996), Absolute Power (1997), and The General's Daughter (1999). His next two screenplays would both be based on Stephen King novels, Hearts in Atlantis (2001) and Dreamcatcher (2003). His final screenplay, Wild Card (2015), was another adaptation of his novel Heat.

Mr. Goldman wrote several works of non-fiction, including The Season: A Candid Look at Broadway (a look at the 1967-1968 Broadway season) and Hype and Glory (on his experiences as a judge at both the 1988 Cannes Film Festival and Miss America Pageant). His book Adventures in the Screen Trade remains a must-read for anyone interested in screenwriting. 

Arguably William Goldman was one of the greatest writers of the late 20th Century. He had a knack for creating interesting characters, as seen in both Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Princess Bride. He also had a knack for dialogue. Indeed, his screenplays remain among the most quotable ever written. Aaron Sorkin referred to Mr. Goldman as "the dean of American screenwriters", and it is very difficult to argue that he wasn't That he was a gifted writer of novels and non-fiction makes him even more remarkable.