EXTRA! EXTRA! Cinerama Dome’s 50th Birthday: Connections #65

     November 7th, 2013 will be the 50th anniversary of the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, California.

     November 7th, 1963 I was a newreel cameraman for KHJ-TV in Los Angeles.  The occasion was the world première of “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” in a theatre based on a geodesic dome developed by R. Buckmaster Fuller.  This premier marked the dawn of “single lens” Cinerama.

Photo of the Cinerama Dome on November 7, 1963

Photo of the Cinerama Dome on November 7, 1963

     Directed by Stanley Kramer, the cast was outstanding: Spencer Tracy, Milton Berle, Sid Caesar, Buddy Hackett, Ethel Merman, Mickey Rooney, Phil Silvers, Terry-Thomas, Jonathan Winters, Edie Adams, and a host of other stars including legendary Buster Keaton.


EXTRA! EXTRA! EXTRAS News and Nostalga: Connections #60

      Jonathan Winters recently passed away  in Montecito, CA, and it brought back memories of the ’60s when I worked as a newsreel cameraman in Los Angeles for Channel 9, KHJ-TV.  I had a special license plate on my car.  It was exactly like the one in this picture, but without the license plate holder and the words “SLO Skiers.”  This was during the days when gas station attendants filled up your tank with gas.  So many attendants would ask me what the “PP” meant.  These were the days of the 20th Century Fox TV hit “Payton Place.” Of course, I would always reply “Payton Place.”

PP License Plate

PP License Plate

     I covered hundreds, maybe thousands of news stories and one of them was the world premiere of “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,” which also happened to be the grand opening of the newly built Cinerama Dome on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood.

     Recently while I was supervising some video mastering of “Atlas Shrugged – The Strike” at FotoKem in Burbank, I saw this picture of the premiere of “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” on the wall in the lobby of the Conversions Department.  The place has lots of expensive video recorders, monitors, etc.  You don’t want to have to pay the monthly electrical bill to power this equipment, and dozens of skilled technicians inhabit this place, which is not cheap, either.

     Getting back to this picture,  I think I can recognize myself in the crowd of photographers and newsreel cameramen outside on the sidewalk. If you look very carefully, you can see the reflection of me taking this picture.  In show biz, this is a twofer.  Oh well, I’m not a comedian.


World Premier at new Cinerama Dome in Hollywood

EXTRA! EXTRA! PASSING Dale Robertson, Actor, Dies at 89: Connections #58

      I worked with Dale Robertson back when he formed the theatrical distribution company United Screen Arts (USA),  run by Harry Kopelan.

     One of the films The Man From Button Willow, which I recall being animated, was produced by Dale.  Another film A Swinging Summer  with Raquel Welsh doing the twist at Lake Arrowhead before she became a movie star.  And another film starred Tom Laughlin who delivered the 35mm film elements to me in his horse trailer.

     And so it goes, all things must end.  RIP


EXTRA! EXTRA! EXTRAS Oscar Facts: Connections #49

Academy Award

2 Best Picture winners set in Los Angeles

  1. Million Dollar Baby
  2. Crash

5 Nominees whose characters saw dead people

  1. Roland Young, Topper
  2. Laurence Olivier, Hamlet
  3. Whoopi Goldberg, Ghost
  4. Haley Joel Osment, The Sixth Sense
  5.  Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady

2 Nominees for Oscar and Razzie in same role

  1. Amy Irving, Yentl
  2. James Coco, Only When I Laugh

13 Actors directed by William Wyler in winning performances—more than any director

  1. Walter Brennan, Come and Get It and The Westerner
  2. Bette Davis, Jezebel
  3. Fay Bainter, Jezebel
  4. Greer Garson, Mrs. Miniver
  5. Teresa Wright, Mrs. Miniver
  6. Frederic March, The Best Years of Our Lives
  7. Harold Russell, The Best Years of Our Lives
  8. Olivia de Havilland, The Heiress
  9. Audrey Hepburn, Roman Holiday
  10. Burl Ives, The Big Country
  11. Charlton Heston, Ben-Hur
  12. Hugh Griffith, Ben-Hur
  13. Barbra Streisand, Funny Girl

3 Actors nominated for playing fictional American presidents

  1. Lee Tracy in The Best Man,
  2. Jeff Bridges in The Contender
  3. Peter Sellers in Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

6 Directors who won for their first film

  1. Delbert Mann, Marty, 1956
  2. Jerome Robbins, West Side Story, 1962
  3. Robert Redford, Ordinary People, 1980
  4. James L. Brooks, Terms of Endearment, 1984
  5. Kevin Costner, Dances with Wolves, 1991
  6. Sam Mendes, American Beauty, 2000

5 Actors nominated for playing multiple people

  1. Charlie Chaplin, The Great Dictator
  2. José Ferrer, Moulin Rouge
  3. Peter Sellers, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
  4. Lee Marvin, Cat Ballou
  5. Nicolas Cage, Adaptation

2 Best Picture nominees narrated by dead characters

  1. Sunset Boulevard
  2.  American Beauty

9  Actors who won Tony and Oscar for the same role

  1. José Ferrer, Cyrano de Bergerac (Tony: 1947; Oscar: 1951)
  2. Shirley Booth, Come Back, Little Sheba (T: 1950; O: 1953)
  3. Yul BrynnerThe King and I (T: 1952; O: 1957)
  4. Rex Harrison, My Fair Lady (T: 1957; O: 1965)
  5. Anne Bancroft, The Miracle Worker (T: 1960; O: 1963)
  6. Paul ScofieldA Man for All Seasons (T: 1962; O: 1967)
  7. Jack Albertson, The Subject Was Roses (T: 1965; O: 1969)
  8. Joel Grey, Cabaret (T: 1967; O: 1973)
  9. Lila Kedrova, Zorba the Greek (O: 1965) and Zorba (T: 1984)

62 Actors who won for playing real people*

  1. George Arliss as Benjamin Disraeli in Disraeli
  2. Charles Laughton as King Henry VIII in The Private Life of Henry VIII
  3. Paul Muni as Louis Pasteur in The Story of Louis Pasteur
  4. Spencer Tracy as Father Flanagan in Boys Town
  5. Gary Cooper as Alvin C. York in Sergeant York
  6. James Cagney as George M. Cohan in Yankee Doodle Dandy
  7. José Ferrer as Cyrano de Bergerac in Cyrano de Bergerac
  8. Yul Brynner as King Mongkut of Siam in The King and I
  9. Paul Scofield as Sir Thomas More in A Man for All Seasons
  10. George C. Scott as Gen. George S. Patton Jr. in Patton
  11. Robert De Niro as Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull
  12. Ben Kingsley as Mohandas Gandhi in Gandhi
  13. F. Murray Abraham as Antonio Salieri in Amadeus
  14. Daniel Day-Lewis as Christy Brown in My Left Foot
  15. Jeremy Irons as Claus von Bülow in Reversal of Fortune
  16. Geoffrey Rush as David Helfgott in Shine
  17. Adrien Brody as Wladyslaw Szpilman in The Pianist
  18. Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles in Ray
  19. Philip Seymour Hoffman as Truman Capote in Capote
  20. Forest Whitaker as Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland
  21. Sean Penn as Harvey Milk in Milk
  22. Colin Firth as King George VI in The King’s Speech
  23. Luise Rainer as Anna Held in The Great Ziegfeld
  24. Jennifer Jones as Bernadette Soubirous in The Song of Bernadette
  25. Ingrid Bergman as Anna Koreff in Anastasia
  26. Susan Hayward as Barbara Graham in I Want to Live!
  27. Anne Bancroft as Annie Sullivan in The Miracle Worker
  28. Katharine Hepburn as Queen Eleanor of Acquitaine in The Lion in Winter
  29. Barbra Streisand as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl
  30. Sissy Spacek as Loretta Lynn in Coal Miner’s Daughter
  31. Susan Sarandon as Helen Prejean in Dead Man Walking
  32. Hilary Swank as Brandon Teena in Boys Don’t Cry
  33. Julia Roberts as Erin Brockovich in Erin Brockovich
  34. Nicole Kidman as Virginia Woolf in The Hours
  35. Charlize Theron as Aileen Wuornos in Monster
  36. Reese Witherspoon as June Carter in Walk the Line
  37.  Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen
  38. Marion Cotillard as Edith Piaf in La Vie en Rose
  39.  Sandra Bullock as Leigh Anne Tuohy in The Blind Side
  40. Joseph Schildkraut as Captain Alfred Dreyfus in The Life of Emile Zola
  41. Walter Brennan as Judge Roy Bean in The Westerner
  42. Anthony Quinn as Eufemio Zapata in Viva Zapata!
  43. Anthony Quinn as Paul Gauguin in Lust for Life
  44. Peter Ustinov as Lentulus Batiatus in Spartacus
  45. Jason Robards as Ben Bradlee in All The President’s Men
  46. Jason Robards as Dashiell Hammett in Julia
  47. Haing S. Ngor as Dith Pran in The Killing Fields
  48. Martin Landau as Bela Lugosi in Ed Wood
  49. Jim Broadbent as John Bayley in Iris
  50.  Chris Cooper as John Laroche in Adaptation
  51. Christian Bale as Dicky Eklund in The Fighter
  52. Shelley Winters as Petronella Van Daan in The Diary of Anne Frank
  53. Patty Duke as Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker
  54. Estelle Parsons as Blanche Barrow in Bonnie and Clyde
  55. Mary Steenburgen as Lynda Dummar in Melvin and Howard
  56. Maureen Stapleton as Emma Goldman in Reds
  57. Brenda Fricker as Bridget Brown in My Left Foot
  58. Judi Dench as Queen Elizabeth I in Shakespeare in Love
  59. Marcia Gay Harden as Lee Krasner in Pollock
  60. Jennifer Connelly as Alicia Nash in A Beautiful Mind
  61. Cate Blanchett as Katharine Hepburn in The Aviator
  62. Melissa Leo as Alice Ward in The Fighter

*The breakdown: 22 for Lead Actor, 17 for Lead Actress, 12 for Supporting Actor and 11 for Supporting Actress

5 Ties for the Oscar

  1. 1932, Best Actor
  2. 1950, Documentary Short Subject
  3. 1969, Lead Actress
  4. 1987, Documentary Feature
  5. 1995, Live-Action Short Film