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Sunday, January 11, 2015

In Memoriam - 2014

My own list of notable people (and others) we lost in 2014 whose time on this planet left some impression, big or small, on me. Of course, like all the other lists, it doesn't include everybody, so feel free to remark on anyone you'll miss in the comments.

Saul Zaentz
February 28, 1921 - January 3, 2014
film producer
AmadeusOne Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Larry D. Mann
December 18, 1922 - January 6, 2014
actor
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)

Roger Lloyd-Pack
February 8, 1944 - January 15, 2014
actor
Doctor Who, The Vicar of Dibley, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Russell Johnson
November 10, 1924 - January 16, 2014
actor
Gilligan's Island, This Island Earth

Dave Madden 
December 17, 1931 - January 16, 2014
actor
The Partridge Family, Alice (television series), Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, Charlotte's Web (1973)


Ruth Robinson Duccini
July 23, 1918 - January 16, 2014
actor
The Wizard of Oz



Hal Sutherland
July 1, 1929 - January 16, 2014
animator
The Archie Show, Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids
 
Luis Ávalos
September 2, 1946 - January 22, 2014
actor
The Electric Company, Hot Stuff, Stir Crazy


Pete Seeger
May 3, 1919 - January 27, 2014
musician
"If I Had a Hammer", "Turn! Turn! Turn!"


Arthur Rankin Jr.
July 19, 1924 - January 30, 2014
Producer / animator
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964), Frosty the Snowman, The Year Without a Santa Claus, Mad Monster Party!

Maximilian Schell
December 8, 1930 - February 1, 2014
actor
The Black Hole



Philip Seymour Hoffman
July 23, 1967 - February 2, 2014
actor / director / producer
The Big Lebowski, The Boat That Rocked (aka Pirate Radio), The Hunger Games movies



Richard Bull
June 26, 1924 - February 2, 2014
actor
Little House On the Prairie 


Christopher Barry
September 20, 1925 - February 7, 2014
director
Doctor Who



Shirley Temple
April 23, 1928 - February 10, 2014
actor
Bright Eyes, The Blue Bird



Sid Caesar
September 8, 1922 - February 12, 2014
actor / comedian
Your Show of Shows, Caesar's Hour, Silent Movie, History of the World, Part I



John Henson
April 25, 1965 - February 14, 2014 
puppeteer
Muppets Tonight, Muppet Treasure Island 

Mary Grace Canfield
September 3, 1924 - February 15, 2014
actor
Green Acres


Christopher Malcolm
August 19, 1946 - February 15, 2014 
actor
Absolutely Fabulous, The Empire Strikes Back, Labyrinth  

Bob Casale
July 14, 1952 - February 17, 2014
musician
Devo 

Harold Ramis
November 21, 1944 - February 24, 2014
actor / director / screenwriter
Ghostbusters, Stripes, Caddyshack, National Lampoon's Animal House, Groundhog Day, National Lampoon's Vacation, SCTV, Ghostbusters II, Stuart Saves His Family


David Brenner
February 4, 1936 - March 15, 2014
comedian



Glenn Edward McDuffie
May 31, 1927 - March 9, 2014
military sailor















James Rebhorn
September 1, 1948 - March 21, 2014
actor
My Cousin Vinny



Lorenzo Semple Jr.
March 27, 1923 - March 28, 2014
screenwriter
Batman (1966 television series)



Kate O'Mara
August 10, 1939 - March 30, 2014
actor
Doctor Who, Absolutely Fabulous
  
Mickey Rooney
September 23, 1920 - April 6, 2014
actor
It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, The Black Stallion, the Mickey Maguire shorts



Bob Hoskins
October 26, 1942 - April 29, 2014
actor
Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Pink Floyd The Wall, Hook



Al Feldstein
October 25, 1925 - April 29, 2014
writer / artist
Tales From the Crypt (comic), The Vault of Horror, Mad Magazine



Efrem Zimbalist Jr.
November 30, 1918 - May 2, 2014
actor
Batman: The Animated Series



Pauline Wagner
August 19, 1910 - May 2, 2014
actor
King Kong (1933)
  
Jackie Lynn Taylor
June 29, 1925 - May 5, 2014
actor
The Our Gang  / Little Rascals shorts



H. R. Giger
February 5, 1940 - May 12, 2014
artist
Alien
 

Gordon Wills
May 28, 1931 - May 18, 2014
cinematographer
The Godfather, Annie Hall, Manhattan



Ann B. Davis
May 5, 1926 - June 1, 2014
actor
The Brady Bunch



Rik Mayall
March 7, 1958 - June 9, 2014
actor
The Young Ones (television series), Blackadder II, Blackadder Goes Forth, An American Werewolf in London



Ruby Dee
October 27, 1922 - June 11, 2014
actor
The Stand



Casey Kasem
April 27, 1932 - June 15, 2014
disc jockey / voice-over artist
Scooby- Doo, Where Are You?, Super Friends, American Top 40


Patsy Byrne
July 13, 1933 - June 17, 2014
actor
Blackadder II
  
Mary Rodgers
January 11, 1931 - June 26, 2014
author / composer
Freaky Friday



Meshach Taylor
April 11, 1947 - June 28, 2014
actor
Mannequin



 Bob Hastings
April 18, 1925 - June 30, 2014
actor
Batman: The Animated Series



Dickie Jones
February 25, 1927 - July 7, 2014
actor
Pinocchio (1940)



Tommy Ramone
January 29, 1952 - July 11, 2014
musician
The Ramones



Elaine Stritch
February 2, 1925 - July 17, 2014
actor / singer
Two's Company, 30 Rock, Paranorman

James Garner
April 7, 1928 - July 19, 2014
actor
Victor / Victoria, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, God, The Devil, and Bob



John Fasano
August 24, 1961 - July 19, 2014
director / producer / screenwriter
Zombie Nightmare



Dick Smith
June 26, 1922 - July 30, 2014
make-up artist
Amadeus, Starman, Altered States, The Excorcist, The Godfather



James Shigeta
June 17, 1929 - July 28, 2014
actor
 Die Hard, Mulan



Marilyn Burns
May 7, 1949 - August 5, 2014
actor
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)



Robin Williams
July 21, 1951 - August 11, 2014
actor / comedian
The Fisher King, Dead Poets Society, Aladdin, Mork & Mindy, One Hour Photo, The World According to Garp, Good Mornin, Vietnam, Good Will Hunting, Moscow On the Hudson, Hook



Liz Holzman 
February 9, 1953 - August 11, 2014
animator / producer
Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain, DuckTales



Lauren Bacall
September 16, 1924 - August 12, 2014
actor
To Have and Have Not, Misery, Murder On the Orient Express, The Shootist



Richard Attenborough
August 29, 1923 - August 24, 2014
director / actor
Chaplin, Jurassic Park, Shadowlands



Stan Goldberg
May 5, 1932 - August 31, 2014
artist
Archie Comics



Joan Rivers
June 9, 1933 - September 4, 2014
actor / comedian
Spaceballs



Richard Kiel
September 13, 1939 - September 10, 2014
actor
The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker, Eegah, Force 10 From Navarone, So Fine



Bill Fiore
January 1, 1940 - October 3, 2014
actor
Alice, Laverne & Shirley, Three's Company



Geoffrey Holder
August 1, 1930 - October 5, 2014
actor
Live and Let Die, Annie (1982), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory



Jan Hooks
April 23, 1957 - October 9, 2014
actor
Saturday Night Live, Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, Batman Returns, The Simpsons, 30 Rock



Elizabeth Peña
September 23, 1959 - October 14, 2014
actor
The Incredibles. La Bamba



Gerry Parkes 
October 16, 1924 - October 19, 2014
actor
Fraggle Rock



Marcia Strassman
April 28, 1948 -  October 24, 2014
actor
Welcome Back, Kotter, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids



Tom Magliozzi
June 28, 1937 - November 3, 2014
radio personality
Car Talk



R. A. Montgomery 
March 9, 1936 - November 9, 2014
author
Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books
  
Glen A. Larson 
January 3, 1937 - November 14, 2014
producer
Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979 television series), Battlestar Galactica



Mike Nichols 
November 6, 1931 - November 19, 2014
director
The Graduate, Catch-22, Monty Python's Spamalot


Ken Weatherwax 
September 25, 1955 - December 7, 2014
actor
The Addams Family (television series)



Norman Bridwell
February 15, 1928 - December 12, 2014
author
Clifford, the Big Red Dog books



Joe Cocker 
May 20, 1944 - December 22, 2014
musician
"Feelin' Alright", "With a Little Help From My Friends"



Christine Cavanaugh 
August 16, 1963 - December 22, 2014
voice-over artist
Rugrats, Babe, Dexter's Laboratory, The Critic 

David Ryall
January 5, 1935 - December 25, 2014
actor
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1


Edward Herrmann 
July 21, 1943 - December 31, 2014
actor
The North Avenue IrregularsThe Lost Boys, Annie (1982), Intolerable Cruelty

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Saturday, October 25, 2014

A Study in Classic Horror- SON OF DRACULA (1943)

I understand that Lon Chaney Jr.’s acting abilities have been the subject of debate. Overall, I’m on his side. In his career at Universal he had quite a variety of parts. He’s quite good in Man Made Monster and Calling Dr. Death; he brings the right amount of sympathy to his signature role in The Wolf Man; but, in some films, such as The Black Castle, his roles are little more than glorified cameos.Then there’s Son of Dracula, in which I’m sorry to conclude that he was woefully miscast, but that may have not been his fault. By the time Son of Dracula was made, Chaney had already pretty much stepped into the shoes of all of Universal’s other monster stars, so to the producers, Dracula probably seemed a safe bet. Chaney does fine as leading-men, lovable simpletons, and lumbering behemoths, but Dracula is more a character actor’s role, and Chaney’s talents just didn’t seem up to the task.

Then, there’s the other debate: is he Dracula or not? Well, he certainly identifies himself as Count Dracula, despite travelling under the name of Alucard, so I guess the real question is: Is he the Dracula or merely a descendent cashing in on the family name. (Which would be ironic considering some of Chaney’s critics accused him of doing the same concerning his own father.) The latter would at least explain what was, for me, the movie’s greatest fault: the plot hinges on Dracula being a dupe in his own movie! A Dracula movie should be about his evil plot to obtain power or a new bride, not about a bored rich girl (Louise Allbritton) seducing him into making her immortal, so she can dump him and be with her own true love (Robert Paige) for eternity. Dracula is supposed to be the controller, not the controlled.

Like Dracula’s Daughter, (which I still think, with its faults, is a stronger film) there are weak attempts to import elements from the original film. Paige’s Frank Stanley is another Jonathan Harker, while J. Edward Bromberg’s Professor Lazlo is clearly meant to be our new Van Helsing.  The end result is rehash mixed with a misguided plot. 

Supporting features:

Porky Pig in The Sour Puss (1940)

The Our Gang short Mush and Milk (1933)

Next time:

Night Monster (1942) starring Bela Lugosi, Lionel Atwell, Leif Erickson, Irene Harvey, and Ralph Morgan


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

In Memoriam - 2013

My own list of notable people (and others) we lost in 2013 whose time on this planet left some impression, big or small, on me. Of course, like all the other lists, it doesn't include everybody, so feel free to remark on anyone you'll miss in the comments.

In Memoriam - 2013

First and foremost, a fond farewell to my sister:
 Susan Linzer,  
née Susan Lee Chadwick.
December 21, 1955 - March 20, 2013

Jim Boyd
Actor
November 11, 1933 - January 2, 2013

Ned Wertimer
Actor
October 27, 1923 - January 2, 2013

Tony Lip
Actor
July 30, 1930 - January 4, 2013

David R. Ellis
Director / Actor / Stunt man
September 8, 1952 – January 7, 2013

Mariangela Melato
Actor
September 19, 1941 - January 11, 2013


Conrad Bain
 Actor
February 4, 1923 – January 14, 2013

Lloyd Phillips
Film Producer

December 14, 1949 – January 25, 2013

Patty Andrews
Singer
 February 16, 1918 – January 30, 2013

Robin Sachs
Actor
February 5, 1951 – February 1, 2013

Reg Presley
Singer

June 12, 1941 – February 4, 2013

Stuart Freeborn
Make-up Artist
September 5, 1914 – February 5, 2013

Richard Briers
Actor
 January 14, 1934 – February 17, 2013

Ray Cusick
Production Designer
May 1928 – February 21, 2013

Cleotha Staples
Singer
 1934 - February 21, 2013

Bonnie Franklin
Actor
 January 6, 1944 – March 1, 2013

Frank Thornton
Actor
January 15, 1921 - March 16, 2013

Don Payne
Television / Screen Writer
May 5, 1964 - March 26, 2013

Richard Griffiths
Actor
July 31, 1947 – March 28, 2013

Phil Ramone
Music Producer
January 5, 1934 – March 30, 2013

Jane Henson
Puppeteer
June 16, 1934 - April 2, 2013

Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
Novelist / Screenwriter
May 7, 1927 - April 3, 2013

George Gladir
Comic Book Writer
 September 27, 1925 - April 3, 2013

Roger Ebert
Film Critic
June 18, 1942 -April 4, 2013

Carmine Infantino
Comic Book Artist
May 24, 1925 – April 4, 2013

Annette Funicello
Actor / Singer
 
October 22, 1942 - April 8, 2013

Jonathan Winters
Actor / Comedian
November 11, 1925 – April 11, 2013

Richard LeParmentier
Actor
July 16, 1946 – April 15, 2013

Storm Thorgerson
Graphic Designer
February 28, 1944 - April 18, 2013

E. L. Konigsburg
Writer
February 10, 1930 – April 19, 2013

Allan Arbus
Actor
 February 15, 1918 - April 19, 2013

Chrissy Amphlett
Singer

 October 25, 1959 – April 21, 2013

Margaret Groening
Inspiration for Marge Simpson
 March 23, 1919 - April 22, 2013

Ray Harryhausen
Special Effects Animator

June 29, 1920 - May 7, 2013

Aubrey Woods
Actor
 April 9, 1928 – May 7, 2013
Bryan Forbes
Film Director / Screenwriter / Actor
July 22, 1926 – May 8, 2013

Dr. Joyce Brothers
Psychologist
October 20, 1927 – May 13, 2013

Arthur Malet
Actor
September 24, 1927 - May 18, 2013

Ray Manzarek
Musician
February 12, 1939 – May 20, 2013

Jean Stapleton
Actor
June 19, 1923 – May 31, 2013

Elaine Laron
Songwriter
1930 - June 6, 2013

Elroy Schwartz
Television Writer
June 23, 1923 - June 14, 2013

James Gandolfini
Actor
September 18, 1961 – June 19, 2013

Jerry Dexter
Actor / Voice-Over Artist
April 18, 1935 - June 21, 2013

Richard Matheson
Writer
February 20, 1926 – June 23, 2013

Charles Foley
Game Inventor
September 6, 1930 – July 1, 2013

P. J. Torokvei
Television Writer / Producer / Actor
March 19, 1951 - July 3, 2013

Dennis Burkley
Actor
September 10, 1945 - July 14, 2013

Vincenzo Cerami
Screenwriter
November 2, 1940 - July 17, 2013

Mel Smith
Actor / Film Director
December 3, 1952 – July 19, 2013

Dennis Farina
Actor

February 29, 1944 – July 22, 2013

Cosmo Allegretti
Actor / Puppeteer
April 6, 1927 - July 26, 2013

J. J. Cale
Singer / Songwriter
December 5, 1938 - July 26, 2013

Eileen Brennan
Actor
September 3, 1932 - July 28, 2013

Michael Ansara
Actor / Voice-Over Artist
April 15, 1922 - July 31, 2013

Margaret Pellegrini
Actor
September 23, 1923 - August 7, 2013

Karen Black
Actor
 July 1, 1939 - August 8, 2013

Jack Clement
Songwriter / Music Procucer
April 5, 1931 - August 8, 2013

Henry Polic II
Actor
February 20, 1945 - August 11, 2013

Lisa Robin Kelly
Actor
March 5, 1970 - August 14, 2013

Elmore Leonard
Novelist / Screenwriter
October 11, 1925 - August 20, 2013

Sid Bernstein
Music Promoter
August 12, 1918 - August 21, 2013

Gilbert Taylor
Cinematographer
April 12, 1914 - August 23, 2013

Julie Harris
Actor
December 2, 1925 - August 24, 2013

William Froug
Television Writer
May 26, 1922 - August 25, 2013

Barbara Hicks
Actor
August 12, 1924 - September 6, 2013

Bill Wallis
Actor
November 20, 1936 - September 6, 2013

Otto Sander
Actor
June 30, 1941 - September 12, 2013

Jay Robinson
Actor
April 14, 1930 - September 27, 2013

Faz Fazakas
Special Effects Designer / Puppeteer
1918 - September, 2013

Ed Lauter
Actor
October 30, 1938 - October 16, 2013

Lou Scheimer
Animation Producer
October 19, 1928 - October 17, 2013

Hal Needham
Stunt Man / Film Director
March 6, 1931 - October 25, 2013

Marcia Wallace
Actor
 November 1, 1942 - October 25, 2013

Lou Reed
Musician
March 2, 1942 - October 27, 2013

Roger McGee
Actor
December 9, 1926 - October 27, 2013

Graham Stark
Actor / Comedian
January 20, 1922 - October 29, 2013

Marc Breaux
Choreographer
 November 3, 1924 - November 19, 2013

Nelson Mandela
Activist / Politician / Philanthropist
July 18, 1918 - December 5, 2013

Eleanor Parker
Actor
June 26, 1922 - December 9, 2013

Peter O'Toole
Actor
August 2, 1932 - December 14, 2013

Joan Fontaine
Actor
October 22, 1917 - December 15, 2013

James Avery
 Actor
November 27, 1948 - December 31, 2013