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

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Happy 94th Birthday, James Hong!


James Hong, one of our greatest and most prolific actors, turned 94 yesterday!  

I mean, honestly, this man is a national treasure and one of the MVPs of movies and television.  Nothing he can't do or hasn't done. 

Friday, February 10, 2023

Happy Birthday, Laura Dern


Today is Laura Dern's birthday.  Everyone take a beat to mentally celebrate Laura Dern.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

A Century of Stan Lee

Today marks the 100th birthday of Stan Lee.  

It's hard to measure the impact of Stan, but it's sure looking like Stan, Jack and the Merry Marvel Bullpen may be among the most important and influential writers and artists of the past century.  

Among comics fans, Stan's legacy and life are hotly debated, but there are a lot of versions of the truth.  I understand the various viewpoints, but life is complicated and if anyone understood that and related it in a medium often caricatured for its simplistic morality plays, it was Stan.

When I think of Stan, I think of a guy who wanted to push a medium reeling from years of being a political pinata, that had become a punchline and a disgrace for many in America, and tell stories that were both wondrous and relatable.  That's not nothing.  Making gods feel like people you could talk to is no mean feat.  And, of course, the Mighty Marvel Manner of storytelling he pioneered with his colleagues has come to define how we tell serialized stories, inter-connected stories, and allowed for flawed and multi-dimensional characters.  

In the end, this meant Stan helped push the medium to become something of interest to older readers, college kids and created the life-long comics reader and fan and make the fantastic something that climbed out of the kiddie-lit gutter and into the mainstream - even if it meant getting off the newstand and into theaters, like he'd worked towards for decades.

Like all lives, Stan's was complicated.  The amazing, explosive success of the Marvel Universe of characters didn't come until Stan was on the edge of retirement - after decades of trying.  It took a generation of kids raised on Stan's characters in television, cartoons, comics, t-shirts and toys to become adults and start making the movies we always knew were possible - because those characters truly did inspire us and make us want to be better people.

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Ava Gardner at 100

Today marks the 100th birthday of actress and icon Ava Gardner.  We'll not try to capture her biography here, but suffice to say - she was one of the greats.  It's hard to imagine the films she stars in casting anyone else, and her personal life was the kind of stuff they make movies about.  

There's an Ava Gardner Museum in Smithfield, NC that I hope to visit one day.  

Here's to a career and legacy and people still talking about you at a Century.  Happy birthday, Ava.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Audrey Totter at 105


Totter in "The Woman They Almost Lynched"

Today marks the 105th anniversary of the arrival of actress Audrey Totter.  

Join us in celebrating Audrey!  Here's all the posts we've done about Totter's work.  

Friday, December 9, 2022

Happy Birthday, Teri Hatcher

Happy Birthday to actor Teri Hatcher, who is generally just a fantastic idea, but also a vital part of the Legion of Lois Lanes.  She is therefore of special note to this internet website which sometimes talks about Superman media.  

Here's hoping she has a great b-day doing whatever a Teri Hatcher does.


Saturday, November 26, 2022

Charles Schulz at 100

Today marks the 100th birthday of cartoonist Charles Schulz, creator of pop culture force, comic strip and animation favorite Peanuts.  

The Peanuts characters are embedded into American and Western culture in ways that will mean they last for a few more generations at minimum - becoming indelibly associated with holidays thanks to cartoons playing each year for the past nearly 60 years.  These days, the cartoons live on over on Apple+, but there's also plenty of decoration and ornamentation that includes the staple characters, and who doesn't know the beats and moments of the specials, even if just by osmosis?

When Apollo 10 was mounting up, NASA asked to use Snoopy as their safety mascot.  Since, they've adopted Snoopy as a mascot for safety writ large and just kind of in general.  Even as we cross this 100th birthday, there's a Snoopy doll floating around inside Artemis as it circles the moon.  That's pretty amazing.  

Of course it all started with a comic strip, and Schulz drew almost 18,000 installments over 50 years.  He created household names, concepts (Lucy pulling the football away, kite-eating trees), brought diversity to the comics page and delivered a lot of joy into people's lives.  In an era of splintered interests, it's hard to understand how something like a daily comic strip could cross generational, geographic and sociological divides as a surprisingly smart reflection of the world.  

Schulz himself went by "Sparky", a name picked up from a comic strip, Barney Google (Spark Plug was the name of a horse in the strip).  He had comics in his blood and managed to keep his strip on track, and the translations of his characters to other media remarkably consistent.  It's hard to imagine fifty years of work, but he did it.  And the strips still run in papers across the country.

Schulz passed on February 12, 2000, but here we are, with Snoopy circling the moon.  Let's hope there's a Snoopy snack bar when folks are living up there.

Monday, November 14, 2022

Veronica Lake at 100

Today marks the 100th Birthday of Veronica Lake, actor, singer and performer.  

Though her career in Hollywood was brief, and - by all accounts - something she was never all that interested in, Lake starred in and helped make a handful of films that are considered among the canon of Hollywood classics, including Sullivan's Travels, I Married a Witch, This Gun for Hire, The Blue Dahlia, The Glass Key and others.  

It's highly likely that even if you never saw any of those movies, you've seen Veronica Lake's picture included in some constellation of 1940's-era Hollywood stars or mentioned here or there.  Or recall that Kim Basinger was supposed to resemble her closely in the film LA Confidential (ymmv whether this is accurate).  You may only know the swooping blonde wave that was her trademark, partially obscuring her face, which has become a curious and continuing symbol of sexiness that's endured well past Lake as household name.  I mean, of the Voltron-like assemblage of 1940's sex and glam ideas that informed Jessica Rabbit, that swoop was there.  

In the films in which I've seen Lake (all of those lifted above) you immediately understand how she became a star.  Physically, she's the combination of beautiful and striking that the camera tends to love and, the moment they enter the frame, you know something about the character.  There's not really a thread for you to say "oh, that's a real Veronica Lake-type role", but the sly smarts she brings to each character, and wise-to-the-world knowingness works exceedingly well in her noir appearances.  In the two comedies, she's absolutely game for some heavy lifting to get the job done.  

For a brief time, Lake was very popular.  So much so that the government asked her to change her hairstyle to encourage young women to follow suit as - and as far as I know this is true - they were getting their hair caught in the machinery they were now working as part of the WWII industrial machine.  

Lake's life was deeply complicated by virtue of a controlling mother and the studio trying to run her life.  The best way to hear about it is via the You Must Remember This episode on the the topic.  After leaving Hollywood, she disappeared into obscurity only to be re-discovered by an intrepid reporter who found her working as a cocktail waitress.  Following this, she did see an uptick in public sentiment and was promoting her memoirs when she was diagnosed with issues stemming from her years of alcoholism and passed in 1973, at about 51 years of age.  

Some talent want the Hollywood life and stardom, some want to work as much and hard as they can, and some wind up in front of the camera seemingly by mistake and indifferent to the whole affair.  And all of them can be amazing on screen, and all of them can vanish on different timelines and a variety of reasons.  I don't think there's any particular motivation or background that matters much once the klieg lights are thrown on and the camera is in focus.  In the case of Lake, everyone but her may have wanted to see her on screen.  But once there, she had the charisma to make up for anything she lacked in theatrical training and the natural energy that the audiences adored.  

Anyway, we'll be watching one of her first big roles on Friday with The Gun For Hire, her first of several pairings with Alan Ladd, and a great crime film.  

Friday, October 21, 2022

Saturday, October 8, 2022

Happy Birthday, Sigourney Weaver

Happy Birthday to the great Sigourney Weaver, the one person I think we can all agree on.  Who doesn't think Sigourney Weaver is the best?  Well, I don't want to hear about it if you don't.  The problem is you, not Sigourney Weaver.

Anyway, she's the absolute best and I hope she has a terrific birthday.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Happy Birthday, Sophia Loren

Happy Birthday to Sophia Loren, who may have been the one to first inspire the phrase "great googledy-moogledy"

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Happy Belated Birthday, Cassandra Peterson

Happy Birthday to one of the greats of the Signal Watch faves pantheon, Cassandra Peterson!

This year, we read Peterson's memoir, Yours Cruelly, Elvira: Memoirs of the Mistress of the Dark.  And, kids, it is a wild @#$%ing ride.  

Here's to Ms. Peterson living her best life.  

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Happy Birthday, Lois Lane

Apparently I have it in my Google Calendar that today is Lois Lane's birthday.

Happy birthday to the world's greatest reporter!

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Happy Birthday, Madonna

Happy Birthday to Madonna Ciccone of Bay City, Michigan.

Here's to the person who kept me with one ear on pop music during my grumpier years and both eyes on MTV for years upon end.  Heck, seeing the video for Lucky Star is one of my seminal memories as a kid, and I probably need a series of lengthy therapy sessions to work through Express Yourself and Take a Bow.  

She's got a new album out there (of remixes, I think) and currently is going through a new look I have several questions about, but we'll always have Open Your Heart.

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Happy Birthday, Peter Cushing

Today marks the birth anniversary of English actor Peter Cushing.  Cushing was a familiar face to generations the UK, the US and across the world thanks to his starring roles on Hammer horror films, playing a truly demented Dr. Frankenstein across many films, a noble but crisp Dr. Van Helsing, Sherlock Holmes, and - of course - as Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars: A New Hope.  

Cushing has become one of those actors where I now say "Cushing is in that?  Well, let's watch it."  And I'm never disappointed in a single moment of him on screen.

He was also a very humble gentleman who came to fame in his 40's, and always seemed to have his feet on the ground.  Cushing was also quick to make friends with his co-stars and colleagues, and he worked numerous times with Christopher Lee, and befriended the likes of Vincent Price and others who were kings of the horror film world.  

I always find it intriguing that, in his downtime, Cushing made miniatures and models of all sorts of things.  

Anyway, happy birthday, Peter Cushing!  You are missed.

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Happy Birthday, Myrna Loy


Today marks the 117th anniversary of the birth of Myrna Loy.  If you don't know Myrna Loy, I am happy to help you fix that.  She's the absolute best.  

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Happy 75th Birthday, Arnold Schwarzenegger

Today marks the 75th birthday of Arnold Schwarzenegger - champion of physical culture, movie star, politician, and guy who lets hoofed animals into his house.  He's kind of everyone's weird uncle, and I respect that.

It's no secret that Arnie is one of my childhood favorite movie stars, and someone whose work I followed well into adulthood.  These days he's keeping busy with any number of acting gigs, promoting physical wellness and being an okay guy.  His occasional newsletter is always a boot in my ass to get out there and get my heart rate up, and his pointed messages to his fans about not being a heel are truly inspiring.  

I understand Arnie is a complex guy and has a checkered history.  So say we all.  But I also think he's using this chapter in his life to be the best version of himself, and I think that's worth acknowledging, too.  

Here's to Arnie!  May he curl some slices of cake today.

Here's some discussion of Schwarzenegger films we've covered on the PodCast!

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Happy Birthday, Elizabeth Berkley Lauren

Well, well.  Someone else has a birthday today for us to celebrate. 

Y'all put on a second party hat for my high school TV crush and prime reason I watched the all-new Saved By the Bell (which everyone but me slept on, I think, but it was waaaay better than I expected), Ms. Elizabeth Berkley Lauren, seen above - reminding you she has a very nice black coat.

Here's hoping Ms. Berkley Lauren is having a smashing birthday.

And I hope someone watched that new Saved By the Bell to see she's developed her comedy chops since the 90's and would fit well in many a new show or movie.