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Location: Vero Beach, Florida, United States

My name is Pat and I live in Florida. My skin will never be smooth again and my hair will never see color. I enjoy collecting autographs and playing in Paint Shop Pro.,along with reading and writing. Sometimes, I enjoy myself by doing volunteer "work" helping celebrities at autograph shows. I love animals and at one time I did volunteer work for Tippi Hedren's Shambala Preserve.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Thank You Turner Classic Movies

Only the other day I mentioned to David a little fact that there was a commercial on television, that had Jimmy Durante singing "Make Someone Happy" (voice only, no visual) .... I was wondering if anyone besides the older generation even knew who Jimmy Durante was.

For anyone even remotely interested, this is Jimmy Durante. AKA: The Schnozzola

Comedian, composer, actor, singer and songwriter ("Inka Dinka Doo") Jimmy Durante was educated in New York public schools. He began his career as a Coney Island pianist, and organized a five-piece band in 1916. He opened the Club Durant with Eddie Jackson and Lou Clayton, with whom he later formed a comedy trio for vaudeville and on television. He appeared in the Broadway musicals "Show Girl", "The New Yorkers", "Strike Me Pink", "Jumbo", "Red Hot and Blue", and "Stars in Your Eyes". By 1936, he had appeared at the Palladium in London. Later he had his own radio and television shows, and was a featured headliner in night clubs. Biographer Gene Fowler wrote his biography, "Schnozzola". Joining ASCAP in 1941, he collaborated musically with Jackie Barnett and Ben Ryan, and his other popular song compositions include "I'm Jimmy That Well-Dressed Man", "I Know Darn Well I Can Do Without Broadway", "I Ups to Him and He Ups to Me", "Daddy Your Mamma Is Lonesome For You", "Umbriago", "Any State In the Forty-Eight", "Chidabee Chidabee Chidabee", and "I'm Jimmy's Girl".

...Then, when I turned on TCM today a movie called Jumbo was coming on, and low and behold... Jimmy Durante was in it.

Jumbo.. 1962

Pop and Kitty Wonder are the owners of the Wonder Circus and because of Pop's addiction to gambling they are constantly in debt and the creditors are very close to foreclosing on them. Their main attraction is Jumbo, the elephant and it seems that their competitor, John Noble wants Jumbo and is luring away all of their acts leaving them with virtually nothing. Then all of a sudden a mysterious man named Sam Rawlins joins them as a wire walker and Kitty is taken with him, what they don't know is that he's Noble's son.

Doris Day ... Kitty Wonder
Stephen Boyd ... Sam Rawlins
Jimmy Durante ... Anthony ('Pop') Wonder
Martha Raye ... Lulu
Dean Jagger ... John Noble
Billy Barty.... circus performer

Starring Doris Day ...

Her first starring movie role was as "Georgia Garrett" in Romance on the High Seas (1948). The next year, she made two more films, My Dream Is Yours (1949) and It's a Great Feeling (1949). Audiences took to her beauty, terrific singing voice and bubbly personality, and she turned in fine performances in the movies she made for Warners (in addition to having several hit records). She made three films for the studio in 1950 and five more in 1951. In that year, she met and married Martin Melcher, who adopted her young son. In 1953, she starred in the title role in Calamity Jane (1953), which was a major hit, and several more followed: Lucky Me (1954), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) and what is probably her best-known film, Pillow Talk (1959). She began to slow down her filmmaking pace in the 1960s, even though she started out the decade in a hit, Please Don't Eat the Daisies (1960).

The 1960s weren't to be a repeat of the previous busy decade. She didn't make as many as she had in that decade, but the ones she did make were successful: Do Not Disturb (1965), The Glass Bottom Boat (1966), Where Were You When the Lights Went Out? (1968) and With Six You Get Eggroll (1968). Her husband died in 1968, and Doris never made another film, but she had been signed to do her own TV series, "The Doris Day Show" (1968). That show, like her movies, was also successful, lasting until 1973.

......and the gorgeous Stephen Boyd

In 1956 Boyd signed a seven-year contract with 20th Century-Fox. This led to his first film role, as an IRA member spying for the Nazis in The Man Who Never Was (1956), a job he was offered by legendary producer Alexander Korda. William Wyler was so struck by Boyd's performance in that film that he asked Fox to loan him Boyd, resulting in his being cast in what is probably his most famous role, that of Messala in the classic Ben-Hur (1959) opposite Charlton Heston. He received a Golden Globe award for his work on that film but was surprisingly bypassed on Oscar night. Still under contract with Fox, Boyd waited around to play the role of Marc Anthony in Cleopatra (1963) opposite Elizabeth Taylor. However, Taylor became so seriously ill that the production was delayed for months, which caused Boyd and other actors to withdraw from the film and move on to other projects.

Boyd made several films under contract before going independent. One of the highlights was Fantastic Voyage (1966), a science-fiction film about a crew of scientists miniaturized and injected into the human body as if in inner space. He also received a nomination for his role of Insp. Jongman in Lisa (1962) (aka "The Inspector") co-starring with Dolores Hart.

Doris and Jimmy. Jimmy gives Jumbo a run for the title of the Great Schnozzola!

Doris, Jimmy, and the hysterical Martha Raye. AKA: The Mouth.

Martha began performing at a young age with the family and sang with bands throughout high school. Her first film appearance came in a band short entitled A Nite in a Nite Club in 1934. In 1936, Paramount brought her on board and easily and immediately established her screen character in her feature debut, starring Bing Crosby, entitled Rhythm on the Range (1936). Martha burst onto the silver screen as a boisterous, outspoken physical comedianne eager to please her potential suitors. She attacked musical numbers with the same zeal and professional fervor with which she executed a pratt fall or a comically muddled, inaccurate dance step. It was this intelligent, tough, second-fiddle charm and her impeccable attunement to comedic timing which initially won her the hearts of America and would eventually aid in easing the homesick frustrations of thousands of U.S. soldiers.

Over the next 26 years, she would go on to make nearly two dozen movies, regularly cast alongside such comic greats as Joe E. Brown, Bob Hope, W.C. Fields and Abbott & Costello before being cast in her final great feature role in 1962, opposite Jimmy Durante as the second leads in the musical circus comedy, Billy Rose's Jumbo. Nearly indisputably, Martha's proudest role came alongside Charlie Chaplin in his dark comedy, Monsieur Verdoux, a story of a woman unwittingly escaping her husband's several attempts at her murder. Her final movie, Airport '79 - The Concorde, was a sequel to the original Airport movie. She was hilarious in her comedic cameo, an accompishment of which she was extremely proud.

From 1954 to 1956, Martha hosted her very own variety show, "The Martha Raye Show", performing skits, musical numbers and intricate, high-energy comedic dance routines with guests such as Eva, Magda and Zsa Zsa Gabor, Rocky Graziano, and Caesar Romero, to name only a few.

Comfortable with prime time television, over the years Martha would also make cameo appearances on some of the better known programs in the history of TV, including "The Love Boat", "The Andy Williams Show", "The Judy Garland Show", two Sid & Marty Krofft vehicles, "The Bugaloos" and "Pufnstuf", "McMillan and Wife", "Alice" and "Murder, She Wrote".

Martha was also an active supporter of the U.S. military, and in addition to starring in numerous feature films, hosting a television show and making dozens of prime time TV appearances, she selflessly volunteered a substantial portion of her time and talents to entertain U.S. troops overseas throughout World War II, The Korean War and the Viet Nam conflict. She has been cited with dozens of awards from the U.S. military and was the first female recipient of theJean Hersholdt Humanitarian Award. Among countless prestigious commendations and several presentations of honorary military status, Martha received The Woman of the Year Award from the VFW, as well as from the USO, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest commendation of a civilian. She has also been recognized by Hollywood, including the Outstanding Acheivment Award from the Screen Actors Guild. She also has three stars along the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

It's hard for me to believe there are such great actors and actresses that many people never even heard of because they don't enjoy movies enough to watch older movies.

It was a time when even the character actors were worked so often you knew their names as well as the "stars".

So much talent and creativity that should not be missed by anyone who can say the words, "I love movies".


Blogger Melli said...

LOL! Well... we all know I don't love movies... but I still KNOW Jimmy Durante!!! I did love HIM! I remember him singing Yes, we have no bananas, we have no bananas todaaaaaaay ... LOL! And I certainly remember Doris Day! I was crazy about a few of her movies as a kid and watched them over and over each time they came on! (You know - back in the day when you actually had to WAIT a year to see a good movie again!!!)

I only remember Stephen Boyd by sight from the photo you post. I never actually knew his name... he wasn't a heart-throb of mine - but I agree, he's gorgeous!

I honestly don't remember Martha Raye at all... but it sounds like she was REALLY big in the early 50's and I wasn't BORN until '57... so that may be why...

Great post - some great memories brought forth!!!

10:14 AM  
Blogger DesLily said...

Melli, Melli, Melli..tsk tsk, you don't know who Stephen Boyd is??? I just can't imagine that you never saw Ben Hur! Stephen was the guy that hated Heston and lost the chariot race! (I bet I am witnessing a lightbulb moment!)hehe

11:51 AM  
Blogger Cath said...

I do love your film posts, Pat! I remember Jimmy Durante from all the movies I used to watch as a kid. I don't remember Jumbo but am thinking I *must* have seen it. Doris Day? Love her to bits, Pillow Talk with Cary Grant was my favourite of her movies. I remember Stephen Boyd very well too. Not really a favourite of mine but I've seen Fantastic Voyage many times. Martha Raye I don't remember at all. It's either my memory being poor or she wasn't known over here. How can anyone live without movies? Our new TV arrives tomorrow and we can't wait to view some of our favs on the new HD screen. The Last of the Mohicans will certainly get an airing so we can dream about being in The Blue Ridge mtns. where it was filmed.

7:18 PM  
Blogger Cath said...

Well, they call that a 'middle-aged moment'. I meant to say it was 'Rock Hudson' not Cary Grant who was in Pillow Talk with DD. I think I need a brain transplant...

7:22 PM  
Blogger Pamela said...

I remember them all well
"Good night Mrs. Calabash - - wherever you are!"

4:48 PM  

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