Friday, March 8, 2024

Noir Alley Returns to TCM on March 16 2024

One of the things I dislike about Turner Classic Movies' 31 Days of Oscar is that it means going without Noir Alley for a whole month. Fortunately, it is returning on Saturday, March 16 2024 with the classic French neo-noir Le Samouri (1967). On March 23 Where Danger Lives (1950), starring Robert Mitchum, airs on Noir Alley. On March 30 they are showing Pushover (1954) again. After 4 weeks without Noir Alley, I am sure many fans are ready for its return.

Thursday, March 7, 2024

TCM Spotlight: Women at Work March 2024

Faye Dunaway in Network
From Monday, March 11 2024 though Friday, March 15 2024, TCM Spotlight is focused on Women at Work. For five nights, Turner Classic Movies will showing movies centred around women in the work place. They are showing a wide array of films, from the Pre-Code drama Baby Face (1933) to the comedy Nine to Five (1980). Over the five nights they will be showing such classics as Mildred Pierce (1945), Desk Set (1957), and Love Come Back (1961). TCM Spotlight: Women at Work is hosted by Turner Classic Movies hosts Alicia Malone and Professor Jacqueline Stewart.

Below is the schedule for TCM Spotlight: Women at Work. All times are Central.

Monday, March 11:
7:00 PM Baby Face (1933)
8:30 PM Bachelor Mother (1939)
10:00 PM Imitation of Life (1934)

Tuesday, March 12:
12:00 AM Man Wanted (1932)
1:15 AM Female (1933)
2:30 AM Big Business Girl (1931)
3:45 AM Employee's Entrance (1933)
7:00 PM His Girl Friday (1940)
9:00 PM Mildred Pierce (1945)
11:00 PM Adam's Rib (1949)

Wednesday, March 13:
1:00 AM Woman of the Year (1942)
2:30 AM Millions Like Us (1943)
7:00 PM The Best of Everything (1959)
9:15 PM Desk Set (1957)

Thursday, March 14:
1:15 AM The Fuller Brush Girl (1950)
3:00 AM Bright Road (1953)
7:00 PM Love Come Back (1961)
9:00 PM The Wheeler Dealers (1963)
11:00 PM Come Fly with Me (1962)

Friday, March 15:
1:00 AM Sex and the Single Girl (1964)
3:00 AM Kisses for My President (1964)
7:00 PM Nine to Five (1980)
9:00 PM Baby Boom (1987)
11:00 PM The China Syndrome (1979)

Saturday, March 16:
1:15 AM Network (1976)
3:30 AM Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974)

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Godspeed Richard Lewis

Comedian Richard Lewis died on February 27 2024 at the age of 76. The cause was a heart attack.

Richard Lewis was born on June 29 1947 in Brooklyn, New York. He grew up in Englewood, New Jersey. He graduated from Dwight Morrow High School in Englewood in 1965, and received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Ohio State University. After graduating from college, Richard Lewis wrote ad copy for an advertising agency in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey. At night he would write jokes. He sold those jokes to Monty Gunty and other comedians. His success writing jokes led to his decision to develop his own act.

Eventually Richard Lewis was playing such New York clubs as The Impov and Pips Comedy Club. It was in 1974 that he made his first of many appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. He made his acting debut in 1979 in the television movie Diary of a Young Comic on NBC. He played a fictionalized version of himself in the film. In the late Seventies he also appeared in the TV movie The 416th and guest starred on the sitcom House Calls.

In the Eighties he appeared on both The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and Late Night with David Letterman. He guest starred on the TV shows Riptide and Tattingers. He had a regular role on the short-lived sitcom Harry and starred on the sitcom Anything But Love. He made his film debut in The Wrong Guys in 1988. He also appeared in the film That's Adequate (1989).

In the Nineties Richard Lewis continued to appear in the TV series Anything But Love. He starred on the short-lived sitcoms Daddy Dearest and Hiller and Diller. He had a recurring role on the sitcom Rude Awakening in its first season. He guest starred on the shows Tribeca, The Larry Sanders Show, Tales from the Crypt, A.J.'s Time Travelers, and V.I.P.. He was a guest voice on the animated shows Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist; Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child; and Hercules. He appeared in the movies Once Upon a Crime... (1992), Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993), Wagons East!, Drunks (1995), Leaving Las Vegas (1995), The Elevator (1996), The Maze (1997), Hugo Pool (1997), and Game Day (1999). He also appeared in the TV movie Larry David: Curb Your Enthusiasm in 1999.

In the Naughts Richard Lewis began his 24 year run as a regular on the TV show Curb Your Enthusiasm. He had a recurring role on the family drama 7th Heaven. He guest starred on the shows Presidio Med, Alias, Two and a Half Men, The Dead Zone, Las Vegas, George Lopez, Everybody Hates Chris, The Cleaner, and ' Til Death. He was a guest voice on The Simpsons. He appeared in the movie Sledge: The Untold Story (2005).

In the Teens he continued to appear on Curb Your Enthusiasm. He had a recurring role on the sitcom Blunt Talk. He guest starred on the show Code Black and was a guest voice on the animated series BoJack Horseman. He appeared in the movies Vamps (2012), She's Funny That Way (2012), Bucky and the Squirrels (2015), and Sandy Wexler. In the 2020s he continued to appear on Curb Your Enthusiasm. The show is in its last season, and its final episode airs on April 7 2024.

Richard Lewis was an extremely funny man who could always take a neurosis and turn it into a comedy routine. During his act he was fidgety and would pace the floor, only adding to the humour he found in anxiety. His comedy was always self-deprecating. He was able to parlay his success as a comic into a successful acting career. He was the neurotic Prince John in Robin Hood: Men in Tights and Peter, the agent for screenwriter Ben Sanderson (Nicholas Page) who tried helping Ben despite having his own issues to deal with. On the sitcom Anything but Love he played neurotic magazine columnist Marty Gold who finds himself attracted to co-worker Hannah Miller (Jamie Lee Curtis). Whether doing stand-up or acting, Richard Lewis could be very funny, but capable of playing more serious acting roles as well.

Monday, March 4, 2024

The Late Great Ramona Fradon

Ramona Fradon, co-creator of the superhero Metamorpho with writer Bob Haney and a comics artist known for her work on Aquaman and Brenda Starr, died on February 24 2024 at age 97.

Ramona Fradon was born Ramona Dom on October 2 1926 in Chicago. Her father was Peter Dom, a commercial artist who created the Dom Casual font and created logos for Camel, Elizabeth Arden, and Lord & Taylor. While she did not read comic books when she was growing up, she developed a love for newspaper comic strips as a child. Her father took notice of her talent when she was still young, and encouraged her to go to art school. She graduated from the Parsons School of Design. It was after graduating that she married  New Yorker cartoonist Dana Fradon. He encouraged her to become a cartoonist.

Ramona Fradon's earliest work for DC Comics was on the comic book adaptation of Gang Busters in 1949. It was in 1951 that she began working frequently for DC, providing art for the Shining Knight feature in Adventure Comics, the Roy Raymond feature in Detective Comics, the comic book adaptation of the radio show Mr. District Attorney, and Western Comics. She went onto become the regular artist on the Aquaman feature in Adventure Comics and later World's Finest Comics. In 1961 she was the artist on Showcase no. 30 (February 1961), which more or less rebooted the character of Aquaman. In the Fifties she also provided art for House of Mystery and Star-Spangled War Stories.

In the Sixties Mrs. Fradon provided art for The Brave and the Bold no. 55 (September 1964), which featured a team up between the Metal Men and The Atom. Metamorpho was introduced in The Brave and the Bold no. 47 (January 1965) and appeared in the following issue, both with art by Ramona Fradon. She would go onto provide the art for the first four issues of Metamorpho's regular title. She provided the art for The Brave and the Bold no. 59 (April–May 1965), which featured a team-up between Batman and Green Lantern. In 1965 Ramona Fradon left the comic book industry to raise her daughter.

In 1972 Ramona Fradon returned to DC Comics. She once more drew Metamorpho for 1st Issue Special no. 3 (June 1975). During the decade she also did art for Freedom Fighters, House of Mystery, House of Secrets, Plastic Man, Plop!, Secrets of Haunted House, Secrets of Sinister House, Star Spangled War Stories, and Super Friends. She also did some work for Marvel Comics, providing art for Fantastic Four and Crazy Magazine. In 1980, after Don Messick retired, Ramona Fradon became the new artist on the newspaper comic strip Brenda Starr. She worked on Brenda Starr until 1995.

Ramona Fradon's later work on comic books included Just Imagine... Stan Lee With Scott McDaniel Creating Aquaman and Silver Age Secret Files no. 1 (July 2000) for DC, Simpsons Super Spectacular no. 5 (2007), Sonic the Hedgehog no. 68 (March 1999) Archie Comics, SpongeBob Comics no. 3 (June 2011), and SpongeBob Comics no. 1 (2013) for Bongo Comics, Girl Comics no. 2 (July 2010) for Marvel Comics, and Sea Ghost no. 1 (March 2011) for Nemo Publishing. For most of her later career she primarily took orders for commissions, preferring that to regular work on comic books. Ramona Fradon retired in January of this year.

Rarmona Fradon was not only one of the best comic book artists of the Silver and Bronze Ages, The lines of her artwork were always crisp and clean. She had a real gift when it came to the expressions of the characters she drew. What is more, she was excellent when it came to the composition of her artwork. Every single panel she drew could very nearly be a still photograph or a frame from a motion picture. It was that talent that made Ramona Fradon one of the best artists, if not the best, to ever draw Aquaman and the quintessential artist for Metamorpho. She was also nothing if not versatile. While best known for her work on superhero comic books, Ramona Fradon also drew adventure, crime, horror, and war comic books. Her artwork for Brenda Starr still continues to stand out. Few comic book artists ever had the talent that Rebecca Fradon had.