Friday, April 17, 2015

A-Z Challenge 2015: O is for Olivia Newton-John!

I first saw Olivia Newton-John in Grease when my mom took me to see it at the theater - I was only just into double digits. I liked the girl next door aspect of her character Sandy - but I liked her bad girl presentation near the end even more! I later rented Xanadu - on BETA! It was one of the very first movies I ever rented. I loved it - unlike the rest of the world.

Thereafter I was totally a fan and bought her albums - and even went to see her in concert on the Physical tour in the early 80's. Yes, my mom took me to that too. Don't you judge me.

I'm always happy to see her - but I'm not thrilled that she has subjected herself to the knife to try (in vain) to hold on to the past - as she's starting to get that damned Joker thing going on - so I try to stick to my memories of the days when she still had her original face.

Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

A-Z Challenge 2015: N is for Nichelle Nichols!

Nichelle Nichols played Lt. Uhura in the Star Trek series in the 1960's. She helped show a future where race was no longer an issue in people's lives - and it was so important at the time that when she first met Martin Luther King and revealed she was thinking of leaving the show - he implored her to stay - to continue to provide that message - even if she was often only in the background of the stories. Plus, she had the best legs in the 23rd century.

Uhura came back for the Star Trek movies in the 80's - and Nichelle Nichols got some great moments here and there. Two other movies that stand out for this blog - Truck Turner (1974) - you've never seen her like she is in that Isaac Hayes Blaxpolitation vehicle - and The Supernaturals (1986) - which is not a classic but again gives Nichelle a character to play completely unlike Lt. Uhura.

Still looking amazing and offering a strong presence in genre circles - Nichelle Nichols is an amazing woman - check out something with her next chance you get!

Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A-Z Challenge 2015: M is for Lois Maxwell!

Lois Maxwell was a marvelous presence playing M's secretary Miss Moneypenny in the James Bond movies. She holds the record for the most appearances in the series, beating out every Bond, all the M's, Q, and the seven guys who played Felix Leiter - her record stands at fourteen 007 movies. I don't think that record will ever be broken.

Lois Maxwell and Sean Connery in the first 007 movie - Dr. No (1962).

She and Roger Moore attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts together, and I always felt she had a special chemistry with him, though she and Sean Connery had some fine moments as well. She also helped George Lazenby in their only film together, and he got the sauciest moment with her, giving her a discreet tush squeeze just below camera (his hand movement is unmistakable as it moves down there.)

Lois Maxwell and the boys - Roger Moore, Desmond Llewelyn, and Patrick Macnee - in
her final 007 film - A View to a Kill (1985).

Miss Moneypenny has since been played by four other women - and they're mostly all awesome - three of them, anyway - but no one compares with Lois Maxwell!

Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A-Z Challenge 2015: L is for Lance Henriksen!

Lance Henriksen is one of my very favorite actors. I first took notice of him seeing The Terminator in the theater, where he had fun chemistry with Paul Winfield as the cops on the case.

 I know I saw him in other movies after that - but my next clear memory of him was when he played the bad guy in the Brian Bosworth vehicle Stone Cold. I loved hearing that he wrapped that movie - playing a long haired modern day biker - on Friday and then flew to Italy over the weekend to start playing the bald 15th century Inquisitor Torquemada for director Stuart Gordon on Monday. Now that's acting.

Lance Henriksen is the kind of actor who literally makes everything he's in better - and he's made otherwise bad movies watchable with his presence. He's been going strong for more than thirty years - with over 200 credits on the IMDB - check out some Lance Henriksen when you get the chance!

Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Monday, April 13, 2015

A-Z Challenge 2015: K is for Jack Kelly!

I first saw Jack Kelly during a 48 hour Maverick marathon that TV Land ran across one weekend some years ago. I taped several VHS tapes full, and really enjoyed the show - and both of its stars - James Garner and Jack Kelly. Maverick was the main character - a traveling gambler in the Old West who always managed to find trouble no matter where he went. But in this case, there were two Mavericks - and they were brothers - both engaged in the family business - professional gambler.

In order to stay on schedule, it was decided to alternate episodes between the Maverick brothers. One week you'd watch James Garner's Bret, the next week Jack Kelly's Bart. A few weeks after that both would show up.

James Garner and Jack Kelly have you covered.

Both actors were a lot of fun on the show. Garner had seniority as he was hired first, so he got to pick which scripts he did - he always took the ones with the most humor and quirky bits - leaving Kelly the more serious episodes. But whichever Maverick you got - and especially when you got both - the show was a blast.

Jack Kelly acted in lots of other shows as well - starting out in the late 1930's as a child actor - and appearing in scads of movies and TV shows from then until the early 90's. Some movie titles that stand out for this blog: Cult of the Cobra, Forbidden Planet, and The Human Tornado.

This 007 fan also loved that during a contract battle with Garner
they brought in cousin Beau from England - and he was
played by Roger Moore for several episodes!

Jack Kelly got into politics in the 70's - but also kept his hand in, appearing in episodic television in the 70's and 80's - and did return to the show every time Maverick was revived - which was three times (!) from the late 70's to the early 90's.

Jack Kelly's last screen appearance - as Bart Maverick in one of
The Gambler TV movies.

Check out some Jack Kelly when you can - he's fun!

Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

A-Z Challenge 2015: J is for Jewel Shepard!

I first noticed Jewel Shepard when I saw Return of the Living Dead in the theater. She looked wild - certainly wilder than the Southern Illinois girls I went to school with.

After RotLD the next time Jewel appeared in my life was on this video box:

I saw this movie available for rent at several video stores over the years - and I always picked it up and looked it over - then never rented it. Why not? I don't have a good reason, really. I rented scads of movies, and certainly a lot of them were much like this flick - but I never put down my money to see it.

Jewel Shepard was born in the late 50's in New York City. She went out to California to break into show business in the 70's. Never shy about her body she worked as a stripper and a car show model, then first showed up in an uncredited bit in a 1979 movie called Teen Lust. I'd never heard of that movie before - but reading up on it for this post - WOW - it starred Kirsten Baker (Friday the 13th Part 2) and Perry Lang (Spring Break) and was written, produced, and directed by actor James Hong (Big Trouble in Little China). Did I mention - WOW! Need to see this one!

But I digress.

Jewel Shepard next turned up in another uncredited bit in one of my favorite 80's movies - Zapped! After that she started to make it on the credit lists - with her next two movies genre flicks worth noting: H.B. Halicki's The Junkman and Kung Fu Cannibals.

Working through the 80's continuing to appear in movies like My Tutor and Hollywood Hot Tubs - and its sequel as seen above - Jewel branched out in the 90's as a writer, putting together a great book of interviews with other actresses like herself in 1992 called Invasion of the B-Girls. She also wrote for magazines like Premiere, Details, and Cosmopolitan.

In 1996 she published an autobiography called If I'm So Famous, How Come Nobody's Ever Heard of Me? which chronicles her life in the entertainment industry and pulls no punches.

All that skin showing - and this blog is still PG-13!

In the 2000's she only acted sporadically, with an appearance in the Oscar winning The Artist the highest profile project - and she kept writing and launched a website. Sadly, in 2011 she was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, and has been fighting against it ever since. She is on social media, and is very open there about her health struggles and her battles with insurance companies and her financial woes. Sometimes her stories are just heartbreaking but she mostly maintains a rather dour optimism - and her adventures working her way through her bucket list - which she has completed, by the way - were fascinating. She also appeared in a tearjerker Hallmark card ad that showed the effects her various treatments and chemotherapies had on her...

Check out some Jewel Shepard if you get the chance - and keep her in your thoughts and prayers for continued health. 

Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Friday, April 10, 2015

A-Z Challenge 2015: I is for Ingrid Pitt!

I would have first seen Ingrid Pitt in the pages of Fangoria or Starlog magazine in an interview article - or possibly in a guest appearance on Doctor Who in the early to mid 80's. I thought she was gorgeous, but it was difficult in those days to track down movies - so it took a long time to see more of her on film.

I am not trying to make these posts giant biographical studies on the subject - in the interests of brevity I'm concentrating on my experiences with them and certain high points in their lives. But when you come upon someone like Ingrid Pitt - who is not widely known outside of genre circles but who lived a full and pretty amazing life - it's hard not to pile on the details.

Ingrid Pitt was born as Ingoushka Petrov in Warsaw. Poland November 21, 1937. During World War II she and her family were imprisoned in a concentration camp. The horrors she saw in her childhood stayed with her throughout her life. She made it out of the camp, and married in Berlin in the 1950's. After appearing in the Spanish scarepic Sound of Horror in 1964 - she moved around, with stops in Hollywood and back in Europe. During this period she appeared in Doctor Zhivago and a low budget science fiction picture - The Omegans.

She got a high profile role as Heidi in Where Eagles Dare with Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood in 1968. She didn't really capitalize on this, however, and it was two years before she made another movie.

Where Eagles Dare - Ingrid and Clint in a clinch.

Ah, but what a movie! Ingrid was hired by Hammer Films for their sexy horror movie The Vampire Lovers. (That's one of the movies it would have been difficult to track down in the 80's - but it's in the video vault now!) After that Ingrid had perhaps her greatest role in another Hammer film - playing a character based on the real life and very evil Elisabeth Bathory in Countess Dracula. (I'll leave you to look up Ms. Bathory if you want to know more about her.)

Sharing a moment with Peter Cushing behind the scenes on The Vampire Lovers.

She cemented her horror movie status with two more good movies - The House That Dripped Blood (1971) and The Wicker Man (1973). She also worked in television in the 70's as well. She started writing too - producing her first novel Cuckoo Run in 1980.

Vamping it up in The House That Dripped Blood.

In the 80's she appeared in more movies, but they were suspense thrillers and espionage movies - she even provided an uncredited voice for Octopussy in 1983 - and wrote three more novels.

After her Doctor Who appearance she and her husband pitched a story for Sixth Doctor Colin Baker - but the story - called The Macros - never appeared before the cameras. It was later produced as an audio adventure for the Big Finish audio series.

She did not act in the 1990's - concentrating on her writing and turning out three reference books and her autobiography and starting a website about her life and career - The Pitt of Horror.  She returned to acting in the 2000's and continued writing - including columns in magazines like Shivers, TV & Film Memorabilia, and Motoring and Leisure. She also appeared at horror conventions and autograph shows - where she was hugely popular with the fans who came to see her.

Later in life - still a gorgeous woman.

Sadly, she collapsed in November 2010 and passed away on November 23rd, two days after her 73rd birthday.

Ingrid Pitt left a lasting impression as a voluptuous and sexy presence in horror, despite only appearing in a half dozen scarepics - but the ones she did are well worth checking out - so go track down some Ingrid Pitt - you won't be sorry!

Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!