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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: 5014
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Posted By: Lava1964
The Ropers - Disastrous Spinoff Three's Company was a big it for ABC when it debuted in March 1977. Risque for its time due to its frequent sexual innuendos, the show was about a single male who was permitted to share an apartment with two single females as long as he pretended to be gay to placate the landlords. By the 1977-78 season, it was the #3 show on American TV. Accordingly, someone at ABC thought a sitcom centered on the show's landlords--the Ropers--was bound to be a hit. Audra Lindley, who played Helen Roper, liked the idea. Norman Fell, who played uptight Stanley Roper, wasn't so sure. He was quite content being a secondary character on a hit show and thought a spinoff was a big career risk. Nevertheless The Ropers premiered on Tuesday, March 13, 1979 to a very high initial rating, and it did moderately well in the ratings for the rest of the TV season. Then, in the fall of 1979, The Ropers was moved from its Tuesday time slot to Saturday where it competed head-to-head against NBC's popular CHIPS. The show's viewers failed to make the transition. Moreover, the Ropers never attracted the targetted young demographic. After 28 episodes The Ropers was yanked. By that time, Lindley and Fell had their roles as landlords on Three's Company decisively replaced by the popular Don Knotts. They made one cameo appearance and vanished from the show. Norman Fell's fears had come true. The Ropers regularly appears on TV fans' and critics' lists of the worst spinoffs ever.
Tags: television  The  Ropers  spinoff 
Added: 30th July 2011
Views: 3900
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Posted By: Lava1964
Ball Four - Sitcom Flop 1976 Ball Four was a situation comedy that aired on CBS in 1976. The series was inspired by the tremendously successful 1970 book of the same name by Jim Bouton. Bouton co-created the show with humorist and television critic Marvin Kitman and sportswriter Vic Ziegel. Bouton also starred in the series. Ball Four followed the Washington Americans, a fictitious minor league baseball team, dealing with the fallout from a series of Sports Illustrated articles written by Americans' player Jim Barton (Bouton). Like the book, the series covered controversial subjects including womanizing players, drug use, homosexuality in sports, and religion. The series included a gay rookie ballplayer--one of the earliest regular gay characters on television. The creative trio began developing the series in 1975, looking to groundbreaking series like M*A*S*H and All in the Family as models. CBS expressed interest and the creative team developed a script. CBS shot the pilot episode and ultimately bought the series. Ball Four aired at 8:30 PM Eastern time, which was during the Family Viewing Hour, an FCC-mandated hour of early evening "family-friendly" broadcasting. Consequently the writers had some trouble with the network's Standards and Practices in their attempt to portray realistic locker room scenes, especially the language used by the players. Pseudo-profanity such as "bullpimp" was disallowed, while "horse-crock" and "bullhorse" were approved. Ball Four debuted on September 22, 1976. Critics panned the series. One of the more charitable reviews called it "uneven in quality." CBS cancelled Ball Four after just five episodes.
Tags: sitcom  Ball  Four  baseball  CBS 
Added: 23rd August 2011
Views: 1720
Rating:
Posted By: Lava1964
Hot L Baltimore - Sitcom Flop 1975 ABC had high hopes when its risque and controversial sitcom Hot L Baltimore debuted in 1975. Ultimately, though, the show never captured the hearts of TV viewers and was summarily axed less than five months into its run. The show, based on a successful off-Broadway play, took place in the rundown Hotel Baltimore in Baltimore, MD. It drew its title from the cheap establishment's neon marquee, which had a burned-out letter "e" that had never been replaced. The half-hour series premiered on January 24, 1975 and was produced by Norman Lear for ABC. (It was, in fact, the first Lear property to air on ABC.) The cast included Conchata Ferrell, James Cromwell, Richard Masur, Al Freeman, Jr., Gloria LeRoy, Jeannie Linero, and Charlotte Rae. The show's plots focused on the lives of the odd assemblage of disparate characters who called the seedy hotel home. The series had several controversial elements, including two primary characters who were prostitutes--one of whom was an illegal immigrant--and one of the first gay couples to be depicted on an American television series. Because of its storylines, Hot L Baltimore was the first network television show to have a warning during its opening, cautioning viewers about mature themes. ABC gave Hot L Baltimore a full publicity campaign, but it failed to win an audience and was canceled after just 13 episodes; its last telecast was June 6, 1975. This series is notable as the first failure for producer Norman Lear after a very successful streak of mega-hit TV series beginning with All in the Family in 1971 and continuing with Sanford and Son, Maude, Good Times, and The Jeffersons, among others.
Tags: Hot  L  Baltimore  sitcom  flop  Norman  Lear  ABC 
Added: 29th August 2011
Views: 3641
Rating:
Posted By: Lava1964
Fictitious Past of Raymond Burr Raymond Burr, the popular Canadian-born actor who starred in both Perry Mason and Ironside, wildly fabricated parts of his past, presumably to hide his homosexuality. Most of the blatant falsehoods weren't exposed until after his death in 1993. Burr married actress Isabella Ward on January 10, 1949. They lived together for less than a year and divorced after four years. Neither remarried. At various times in his career, Burr or his managers offered biographical details that appear spurious or unverifiable. These include marriage to a Scottish actress named Annette Sutherland, supposedly killed in the same plane crash as Leslie Howard. A son named Michael Evan was said to have resulted from another invented marriage to Laura Andrina Morgan. Burr provided the only evidence of the boy's existence and death from leukemia at age 10. As late as 1991, Burr told Parade magazine that when he realized his son was dying, he took him on a one-year tour of the United States. He said, "Before my boy left, before his time was gone, I wanted him to see the beauty of his country and its people." Later research proved Burr was working in Hollywood throughout the year he was supposedly travelling with his ill son. Burr also claimed to have served in the U.S. Navy during the Second World War and said he had been seriously wounded on Okinawa. Many of these fictions were believed and widely reported during Burr's lifetime. In the mid 1950s, Burr met Robert Benevides, a young actor and Korean War veteran, on the set of Perry Mason. According to Benevides, they became a couple around 1960. He later became a production consultant for 21 of the Perry Mason TV movies. Together they owned and operated an orchid business and then a vineyard in the Dry Creek Valley. They were partners until Burr's death. Burr left Benevides his entire estate. Later accounts of Burr's life explain he hid his sexuality to protect his career. In 2000, AP reporter Bob Thomas recalled the situation: "It was an open secret...that Burr was gay. He had a companion who was with him all the time. That was a time in Hollywood history when homosexuality was not countenanced. Ray was not a romantic star by any means, but he was a very popular figure...If it was revealed at that time in Hollywood history [that he was gay] it would have been very difficult for him to continue."
Tags: Raymond  Burr  false  past 
Added: 18th September 2011
Views: 2389
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Posted By: Lava1964
Aberfan Disaster - 1966 At 9.15 am on Friday, October 21, 1966 a enormous mountain of excavated coal mining debris (known to coal miners as a waste tip) slid down a mountainside into the mining village of Aberfan, near Merthyr Tydfil in South Wales. The waste tips, which had been building up for 50 years, had become heavy and saturated due to a week of rainy weather. The debris slide first destroyed a farm cottage in its path, killing all the occupants. At Pantglas Junior School, just below, the children had just returned to their classes after singing All Things Bright and Beautiful at their assembly. The tipping gang up the mountain had seen the slide start, but could not raise the alarm because their telephone cable had been repeatedly stolen. (The Tribunal of Inquiry later established that the disaster happened so quickly that a telephone warning would not have saved any lives regardless.) Down in the village, nobody saw anything, but everybody heard the noise as about 40,000 cubic metres of debris crashed into the school at a depth of 39 feet. Gaynor Minett, an eight-year-old student, remembered four years later, "It was a tremendous rumbling sound and all the school went dead. You could hear a pin drop. Everyone just froze in their seats. I just managed to get up and I reached the end of my desk when the sound got louder and nearer, until I could see the black out of the window. I can't remember any more but I woke up to find that a horrible nightmare had just begun in front of my eyes." The slide engulfed the school and about 20 houses in the village before coming to rest. Then there was total silence. George Williams, who was trapped in the wreckage, remembered that "In that silence you couldn't hear a bird or a child." All able-bodied persons in the village rushed to the scene with whatever implements they could find to begin digging through the mess to search for survivors. None were found after 11 a.m., but it took nearly a week to recover all the bodies. The death toll in the Aberfan disaster was 144--of which 116 were school children. That accounted for about half the school's enrolment. Five teachers were killed too. An inquiry later blamed the National Coal Board (NCB) for ignoring warnings from years earlier about the potential hazards of the growing waste tips. Families of the victims were eventually compensated 500 British pounds by the NCB for each loved one who had perished.
Tags: Aberfan  Wales  disaster  coal 
Added: 11th June 2012
Views: 2842
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Posted By: Lava1964
Oliver Sipple - The Man Who Saved Gerald Ford On September 22, 1975, 33-year-old Oliver Sipple (the man with the sideburns in the left of the photo) was walking past the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco where President Gerald Ford was scheduled to speak. As Sipple moved forward to better hear Ford's speech, he noticed a woman standing next to him (later identified as Sara Jane Moore) reach into her raincoat and pull out a revolver. Sipple yelled, "Gun!" and instinctively grabbed for her arm and deflected it as she pulled the trigger. The bullet, intended for the president who was just 40 feet away, ricocheted off a wall and slightly wounded another bystander. Sipple, a decorated Vietnam vet, tackled Moore, prevented her from shooting again, and handed her over to the Secret Service. Oliver Sipple now became a reluctant celebrity. He was immediately hailed in the national press and received thousands of letters praising his heroics. However, President Ford only sent him a short note and avoided a personal meeting. News organizations wondered why the White House was avoiding Sipple. Although he was openly gay, Sipple’s sexual orientation was a secret from his family and employers. Accordingly, he asked the press to keep his sexuality off the record. However, news organizations refused to comply. The gay community saw the situation as a great opportunity. While discussing whether or not Sipple’s sexuality ought to be disclosed, prominent gay San Francisco's councilman Harvey Milk noted: “For once we can show that gays do heroic things, not just all that caca about molesting children and hanging out in bathrooms.” Milk further suggested that Sipple’s sexual orientation was the reason he received only a note from Ford rather than a formal invitation to the White House. Herb Caen, a columnist at The San Francisco Chronicle, outed Sipple as gay. The Chicago Sun-Times called him a ‘Homosexual Hero’; The Denver Post used the more pithy term ‘Gay Vet’. In Detroit, Sipple’s staunch Baptist family became the subject of ridicule and abuse by friends and neighbors. His mother refused to talk to him. When she died in 1979, his father told him not to attend the funeral. Sipple filed a $15-million invasion of privacy suit against seven newspapers and various publishers, but after a long and bitter process, the courts held that Sipple himself had become news, and that his sexual orientation was part of the story. Oliver Sipple sank into a downward spiral of depression, alcoholism, obesity and drug abuse. By the time he was found dead with an empty bottle of bourbon in 1989, Oliver Sipple was already a forgotten footnote to ethics and freedom of press. His apartment was littered with press clippings about that fateful day in 1975 when he saved a man’s life and subsequently ruined his own.
Tags: Oliver  Sipple  gay  assassination  hero  Ford 
Added: 9th July 2012
Views: 2679
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Posted By: Lava1964
Liberace Wladziu Valentino Liberace lived from May 16, 1919 – February 4, 1987. During the 1950s–1970s he was the highest-paid entertainer in the world. Liberace publicly denied that he was homosexual and even sued The Daily Mirror in 1956 for libel in an article written about him being gay. Liberace won the suit of about $22,000 and led Liberace to repeat the catchphrase to reporters: "I cried all the way to the bank! Liberace died of pneumonia caused by AIDS on February 4, 1987, age 67.
Tags: Liberace  Wladziu  Valentino  Liberace  homosexual    The  Daily  Mirror  I  cried  all  the  way  to  the  bank 
Added: 13th November 2012
Views: 1413
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Posted By: Cathy
Banned Snickers Commercial In 2008 this Snickers commercial featuring Mr. T aired briefly in Great Britain before being yanked off the airwaves after complaints by the homosexual community who claimed it encouraged violence against gays. Interestingly, most of the complaints came from the United States--where the commercial never aired.
Tags: Mr  T  Snickers  commercial  banned 
Added: 24th November 2013
Views: 1557
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Posted By: Lava1964
Police Academy Movie Trailer Tags: Police  Academy  Movie  Trailer  Steve  Guttenberg  Kim  Cattrall  Bubba  Smith  David  Graf  George  Gaynes  Michael  Winslow 
Added: 3rd October 2014
Views: 1028
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Posted By: Old Fart

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