LikeTelevision Blog

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Happy Birthday Elly Mae

Born in Pride, Louisiana September 26, 1933 - Donna Douglas was 29 years old when she started playing her role as Elly Mae Clampett, the critter loving, lovely rustic lassie on the Beverly Hillbillies. Oddly enough, the series also begins on her birthday - September 26, 1962. I always was a fan of Donna Douglas - she played the character Elly Mae so well. And then she disappeared from the Hollywood scene to become a Gospel singer and animal rights advocate. Cool. Should it be surprising that she really did love animals? I don't think so. Imagine all the crazy animals she enjoyed during the run of the show - there were chimps, dogs, turkeys, donkeys, and even a kangeroo. Plus about 50 other species now that I think about. Anyway - we'd like to wish Donna Douglas a joyous birthday. She turns 74 today. Happy Birthday Elly Mae! Here are a few recommended episodes. My three favorites are one, two, three. Want more? - Watch more episodes here.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Watch the Monitor

Is it just me, or has the TV news gotten ridiculous once again. Such a hyperactive sense of uber drama, and at every turn there's a snub or a hint to incite anger. What to do you say.. well, turn off the TV and Watch The Monitor. Recently a movie starring O.J. Simpson, Richard Burton, Lee Marvin and Linda Evans has gotten popular. The Klansman, created in 1974 is not what I'd call great cinema, but it is quite interesting from a historical perspective. The film also has some bizarre ironies with today's news cycle, most are disturbing but a bunch of these synchronous snippets are just funny. By the way - Linda Evans filmed the famous Evel Knievel wipe-out at Caesar's palace. You see, John Derek got the nod to film the jump, and at the time Linda Evans was Derek's girlfriend (or wife.. not sure)... and she did the camera work on this job for John Derek. You can watch that jump if like, it's in part 4 of the Evel Knievel movie.

I recently felt compelled to watch a few more Renoir movies - after noting the similarities between Bergman's Smiles of a Summer Night and Renoir's Rules of the Game. Jean Renoir was one of the greats in early film, yet unfortunately, most Americans are clueless to his genius. He was the son of Auguste Renoir, the impressionist painter whose works sell at auction for millions and millions of dollars. Well, Jean Renoir his son was also brilliant. I bet that was interesting, being the son of a reknowned painter. But Jean chose a new medium to excel in - film. Another Jean Renoir gem is titled Grand Illusion - a wonderful film about the bitter futility of war and its effect on population, especially families. Finally, you can also check out Boudu Saved from Drowning, a terrific film about class, conformity, freedom and loving. Boudu is played by Michel Simon, who at the time was called the French Charlie Chaplin.

Friday, September 14, 2007

My Favorite Bergman Film

Ingmar Bergman, one a the greatest directors of film died in late July after a remarkable career. For most cocktail party film buffs, the Bergman films they might mention are Wild Strawberries or The Seventh Seal. While both of these are amazing films, Bergman made so many films (he directed over 60 - via IMDB) that you really need to see his top 10 or 20 before deciding which is your favorite Bergman film. For me, his best was Sommarnattens leende, or Smiles of a Summer Night released in 1955. The movie is very reminiscent of a 1939 Jean Renoir film called Rules of The Game (rated #3 in the BFI Sight & Sound top 10 films of all time). Both movies offer a funny and thought provoking look at love, and how it changes in the course of one's journey through life. Young lovers who are foolish and naive, middle aged lovers who are bored with their spouses and end up being unfaithful. And older, wiser folks who see love like a child, but also take with them the wisdom gleaned from those more carnal years. It is really hard to say which film is better - both are very funny and entertaining, but I laughed so hard during the final scenes of Bergamn's Smiles of Summer Night, I'd have to give the nod to Bergman. But decide for yourself - which love satire did you like better - Rules of the Game or Bergman's Smiles of a Summer Night.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Tonight Show, Presidential Politics

Last night, Fred Thompson former Senator from Tennessee, and TV star of Law & Order announced he was running for President on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. I didn't see it live, but saw some streams of the 2 segments this morning. He seems like a nice guy. I'd have a beer with him. And then I remembered a post I read a week or two earlier from Mark Evanier at Newsfromme, where he discussed the Richard Nixon appearance on the tonight show with Johnny Carson, saying that Nixon was given the humor lines so he could be more entertaining. I have no idea if this is true, don't care that much either since it happened when I was 2 years old, but I thought it was ironic, a weird synchronous - everything old is new again moment. Check it out and watch Richard Nixon on the Tonight Show when he is running against Lyndon B. Johnson for President.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Happy Birthday - Raquel Welch

On September 5, 1940, Jo Raquel Tejada was born in Chicago, Illinois. The family loaded up the truck and moved to California (a precursor to the Clampetts perhaps?) when Raquel was just 2. She studied dance, aspired to be an actress someday and each and every day, grew more and more beautiful. Raquel Welch got instant stardom as a cave woman (pre-Geico) in this really campy film called One Million Years B.C. where she had this furry bikini on. She liked to swim and she sweated a lot too. The world didn't have their Marilyn Monroe (videos, images) sex goddess figure after the lovely & charming Norma Jeane died in 1962. When audiences saw Raquel Welch - we all shouted together, WOW, you are it! As such, her skills as an actress were always downplayed, though she was indeed a hard working and talented woman. Tant Pis, or too bad, she deserved better. But in all honesty, she was so attractive, it was distracting. She handled this gift & curse with style and grace. Happy Birthday Raquel Welch.

Here's a few choice clips from the LikeTelevision(TM) video library. A short 30 sec bio clip from This Day in Hollywood. And a very funny moment with Raquel Welch from the Johnny Carson Show.

You can get more bio information on Raquel Welch at IMDB or Wikipedia.