Wednesday, December 31, 2008

It's Just About That Time...

Guess Who?

You'd be surprised. Or maybe not. Anyway, we'll tell you next year!

Oh, McKay!

The almost-impossibly gorgeous Gardner McKay only starred in one TV series (Adventures in Paradise, 1959-62) and two minor films (1964's The Pleasure Seekers and 1968's I Sailed to Tahiti with an All Girl Crew), but their titles more or less sum up his own persona and appeal: that of a lifelong pleasure seeker and adventurer. Although his film and TV credits are few, McKay became an overnight sensation; his cultured background, and a childhood spent partially in Paris, lent him a finesse and presence that other Hollywood hunks lacked.

McKay left the Hollywood fast lane almost as quickly as he had entered it; an accomplished and talented sportsman, artist, photographer, and writer, perhaps he felt too boxed in by his glamour boy image. Having lived everywhere from Brazil to Egypt to New York, McKay spent the last years of his life in Hawaii, where he passed away from cancer in 2001.

Visit the extensive Gardner McKay fan site

The Good Life

Just another day for Martha Hyer.

Novak by Avedon


Paul Poiret

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Miss Her

December 30, 1929 - October 5, 1976

Try to Remember

In the early 1970's, nostalgia suddenly became big business (not coincidentally, the concept of "camp" broke through the mainstream at the same time); big enough, in fact, that several decades past their heyday, even second-tier goddesses like Joan Blondell and Paulette Goddard were still considered famous enough to earn First Name Only status on the cover of Life.

What's so sad is that, even in today's retro-obsessed culture, where every lame duck television show is recycled into a multi-million-dollar flop motion picture, not a single modern-day youngster could name even one of these stars.

"Ruby who?!"

Day of the Hunter

Before he was gonzo, Hunter S. Thompson was yummy.

For Those Who Fancy Coloring Books

Designs by Christian Dior; illustrations by Rene Gruau, Braverman, and Pierre Mourgue


Say "Ahh"

Sean Flynn demonstrates an unusual oral fixation.

Let it Be Written...

Once a Gabor...

...always a Gabor!


Monday, December 29, 2008

Love is All Around

We were faced with a quandry: What the heck do you get Mary Tyler Moore for her birthday? She already has an endless Evan-Picone wardrobe, a kicky Mustang, andthe tsotchke to end all tsotchkes: a big ol' "M" on her wall. Then it hit us: we'd have Nell Carter serenade her. Because that's what we want for our birthday.


December 29, 1972

December 29, 1936

Both can turn the world on with their smile.

Eileen Heckart

One of the best things about television in the 1970's and 1980's, was that the public still revered theater and movie stars of previous generations enough to give them plenty of work on the small screen. For many a young gayling, our first exposure to the greats of the past was via their guest appearances, talk show chats, or commercials. Long before we knew of their MGM glory days, we loved Nanette Fabray as Bonnie Franklin's mom on One Day at a Time; Betty Garrett on Laverne & Shirley; and Nancy Walker as Rosie, that indefatigable champion of Bounty, the Quicker Picker Upper.

Eileen Heckart was another grande dame (and great dame) of the theatah who we first discovered through the boob tube. As we grew up, we realized that the tough old broad who played Mary's feisty Aunt Flo on The Mary Tyler Moore Show was the same lady who supported Marilyn in Bus Stop, and went off the deep end in The Bad Seed.


Digging a little deeper, we learned of Heckart's long list of Broadway credits: the original stage productions of The Bad Seed, Picnic, and Butterflies Are Free (the film version of which netted her a 1972 Best Supporting Actress Oscar), among many.


It could be argued that Eileen Heckart more or less played "an Eileen Heckart type" nearly every time she stepped in front of the camera (especially on television), but boy, she never played it wrong. We miss her tart-tongued wit, which was matched by her broad, good humored smile. There aren't any "Eileen Heckart types" around anymore, so more's the pity that she's gone.


It Must Be the Pasta

Eternal divas Sophia Loren and Claudia Cardinale then...

...and now: