Q: I Dream of…. ‘Blank’ — A: Bill Daily

dailyOne of my favorite game shows has always been MATCH GAME. I loved all the panelists and their wacky answers to the questions. One who was on the show for many years, since his first appearance in 1973, was Bill Daily. Daily was better known as the actor who starred as Major Roger Healey in the TV series, “I Dream of Jeannie.”  Daily has taken his Final Taxi.

After appearing in several TV shows in the 1960’s Daily wound up co-starring with Barbara Eden and Larry Hagman in the popular NBC comedy “I Dream of Jeannie. “ For five seasons he played Hagman’s best friend who was always wrangling a way to steal or use Jeannie’s magic power to his advantage. After “Jeannie” Daily appeared as Bob Newhart’s pilot neighbor Howard Borden on “The Bob Newhart Show”.  His character would frequently stop into Newhart’s apartment to borrow things, mooch a meal and leave his son. Some will remember Daily as psychiatrist Dr. Larry Dykstra on 1986’s “ALF.”

After that series ended, Daily acted frequently on TV until the late 1990s, including recurring roles in “Aloha Paradise” (1981), “Small & Frye” (1983), “Starting from Scratch” (1988-1989), and an “I Dream of Jeannie” reunion special or two.

Bill Daily was 91

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So Long Mom! Freaky Friday Actress – Barbara Harris

You might say the ’body swapping’ plot in movies has been around for a while. The most popular aspect of this plotline is when an older person swaps with a younger teen. We have seen this in films like 18 Again! (1988) with Georges Burns, Like Father Like Son (1987) with Dudley Moore,  Vice Versa (1988) with Fred Savage and my favorite, the original Freaky Friday (1977) with Jodie Foster.  Freaky Friday has been made 3 times. In it a mother and daughter swap bodies on a crucial day for both. The mothers in the remakes were Jamie Lee Curtis and Shelly Long.  Of course the 1977 version, for me, has the best mom. It was played by actress Barbara Harris.  Unfortunately, Harris has lost her battle with cancer at 83.

A few years after seeing Harris in Freaky Friday I would see her again in a role where her acting abilities really grabbed my attention. She was in the Disney film The North Avenue Irregulars (1979).  In this comedy Harris leads a group of women from a parish’s Ladies Sodality that is fighting a mob of gambling gangsters.  I think what stood out in both roles is Harris’s portrayal of a woman who is forced to take a stand, and who finds the courage – despite her vulnerability.MSDNOAV EC002
Earlier roles for her include Plaza Suite (1971) where she played the love interest of Walter Matthau, Alfred Hitchcock’s Family Plot (1976) where she played a fake psychic and in Robert Altman’s Nashville (1975) where she’s the one who has the final, calming song in the film. Later she acted in Peggy Sue Got Married (1986), The Seduction of Joe Tynan (1979), and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988).

In 1997’s Grosse Pointe Blank, Barbara Harris’ final role was that of a mom once more, this time to hit man John Cusack.

Writer: Jeff Burson
                                                                                                             Editor: Lesa Burson

The Hero Maker – Steve Ditko

ditko-league-of-a-merica (1)Mr. A. The Creeper. Blue Beetle. Capt. Atom.  Dr. Strange. Thunder Agents. The Question… and someone named Spider-man. These are a few of the comic book characters that were created or drawn by the artist, STEVE DITKO.  All of them touched my life in many ways and I have Mr. Ditko to thank for his genius in fleshing them out.
His most famous creation was a joint venture between him and Marvel’s head, Stan Lee. Borrowing from The Fly (MLJ Comics) and the pulp hero The Spider, Ditko drew The Amazing Spider-Man. Of course, later I noticed some similarities to a hero name Spider Queen, who shot webs to capture criminals.  Spider-Man made his debut in 1961 in Amazing Fantasy No. 15, and the character’s popularity led to his own title, The Amazing Spider-Man, which Mr. Ditko penciled, inked and largely plotted between 1963 and 1966.
Mr. Ditko helped develop other Marvel superheroes, including Iron Man and the Hulk. Probably his best-known besides Spider-Man was Dr. Strange, a “master of the mystic arts,” who first appeared in 1963.
question.jpgAfter leaving Marvel, Ditko created Mr. A, a black-and-white comic aimed at adults and unconstrained by the Comics Code. Mr. A, attired in a white suit and conservative hat, was named after “A is A,” the idea in Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” that there is one unassailable truth, one reality, and only white (good) and black (evil) forces in society. Unlike mainstream superheroes, he killed criminals. For Charlton Comic Mr. Ditko created the Question, also in a suit and hat but devoid of facial features but.The Question followed the Comic Code.
In 1968 Mr. Ditko joined DC, where he created, among other characters, the Hawk and the Dove, super powered brothers of opposing moral dispositions, and the Creeper, a crime fighter with a maniacal laugh.
Ditko was inducted into the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1990 and the Will Eisner Hall of Fame in 1994. In Sam Raimi’s Hollywood feature “Spider-Man,” in 2002, the opening credits read, “Based on the Marvel comic book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.”
Steve Ditko was one of my favorite comic book creators. He has taken his final taxi at the age of 90.

A Great American Hero- Stanley Weston

If you ever yelled the phase “Go Joe!” or “Thunder- Thunder- Thundercats” then someone who helped form part of your childhood has taken their Final Taxi.stanley-weston-th

Stanley Weston, 84 was the inventor of the G.I. Joe “outfitted action figure” and creator of the popular animated series “Thundercats” in the 1980’s.

Weston had served in the Army during the Korean War and soon after discovered a talent for the licensing and merchandising industry. He founded Weston Merchandising.

In 1960 as Mattel introduced Barbie to the public, Weston saw a product-starved market for rough and tumble boys who thus far had been limited to playing with mild mannered Ken. After Weston read through a 23-volume Encyclopaedia Britannica set, seeking inspiration and drawing on his wartime experiences, he made repeated trips to Army-Navy stores in New York looking for ideas. He conceived of the idea of a military action figure and in 1963 sold what would become G.I. Joe to Hasbro. At the time G.I. Joe came with no backstory, no sworn enemy and no specific mission – just a pink scar across his face and a wardrobe of different uniforms. Becoming one of the most enduring toy lines in history, G.I Joe spawned hit TV shows and films as well as a Marvel comic line.

Weston went on to market action figures for the likes of “Charlie’s Angels” star Farrah Fawcett, the World Wrestling Federation and Nintendo characters. In 1967, he signed a 10-year agreement with the Major League Baseball Players Association for the likenesses of virtually every ballplayer in the National and American leagues He was also associated with marketing efforts for the TV shows Alf and Welcome Back Kotter, and films like Star Wars.

In the 1980s Weston saw how popular He-man and the Masters of the Universe had became, and approached the Rankin-Bass animation studio with his idea for a sci-fi/ fantasy cartoon called ThunderCats. It became one of the most memorable animated series for generations of kids. Weston’s company also brought Pokemon to the U.S from Japan.

In 1989, he was among the inaugural class for the Licensing Industry Hall of Fame, which includes notables Walt Disney, George Lucas and Jim Henson. Now you know Stanley Weston’s story and as they say “ Knowing is half the battle….”

10 fingers on the fender!- Clifton James

Clifton James, 96, actor who appeared as Sheriff J.W. Pepper in two James Bond films has taken his Final Taxi.
Film credits included “Cool Hand Luke,” “Eight Men Out” and “The Bonfire of the Vanities.” He appeared in two James Bond films opposite Roger Moore: “Live and Let Die” (1973) and “The Man with the Golden Gun” (1974). He portrayed the a Louisiana sheriff, J.W. Pepper . James would play similar Southern lawman in numerous other roles during his career, including “Silver Streak” and “Superman II”

The Tragedy of Audrey Munson, America’s First Supermodel

Taudrey-munson-mourning_victoryhe image of Audrey Munson is still on display in museums from Hartford to San Francisco. A statue of her, America’s first supermodel, presides over Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, Mass. She holds a Bible as Evangeline in the Longfellow Memorial in Cambridge, Mass. She was even in mass circulation for decades as the model for the Winged Liberty Head Dime and the Walking Liberty Half Dollar.
She was so ubiquitous in New York she was nicknamed ‘Miss Manhattan.’
Audrey appears atop the Municipal Building, at the entrance to the Manhattan Bridge, on the Pulitzer Fountain in front of the Plaza.
Her fall was as swift and as spectacular as was her rise to fame. By the time the coins bearing her image were taken out of circulation, she was completely forgotten, confined to an insane asylum and then buried in an unmarked grave.
READ THE FULL STORY::
http://www.newenglandhistoricalsociety.com/tragedy-audrey-munson-americas-first-supermodel/

Alan Rickman – More Than Just Snape

I really hate how the media sometimes summarize someone’s life in a few words.king-louis

Many times they will look at an incredible actor and only see a few of the more popular roles he played and miss the greater body of work. They are doing that now with Alan Rickman.

Actor Alan Rickman took his Final Taxi at age 69 because of cancer. He has done so many wonderful films that have touched our lives but the news mostly focuses on the franchises, Harry Potter and Die Hard.

I first took notice of Rickman as an actor in the movie “Truly, Madly, Deeply” in 1990. This was two years after Die Hard. In it he plays Jamie, a dead musician so in love that death cannot keep him apart from his lover. It was kind of a thinking man’s “Ghost.”

 

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One of my daughter’s favorite Rickman films is Ang Lee’s ” Sense and Sensibility” from 1995. This adaption of Jane Austin’s book has Rickman playing Colonel Brandon as a rich and worthy suitor for Marianne, played by Kate Winslet. This would not be the only time Winslet and Richman worked together. In 2015 Rickman directed ” A Little Chaos” with her as his lead ( He gives a great portrayal of King Louis XIV.)

Many fans will remember his role in 1999’s Galaxy Quest. Playing Alexander Dane, a Shakespearean actor who had found himself trapped and most fondly remembered for an alien on a silly sci-fi TV show. He did not hide the fact he hated it and we all thought it was hilarious as it echoed reality with a great spoof of Star Trek’s Spock. ( “By Grabnar’s Hammer!” )

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I will always remember Rickman’s voice. It conveyed a wide range – from dripping sarcasm to great comic pomposity. He proved that in one of my favorite roles as Marvin the paranoid robot in 2005’s “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”. With a brain as big as a Volkswagen, Marvin was utterly depressed by having to hanging out with other life forms that were less intelligent than him. Rickman was actually one of the best at that kind of deadpan comic delivery. He used his voice only again in 2010’s Alice In Wonderland as the Blue Caterpillar a role that he repeated for the 2016 sequel.

There are so many other great films by Rickman you should see- The Cohen Brother’s “Gambit,” “Bottle Shock” Lee Daniel’s “The Butler” and “Something The Lord Made”. Alan Rickman will be missed for many reasons — his dry wit, incredible English humor, and most importantly for his ability to completely capture our attention on the big screen with his incredible performances. ..and that unforgettable voice.

 

 

 

Edited by Lesa Rosato Burson