Friday, November 12, 2021

Godspeed Graeme Edge of The Moody Blues

Graeme Edge, The Moody Blues' drummer for the entirety of their history, died yesterday, November 11 2021, at the age of 80.

Graeme Edge was born on March 30 1941 in Rocester, Staffordshire. When he was only about six months old his family moved to Birmingham. His mother played piano as accompaniment to silent movies. His father, grandfather, and great-grandfather all sang in music halls. He had originally planned to become a draughtsman, although he managed a group called the Blue Rhythm Band. When the Blue Rhythm Band's drummer quit, Graeme Edge would up playing drums for the group for three weeks until they got a new drummer.

Graeme Edge formed the band The Silhouettes. He later co-founded Gerry Levene and The Avengers. Gerry Levene and The Avengers recorded one single for Decca, "Dr. Feelgood"/"It’s Driving Me Wild." The group also appeared on the British TV show Thank Your Lucky Stars. It was after Gary Levene and The Avengers broke up that Graham Edge formed The R&B Preachers, which included future Moody Blues members Denny Laine and Clint Warwick. After The R & B Preachers broke up, Messrs. Edge, Laine, and Warwick formed the M & B 5 with Ray Thomas. The M & B 5 were soon renamed The Moody Blues.

The Moody Blues signed with Decca Records in 1964. Their second single, "Go Now," was a hit on both sides of the Atlantic. Unfortunately, following singles did not perform as well. In 1966 Clint Warwick not only left the band, but the music business entirely. Later in the year Denny Laine also left. It was in late 1966 that John Lodge and Justin Hayward joined the band, establishing the classic line-up of The Moody Blues.

The Moody Blues would release a series of success albums, including Days of Future Past, In Search of the Lost Chord, On the Threshold of a Dream, A Question of Balance, To Our Children's Children,. Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, and Seventh Sojourn. As a poet, Graeme Edge provided the poems  "Morning Glory" and "Late Lament" for Days of Future Past, "Departure" and "The Word" for In Search of the Lost Chord, "In the Beginning" and "The Dream" for On the Threshold of a Dream, and others. He also contributed songs, such as "Higher and Higher" on To Our Children's Children.

In 1974 The Moody Blues took an extended break. Graeme Edge then formed the Graeme Edge Band. The Graeme Edge Band released two albums: Kick Off Your Muddy Blues in 1975 and Paradise Ballroom in 1977.

The Moody Blues reformed in 1978. The band returned with the album Octave, to which Graeme Edge contributed "I'll Be Level with You." The Moody Blues released several more albums. Graeme Edge contributed such songs as "22,000 Days" to Long Distance Voyager, "Going Nowhere" to The Present, and "Nothing Changes" to Strange Times.

In the Eighties he worked from time to time with the jazz combo Loud, Confident and Rong.

As a drummer Graeme Edge was very precise. He was also versatile, He went from the R&B influenced sound of the early Moody Blues to the progressive rock sound of the band's later years. In addition to drums he also provided The Moody Blues with a variety of percussion instruments, including tambourine and timpani. He even occasionally played piano. On top of being an excellent drummer, he was also a great poet, even reciting his own poems from time to time. "Morning Glory" and "Late Lament" remain highlights of Days of Future Past. It seems likely that The Moody Blues would not have been as successful as they were without Graeme Edge.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

The Late Great Lee Gordon of KRCG

If you live in the Columbia/Jefferson City, Missouri television market and you are anything older than a Zoomer, chances are good that you remember Lee Gordon. Lee Gordon worked for the Jefferson City station KRCG in various capacities for 53 years. It would not surprise me if he worked longer in the Columbia-Jefferson City market than any other on-air personality. Sadly, Lee Gordon died Tuesday, November 9, at the age of 85. The cause was complications of pulmonary disease.

Lee Gordon was born in Jefferson City and had deep roots in the capital city. An elementary school in Jefferson City is even named for his uncle, Thorpe Gordon. Lee Gordon was taking drama classes at Jefferson Junior College when KRCG was hiring a part-time announcer for the station. He began work at KRCG in April 1955, only a few weeks after the station had opened in February 1955. Mr. Gordon had only been working at KRCG when the station's full-time announcer quit. KRCG then offered him the job and he took it.

It was early in KRCG's history that he was the anchor for the station's 10:00 PM newscast, as well as its announcer for commercials. In 1956 he began his long stint as a weathercaster at the station. Lee Gordon also worked behind the scenes. In the days when KRCG produced a good deal of local programming, Lee Gordon directed many of those live local TV shows. In the days before ABC affiliate KCBJ (now KMIZ) opened in 1971, KRCG and Columbia station KOMU would divide up ABC programming between the two stations. It was Lee Gordon who chose which ABC shows would air on KRCG, everything from The Big Valley to The Johnny Cash Show. He served as KRCG's program manager and eventually its station manager.

Aside from his long stint as a weatherman on KRCG, many viewers might remember him best for playing Santa Claus on the station's long running children's show Showtime in the weeks before Christmas. He is also remembered as KRCG's horror host, The Count, on the station's horror movie anthology Tales of Terror in the early to mid Seventies. Tales of Terror included reruns of the classic TV series Thriller and such classic horror movies as Son of Frankenstein  (1939) and The Mummy (1932).

Lee Gordon retired in 2008 after having worked for KRCG for 53 years. Over the years he had offers to work in bigger markets, but KRCG would also match any offers that were made. Eventually he was content to remain with KRCG and continue living in Fulton, where he raised his family.

Having grown up in mid-Missouri I have very fond memories of Lee Gordon. He was one of the best on-air personalities to ever work in this market, both as an anchorman and a weatherman. He had an incredible, deep voice that was perfect not only for announcing, but for his roles as Santa Claus and The Count. He had a long career with KRCG, seeing television evolve from analog technology to digital technology. Both because of the length of his career and his talent as an on-air personality, Lee Gordon will remain one of the best remembered people to work in the Columba/Jefferson City television market.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Linda Carlson Passes On

Linda Carlson, who was a regular on the TV show Kaz and had a recurring role on the classic sitcom Newhart, died on October 26 2021 at the age of 76. She had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis for some time.

Linda Carlson was born on May 12 1945 in Knoxville, Tennessee. She appeared in school plays at  Edina Morningside High School in Minnesota. She received a bachelor's degree in speech and dramatic arts from the University of Iowa and a master's degree from New York University. In 1969 she appeared in the Negro Ensemble Company's production of The Harangues off Broadway . In 1973 she made her debut on Broadway in a revival of Full Circle. In the Seventies she was an understudy in the Broadway productions A Memory of Two Mondays / 27 Wagons Full of Cotton and They Knew What They Wanted.

Linda Carlson made her television debut as a regular on the short-lived drama Westside Medical. In the Seventies she played Katie McKenna on Kaz. She guest starred on the show Kojak and WKRP in Cincinnati.

In the Eighties she played the recurring role of Bev Dutton, the manager of the TV station on which Dick Loudon's television show aired, on the classic sitcom Newhart. She also appeared on the daytime soap opera Days of Our Lives. She guest starred on the shows Lou Grant; Quincy, M.E.; Remington Steele; St. Elsewhere, The Mississippi; Scarecrow and Mrs. King; Brothers; Cagney & Lacey; Growing Pains; Mr. President; My Two Dads; Christine Cromwell; and Father Dowling Mysteries.

In the Nineties Miss Carlson played Judge Beth Bornstein  on Murder One. She guest starred on the shows Baby Talk, Sisters, Double Rush, Space: Above and Beyond, Moloney, High Incident, The Pretender, Cracker, Michael Hayes, Clueless, and NYPD Blue. She appeared in the movies Honey, I Blew Up the Kid (1992), The Pickle (1993), and The Beverly Hillbillies (1993). In the Naughts she guest starredo n the shows NYPD Blue, Providence, and Passions.

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

The Late Great Dean Stockwell

Dean Stockwell, who began his career as a child actor in such films as The Boy with Green Hair (1948) and The Happy Years (1950) before appearing in such films as Paris, Texas (1984) and Blue Velvet (1986) and the TV series Quantum Leap as an adult, died on November 7 2021 at the age of 85.

Dean Stockwell was born on March 5 1936 in North Hollywood, California. His father was actor Harry Stockwell, who had provided the singing voice of Prince Charming in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937). His older brother was Guy Stockwell, who was later a regular on the TV shows Adventures in Paradise and The Richard Boone Show. As the son of an actor, Dean Stockwell grew up in both Los Angeles and New York City.

It was while appearing in Oklahoma! on Broadway that his father Harry Stockwell heard of the play Innocent Voyage that needed child actors. Both Guy Stockwell and Dean Stockwell auditioned for roles in Innocent Voyage and both were cast in the play. While Dean Stockwell's part was small and Innocent Voyage only ran on Broadway from November 15 1943 to December 18 1944, he was noticed by MGM who gave him a contract. Dean Stockwell made his film debut in The Valley of Decision in 1945. He had notable roles in Anchors Aweigh (1945), The Green Years (1946), The Boy with Green Hair (1948), and The Happy Years (1950). He played Nick Charles Jr. in Song of the Thin Man (1947). He also appeared in the movies Abbott and Costello in Hollywood (1945), Home, Sweet Homicide (1946), The Mighty McGurk (1947), The Arnelo Affair (1947), The Romance of Rosy Ridge (1947), Gentleman's Agreement (1947), Deep Waters (1948), Down to the Sea in Ships (1949), The Secret Garden (1949), and Kim (1950).

Dean Stockwell appeared in the movie Cattle Drive (1951) before taking a short break from acting. During this period he worked a number of odd jobs, from working on the railroad to working in a bakery. He returned to acting with the movie Gun for a Coward in 1956. He also made his second and last appearance on Broadway in the play Compulsion in 1957. He would reprise his role as Judd Steiner in the 1959 film adaptation of Compulsion. Dean Stockwell made his television debut in an episode of Front Row Center in 1956. In the mid to late Fifties he also appeared in the movies The Careless Years (1957) and Sons and Lovers (1960). He guest starred on the TV shows Matinee Theatre, Schlitz Playhouse of Stars, Wagon Train, The United States Steel Hour, Climax!, Men of Annapolis, Cimarron City, General Electric Theatre, Playhouse 90, Johnny Staccato, Buick-Electra Playhouse, Checkmate, and The DuPont Show with June Allyson.

In the Sixties Dean Stockwell had a recurring role on the TV series Dr. Kildare. He guest starred on the TV shows Outlaws, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Wagon Train, Bus Stop, The Twilight Zone, Alcoa Premiere, The Dick Powell Show, Combat!, The Greatest Show on Earth, The Defenders, The Eleventh Hour, Kraft Suspense Theatre, Burke's Law, The Danny Thomas Hour, Thirty-Minute Theatre, and Bonanza. He appeared in the movies Long Day's Journey into Night (1962), Rapture (1965), Psych-Out (1968), and The Dunwich Horror (1970).

In the Seventies Mr. Stockwell guest starred in the television shows Mannix, The F.B.I., Mission: Impossible, Night Gallery, Orson Welles' Great Mysteries, Dr. Simon Locke, The Streets of San Francisco, Columbo, Joe Forrester, Three for the Road, Cannon, Ellery Queen, Police Story, McCloud, Tales of the Unexpected, and Greatest Heroes of the Bible. He appeared in the movies The Last Movie (1971), The Loners (1973), The Werewolf of London (1973), The Pacific Connection (1974), Win, Place or Steal (1974), Tracks (1976),  Won Ton Ton: The Dog Who Saved Hollywood (1976), One Away (1976), and She Came to the Valley (1979).

In 1989 Dean Stockwell began a five year run playing Admiral Al Calavicci on the TV series Quantum Leap. He was the voice of Duke Nukem on the animated series Captain Planet and the Planeteers. He guest starred on the shows Hart to Hart; The A-Team; Simon & Simon; Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense; Miami Vice; Hunter; Murder, She Wrote; and The Twilight Zone. He appeared in the mini-series Son of the Morning Star. During the Eighties he made several significant appearances in movies, playing Walt Henderson in Paris, Texas (1984), Doctor Yueh in Dune (1984), and Ben in Blue Velvet (1986). He also appeared in the movies Wrong is Right (1982), Human Highway (1982), Alsino y el cóndor (1982), To Kill a Stranger (1984), The Legend of Billie Jean (1985), To Live and Die of L.A. (1985), Once Bitten (1985), Papa Was a Preacher (1985), Gardens of Stone (1987), Beverly Hills Cop II (1987), The Time Guardian (1987), Banzai Runner (1987), The Blue Iguana (1988), Married to the Mob (1988), Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988), Palais Royale (1988), Buying Time (1988), Jorge, um Brasileiro (1989), Limit Up (1989), and Catchfire (1990).

In the Nineties he continued to appear as Al on Quantum Leap. He was a regular on the show Street Gear and The Tony Danza Show. He guest starred on the shows Burke's Law, Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, Chicago Hope, Snowy River: The McGregor Saga, Nowhere Man, The Commish, Can't Hurry Love, Ink, Popular Science, It's True!, The Drew Carey Show, and Cold Feet. He appeared in the movies Sandino (1991), The Player (1992), Friends and Enemies (1992), Chasers (1994), Mr. Wrong (1996), Naked Souls (1996), Last Resort (1996), Living in Peril (1997), McHale's Navy (1997), Midnight Blue (1997), Air Force One (1997), The Shadow Men (1997), The Rainmaker (1997), Sinbad: The Battle of the Dark Knights (1998), Restraining Order (1999), Water Damage (1999), The Venice Project (1999), Rites of Passage (1999), and The Flunky (2000).

In the Naughts Dean Stockwell had a recurring role the TV series First Monday. On JAG he played the recurring role of Secretary of the Navy Edward Sheffield. He also had a recurring role on the 2000s revival of Battlestar Galactica. He guest starred on the shows Star Trek: Enterprise, Stargate SG-1, and Crash. He appeared in the movies Face to Face (2001), CQ (2001), The Quickie (2001), Buffalo Soldiers (2001), Inferno (2002), The Manchurian Candidate (2004), and The Deal (2007).

In the Teens Dean Stockwell guest starred on the shows Elisted and NCIS. He appeared in the movies C.O.G. (2013), Max Rose (2013), Deep in the Darkness (2014), Persecuted (2014), and Entertainment (2015).

Dean Stockwell was an enormous talent. He was among the most natural child actors of all time, giving superb performances in The Boy with Green Hair and Kim, among other movies. As an adult he would play a wide variety of roles. He will always be remembered as Al, the womanizing rear admiral who assists Sam Beckett as he travels through time. He will also be remembered as the rather creepy Ben, who lip syncs to Roy Orbison's "In Dreams" in Blue Velvet. That having been said, he played many more roles throughout his career. He was Edmund, the younger son who may have tuberculosis, in Long Day's Journey into Night. He played Howard Hughes in Tucker: The Man and His Dream. From the attorney Bob Grimes in To Live and Die in L.A. to a mob boss in Married to the Mob, Dean Stockwell played many different roles. What is more he always gave a good performance.

Monday, November 8, 2021

He Walked By Night (1948)

The film movement known as film noir emerged in the 1940s. It was from film noir movement that the genre of the police procedural emerged. The late Forties saw a number of police procedural movies released, including T-Men (1947), The Naked City (1948), The Street with No Name (1948), and Mystery Street (1950). These police procedurals were shot in a semidocumentary style and focused on the procedure of law enforcement as they investigated a case. Among the best of the police procedurals released in the late Forties was He Walked By Night (1948).

He Walked By Night
centred on Roy Morgan (Richard Basehart), a former radio technician for a local police department turned thief who has shot a Los Angeles Police patrolman when he was nearly caught during his burglaries. He Walked By Night was inspired by the real life case of Erwin "Machine Gun" Walker, a former Glendale, California police radio operator and dispatcher who committed a spree of burglaries in Los Angeles County in 1945 and 1946. He engaged in more than one shoot out with law enforcement. The film had the working titles of 29 Clues and The L.A. Investigator before finally being titled He Walked by Night.

While Alfred L. Werker is credited as the director on He Walked by Night, most film scholars believe that Anthony Mann took over for Mr. Werker fairly early in the shooting of the film. To wit, He Walked by Night was shot in a semidocumentary style similar to Anthony Mann's earlier film T-Men and his later film Border Incident (1949). John Alton was the cinematographer on He Walked By Night. Not only had worked with Anthony Mann on T-Men and would work with him on Raw Deal (1948) and Border Incident, but he would become well-known for his work in film noir. In addition to Anthony Mann's films, John Alton also worked on such classic film noirs as Reign of Terror (1949), Mystery Street, and The Big Combo (1955). He Walked by Night featured some of John Alton's work, particularly the climax of the film shot in the storm drains of Los Angeles.

In addition to Anthony Mann's direction and John Alton's cinematography, He Walked by Night benefits from a strong script by John C. Higgins and Crane Wilbur, as well as the performances of the cast. Richard Basehart is chilling as Roy Morgan, the master criminal terrorizing Los Angeles County. Scott Brady and James Cardwell do a good job playing the police sergeants investigating the case, Marty Brennan and Chuck Jones.

He Walked By Night proved to be an influential film noir in more ways the one. In the movie Jack Webb played a forensics expert named Lee. He became friends with the police technical advisor on the film, Los Angles Police Detective Sergeant Marty Wynn. It was Jack Webb's discussions with Sgt. Marty Wynn that convinced him that police procedure could be realistically portrayed on a regularly scheduled radio show. This led to the radio show Dragnet. It debuted on 1949 and proved to be a huge hit. It made the transition to television in 1951.

He Walked By Night won the special prize for Best Police Film at the Locarno International Film Festival in 1949. It also received largely positive reviews and did very well at the box office. He Walked by Night would also have lasting impact through its bare bones approach to the police procedural. It was a direct inspiration for the radio show and television series Dragnet and, as a result, its influence can be felt on police procedurals to this day. Even the film's action sequences, particularly its climax, would have a lasting impact on both film and television. While He Walked by Night may not be as famous as Double Indemnity (1944) or The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946), but there is every reason it should be.