Showing posts with label Jane Russell. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jane Russell. Show all posts

Friday, June 21, 2013

June 21: Happy Birthday, Jane Russell

On June 21 of 1921, Ernestine Jane Russell was born and thus began a story and life that was the envy of millions of women and eye-catching of men. Miss Russell made her movie debut in 1943 when she filmed “The Outlaw”.

A famous pose of her stretched out on hay and holding a revolver was an instant pin-up hit for servicemen everywhere. Her obvious physical traits notwithstanding, Miss Russell drew the attention for her acting ability that would garner her much success in the years to follow.

However, she was a versatile performer as a singer as well and her talent was added to a number of films. She performed with Kay Kyser and his band for radio by creating two hit singles, “As Long As I Live” and “Boin-n-n-ng”.

Her 1948 hit movie The Paleface with Bob Hope, was broadcast for radio on Screen Director’s Playhouse in 1950. She also would record for Columbia a number of ballads that allowed America to hear her talents rather than simply focus upon her body shape.

Jane Russell was big on keeping things appropriate when men mused about her physical stature and always tried to maintain a modicum of decency in her dress. Although a few jokes were focused upon her womanliness, Miss Russell never felt her looks should be her legacy. Married three times and having adopted 3 children, Jane Russell also was a registered Republican and devout Christian.

In February of 2011, Jane Russell passed away at the age of 89 and left behind an admirable movie history.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

March 16: Happy Birthday, Jerry Lewis

March 16: Happy Birthday, Jerry Lewis

It isn't easy to write a short entry on Jerry Lewis. Doing so can't capture his kinetic energy, his flowing and sprawling brand of physical humor. Nor is it adequate for discussing all the things he was: director, comedian, radio personality, fund raiser, winner of many prestigious awards.

Maybe we should just focus on radio! The Martin and Lewis Show leapt onto the airwaves in 1949, starring Lewis and his partner Dean Martin, a popular nightclub act. With Martin as the butt of Lewis's jokes, the two provided zany and energetic comedy while also hosting guests. The program did not skimp on talent, with guests including Lucille Ball, Peter Lorre, Henry Fonda, John Carradine, Jane Russell, and many others.

On the air or live, the two were the biggest comedy act of the early 1950's. As was the case with many radio stars, their show had more than one incarnation with more than one sponsor. In 1951, they took the airwaves under the name The Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis Show. A comedy song called "A Streetcar Named Max" got guest Dinah Shore laughing in what Variety Magazine would deem "one of the most hilarious thirty minutes in radio."

Lewis would go on to a tremendously successful film career, as an actor, yes, but also as a writer and director. In June of 2012 he was hospitalized after collapsing at a Friars' Club function.