Monday, April 23, 2012

Broadcast Hall of Fame's Watson Feted

Hugs were exchanged and stories told Sunday in St. Paul Forepaugh’s at retired KUOM Radio Manager Marion Watson’s 90th birthday party and the reunion of the KUOM staff. Many wonderful friends from my year at KUOM (1981) were on hand including Andy, Carol, Vicki, Betty, Stuart and more. It was like 30 years hadn’t passed and we were in Rarig Center on the university campus. Connie Goldman approached me and I know that I have a connection to Connie and the wheels started turning in my head, finally mentioning my ex-wife’s Aunt Gae who is Connie’s cousin. So we made that connection and I was good to see Connie who was prominent at KUOM and NPR where she did a series on the pop psychology of Northern California, possibly in the 60s or 70s. And then I had a flash that I should know Andy Marlowe’s mom and so I asked his wife, Phyllis, about her. Yes, she worked as a secretary for 4-H at the same time I was an information officer on the campus doing public relations for 4-H. So of course I knew Eleanor Marlowe. Charles Brin was there who still can be heard on KFAI Radio and had a bit part in the Coen Brothers’ film “A Serious Man.” He and I are members of the same congregation. Curt Oliver hadn’t changed much and I reminded him of some of his witticisms. Steve Davis was also quite imposing and he still has that deep baritone that served him well as he spun classical music. The event concluded with Betty's homemade cakes, which were an office tradition on birthdays, Flashes flashed for group shots. Marion is rightfully concerned about the KUOM legacy and the many priceless tapes that are in University Archives care. Can the archives be trusted with this priceless treasure? Apart from my KUOM job, as a student I had transcribed World War Two news broadcast electrical transcriptions to tape from KSTP Radio in about 1970 so I volunteered to lend my support to efforts to chronicle the progress of this archive project. There never will be another reunion like this, certainly not at the Grain Exchange and the Medical Foundation, which were dramas that didn’t end well for me in the 80s. Then again if the Idaho Statesman wants to gather old hands together, I would welcome it.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

“Macabre”, “Three Stooges”, “Moneyball”

“Macabre” is a low budget Allied Artist horror movie that I hadn’t seen in more than 50 years at the art deco Spokane Fox Theater so when it was reissued by Warners this month I bought it in a nano second. William Castle directs this black and white graveyard chiller with D list actors, a fog machine and skeletons cued by creepy music. AA insured our lives for $1,000 if we died of fright in the theater during the movie. (Chocking on popcorn or falling asleep from boredom didn’t count).

It was good to get in touch with my boyhood obsession for scary movies after avoiding them in my early childhood (too many nightmares). I can’t say that “Macabre” was all that scary compared to ”Psycho” but then I won’t spoil the plot.

Juvenile slapstick humor brought me to the multiplex here Friday night for a showing of the new “Three Stooges” movie from the Farley Brothers, one of which is quite buff. Anyhoo, my friend Jack and I nearly wet our pants from laughter. There’s nothing like a little eye gouging and a sledge hammer over the head to put you right with the world. Long live the Stooges, saviors of western civilization as we knew it.

Who would have known that the Oakland Athletics had a general manager named Billy Beane (thought he ran a mail order catalog) and who cares? Actually the Brad Pitt film was quite riveting and I don’t know why. I was actually disappointed when they lost to the Twins in the playoffs and no one is chagrin when the Twins win here. So what’s with that?

Watch this space for a review upcoming on “Cabin in the Woods” which should bring back fond memories of summer days at Loon Lake, WA.

Saturday, April 07, 2012


Hollywood gossip monger Sheilah Graham refuses to mention it while jazz singer Mel Torme devotes a paragraph to the teen exploitation drive in movie “Girls’ Town” in his autobiography.

Albert Zugsmith produced several salacious thrillers at MGM, Universal and Allied Artist with Mamie Van Doren topping the bill. Ms. Graham played a sympathetic nun at a girls reformatory in “Girls’ Town” and Torme was a bad boy who dukes it out with singer Paul Anka and the son of film icon Charlie Chaplin. In the scene with Charles Chaplin junior the actor was to slug Torme and actually did, loosening a few of the singer’s front teeth.

If Ms. Graham suffered any indignities or loose teeth we may never know because in all the books written about her and her lover F. Scott Fiitzgerald there are no references to GT. Too bad. Then again Torme makes no reference in his book to Lana Turner with whom he is alleged to have an affair. Discretion is the better part of valor, I guess.

Interesting that by the mid 50s the once distinguished MGM had fallen on such hard times that it was catering to the drive in crowd as was Warner Bros., who distributed the Mamie musical effort “Untamed Youth” as well as "Teenagers from Outer Space" in the 50s.