Thursday, December 1, 2022

Sammy Stops The World starring Sammy Davis, Jr. & Marian Mercer

Sammy Davis, Jr. toured the country, played on Broadway and filmed for television a custom version of the Anthony Newley/Leslie Bricusse musical, Stop The World I Want To Get Off. This is the filmed production which also starred Marian Mercer.

Sammy Stops The World came after Davis had a chart hit with the musical's signature tune, What Kind Of Fool Am I?. Others included in this production's creative team include Newley, Bricusse, director Mel Shapiro, producer Hillard Elkins, and Sammy's ubiquitous musical director, George Rhodes. I've also uploaded a PDF of the original theater program to Download the program here:

And the Sammy rhythm doesn't stop there! Here's a special piece of Sammy ephemera. This concert program was bought by my Mom and Dad when they went to see Sammy (in Vegas, I believe) sometime around 1970/71. The program is a short biography of Sammy and his career with loads of pictures. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Strangler of the Swamp starring Blake Edwards

Strangler of the Swamp is a sweet ghost story with great atmosphere. It was written and directed in 1946 by Frank Wisbar as an English language remake of his earlier German film. Blake Edwards does nicely as the handsome chap. I didn't recognize any of the other actors although, as it turns out, the female romantic lead was a Miss California. The movie is a bit creaky and this print not the best but it all adds up to a fun much fun I put its poster on a tee shirt! (crew d'tees / Enjoy!

Saturday, October 9, 2021

High Society with Jean Smart & Mary McDonnell

I've always depended on the kindness of strangers and watching High Society, the 1995 television series starring Jean Smart and Mary McDonnell that was fashioned after Absolutely Fabulous, has been no different.

My first stranger allowed me to watch a version of the 13 episode series in which each episode was split into three files and uploaded to YouTube. This visual puzzle was fine when the internet was new but the feeling stalled a few years back - probably like Faith Prince's feeling when she was written off the show at episode six without explanation.

Step up, our second stranger who, it seems, uploaded full episodes of the series to a High Society page on sometime in 2018.

And that is the stranger (uploader Desmond Pfeiffer) I thank for the episodes below. The uploader also edited out the commercials and added them to the end of each episode! One of them has Julia Louis-Dreyfuss in a hair color commercial from the era.

Although I love, their mobile app is crap; it's easier to watch the antics of Elle and Dot on YouTube. (And I do think they will get a bigger viewing audience.) You'll still want to head over to the High Society page on though as there are recorded promos and a script in addition to the 13 episodes posted below on YouTube. Enjoy!

01 Family Val's 10-30-1995

02 Whose Son Is It Anyway 11-06-1995

03 Sleeping With The Enemy 11-13-1995

04 Dolce & G'bye Now 11-20-1995

05 Tomb With A View 11-27-1995

06 The Naked And The Deadline 12-04-1995

07 Finnigan's Rainbow 12-11-1995

08 We Oughta Be IN Pictures 12-18-1995

09 Nip And Tuck 1-16-1996

10 Alice Doesn't Pump Here Anymore 01-22-1996

11 Touching Up Your Roots 02-05-1996

12 I Found My Thrill On Nancy Garver Hill 02-12-1996

13 The Family Jewels 02-26-1996

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Bob Clark's She Man with Dorian Wayne

She Man: A Story of Fixation is a 1967 American film directed by Bob Clark. It's the tale of a soldier (Leslie Marlowe) forced to take estrogen and wear lingerie when he's blackmailed by a violent transvestite (Dorian Wayne). It's very much in the vein of early John Waters; in that I mean it's perfectly lovely.

Director Clark is most famous for the slasher Black Christmas (1974), comedy Porky's and holiday A Christmas Story so I guess he swung all ways. Here is She Man in all it's glory! Featuring drag performer Dorian Wayne in one of several film roles she had.

Dorian Wayne is a drag artist from the 1950s-1960s. In 2008, Rick Colantino created Dorian: A Picture about his years performing as Dorian Wayne; it's available here.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

The Great Victor Herbert starring Mary Martin & Allan Jones

The Great Victor Herbert was directed in 1939 by Andrew L. Stone and is one of the few Hollywood films starring Mary Martin. It's not a Herbert biography (as is made clear by the disclaimer displayed at the END of the film) but an account of the romance of his (fictional) star singers, Martin and Allan Jones. In the film, Walter Connolly (as Herbert) witnesses their life experiences as their friend and creator of their greatest theatrical triumphs.

The movie is a curio. By 1939, operettas had lost their luster to the more accessible musical comedies so audiences weren't clammering for Herbert music. (The composer died in 1924.) And, it seems, Paramount Pictures was trying to make Mary Martin into the next Jeanette McDonald. Martin is fine and the movie watchable but it's kind of a Show Boat knock-off without the latter's complex storyline and diverse musical styles. (Jones is aged to look exactly like Gaylord Ravenal in the later scenes.) Despite all this, I noticed The Great Victor Herbert was not online so now it is. I do not own the copyright to this and have 'placed it here in memory of something that has died'. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 5, 2021

The French Line starring Jane Russell

The year after Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Jane Russell starred in a musical that received the CONDEMNED rating from the Catholic National Legion of Decency. The reason? Her almost-there outfits (especially THAT one in Looking for Trouble) were designed by the film's producer Howard Hughes (and the craftsmen at RKO) to display Russell's physique in the best manner. The film was first released in 3D which offered eye-poping views of Jane's assets and added to its reputation as scandalous.

Jane is a charmer: singing, dancing, and dripping the monotone sarcasm she used to her advantage in the previous musical. Also appearing are silent film's Gilbert Roland, future Tony nominee Mary McCarty and Theresa Harris who performs Well, I'll Be Switched with Jane and disappears. If you blink, you'll miss Kim Novak's first film appearance as a show girl in the Poor Andre number. Unfortunately, this is the censored (United States) version of the film.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Ladies of the Burlesque Dance

Sunny Knight, Mickey 'Ginger' Jones and Shirley Heart are not names that are remembered today but there are filmed records of these burly Q queens dances in the 1949 public domain film Midnight Frolics. Granted by the time this film was made, burlesque had already died and been buried but it is nice to have this record (albeit modified according to the film's title card). For this WORLD INTERNET PREMIERE, I've extracted Sunny's dance (the star spot at the end of the show), Mickey's dance (an act one closer) and Shirley's dance (strip opener starts like a lamb and ends like a lion). Check out these ladies and their energetic, gymnastic and naively salacious dances.

If you want a Burlesque or Bust vintage-style tee shirt I created for my crew d'tees tee shirt collection, check it out here.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Julian Eltinge in Madame Behave

Eltinge as groom and bride

Julian Eltinge was internationally renown as a female impersonator in the aughts and teens of the 20th century. He made his name on vaudeville stages and in Broadway theatres - even as he christened the Julian Eltinge Theatre on Broadway, September 11, 1910. In the 1920s as Prohibition was changing the country and vaudeville was dying, Eltinge went to Hollywood and made several films. One of these films is called Madame Behave and I've just posted the film to YouTube with a score made of jazz tunes from the 1920s. (See song titles and artists at the bottom of this post.)

Madame Behave • 1925

I had never seen Eltinge perform on film and by the contemporaneous reviews I'd read of his live performances, I imagine he had a lovely singing voice and his female mimcry was legitimately spot on (and not what we would consider campy). In fact, Eltinge was so popular with the female population for his raiment and makeup that he started a cottage industry with Julian Eltinge's Magazine of Beauty Hints and Tips which promoted his own line of cosmetics, corsets and shoes. One ad has a picture of Eltinge as a woman with the copy "See What the Julian Eltinge Cold Cream Does for a Man. Imagine What It Will Do For a Woman".

No one pronounces Eltinge's name correctly.
Here are instructions from the horse's mouth.

My guess is that Madame Behave was made to capitalize on Eltinge's fame because it doesn't hold up to the imagination after reading reviews of Eltinge's live performances. We (obviously) don't hear a singing voice and we certainly don't see a high standard of female mimicry on screen so it does nothing to capture what Eltinge did on stage. In Madame Behave, Eltinge jokes around and gets in his gowns quickly and without care. There are some scenes in which he is well put together but by 1925 Eltinge was in his forties and more overweight than in his youth so it's difficult to compare the time periods in that respect. Madame Behave is also not funny despite its best attempts. The film co-stars Ann Pennington as Eltinge's girlfriend and there is a minute or so of Pennington dancing the Charleston; she was a very famous dancer of the day known for her Black Bottom and others so this is something of a see.

Cast of Madame Behave: Jack Duffy, Evelyn Francisco, Lionel Belmore
Ann Pennington kissing Eltinge (in drag) and David Jones

Other than Pennington and the fact that it is a surviving Eltinge film, Madame Behave is similar to movies like Charley's Aunt, Tootsie and Some Like It Hot in its use of drag is a pretext that a straight man must do to get out of whatever situation he finds himself. Unfortunately, it's just not as good as the aforementioned titles but it is 95 years old! Music used to score Madame Behave includes the following tracks in order of aural appearance.

  • Chant of the Weed Don Redman and his Orchestra
  • Four O’Clock Blues The Original Memphis Five
  • The Minor Drag Fats Waller
  • Viper’s Dream Django Reinhardt
  • Bull Frog Blues Six Brown Brothers
  • Do-Doodle-Om Piron’s New Orleans Orchestra
  • Forgetful Blues The Original Memphis Five
  • New Orleans Wiggle Piron’s New Orleans Orchestra
  • Pianoflage Fate Marable’s Society Syncopators
  • Red Man Blues Piron’s New Orleans Orchestra
  • Red Onion Drag Louis Dumaine’s Jazzola Eight
  • Sad New Blues The Original Memphis Five
  • Pillow Fight SFX
  • All Muggled Up Blue Steele And his Orchestra
  • Astoria Strut Jones and Collins Astoria Hot Eight
  • Dear Almanzoer Celestin’s Original Tuxedo Jazz Orchestra
  • Henpecked Blues The Original Memphis Five
  • Mobile Stomp Sam Morgan’s Jazz Band
  • New Orleans Blues Johnny de Droit and His New Orleans Jazz Orchestra
  • West Indies Blues Piron's New Orleans Orchestra

More pictures from (and an article or two regarding) Julian Eltinge's life and career are available on my Julian Eltinge Pinterest board.

Follow my board Julian Eltinge on Pinterest.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Grease: A New ’50’s Rock ’N’ Roll Musical

In 1972, Pocket Books published Grease: A New ’50’s Rock ’N’ Roll Musical as a mass market paperback with the tag The Book of the Newest Broadway Hit. The tie-in contains the 1972 libretto of the musical, 12 black and white photographs from the production (Barry Bostwick, Adrienne Barbeau, etc.) and one color cover photo. You can download a PDF of this out-of-print paperback from here.

Monday, March 15, 2021

Blithe Spirit 1956 TV Production

Blithe Spirit is a play by Noël Coward about novelist Charles Condomine who invites eccentric medium/clairvoyant, Madame Arcati, to his home to conduct a séance which brings to life the ghost of his annoying and temperamental first wife, Elvira. In 1956, Coward directed a LIVE ON AIR American television adaptation for Ford Star Jubilee.

Coward stars with Claudette Colbert as his second wife Ruth, Lauren Bacall as Elvira and Emmy nominee for Best Supporting Performance by an Actress, Mildred Natwick as Madame Arcati. The endlessly-rushing maid is played by Marion Ross who most viewers will remember as the mother on the television series Happy Days. Fred de Cordova, longtime producer of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, is listed as having staged the production for television. Based on the thumbnail image there seems to have been a tour and record associated with this production as well although a quick search garnered no other information. Originally broadcast in color, only black and white kinescopes survive. I believe this is also a WORLD INTERNET PREMIERE! Enjoy!

Sunday, May 24, 2020

How Gary Cooper Broke Into The Movies

How I Broke Into The Movies is a book published in 1930. It contains 60 articles on the title theme, written by movie stars of the day. Each star has a portrait on the left page and text they've (purportedly) written on the right page with the star's hand-written signature at the bottom for validity. The previous articles I've published are:

I will continue publishing articles until the book is digitized at which time I will post it to my account on Here is the WORLD INTERNET PREMIERE of How I Broke Into The Movies written (in his own words) by Academy Award winner Gary Cooper whose career spanned 36 years from 1925 to 1961.

How I Broke Into The Movies Gary Cooper picture
Right click to view the full-size image.

How I Broke Into The Movies by Gary Cooper
Right click to view the full-size image.

Some interesting Cooper links

A Farewell to Arms 1932

This pre-Code drama is based on A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway, directed by Frank Borzage and stars Gary, Helen Hayes and Adolphe Menjou.

Gary's FBI File

Meet John Doe 1941

Frank Capra's wonderful piece of romantic Americana pits him against Barbara Stanwyck with Walter Brennan, Spring Byington and James Gleason.

Gary Cooper Psycho-Analyzed Screenland, February 1930
Right click to view the full-size image.

Stream any of 75 Cooper films

For Whom The Bell Tolls radio drama

Gary and Ingrid Bergman recreate their film roles in this radio presentation of the Ernest Hemingway novel

Gary in The Virginian 1929

Gary in Beau Sabrer 1928

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Ellen Foley, Debbie Allen and Mimi Kennedy

In 1976 the BBC series Rock Follies, already a success in the United Kingdom, crossed the Atlantic and became a success on PBS stations in the United States. The scripted series of six episodes told the story of The Little Ladies, three women (played by Evita's Julie Covington, Alberto VO5's Rula Lenska and the Royal Shakespeare Company's Charlotte Cornwell) trying to hit it big in the rock music. It was a hit in the United States and there was (seemingly) an attempt to replicate that success with American talent when Kenny Solms and Gail Parent created a 4-episode variety show called 3 Girls 3.

3 Girls 3 starred three then-unknowns Debbie Allen, Ellen Foley and Mimi Kennedy whose overnight success as the stars was the show's premise. In the context of the show, the little ladies played themselves with Allen the dancer, Foley the singer and Kennedy the comic - although all three sang, danced and performed in sketches. The first episode aired in March, 1977 right after its broadcasting network, NBC, decided to cancel it. The three remaining episodes aired during the summer of 1977. All four episodes in their entirety can be found on Mimi Kennedy's YouTube Channel. There's also some interesting videos on Kenny Solms YouTube channel. I've posted some lovely performances by one of my favorite singers, Ellen Foley, and some other musical moments from the show.

Ellen Foley sings New Kid In Town

Debbie Allen, Ellen Foley and Mimi Kennedy sing Broadway Baby

Debbie Allen performs The Music and the Mirror

Ellen Foley sings This One's For You

Ellen Foley sings Dear Friend/Will He Love Me from She Loves Me

3 Girls 3 Theme Song

Celebrity Maids

Debbie Allen, Ellen Foley and Mimi Kennedy sing Sondheim's You Could Drive A Person Crazy with, of all people, Steve Martin, the wild and crazy guy

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Mauthausen Concentration Camp

Photos may take a minute to download. If you see broken links, right click the frame and select Reload Image. Clicking a picture opens a slide show of all pictures with no captions. Also available on Flickr.
Midway between Salzburg and Vienna in Austria are the remains of Mauthausen, a Nazi work camp. The Mauthausen Memorial lies on the outskirts of its namesake town and has all the barracks, barbed wire and gas chambers of more celebrated concentration camps. Mauthausen fed prisoners to over 100 smaller work camps in Austria and Southern Germany as well as forcing prisoners to excavate rock from its quarry. Estimates put deaths at between 100,000 and 300,000. The staff of the memorial asked us to take many pictures and post them everywhere.

The picture above is the front of Mauthausen taken from the memorial parking lot. Note the guard tower, stone wall and camp's entrance at the confluence of the paths. To your right, the wall with black streaks is one of many memorials on the grounds of the camp.

The front entrance to the camp opens onto a large courtyard where prisoners were processed.

The courtyard.

Prisoners were assigned a cloth winkle to wear on their prison uniforms. The form and color denoted the reason for persecution.

The stairs bring you from the courtyard up to the officer's quarters (left) or the prisoner's barracks (right).

The officer's quarters (looking over the courtyard) are protected from the elements by the rocks the prisoners mined in the quarry. This building now houses administration offices for the museum.

Prisoners enter their living grounds from the entrance at the far end of this photo. To your right are barracks; three of 25 survive. To your left are the kitchen, prison, gas chambers and crematorium. The metal box filled with rocks in the middle of the picture is a memorial.

Detail of outside of wood barrack.

The prisoners' sleeping area in a barrack. Lodovico Barbizon de Belgiojoso describes his experience.
Every evening, after the noise that a hundred people can make when cramming into bunk beds, swearing and cursing in twenty languages, the order for silence was given and the lights turned off. […] Later, when the people finally started falling asleep, the concert of wheezing and hissing, coughing fits, belching and farting, snoring in several pitches, soft moaning, sobbing and cursing began. […] These noises emerged from a hundred bodies and fused into a single, terrible sound, produced as if by a giant, monstrous being that had holder itself up in the dark.

Toilets. Stand to your right. Sit to your left.

Water ... for all your needs. Roman Foster describes his experience.

In Mauthausen I stopped washing myself […]. I simply could no longer find the strength to get up early […] and pour icy water over myself. […] The time had come to ask if there was still any purpose in continuing the hard struggle for this wretched existence.

Guard tower and electric fence.

These stone walls contained the barracks in which quarantined prisoners were kept. After United States troops liberated the prisoners in 1945, the land became a cemetery. Prisoners continued to die for weeks after the liberation.

The electrified wall.

A headstone.

Guard tower.

From the far end of the prisoners area with the cemetery on your right and the infirmary/museum on the left.

Behind the infirmary with memorial plaques on the stone wall. On the other side of this stone wall was the town of Mauthausen.

A page from the graphic training guide given to all Nazi guards.

Another page from the graphic training guide given to all Nazi guards.

Stone wall and electric fence.

Disinfectant shower room for new arrivals.

In 1941 the SS construct a gas chamber and other installations at Mauthausen for the systematic murder of large groups of people.

Gas chamber.

People leave messages of peace, hope and love on the window sills of the gas chamber.

The first oven in the camp.

Building a better oven.

The Nazis would shove as many bodies as they could into an oven. It's not like bodies were cremated with respect.

I left the prisoners quarters and walked deeper into the surrounding woods (which are, ironically, quite beautiful). I walk around the outside of the chain link fence and came upon Aschen Friedhof where the Nazis dumped the ashes of those who were cremated.

Makeshift chapel above Aschen Friedhof. (Ash Cemetery)

Aschen Friedhof. (Ash Cemetery)

Guard tower and barbed wire.

The rock quarry.

The Stairs of Death lead from the rock quarry floor up to the camp. Prisoners were forced to carry roughly-hewn blocks of stone – often weighing as much as 100 pounds - up the 186 stairs, one prisoner behind the other. As a result, many exhausted prisoners collapsed in front of the other prisoners in the line, and then fell on top of the other prisoners, creating a domino effect; the first prisoner falling onto the next, and so on, all the way down the stairs.

The Stairs of Death.

Guard tower above the quarry.

Memorial Park is visible from the quarry floor.

A grotto has emerged in the rock quarry.

Memorials have been constructed by different countries in Memorial Park, the area above the quarry. There is no memorial from the United States although...

... the United States army liberated Mauthausen on May 5, 1945 and this plaque commemorates it.

A map of Mauthausen. The red buildings still stand and the pictures here are from that area. The quarry with its circular Stairs of Death is on the your left. The area between the two is Memorial Park. To the left of the circle in the top right corner is the approximate location of Aschen Friedhof (Ash Cemetery).

A chapel has been built in the room above the disinfectant shower.

The back wall of the chapel is decorated with these paintings.

The room next to the chapel has flags of all the countries that helped in the liberation of Mauthausen.

On the side of the road that leads to (and from) the Mauthausen camp is Der Weg (The Way), a memorial art piece by Ewe Kaja. It consists of rows of stone skulls embedded in the dirt. The skulls are progressively buried deeper until the last row in which the skulls are buried to the top.

Opposite Der Weg (The Way), this lovely creek continues to flow despite the atrocities it has flowed past. It amazes that people could live in the town of Mauthausen while this was happening. I learned in the museum that there were people who hid escapees from the camp so maybe it's the mob mentality - when you can get one person away from the mob, you find humanity. Well, back then anyway but there's always hope for tomorrow.