Friday, August 28, 2015

TCM Announces 2016 Festival Dates and Theme

TCM released big news regarding the 2016 TCM Classic Film Festival dates and theme earlier this week!

The festival will be held in Hollywood from April 28th to May 1st, 2016.

The theme is "Moving Pictures," described on the Festival site as "the ones that move us to tears, rouse us to action, inspire us, even project us to a higher plane...These are the films that set our love of cinema in motion."

The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel continues as festival headquarters, with screenings at the Chinese, Chinese 6 Multiplex, and Egyptian Theatres, as well as "other Hollywood venues." I would anticipate those venues would include the El Capitan Theatre, which has hosted a day of screenings each of the last couple of years.

After a health-related absence in 2015, it's expected that Robert Osborne will return to serve as a festival host, along with his TCM colleague Ben Mankiewicz.

Ticket prices will hold firm this year, with no increases over last year's pricing.

The news caught many by surprise, as it was released weeks ahead of the usual September or October announcement. Indeed, I was on the road when the news was announced and found myself scrambling to immediately book my hotel on my smartphone as we drove through the Oregon mountains!

TCM also released a short promotional video. Like last year's video, it includes shots of my friends Kellee and Aurora, whose million-dollar smiles make them naturals for TCM ads!

Another friend, Will McKinley, has posted an overview of the 2016 festival news along with his suggestions on how TCM can beat the "seven-year itch" and keep things fresh. I really liked his commentary and thought it was great that TCM General Manager Tweeted to Will "We're listening!"

Those interested will want to bookmark the festival's website and Twitter account.

Year after year, the TCM Classic Film Festival provides unforgettable movie-going experiences and the chance to share such moments with friends from all over the country -- indeed, from all over the world. (Last year I met friends from Japan and Scotland!) Seeing beautiful prints in historic venues with other enthusiastic classic film fans is a "must" experience.

Please visit my overview of this year's festival for a look at the TCM Classic Film Festival experience. Links to my coverage of prior festivals can be found at the bottom of the post.

Summertime in Hollywood - The Color Edition

Labor Day is fast approaching, but summer's not over yet!

Here's a new batch of classic Hollywood stars enjoying the summer season, and this time around all the photos are in color. Enjoy!

Yvonne DeCarlo:

Hedy Lamarr and her backyard pool:

Esther Williams in Kodachrome:

Deborah Kerr:

Debbie Reynolds:

Elizabeth Taylor:

Jane Greer:

Gene Tierney:

Carole Landis:

Past Summertime in Hollywood posts may be found here, here, here, and here.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Tonight's Movie: Radar Secret Service (1950)

RADAR SECRET SERVICE (1950) must have the lowest IMDb rating of any film I've ever seen -- and yet I quite enjoyed it!

I love this kind of rather geeky police procedural, with overly earnest members of law enforcement rhapsodizing about the wonders of RADAR! I'm not sure I'd say it's so bad it's good, but there's definitely something about its quaint attitudes and manner of storytelling which I find most enjoyable. Add in a good cast including Adele Jergens, Ralph (DICK TRACY) Byrd, and Myrna Dell, and it makes for a fun and breezy 59 minutes.

The story concerns a unit of law enforcement which uses various radar gadgets; a handheld unit helps locate a gun buried in the dirt, and radar on a police car and a helicopter helps track down stolen atomic materials!

It's not always believable, but the fantastic uses for radar are part of the fun. For instance, I was never quite clear on how the radar beamed a crystal clear picture of various highways back to headquarters so that the police could watch car chases and note license plate numbers. And a chopper armed with a radar detector can sweep an entire city and zero in on atomic materials?

As told in this film, it seems like there's nothing radar can't do, causing femme fatale Adele Jergens to wring her hands about law enforcement and their radar getting in the way of her schemes. There are also delightful periodic newspaper headlines about another win for the radar unit.

The lead agents are played by John Howard (George Kittredge in THE PHILADELPHIA STORY) and Ralph Byrd, who I very much enjoyed in STAGE STRUCK (1948).

Tom Neal leads the bad guys. The cast also includes Pierre Watkin, Tristram Coffin, Sid Melton, Robert Kent, Riley Hill, and Robert Carson.

RADAR SECRET SERVICE was directed by Sam Newfield and photographed by Ernest Miller for Lippert Pictures.

The movie is part of VCI's nine-film Forgotten Noir & Crime Vol. 4. It's a beautiful print.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

2015 D23 Expo: Disneyland: The Exhibit - Part 2

Here's the second part of my visit to the amazing Walt Disney Archives presentation, "Disneyland: The Exhibit."

Click any photo to enlarge for a closer look.

While touring the Archives exhibit I had the pleasure of meeting Ron and David DeFore, sons of actor Don DeFore. They were so nice and friendly. When I shared how much I enjoy their dad in RAMROD (1947) they exclaimed "You're a real fan!"

The next day Ron and David did an hour-long presentation on their Dad's 1957-1961 Frontierland restaurant, Don DeFore's Silver Banjo Barbecue. More on that in a future post!

From Peter Pan's Flight:

The Matterhorn Bobsled ride:

Monsanto's Adventure Through Inner Space:

Mr. Toad's Wild Ride:

A float from the Main Street Electrical Parade:

One of my favorite things in the exhibit was learning that actor Harold Lloyd took a number of 3D photographs of the park in 1955, the year it opened. The photos were displayed on a monitor and were absolutely fascinating!

Maps, brochures, ticket books, and more!

And so the exhibit comes to an end...

...but as Walt said, Disneyland will never be finished!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

2015 D23 Expo: Disneyland: The Exhibit - Part 1

This year's D23 Expo was a terrific experience in many ways, but for many of us the highlight was the elaborate exhibit from the Walt Disney Archives, Disneyland: The Exhibit.

As will be seen below, the exhibit displayed everything from maps to ride vehicles, tickets to costumes, parade floats to postcards. What a walk down memory lane! If there weren't so much to do at the Expo, I could easily have spent a couple more hours going through the exhibit more slowly, savoring every last detail. As it is, I'm doing that a bit revisiting my photos!

Click any photo to enlarge for a closer look.

The charming Little Golden Book LITTLE MAN OF DISNEYLAND was just reissued. Here's the original cover art:

John Lasseter loves this story about a leprechaun displaced by Disneyland construction to much that he was filmed reading it aloud, and it plays on a continuous loop in the exhibit.

Best of all, during the Expo weekend Disneyland unveiled the Little Man of Disneyland's tiny home in a tree near the Indiana Jones ride in Adventureland. There's more on the Little Man of Disneyland at D23.

Ticket Number 1 for Opening Day of Disneyland:

Artwork to announce the grand opening:

The Mouseketeers were at Opening Day. Here are Cubby and Annette's uniforms:

Pirates of the Caribbean memorabilia...

...and artifacts from the Alice in Wonderland ride:

Place settings and decor from the fabled private restaurant Club 33 in New Orleans Square:

Betty Taylor's gowns for her role as Slue Foot Sue in the Golden Horseshoe Review:

A vintage popcorn cart which was used in the park:

Ephemera about various restaurants, including Aunt Jemima's Kitchen...

... and Hills Bros. Coffee House:

Please visit again tomorrow for Part 2 on this amazing exhibit!

For even more photos of this exhibit, please visit MiceChat.

Previously: Back From the 2015 D23 Expo!

Monday, August 24, 2015

A Birthday Tribute to Preston Foster

One of my favorite actors, Preston Foster, was born in New Jersey on August 24, 1900.

A multitalented man, Foster was a singer and composer in addition to being an actor with 117 film and TV credits between 1929 and 1967. In 1964 he also cofounded the El Camino Playhouse in Oceanside, California.

Foster loved sailing and fishing, and during World War II he served his country in the U.S. Coast Guard, becoming a Captain in the Temporary Reserve. He was later an honorary Commodore in the Coast Guard Auxiliary, in which he was active for many years. (I was interested to locate photos of Foster at Coast Guard Auxiliary events here, here, and here.) Foster was thus perfectly cast in the TV series WATERFRONT (1954-56) in which he played a tugboat captain in L.A. Harbor.

Another interesting note is that Preston Foster was one of the very first actors who received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, as part of an initial demo project.

Foster did a bit of everything, including pre-Code melodramas, romantic comedies, Westerns, family films, war movies, and film noir. He was the charming leading man of both "A" and "B" pictures and also played many substantial supporting roles.

I must have first seen Preston Foster on screen in the MGM musical THE HARVEY GIRLS (1946), which I initially saw at a young age and have seen countless times since.

There's something about Foster's genial personality I find very appealing, especially when he had the chance to play romantic leads. My personal favorites from his long career include the most enjoyable "B" film DOUBLE DANGER (1938), in which he's a jewel thief reformed by love; TWICE BLESSED (1945), a forerunner of THE PARENT TRAP (1961) in which he and ex-wife Gail Patrick are the parents of identical twins Lyn and Lee Wilde; and THE HUNTED (1948), in which he's a lovelorn cop.

Foster also appeared in notable films such as I AM A FUGITIVE FROM A CHAIN GANG (1932), John Ford's THE INFORMER (1935) and SUBMARINE PATROL (1938), the excellent war film GUADALCANAL DIARY (1943), the classic "horse film" MY FRIEND FLICKA (1943) with Roddy McDowall (seen below, with Rita Johnson), Samuel Fuller's I SHOT JESSE JAMES (1949), and the film noir classic KANSAS CITY CONFIDENTIAL (1952).

With Carole Lombard in LOVE BEFORE BREAKFAST (1936):

Facing off with Joel McCrea in RAMROD (1947):

Preston Foster passed away on July 14, 1970. He was buried at El Camino Memorial Park in San Diego, California.

There's more information on Foster's post-retirement life in the 2004 San Diego Union Tribune obituary of his widow, actress Sheila Darcy (UNION PACIFIC).

Foster had one child, Stephanie, from an earlier marriage. Stephanie passed away just a few weeks ago at the age of 76.

With Joan Fontaine in YOU CAN'T BEAT LOVE (1937):

Although I'm a fan, I was still a bit surprised to realize that to date I've reviewed over two dozen of Preston Foster's films! Happily there are still many ahead of me to enjoy for the first time.