Monday, May 2, 2016

2016 - TCMFF Day 1 Summary - What a first day!

Below is a summary video of the first day of the TCM Film Festival (TCMFF DAY 1). The red carpet for All The President's Men saw many famous people attend and fans were thrilled by a poolside screening of a Harold Lloyd film.

CLICK HERE TO SEE FULL COVERAGE OF EACH DAY AT THE 2016 FESTIVAL!



SUMMARY OF DAY 1

Watch the video below to see the highlights of the day:



A day earlier, those who were attending the festival with Press passes met with the TCM Staff for a Press Conference. The TCM staffers as they shared stories on how TCM is produced, discuss network programming and what’s coming up on the horizon. We learned all about TCM Backlot and the other new initiative TCM has launched, FilmStruck.  Featured at the event were, TCM Host Ben Mankiewicz, General Manager Jennifer Dorian, Senior Vice President of Programming Charles Tabesh and Managing Director Genevieve McGillicuddy.

TCMFF DAY 1
PRESS CONFERENCE

Below is a photo of my Festival badge and the book by Illeana Douglas that I purchased which she signed to me at her book signing on Day 2, Friday.

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The day was full of fun and lots of movies to see on Day 1.

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See all the photos from Day 1 by clicking on the button below:



Thursday, April 9, 2015

Lynn reviews "In the Company of Legends

Originally published on Classicmoviefavorites.com

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About a month ago, I was sent a complimentary copy of a book by documentary filmmakers Joan Kramer and David Heeley, titled "In The Company of Legends," which will be published this month by Beaufort Books on April 16.


They have made several outstanding documentaries revolving around major film celebrities. TCM's Robert Osborne has been quoted on TCM's web site as saying about the book that it's, "a king's ransom of fascinating stories about colorful, bigger-than-life people we know but don't know."

I am proud that our site was chosen to review the book before it hits the book stands. Reading through it, I felt that I too was a part of the making of the films. The tenacity that the duo have in knowing how to get to those they need to speak with and their trials in doing so, made fascinating reading. The book is a tale about how they got started making documentaries and then chronicles, from their "insider's view," how they established a reputation for doing the impossible while maintaining good relationships with those they interview.

The book includes a forward by Richard Dreyfuss and sections about Elizabeth Taylor, Olivia de Havilland, Glenn Close, Danny Glover, Rudolf Nureyev, Ginger Rogers, John Garfield, Ronald and Nancy Reagan, Spencer Tracy, Stephen Spielberg, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, Peter O'Toole, Jane Fonda, Errol Flynn and Patrice Wymore, Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman and many more.

My two favorite sections of the book were those about Kate Hepburn and the making of their tribute to Spencer Tracy, but I also loved reading about the making of their documentary on Errol Flynn.  Below are my observations about those two sections from the book:

IntheCompanyofLegends_Hepburn (1)[caption id="attachment_16698" align="alignright" width="211"] David Heeley and Joan Kramer with  Katharine Hepburn - photograph by Len Tavares 1985[/caption]

Katharine Hepburn and the Spencer Tracy tribute

I always enjoy reading about my all time favorite actress, Katharine Hepburn, but other than from her biography, reading about her in this book made me feel like I was learning a lot more about her personality than I've been privileged to know before. The authors, Joan and David, tell us how they managed to contact the Great Kate and help her to realize the tribute to Spencer Tracy she wanted to do. I know and realize that getting stars to participate and enjoy that participation really requires a lot of patience and skill.  Not that Ms. Hepburn was difficult at all, it's just that knowing when to say something or when to draw the line, is a skill I wish I had more of.  Both Joan Kramer and David Heeley obviously know how to work "WITH" instead of just "FOR" those they play tribute to.  Joan especially seems to know how to find anyone; a skill I would love to have. I learned while reading this book, that being timid is not the way to get anywhere. While it's important to gain respect and be respectful, getting that interview may be as simple as just asking and I was surprised at how helpful and friendly many stars are, and can be, when approached correctly.  For example, Joan Kramer, by instinct, knew not to go directly to Katharine Hepburn, and decided that approaching her former director, George Cukor instead, was the way in.

Errol Flynn

The duo were asked by TCM and Warners to do a tribute to Errol Flynn and while Joan revealed she hadn't been a big fan and that they both knew little about him, after doing the documentary, they certainly had changed their opinion. Most of Flynn's family members were interviewed, excluding his daughter, Rory, who has since written a biography about her father and was seen at last week's TCM Classic Film Festival. After she saw the documentary, Rory told them that she wished she had been a part of it and was sorry she had declined their invitation. They also interviewed Richard Dreyfuss and Joanne Woodward about the swashbuckler because, as fans themselves, they knew a lot about him and could speak to his acting ability. But probably, for me, the best interview I enjoyed reading about in this section of the book, had to be Olivia de Havilland, Flynn's co-star in more films than any other actress.  In the interview, Ms. de Havilland was open and honest about her feelings for Flynn saying that he was "The handsomest, most charming, most magnetic, most virile young man in the entire world." This was a real treat for me to read.

Today, April 7, TCM has scheduled the evening to recognize both Joan Kramer and David Heeley as entertainment’s greatest celebrity documentarians by featuring the book and showing five of their specials, read below:
The evening includes the TCM premiere of:
I'll will surely be watching tonight and I strongly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn about making a documentary and what it's like to feel like you're "In the Company of Legends," too. 

Purchase the book in 


source of image: channelguidemagblog.com

Monday, April 6, 2015

2015 TCM Classic Film Festival: Making Heartbreaking choices

Originally published on Classicmoviefavorites.com

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I've just completed all my postings about last week's 2015's TCM Classic Film Festival and I have to say this year was probably my favorite. While it cost me alot to do, I opted this year to stay at the festival's host venue, "The Roosevelt Hotel," rather than drive in each day from Santa Monica fighting the insane Los Angeles traffic.  As a result, I got to experience the festival in a much more meaningful and intimate way.


CLICK HERE to see CMF's complete coverage of the 2015 TCM Classic Film Festival

There was a huge array of films to see and events to go to, while great, this also led to lots of  frustration about the fact that you just couldn't see all you wanted to see. The waiting in line added a least an hour or more to the chunk of time it took to see any one film or event. Still I'm not really complaining about the waiting in line; once I got in, it was always well worth the wait.

However, probably the most frustrating thing about the festival was what everyone was talking about, "having to make heartbreaking choices."  For example, I longed to see Spike Lee talk about his masterpiece, "Malcolm X," but with the film itself being almost 4 hours long and with the extra hour for the discussion with Mr. Lee, and the additional time spent waiting in line, it would pretty much have taken up the full day. Instead, in those hours I was able to fit in attendance at three events, so unfortunately, that screening of Malcolm X sadly had to be eliminated from my calendar. Also, sometimes two films or events I wanted to see were scheduled at the exact same time, making it impossible to see both.  Still, how can you complain about having TOO MUCH to choose from, not me, that's for sure.

The highlights of the event for me were, being on the red carpet for Thursday nights premiere of "The Sound of Music," seeing Warner's newly restored and pristine print of Busby Berkeley's 42nd Street, seeing "The Apartment" on the big screen for the first time, and attending the many discussions that took place in Club TCM. I so wish I could have done more, but I could only be in one place at a time, hence those "heartbreaking choices."



Another fun thing I did at the festival was to walk up and down Hollywood Boulevard and take photos. TCM took over most of the boulevard and the signage was everywhere. See some of the photos I took below:

My festival bag and press pass.
My festival bag and press pass.

See more Hollywood Boulevard photos in the Photo Gallery

Monday, March 16, 2015

Interview with Peter Ford Son of Eleanor Powell

Originally published on Classicmoviefavorites.com


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Originally published on "Classic Movie Favorites."


I have known Peter Ford, son of Glenn Ford and Eleanor Powell, for over ten years now as I have designed and now manage his web site “GlennFordBio.com,” which was created to accompany the biography he wrote about his father “Glenn Ford: A Life” that was published in 2011. I also update his personal site and he has sanctioned my efforts here in the section devoted to his mother.

Peter Ford and his wife Lynda recently sold his father’s home in Beverly Hills, that they had lived in when Peter took care of his dad at the end of his life. The couple now travels between Burbank, CA and Montana where they are very happy living in retirement. Recently, Peter spoke with me on the phone and was kind enough to share some memories about his mother, the queen of tap dancing, Eleanor Powell.

I'd like to thank Peter for the time he took to speak with me and for sharing some of the family photos included in this interview.

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Peter Ford with his wife, Lynda

READ THE FIVE PART INTERVIEW WITH PETER FORD, BY CLICKING ON THE LINKS BELOW:
[icon style="icon-link" size="small" borders="no"] Need even more Eleanor Powell? Why not visit our section devoted to her here by clicking on the banner below:

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http://www.classicmoviefavorites.com/actresses-featured-at-classic-movie-favorites/eleanor-powell

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

John O'Dowd talks with Lynnpd re: Second Printing of The Barbara Payton Bio

Originally published on Classicmoviefavorites.com

OdowdbookcoverI have been privileged to know John O'Dowd, the author of a definitive biography of the tragic life of actress, Barbara Payton for many years. We first became associated when John asked me to help him build a website for the book he was in the process of writing: "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye, The Barbara Payton Story."

The purpose of having a web site about Barbara was to publicize the book and, after several months of collaboration, prior to the books printing, the site was launched in 2004. During that time John and I became good friends and even though he lived half a state away from me, he even travelled to my house to deliver his collection of Barbara Payton photographs that he wanted me to scan for the website. He told me that he just didn't feel safe sending them in the mail and it was also a good opportunity for us to meet.

When the book was close to being published, John asked me to design the book cover, which I was honored to do and the book was finally released in 2007. Then, recently in 2013, I designed another website for John to feature all of his writings which can be seen at John-odowd.com.

John's book has received very favorable press and is very aptly described on Amazon.com: 

The heartbreaking saga of the wild and free-spirited actress, who hit Hollywood in the late 1940s. Equipped with little more than a suitcase full of dreams, a ravenous hunger for fame, and a devastating beauty, all her dreams were destroyed by a disastrous private life that led her straight through the gates of Hell. Gutsy, vulnerable, and doomed Barbara Payton blazed across the motion picture stratosphere in record-time, only to collapse in a catastrophic free-fall from which she would never recover.

A second volume on Barbara's life and career, BARBARA PAYTON: A LIFE IN PICTURES, is now in progress. It will contain over 250 rare and previously unpublished photos of Barbara, along with commentary by John O'Dowd, Barbara's son, John Lee Payton and family member Jan Redfield.

Recently, I wrote to John asking him if he would be interested in answering a few questions about his book for Classic Movie Favorites, now that the book will soon have it's second printing. Below are his answers to some of my questions where he talks about the writing and reprinting of the book and the sad ending of this beautiful star.

When did you first learn about the actress, Barbara Payton?
I first became aware of Barbara when I saw her in a Saturday afternoon TV showing of her film "Bride of the Gorilla" when I was about eight years old. At first glance, I was absolutely awestruck by her beauty. Truthfully, she never totally left my consciousness after that. When I was in my late teens, I started learning about what happened to Barbara during her life, and I remember being very mesmerized by her story. I guess you can say that it both shocked and captivated me. When I decided in my 30's to pursue a career in writing, Barbara's life story was the one I wanted to tell first.
Originally published on Classicmoviefavorites.com

Can you tell our viewers what made you write about Barbara Payton in the first place?
As I said, it was Barbara's immense beauty that first drew me to her, but in time, it was definitely the unfulfilled promise she showed as an actress that really hooked me. She had so much talent and potential, and yet she threw away every opportunity that was ever handed to her. I found that to be unbelievably sad, and I wanted to try to find out why she was so steadfastly self-destructive.
Was it difficult to get the book published and how long did it take?
Yes, it was extremely difficult to find a publisher for Barbara's book. For several years, I contacted dozens of publishers, and they all said the same thing: that Barbara was "a total unknown", and that people wouldn't be interested in her story. For some reason, I kept all the rejection letters I got, and I still have them. Some of them are quite funny. One very condescending book editor who did write back to me (many didn't), said something along the lines of, "If Barbara Payton is known today at all, it's because of her various exploits in the beds, bars and streets of Hollywood, and not for her so-called acting career. I am sorry, but I cannot stand behind what she did with her life, and I have no interest in representing your project." I was angry when I first read that letter, but now I find it an absolute hoot. I must admit that the self righteous, tight-asses of the world have always amused me. Obviously, I don't think the way they do!
Now that there is to be a second printing, what’s new that you might be including. When will it be published and will it be the same publisher?
Yes, the book is once again being published and distributed by BearManor Media. There will be no new information in the book. Some cosmetic changes have been made, and a few of the photos have been cropped, or resized. I could not make any changes to the book's original content as that would require that a new ISBN number be issued to the book, and my publisher would rather not do that. There were some misplaced commas in the book's first printing that I fixed, and a few other things. I'm not certain if the original book was proofread or edited by anyone other than me, and as all writers will tell you, we ALL need our work reviewed and edited by a pair of eyes that are separate from ours.
Will you be participating in any book signings or talks about the second printing?
I doubt it, as I am totally unfamiliar with how to set these things in motion. I am always open to doing phone and print interviews, though.
Many maligned Barbara during her life and after her death, can you describe what you think about that? Was it all deserved?
No, I don't believe that all the criticism Barbara received during her life was deserved. Many times, she was simply doing what many other people in Hollywood were doing in that era: carrying on with whomever they wanted, and living very carelessly at times. Barbara, though, was her own worst enemy, by far. While other Hollywood stars knew where to draw the line in their personal lives (in terms of the excesses they indulged in), Barbara was woefully unaware or unconcerned about that. She lived her life fearlessly, recklessly and outrageously. I personally think she had a lot of guts. Too much courage, perhaps, and absolutely no internal restraints or foresight.
What about Barbara’s son first not wanting participate and then, changing his mind. How did that happen?
Barbara's son, John Lee Payton, is now 67 years old, and over the course of his life, he has read many hurtful things about his mother that has both saddened and angered him. At first, John thought that I was just another person who wanted to denigrate Barbara in print, and it took a long time (at least several months) for him to get to know me and my true intent in wanting to document Barbara's story. His aunt, Jan Redfield (Barbara's sister-in-law; Jan was married to Barbara's younger brother, Frank) was very instrumental in getting John Lee to change his mind about participating in the project. I met Jan first, and from the start, she seemed to know what I wanted to try to accomplish with the book. Jan always believed me when I told her that I wanted my work to reveal Barbara's humanity and many positive traits, and to restore some of her dignity, too, if I could. She finally convinced John that I was committed to doing that, and once he saw what my vision was for the project, he got behind it 100%. Everything good about Barbara that was revealed in the book, is due to Jan Redfield and John Lee Payton.
What was your favorite Barbara Payton film?
Since "Bride of the Gorilla" was the first film I saw of hers, I have to admit that it holds a special place in my heart. That said, however, her crime film with James Cagney, "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye", probably shows Barbara at her absolute best. She was excellent in that picture. She really held her own in her scenes with Cagney, and she was sexy and gorgeous. I wish she could have made many more films of that very same caliber.
Talk a bit about Barbara's relationship with Franchot Tone and the ill-fated fight with Tom Neal.
Barbara met Franchot Tone first, at a Hollywood nightclub. He was said to be immediately captivated by both her beauty and her rather rowdy nature, while she was impressed, I think, by his lofty professional stature and immense wealth. Tom Neal, a B-movie actor in Hollywood, was a somewhat rough character who hadn't experienced the career success that Tone had, but he was extremely macho and a rebel, and Barbara was always attracted to that type of guy. Both men appealed to two different sides of Barbara's persona, and after a while, I'm sure she didn't even know WHO was right for her. Her indecision and her highly fickle nature eventually caused their so-called "lover's triangle" to explode, leaving Franchot Tone near death, and Barbara's and Tom Neal's careers irreparably ruined.
Now that the book has been out for a few years, are you still glad you wrote it? What has been the reaction about it? Good?
I am both grateful and proud that I wrote the book. I know I did the best damned job I could on it (I worked on it for close to ten years), and I'm at peace with both my efforts, and the way it turned out. I feel very fortunate that a lot of people have gotten what I tried to do for Barbara; i.e., to bring some understanding to her life and to who she was. When I hear that someone truly has gotten that, I just feel very grateful. It's what I have always wanted for the book.
Feel free to add any more information that needs to be mentioned.
I believe that Barbara's life story would make a powerful and riveting film, and I am hoping that more progress in this area will be made in the new year. Her story, if depicted accurately and responsibly, has the ability to both shake people up, and to be healing, too, I think. I am hoping it will happen one day, soon.
Purchase John's book in it's original paperback edition and the Kindle version along with some of Barbara Payton's films by clicking on the links below:


John's Book in paperback

John's Book Kindle Edition 




See the section on my Classic Movie Favorites site about Franchot Tone by clicking on the banner below:

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