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Our Gang - Jackie Cooper The most successful member of the Our Gang troupe as far as post-Gang achievements in Hollywood was Jackie Cooper. He joined the Gang in 1929 at age seven, making his first appearance in 'Boxing Gloves.' He was the best of the troupe at adapting to the new sound technology. His most famous Our Gang roles have him smitten with Miss Crabtree, his school teacher. By 1931 Cooper was in demand for feature films, so Hal Roach sold his contract to Paramount Studios. Cooper received a Best Actor Oscar nomination for Skippy (1931) at age nine, making him the youngest actor ever to be nominated for that award. He is famous for playing opposite Wallace Beery in five films, most notably The Champ (1931). Although Cooper and Beery had a magical rapport in films, years later Cooper revealed that Beery was a foul-mouthed and sadistic person who was loathed by everyone on the set. Cooper served in the Second World War and later returned to Hollywood as a director. He won an Emmy for directing an episode of MASH. Cooper and Spanky McFarland are the only two Our Gang actors to have stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Cooper was widowed in 2009 after 55 years of marriage to his third wife. He also outlived two of his four children. Cooper died at age 88 on May 3, 2011.
Tags: Jackie  Cooper  Our  Gang 
Added: 28th November 2009
Views: 3971
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Posted By: Lava1964
Our Gang - Dickie Moore Dickie Moore was an Our Gang regular in 1932 and 1933, becoming one of the troupe's lead male characters. Dickie was a clean-cut, likable boy who often played the 'straight man' parts against more comical characters. In addition to his Our Gang work, Moore is often remembered for his portrayal of the title character in the 1933 adaptation of Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist and as Marlene Dietrich's son in Blonde Venus (1932). He is also famous for giving Shirley Temple her first onscreen kiss, in Miss Annie Rooney (1942). With dozens of news cameras present to record the 'end-of-innocence kiss,' Moore has described the incident as the most terrifying of his life. (It was the first time in his 17 years that he had kissed any girl!) Moore was less successful as a teenage and young-adult actor, and retired from the screen in the early 1950s. Moore went on to teach and write books about acting, edit Equity magazine, perform on Broadway, in stock, and on television. He also wrote and directed for TV, produced an Oscar-nominated short film (The Boy and the Eagle), and produced industrial films. Moore, who married actress Jane Powell in 1988, passed away on September 10, 2015--just two days before his ninetieth birthday.
Tags: Our  Gang  Dickie  Moore 
Added: 8th December 2009
Views: 3455
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Posted By: Lava1964
Troubled Actress Gail Russell Gail Russell was a dark-eyed beauty who starred with some of the most popular leading men in Hollywood in the 1940s and 1950s, including John Wayne, Joel McCrae and Alan Ladd. Born in Chicago on September 21, 1924, Russell was a shy child and often hid beneath her parents' piano when they entertained. The family moved to Los Angeles when she was 14. Even though art was Russell’s passion, her mother convinced her to audition at Paramount Studios. Gail was offered a standard seven-year contract at $50 a week. Upon graduating from high school, she signed with Paramount. Russell suffered terribly from stage fright. She made her first film appearance at 19 in Henry Aldrich Gets Glamour. The following year she appeared in Lady in the Dark. Although Russell’s role was minor, the film was nominated for three Oscars, which boosted her career. Russell's raven hair and enigmatic beauty was particularly suited to the ghost story plot of The Uninvited, her second film of 1944. During filming, Russell’s stage fright was so great that one of her co-stars suggested alcohol as a means to calm her nerves. Russell completed the film, but lost 20 pounds and later suffered a nervous breakdown. This film was also nominated for an Oscar, drawing even more attention to the young starlet. Russell played Emily Kimbrough in the 1944 comedy Our Hearts Were Young and Gay. The following year she starred as a schoolteacher opposite Alan Ladd in Salty O'Rouke, another Oscar-nominated film, then with Joel McCrae in the supernatural tale The Unseen. In 1946 she starred in Our Hearts Were Growing Up, a sequel with Diana Lynn. Before the year was over she completed yet another movie, The Bachelor’s Daughters, with Adolphe Menjou. Still, Russell continued to experience stage fright, liberally using alcohol to deal with it. In 1947, Russell performed one of her most famous roles as the innocent Quaker love of John Wayne in The Angel and the Badman. Rumors circulated that Russell and Wayne were having an affair, though they both denied anything more than friendship. In 1949, Russell once again starred as John Wayne's love interest in Wake of the Red Witch. When she learned that her husband had cast Russell in this role, John Wayne’s wife, actress Esperanza (Chata) Bauer, exploded in an alcoholic, jealous rage. When Wayne returned home late from the cast party, Bauer aimed a gun at her husband and pulled the trigger. The bullet barely missed Wayne’s head. Months later, Russell married her long-time boyfriend, television actor Guy Madison. In 1953, Russell was called to testify in John Wayne’s divorce trial and once again, Russell and Wayne both denied the affair. Two weeks later Russell was arrested for drunk driving, which fueled more rumors about an affair and caused serious damage to her marriage. Her alcoholic reputation so troubled Paramount executives they refused to renew her contract. Then Russell and Madison divorced, adding to her despair. In 1955, Russell left the scene of the crime after rear-ending another vehicle while intoxicated. In 1957 she drove her new convertible through the glass windows of Jan's Restaurant in Beverly Hills, pinning the janitor beneath her vehicle. Russell was picked up by Universal Studios and continued to star with some of the most famous names in Hollywood, including Randolph Scott. However, in August of 1957, when she failed to appear in court, officers were sent to her home and found her drunk and unconscious. The hearing was held at General Hospital where she was bedridden with severe effects from alcoholism. She joined Alcoholics Anonymous and stayed with this organization for a year, to no avail. In 1961, Russell starred in her last movie, The Silent Call. When filming was completed, she locked herself in her Los Angeles studio apartment, sketching and drinking. On August 27, 1961 Russell died from an alcohol-induced heart attack. She was just 36.
Tags: actress  Gail  Russell 
Added: 18th December 2010
Views: 4647
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Posted By: Lava1964
Harry Truman Assassination Attempt An assassination attempt on President Harry Truman occurred on November 1, 1950. It was perpetrated by two Puerto Rican pro-independence activists, Oscar Collazo and Griselio Torresola. It occurred while Truman was residing at Blair House during extensive White House renovations. The attempt resulted in the deaths of White House police officer Leslie Coffelt, and Torresola. Truman was unharmed. Torresola walked up Pennsylvania Avenue from the west side while his partner, Oscar Collazo, walked up to Capital police officer Donald Birdzell on the steps of Blair House. Approaching Birdzell from behind, Collazo pulled out a handgun, pointed it at the officer's back, and pulled the trigger. Since he had failed to cock it, nothing happened. Collazo managed to fire the weapon just as Birdzell was turning to face him, striking the officer in his right knee. Secret Service agent Floyd Boring and White House police officer Joseph Davidson heard the shot and opened fire on Collazo. Collazo returned fire and soon found himself outgunned as the wounded Birdzell joined the shootout. Soon after, Collazo was struck by two rounds in the head and right arm, while other officers joined the gunfight. Torresola approached a guard booth at the west corner of Blair House where an officer, Private Leslie Coffelt, was sitting inside. Torresola quickly pivoted from left to right around the opening of the booth. Coffelt was taken completely by surprise. Torresola fired four shots from his Luger at close range. Three shots struck Coffelt in the chest and abdomen, a fourth went through his tunic. Coffelt slumped in his chair, mortally wounded. Torresola turned his attention to plainclothes White House policeman Joseph Downs. Downs, who had just chatted with Coffelt, proceeded down the walkway to the basement door at the west end of the Blair-Lee house when he heard shots. Downs noticed Torresola, but he was shot in the hip before he could draw his weapon. Downs turned back towards the house, and was shot twice more by Torresola, once in the back and once in the neck. Downs staggered to the basement door, opened it, slid in, and then slammed the door behind him, denying Torresola entry into Blair House. Torresola turned his attention to the shoot-out between his partner, Collazo, and several other law enforcement officers. Torresola saw wounded policeman Donald Birdzell aiming at Collazo from the south side of Pennsylvania Avenue. Torresola aimed and shot Birdzell in the left knee from a distance of approximately 40 feet. Now shot in both knees, Birdzell was effectively incapacitated. (He would later recover.) Soon after, the severely wounded Collazo was hit in the chest by a ricochet shot from Davidson and was incapacitated too. Torresola stood to the immediate left of Blair House steps while he reloaded. At the same time, Truman, who had been napping in his second-floor bedroom, was awoken by the gunfire. Truman went to his bedroom window, opened it, and looked outside. From where he stood reloading, Torresola was 31 feet away from that window. It is unknown whether either man saw the other. At the same time, the wounded Coffelt staggered out of his guard booth, leaned against it, and aimed his revolver at Torresola, who was approximately 30 feet away. Coffelt fired, hitting Torresola two inches above the ear, killing him instantly. Coffelt himself died four hours later. Officer Coffelt's widow, Cressie E. Coffelt, was asked by the President and the Secretary of State to go to Puerto Rico, where she received condolences from various Puerto Rican leaders and crowds. Mrs. Coffelt always absolved the island's people of blame for the acts of the two gunmen. A plaque at Blair House commemorates Coffelt's sacrifice and heroism. The day room for the U.S. Secret Service's Uniformed Division at Blair House is also named for Coffelt.
Tags: Harry  Truman  assassination  attempt 
Added: 21st January 2011
Views: 2544
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Posted By: Lava1964
Wings - First Best Picture Winner The first movie to win the coveted Best Picture Oscar was Wings, a silent masterpiece from 1927. Starring Buddy Rogers, Richard Arlen and Clara Bow, Wings is a drama about two American aviators who enlist in the First World War. The film's aerial shots of dogfights were revolutionary for the time. Gary Cooper, at the beginning of his great career, has a small role as a pilot who is killed in a training flight crash. The film also has some surprising nudity for its time: Clara Bow's breasts are shown for a fraction of a second in a scene where she is surprised while dressing. There is also a long shot through a door of nude army recruits preparing to undergo their physical exams. The movie was incredibly popular in its day. It ran for 63 weeks (with several showings each day) at New York City's Criterion Theater--a major venue that seated about 3,000 people--before it was released to smaller movie houses. Wings was considered a lost film for many years until a copy was discovered in a film archive in Paris. It is the only Best Picture-winning film not currently available on DVD, although is can be obtained on videotape. A very good organ score accompanies the VHS copy of Wings I bought many years ago.
Tags: Wings  Oscar  Clara  Bow  silent  film 
Added: 21st February 2011
Views: 1801
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Posted By: Lava1964
Laurel and Hardy - The Music Box The comedy team of Laurel & Hardy made dozens of short comedies in both the silent and sound eras of film. (Their voices so perfectly matched their characters that the transition to sound movies was no problem at all.) Many L&H fans declare the Oscar-winning 1932 featurette The Music Box to be their best short film. The plot is simple: L&H go into the cartage business and have to deliver a piano to an address located atop a large flight of stairs. The normal accidents, complications and catastrophes arise. The menacing concrete staircase still exists as a public walkway and is something of a tourist attraction. (It's located on Vendrome Street in Los Angeles.) A historic plaque was added to the stairs in 1993. A tall sign identifying 'Music Box Stairs' points L&H fans to the location.
Tags: Laurel  Hardy  film  Music  Box  stairs 
Added: 21st February 2011
Views: 3078
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Posted By: Lava1964
Gil Clancy 1922-2011 Sports fans lost a familiar voice and friend on March 31, 2011 when Hall-of-Fame boxing figure Gil Clancy died. As manager and trainer of Emile Griffith, he was best known for his significant contributions to the former world welterweight and middleweight champ's career. Born Gilbert Thomas Clancy, he served with the US Army during World War II, and fought as an amateur while stationed in Mississippi. After the war, he attended New York University from where he attained his bachelor's and master's degrees in Education. While teaching in New York City, he began training boxers and shaped Emile Griffith from a Golden Gloves champion into a professional world champion in two different weight classes. Clancy was acknowledged as one of the most respected trainers of his time, as he worked with Jerry Quarry, George Foreman, Joe Frazier, Muhammad Ali and Oscar De La Hoya, among many others. He was named Boxing Writers Association of America Manager of the Year twice (1967 and 1973). During the 1980s, he worked as a boxing commentator with CBS Sports and HBO; he was recipient of the Sam Taub Award in 1983. Clancy was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1993.
Tags: boxing  Gil  Clancy  TV  obit 
Added: 9th April 2011
Views: 1227
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Posted By: Lava1964
Oscar Mayer Wiener Ad Tags: Oscar  Mayer  Wiener  Ad  Anthony  Weiner  Hot  Dog   
Added: 6th June 2011
Views: 2452
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Posted By: Cathy
Marisa Tomei Oscar Controversy [Note: This is a redo of an earlier post--with a photo that is undoubtedly Marisa Tomei this time!] One of the strangest Academy Awards stories ever focuses on Marisa Tomei's 1992 win for best supporting actress. She was awarded the Oscar for her portrayal of Mona Lisa Vito in the comedy My Cousin Vinny. Immediately after the ceremony, film critic Rex Reed made the stunning claim that presenter Jack Palance had read the wrong nominee's name as the winner. This was an incredible assertion considering that Price Waterhouse (the accounting firm that tabulates the voters' ballots) has two reps stationed near the stage who are empowered to interrupt the ceremony if such a mistake were to occur. (They've never yet had to intervene in the more than half a century of their presence.) Film critic Roger Ebert believes Reed owes Tomei an apology. Tomei herself says the ongoing rumor of her being the wrong winner has tarnished her lone Oscar victory.
Tags: Marisa  Tomei  Oscar  controversy 
Added: 19th August 2011
Views: 5291
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Posted By: Lava1964
The New Odd Couple - 1982 Sitcom Flop In 1982 ABC tried to resurrect The Odd Couple. It had run on that network from 1970 to 1975 with the familiar and popular duo of Jack Klugman and Tony Randall. This time ABC tried it with a black twosome in the leading roles: Demond Wilson (who starred on Sanford and Son from 1972 to 1977) played sloppy sportswriter Oscar Madison. Ron Glass (who starred on Barney Miller from 1975 to 1982) played fussy fashion photographer Felix Unger. While the show was billed as the "new" version of The Odd Couple, seven of the series' first 13 scripts were merely recycled versions of the 1970s episodes. Viewers didn't like the the show at all: The New Odd Couple lasted just 16 episodes before being yanked off the air.
Tags: TV  New  Odd  Couple  flop  sitcom  rehash 
Added: 21st August 2011
Views: 1349
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Posted By: Lava1964

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