Amoeblog

Art Clokey 1921 - 2010

Posted by Whitmore, January 12, 2010 08:31am | Post a Comment
Art Clokey
Art Clokey
, the animator who created Gumby and Davey and Goliath, both coming into being by way of stop motion clay animation, died this last weekend at his home in Los Osos, California. He was 88.
 
Fashioned from a little green slab of clay, Gumby made his television debut in 1956 on The Howdy Doody Show. The following year The Gumby Show premiered. Along with his constant pony pal and sidekick Pokey, together they rambled though what could best be described as a series of gentle but weird LSD trips. Their colorful adventures against a toy strewn landscape often included Gumby's pestering nemseses, The Blockheads. (According to his son, Clokey did try LSD once, but under medical supervision and years after he created Gumby. I like to think he tripped with Cary Grant and Steve Allen.)Gumby and Pokey
 
Though the initial show was short-lived, Gumby enjoyed a comeback in 1961 running through 1968, then again in the 1980s and once again in the 1995 feature film, Gumby: The Movie, also directed by Art Clokey. Eventually 233 episodes were produced. Davey and Goliath, which ran in the 1960’s and 70’s, had over 300 episodes underwritten by the Lutheran Church of America.
 
Born as Arthur Charles Farrington in Detroit on Oct. 12, 1921, he lived with his father after his parents divorced. But at age nine Art’s father was killed in an automobile accident and instead of rejoining his mother, he was placed in an orphanage near Hollywood. Art was adopted sometime later by Joseph Waddell Clokey, an established composer and music professor at Pomona College in Claremont.
 
Art Clokey earned a bachelor’s degree from Miami University in Ohio and later attended Hartford Seminary in Connecticut, intent on becoming an Episcopal priest. He left soon after and entered the University of Southern California, where he studied film with Slavko Vorkapich, a pioneer in modern montage techniques. In 1955, Clokey made a student film, Gumbasia, with animated clay shapes gyrating to a jazz score. The film was the inspiration for the later television series. (The film is included on the DVD Gumby Essentials, released in 2007 by Classic Media.)
 
In 2006 Art Clokey was the subject of a documentary film, Gumby Dharma.
 
Art Clokey’s first marriage, to Ruth Parkander ended in divorce. His second wife, Gloria, died in 1998. He is survived by his son, Joe, a stepdaughter, Holly Harman, and three grandchildren. Another daughter, Ann, died in 1974.

Twenty nine years ago tonight ...

Posted by Whitmore, December 8, 2009 11:15pm | Post a Comment
John Lennon new york
Twenty nine years ago
tonight I was at home, safe in my tiny triplex, watching Monday Night Football, lounging on a very ugly, distastefully yellow and brown recliner, recently found near the dumpster at the local Jack in the Box where my girlfriend worked. We lived together, right around the corner on lucky 13th Street in Newhall, California. I worked at a nearby liquor store in Saugus, which explained our extremely diverse bar in our dining room. Anyway, I was drinking cinnamon schnapps, intent on just wasting away another Monday night watching football. The Dolphins and Patriots game had gone into overtime when Howard Cosell announced to the nation that John Lennon had been shot in New York City. (A guy named Smith, I believe, won the game on a field goal for the Miami Dolphins.) Seconds later the phone started ringing off the hook, there was a lot of confusion and tears and lame hopeless jokes.

Anyway, here are some John Lennon quotes:
 
“Music is everybody's possession. It's only publishers who think that people own it.”
 
“I'm not afraid of death because I don't believe in it. It's just getting out of one car, and into another.}
 
"If being an egomaniac means I believe in what I do and in my art or my music, then in that respect you can call me that... I believe in what I do, and I'll say it."
 
“I believe in God, but not as one thing, not as an old man in the sky. I believe that what people call God is something in all of us. I believe that what Jesus and Mohammed and Buddha and all the rest said was right. It's just that the translations have gone wrong.”
 
“As usual, there is a great woman behind every idiot.”
 
"Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that
ruins it for me."
 
“Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.”
 
“If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there'd be peace.”
 
"Possession isn't nine-tenths of the law. It's nine-tenths of the problem."
 
“Reality leaves a lot to the imagination.”
 
“Time you enjoy wasting was not wasted.”
 
“Part of me suspects that I'm a loser, and the other part of me thinks I'm God Almighty.”

Big Night for Andy Warhol!

Posted by Whitmore, November 12, 2009 10:07pm | Post a Comment

Well somebody out there has money to burn ... shit, crisis what financial crisis? The pathetic and mostly lifeless contemporary art market was suddenly re-animated on Wednesday at Sotheby's New York when a silk-screen painting by Andy Warhol, produced in 1962, sold for a $43.8 million, the second highest price ever for a Warhol piece. (In 2007 his painting, Green car Crash (Green Burning Car 1), sold for a mind blowing $71.7 million.) The amazing thing about all this is that the pre-auction estimate of for the silk-screen was expected to pull in only about $8 - $12 million.
 
Sotheby's contemporary art auction as a whole sold $222.8 million worth of art, more than doubling the auction house's high estimate of about $98 million in sales.  
 
The bidding for the piece 200 One Dollar Bills opened at $6 million, but instantly doubled with the very first bid from the floor – those in the biz called it “an unusually aggressive move;” I call it just weird, ego driven conspicuous consumption. Five more bidders joined in the battle before an anonymous buyer won the painting via telephone bid.
 
Described as a "hugely important work for American art history," its one of Warhol’s earliest silk-screens. The 80¼ x 92¼ inches canvas comprises of 200 $1 bills reproduced in black and gray with a blue treasury seal. The painting's anonymous seller bought the piece back in 1986 for $385,000. Nice profit!

Carl Ballantine 1917 - 2009

Posted by Whitmore, November 8, 2009 12:35pm | Post a Comment
Carl Ballantine
The comically inept magician known as The Amazing Ballantine or The Great Ballantine or the perfectly over the top moniker, Ballantine: The World's Greatest Magician, has died. The truly amazing Carl Ballantine, the comedian and character actor who is perhaps best known for his role of Lester Gruber, the confident con artist in McHale's Navy, was 92.

He died in his sleep this past week at his home in the Hollywood. I used to see him around the neighborhood all the time, usually at the post office or the grocery store. In a town jammed with celebrity sightings, it was only a Carl Ballantine sighting that would elicit an email or a phone call from several friends of mine.

Born Meyer Kessler in Chicago on September 27, 1917, he started performing magic tricks as a 9 year old, tricks learned from a local barber. By the time he was a teenager he was successful enough as a magician that he supported his family. When he felt a slight change in his magic career was needed, he renamed himself; 'Ballantine' came from an advertisement he saw for Ballantine whisky. One night when a magic trick failed miserably and he threw out a couple of one-liners to cover the error, the Amazing Ballantine was born. His career spanned vaudeville, film, television, Vegas and Broadway. Since the early 1940s, Ballantine always performed in a top hat, white tie and tails, his reason: “If the act dies, I'm dressed for it.”

In 1956 Ballantine was the first magician to play Las Vegas, appearing on a bill at the El Rancho Vegas Casino with Harry James, Betty Grable and Sammy Davis Jr. To promote the show, he rode a horse down the Las Vegas strip.

Ballantine appeared in a number of films, including The Shakiest Gun in the West, (1968), The World’s Greatest Lover (1977), Mr. Saturday Night (1992), and Speedway (1968) starring Elvis Presley, who offered Ballantine a Cadillac. His wife, comedian Ceil Cabot (who died in 2000 after 45 years of marriage), wouldn’t allow him to accept it. His most recent film appearance was in the biopic, Aimee Semple McPherson (2006).

Soupy Sales 1926 – 2009

Posted by Whitmore, October 22, 2009 11:11pm | Post a Comment
SOUPY SALES

Soupy Sales
has died. After some 25,000 pies to the face and more than 5,000 live TV appearances over the past six decades, the comedian, actor, kids show host, author and raconteur passed away at 9:51pm, Thursday at Calvary Hospice in the Bronx, New York. Sales had been having health problems and entered the hospice last week. He was 83.
 
Best known for his long-running local and network kids television shows like Lunch with Soupy Sales, he was the king during the 1950s and '60s. Known as the man who would do almost anything for a laugh including bad puns and cheap gags, his trademark was his pie-throwing and his style was improvisational; kids of all ages loved his manic zaniness and slightly blue antics and innuendos. A-list celebrities like Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Tony Curtis and Shirley MacLaine would stop by and seldom left pie free. A friend of mine tonight commented that Sales was like a “cool, hilarious soupy salesbig brother.”
 
The name Soupy Sales originates from a childhood nickname, "Soupy” and "Sales" was the suggested by a television station executive who knew another comic named Chic Sale. Born Milton Supman on January 8, 1926, in Franklinton, North Carolina, Soupy was the youngest of three sons and his parents ran a dry-goods store; according to legend his family, the only Jewish family in town, sold sheets to the Klu Klux Klan. Sales grew up in Huntington, West Virginia, and received his B.A. in Journalism from Marshall University. During the Second World War he served in the Navy in the South Pacific, and it was there he created some of his strange characters he would use years later, such as “White Fang, the meanest dog in all the United States.”
 
Sales began his Television career in 1950 on WKRC-TV in Cincinnati, hosting America's first teen dance show, Soupy's Soda Shop. In 1951 in a skit on his late night comedy series Soupy's On!, he got his first pie in the face on television. Two years later he moved to Detroit and WXYZ-TV, where his kids show Lunch with Soupy Sales was a huge success. After seven years on the air in Michigan he moved to Los Angeles in 1961.
 
He really hit his stride in 1964 when he moved the show to WNEW-TV in New York. The Soupy Sales Show, had amazing ratings and was syndicated throughout the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand during its two year run. When the series ended, Sales had appeared on 5,370 live television programs, the most in the TV history.
 
In the mid sixties Sales recorded two albums and had a Top Ten single in 1965 with "Do the Mouse;" Sales even performed "The Mouse" on the Ed Sullivan Show. Eventually his single in New York City alone sold 250,000 copies.
 
His most notorious stunt took place in New York on New Year's Day, 1965 when he ended his live broadcast by telling his viewers to “take some of those green pieces of paper with pictures of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Lincoln and Jefferson from their parents’ wallets and send them to him and he would send them a postcard from Puerto Rico.” Unfortunately the bit worked a little too well and money started rolling in, and though the money was returned, he was still suspended by WNEW for a two weeks. Of course, kids showed up picketing Channel 5 over Sales’ suspension and his popularity went through the roof.
 
During the 1970’s and 80’s Soupy was a regular on game shows like What's My Line, To Tell the Truth, The $10,000 Pyramid and Match Game. In 1985 he joined WNBC-AM as a disc jockey, and is perhaps best remembered as having the show between the two shock jocks, Don Imus and Howard Stern.
 
Over the last ten years Sales turned to writing. In 2003 he published his autobiography, Soupy Sez!: My Zany Life and Times, and a collection of his humor, Stop Me If You've Heard It!: Soupy Sales' Greatest Jokes. Finally in 2005, Soupy Sales received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
 
Soupy Sales is survived by his wife, Trudy, and two sons, Hunt and Tony, famous in their own right as musicians who have worked with the likes of David Bowie, Todd Rundgren and Iggy Pop.
 
"Be true to your teeth and they won't be false to you."




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