Night Shift 1982

This is one of the first movies I ever rented. It was one of the few left on a shelf at the video store…remember those? I had never heard of it but it was a good comedy.

This little movie from the early 80s gets forgotten but it a very good comedy. Ron Howard directed this movie about straight-laced morgue attendant Chuck Lumley (Henry Winkler) who gets a wonderfully crazy co-worker Bill Blazejowski (Michael Keaton in his breakout role) who talks Chuck into running a brothel out of the morgue…Chuck and Bill become unlikely pimps (or Love Brokers) after a group of call girl’s pimp gets killed by being dropped out of a window. Chuck falls for one of the prostitutes who is his neighbor named Belinda (Shelley Long).

Henry Winkler plays a character far removed from his Happy Day’s character…the cool Fonz. Henry is very good in this movie and is perfect as the straight man for Michael Keaton.

Micheal Keaton is great in this movie. His timing is perfect and foreshadows some of his comedies such as Mr. Mom and Beetlejuice.

Shelley Long had reservations about playing a call girl but decided to do it…Long, Winkler, and Keaton worked really well together. This was released a few months before she starred in Cheers.

Something to watch for…Kevin Costner makes one of his first big-screen appearance in a nonspeaking role in this movie.

Some quotes:

Chuck Lumley: As we sit here and idly chat, there are woman, female human beings, rolling around in strange beds with strange men, and we are making money from that.

Bill Blazejowski: Is this a great country, or what?

If you get a chance to watch this movie…give it a chance. It even has a 80s music montage.

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Valerie Harper 1939-2019

Another part of childhood is gone today. Valerie Harper passed away at 80.  I always loved the show Rhoda and nothing screamed the seventies like that show did. Rhoda was a strong female lead character and Valerie Harper played her wonderfully.

Before the hype of the Dallas’s Who Shot Jr episode that aired in1974, was the  Rhoda getting married 2 part episode. Many people tuned in…That episode was the highest-rated television episode of the 1970s until Roots came along in 1977. More than 53 million Americans tuned in to watch.

An article about Valerie…

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/a-generation-valerie-harper-s-rhoda-defined-imaginative-boho-style-1235876

 

 

Jan Smithers

When WKRP show came on I knew it was different than any show before it. The show had a great cast and every character had their own unique personality. The show started when Andy Travis came in as a program director and change the stale station to Rock and Roll…the writers wisely made it an ensemble show.

The two women on the show were smart and beautiful…Bailey Quarters and Jennifer Marlowe….played by Jan Smithers and Loni Anderson respectively.

Jan was born Karin Jan Smithers, on July 3, 1949. She grew up in Woodland Hills, California.

Jan was in high school when one of her friends asked her to go for surfing. At the beach, while she was watching her friend surf, she was approached by two men who carried cameras. They told Jan about their search for a Californian girl for one of their articles. She agreed, and that changed her life forever.

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Jan was featured on the cover of the March 21, 1966 edition ‘Newsweek. An article in the magazine, titled ‘The Teen-Agers: A Newsweek Survey of What They’re Really Like, profiled Jan and six more teenagers. Jan was the only one of all the teenagers featured in the article who became a famous personality later. The article pushed her modeling career, and her mother helped break into Hollywood.

Jan got her breakthrough role of ‘Bailey Quarters’ in the ‘CBS’ sitcom ‘WKRP in Cincinnati.’ She continued her role for 86 episodes, from 1978 to1982.

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Anissa Jones (Buffy)

Anissa was on the popular family comedy called Family Affair. Everyone knew her as Buffy and her TV brother (Johnny Whitaker) as Jody. I watched the show in the early seventies. I watched in syndication and I grew up with Buffy and Jody. It seemed unreal in 1976 when I heard on the news that Anissa Jones had died at the age of 18.

At eight years old, Anissa was cast as Buffy on Family Affair, which aired from 1966 until 1971. Just a year before she started on Family Affair, her parents had gone through a terrible divorce with a long and bitter custody battle for her and her little brother. Sadly, her father died shortly after he was awarded custody in 1973.

She did appear in an Elvis movie “The Trouble With Girls” in 1969.  Family Affair was the last thing she did besides a Dick Cavett appearance.

She was known to be a caring person as a kid up until she died. Earl Graham was the janitor on the set of the show Family Affair. When he passed away during the third year of the show, the cast and crew attended his funeral. By the following Monday, everyone was ready to get back to work. To Anissa, it seemed like everyone was acting like Earl had never existed at all. Anissa went to her mother and asked if she could take an ad out in Variety saying good-bye to her good friend. The ad cost Anissa $400.00. Anissa’s Mom said that was one of her proudest moments as a mother

She was up for the Regan MacNeilpart in The Exorcist but the director was fearful that people would think “Buffy” had been possessed. Her friends and family said she was relieved when she was turned down because she wanted to be with her friends in school. She was also invited to try out for “Easy” Steensma in Taxi Driver but turned it down. She was very intelligent but fell into the wrong crowd.

In 1975 she started to skip school and take drugs and ended up in a juvenile hall for a bit. She eventually dropped out of high school working at restaurants until she was 18 in 1976 and she gained control of 180,000 dollars she got from Family Affair. She fell into the drug culture

On August 28, 1976, Anissa died of a drug overdose. It was ruled an accidental with cocaine, PCP, Seconal, and Quaaludes found in her system. She was at a party with friends. The coroner would call it one of the most massive overdoses he’d ever seen.

 

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Those Who Could Not Escape Their Character.

I’m not saying that these actors and actresses never acted in anything else but they ended up trapped in the role that ended up defining them good or bad. This list could have been much longer.

Bob Denver – Gilligan – I just picked Bob because he was the star of the show but a point could be argued that the entire cast of this show was eternally typecast. Bob Denver also played Maynard Krebs (which I loved) on The Many Lives of Dobie Gillis but Gilligan wins out.

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Mark Hamill – Luke Skywalker – After he auditioned for the title role in 1983 movie Amadeus the director dismissed the idea saying “I don’t want Luke Skywalker in this film.” He has broken a little out of the image by doing voiceovers like the Joker in Batman animated cartoons.

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Carrie Fischer – Princess Leia – Harrison Ford was able to break out more successfully than his other two co-stars in Star Wars. Carrie Fischer acted in a lot of movies but could never shake Princess Leia…she is forever frozen in time in the minds of teenage nerds at the time and now.

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Christopher Reeve – Superman – He is said to have stated that he spent his career trying to “escape the cape.”… When I think of Superman…I do think of Christopher Reeve’s version

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George Reeves – Superman – See Above

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Barbara Eden – Jeannie – She appeared in many TV  movies but nothing topped beautiful Jeannie. Larry Hagman did manage to escape his character in I Dream of Jeannie into another…J.R. Ewing.

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Elizabeth Montgomery – Samantha – Everyone’s favorite witch. Like Eden she did many TV movies…a lot of them really good but is known for Samantha.

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Don Adams – Maxwell Smart -Adams also provided the voices for the animated series Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales  and Inspector Gadget but was

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Anthony Perkins – Is Norman Bates and there is no arguing that.

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Robert Englund – Freddie Kruger – and I don’t believe he minds at all.

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Ruth Gordon

Probably the most well-known role she played was the character of Maude in Harold and Maude. She is also remembered as Minnie Castevet in Rosemary’s Baby. Ruth Gordon was also a member of the Algonquin Round Table. She was a brilliant writer and actress. She was a stage actress mostly until the 1940s when she started to appear in films. She went back to the stage until the 60s where she started to be in films up to her death.

Ruth was born in 1896 in Wollaston, Massachusetts. She was a very successful writer and actress.

In 1915 she made her Broadway debut in Peter Pan in the role of Nibs. Her performance endeared her to the New York critic Alexander Woollcott, who introduced her to the famous Algonquin Round Table, a group that included George S. Kaufman, Robert Benchley, Edna Ferber, Alice Duer Miller, Heywood Broun, Dorothy Parker, and Harpo Marx.

Throughout the next three decades, Ruth appeared in several plays by playwrights such as Henrik Ibsen, Anton Chekhov, and Booth Tarkington. She enjoyed her greatest stage triumph in a 1936 production of The Country-Wife at London’s Old Vic.

She married screenwriter and director Garson Kanin in 1942. Ruth and Garson collaborated on many plays and screenplays together.

She appeared in a handful of films during the early 1940s, including Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1940), Dr. Ehrlich’s Magic Bullet (1940), Two-Faced Woman (1941; Greta Garbo’s final film), Edge of Darkness (1942), and Action in the North Atlantic (1943). She then returned to the stage and did not appear in another film for 22 years.

She came back to film in1965 with Inside Daisy Clover ( best-supporting-actress Oscar nomination). She won an Oscar for her supporting role in Rosemary’s Baby (1968), and she developed a strong cult following with her offbeat characters in Where’s Poppa (1970) and Harold and Maude (1971). She appeared in many television programs and made-for-TV movies during the 1960s and ’70s and won an Emmy in 1979 for her role on an episode of the popular sitcom Taxi. Gordon and Kanin also collaborated on one more writing project, the TV movie Hardhat and Legs (1980).

Ruth Gordon died on August 28, 1985, and Garson Kanin died on March 13, 1999.

Awards from IMDB

Academy Awards

1969 Winner
OscarBest Actress in a Supporting Role
Rosemary’s Baby (1968) 

1966 Nominee
OscarBest Actress in a Supporting Role
Inside Daisy Clover (1965)

1953 Nominee
OscarBest Writing, Story and Screenplay
Pat and Mike (1952) 
Shared with: Garson Kanin

1951 Nominee
OscarBest Writing, Story and Screenplay
Adam’s Rib (1949) 

Shared with: Garson Kanin

1948 Nominee

OscarBest Writing, Original Screenplay
A Double Life (1947)

Shared with: Garson Kanin

https://www.encyclopedia.com/women/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/gordon-ruth-1896-1985

Edna Purviance

When I first started to read about and watch Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton in the 90s I noticed in most of Chaplin’s early short films this beautiful lady with expressive eyes as his leading lady. Chaplin never found a better leading lady than Edna.

Edna was born in Paradise Valley, Nevada in 1895. In 1900 her parents moved to Lovelock where they ran the Singer Hotel, though they later divorced. Edna was musically inclined and played the piano well. Shortly after her high school graduation, she moved to San Fransisco, took a business course and began work as a secretary.

While searching for a leading lady in 1915 an associate of Chaplin suggested a girl he remembered as a regular at a local San Francisco café. After rejecting several chorus girls, Chaplin arranged a meeting with Purviance, who he was impressed by her beauty and personality but still wasn’t sure she was right. They went to a party and Chaplin claimed he could hypnotize her and she said he could not in front of everyone… she ended up going along with the joke and pretended to be hypnotized and that won Chaplin over.

In real life as in the films, Purviance and Chaplin were romantically involved, and they remained close friends even after their affair was over in 1918. While he entertained serious thoughts of marriage, he also had doubts that he expressed in his 1964 Autobiography. Edna also had her reservations as well.

Chaplin continued to feel not only friendship but responsibility for Purviance, and she drew a small monthly stipend from his film company for the remainder of her life. Edna was his leading lady from 1915-1923.

Purviance eventually married John Squire, a Pan-American Airlines pilot, in 1938. They remained married until his death in 1945. Edna died of throat cancer on January 13, 1958.

A quote from Edna from IMDB

Mr. Chaplin asked me if I would like to act in pictures with him. I laughed at the idea but agreed to try it. I guess he took me because I had nothing to unlearn and he could teach me in his own way. I want to tell you that I suffered untold agonies. Eyes seemed to be everywhere. I was simply frightened to death. But he had unlimited patience in directing me and teaching me.