Archive for June, 2017

Back Street

Susan Hayward would have turned 100 today.

She died at the age of 57 after developing brain cancer.  Most likely, Hayward was another victim of radioactive poisoning from the movie set of The Conqueror, which was filmed in St. George, Utah a former atomic test site.

There were 220 people on the set, 91 would develop cancer of one sort or another, and 46 had already died from the disease by 1980.

The deaths included Agnes Moorehead, John Wayne, and Dick Powell.

Hayward isn’t remembered for the way she died, she’s remembered for her films.

Moving to Hollywood in 1937 to land the role of Scarlett O’Hara (she didn’t), the girl who would eventually live on a large farm in Georgia, started her career as a model, and quickly found bit parts in films throughout WW II.

After the war, she was “discovered” by Walter Wagner and signed a seven year contract.

Wagner, apparently a visionary, paid her, a veritable unknown, $100,000 a year.

In 1947, she received the first of five Academy Award nominations when she played an alcoholic nightclub singer in Smash UP, the Story of a Woman.

She went on to become one of the public’s favorite leading ladies, delighting audiences by portraying Rachel Jackson in The President’s Lady,  another boozer in I’ll Cry Tomorrow, and a California murderer, Barbara Graham, in I Want To Live.

She won her only Oscar for that one.

But my favorite and one that gets little attention is Back Street, a lavish Ross Hunter re-make of an earlier film.

No one played the role of the “other woman” like Susan Hayward, and Rae of  Back Street was an “other woman” role like no other!

Back Street is one of my favorite movies and one of my favorite memories.  My sister, Zola, and I would stay UP late, lie in front of the black and white swivel bottom TV, get as close as we could get,  turn the sound low to keep from waking the house, and watch Back Street.

Mother of course, would come out and tell us to get to bed; quite frankly, I think I was an adult before I saw the end of the film.

Melodrama at its best, Back Street is the story of a wealthy department store heir’s love affair with a small town dress shop owner.  The dress shop owner dumps him when she finds out he’s married.

Of course, she runs to New York, becomes a fashion designer, moves to Rome and becomes the brains behind a salon and becomes an even more famous designer.

The heir pursues her, telling her his lush of a wife won’t give him a divorce, pledging his love yadda, yadda, yadda.

Of course, she caves, they become lovers, things happen, the wife shows UP, Chautauqua hits the fan…you know the drill.

I won’t spoil the end, but it’s one of Old Hollywood’s classiest.

Check it out, make a new memory.

Hey, it’s gonna be hot this weekend, and you need something to do.

But it Wasn’t.

“How are you?” she asked already knowing the answer.

“Peachy!” he replied, lying like a bad toupee!

She wanted to say, “Great!” and go on, but she knew she couldn’t.

The look on his face told her almost everything she needed to know.

She paused a moment, took a deep breath, and started to speak.

But, before she could, he said, “Listen, we need to talk.”



Each week, the lovely and talented Ivy Walker hosts a link-up challenging writers to spin a tale in six sentences – no more, no less. Click on the link right here to find out more and link your own post. While you’re there, click on the blue frog button to find more stories from some wonderful storytellers.

This week’s prompt was peach.

What Knockers!

Today is Mel Brooks Birthday!

This is a re-run, I’ve got lot’s going on…check in tomorrow for something new!


At first glance, it seemed one of the stranger matches of the 20th century: the serious, award-winning dramatic actress, and the man whose imagination introduced both flatulence around an Old West campfire and a singing-dancing Adolf Hitler to cinematic history.

Melvin Kaminsky met Anna Maria Louisa Italiano back stage at a rehearsal for the Perry Como Show in 1961, and four years later they were married at New York City’s City Hall.

All their friends were skeptical.

She was the poised, accomplished star of Broadway and screen, he, the irreverent comedic writer, actor, and producer.

She, a Roman Catholic, he, Jewish-ish; no one thought it would work.

He once said, “…I’m rather secular.  I’m basically Jewish.  But I think I’m Jewish not because of the Jewish religion at all.”

After her death, in 2005, he said, “You know, it (the marriage) took because Anne and I both grew UP during the marriage, we both grew UP, we both knew what was really important, and what love meant, and … what doing for each other meant.”

They were an encouragement to one another.

He credited her with much of his success, saying that it was Anne who was the guiding force behind The Producers and Young Frankenstein.

Seen on screen together a mere three times, but were a “power couple” in Hollywood.

Their only child, Maximillian was born in 1972.

He said, “…we were glued together…” until her death in 2005 from uterine cancer.  Her death came as a surprise to many, even some of her friends.  She was an extremely private person when it came to home, health, and family.  And in reality, they were a private couple.

But on stage and screen, they were Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft!

Mel and Anne

And their Hollywood marriage lasted 41 years.

What He Said…

Bob Keeshan would turn 90 today…he once said,

“…Generosity has built America. When we fail to invest in children, we have to pay the cost.”

Smart guy!