The Patrice Munsel Show (1956-57)

patrice munsel

The opera soprano hosts a half hour musical variety show.

January 31,1958 episode with guests Tony Bennett and Howard Morris:  Patrice opens with “Dancing In The Dark.”  Then she sings an intro to Tony Bennett who joins her in “Starlight,Starbright.”  Patrice and Tony do a comedy “This Is Your Life Bit” along with Howard Morris. It doesn’t work. Commercial for Buick.

More so-called comedy with Howard Morris in a Carnegie Hall rehearsal studio. Morris continues his character as Patrice’s first voice teacher. Opera singer Pino Baratti comes out for a minute then Tony sings “Without A Song.” More stupidity from Howard. Patrice sings an aria, “The Love Duet From La Boheme” with Pino. More nonsense from Howard with Patrice and Tony. That leads into Tony, Howard and Patrice singing “Moses Supposes.”  Commercial for Frigidaire.

Patrice sings “Always.” Then Patrice says goodnight to Howard who continues to be unfunny. Tony is next. Then she gets a box of popcorn from next week’s guest Caesar Romero. Patrice gives a plug for the March Of Dimes. Show ends.

 

 

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Hell’s Outpost (1954)

hell's outpost 1954

Decent B movie brings the 1953 Luke Short western novel “Silver Rock” into the present day. Rod Cameron is a Korean War vet out to con a man into giving him shares in his tungsten mine.

Tully Gibbs (Rod Cameron) finds out a mine Kevin Russell (Chill Wills) owns is a lot richer than he knows. Kevin’s late son Al wrote letters home saying what a great guy Tully is. That’s suspicious because Al never had a kind word about anyone. Can’t check with him since he died of his war wounds.

As soon as Tully gets off the bus in the small mountain town He’s nearly run over by a drunk driver. He yells a name at him and the man stops and gets out of the car. He’s so drunk Tully flips him into the back seat. The girl with him says she’ll get him home. As she starts to walk into her place the man grabs her but she fights him off and slams the door.

The next day Tully goes out to the ranch and introduces himself to Kevin. Tully is invited to a town dance The man from last night is there. He’s the town bully, Ben Hodes (John Russell). The girl is there too. She’s Sarah Moffit (Joan Leslie). Ben isn’t happy when Tully cuts in to dance with Sarah. That ends in a challenge to take it outside.

They make a bet. If Tully wins the battle Ben has to give him a note from the bank for ten thousand dollars. If he loses then Tully has to stay away from Sarah. After a lengthy brawl Tully comes out the winner. Kevin offers Tully an equal share in the mine. That’s worth a million bucks.  Ben and his half sister Beth have a local tungsten mine and Ben has been trying to get Kevin’s.

Tully uses the money to get the mine operation going.  The local newspaper publisher, Sam Horne (Jim Davis) helps out with publicity.  Tully gets nowhere with county commissioners about getting equipment to build a road. That’s because Ben has bribed one of them to stop any and all of Tully’s efforts. Undeterred Tully orders a bulldozer from an out of town company. On the way to Kevin’s the dozer is hijacked and it’s engine smashed up. Tully and Kevin chase the hijackers and bullets fly. The hijackers get away.

Tully goes to Sarah who works in the county recorder’s office. He gives her a list of what he needs to repair it. She’ll call the company for him. When he leaves she recognizes the handwriting as the same on the letters supposedly written home to Kevin from his son. She shows the proof to Sam. They decide to wait and see what happens.

Sam is sweet on Beth and she moves out of the house away from her controlling half brother.

Ben’s next move is to have a huge pine tree block an access road so trucks can’t get through to Kevin’s.  He pulls another dirty deal to prove he owns the road despite proof from Kevin that he has an easement on the property. Tully threatens a grand jury investigation. Ben leaves town. One day Tully hears a strange sound while driving along the road with Sarah, Beth and Sam. Ben has another dirty trick up his sleeve.

This is a decent movie with some good action. Once you realize it’s taken from a western novel you can see the elements…shootouts, brawls, horses, mines, a ranch and even a tumbleweed or two.

John Russell did a lot of TV. He’s best known as Marshal Dan Troop on “Lawman” (1958-62).

 

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Back Page (1934)

back page 1934

Peggy Shannon is a lot of fun to watch as the editor of a small town newspaper who is out to expose an oil well scheme headed by the town’s bank president.

Jerry Hampton (Peggy Shannon) is a reporter on a New York newspaper. She gets a hot exclusive about a society woman’s suicide. Some heavy hitters make the publisher kill the story. Jerry tells him off. That gets her fired.

Her boyfriend Brice sets her up with the publisher of a paper in the small town where he grew up. His uncle Martin Blake is the bank president in the town of Apex. The publisher is Samuel Webster. Brice didn’t mention that Jerry is a woman. He’s was looking for a young man to take over from him. After some hemming and hawing he hires her for a month at thirty-five bucks a week.

Jerry finds out that Blake has convinced townspeople to invest in an oil well. Since he owns the mortgage on the paper Sam is keeping quiet. Jerry is moving fast and has improved the paper’s circulation and advertising.  Brice shows up because he misses her. One day John Levings, the man overseeing the oil well comes into the paper with a statement. The well is a bust and is shutting down.

Jerry is from an oil town in Pennsylvania and isn’t buying it. One night during dinner at Blake’s she questions him. He says he’s thinking about buying back the townspeople’s stock to help them with their losses. Jerry smells a rat. Jerry phones Levings and tells him she knows the whole thing is a scam. She doesn’t give him a choice so he changes his story. The well comes through and Apex is a boom town.

The paper’s success continues and Blake calls in the mortgage on Sam so he can take over. Jerry says she’s not working for him and is determined to expose his part in it all. It’s a good ending as Jerry makes some discoveries. If you’re looking for one of the good early B movies, check this one out.

Peggy Shannon is another tragic figure as her promising career was brought down by alcoholism. Too bad because she was always enjoyable in her roles.

 

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The Complete Studio Recordings-June Christy And The Stan Kenton Orchestra

01. Tampico (2:44)
02. It’s Been A Long, Long Time (2:45)
03. Just A-Sittin’ And A-Rockin’ (2:51)
04. Shoo Fly Pie And Apply Pan dowdy (2:38)
05. I Been Down In Texas (3:07)
06. Rika Jika Jack (3:02)
07. He’s Funny That Way (3:13)
08. Ain’t No Misery In Me (3:00)
09. Willow Weep For Me (3:10)
10. Don’t Want That Man Around (3:04)
11. Across The Alley From The Alamo (2:37)
12. The Spider And The Fly (2:25)
13. Soothe Me (3:12)
14. Curiosity (2:42)
15. I Told Ya I Love Ya (Now Get Out) (2:47)
16. Lonely Woman (3:27)
17. This Is My Theme (3:18)
18. Lonesome Road (4:24)
19. June Christy (4:06)
20. Easy Street (3:16)
21. Come Rain Or Come Shine (3:16)
22. Daddy (2:06)

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A Life In The Balance (1955)

a life in the balance 1955

Ricardo Montalban overacts as a unsuccessful musician who can’t hold a job. He’s devoted to his ten year old son Paco. He’s promised him a guitar and that’s when trouble starts. In the meantime the Mexico City police are looking for a serial killer who already has six female victims. It’s based on a story by Georges Simenon best known as the creator of the Inspector Maigret series.

Ten year old Paco is on his way home when he’s hassled by the police. He gets to his apartment and is about to shoot a marble from his trusty slingshot at the cops when his father Antonio (Ricardo Montalban) stops him. Paco starts playing harmonica as he loves music as much as his father. Because he’s always broke neighbors Andreas and Carmalita want custody of Paco. Antonio pretends to go to work and promises Paco he’s buying him a guitar.

He goes to a lower floor to see a dancer friend to borrow back some money he loaned her. After a minor argument she gives him an envelope with the cash.  He doesn’t notice a man (Lee Marvin) hanging around outside. When Antonio leaves the man goes inside and kills the dancer. Carmelita sees the body and tells everyone Antonio did it. On the roof Paco sees the real killer and follows him.

Paco keeps pointing at the man and telling strangers that he’s a killer. No one pays attention. Paco uses his slingshot to break police call boxes to try and get them there. It’s festival time and the man is staring at the fireworks and doesn’t notice Paco. He gets on a bus. Paco has to bang on the door to get inside. After a while the killer gets off the bus and Paco runs down the aisle and falls out the door…right at the killer’s feet.

While all this is happening, Antonio goes to a pawn shop to buy a guitar he’s been looking at in the window. Inside he meets Maria (Anne Bancroft with a Spanish accent). She’s trying to sell a ring. After some haggling and help from Antonio, Maria gets some decent cash and he buys the guitar for his original price.

They walk through the city and check out the festival. Antonio is so taken with her he doesn’t realize he left the guitar at a concession stand. They make their way to a cafe to wait for Paco. He promised to meet him there at ten o’clock. Meanwhile the killer is dragging Paco along with him and explaining that he’s doing God’s work by returning the women to heaven. He doesn’t realize that Paco has continued shooting marbles at police call boxes.

The cops have an all points bulletin out for Antonio and finally catch up to him and take him to the station.  They also pick up Maria. The pawn shop owner  is brought in to say what time they were in her shop. Antonio spots a cop tossing a white marble and recognizes it as one of Paco’s. Now the cops are getting on his side and the investigation gets into high gear.

This is a good one if you can handle Montalban’s hamming it up. Marvin is his usual good self playing a psycho. Anne Bancroft is a real beauty and does a good job as Maria.

a life in the balance 1955 ricardo montelban-anne bancrfot

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Swingin’ In Hollywood-Tommy & Jimmy Dorsey

(4:13) 1. We’ll Get It
(2:53) 2. Song Of India
(5:52) 3. So Long, Sarah Jane
(3:28) 4. If I Had You
(3:19) 5. Thunder And Blazes
(3:52) 6. Katie Went To Hati
(3:17) 7. Hawaiian War Chant
(2:38) 8. You Dear
(3:52) 9. One O’Clock Jump
(2:50) 10. Noche De Ronda
(3:06) 11. Milkman Keep Those Bottles Quiet
(2:58) 12. I Know Its Wrong
(2:29) 13. Battle Of The Balcony Jive
(3:23) 14. I Should Care
(3:01) 15. National Emblem March
(3:16) 16. John Silver
(3:16) 17. The Guy With The Slide Trombone
(3:25) 18. Boy! What Love Has Done To Me!
(5:06) 19. Star Eyes
(5:26) 20. Fascinating Rhythm
(3:23) 21. Opus One

Although credited to the Dorsey Brothers, this is not a collection of collaborations or duets, just an anthology of tracks that one or the other of the brothers filmed and recorded for MGM soundtracks in 1942-1945. It’s actually much more weighted toward Tommy (who has 13 of the 21 sides) than Jimmy; it’s mostly instrumental, but vocalists like Bob Eberly, Helen O’Connell, and Nancy Walker are featured on some of the selections. The sound is good, and as a dozen of the items were previously unreleased (with 13 appearing for the first time in stereo)

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Parole Girl (1933)

parole girl 1933

Mae Clarke is a con woman who is out for revenge on Ralph Bellamy who sent her to prison. This is a good one that features good performances and a fun script.

Sylvia Day (Mae Clarke) is accused of picking a man’s pocket in a department store. The man is Tony Grattan (Hale Hamilton) and he has Sylvia taken to a department store executive. Tony explains what she did and reaches into his pocket. The wallet is still there. An embarrassed Tony leaves and Sylvia stays behind and threatens to sue the store. The executive offers to give her a check and settle the matter and she excepts. Outside she gets into a car with Tony. The whole thing is a scam.

He says they should try it again. She doesn’t want to but they do it anyway. This time she gets caught. Department store manager Joe Smith (Ralph Bellamy) says the insurance company is handling the case and he refuses to let her go. She tries to take poison but it’s all for nothing. She’s off to the big house. She swears revenge on Smith.

Inside she gets friendly with a con named Jeanie Vance who says she married  Smith who deserted her before her conviction. Tony visits Sylvia and she asks him to bring her a book with wooden matches inside the binding. She plans to start a fire. Her plan works. She grabs an extinguisher and becomes a hero. That gets her paroled.

Once outside Tony tells her they should go to Chicago where he has a perfect racket. She says she’s staying to get her revenge on Smith. Smith has been appointed the GM of the store. He goes out that night to a nightclub with a date to celebrate. Sylvia uses some tricks to get his home address and where he’ll be that night.

She goes to the club where Joe is drunk and he invites her to join the two of them. The next morning Joe wakes up with a woman’s shoe in his bed. He goes to his kitchen and there’s Sylvia eating a grapefruit. (Anyone who has seen 1931’s “Public Enemy” will get the inside joke). She drops it on Joe that they’re married. The doorbell rings. It’s Tony pretending to be the JP that performed the ceremony. He has a copy of the marriage certificate he says Joe left on a piano while he was drunk. After Tony leaves. Joe agrees to support Sylvia for a year until her parole is over. If not she’ll charge him with bigamy.

At Tony’s place he tells her it’s time to leave for Chicago but she says she’s not going anywhere until she finishes her vengeance plan. She doesn’t see him put some money in her purse. She buys a bunch of clothes at a shop and changes one of the bills.

Back home she tells Joe he has to pay for everything. She has a change of heart and calls the switchboard operator to arrange for someone to pick up the packages and take them back to the store. She hears Joe hang up an extension and sees him with a smile on his face. She makes another call and cancels the returns. Then she changes her mind again.

The next day her parole officer shows up. The twenty was counterfeit. Parole is over and it’s back up the river. Joe says the bill belonged to him and that he carries a lot of counterfeit around because he gets it at the store. He calls his boss to confirm the policy and Sylvia is off the hook. Sylvia is shocked that he would do that.

It looks like her life is about to change for the better. Then the doorbell rings. Uh-Oh.

It goes where you think it will but the movie is worth seeking out.

Ralph Bellamy-Mae Clarke

Ralph Bellamy-Mae Clarke

 

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