Amoeblog

The Art Of The LP Cover- Who Is That?

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, July 14, 2012 02:55pm | Post a Comment

Today's feature is a collection of ill advised portrait covers. 
Some are worse than others, I think that the Frank Sinatra / Lena Horne pairing might be my favorite.

Remembering Virginia O'Brien

Posted by Whitmore, April 19, 2009 07:40pm | Post a Comment

One of my all time favorite comedic actresses was Virginia O’Brien, and yesterday would have been her 90th birthday. She was also a popular singer in the 1940’s and often co-starred in MGM musicals with Red Skelton. O’Brien was best known for her deadpan expression as she sang, a gimmick she stumbled upon by accident at the Los Angeles Assistance League Playhouse's opening night performance of a musical comedy revue called Meet the People. The 20 year old O’Brien became literally paralyzed with stage fright as she performed her number. In her terror, standing completely still, wide eyed and expressionless, she managed to finish her song, and the audience thought she was absolutely hilarious. Two weeks later she signed a film contract and in less than a month Virginia O’Brien found herself opening on Broadway.
 
Some of her films include The Big Store (1941) with the Marx Brothers, Ship Ahoy (1942), Du Barry Was a Lady (1943), and Merton of the Movies (1947), all with Red Skelton. Then there are Thousands Cheer (1943), The Harvey Girls (1946) with Judy Garland, Ziegfeld Follies (1946), Francis in the Navy (1955) and Gus (1976). After a guest appearance in 1948’s short film Musical Merry-Go-Round, O'Brien was dropped from her MGM contract, a victim of the old Hollywood studio star system fading. But she found continued success on stage and with television appearances on a variety of shows such as Ed Sullivan, Jack Carter, Steve Allen and Merv Griffin. She also created a cabaret act, mostly a retrospective of her MGM career, and during the 1980’s released an album, recorded live at the legendary Masquers Club in Hollywood.
 
On January 16, 2001 at age 81, Virginia O’Brien died suddenly of a heart attack at the Motion Picture and Television Hospital in Woodland Hills. She’s buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale.



Julius Henry "Groucho" Marx

Posted by Whitmore, October 2, 2007 06:25pm | Post a Comment

Several years back I went to a Halloween party dressed as Groucho Marx, specifically as his character Quincy Adams Wagstaff, the eccentric and barmy president of Huxley College from the classic 1932 film “Horse Feathers.”  I wore the cap and gown, a pair of baggy trousers, an ill fitted shirt, worn leather shoes; I painted on the moustache and the eyebrows. I did it up right. When I arrived at the party I found myself milling around the bar looking for some whiskey. Nearby was a crowd in their late 20’s or early 30’s dressed to the absolute nines. I suspect “glamorous perfection"  (rented perfection?) was the concept behind their costumes, whatever it was, they hit it right. I sort of knew them from another party; I also knew they worked as grammar school teachers. I said hey and hello, they said hey and asked me about my costume.  

“Are you a professor of some sort?” one of them asked.
“I’m dressed as Groucho Marx” I replied, cigar in hand.
They all blinked and dimly asked, ‘Who’s Groucho Marx?”

One of the saddest and most preposterous nights of my life, right at that moment I knew there wasn’t going to be enough whiskey or conversation or beautiful women to keep me at this shindig for long, or this pin-brained world. Soon I said my adieus and I wandered back home dazed, stunned by it all … and I wonder why I’m depressed sometimes!

Anyway, today, October 2nd, is the birthday to a comic cultural icon, and the inspiration behind those novelty glasses, Julius Henry "Groucho" Marx.  Happy 117th birthday Groucho!