Lucy: “You don’t give me enough money?”
It seems like her beautiful face and remarkable voice were around for a lot more. That’s the beauty of syndication.. 3 seems to be 30.
Sadly, Eartha Kitt passed away yesterday – on Christmas Day.
The 5′ 4″ beauty was born in South Carolina. Her birth was the result of a white plantation owner raping a sharecropper mother of African-American and Cherokee Native American descent. I wasn’t going to include that bit of ugliness in this article, but the fact that Eartha came from such unremarkable beginnings, yet ended her life known the world over strikes me as spectacular.
I also wanted to be clear about why her mother would even think about giving her baby girl away – which she did. By the age of 9, Eartha was living in Harlem. She dropped out of school by the age of 15. Eartha was too busy just trying to survive – school didn’t rank up there with finding a place to sleep and something to eat. During this time, she slept at friends houses and on the subway.
While Eartha Kitt was born with a lot of burdens to bear, she was also born with a lot of talent, grit, and determination. She literally sang and danced her way to a better life. Eartha performed with the Katherine Dunham Dance Troupe on a European tour, and she performed as a soloist at a Paris night club, where she became a very big deal.
Get this, the infamous Orson Welles called her “the most exciting girl in the world.”
Eartha Kitt never shied away from speaking her mind. I guess when you’ve already seen life’s ugliest, you throw caution aside – sort of like, “What do I need with you?!” She was all but booted from the country after making anti-war statements during a White House luncheon with Lady Bird Johnson in 1968. It wasn’t until 1977, under Jimmy Carter’s administration, that she was welcomed back to the White House.
Eartha Kitt Quotes:
“I have a great need for affection from an audience. I don’t know whether this is because I had such a tough life when I was a child.”
At the White House, 1968: “I am a mother and I know the feeling of having a baby come out of my gut. I have a baby and then you send him off to war. No wonder the kids rebel and take pot.”
“I don’t carry myself as a black person, but as a woman that belongs to everybody”
“Jamie and I were like brother and sister. He told me in fact he thought of me as a sister. Our relationship was strictly platonic and spiritual.” (About her friendship with James Dean.)
Eartha Kitt was 81 when she passed away, but (again) thanks to syndication, she’ll forever live on just as we remembered her.
Rest in Peace, Eartha.
Jed and Jethro are talking about a “fast” girl Jethro knew back in the hills:
Jethro: Uncle Jed, she handed me a big old sugar cookie, looked at me and said, “Jehtro, if you had a choice between that cookie and me, which one would you take“. Uncle Jed, that’s when I found out just how fast she was!
(Jed leans in close to hear the rest of the sordid story.)
Jethro: I had to run nearly a mile to get away from her with that cookie!
Jed Clampett: (shaking his head) Jethro, some day me and you got to have a long talk.
You may not recognize the name Jay Novello, but I’m certain you recognize his very expressive face – from more places than you may realize.
This delightful character actor was born in Chicago, Illinois on August 22, 1904 to Italian parents – explaining why he learned to speak Italian before English. He died in 1982 from lung cancer, but we’re here to keep memories alive, and Jay Novello has provided us with some great material to draw from!
He has a very impressive filmography resume – having worked in just about every genre imaginable. He even played a Japanese spy in Adventures of Smilin’ Jack (1943). He is, however, best known for his work on television. Many people remember him as the scheming Mayor Lugato in “McHale’s Navy” (1962). Since I’ve never seen a single episode of McHale’s Navy, I’m not at all familiar with his work on the show. He did, however, appear on two series that I haven’t gone a day without watching since I can’t remember when: I Love Lucy and Andy Griffith.
He had several very memorable roles on I Love Lucy:
“Mario” in the episode titled Visitor from Italy (1956)
“Mr. Beecher” in the episode titled The Sublease (1954) – He was hilarious as the extremely nervous tenant who Lucy tries to scare off after Fred and Ethel Mertz put a classified in the paper.
Mr. Merriweather in the episode titled The Seance (1951) – As a highly strung man trying to contact “Tillie” on the other side.
He also left his mark on Andy Griffith:
Jay Novello showed more of his straight man side to the one and only Don Knotts in two classic episodes of Andy Griffith. In Guest of Honor, He played a thief who tricked Barney into thinking he was a hotel detective. He even convinced Barney that the actual hotel detective was the crook. In Otis Sues the County, he played the sleazy attorney, Neil Bentley.
You may also recognize him from Make Room for Daddy (1958), The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin (as Carlos De La Marca in 2 episodes, 1957-1958), Zorro (5 episodes, 1958), The Donna Reed Show (1960), Wagon Train (1960), The Lucy Show (1962), Perry Mason (1962), The Untouchables (Gino Romaldi, 1963), My Three Sons (Vincenzo in an episode from 1966), Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C. (2 episodes as Dr. Purdy, 1967-1969), Lassie (1968), Family Affair (3 episodes, 1969), Bonanza (2 episodes, 1965 and 1969), The Flying Nun (1969), Ironside (1971), The Mod Squad (2 episodes, 1969-1971), The Brady Bunch (as Mr. Martinelli in an episode from 1973), Kojak (1976), Chico and the Man (1976)…..
Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to learn much about Jay Novello’s personal life. His wife’s name was Paticia and they had one daughter, Yvonne. One of my favorite ways to get a handle on someone is to read their quotes, but I haven’t been able to find even one. I’m still on the hunt, though, so check back.
Mr. Novello may have something to say and you wouldn’t want to miss it!
Jimmy Stewart, Photographed by Carl Van Vechten
One of the coolest, most lovable actors EVER… and certainly one of my personal favorites… Jimmy Stewart, was born nearly 100 years ago on May 20, 1908 in Indiana, Pennsylvania. To honor him, Turner Classic Movies will be showing some of his best movies during the month of May.
The movies that’ll be shown are:
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
Anatomy of a Murder (1959)
Rear Window (1954)
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)
I guess it’s obvious why my favorite Jimmy Stewart movie isn’t being included. It just wouldn’t be the same to watch It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) without a Christmas tree and a plate of Christmas cookies and fudge nearby.
Click HERE for the Jimmy Stewart Profile on TCM.com.
Phil Silvers, Harvey Lembeck, and Allan Melvin
Allan Melvin, a very talented character actor with a resume most actors would love to have, died of cancer Thursday at his home in Los Angeles, according to Amalia Melvin, his wife of 64 years. Happily married for 64 years – add that to Mr. Melvin’s list of admirable achievements!
As most publications are reporting, Allan Melvin is best known for playing Sam the Butcher on “The Brady Bunch.” Maybe it’s because I’m a straight-up Andy Griffith addict, but I actually remember him best from his Andy Griffith episodes, which happened to be some of the best in the entire series:
Allan Melvin also did numerous (far too many to list) voices for the Flintstones (another of my straight-up addictions), Magilla Gorilla (he WAS Magilla, thank you very much), and other cartoons. He was on a lot of “All in the Family” (as Archie’s best friend) episodes and he was a regular on “Archie Bunker’s Place.” He played the recurring role of Sgt. Charlie Hacker on Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. and was on Sergeant Bilko (in the picture at the top).
I also remember him from several “Green Acres” episodes. And, of course, he was Alice’s butcher sweetheart, Sam, on The Brady Bunch.
Allan Melvin was born in 1922 in, ironically, the Show Me State of Missouri. As his resume proves, he “Showed ’em,” alright.
Rest in Peace, Mr. Melvin, and thanks for the laughs.
There’s nothing quite like watching a movie from the Golden Age of Hollywood. Whether it’s a Musical, Western, Comedy, Romance, Film Noir, or Drama – if it’s on, I’m not too far away… with popcorn and raspberry tea in hand and a couple of cats nearby.
Below are a few Old Hollywood movie reviews I’ve done on the blog. There are, as you’d imagine, a lot more to come. – Joi (“Joy”)
We’re in the Money (Joan Blondell, Glenda Farrell)
The Naked Spur (James Stewart, Janet Leigh)
The Prince and the Showgirl (Marilyn Monroe, Laurence Olivier)
The White Sister (Helen Hayes, Clark Gable)
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (Howard Keel, Jane Powell, Russ Tamblyn, Julie Newmar)
Rio Bravo (John Wayne, Dean Martin, Angie Dickinson, Ricky Nelson, Walter Brennan)
El Dorado (John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, James Caan, Charlene Holt, Michele Carey)
Rio Grande (John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara)
Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein (What is it With Me and These Movies??)
The Stooge (Jerry Lewis’ favorite Lewis and Martin Movie… for good reason.)
Critic’s Choice (Hilarious movie starring Bob Hope and Lucille Ball)
To Please a Lady (Clark Gable and Barbara Stanwyck team up in a fast track movie)
Grand Hotel (Joan Crawford, Greta Garbo, John Barrymore, Lionel Barrymore)
Hearts Divided (Marion Davies, Dick Powell)
The Quiet Man (John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara, Barry Fitzgerald)
Find out just how much I (truly) Love Lucy in the Lucille Ball category. I’m warning you, I call it an obsession for a very good reason…
Another personal absolute favorite of mine is Barbara Stanwyck. Not only was she beautiful and outrageously talented, she was exceptionally bright, charismatic, and colorful. This growing collection of Barbara Stanwyck Quotes will give you an idea of just how colorful she was!
Aside from pictures of books I review, I do not claim to have taken any of the pictures on this website, nor do I own the pictures – the ones of the stars or the affiliate (product) pictures. Other, far more talented photographers than me have the credit for the beautiful photos you see. If you would like credit for a photograph or would like one removed, please e-mail me.
Movie posters and promotional photos are used in the belief that they qualify for the Fair Use law. Fair use is a doctrine in the law of the United States that permits limited use of copyrighted material without having to first acquire permission from the copyright holder. Fair use is one of the limitations to copyright intended to balance the interests of copyright holders with the public interest in the wider distribution and use of creative works by allowing as a defense to copyright infringement claims certain limited uses that might otherwise be considered infringement.
When you click through an affiliate (product, book, dvds..) link, I earn a small portion of the money you spend IF you purchase anything. This does not cost you any extra money, of course. This is how I am able to work from home and support my cats! – Joi