The St.Valentine’s Day Massacre (1967)

the st.valentine's day massacre 1967

It’s Bugs Moran versus Al Capone. It all leads up to the morning of February 14,1929 in the Clark Street Garage. This version was directed and produced by Roger Corman and written by mystery writer Howard Browne. The actors all seem to be having a good time playing gangster especially Jason Robards as Al Capone. He gives a first class lesson in how to way,way overact. This movie is narrated by Paul Frees. Biographical information is given as most characters are introduced including how and when they died. This is a live action cartoon and on that basis is a must see.

Pete (George Segal) and Frank Gusenberg(David Canary) tell a bartender from now on he’ll be buying his beer from the Bugs Moran gang. Too bad if Al Capone doesn’t like it. At a meeting of Capone’s gang Al isn’t happy. He wants Moran hit…NOW! Frank Niti (Harold J.Stone with a laughable accent) says it’ll take up to five weeks to set it up. Al’s nor going for that. Jake McGurn asks to take charge of the hit.  Hymie Weiss (Reed Hadley) sends a group of guys with machine guns to mow him down in a restaurant. The all stand outside and pump bullets into the place. Everyone is on the floor so all they hit is furniture.

Meanwhile Bugs Mean (Ralph Meeker) is meeting with his boys on how to deal with Capone. He knows the Mafia, thanks to Patsy Lolordo, is protecting Capone. He’s got to go.

Moran puts his plan into action with the help of Patsy’s lifelong friend Joey Aiello.  The hitmen stroll into Patsy’s place. That’s it for him.

The movie also does a brief bt on the death of Dion O’Bannion (John Agar) in his flower shop that led to Capone’s rise. There are a number of bits about hits on other gangsters and how the whole massacre was set up.

Look for actors Joseph Campanella as Albert Weinshank, Bruce Dern as Johnny May, Paul Richards as Charlie Fischetti, Alex Rocco as Diamond and Leo Gordon as Heitler as he buys a car.

On a number of occasions the movie never lets the facts get in the way of a good story but this is still well worth checking out.

February 14,1929

February 14,1929

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King Of The Clarinet (1938-39 Live Performances) 3 CD’S

(0:33) 1. Nightmare (Opening Theme)
(2:43) 2. Rose Room
(2:54) 3. Comes Love (with Helen Forrest)
(4:00) 4. Carioca
(2:55) 5. You’re Mine You
(2:30) 6. Go Fly A Kite (with Tony Pastor)
(3:14) 7. Yesterdays
(2:41) 8. Don’t Worry ‘Bout Me (with Helen Forrest)
(2:30) 9. My Heart Stood Still
(2:26) 10. Traffic Jam
(3:25) 11. Melancholy Lullaby (with Helen Forrest)
(5:07) 12. In The Mood
(2:41) 13. Sweet Adeline (with Tony Pastor)
(3:24) 14. Lover Come Back To Me
(3:13) 15. Two Sleepy People (with Helen Forrest)
(2:27) 16. I’m Coming Virginia
(3:36) 17. One Foot In The Groove
(3:51) 18. Just A Kid Named Joe (with Tony Pastor)
(3:43) 19. Blue Interlude
(3:34) 20. Day In, Day Out (with Helen Forrest)
(2:53) 21. Leapin’ At The Lincoln

(0:50) 1. Artie Speaks
(3:01) 2. Moonray (with Helen Forrest)
(3:19) 3. What Is This Thing Called Love
(4:06) 4. Small Fry (with Tony Pastor)
(2:25) 5. Lambeth Walk
(3:03) 6. Lillacs In The Rain (with Helen Forrest)
(3:21) 7. Out Of Nowhere
(3:37) 8. Man From Mars
(3:50) 9. Deep In A Dream (with Helen Forrest)
(2:40) 10. Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise
(2:18) 11. I Used To Be Color Blind (with Tony Pastor)
(2:34) 12. Just You, Just Me
(3:44) 13. Stardust
(2:36) 14. Night Over Shanghai (with Helen Forrest)
(4:13) 15. If I Had You
(2:30) 16. Put That Down In Writing (with Tony Pastor)
(3:32) 17. Sweet Sue
(3:23) 18. Between A Kiss And A Sigh (with Helen Forrest)
(3:08) 19. Together
(2:50) 20. St. Louis Blues
(2:25) 21. You’re A Lucky Guy (with Tony Pastor)
(5:16) 22. Shine On Harvest Moon

(2:32) 1. I Can’t Believe That You’re In Love With Me
(2:14) 2. Oh, You Crazy Moon (with Tony Pastor)
(2:38) 3. I’m Yours
(2:58) 4. What’s New (with Helen Forrest)
(2:03) 5. It Had To Be You
(2:23) 6. This Can’t Be Love (with Helen Forrest)
(4:57) 7. Everything’s Jumpin’
(3:27) 8. I Can’t Give You Anything But Love (with Helen Forrest)
(3:11) 9. I Cover The Waterfront
(3:19) 10. Over The Rainbow (with Helen Forrest)
(3:39) 11. Back Bay Shuffle
(3:49) 12. Summer Souvenirs (with Helen Forrest)
(2:39) 13. Ya Got Me
(3:51) 14. Got The Mis’ry (with Tony Pastor)
(2:45) 15. I Didn’t Know What Time It Was (with Helen Forrest)
(2:50) 16. The Yam
(4:11) 17. I Haven’t Changed A Thing (with Helen Forrest)
(1:50) 18. If What You Say Is True
(2:36) 19. Maria My Own
(3:16) 20. Last Night (with Helen Forrest)
(2:39) 21. Hold Your Hats
(1:12) 22. Nightmare (Closer)

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St.Louis Blues (1958)

st.louis blues 1958

Biopic of Jazz and Blues composer W.C.Handy that features great musicians and singers. The band consists of Barney Bigard, George Washington, Red Callender, Lee Young and of course Nat “King” Cole.

Young Will Handy is playing his coronet while some men sing a work song. His Aunt Hagar (Pearl Bailey) is hurrying down the street and spots him and takes him to church. She hides the coronet in her purse. They’re late and that draws a serious frown from Will’s father, Reverend Charles Handy. Will plays the organ and Bessie May (Mahalia Jackson) and Aunt Hagar belt out a hymn. Charles has had it and screams that he won’t have that kind of music in his church. He says there are two kinds of music, the Devil’s and the Lord’s. Outside the coronet falls out of Aunt Hagar’s purse. Charles throws it under a passing wagon which crushes it.

Years go by and Will (Nat “King” Cole) is now an adult back home from his studies. He’s supposed to get into a teaching job.  He tells his fiancee Elizabeth (Ruby Dee) he’s been playing in bands and minstrel shows. She’s shocked and not very happy.

Will is asked to compose a song for a man running for sheriff. He and the band play at a rally and then head for The Big Rooster and play outside hoping for some throw down money. Inside singer Gogo Germaine (Eartha Kitt) is performing to an audience of maybe three people including club owner Blade (Cab Calloway). She invites the band inside and they jam.

Gogo really likes the election song and it’s eventually worked into “Yellow Dog Blues.” Later a lawyer shows up at Will’s house and buys the rights to the song for fifty bucks.  Will then composes “Careless Love.” As he and Gogo are working it out Bessie May is sweeping up. She’s shocked to see Will playing piano and tells Charles.  Will has a choice. The music or him. Will moves out. Will composes “St. Louis Blues” and “Chantez les Bas,” A man from a record store comes to the club and offers him six hundred dollars for the rights to record “Yellow Dog Blues.”  Will is close to being arrested for assault when Blade admits he has the rights to the song and shows Will the agreement he signed giving away the rights.

One day Aunt Hagar brings his mail from the house to his room. There’s a check for nine hundred dollars for one of his songs. He buys a piano. It’s something his late mother always wanted. He’s playing the hymn “Morning Star” when Charles walks in.  He could care less.

Back at the club Gogo says she’s been offered a good job in New York and wants Will and his songs to come with her. He can’t because he’s gone blind. There’s no explanation for it. Aunt Hagar tells him she knew a man who had gone deaf but got his hearing came back when his wife left him.

Will starts writing hymns for the church. While Will plays the organ and Bessie May is singing his eyesight returns. He’s not happy writing hymns and walks down the street. He passes a club and there’s the Memphis Jazz Quartet and Ella Fitzgerald doing “Beale Street Blues.” He goes back home and Aunt Hagar asks him to play “St.Louis Blues” and she sings along.  Inside his head he hears his father shouting about the two kinds of music. He runs off.

Will finds out that if the music is ingrained in you it has to come out. The movie works its way to the expected and predictable triumphant ending. But, in this case, it works. This is a great movie. The drama is not maudlin and the music is terrific.

Cab Calloway-Eartha Kitt

Cab Calloway-Eartha Kitt

 

 

 

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Wire Service (1956-57)

wire-service

Hour long drama about reporters for Trans-Global Wire Service. Dane Clark, George Brent and Mercedes McCambridge take turns starring in the show’s thirty-nine episodes. It’s a good one to check out. It should have had a longer life.

January 3,1957 episode:”Chicago Exclusive w/Fay Spain, Vaughn Taylor and Ray Teal – Reporter Dean Evans (George Brent) is back in Chicago after two years abroad. He goes to a nightclub owned by Leo Halliday. He’s with Leo’s lawyer Hugh Saxton (Vaughn Taylor). In another part of the club, cigarette girl Peggy (Fay Spain) is talking with her boyfriend, pianist Dave Elsmore.

Leo asks her to go to his office to get some papers. She’s followed by gangster Johnny Dukes. He puts the moves on her when a jealous Dave charges in. He gets a right cross for his trouble and grabs a letter opener to open up Johnny. Leo gets there in time and throws them both out.

Later as Dean and Saxton are leaving, someone guns down Johnny.  Gangster Jake Stieger is picked up. Later on Saxton tells Dean that Elsmore has a luger and it turns out that’s the gun that was used to bump Johnny. Dean writes the story and doesn’t tell D.A.Phil Tennant or Police Captain Gorman (Ray Teal) his source. He ends up with a thirty day jail sentence. Elsmore is tries for the murder and gets the death sentence.

When Dean gets out he runs into a hostile Peggy. She says he’s a chump and was used to frame Elsmore. He eventually makes peace with her and agrees to do some investigating. Stieger is picked up but all he does is make wisecracks until his lawyer gets him out.

Dean does some digging and finds out that Steiger and Leo were cellmates several years back. He goes to see Elsmore on death row but doesn’t get much from him as he doesn’t seem to care about his life. Dean digs in his heels and finally solves the case.

It’s a great cast and one of the best of the early TV dramas.

Ray Teal was Sheriff Roy Coffee on “Bonanza” (1960-72).

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The Story Of Alexander Graham Bell (1939)

the story of alexander graham bell 1939

Heavy doses of corn and soap combine to tell the story of how Don Ameche invented the land line.

Boston 1873. Bell is trying to teach deaf mutes how to speak. With him is George, the young son of Thomas Sanders (Gene Lockhart). He introduces Bell to businessman Gardner Hubbard (Charles Coburn) who has a daughter Mabel (Loretta Young) that can’t hear due to scarlet fever when she was a child.  She can speak and read lips. Hubbard is interested in Bell’s other work on a telegraph. Bell falls for her almost instantly. She returns the favor.

Bell decides to give up his telegraph experiments and work on his latest idea…the telephone. It’s 1875 and things aren’t going well. He and electrical engineer Thomas Watson (Henry Fonda) have moved into a cheap room and continues the experiments. They’re broke and have a tough time finding anything to eat.

Finally in frustration he writes a letter to Mabel that he’s giving up the telephone idea. She isn’t having any of that. Gardner threatens to cut of all funds since he switched from the telegraph and refuses to allow Mabel to marry him. Bell has a eureka moment when the sound of a spring Watson is playing with is heard over a wire.

In 1876 the work and poverty continue. One day he sends Watson into another room to see if he can hear him. Nothing. Watson lays his head down on a desk. Bell has a brainstorm. He’ll use a couple drops of sulfuric acid. He manages to spill some on his leg and hollers, “Come in Watson ,I want you!” Watson hears him.. There’s no stopping him now.

He holds a demonstration at a hall in Salem,Massachusetts. Watson is twenty miles away in Boston. Receivers are hung throughout the hall. Everyone can hear Watson, a group of singers and a coronet player. Then the landlady comes in and demands they pay their rent or out they go. That makes the audience laugh and they no longer take the telephone seriously. They figure it’s just a novelty item. Sanders and Hubbard agree to continue to finance it. The New England Bell Company is formed.

Bell and Mabel are finally married. They’re going to set sail for England where a world renowned inventor gets him an audience with Queen Victoria. If she likes the invention there will be phones all over Buckingham Palace.

Then Western Union takes him to court and the movie gets interesting. It would have been a lot better if this section had been expanded and the first hour consolidated. Still it’s well worth seeing for the acting of Ameche. Also giving a stand out performance is Russell Hicks as prosecutor Mr.Barrows. Character actor Jonathan Hale has a brief appearance as the President of Western Union. Spring Byington is Mabel’s mother.

Watson and Bell almst have it

Watson and Bell almost have it

 

 

 

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You’re Never Too Young (1955)

you're never too young

Jerry Lewis spends most of the movie masquerading as an eleven year old. He’s being pursued by a killer and diamond thief played by Raymond Burr. He trails him to a school for girls where Dean Martin is a teacher. Of course any storyline takes a back seat to sight gags, slapstick and mayhem as Dean and Jerry do their thing. Jerry’s character wears thin after a while but it does have a fun factor.

In an L.A. hotel a crook named Noonan (Raymond Burr) kills a man and makes off with a huge diamond. As the cops show up he on purpose bumps into Bob Miles (Dean Martin). He’s a teacher at a girl’s school in Oregon and is trying to get back into the army. Noonan slips the diamond into Bob’s jacket pocket.

The cops search Noonan and have to let him go. In the barbershop run by Francois (Hans Conried) is sweeper Wilbur Hoolick (Jerry Lewis). He badly wants to be a barber. Just to have some fun with Francois, Wilbur disguises himself as an old man complete with fake gray hair and a mustache. Francois catches on real fast and then heads off for lunch.,

Bob comes in for a haircut and Wilbur has a fake goatee and using a fake French accent calls himself Francois. The usual mayhem ensues.  Noonan sneaks in a takes the diamond from Bob’s jacket and slips it into Wilbur’s back pocket.  He then hires him to goto his wife’s place and give her a head massage. Then he calls his wife and tells her to search him when he comes over.

At the apartment she tries everything to get the diamond. Finally she grabs it..she thinks.. after Noonan comes in and threatens Wilbur who eventually runs out. Instead of the diamond they end up with a wad of bubble gum.

Wilbur runs to the train station and wants to get a ticket to his hometown of Blitzen,Washington. Wilbur doesn’t have enough for the ticket. Behind him is a tall twelve year old wearing a sailor suit who’s mother (Nancy Kulp) gets him a half fare ticket. Wilbur tricks him and gets the sailor suit. Bob is saying goodbye to girlfriend Nancy Collins (Diana Lynn). A passenger misunderstands as Wilbur whines and forces Bob to buy him a ticket.

On the train Noonan spots Wilbur’s fake goatee in his suitcase and realizes the little boy sitting next to him is Wilbur. Wilbur runs away and ends up in Nancy’s compartment. She’s convinced he’s just eleven and comforts him during a thunderstorm. Wilbur stays the night in the lower berth.

The next morning at the girl’s school Bob hears that the train is stuck and drives off to get Nancy. Gretchen (Nina Foch) is the daughter of the head mistress and is jealous of Nancy and goes with him.  On the train Gretchen discovers Wilbur in Nancy’s compartment. She hurries back to the school and tells the board about her discovery in hopes that Nancy will be fired.  Wilbur’s act convinces the board that everything is proper.

Wilbur is ready to leave but spots Noonan hanging around. He ends up staying with Gretchen’s twelve year old brother Mike. He goes through Wilbur’s suitcase and finds a straight razor. Wilbur convinces him to keep his secret. Mike wants to be a geologist and wants to examine the big rock he found in Wilbur’s clothes.

Student Skeets (Mitzi McCall) is one of the girls assigned to showing Wilbur around. She’s smitten with him. He puts a lip lock on her when he sees Noonan. Nancy and Bob catch the action and Nancy decides to have a talk with him about girls.  Bob gets suspicious when he catches Wilbur putting a lip lock on Nancy.

Bob is told there are two men who want to see him. They’re cops from the hotel. They tell him all about who Wilbur really is and want him to keep an eye on him. They inform him that Noonan is chasing him and they want him to keep quiet about Wilbur’s masquerade. That doesn’t stop him from being jealous about Nancy.

Thanks to Mike steaming open a letter he finds out that Gretchen has used her friendship with an officer’s daughter to keep Bob from going back into the army.Wilbur sees a way to get rid of his rival for Nancy and makes a phone call disguising his voice.

There’s a lot more gags to come including Wilbur hiding out in Nancy’s apartment. She doesn’t know it but Bob is convinced of it. Later it’s the big school dance.

The whole thing ends with a chase scene. Instead of cars this one is done with boats. It’s very well done and contains a lot of stunts and is great to watch.

Overall the movie is entertaining if a bit drawn out but it’s exactly what you’d expect from Martin and Lewis and on that basis is one to watch.

Jerry convinces Dean he's just eleven years old

Jerry convinces Dean he’s just eleven years old

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The Best Of The Complete Pablo Masterpieces-Art Tatum

[5:03] 1. Perdido
[7:07] 2. Memories Of You
[3:34] 3. You Took Advantage Of Me
[7:12] 4. All The Things You Are
[5:22] 5. Body And Soul
[6:13] 6. Under A Blanket Of Blue
[4:11] 7. The Moon Is Low
[7:11] 8. Just One Of Those Things
[3:49] 9. Street Of Dreams
[7:11] 10. Somebody Loves Me
[7:14] 11. My Ideal
[5:45] 12. Deep Night

Alto Saxophone – Benny Carter (tracks: 6, 9); Bass – John Simmons (tracks: 3, 7), Red Callender (tracks: 2, 4, 8, 11, 12); Drums – Alvin Stoller (tracks: 3, 7), Bill Douglass (2) (tracks: 2, 4, 11, 12), Buddy Rich (tracks: 1, 5, 10), Jo Jones (tracks: 8), Louis Bellson (tracks: 6, 9); Guitar – Barney Kessel (tracks: 10); Piano – Art Tatum; Tenor Saxophone – Ben Webster (tracks: 4, 11); Trumpet – Harry “Sweets” Edison (tracks: 10), Roy Eldridge (tracks: 3, 7); Vibraphone [Vibes] – Lionel Hampton (tracks: 1, 5, 10)

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