Saturday, June 5, 2021

Shane Briant Passes On

Shane Briant, who appeared in such Hammer Films as Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter (1974) and Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1974), died on May 26 at the age 74 following a long illness.

Shane Briant was born in London on May 26 1946. He attended the Law School at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, but ultimately went into acting. He appeared on stage and was voted "Best Newcomer" by London critics for his role in Children of the Wolf at the Apollo Theatre in London.

Shane Briant made his film debut in Von Richtofen and Brown in 1971. During the Seventies he appeared in four Hammer Films: Straight on till Morning (1972), Demons of the Mind (1972), Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter (1974), and Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1974). He also appeared in the movies The MacKintosh Man (1973) and Hawk the Slayer (1980). On television he made his debut in the TV movie Andorra in 1971. He had recurring roles in the shows Huntingtower and Maria Marten or Murder in the Red Barn. He appeared in the mini-series Touch and Go. He also guest starred on the shows Armchair Theatre, Crown Court, Van der Valk, The Sweeney, Shades of Greene, BBC Play of the Month, and Do You Remember?. He starred in several TV movies during the decade, including the title role in an adaptation of The Picture of Dorian Gray.

In the Eighties Mr. Briant appeared in the television mini-series Anzacs and Body Surfer. He guest starred on the shows Special Squad, Carson's Law, The Fast Lane, Nancy Wake, Australians, Mission: Impossible, and The Flying Doctors. He appeared in the movies Lady Chatterly's Lover (1981), Constance (1984), Run Christie Run! (1984), Shaker Run (1986), Comrades (1986), Cassandra (1987), The Lighthorsemen (1987), Grievious Bodily Harm (1988), Out of the Body (1988), and Minnamurra (1989). 

In the Nineties he was a regular on the TV shows Mission Top Secret and Search for Treasure Island. He guest starred on the show Veronica Claire, Bony, G.P., Time Trax, Snowy River: The McGregor Saga, Twisted Tales, Wildside, Above the Law, Murder Call, and Tales of the South Seas. He appeared in the movies Til There Was You (1991), and Tunnel Vision (1995).

In the Naughts Shane Briant guest starred on Escape of the Artful Dodger, Farscape, Headland, All Saints, City Homicide, and Rouge Nation. He appeared in the movies Subterano (2003), Liquid Bridge (2003), and The Children of Huang Shi (2008).  In the Teens he was a regular on the television series Serangoon Road (2013). He guest starred on Underbelly, Crownies, and Rake. He appeared in the mini-series Gallilopi. He appeared in the movie The Lovers (2015).

Shane Briant wrote several novels including The Webber Agenda (1994), The Chasen Catalyst (1995), Hitkids (1999), Bite of the Lotus (2001) Graphic (2005), Worst Nightmares (2009), and The Dreamhealer (2011).

Shane Briant was an extremely talented actor. He was  impressive as the sociopath Peter in Straight On till Morning and as Dr. Frankenstein's co-conspirator Dr. Simon Helder in Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell. He made a fine Dorian Gray in the ABC Movie of the Week The Picture of Dorian Gray. Among his notable guest appearances was his performance as Dr. Trayno Talnell in the Farscape episode "We're So Screwed: Part 1: Fetal Attraction." He always delivered fine performances.

Friday, June 4, 2021

The 17th Anniversary of A Shroud of Thoughts

It was 17 years ago that I first started writing this blog, A Shroud of Thoughts. In the early to mid-Naughts, blogs were a bit of fad, and a lot of people were launching their own. In fact, it was a lady friend with her own blog who inspired me to launch A Shroud of Thoughts. It looked fun, so I decided to try my own. I have writen A Shroud of Thoughts longer than any jobs I have had, so it has become my life's work after a fashion.

In the mid-Naughts it was fashionable for blogs to have titles containing the word "thoughts" or synonyms thereof. I then took the phrase "A Shroud of Thoughts" from Lord Byron's Childe Harold's Pilgrimage canto iii stanza 113 (I won't quote here, as over the years I think I have quoted it enough). Given A Shroud of Thoughts has always been devoted to pop culture and nostalgia, if I had to do it all over again I would have chosen a more appropriate title. a name more fitting for a blog dedicated to pop culture and nostalgia. Had I known about the word retrophilia at the time (which Collins Dictionary defines as "a strong liking for things from the past"), I probably would have named it that instead. At any rate, by the time it occurred to me that the blog should have a better name, it already had a following. A Shroud of Thoughts it has then remained.

Of course, A Shroud of Thoughts is not the only blog that has been around for awhile.  Immortal Ephemera is older than this blog, dating to 2002. Inner Toob is about a month and a half older, starting in April 2004. Both The Stop Button and Laura's Miscellaneous Musings go back to 2005. The Rap Sheet dates to 2006. My friend Raquel started Out of the Past in 2007.  Blogs older than a decade are rare, but they are not as rare as some might think!  By the way, I strongly recommend that you visit all of these fine blogs (they've lasted so long for a reason).

Sadly, the past year has not been a particularly good one for A Shroud of Thoughts. Not counting 2004 (which was only half a year), 2020 boasted far fewer posts than any other year. Some might think that it was because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but that actually had a minimal impact on my emotional state and my desire to write. What fouled my mood for much of last year was the Los Angeles District Attorney Office's report on Vanessa's death released in March (curiously, the day before the Los Angeles District Attorney election). As anyone who knows me or who reads this blog knows, I was (and still am) both angered and disappointed by the report (if you are wondering why, read my post "Justice for Vanessa Marquez" listed below) and it affected my mood for the rest of the year. A writer's tools are their mind and their heart, and if those fail them, they can't write.

One problem I have faced the past year is the sheer number of celebrities who have died. It seems as if the year 2020 and now the year 2021 has seen more famous actors, musicians, writers, et. al. die than usual. As I like to eulogize those artists who have had an impact on me, this has meant I have been writing more eulogies than usual on the blog, so much so that some weeks on the blog are nothing but euologies. Of course, this means I have less time to devote to posts on other topics. I fear we have reached a point in history where every week is going to see the death of some beloved movie star, TV star, or musician.

Anyway, it is my custom at A Shroud of Thoughts to list my favourite blog posts from the past year each anniversary. Because I wrote fewer posts last year, I also have fewer favourites listed this year.

 "Dimension X," July 8 2020

"Justice for Vanessa Marquez," July 30 2020

"The Mary Tyler Moore Show Turns 50," September 19 2020

"The TV Show The Odd Couple Turns 50," September 24 2020

"The 60th Anniversary of the TV Show Route 66," October 7 2020

"The Paul Lynde Halloween Special," October 27 2020

"Department Stores at Christmas,' December 18 2020

"The 52nd Birthday of Vanessa Marquez," December 21 2020

"The 80th Anniversary of Captain America," January 2021

 "Sounds of the City," February 19 2021

"Joan Collins in 'The City on the Edge of Forever'," March 9 2021

"The Wild Wild West, 'The Night of the Murderous Spring,'" March 20 2021

"The 20th Anniversary of the BET Television Movie Fire & Ice," April 7 2021

"An Appointment with The Wicker Man (1974)," May 21 2021

"Mayberry, Everyone's Hometown," May 22 2021

"Nancy Kwan, More Than Suzie Wong," May 25 2021

"Anna May Wong on Television," May 28 2021

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Godspeed Robert Hogan

Robert Hogan, who had recurring roles on the television shows Peyton Place, The Manhunter, Alice, Operation Petticoat, and others, died on May 27 2021. The cause was complications from pneumonia. He had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2013.

Robert Hogan was born on September 28 1933 in New York City. During the Korean War he served in the United States Army. Afterwards he began studying engineering at New York University, but an aptitude test he took during his first semester suggested he would be suited to a career in the arts. As a result, he decided to try acting. He enrolled in the American Academy of Dramatic Art. In 1961 he made his off-Broadway debut in Call Me by My Rightful Name.

That same year he made his television debut in the show True Story. In the Sixties he had recurring roles on the daytime soap operas The Young Marrieds and Bright Promises. He had a regular role on Peyton Place. He guest starred on Cheyenne, Hawaiian Eye, Bronco, 77 Sunset Strip, Fair Exchange, Hazel, The Donna Reed Show, The Twilight Zone, Arrest and Trial, The Fugitive, Gomer Pyle: U.S.M.C., Kraft Suspense Theatre, Dr. Kildare, Wendy and Me, 12 O' Clock High, Batman, Bonanza, I Dream of Jeannie, Land of the Giants, Hogan's Heroes, Dan August, and Days of Our Lives. He appeared in the movie Greenwich Village Society (1963).

In the Seventies Robert Hogan had recurring roles on The Don Rickles Show; The Manhunter; Alice; Richie Brockelman, Private Eye; and Secrets of Midland Heights. He appeared in the mini-series Once an Eagle. He guest starred on the shows Mannix, Night Gallery, Gunsmoke, The Bold Ones: The Doctors, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, McCloud, The F.B.I.; Mission: Impossible; The Delphi Bureau; Cannon; Here's Lucy; Chase; Owen Marshall, Counsellor at Law; Sierra, The Streets of San Francisco; Ellery Queen; Hawaii Five-O; Insight; Tales of the Unexpected; Rosetti and Ryan; The Fitzpatricks; The Six Million Dollar Man; Sword of Justice; Kaz; Turnabout; Mork & Mindy; Young Maverick; Stone; The Incredible Hulk; Barnaby Jones; and A New Kind of Family. He appeared in the movies Westworld (1973), The Memory of Us (1974), and The Lady in Red (1979).

In the Eighties he continued to appear on Alice. He had a recurring role on the daytime soap opera Another World. He guest starred on the shows House Calls; Harper Valley P.T.A.; T. J.Hooker; Quincy M.E.; Hill Street Blues; Laverne & Shirley; Newhart; Tucker's Witch; Reggie; Automan; Scarecrow & Mrs. King; St. Elsewhere; Airwolf; One Day at a Time; Hotel; Cover Up; Double Trouble; The Fall Guy; Knight Rider; Spenser for Hire; The Colbys; Magnum, P.I.; You Again?; The Wizard; and Murder, She Wrote. He appeared in the movies Prince Jack (1984) and Hamburger: The Motion Picture (1986). He appeared on Broadway in A Few Good Men.

In the Nineties Robert Hogan guest starred on the TV shows Against the Law, Law & Order, General Hospital, All My Children, One Life to Live, Remember WENN, Cosby, Now and Again, and Deadline. He appeared on Broadway in Hamlet. He appeared in the movies Species II (1998), Blue Christmas (1998), Advice from a Caterpillar (1999), Maze (2000), and Brooklyn Sonnet (2000).

In the Naughts Robert Hogan had recurring roles on the TV shows The Wire and Law & Order. He guest starred on Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Third Watch, and Ed. He appeared in the movies The Sleepy Time Gal (2001), Sweet Land (2005), Day Zero (2007), Universal Signs (2008), and Welcome to Academia (2009). In the Teens he guest starred on the TV show Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Happyish, and Maturity. He appeared in the movies Trust, Greed, Bullets & Bourbon (2013), A Good Marriage (2014), and Youth in Oregon (2016)

Robert Hogan was a friend of television writer Bernard Fein. Bernard Fein named the lead character on a show he co-created, Hogan's Heroes, after him.

I have to suspect that the average viewer might not recognize Robert Hogan's name, but they would certainly recognize his face. He was very prolific, appearing in well over 100 shows throughout his long career. What is more, he had recurring roles on several shows. If Robert Hogan was so prolific, it was perhaps because he was so very versatile. On Peyton Place he was one of the title town's ministers. He played military officers multiple times, most notably Lt. Commander Haller on Operation Petticoat. He was a judge on Law & Order. Throughout his career he played lawyers, medical doctors, law enforcement officers, and even con men. He was Sheriff Paul Tate on The Manhunter and retired shipwright Louis Sobotka on The Wire. Robert Hogan was convincing in every role he played and always gave a good performance.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Arlene Golonka Passes On

Arlene Golonka, who played Millie Swanson on Mayberry R.F.D. and appeared in such movies as Penelope (1966) and Hang 'Em High (1968), died on May 31 2021 at the age of 85. The cause was complications from Alzheimer's disease.

Arlene Golonka was born on January 23 1936 in Chicago. She studied acting at the Goodman Theatre there. She moved to New York City where she became part of The Actors Studio. She made her debut on Broadway in Night Circus in 1958. In 1959 she appeared again on Broadway in Take Me Along. She made her television debut in an episode of The United States Hour.

In the Sixties, Arlene Golonka appeared on Broadway in Come Blow Your Horn; One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest; Ready When You Are, C.B.!;  and The Wayward Stork. On television Miss Golonka had a recurring role on the daytime serial The Doctors and appeared in two episodes of The Andy Griffith Show as Howard Sprague's girlfriend Millie Hutchins. She had a regular role on Mayberry R.F.D. as Sam Jones's girlfriend Millie Swanson. She guest starred on the shows Naked City; Car 54, Where Are You?; The Defenders; The Nurses; Vacation Playhouse; ABC Sage 67; The Flying Nun; The Big Valley; Accidental Family; Get Smart; I Spy; and That Girl. She made her film debut in an uncredited role in Love with the Proper Stranger in 1963. She appeared in the films Diary of a Bachelor (1964), Harvey Middleman, Fireman (1965), Penelope (1966), The Busy Body (1967), Welcome to Hard Times (1967), and Hang 'Em High (1968).

In the Seventies, Arlene Golonka continued to appear on Mayberry R.F.D. Later in the decade she was a regular on the short-lived show Joe & Valerie. She guest starred on the TV shows The Bold Ones: The Lawyers; Sarge; The Rookies; The F.B.I.; Owen Marshall, Counsellor at Law; The Delphi Bureau; Young Dr. Kildare; M*A*S*H; Cannon; All in the Family; Faraday and Company; Love, American Style; Chase; The Mary Tyler Moore Show; The Girl with Something Extra; The Manhunter; Police Woman; The Wide World of Mystery; Barnaby Jones; The Family Hodiak; Maude; The Cop and the Kid; Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman; Bert D'Angelo/Superstar; The Streets of San Francisco; Alice; Most Wanted; The San Pedro Beach Bums; Carter County; The Rockford Files; Police Story; One Day at a Time; Taxi; Sweepstakes; and Secrets of Midland Heights. She was a regular voice on the Saturday morning cartoon Speed Buggy. She appeared in the movies Airport '77 (1977), The In-Laws (1979), and The Last Married Couple in America (1980).

In the Eighties Arelena Golonka provided additional voices on the Saturday morning show The New Yogi Bear Show. She guest starred on Trapper John, M.D.; Insight; Fantasy IslandThe Love Boat; CBS Afternoon Playhouse; Gimme a Break!; The Best of Times; Simon & Simon; Benson; New Love, American Style; Valerie; The Bronx Zoo; We Got It Made; Dragnet; Growing Pains; Murder, She Wrote; and 1st & Ten. She appeared in the movies Separate Ways (1981), Longshot (1981), My Tutor (1983), Detective School Dropouts (1996), Survival Game (1987),  Dr. Alien (1989), Trained to Kill (1989), The Gumshoe Kid (1990), and The End of Innocence (1990).

In the Nineties Miss Golonka guest starred on the TV shows Drexell's Class, In the Heat of the Night, Matlock, Fudge, and The Boys Are Back. She appeared in the movies Amore! (1993), Cops n Roberts (1995), and Leather Jacket Love Story. In the Naughts she appeared in the movie A Family Affair (2001) and the TV show King of Queens.

She was also part of the cast of a hit comedy album, You Don't Have to Be Jewish, in 1965. When she proved unavailable for the follow-up album, When You're in Love, the Whole World is Jewish, Miss Golonka suggested her roommate, Valerie Harper. 

Arlene Golonka will probably always be remembered best as Millie on Mayberry R.F.D. and the many other bubbly, quirky blondes she played over the years. And while Miss Golonka will most likely be remembered best for her work in comedy, she did play other sorts of roles. She played a prostitute in the movie Hang 'Em High and the "other woman" in an affair with a married man in an episode of In the Heat of the Night. In the Cannon episode "The Dead Samaritan" she played a none-too-success, aspiring actress. Certainly, Arlene Golonka had a gift for comedy, but she was also at home with more serious material as well.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Godspeed Gavin MacLeod

Gavin MacLeod, who starred as Happy on McHale's Navy, Murray Slaughter on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and Captain Stubing on The Love Boat, died on May 29 2021 at the age of 90.

Gavin MacLeod was born Allan George See on February28 1931 in Mount Kisco, New York. He grew up in Pleasantville, New York. He attended Ithaca College in New York and graduated in 1952 with a degree in drama. He served in the United States Air Force. Afterwards he moved to New York City to pursue a career in acting. He worked as an usher and then an elevator operator at Radio City Music Hall. As his stage name he took "MacLeod" in memory of his drama teacher Beatrice MacLeod and he got Gavin from the name of a character on an episode of the anthology TV show Climax!.

He made his Broadway debut in A Hatful of Rain. He made his television debut on an episode of The Walter Winchell File in 1957. He made his movie debut in an uncredited part in The True Story of Lynn Stuart (1958). In the Fifties he guest starred on the TV shows The Thin Man, U.S. Marshal, Whirlybirds, Steve Canyon, Alcoa Theatre, World of Giants, Five Fingers, Men Into Space, Man With a Camera, Lock Up, Manhunt, General Electric Theatre, Peter Gun, Mr. Lukcy, and Dan Raven. He appeared in the movies Young and Wild (1958), I Want to Live! (1958), Compulsion (1959), Pork Chop Hill (1959), Operation Petticoat (1959), The Gene Krupa Story (1959), Twelve Hours to Kill (1960), and High Time (1960).

In the Sixties he appeared on Broadway in The Captain and the Kings. On television he played Happy on the classic sitcom McHale's Navy in its first two seasons. In 1970 he began playing the role of Murray Slaughter on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. He remained on the show for all seven of its seasons. He guest starred on the shows Michael Shayne, The Asphalt Jungle, Dr. Kildare, The Dick Powell Show, The Investigators, Straightaway, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Untouchables, Cain's Hundred, Slattery's People, The Munsters, Rawhide, Gomer Pyle: U.S.M.C., The Man From U.N.C.L.E., The Andy Griffith Show, Perry Mason, My Favorite Martian, Ben Casey, The Rat Patrol, Run for Your Life, Combat!, The Road West, Iron Horse, Garrison's Gorillas, Death Valley Days, Ironside, The Flying Nun, Hawaii Five-O, The Big Valley, Hogan's Heroes, Judd for the Defense, Lancer, It Takes a Thief, and The Name of the Game. He appeared in the movies War Hunt (1962), McHale's Navy (1964), The Sword of Ali Baba (1965), McHale's Navy Joins the Air Force (1965), Deathwatch (1966), The Sand Pebbles (1966), A Man Called Gannon (1968), The Party (1968), The Thousand Plane Raid (1969), The Comic (1969), and Kelly's Heroes (1970).

In the Seventies Gavin MacLeod continued playing Murray on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. He began a ten year run of playing Captain Stubing on The Love Boat in 1977. Mr. MacLeod guest starred as Murray on Rhoda ans as Captain Stubing on Charlie's Angels. He also guest starred on Love, American Style and Wonder Woman. He appeared in the mini-series Scruples.

In the Eighties he continued to play Captain Stubing on The Love Boat. He guest starred on Hotel and Murder, She Wrote. He was the voice of Daniel in an episode of the animated series The Greatest Stories from the Bible. In the Nineties Gavin MacLeod guest starred on The General Motors Playwright Theatre, CBS Schoolbreak Special, Love Boat: The Next Wave, and Oz.

In the Naughts Mr. MacLeod guest starred on The King of Queens, JAG, Touched by an Angel, That '70s Show, and The Suite Life on Deck. He appeared in the movies Time Changer (2002), Checking Out (2005), and The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry (2008). In the Teens he was a guest voice on the animated series Pound Puppies and guest starred on The Comeback Kids.

Gavin MacLeod was a wonderful actor with a gift for comedy. Murray was one of the many great characters on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, brought to life beautifully by Mr. MacLeod. In his autobiography, This Is Your Captain Speaking: My Fantastic Voyage Through Hollywood, Faith and Life, he wrote, "Murray represented all the brown-baggers — not just in newsrooms, but in all sorts of professions." And he was certainly right about Murray. He was the sort of talented individual who worked day in and day out, the head writer of WJM-TV and Mary Richards's best friend and ally at the office. As Captain Stubing on The Love Boat he created a character who was congenial, but who could be stern when he had to be. He had previously demonstrated his talent in various guest appearances. On the Andy Griffith Show episode "The Taylors Go to Hollywood," he played actor Bryan Bender, who is playing Andy Taylor is a somewhat exaggerated movie based on Andy's life. He had earlier played Gilbert Jamel, a bank robber posing as a television producer, in the episode "TV or Not TV." And while Gavin MacLeod was well known for his work in comedy, he could do drama as well. In the first two episodes of Hawaii Five-O he played, of all things, a drug pusher named Big Chicken. He appeared on Perry Mason no less than three times. Gavin MacLeod was an incredible talent, and American television is so much the richer because of him.