Friday, July 31, 2009
We sincerely hope that you plan to party this weekend as much as we do. Because of our ever-revolving social whirl, we shall be quite busy this weekend, so we shan't see you again until Monday, when we reveal our latest Mystery Guest, and indulge in all sorts of revelry. Be safe, and have fun, darlings!
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Grace Kelly was the #1 answer for our latest Mystery Guest; however, the actual lady in question is about as far from that Main Line debutante as you can get: the positively Amazonian Irish McCalla, who became a TV superstar as Sheena, Queen of the Jungle in the 1950's. Then as now, transcending a fixed image seen by millions of viewers on a weekly basis was difficult; films like She Demons (1958) didn't help Ms. McCalla's chances for longevity, either. Happily, she did age gracefully and well, showing off a remarkably lovely face and toned physique well into her sixth and seventh decades at personal appearances and conventions; and McCalla also became a rather prolific artist, specializing in Western scenes. Irish McCalla passed away at age 73 following a stroke and her fourth brain tumor; but she's fondly remembered for her glamour modeling and her revolutionary, pre-Xena turn as the boldly empowered Sheena.
Her Serene Highness, indeed.
The prize was going to be a private modeling session with ayem8y wearing the leopard-skin Sheena costume and handling his spear.
Too bad, bitches.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Hootenanny Hoot (1963, MGM)
dir.: Gene Nelson
Nick Novarro as Jed Morse
Pam Austin as Billie-Joe Henley
Nick Novarro has exactly two recorded entries on imdb.com: Hootenanny Hoot (1963), a country-themed musical for MGM; and Scream of the Butterfly (1965), a low-budget shocker with a surprising twist (Nick's character is a gay-for-pay gigolo). That's it. No biographical info. No other credits. And it made us curious: how do you go from being featured in an MGM musical (albeit a Katzman unit quickie) to a seedy, barely-distributed exploitation flick in just over a year? Even more puzzling: with a face and frame which still inspires lustful admiration from contemporary viewers who have belatedly discovered Scream of the Butterfly as a cult film, how do you completely disappear into anonymity?
With a little investigative research (okay, Googling) we discovered something: the lithsome Nick, although credited as "Novarro" in both films, was listed as "Navarro" in some of the advertising copy.
Nick Navarro has a still-brief, yet somewhat more extensive list of credits as a dancer and choreographer, which would fit in with his role as a high-kickin' hootenanny hooter. He also was sometimes billed under what we assume is his given name, Nick Covacevich - which is how he appeared in West Side Story (1961) as "Toro."
Dancer Kathy Kroll also lent some tantalizing clues, crediting Nick Navarro on her website among the choreographers she worked with over the years, including the Bare Touch of Vegas revue from 1978-80.
And then the trail goes cold again. The last credit we can find is as choreographer for LaToya Jackson's Playboy Celebrity Centerfold home video, which we can only assume is no better than Scream of the Butterfly. Nick Novarro, Navarro, or Covacevich, if you're reading this, inquiring minds want to know where and how you are.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Our latest Mystery Guest was indeed the enigmatic Hildegarde Knef (alternately known as Hildegarde Neff). Although she labored in the shadow of her obvious predecessor and contemporary, Marlene Dietrich, Knef became something of an institution in her own right in her native Germany. Success in America proved more elusive, although she made a splash on Broadway in Silk Stockings, Cole Porter's musical adaptation of the Garbo film comedy Ninotchka. Knef's Hollywood swan song was in Billy Wilder's campy return to Sunset Boulevard territory, Fedora (1978), which found her playing a reclusive screen queen opposite an extremely aged William Holden, many years and bottles beyond Joe Gillis. If anything, Knef may be better known and better loved for her late-career transition to smoky chanteuse in the 1960's; her throaty, expressive voice was equally at home with American jazz standards as it was with Knef's self-penned material; Ella Fitzgerald called her the "best singer without a voice," which is as apt a description as any.
The first visitor to correctly guess Ms. Knef was the equally enigmatic Labuanbajo, who gets to make a complete tour (encompassing the east, west, north and south) of all of you. Be prepared.