Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Former 1960's pop princess Sandie Shaw as Ophelia, in a 1974 production of Shakespeare's Hamlet. We'll be honest: it's been a while since we've read Hamlet, or seen a production of it, but we don't recall a scene like this at all.
We admit it: in the original Doctor McDreamy Wars of the early 1960's, we would have picked swarthy, intense Vince "Ben Casey" Edwards over clean-cut, wholesome Richard "Dr. Kildare" Chamberlain. However, Dr. Dick certainly had his well-scrubbed, boyish charm, and we must concede that he carried off an angora sweater exceedingly well:
Both Chamberlain and Edwards parlayed their massive television fame into brief singing careers; on that playing field, we give the edge to Chamberlain. Edwards was an extremely competent, Sinatra-style crooner; Chamberlain's quaky baritone, quite frankly, was more distinctive in its disarming cheesiness.
We also must credit Chamberlain with remarkable longevity; unlike many TV heartthrobs, whose shelf life is exceedingly short, Chamberlain gracefully moved into musical theater (most notably the revival of My Fair Lady) as well as films; and in 1983, he scored a huge triumph with Barbara Stanwyck in the epic mini-series, The Thorn Birds. Most recently, of course, Chamberlain confirmed and fulfilled many a fantasy when he came out in his autobiography, Shattered Love. What's up, Doc, indeed.
March 31, 1934
March 31, 1934
Monday, March 30, 2009
One of our favorites: the heart-stoppingly handsome John Gavin. Often dismissed as cardboard or wooden, we think he's underrated; good-looking as he was, we're sure Kubrick and Hitchcock wouldn't have cast him in Spartacus or Psycho (both 1960) if they didn't think he could bring something to the table besides an utterly fabulous chest. Although, frankly, that would be enough for us.
Equally at home in the glossy environs of Imitation of Life (1959) and Back Street (1961) as he was on the dusty trails of his Western TV series, Destry (1964), Gavin also proved he could ably spoof his square-jawed matinee idol image in Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967) -- unlike Hitch or Kubrick, we think it's a fairly safe bet that Ross Hunter, who cast Gavin in five films (including the three mentioned above) was undoubtedly smitten.
JOHN GAVIN'S QUINTET OF ROSS HUNTER PRODUCTIONS, FROM TOP: IMITATION OF LIFE (1959) WITH LANA TURNER; MIDNIGHT LACE (1960) WITH DORIS DAY; TAMMY TELL ME TRUE (1961) WITH SANDRA DEE; BACK STREET (1961) WITH SUSAN HAYWARD; THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE (1967) WITH JULIE ANDREWS
Gavin's career faltered after Millie; he famously lost the role of James Bond when Sean Connery was lured back for Diamonds are Forever (1971). He turned his attention to the stage, appearing in, among other productions, Michael Bennett's See Saw (1973). Gavin replaced the original male lead, Ken Howard, in the original Broadway production with future Knots Landing star Michele Lee, and then toured the country with the show, opposite Lucie Arnaz.
After two terms as President of the Screen Actors' Guild, and a string of guest spots on such obligatory 1970's fare as The Love Boat and Fantasy Island, Gavin withdrew from entertainment and became the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico during the Reagan administration; he is currently retired, and, judging by the most recent photo below, looking just dandy.
We love the hat and the knit tie.
Drug addiction, divorce, suicide attempts, bankruptcy, foreclosure... even with all the bad news Willie Aames has had to bear recently, he at least can rest easy that he no longer has to wear outfits like this anymore:
Unless, of course, the producers of his new reality show insist upon it.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Mean Dirty Pirate's brilliant Teen Beat post got us thinking about 70's teen idols; frankly, most of them were just too damn skinny and girly for our sturdier tastes: we mean, Shaun Cassidy was sweet and all, and looked as if he'd give you great tips for keeping your hair well-conditioned and bouncy, but we wouldn't want to bounce it, if y'know what we mean. Every now and then, however, a slightly sexier, more dangerous specimen found their way into the pages of Teen Beat, Tiger Beat, 16, and their ilk. Donny Osmond and Tony DeFranco would probably bring flowers and then help your mom clean up after dinner; Greg Evigan looks as if he would be bring pot, and Brett Hudson would probably feel your mom up after dinner. Vive la différence!
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Oh, those randy royals. Lady Louis (Edwina) Mountbatten, later Countess Mountbatten of Burma and the last Vicerine of India, scandalized high society when she engaged in an affair with a well-known black entertainer. In 1932, the British newspaper The People printed a blind item, in which it alleged
'a scandal which has shaken society to the very depths. It concerns one of the leading hostesses in the country - a woman highly connected and immensely rich.
'Her association with a coloured man became so marked that they were the talk of the West End. Then one day the couple were caught in compromising circumstances.
'The sequel is that the society woman has been given hints to clear out of England for a couple of years to let the affair blow over and the hint comes from a quarter which cannot be ignored'.
Nearly everyone in Britain knew that the hostess with the mostest in question was Edwina Mountbatten; and soon, the "coloured man" was named as Paul Robeson.
The ensuing libel trial and media circus played out to a salivating throng; in the end, The People could find no evidence to support its claims, and was forced the issue a humble apology and pay full damages to Lady Mountbatten. The irony was that the shady Lady was, indeed, embroiled in an affair with a black entertainer -- but not Paul Robeson. Instead, she was getting royally ______ by the elegant, sophisticated, and sensationally well-hung nightclub entertainer, Leslie Hutchinson.
Hutch, as he was known, besides being the darling of cafe society, was also an astonishingly prolific cocksman who managed to father seven children by various women, and found time to have affairs with Cole Porter and Ivor Novello.
He certainly cast a spell over Lady Mountbatten, who reportedly commissioned a diamond-encrusted penis sheath from Cartier for her ivory-tickling lover, and who, according to legend, became inextricably sexually "locked" with Hutchinson, requiring the services of private surgeons! It all must have been rather appalling for her handsome, dashing, cuckolded husband, Lord Louis Mountbatten; however, the good Lord was involved in extramarital affairs of his own -- and, much like his wife, was none too fussy about the gender. In fact, his whispered nickname was "Lord Mountbottom."
Eventually, Lady Mountbatten's passion for Hutch receeded, as she continued to voraciously take new lovers. Plagued by scandal, and unprotected by family connections and royal titles, Hutch sadly drifted into professional obscurity and social ruin. At the end, he was an alcoholic, bloated, penniless, sad remnant of his once glorious and gorgeous self; his funeral, in 1969, was attended by only 42 mourners.
As for Edwina and Louis Mountbatten, their curious marriage continued until her death in 1960; no shrinking violet in her advancing years she, Edwina continued to court scandal with an intense relationship with India's first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.
According to sordid gossip, the Prime Minister was no stranger to bisexual escapades himself, and Mountbatten, now Viceroy of India, engaged in a bizarre ménage à trois with his wife and her lover in a last ditch attempt to maintain some sexual contact with a woman whose physical need for her husband had vanished long ago.
In a ghastly, ghoulish coda to the Mountbattens' decadent tale, Louis Mountbatten died in 1979 as the result of an IRA assasination plot. A bomb was detonated on his 30-foot sailboat; his grandson and his elder daughter's mother-in-law were also killed in the attack. The fourth victim was "a 15-year-old youth from County Fermanagh who was working as a crew member." At the time, Mountbatten's close relationships with teenage boys were raising more than a few eyebrows.
We've given you most of the good bits, but you can read the whole sticky mess here.