Showing posts with label Rosemary Clooney. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rosemary Clooney. Show all posts

Saturday, January 31, 2015

January 31: Happy Birthday, Tallulah Bankhead

January 31: Happy Birthday, Tallulah Bankhead


Darlings, Tallulah Bankhead was a hilarious star of stage and screen and the host of NBC's The Big Show from 1950-1951. The ostentatious Alabaman introduced each week's lineup of spectacular stars (Ethel Merman, Fred Allen, Groucho Marx, Martin and Lewis, Rosemary Clooney, you name 'em) and jousted with them in witty exchanges.

The ambitious and extravagant extravaganza was hosted in the 3,000-seat Center Theatre. Each show opened with the theme song  "A Hand Full of Stars," Bankhead's monologue, and then the wide array of guest stars singing, dancing, or performing sketches in an ensemble.

The indomitable Tallulah, who, legend claims, smoked about a hundred and fifty cigarettes a day in rehearsals, was sometimes a bit thorny with guests. It was mostly all in good fun, but sometimes a bit uncomfortable. For example, Jose Ferrer showed reluctance at being called, by Bankhead, the day's best stage actor, Tallulah quickly shot back that he was right, he probably wasn't.

You may remember Bankhead's roles in such films as "The Trap," "My Sin," "Faithless," "Lifeboat," and "A Royal Scandal." And did you remember that she also played Black Widow in two 1967 episodes of the TV series "Batman"?

Friday, January 31, 2014

January 31: Happy Birthday Mario Lanza

January 31: Happy Birthday Mario Lanza

If your mother was born on Jan. 30, you forgot to wish her a happy birthday yesterday. If she was born today, the 31st, she shares a birthday with Mario Lanza, and you still have time to send her an e-card.

The operatic tenor Mario Lanza made great contributions to oldtime radio. His radio show, entitled simply "Mario Lanza," ran for a dozen or so episodes from Summer of '51 into '52. It was an elegant offering of Lanza's singing and great guest stars such as Rosemary Clooney, Vesti La Giubba and Kitty Kalen. Episode titles include "I've Got You Under My Skin," "All The Things You Are," and "Night and Day."

While Lanza was considered to have one of the very best singing voices on Earth, he also had a somewhat rocky career marked by skirmishes with colleagues and bosses. He endured a small lip-synching scandal in 1954 when it was revealed he'd been miming on his TV debut, and he snubbed the New Frontier in Las Vegas for a two-week gig.

Lanza was a lover of food and drink, and died of a heart attack in 1959. He was 38.