Showing posts with label birthday. Show all posts
Showing posts with label birthday. Show all posts

Friday, April 12, 2024


"Safe to Run"
Esther Rose

Everybody's telling me good, good luck
I don't know what it means
Or have I got enough
What if I left the city behind
Just dreaming in the trees
Untie my mind

Flying down the highway in a borrowed car
I don't know who I am
Don't know who you are
But everybody's gotta be from someplace
I was born in the city
I was raised on faith

Oh, Julia, it was a false alarm
Don't leave the door open
Don't leave the light on
How does it feel to blow a kiss to the wind
And see where it lands
And see what you did?

Let the angels find me
I don't care
If the whiskey drowns me
In the poisoned air
You know there's no place
Safe to run
Angels surround

Ten miles down
Six miles in
Just to look at the Aspens shaking in the wind
Are we saving the earth one day at a time
Or are we just getting left behind?

Man, to be alive seems we just consume
Everything in sight becoming fuel
They're raising babies in their little home
Can I have it like that?
Am I bound to roam?

Let the angels find me
I don't care
If the whiskey drowns me
In the poisoned air
Fire surrounds me
From here to there
And the water's rising
You know there's no place
Safe to run
Angels surround
Angels surround

Friday, April 5, 2024

Bette Davis Birthday

Bette Davis, one of the greatest stars of cinema, was born on April 5, 1908.  

If you haven't seen many Bette Davis movies, fix that.  She's terrific in everything.

Sunday, March 31, 2024

It's Supergirl's Birthday - 65th Anniversary of Supergirl's First Appearance

Today marks the 65th Anniversary of the first appearance of Supergirl - or as us actual nerds know her, Kara Zor-El of Argo City, Krypton.  Yup, Supergirl hit newsstands on March 31, 1959!

Prior to Kara's arrival, DC had played with a few variations of what Supergirl might be - from giving Lois powers for an issue or two to a sorta magical helper friend for Clark for an issue.  But eventually DC just said "teen-age cousin" and a superhero was born.  

Created by Otto Binder and Al Plastino, Kara Zor-El appeared in Action Comics 252.  It's not an epically long story, mostly there to set the table for whatever they'd try next with the newest toy in the DC toybox.  Enough for an origin and a status quo set-up, and out.

And, I am happy to say, I do actually have a copy of this comic.

After about 20 years as the semi-sole-survivor of Krypton (minus Krypto, Beppo and a few stray villains in the Phantom Zone), we learn that a chunk of Krypton has been hurtling through space for decades, with the city of Argo attached.  Living in that city, Superman's Uncle and Aunt - Zor-El and Alura - have given birth to Kal-El's couson, Kara.  

As things go from "this seems bad" to "oh no" during a meteor storm threatening Argo City, Zor-El puts Kara in a rocket and shoots her at Earth.  Superman finds her, decides she's his new secret weapon and places the traumatized youth into an orphanage in Midvale.  Because he's a swinging bachelor and he has no time for kids, I guess.

Saturday, March 23, 2024

Happy (possible 120th) Birthday, Joan Crawford

Today is supposedly the birthday of Joan Crawford (born Lucille LeSueur).  What year? No one knows, because Joan wasn't telling.  The best guess is 1904, but Crawford claimed 1908, but it's somewhere in there.  So this is either her 120th birthday or it isn't.

We're fans of Joan and her work here at The Signal Watch.  

Monday, January 8, 2024

Happy Birthday, David Bowie

Here's to the great David Bowie on his birthday.  

The picture above is from about 2004, which is around when Jamie and I saw him in concert for the second time.  

What struck me about that show was how different it was from when I'd seen him on the Outside tour, where he was doing a thing tied to the music, and was being a very serious rock god.  In 2004, he was playing new stuff and playing the hits and having fun bantering.  Which, in it's own way, was kind of weird as it so defied my expectations.  But, man, it was a fun show.  

Here's to the The Thin White Duke.  The world literally hasn't been the same since we lost him.

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Happy Birthday, Audrey Totter

Today marks the 106th anniversary of the birth of screen star Audrey Totter.

Longtime readers know she's one of the patron saints of The Signal Watch - see the image from High Wall in the banner at the blog - and one of the best in noir (and beyond!).  

You can always see prior posts on Totter's films at our Totter label here at the blog.

Now, here's a collection of Audrey Totter pictures for her birthday.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Saturday, October 28, 2023

Saturday, September 30, 2023

Happy Birthday, Angie Dickinson


Happy birthday to actor Angie Dickinson!

Dickinson sits in a unique and terrific place in Hollywood history, having arrived in Hollywood and in pictures in the 1950's, falling in with the Rat Pack, and carrying on in film and television for the next several decades.  She's worked with everyone from John Wayne and Ronald Reagan to Gwyneth Paltrow.

Retired these days, about a decade ago J_Swift, Dug, K and I saw her interviewed by Eddie Muller at the Castro in San Francisco where she kept the audience in the palm of her hand.

Happiest of birthdays and here's to one of the greats.

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Happy Birthday, Julie Newmar


Happy birthday to 5'11" of a good idea, Julie Newmar.  

Newmar is a star of stage and screen (silver and small), and has left an indelible impression on Batman-fans (as one of the actors to play Catwoman) and movie buffs alike.

She does lots of appearances and is generally out and about, if you can catch her.

Happy Birthday, Madonna Ciccone!

Happy birthday to Ms. Ciccone!

Sounds like she is rapidly recovering from what was reported as a serious illness and has rescheduled her coming tour dates.  That's excellent news.

We're going to put on The Immaculate Collection and be a true blue fan.

Normally I try to post a recent picture of folks I'm wishing a happy birthday, but me and Instagram weren't getting along.  Anyway, for someone who was recently ill, Madonna looks like Madonna.

Sunday, August 6, 2023

Birthday of Lucille Ball

Today marks the 112th birthday of one of the greatest talents of the 20th Century and a true pioneer, who had an immeasurable impact on the world that continues to be felt every day.

If you're my age, you know Lucille Ball from the one endless reruns of I Love Lucy, one the of the templates for television comedy we're still referencing and still trying to top.  Prior to her show, she was a model and movie star - but wasn't aimed to be one of the greats.  If you've seen any of her films, she seems like she's too big for what they're giving her whether it's a comedy or a drama (she appears in a couple of crime movies I've seen).   But my guess is they didn't know what to do with her in a male-forward Hollywood of the time.  

In musicals and comedies, it's weird to see her not given the lead.  I grew up with Lucy as a huge star, so you're retroactively thinking "why can't they give her more screentime?"  

She honed an act with husband Desi Arnaz, and it more or less created the basis for what would become the show they'd take to the networks.  And much like Seinfeld, because it was her show and not one she was cast for, as it became a hit, she was able to build more and more of an empire, setting up Desilu Studios.  

I was reminded that today was Lucille Ball's birthday by Star Trek social media, who has never forgotten that if it weren't for Lucy championing the show and everything it stands for as head of Desilu Productions, we either get no Star Trek or a very watered down show that wasn't what we think of as Star Trek.  And they're still making that show.

But go back and watch some I Love Lucy.  The show is so... good.  Sure, it's a multi-camera show and it doesn't always fit with everything we expect out of a modern sitcom, but in addition to being a female-led show (and produced as Lucy was very involved in *everything*, more so than Desi) it's amazing to see how we're still working bits from the show now.   It's a classic for a reason.

And, very indirectly, Ball is responsible for TCM.  When the network was coming together and they recruited Robert Osbourne to be Robert Osbourne, it turns out that he was a friend of Ball's who had been given the opportunities in Hollywood he'd had because of her largesse paired with his know-how and encyclopedic knowledge of Hollywood history.  And you do not get the TCM of today without Osbourne, pals.

Thursday, August 3, 2023

Jean Hagen at 100

Today marks the 100th birthday for actress Jean Hagen.  She passed in 1977 at only 54.  

Hagen is best known for her role as Lina Lamont in Singin' In the Rain, but she worked in radio before moving to movies and, eventually, television - co-starring in the early hit, Make Room for Daddy with Danny Thomas.

While esophageal cancer would take her life, Hagen was an alcoholic, and it derailed her professionally as well as very personally.  However, after she became gravely ill in 1968, falling into a coma, she managed to stay sober for the remaining years of her life.

Hagen left her mark on the films I've seen her in, and is often a highlight, even in something like Asphalt Jungle where she's one of a dozen memorable performances.  Personally, I think what she was doing was ahead of its time - or maybe would have been best served on the stage in grittier work.  But she also clearly had a knack for comedy - which she managed to parlay into television and numerous other projects.  

But seeing she's in The Big Knife, I really need to get ahold of that movie and watch it through, and I think I will try to for Hagen's centennial.

Monday, July 31, 2023

Happy Birthday, Arnie

Yesterday was the 76th birthday of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

I don't know if Arnold is necessarily having a moment right now - he has two top-rated shows on Netflix - so much as Arnie is always having a moment of some sort.  And, here in his 70's, he's taking stock of his life and telling his story.  And, during covid, he became much more active on social media and online, and Arnold being Arnold, is turning that into something.

Arnie has always been an easy mark.  Muscle-bound, never the world's best actor, and with an accent he was never going to shake, his place in Hollywood was always strange, even as audiences lined up for whatever movie he was in, action or comedy (or both).  It made it easy to forget - he was born in the wake of WWII in a defeated Austria, became a bodybuilding champion on a few continents before winning the world/ Mr. Universe.  He made his way into real-estate and movies, and wound up somehow marrying a Kennedy.  Somehow, he found his way to the Governor's mansion in California, and wound up doing a good job.  He's an American success story if ever there was one.

Lately he's been working on Arnold's Pump Club, a fitness app and podcast.  And he's got a newsletter that's... really great?  I mean, it is.  Full of sound advice for taking care of yourself and with a convincing level of positive energy that feels oddly authentic in an era of mangled therapy-speak.  

Poor Jamie has to hear about Imaginary Uncle Arnold now, just as I made her go see Eraser when we started dating.  

Anyway, I did not see myself still caring about Arnold Schwarzenegger here in 2023.  But here we are.  Good ol' Uncle Arnie.

Friday, July 28, 2023

Happy Birthday, Elizabeth Berkley Lauren

Give up a birthday shout for Elizabeth Berkley!

She's done two rounds with Saved By the Bell, both the one you watched in the early 90's and then the one that was on Peacock that was under-watched and over-delivered (it was genuinely funny).

Berkley is currently kicking around Hollywood and recently released items on her website that reclaim her starring role in Showgirls as well as Jessi Spano, and make them her own.  She is one well-adjusted person.

She's also been in a ton of movies, and continues to appear in a variety of projects.

Anyway, for her birthday, I'm gonna point out that, like Bowie, Berkley has two different colored eyes. 

I know!  You never noticed, but there it is.

Happy birthday, Ms. Berkley Lauren!  

when Jessi Spano went full Nomi Malone

Happy Birthday, Hannah Waddingham


Today marks the birthday of actor, singer, performer and, I suppose, presenter, Hannah Waddingham.

Eagle-eyed readers, followers of my socials and fans of the podcast will note I became a fan of Waddingham while watching Ted Lasso, and I continue to enjoy her work and joie de vivre. 

This year, Waddingham completed Season 3 of Ted Lasso where she played the complex and often very funny owner of Richmond AFC, Rebecca Welton.  She also co-starred in a BBC/ PBS version of Tom Jones, where she played the manipulative but vivacious Lady Bellaston (and more or less stole the show).  She's been Emmy nominated for both parts.

Last Fall she had a key but small part in Hocus Pocus 2, and a cameo role that was maybe the best part of the Disney+ Willow series. 

Waddingham also hosted the Oliviers (the British Tonys) and Eurovision 2023.  This Christmas, she has a holiday special coming to Apple+ that was recorded a while back, and, according to those who were there, is pretty great.  So keep your eyes open for that.  She's also leant her voice to the upcoming cartoon, Krapopolis, from Dan Harmon.  She mentioned a possible album this year as well.  We'll see.  Oh, and she'll be in the next Mission Impossible movie and The Fall Guy next year.

She's selling Pepperidge Farm cookies (they're pretty good, y'all), and has been part of a collab between Johnnie Walker, the Women's Sports Foundation and to encourage people to watch women's sports.  And drink Johnnie Walker, presumably.  Done and done.  And, she's out there on the SAG-AFTRA picket lines.

Anyway, busy year for Waddingham, but all good stuff.  Not bad for someone you didn't hear of before 2020 unless you were hitting a lot of West End shows (I was not).

I have no idea what she'll be up to next, if Ted Lasso is truly over, etc...  But we'll keep tuning in.

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Happy Birthday to Jane Russell and Erica Durance


Today happens to mark the birthdays of both Erica Durance and Jane Russell.  

Durance is most famous around this site for her portrayal of Lois Lane on TV's Smallville, where she was an absolute highlight of the show.  She's currently doing a lot of TV and TV/Film work, so who knows what she'll be in this year, but I think we can guarantee a couple of Hallmark films.

Russell is a star of the studio-era of Hollywood, and there's many books and articles about her, and you can do your own research, but you should absolutely see Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.  

And, pondering Durance's early starring role, I do wonder what an A-List Superman of the 1940's and 50's would have looked like with Russell as Lois.  There's any number of actors who could have put on the cape, and I always think of Ruth Roman for Lois, but Russell would have been a fascinating choice.  

Anyway, keep your eyes peeled for Durance, who it looks like may have a mystery-movie series now on Hallmark.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Superman and Lois at 85

April 18th marks the 85th anniversary of the release of Action Comics #1.  This comic includes the first published story of Superman and Lois Lane.  

Originally, Superman was imagined as an unstoppable force for good and a champion of the oppressed.  This hasn't fundamentally changed, but the scope and scale at which Superman operates in comics and film has expanded to include liberating whole planets and more nuanced takes on what a man of steel can do and not be painted as a villain by the general public. 

In many ways, Superman is a combination of traits borrowed from existing popular fiction.  Doc Savage had a Fortress of Solitude, The Shadow had dual identities to fight crime, Zorro was out there swashbuckling and in a love triangle of which he was two sides.  John Carter of Mars was an alien on Mars whose origins on Earth made him super-human elsewhere.