Saturday, April 16, 2022

British Classics with Juliet Mills on TCM

John Mills and Margaret Lockwood
in The Lady Vanishes
On Tuesday, April 19 and Tuesday, April 26 Turner Classic Mvoies is airing six movies as part of British Classics with Juliet Mills. The title pretty much says it all, with six movie hosted by Juliet Mills. For those of very few of you who are unfamiliar with Juliet Mills, she is the daughter of legendary actor Sir John Mills and the older sister of Hayley Mills. She starred in the TV series Nanny and the Professor and appeared in such movies as The Wrong Box (1966) and Avanti! (1972). Over the course of the two nights TCM will show six classic British movies. Below is the schedule (all times are Central). I have bolded my choices of the movies you should not miss.

Tuesday, April 19:
7:00 PM In Which We Serve (1942)
9:15 PM Great Expectations (1946)
11:30 Ryan's Daughter (1970)

Tuesday, April 20:
7:00 PM The Lady Vanishes (1938)
8:45 PM That Hamilton Woman (1941)
11:00 PM Gandhi (1982)

Friday, April 15, 2022

Godspeed Gilbert Gottfried

Gilbert Gottfried, the comedian with the distinctive voice well known for his at times crude humour, died on April 12 2022 at the age of 67. The cause was myotonic dystrophy type 2, a form of muscular dystrophy.

Gilbert Gottfried was born on February 18 1955 in Brooklyn, New York. His older sister was photographer Arlene Gottfried. He dropped out of high school and began performing at comedy clubs when he was only 15 years old.

In 1980 Gilbert Gottfried had a short stint as part of the cast of Saturday Night Live. That same year he appeared in the TV movie The Further Adventures of Wally Brown. He made his film debut in the movie House of God in 1984. In the Eighties he appeared on such talk shows and variety shows as Thicke of the Night, Stand Up America, The Original Max Talking Headroom Show, It's Showtime at the Apollo, Late Night with David Letterman, and The Dick Cavett Show. He was a host on USA Up All Night from 1989 to 1998. He guest starred on the shows The Cosby Show and Superboy. He appeared in the films Bad Medicine (1985), Beverly Hills Cops II (1987), Never on Tuesday (1988), Hot to Trot (1988), 3rd Bass: The Gas Face (1988), The Adventures of Ford Fairlane (1990), Problem Child (1990), and Look Who's Talking Too (1990).

In the Nineties Gilbert Gottfried continued to host USA Up All Night. He appeared on such talk shows and variety shows as The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Muppets Tonight, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Saturday Night Live, and MadTV. He guest starred on the shows Night Court, A Different World, The Slate, Herman's Head, Adventures in Wonderland, Silk Stalkings, Living Single, The Parent 'Hood, Married with Children, Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Mad About YouWings, In the House, Clueless, Hope & Gloria, The Weird Al Show, and Jenny He was a voice regular on the animated shows Problem Child and Aladdin. He was a guest voice on such animated shows as The Ren & Stimpy Show, Beavis and Butt-Head, Bobby's World, Timon & Pumbaa, Superman, Dilbert, and Clerks. He was the voice of Iago in the animated film Aladdin (1992) and provided the voices for the moviesThumbelina (1994) and  Doctor Dolittle (1998). He appeared in the films Problem Child 2 (1991), Highway to Hell (1991), House Party 3 (1994), Blankman (1994), Silk Degrees (1994), Meet Wally Sparks (1997), How to Be a Player (1997), and Goosed (1999). He appeared on Broadway in The Rocky Horror Show.

In the Naughts Mr. Gottfried guest starred on the shows Son of the Beach, CSI" Crime Scnee Investigation, Becker, Greg the Bunny, Hannah Montana, Star-ving, Sesame Street, 3rd Rock, and 'Til Death. He was the voice of Digit on the show Cyberchase. He provided voices for such shows as House of Mouse, Bear in the Big Blue House, Grim & Evil, and The Emperor's New School. He appeared in the movies Longshot (2001), The Amazing Floydini (2004), Back by Midnight (2004), Funky Monkey (2004), The Last Request (2006), Hysterical Psycho (2009), and Jack and the Beanstalk (2009). He provided voices for the movies A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004) and Farce of the Penguins (2006).

In the Teens he continued to voice Digit on Cyberchase. He guest starred on the shows Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, CollegeHumor Originals, Anger Management, Deadbeat, Thingstarter, The Jim Gaffigan Show, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Episodes, and Crashing. He provided voices for such animated shows as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Justice League Action, Family Guy, SpongeBob SquarePants, and Teen Titans Go. He appeared in the movies Calendar Girl (2011), A Million Ways to Die in the West (2014), Rock Story (2015), Director's Cut (2016), Gender Bender (2016), The Comedian (2016), Hospital Arrest (2016), Abnormal Attraction (2018), A Wrestling Christmas Miracle (2020), and The Truth About Santa Claus.

In the Twenty-Twenties he continued to voice Digit on Cyberchase. He provided a voice for the show The Komisky Method.

In addition to his work on television and film, he also did several commercials. For many years he was the voice of the Aflac duck. Over the years he also did commercials for MTV, Pop Tarts, Subway, Glad, and yet others.

Gilbert Gottfried was well known for his love of classic films. He was a guest programmer on Turner Classic Movies in 2013. He made several appearances on Svengoolie. In 2021 he appeared on Toon In with Me. His podcast Gilbert Gottfried's Amazing Colossal Podcast debuted in 2014 and centred on Old Hollywood and popular culture.

As a comedian Gilbert Gottfried was starkly original. He was known for his incredibly dirty sense of humour and at times he could go beyond the bounds of what was considered acceptable. Even so, he was consistently funny, more so than the majority of comics.

In real life Gilbert Gottfried was entirely different from his stage persona. Those who knew him reported that he was sweet and sensitive,  and known for his kindness. He was also reportedly extremely shy. He was also very enthusiastic about the things he loved. Classic film fans got to see his love of classic movies in various venues over the years, where he dropped his brash stage persona to become a sweet, enthusiastic fanboy for classic movies. Ultimately, Gilbert Gottfried was a true original. He was one of a kind.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Kathryn Hays Passes On

Kathryn Hays, who was a regular on the Sixties Western TV series The Road West and later the soap opera As the World Turns, died on March 25 2022 at the age of 88.

Kathryn Has was born Kay Piper in July 26 1933 in Princeton, Illinois. She grew up in Joliet, Illinois.

She made her television debut in an episode of Hawaiian Eye in 1962. In the Sixties she played the regular role of Elizabeth Reynolds Pride on the Western The Road West. She guest starred on the TV shows Surfside 6, Naked City, The United States Steel HourWide Country, Dr. Kildare, Route 66, The Lieutenant, The Eleventh Hour, The Nurses, Mr. Novak, Arrest and Trial, Bonanza, The Defenders, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, The Virginian, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Branded, Kraft Suspense Theatre, Run for Your Life, Vacation Playhouse, The High Chaparral, Mannix, Here Come the Brides, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, and The Bold Ones: The New Doctors. She made her movie debut in the film Ladybug Ladybug in 1963. She appeared in the movies Ride Beyond Vengeance (1966), and Counterpoint (1967).

In the Seventies she guest starred on the TV shows The Guiding Light; Marcus Welby, M.D.; Owen Marshall, Counsellor at Law; Bearcats!; Cade's County; Night Gallery; and Ghost Story. It was in 1972 that she began a thirty eight year run on the soap opera As the World Turns. She later guest starred on the shows American Playhouse, Law & Order, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and One Life to Live.

Kathryn Hays was a gifted actress. She guest starred in the Star Trek episode "The Empath" as Gem, a mute woman capable of absorbing the wounds of others. It was a role that required that she communicate with her eyes and body language, and she gave a remarkable performance. In The Man From U.N.C.L.E. episode "The See-Paris-And-Die Affair" she played a singer that U.N.C.L.E. uses to retrieve stolen diamonds. In The Alfred Hitchcock Hour episode "One of the Family," she played a young mother who suspects the nanny she and her husband have just hired might be guilty of child murder. Kathryn Hays was capable of subtle and powerful performances, something she demonstrated in several appearances on television.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

The Late Great Nehemiah Persoff

Nehemiah Persoff, the versatile and prolific character actor who appeared in movies from On the Waterfront (1954) to Some Like It Hot (1960) and television shows from Playhouse 90 to Gilligan's Island, died on April 5 2022 at the age of 102.

Nehemiah Persoff was born on April 2 1919 in Jerusalem, Mandatory Palestine. His father was a silversmith and painter who moved the family to New York City in 1929. During World War II he served in the United States Army. It was in the Army that his talent for performing was recognized and he was assigned to a company that entertained the troops around the world.

Mr. Persoff worked an electrician in the New York City subway. Following the war he became part of the Actors Studio and acted in summer stock. He made his debut on Broadway in Galileo. In the late Forties he appeared on Broadway in Sundown Beach, King Richard II, and Monteserrat. He made his film debut in a bit part in The Naked City in 1948. He made his television debut in 1959 on Actors Studio.

In the Fifties Nehemiah Persoff started playing the recurring role of Jake "Greasy Thumb" Guzik on The Untouchables. He guest starred on the shows Suspense, You Are There, Goodyear Television Playhouse, The Stranger, The Man Behind the Badge, The Philco Television Playhouse, Appointment with Adventure, I Spy, Playwrights '56, Armstrong Circle Theatre, The Kaiser Aluminum Hour, Producers' Showcase, The Alcoa Hour, Kraft Television Theatre, The United States Steel Hour, Climax!, Schlitz Playhouse of Stars, Shirley Temple's Storybook, The Third Man, Five Fingers, Mr. Lucky, The Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Startime, Playhouse 90, and Naked City. He appeared in the movies On the Waterfront (1954), The Harder They Fall (1956), The Wrong Man (1956), The Wild Party (1956), Men in War (1957), Street of Sinners (1957), This Angry Age (1957), The Badlanders (1958), Never Steal Anything Small (1959), Some Like It Hot (1959), Green Mansions (1959), Al Capone (1959), and Day of the Outlaw (1959). He appeared on Broadway in Peter Pan, King Lear, Peer Gynt, Flahooley, Camino Real, Mademoiselle Colombe, Reclining Figure, Tiger at the Gates, and Only in America.

In the Sixties Nehemiah Persoff continued to appear on The Untouchables. He guest starred on the TV shows Thriller, Wagon Train, Route 66, Bus Stop, The Dick Powell Show, King of Diamonds, The New Breed, Frontier Circus, Sam Benedict, Naked City, Rawhide, Mr. Novak, Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre, Seaway, Burke's Law, Gilligan's Island, Ben Casey, A Man Called Shenandoah, The Legend of Jesse James, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Honey West, Gunsmoke, The Trials of O'Brien, The Big Valley, Jericho, The Time Tunnel, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., I Spy, Off to See the Wizard, The Danny Thomas Hour, Maya, The Wild Wild West, Tarzan, CBS Playhouse, The Name of the Game, It Takes a Thief, Mission: Impossible, Corwin, The Flying Nun, The Bill Cosby Show, Land of Giants, Dan August, and The High Chaparral. He appeared in the movies The Big Show (1961), The Comancheros (1961), The Hook (1963), A Global Affair (1964), Fate is the Hunter (1964), The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965), Too Many Thieves (1966), The Money Jungle (1967), Il giorno della civetta (1968), The Power (1968), Panic in the City (1968), The Girl Who Knew Too Much (1969), Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Colour, and The People Next Door (1970).

In the Seventies Nehemiah Persoff guest starred on the TV shows The Chicago Teddy Bears, The Wonderful World of Disney, The Mod Squad, Cool Million, Adam-12, Mannix, The Streets of San Francisco, Search, Purple Playhouse, Dr,. Simon Locke, Love American Style, Insight, McMillan & Wife, Gunsmoke, Marcus Welby M.D., The Invisible Man, Ellery Queen, Columbo, Baretta, The Six Million Dollar Man, Wonder Woman, McCloud, Rich Man Poor Man Book II, Hunter, Quincy, M.E., Charlie's Angels, Police Woman, Logan's Run, Little House on the Prairie, The Bionic Woman, Richie Brokelman Private Eye, High Hopes, Sword of Justice, Vega$, Greatest Heroes of the Bible, The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, Hawaii Five-O, Delta House, Supertrain, Battlestar Galactica, The Rebels, Police Story, B.A.D. Cats, Fantasy Island, The Littlest Hobo, Condominium, and Barney Miller. He appeared in the movies Mrs. Polifax Spy (1971), Red Sky at Morning (1971), Psychic Killer (1975), Voyage of the Damned (1976), and Deadly Harvest (1977).

In the Eighties Mr. Perssoff guest starred on the TV shows Barney Miller, The Fisher Family, Scarecrow and Mrs. King, Magnum P.I.., Hotel, The Facts of Life, Highway to Heaven, Addely, J. J. Starbuck, American Playhouse, MacGyver, L.A. Law, Star Trek: The Next Genreation, Hunter, and Murder She Wrote. He appeared in the movies St. Helens (1981), O'Hara's Wife (1982), Yentl (1983), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), and Twins (1988). He was the voice of Papa in the animated film An American Tail (1986).

In the Nineties he guest starred on Doogie Howser M.D., Reasonable Doubts, Law & Order, Chicago Hope, and Tracey Takes On... He was the voice of Papa in the animated movie An American Tail: Fievel Goes West. His last appearance was a guest shot on the mini-series Angels in America in 2003.

If Nehemiah Persoff was prolific, it was because he was so versatile. On Mission: Impossible  alone he played a prince and ruler of a country, the corrupt finance minister of a country, and a counterfeiter who's also the minister of a country). He played a number of dictators over the yeas, most notably Pancho Hernando Gonzalez Enriques Rodriguez on Gilligan's Island. He also played a number of gangsters, including Little Bonaparte in Some Like It Hot. Not every character played by Nehemiah Persoff was a dictator or gangster, and he could play sympathetic roles. In the Route 66 episode "First Class Mouliak" he played a widower who just wants to see his son educated and his daughter in a good marriage. In the movie Yentl, he plays the father of the title character who secretly teaches her about the Talmud. In Voyage of the Damned he played one of the Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany. Given the era in which he worked, many of the roles Nemehiah Persoff would be considered politically incorrect today, but he always gave a good performance regardless. He had an uncanny knack of transforming himself into any character he chose.