Amoeblog

Jay Silverheels - Happy American Indian Heritage Month

Posted by Eric Brightwell, November 24, 2010 02:00pm | Post a Comment
Jay Silverheels

Jay Silverheels was a Kanien'kehá:ka actor born Harold J. Smith on May 26th, 1912. He was born on the Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation reservation, the most populous First Nation in Canada, and the only nation in which all six Iroquois nations live together. He was the third of eleven children born to Major George Smith, the most decorated Native American soldier in the Canadian Army, who served in World War I.



Six Nations

Harold began going by the name Jay and was given the nickname Silverheels when he played on the lacrosse team, the Mohawk Stars, at sixteen. He later moved across the Niagara River to play lacrosse on the North American Amateur Lacrosse Association team, the RochestJay Silverheels er Iroquois. He also boxed and in 1938 placed second in the middleweight section of the Golden Gloves tournament. He lived for a time in Buffalo, where he had his first son, Ron, with Edna Lickers.

The previous year he'd begun working in film, as an extra in the musical comedy, Make a Wish. He married his first wife, Bobbi, and they had a daughter named Sharon. They divorced in 1943. Over the next few years he appeared, usually uncredited, as a stuntman or extra in The Sea Hawk, Too Many Girls, Hudson's Bay, Wester Union, Jungle Girl, This Woman is Mine, Valley of the Sun, Perils of Nyoka, Good Morning, Judge, Daredevils of the West, The Girl from Monterrey, Northern Pursuit, The Phantom, I Am an American, Raiders at the Border, Passage to Marseille, The Tiger Woman, Haunted Harbor, Lost in a Harem and Song of the Sarong.

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Tom Bosley (aka Happy Days' Dad) Died Yesterday at Age 83

Posted by Billyjam, October 20, 2010 05:25am | Post a Comment
Happy Days scene with Tom Bosley as Howard Cunningham

As reported by Associated Press, the actor Tom Bosley, best known for his role as the dad in the Tom Bosleylong-running and popular TV sitcom Happy Days, died yesterday after suffering heart failure at a hospital near his Palm Springs home. He was 83 years of age.

As father Howard Cunningham to Ron Howard's character Richie in ABC TV's comedy Happy Days, which ran from 1974 to 1984 and more recently in reruns on TV Land, Bosley's role became a familiar and always reassuring figure. Mr. Cunningham was typically propped in his armchair, offering fatherly wisdom from over his outspread newspaper. For this role Bosley was ranked number 9 in the "50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time" by TV Guide.

While the TV show Happy Days was how most people became familiar with Bosley, he had enjoyed a successful stage career prior to his Happy Days role. Fifteen years earlier in his career he won a Tony for his performance as the lead/title role in Fiorello! on Broadway. Post Happy Days Bosley played roles such as the lead in the crime-solving priest TV show The Father Dowling Mysteries in the late 80's/early 90's.

Black Cinema Part III - the TV age and beyond

Posted by Eric Brightwell, February 15, 2010 12:42pm | Post a Comment
This is the first installment in a three part history of early Black Cinema.
To read Part I, covering the independent Race Movie years of the 1910s and '20s, click here
To read Part II, covering the Hollywood Studio years of the 1930s and '40s, click here



In American silent films, minority roles were almost invariably filled by white actors in exaggerated and offensive make-up. Latinos in silent films usually played greasers and bandits; Asian-Americans usually played waiters, tongs and laundrymen; and blacks usually played bellboys, stable hands, maids or simply "buffoons." Not surprisingly, both Asian-Americans and blacks responded by launching their own alternative silent cinemas. But whereas Asian-American Silent Cinema quickly faltered, silent, black "race movies" flourished. In the 1930s and '40s, Hollywood began to phase out the practice of blackface (while continuing the practice of redface and yellowface) and successfully wooed race movies' sizable and thus profitable audience. By the 1950s, with its enormous budgets and star power, Hollywood had effectively co-opted and destroyed the independent Black Cinema known as race movies. The result was that there were far fewer examples of Black Cinema in the decade. In the years that followed, as TV chipped away at film’s dominance, a few black actors began appearing on the small screen in shows like Beulah (1950-1953) and The Amos 'n Andy Show (1951-1953) which, whilst hardly socially progressive, at least offered more acting opportunities for black actors.

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Happy 40th birthday Sesame Street!

Posted by Whitmore, November 10, 2009 10:40am | Post a Comment
sesame street
There have been 4212 episodes.
 
The letter E has been featured 150 times.
 
There are 6 steps on the stoop at 123 Sesame Street.
 
There are an estimated 100,000 different Sesame Street products sold world wide.
 
There are 368 bottle caps are in Bert’s collection.
 
Over 440 celebrities have appeared on the show.
 
Jim Henson Company has built over 5000 puppets for the show.
 
Big Bird is 8 ft 2 in. tall; he’s been played since episode 1 by Caroll Spinney, age 75; he also does Oscar. The costume is made up of nearly 6,000 feathers.
 
Big Bird is perpetually 6 years old. 
 
The original 7 characters: Big Bird, Oscar, Kermit, Grover, Bert, Ernie and Cookie Monster. 
 
Elmo is years old. He’s been on the show for 25 years.
 
2 days before its premiere, a 30-minute preview entitled This Way to Sesame Street was shown on NBC. The show was financed by a $50,000 grant from Xerox.
 
For its debut Sesame Street reached only 67.6% of the nation, but earned a 3.3 Nielsen rating, or 1.9 million households.
 
By 1979, 9 million American children under the age of 6 were watching Sesame Street daily. 4 out of 5 children had watched it over a 6-week period, and 90% of children from low-income inner-city homes regularly viewed the show.
 
There are 20 international independent versions and is broadcast in over 140 countries.
 
Sesame Street has won 122 Emmy awards, the most ever for 1 show. 
 
All the Muppets have 4 fingers, except Cookie Monster, who has 5.
 
Sesame Street has 2 stars on Hollywood blvd 1 for Jim Henson, 1 for Big Bird.
 
“Rubber Duckie,” sung by the Muppet character Ernie (voiced by Jim Henson), reached #16 on the Billboard Hot 100 in September 1970.
 
4 First Ladies have appeared on Sesame Street: Barbara Bush, Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush, and Michelle Obama.
 
Today’s anniversary show will feature H, the 8th letter of the alphabet, and the number 40.




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).

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