Palm Springs Weekend

As Spring Break time winds down throughout the country we reflect on the 1963 West Coast version of fun in the sun with the Troy Donahue, Stephanie Powers Warner Brothers film Palm Springs Weekend.
The 1963 movie Palm Springs Weekend starred some of the last of the Warner Brothers contract players. Most were popular television alumni that were undoubtedly promised a movie in their contract. A few of the alumni featured: Troy Donahue – Surfside Six, Robert Conrad – Hawaiian Eye, Ty Hardin – Bronco, and Connie Stevens – Hawaiian Eye. The studio’s also had a habit of trying to get their contract players record deals, the most successful from this movie was Connie Stevens.
It is always fun watching child actor Billy Mumy who specialized in playing a parent of the 60’s worst nightmare of a child whether on Twilight Zone, feature movies or Lost in Space.
Character actor Carole Cook as his mother and Jack Weston as the middle age coach pursuing Cook the manager of the motel give the perspective that the adults also need a spring break. The motel taken over by college kids/and wannabe college kids are given strict rules for the establishment from Cook. ‘No cross pollination’ a rule she and Weston find more difficult to live by than the kids. Cook and Weston were also paired in another favorite Warner Brothers movie: The Incredible Mr. Limpet (1964).

Where the Boys Are

Courtship and Marriage class would never be the same after Dolores Hart’s character Merritt mentions the words Dr. Kinsey and making the statement should college girls play house before marriage? When questioned by the much older lady professor what her answer would be. Merritt answers a profound yes. Before clarifying her answer Merritt is swiftly sent to the Dean’s office. The Dean (female) thinks highly intelligent but academically challenged Merritt ‘might be overly concerned with the problems of sex’ suggesting Merritt take the ten days of Spring Break to contemplate her college career.
Where better to contemplate life and try to study to bring your grades up than Ft. Lauderdale, Florida with 20,000 other students on break. Sun, surf, suds and whether to or not to ‘go all the way’ is the question that this 1960 Joseph Pasternak production makes. Of course making that decision more difficult for Merritt is the suave rich college senior Ryder Smith played by George Hamilton. Yvette Mimieux flawlessly plays Merritt’s naïve impressionable classmate hoping to meet some fine upstanding young men from Harvard or Yale.
Joeseph Pasternak again works his magic by the first time pairing of 5’10” Paula Prentiss with 6’5” Jim Hutton. Pasternak also had a habit of recognizing hidden talent and hired popular singer Connie Francis who did not want to be an actress only wanted to sing to play the comedic relief. Connie is spot on and her song writer, lyricist friends Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield come up with the words and music for the title song that once you start humming can’t get it out of your head.
Where the Boys Are: was the groundbreaker for all of the other beach, break and bikini movies of the 1960’s.

Spring Break

Nothing says Spring Break like Elvis and random girls in bikinis. If you’ve been snowed in too long and can’t wait to escape to the sunshine Girl Happy can help you get through the next few weeks. This is my favorite Spring Break movie and my favorite Elvis flick. The Location: Ft. Lauderdale, The Songs: Addicting, The Girl: Shelley Fabares, The Guy: Elvis (of course).
Elvis and backup singers are trying to get out of Chicago and succeed by landing a gig that involves watching the boss’s daughter… while she’s on spring break. Luckily, she’s a nerdy girl, that is until she takes off her cover up.
In a sentence, “How are we gonna keep guys away from that!” Full of slapstick humor, a one track mind Italian exchange student, a stripper, a bombshell, a crazed father and well-meaning friends, this film is sure to have you booking your flight south asap. What I like most about this film though is the Elvis/Shelley chemistry… absolutely lovely. Known as “his favorite leading lady”, Shelly starred in Spinout and Clambake. The latter was a turning point both in Elvis’ personal and professional life, so it’s always interesting to see how they interact in that one as well– and it also includes beaches, and bikinis.
Happy Spring Break!

2000-2011 Best Oscar Songs

In 2001 the Academy, saw the writing on the wall. It was a new Century another new decade and a newly created category; Best Animated Feature. One thing is for certain animated movies are here to stay. There is no longer a studio system to keep actors busy. Animated features seem to fill the bill. Animated features keep working actors working.
Best songs for the decade introduced two rap songs, Lose Yourself by Eminem and It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp by Jordan Houston, Cedric Coleman, Paul Beauregard.
Innovation, modernization, new technologies it all began in 20th century Hollywood and is carried on into the 21st century Hollywood. What goes around comes around and movies definitely have returned back to where they began. Sex, drugs, music, forbidden topics and Silent movies (Best Picture of the Year 2011 The Artist).
2000-2011 Best Songs
2000 Things Have Changed from the movie Wonder Boys Scott Rudin/Curtis Hanson Production Paramount and Mutual Film Company. Music and lyrics by Bob Dylan.
2001 If I Didn’t Have You from Monsters Inc Walt Disney Pictures/Pixar Animation Studios Production, Buena Vista. Music and Lyrics by Randy Newman.
2002 Lose Yourself from the film 8 Mile Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment Production, Universal. Music by Eminem, Jeff Bass and Luis Resto. Lyrics by Eminem
2003 Into the West from The Return of the King-Fran Walsh Howard Shore, Annie Lennox
2004 Al Otro Lado Del Rio from The Motorcycle Diaries – Jorge Drexler
2005 It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp from the movie Hustle & Flow – Jordan Houston, Cedric Coleman, Paul Beauregard
2006 I Need to Wake Up from An Inconvenient Truth – Melissa Etheridge
2007 Falling Slowly from Once – Glen Hansard, Markéta Irglová
2008 Jai Ho from Slumdog Millionaire – A.R. Rahman Music-Gulzar Lyrics
2009 The Weary Kind from Crazy Heart – Ryan Bingham, T Bone Burnett
2010 We Belong Together from Toy Story 3 – Randy Newman
2011 Man or Muppet from The Muppets – Bret McKenzie
2000-2011 Best Pictures
2000- Gladiator
2001- A Beautiful Mind
2003-Lord of the Rings:Return of the King
2004-Million Dollar Baby
2006-The Departed
2007- No Country for Old Men
2008- Slumdog Millionaire
2009-Hurt Locker
2010-Kings Speech
2011-The Artist

1989~1999 Best Oscar Songs

Hmmm definitely a new decade, seven of the ten Best Songs chosen for Oscars are songs from animated film. Beauty and the Beast was nominated for Best picture in 1991. There were eighteen other nominations mostly for song or musical score. Best Score for a musical or comedy went to five animated movies. At the beginning of the decade there were only a couple of well-known actors or actresses voices appearing in these movies, by the end of the decade there was a plethora of them. The Academy presented a Special Achievement Award to John Lasseter for his inspired leadership of the Pixar Toy Story team, resulting in the first feature-length computer animated film.
Animated films that received nominations or took home the Oscar: 1989 -The Little Mermaid, 1991-Beauty and the Beast, 1992 -Aladdin,1994-The Lion King, 1995- Pocahontas, 1995-Toy Story, 1996-Hunchback of Notre Dame, 1996-James and the Giant Peach, 1997-Hercules, 1997-Anastasia,1998-A Bug’s Life, 1998-Mulan, 1998-Prince of Egypt, 1999-Tarzan and Toy Story 2.
1989-1999 Best Songs
1989 Under the Sea from The Little Mermaid Walt Disney Pictures with Silver Screen Partners IV, Buena Vista. Music by Alan Menken Lyrics by Howard Ashman.
1990 Sooner or Later from the film Dick Tracy Touchstone Pictures Buena Vista Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
1991 Beauty and the Beast from the film Beauty and the Beast Walt Disney Pictures, Buena Vista. Music by Alan Menken Lyrics by Howard Ashman
1992 A Whole New World from the film Aladdin Walt Disney Pictures, Buena Vista. Music by Alan Menken Lyrics by Tim Rice
1993 Streets of Philadelphia from the movie Philadelphia TriStar. Music and Lyrics by Bruce Springsteen.
1994 Can You Feel the Love Tonight from the movie Lion King Disney Buena Vista. Music by Elton John Lyrics by Tim Rice
1995 Colors of the Wind from the film Pocahontas Disney Buena Vista. Music by Alan Menken lyrics by Stephen Schwartz.
1996 You Must Love Me from the movie Evita Hollywood Pictures/Cinergi Pictures Buena Vista Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Lyrics by Tim Rice.
1997 My Heart Will Go On from the movie Titanic Lightstorm entertainment 20th Century fox and Paramount. Music by James Horner Lyrics by Will Jennings.
1998 When You Believe from The Prince of Egypt Dream Works SKG Production Dream Works. Music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz
1999 You’ll Be in My Heart from the film Tarzan Walt Disney Pictures Production Buena Vista Music and Lyrics by Phil Collins.

John Williams ~ 1980’s

In the 1970’s John Williams Original Music Score Nominations for the Oscars enlivened ten memorable movies of the decade with three wins. In the 1980’s Williams was nominated for eleven movies with one win. All were unforgettable movies with remarkable music scores. Besides congratulations on this fantastic feat since this is John Williams Birth month we’ll also give him a shout out for a belated (February 8, 1932) Happy Birthday!
1980’s John Williams – Nominations/Win Original Music Score
1980 Empire Strikes Back, Lucasfilm, 20th Century Fox
1981 Raiders of the Lost Ark, Lucasfilm, Paramount
*1982 E. T. the Extra-Terrestrial – Universal
1983 Return of the Jedi, Lucasfilm, 20th Century Fox
1984 Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Lucasfilm, Paramount
1984 The River, Universal
1987 Empire of the Sun, Warner Brothers
1987 Witches of Eastwick, Warner Brothers
1988 Accidental Tourist, Warner Brothers
1989 Born on the Fourth of July, A. Kitman Ho & Ixtlan, Universal
1989 Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Lucasfilm, Paramount
1980-1989 Best Oscar Songs
1980 Fame, from the movie Fame MGM Music by Michael Gore Lyrics by Dean Pitchford
1981 Arthur’s Theme from the movie Arthur – Arthur, Rollins, Joffe, Morra and Brezner, Orion Music and Lyrics by Burt Bacharach, Carole Bayer Sager, Christopher Cross and Peter Allen.
1982 Up Where We Belong from the movie Officer and a Gentleman-Lorimar Elfand, Paramount. Music by Jack Nitzsche and Buffy Sainte -. Lyrics by Will Jennings
1983 Flashdance…What a Feeling from the movie Flashdance, Polygram, Paramount. Music by Giorgio Moroder Lyrics by Keith Forsey and Irene Cara
1984 I just Called to Say I Love You from the movie The woman In Red Orion. Music and Lyrics by Stevie Wonder
1985 Say You Say Me from the movie White Nights, Columbia. Music and Lyrics by Lional Richie
1986 Take My Breath Away from the movie Top Gun Simpson/Bruckheimer, Paramount. Music by Giorgio Moroder Lyrics by Tom Whitlock.
1987 The Time of my Life from the movie Dirty Dancing Vestron. Music by Franke Previte, John DeNicola and Donald Markowitz. Lyrics by Franke Previte.
1988 Let the River Run from the movie Working Girl 20th Century Fox. Music and Lyrics by Carly Simon
1989 Under the Sea from The Little Mermaid Walt Disney Pictures with Silver Screen Partners IV, Buena Vista. Music by Alan Menken Lyrics by Howard Ashman.

Best Oscar Songs of the Seventies

Best Songs? I don’t know…I’m just not crazy about any Oscar winning songs in movies during the seventies (well maybe Shaft –Isaac Hayes did an awesome performance of his song during the April 10, 1972 Oscar Awards night). When I think of the early seventies I think of disaster movies like The Poseidon Adventure or The Towering Inferno. At the end of the decade we had Jaws and Star Wars. Disappointed in the movie songs I started paying more attention to the scoring of the music in the movies. The most memorable scores for me were the ones by John Williams. John Williams was nominated ten times for his music scores in the seventies with three wins for: Fiddler on the Roof, Jaws and Star Wars. Best songs and John Williams scores are listed below asterisk denotes wins for Williams. Which are your movie favorites of the seventies songs or scores?
1970-1979 Best Songs
1970 For All We Know from Lovers and Other Strangers ABC Pictures music by Fred Karlin Lyrics by Robb Royer and James Griffin aka Robb Wilson and Arthur James.
1971 Theme from Shaft from the movie Shaft MGM music and Lyrics by Isaac Hayes
1972 The Morning After from The Poseidon Adventure 20th Century Music and Lyrics by Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn
1973The Way We Were from the movie The Way We Were music by Marvin Hamlisch Lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman
1974 We May Never Love Like This Again from The Towering Inferno 20th Century. Music and Lyrics by Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn
1975 I’m Easy from Nashville ABC Weintraub-Altman Paramount music and lyrics by Keith Carradine
1976 Evergreen from the movie A Star is Born Barwood/Peters-First Artists Warner Brothers. Music by Barbara Streisand. Lyrics by Paul Williams.
1977 You Light Up My Life from the movie You Light Up My Life – Session Company, Columbia. Music and Lyrics by Joseph Brooks.
1978 Last Dance from the movie Thank God It’s Friday Casablanca-Motown, Columbia. Music and Lyrics by Paul Jabara
1979 It Goes Like it Goes from the movie Norma Rae 20th Century. Music by David Shire Lyrics by Norman Gimbel.
1970’s Original Song Scores-John Williams
*1971 Fiddler on the Roof Mirish-Cartier UA(Best Scoring Original Song Score and/or Adaptation )
1972 Images Hemdale-Lion’s Gate Films Columbia- Original Dramatic Score
1972 The Poseidon Adventure, Irwin Allen 20th Century Fox- Original Dramatic Score
1973 Cinderella Liberty Sanford Prod., 20th Century Fox- Original Dramatic Score
1973 Tom Sawyer-, Jacobs, Reader’s Digest UA (Best Scoring Original Song Score and/or Adaptation) Richard & Robert Sherman and John Williams
1974 The Towering Inferno, Irwin Allen 20th Century Fox/Warner Bros. (Dramatic Score)
*1975 Jaws, Zanuck/Brown Universal (Original Score)
1977 Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Columbia (Original Score)
*1977 Star Wars 20th Century Fox (Original Score)
1978 Superman, Dovemead, Salkind, Warner Bros. (Original Score)

Best Oscar Songs of the Sixties

Some of the most memorable Best Oscar winning or Oscar nominated songs of the sixties were written by the teams of: Henry Mancini/Johnny Mercer, Burt Bacharach/Hal David and James Van Heusen/Sammy Cahn.
I’m sure you recognize all of these songs:
Best Songs 1960-1969
1960 Never on Sunday from the movie Never on Sunday Melinafilm, Lopert Pictures music and lyrics by Manos Hadjidakis
1961 Moon River from Breakfast at Tiffany’s Paramount music by Henry Mancini Lyrics by Johnny Mercer
1962 Days of Wine and Roses from Days of Wine and Roses Warner Brothers, Music by Henry Mancini Lyrics by Johnny Mercer
1963 Call Me Irresponsible from Papa’s Delicate Condition Paramount Music by James Van Heusen, Lyrics by Sammy Cahn.
1964 Chim Chim Cher-ee from Mary Poppins, Disney. Music by Richard M Sherman lyrics by Robert B Sherman
1965 The Shadow of Your Smile from The Sandpipers MGM Music by Johnny Mandel Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster
1966 Born Free from the movie Born Free Columbia. Music by John Barry. Lyrics by Don Black.
1967 Talk to the Animals from Doctor Doolittle. Music and Lyrics by Leslie Bricusse
1968 The Windmills of Your Mind The Thomas Crown Affair UA Music by Michel Legrand Lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman
1969 Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on my Head from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Music by Burt Bacharach Lyrics by Hal David

In 1960 a Special Award was given to Hayley Mills for the movie Pollyanna, for the most outstanding juvenile performance during 1960. This was the twelfth and last juvenile performer to receive a Miniature Statuette Hayley’s award was presented to her by the first recipient– Shirley Temple.
1962 was the first year an under 18 year old actor was allowed to compete in the regular nominating process. Sixteen year old Patty Duke won Best Supporting Actress for The Miracle Worker. Nine year old Mary Badham was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for To Kill a Mockingbird.

Best Picture Ben Hur 1959


Reading a best seller that was written in 1880 is certainly a challenge. I was curious how the book Ben Hur  written by General Lew Wallace held up to the screenplay written by Karl Tunberg for the 1959 Best Picture of the Year. It was an arduous read and left me shaking my head at the Academy Membership not voting Tunbergs screenplay as Best for 1959. Although I have never seen ‘Room at the Top’ I’m thinking the Academy deserves the Hole in the Head award for naming Neil Paterson’s Screenplay as Best over Karl Tunberg’s Screenplay for Ben Hur.
Best Song for 1959 was High Hopes from the Frank Sinatra film Hole in the Head, music by James Van Heusen, Lyrics by Sammy Cahn. This was the second win as Best Song for the Van Heusen and Cahn duo.

Love and Taxes



The Mating Game

“If you want anything of mine, don’t ask for it, just take it- that’s what neighbors are for.”

Unfortunately Pop Larkin’s snobby neighbors don’t quite feel the same, and decide to report him to the tax man- surely he must have some indiscretion that could lose him the farm! In fact Pop Larkin hasn’t filed an income tax return- ever! Why? Because the Larkin’s deal in trading , not money. Then Tony Randall enters as Lorenzo Charlton, ready to take them all to the cleaners…but not before they have him over for lunch and promptly marry him off to Mariette ( Debbie Reynolds).So while Lorenzo is trying to take note of the worth of everything on the Larkin property, everyone else is just trying to get Mariette married off! Poor fellow, he doesn’t have a chance.

His line? When you cheat the government, its like cheating your family- because the government belongs to everybody. ” Just like that government car you’re driving?” Yes!

By dinner, Mariette’s been through three costume changes, and Lorenzo is drunk and not wearing pants. Obviously this has nothing to do with taxes.

An excellent and hilarious film about love and money. Perfect for Valentines Day, perfect for Tax Season!





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