Saturday, April 26, 2014

Join bad movie diva Lana Turner in THE BIG CUBE. You'll see sounds... You'll hear colors... You'll die laughing!

"You take LSD and you see sounds, you hear colors," says bathtub chemist George Chakiris in the 1969 howler The Big Cube. When he adds, "Strange things begin to happen," he's not just whistling "Dixie"--this movie ranks in our Top Five All-Time Bad Movies We Adore for, among other things, its prolonged, preposterously funny sequences of Lana Turner playing a trippy, LSD-besotted society matron.

Poor little rich girl Karin Mossberg learns that her moneybags father Dan O'Herlihy is wedding Turner, who is--of all things--America's greatest stage actress. "I can't bear that woman!" cries the distraught girl. Mossberg's best friend, slutty siren Pamela Rodgers, consoles her --"Sweetness, baby, float with the tide. That's my bag. This is a pop art world!"-- and cheers her up by taking her to meet some LSD-popping hipster pals at a nightclub called Le Trip. As you might expect, the walls of this pop spot are covered in telling graffiti: Grass is Good; Acid is Love; Cube the Fuzz? Well, we don't remember seeing that phrase on the bumper stickers of groovy VW vans back in the good old days, but it does have a certain ring to it. "Cube" is, of course, hippie lingo for sugar cubes soaked in LSD, as is made abundantly clear when Rodgers's boyfriend, Carlos East, slips one of them into the beer of a guy he doesn't like, snarling, "I'm gonna cube that mother, but good!" "Fuzz" is hippie lingo for, of course, cops, as is made abundantly clear when the unsuspecting victim's acid trip, a riotously hammy epileptic fit on the dance floor, is interrupted by the fuzz who rush into the nightclub and arrest him.
the Fuzz. Wait a minute--

Meanwhile, Mossberg falls for dropout/drug-pusher/gigolo Chakiris, who, once he sees her car and mansion, brings up the topic of marriage. As soon as dad O'Herlihy and stepmom Turner are out of town, the couple hosts an LSD orgy at the mansion, during which Rodgers does a wicked striptease routine (a favorite pastime of acidheads in the '60s). Unhappily, O'Herlihy and Turner arrive home to see all this naked flesh, and promptly throw the celebrants out. O'Herlihy angrily denounces Chakiris as a fortune hunter, but naturally Mossberg won't listen.

The real trouble starts when O'Herlihy is drowned at sea and the widow Turner is named executrix of his estate. Turner follows her late husband's suggestion by making Mossberg's inheritance contingent on her not marrying slimeball Chakiris. "That's how her kind repays loyalty -- with a shaft!" fumes Chakiris. "She has everything your father had, including the right to run your life. She poisoned his mind and saw to it that you got nothing." As Chakiris points out to Mossberg, "There are ways of dealing with cats like her," and since Chakiris's solution to most problems is LSD, we're hardly surprised that his way of dealing with Turner is to add a huge dose of acid to her nightly tranquilizers, then sit back and watch her flip her lid. It proves to be a highly successful plan. Turner is soon staggering around her luxe boudoir, seeing sounds and hearing colors. Later, Turner goes for a spin in her convertible and hallucinates--hilariously--an ocean in the sky, then sees (this is what does her in) the face of Satan. It's all Too Much for Turner. She suffers a mental breakdown and is institutionalized with "partial amnesia" (the part of her memory that's missing is, no doubt, the part about why she ever signed on for this movie). "Maybe there's no perfect murder," comments Chakiris, "but I think we figured a perfect freak-out."

After a court declares Turner mentally incompetent, Mossberg is rich and free to marry Chakiris. Their wedding celebration is a full-tilt '60s happening, replete with couples going at it on the floor and bikers riding their Harleys into the swimming pool. But when Chakiris tries bedding best friend Rodgers instead of his bride on his wedding night, Mossberg realizes belatedly that he's no good. She quickly divorces the scumbag. Now penniless, Chakiris starts gobbling so many "sugar" cubes he goes completely bonkers himself.

Worried that she's done Turner wrong, Mossberg confesses all to Turner's secret new flame, Richard Egan (America's greatest playwright). "Suppose she relived the part of her life she's trying to forget," ponders Egan with a straight face. "What if I could write a play based on her experiences, then convince her to play herself?" Thus, Turner is let out of the loony bin to star in a loony play with the loony plot of this loony movie. On opening night, she suddenly realizes she's enacting her own real-life saga and breaks down sobbing onstage, repeating over and over, "I'm not mad! I'm not mad!" Though the audience's response to Turner's statement is to shout "Bravo!" yours will be to shout "Yes, you are!"

Thursday, April 17, 2014

DELICIOUS congratulations to Dame Angela Lansbuy

Angela Lansbury was officially made a dame of the British Empire on April 15th in a ceremony at Windsor Castle. Lansbury joins actresses Judi Dench and Maggie Smith as a recipient of the honor.

Lansbury received an Oscar nomination for her first film, Gaslight, in 1944, and has been winning acting awards and audience favor ever since. Born in London to a family that included both politicians and performers, Lansbury came to the U.S. during World War II. She made notable early film appearances as the snooty sister in National Velvet (1944); the pathetic singer in The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945), which garnered her another Academy nomination; and the madam-with-a-heart-of-gold saloon singer in The Harvey Girls (1946). She turned evil as the manipulative publisher in State of the Union (1948), but was just as convincing as the good queen in The Three Musketeers (1948) and the petulant daughter in The Court Jester (1956). She received another Oscar nomination for her chilling performance as Laurence Harvey's scheming mother in The Manchurian Candidate (1962) and appeared as the addled witch in Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971), among other later films.

On Broadway, she won Tony awards for the musicals Mame (1966), Dear World (1969), the revival of Gypsy (1975), Sweeney Todd (1979) and, at age 82, for the play Blithe Spirit (2009). (Lansbury currently shares the record for the most performance Tony Awards with Julie Harris and Audra McDonald.)

Despite a season in the '50s on the game show Pantomime Quiz, she came to series television late, starring in 1984-1996 as Jessica Fletcher in Murder, She Wrote; she took over as producer of the show in the '90s.

Lansbury returned to the Disney studios to record the voice of Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast (1991) and to sing the title song and later reprised the role in the direct-to-video sequel, The Enchanted Christmas (1997).

The actress has also engaged in philanthropic work, such as her support for arts-related philanthropies including Actors Fund of America, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, and Career Transitions for Dancers.

Having already been awarded a CBE (Commander of the British Empire), Lansbury has now received her damehood (DBE) "for services to drama and to charitable work and philanthropy."



Monday, April 14, 2014


Pepsi Travel Arrangements (1964)
Note: These explicit instructions fell into the hands of Life magazine (2/21/64),
which published them to great public merriment.
...The following hotel accommodations are to be prepared. The top suite (including three bedrooms) in the hotels indicated. This should be the best suite available. A single room for Mr. Kelly is to be reserved nearby on the same floor. NOTE: The three-bedroom suite is for Miss Crawford and Miss Brinke. The single is not to be part of the suite, it is not one of the three-bedrooms in the suite but it is to be ready.
NOTE: A special press conference room or suite should be promoted from the hotel. Press conferences described below are not to be held in the Crawford suite. Press suite to be the size of a normal hotel luncheon room.

NOTE: The two pilots of the Pepsi-Cola plane will have to have a single room each in the hotel.

The following special arrangements are required at each hotel. Use this check list very carefully: there may be no deviations.
  1. A uniformed security officer is to be assigned to the door of the hotel suite 24 hours a day. You are not to use a city policeman and you are not to use the hotel detective. This security officer should be hired from Pinkerton or some similar organization...
  2. The following items are to be in the suite prior to Joan Crawford's arrival:

    i) Cracked ice in buckets -- several buckets
    ii) Lunch and dinner menus
    iii) Pen and pencils and pads of paper
    iv) Professional-size hair dryer
    v) Steam iron and board
    vi) One carton of King Sano cigarettes
    vii) One bowl of peppermint Life Savers
    viii) Red and yellow roses
    ix) Case of Pepsi-Cola, ginger ale, soda
  3. There is to be a maid on hand in the suite when Miss Crawford arrives at the hotel. She is to stand by until Miss Crawford dismisses her.
  4. The following liquor is to be in the suite when Miss Crawford arrives:

    i) Two-fifths of 100-proof Smirnoff vodka. Note: this is not 80 proof and it is only
    ii) One fifth Old Forester bourbon
    iii) One fifth Chivas Regal Scotch
    iv) One fifth Beefeater gin
    v) Two bottles Moet & Chandon champagne (Type: Dom Perignon).
The detailed instructions...are to tell you how far you may go. They are very explicit for the precise purpose that we do not want money over and above that required for the details included here to be spent.
There is a specific way of handling Miss Crawford's schedule in each market. The following detailed outline will provide you with all of the information you require to execute this schedule to the complete satisfaction of everyone. Any proposed deviation from this routine must be cleared first. Assume nothing, take nothing for granted.
  1. Miss Crawford will not go to any radio, television studios or newspaper offices. Don't suggests it, don't request it.
  2. Plan a print media (e.g., newspapers and magazines) press conference for 10 a.m. Miss Crawford will sit on a couch in front of a coffee table with chairs arranged in a half-moon around the couch and table.
  3. Arrange radio interviews for 10:30 or 11:00, depending on the number of reporters at the press conference. These radio interviews are to be set in the same suite (not Miss Crawford's). Arrange for a number of card tables with two chairs each for various places in the suite, and Miss Crawford will go from one to the other for exclusive radio interviews.
  4. Television should be arrange for the same suite. They can be set up for 11:00 a.m. depending on the number of radio shows. Television lights and cameras can be set up back at the couch while Miss Crawford is doing her radio interviews from card table to card table.
  5. EXCLUSIVES: When it is absolutely necessary, and when the person involved is of truly top stature, Miss Crawford will give an exclusive...
    It is extremely important that you arrange events at the hotel exactly as outlined above...
Miss Crawford will be met in an air-conditioned, chauffeur-driven, newly cleaned Cadillac limousine. Instruct your chauffeurs that they are not to smoke and that may not at any time drive in excess of 40 miles an hour with Miss Crawford in the car.

Miss Crawford will be carrying a minimum of 15 pieces of luggage. Along with the limousine you will meet Miss Crawford's plane with a closed van for the luggage. Have with you a luggage handler who can accompany the van back to the hotel. It will be his task to take an inventory of the luggage as it comes off the plane and into the van, and as it is being brought into Miss Crawford's suite. There will be a few small items which will go with Miss Crawford in the limousine. Mr. Kelly will supervise this particular part of the operation. Luggage trucks to follow limousine and remain within sight of the limousine.

Every precaution should be taken to assure that none of the luggage is misplaced. Fifteen pieces is the estimated minimum. There may be considerably more and it will be possible for confusion to result. Anticipate this problem and be absolutely certain that a careful inventory of all luggage is maintained at all times during the arrival and departure.

Miss Crawford is a star in every sense of the word; and everyone knows she is a star. Miss Crawford will not appreciate your throwing away money on empty gestures. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO MAKE EMPTY GESTURES TO PROVE TO MISS CRAWFORD OR ANYONE ELSE THAT SHE IS A STAR OF THE FIRST MAGNITUDE.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

DELICIOUS remembers Legendary Hollywood Screen Star Mickey Rooney

Los Angeles (CNN) -- Mickey Rooney, whose roller-coaster, nine-decade career in show business included vaudeville, silent films, movies, television and Broadway, died Sunday. He was 93.

Rooney died in California, the Los Angeles County Coroner's office said.
Rooney's career spanned almost the entire history of motion pictures. He made his first film, the silent "Not to Be Trusted," in 1926 and followed it up with several shorts based on the "Mickey McGuire" comic strip. He was still making movies nine decades later, including "Night at the Museum" (2006) and "The Muppets" (2011).
At the time of his death, he had three more films in the works, according to the Internet Movie Database, including a version of "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" with Margaret O'Brien.
Rooney had just completed his last movie role in the next installment of "Night at the Museum" with Ben Stiller.
"He led a full life but did not have enough time to finish all he had planned to do. He had the time of his life and the utmost respect for the cast and crew," his son Mark Rooney said in a statement to CNN Monday.
He separated from his wife, Jan Chamberlin, two years ago and moved in with his son and his wife, Charlene, according to the statement. "With them he finally found happiness, health and a feeling of safety and was able to enjoy life again."
"Mickey was finally enjoying life as a bachelor, and the morning of his death, they spoke of all their future plans," the statement said. "He loved the business he was in and had a great respect for his fellow actors."
For a period in the 1930s and 1940s, boosted by the popularity of the "Andy Hardy" series of films, Rooney was the No. 1 star at the box office and perhaps the brightest star at MGM -- a whole studio of "more stars than there are in heaven," as the publicity said. Yet he became as famous for many marriages -- eight, all told -- and his regular tumbles off the Hollywood pedestal as he was for his incredible energy and longevity.
Still, he never stopped getting up.
"I keep going because if you stop, you stop," he told the UK's Guardian newspaper in 2009. "Why retire? Inspire."
Top box-office draw
The diminutive 5-foot, 2-inch Rooney began his acting career shortly after his first birthday, appearing on vaudeville stages with his parents. He was born Joseph Yule Jr. on September 23, 1920, in Brooklyn, New York.
His parents split when he was young, but spurred by his mother, he soon found himself in Hollywood. Before he was 10, he was a star, appearing in dozens of shorts based on the popular "Mickey McGuire" strip.
He worked steadily through the 1930s, with notable turns in a 1935 version of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and 1937's "Captains Courageous," the latter opposite Spencer Tracy. (Rooney also appeared in Tracy's 1938 vehicle "Boys Town.")
But he shot into Hollywood's stratosphere in his next film series as Andy Hardy in more than a dozen films produced between 1937 and 1946.
Andy Hardy was a good-hearted ball of teenage mischief, always trying to make a few dollars or willing to "put on a show," no matter what it took: rounding up friends, using a barn, getting some spare parts from his wholesome middle-American neighborhood. Inevitably, he would be called to account with his father, Judge Hardy, played at first by Lionel Barrymore and later by Lewis Stone. Judge Hardy would reiterate the basics of fairness and morality, and Andy -- and the movie audience -- would have once again learned a valuable lesson.
The films were hugely popular, even more so when Rooney's character became the centerpiece starting with 1938's "Love Finds Andy Hardy." It didn't hurt that Rooney was paired with Judy Garland for three of the films.
Garland and Rooney also co-starred in several Busby Berkeley musicals, including 1940's "Strike up the Band" and "Babes on Broadway" a year later.
Many marriages, money troubles
But Rooney's private life wasn't always as wonderful as his on-screen persona would indicate. He was married eight times, three times in the 1940s alone. His first marriage, to Ava Gardner, began in 1942 and ended in 1943. In 1944, he married an Alabama beauty queen, Betty Jane Phillips; that one ended in 1948. His third marriage, to Martha Vickers, lasted less than three years.
Throughout, Rooney was known as a spendthrift and a challenging partner. He loved horseracing and routinely spent his earnings at the track, even when there weren't many earnings to speak of, as there was during a fallow period in the 1950s. As an adult of a certain size, Rooney found it much harder to find roles into which he could channel his prodigious talents.
But he wouldn't stay unemployed for long. There was a TV series, "The Mickey Rooney Show," for a season in 1954-55. More important, there was a supporting actor Oscar nomination for 1956's "The Bold and the Brave."
Rooney, however, wasn't very discriminating about his roles. Other films during the late '50s and early '60s included forgettable flicks such as "Operation Mad Ball" (1957), "The Private Lives of Adam and Eve" (1960) and "Platinum High School" (1960). He appeared in the classic "Breakfast at Tiffany's" (1961) but in the unfortunate, broadly acted role of Holly Golightly's Japanese neighbor, Mr. Yunioshi.
He was one of the cast of a thousand comedians in "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" (1963).
Rooney also made TV guest appearances on such shows as "The Investigators," "Naked City" and "The Twilight Zone." On the latter, he played a jockey.
'He is a showman'
After another 15 years of minor movie parts and TV roles, Rooney's up-and-down career once again hit the heights. He earned an Oscar nomination for his performance as a horse trainer in 1979's "The Black Stallion" and dazzled Broadway in the song-and-dance revue "Sugar Babies" -- a role, given his start, he was born to play. The show earned him a Tony nomination and ran for almost three years.
Over the years, Rooney earned four Oscar nominations. In addition, he received a special Oscar in 1939 and an honorary one in 1983.
Rooney also triumphed on television in the 1981 TV movie "Bill," about a mentally disabled man trying to live on his own. That performance garnered him an Emmy.
He also found a lasting marriage when he wed Jan Chamberlin in 1978. Chamberlin survives the actor.
However, Rooney once again faced financial struggles as he entered his later decades. They came to national attention when he asked a Los Angeles court to appoint a conservator to protect him from his stepson and stepdaughter. Rooney blamed his financial troubles on a stepson whom he successfully sued.
He also took his case to Congress, delivering emotional testimony to a House committee in March 2011 in which he said family members took control of his life, making him "scared, disappointed, yes, and angry."
Rooney made his audience laugh and cry when he implored senators to stop what experts call chronic emotional, physical, sexual and financial abuse of elderly Americans by family members and other caregivers.
Rooney called on Congress to make elder abuse a specific crime. "I'm asking you to stop this elderly abuse. I mean to stop it. Now. Not tomorrow, not next month but now," he shouted from the witness table.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Reva Goetz appointed attorney Michael Augustine as Rooney's permanent conservator that month. Augustine immediately began seeking entertainment gigs for the aging performer, telling CNN that he had to revive his show business career quickly or would die "in very short order."
Augustine summed up Rooney's drive in a few sentences.
"Mr. Rooney's parents put him on the vaudeville stage when he was 17 months old," he said in 2011. "If Mr. Rooney were to not work, I think we would be attending Mr. Rooney's funeral in very short order.
"It's part of his fiber," Augustine continued. "He loves it. He is a showman."
His last months included reunions with old friends, the family statement said.
"Even someone of Mickey's iconic statue was quite star struck and was extremely thrilled to attend Vanity Fair's Oscar party recently," the family said. "Just last week Mickey was ecstatic when they surprised him by reuniting him with one of his great loves, the race track. There they spent time with Mel Brooks and Dick Van Patten. He had exceptional care and a new lease on life."

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