Joe Besser was an American actor, voice actor and musician, known for his impish humor and wimpy characters. He is best known for his brief stint as a member of the Three Stooges in movie short subjects of 1957–59, he is remembered for his television roles: Stinky, the bratty man-child in The Abbott and Costello Show, Jillson, the maintenance man in The Joey Bishop Show. Besser was born in St. Louis, Missouri on August 12, 1907, he was the ninth child of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. He had seven older sisters, an older brother Manny, in show business as an ethnic Jewish comic. From an early age, Joe was fascinated with show business the magic act of Howard Thurston that visited St. Louis annually; when Joe was 12, Thurston allowed him to be an audience plant. Besser was so excited by this, he sneaked into Thurston's train after the St. Louis run of the show was over, was discovered the next day sleeping on top of the lion's cage in Detroit. Thurston relented, informed Besser's parents of the situation, trained him as an assistant.
The first act involved pulling a rabbit out of a hat. The trick involved one hidden in a pocket of Thurston's cape, but young Besser was so nervous that he botched badly, pulling out the rabbit from the cape at the same time as the other rabbit was on display, before the trick had been performed. The audience roared with laughter, Besser from on was assigned "comic mishap" roles only. Besser was placed by St. Louis juvenile authorities in a "corrective school" at age 12. Besser remained in show business and developed a unique comic character: a whiny, impish guy, excitable and upset, throwing temper tantrums with little provocation. Besser, with his frequent outbursts of "You crazy, youuuuu!" and "Not so faaaaaast!" or "Not so harrrrd!!" was so original and so outrageously silly that he became a vaudeville headliner, movie and radio appearances soon followed. The zany comedy team of Olsen and Johnson, whose Broadway revues were fast-paced collections of songs and blackouts, hired Joe Besser to join their company.
Besser's noisy intrusions were perfect for their anything-can-happen format. Besser's work caught the attention of the Shubert brothers, who signed Besser to a theatrical contract. Columbia Pictures hired Besser away from the Shuberts, Besser relocated to Hollywood in 1944, where he brought his unique comic character to feature-length musical comedies like Hey and Eadie Was a Lady. On May 9, 1946 Besser appeared on the pioneer NBC television program Hour Glass, performing his "Army Drill" routine with stage partner Jimmy Little. According to an article in the May 27, 1946 issue of Life magazine, the show was seen by about 20,000 people on about 3,500 television sets in the New York City area. During this period, he appeared on the Jack Benny radio program in the episode entitled "Jack Prepares For Carnegie Hall" in June, 1943. Besser starred in short-subject comedies for Columbia from 1949 to 1956. By this point, his persona was sufficiently well known that he was caricatured in Looney Tunes animated shorts of the era.
He appeared in the action film The Desert Hawk. Besser had substituted for Lou Costello on radio, opposite Bud Abbott, by the 1950s he was established as one of the Abbott and Costello regulars; when the duo filmed The Abbott and Costello Show for television, they hired Joe Besser to play Oswald "Stinky" Davis, a bratty, loudmouthed child dressed in an oversized Little Lord Fauntleroy outfit, a flat top hat with overhanging brim. He appeared during the first season of The Costello Show. Besser was cast for the role of Yonkel, a chariot man in the low-budget biblical film Sins of Jezebel which starred Paulette Goddard as the titular wicked queen. After Shemp Howard died of a heart attack on November 22, 1955 at age 60, his brother Moe suggested that he and teammate Larry Fine continue working as "The Two Stooges". Studio chief Harry Cohn rejected the proposal. Although Moe had legal approval to allow new members into the act, Columbia executives had the final say about any actor who would appear in the studio's films, insisted on a performer under contract to Columbia, Joe Besser.
At the time, Besser was one of a few comedians still making comedy shorts at the studio. He renegotiated his contract, was paid his former feature-film salary, more than the other Stooges earned. Besser refrained from imitating Shemp, he continued to play the same whiny character. He had a clause in his contract prohibiting being hit excessively. Besser recalled, "I played the kind of character who would hit others back", he claimed. In a 2002 E! Channel program which used file footage of Besser, the comic stated that the left side of Larry Fine's face was noticeably coarser than the other side, which he attributed to Moe's slaps; as a result of his whiny persona and lack of true slapstick punishment against him, Joe has been less popular with contemporary Stooge aficionados, so much so, that "Stooge-a-Polooza" TV host Rich Koz has apologized on the air before showing Besser shorts. Besser does have his defenders, however. Columbia historians Edward Watz and Ted Okuda have written appreciatively of Besser bringing new energy to what was by a flagging theatrical series.
The Stooges shorts with Besser were filmed from the spring of 1956 to the end of 1957. His Stooge t
Born to Kill (1947 film)
Born to Kill is a 1947 American film noir starring Lawrence Tierney and directed by Robert Wise. It was the first film noir to be directed by Wise, who directed The Set-Up, The Captive City, Odds Against Tomorrow; the film features Claire Trevor, Walter Slezak, Elisha Cook Jr. The film was released in the U. K. as Lady of Deceit and in Australia as Deadlier Than the Male. Helen Brent has just received a divorce in Nevada; that night, she goes to a casino and makes eye contact with a man who, though she does not know it is Sam Wilde, the other boyfriend of Laury Palmer, her neighbor during her stay in Nevada. Wilde, an insanely jealous man who won't abide anyone cutting in on him, spots Laury in the casino with her gentleman caller and lays in wait at her house to kill both of them; when Helen returns home, she finds Laury's dog loose outside and puts it back inside, discovering the bodies of Danny and Laury. Helen starts to call the police. She's planning to leave town for San Francisco anyway; as she expected, Sam is at the train station too.
Helen is attracted to his self-confidence and brutality, but she is engaged to marry a wealthy boyfriend, Fred in San Francisco. Sam wants to call on her there. Sam soon shifts his attentions to her and, after a whirlwind romance, marries her for her money. Helen sees this but neither this, nor Helen's engagement, nor Sam's realization that she has learned the truth about the murders, is an impediment to their having an affair. Meanwhile, back in Reno, Mrs. Kraft, the owner of the boarding house where Helen lived, has hired a mercenary, verse-quoting detective, Albert Arnett, to find out who killed Laury; the detective follows Marty, to San Francisco. Marty attends Sam's wedding. Helen speaks to Arnett, who will not reveal who hired him but suggests that Sam is responsible for the Reno murders. On the phone, Sam overhears Helen making a call to Arnett and begins to suspect she is "against him". Arnett and Helen discuss her paying him to keep quiet Sam's involvement in the murders, she insists she believes nothing of the accusations.
Marty is there during this conversation, so he learns who hired Arnett. Marty meets with Mrs. Kraft and convinces her to meet him in an isolated area that night, where he will reveal to her information regarding Laury's murder, he intends to murder the woman, as he and Sam have decided this is the best course of action. Before he leaves to carry out this plan, Marty stops into Helen's room to suggest that she should end her affair with Sam. Sam sees Marty coming out of Helen's room, he suggests Marty is trying to cut in on his action with Helen, kills him. For a while, Fred has been troubled by Helen's cold demeanor, "especially since Sam came into this house", he calls off their engagement. Arnett makes one last stab at blackmailing Helen and, upon her refusal, advises her that the police will be there in an hour. Helen confesses all to Georgia; when Sam arrives she tries to manipulate him into killing Georgia. Georgia remarks that it was Helen who called them, so Sam turns his murderous rage on her.
He fatally shoots her. Claire Trevor as Helen Brent Lawrence Tierney as Sam Wilde Walter Slezak as Albert Arnett Phillip Terry as Fred Grover Audrey Long as Georgia Staples Elisha Cook Jr. as Marty Waterman Isabel Jewell as Laury Palmer Esther Howard as Mrs. Kraft Kathryn Card as Grace Tony Barrett as Danny Grandon Rhodes as Inspector Wilson Martha Hyer as kitchen maid Ellen Corby as second maid The film recorded a loss of $243,000. At the time it was released, the film was condemned by The New York Times critic Bosley Crowther, he called it "a smeary tabloid fable" and "an hour and a half of ostentatious vice." His review concluded: "Surely, discriminating people are not to be attracted to this film. But it is because it is designed to pander to the lower levels of taste that it is reprehensible."In 2006, critic Fernando F. Croce wrote of the film, "The meek Robert Wise trades his chameleonic tastefulness for full-on, jazzy misanthropy in this nasty melodrama... Wise swims in the genre's amorality, scoring a kitchen brawl to big-band radio tunes, terrorizing a soused matron at a nocturnal beach skirmish, leaving the last word to Walter Slezak's jovially corrupt detective."More critic Robert Weston said, "This was the first and the nastiest of the noirs directed by Robert Wise...
Wise came to genre with a background in the Val Lewton horror team and the expressionistic films of Orson Welles, so he was the right tool for the job when it came to film noir... As the title suggests, Born to Kill is a film about the grimmest corners of the human condition, the wicked place where sex and violence join hands and rumba round in darkness. Director Robert Wise suggests that we all share a collective dark side, that one way or another we are all'born to kill,' and in the final throw of the dice, only the incontrovertible laws of chance can set the record straight." Born to Kill at the American Film Institute Catalog Born to Kill on IMDb Born to Kill at AllMovie Born to Kill at the TCM Movie Database
Death Flies East
Death Flies East is a 1935 American mystery film directed by Phil Rosen and starring Conrad Nagel, Florence Rice and Raymond Walburn. Conrad Nagel as John Robinson Gordon Florence Rice as Evelyn Vail Raymond Walburn as Evans Geneva Mitchell as Helen Gilbert Robert Allen as Baker Oscar Apfel as Wallace P. Burroughs Miki Morita as Satu Purnell Pratt as Dr. Landers Irene Franklin as Mrs. Laura Madison George Irving as Dr. Jim Moffat Adrian Rosley as Pastoli Fred Kelsey as Police Lieutenant O'Brien George'Gabby' Hayes as Wotkyns James Robert Parish. Hollywood character actors. Arlington House, 1978. Death Flies East on IMDb
Wildflower or The Wildflower, is a musical in three acts with book and lyrics by Otto Harbach and Oscar Hammerstein II and music by Herbert Stothart and Vincent Youmans. The plot concerns a pretty Italian farmgirl, who has a fiery temper, she stands to inherit a fortune provided. If she fails, the money goes to her cousin Bianca, she manages to do it, gets the money, as well as her man, Guido. Several of the songs were published, among which "Bambalina" and the title song were the most popular; the musical proved to be Day's last Broadway show before moving to London. The original Broadway production at the Casino Theatre on February 7, 1923 and ran for 477 performances, closing on March 29, 1924. "Wildflower was one of the biggest successes of the Twenties." It was directed by Oscar Eagle and choreographed by David Bennett, with orchestration by Robert Russell Bennett. Costumes were by Charles LeMaire. Arthur Hammerstein produced the production; the cast starred Charles Judels as Gaston and Esther Howard as Lucrezia.
The musical toured for two seasons and was given an Australian production in 1924 and a London West End production, opening on February 17, 1926 and running for 114 performances, starring Kitty Reidy as Nina, with Peter Gawthorne as Alberto and Mark Daley as Gabrielle. It's London run was hampered by the 1926 national strike in Britain. Wildflower was Vincent Youmans' second show, it ran over a year because of its simple-minded story. The New York Times' opening night review stated erroneously that the show "contains the most tuneful score that Rudolph Friml has written in a number of seasons" and never mentions Youmans or Stothart; the review goes on to say: "To be sure, it is never funny, now and even a little dull." Other critics dismissed the show, although they conceded that the songs were good. Notwithstanding the reviews, Wildflower was an instant success for its operetta-like score, Edith Day's performance, the singing and Italian setting. Pretty Nina Benedetto is a simple Italian farmgirl.
Called "Wildflower" by her friends for her delightful, sunny disposition, she is well known for her fiery temper. She is set to marry her boyfriend, with whom she shares a tempestuous relationship, she hears that an elderly relative has left her a fortune, although the will specifies conditions: she must live for six months with her relatives on their estate at Lake Como, if she loses her temper once, the money falls to her scheming cousin Bianca. While there, Bianca taunts and provokes Nina and plots with her free-spending fiancé, Alberto, to make Nina melt down. Lawyer Gaston La Roche and his flirtatious wife Lucrezia would benefit from Nina losing the inheritance. Astonishingly, Nina keeps her temper under control, defeating all their plots. So Alberto woos her, telling her that Guido is unfaithful, tricks her into agreeing to marry him, her loyal friend Gabriele, the faithful Guido, help her to overcome all of this and to hold her temper, she gets the money and her man. Nina Benedetto – Edith Day Gaston La Roche – Charles Judels Lucrezia La Roche – Esther Howard Luigi – Jerome Daly Bianca Benedetto – Evelyn Cavanaugh Gabrielle – Olin Howland Count Alberto – James Doyle Guido – Guy Robertson Act I "I Love You, I Love You, I Love You!"
– Gabrielle and Girls "Some Like to Hunt" – Gaston and Girls'"Wildflower" – Nina and Ensemble "Bambalina" – Lucrezia and Gabrielle "April Blossoms" – Nina and GuidoAct II "The Best Dance I’ve Had Tonight" – Bianca and Chorus "Course I Will" – Nina, Count Alberto and Gabrielle " Casimo" – Guido and Chorus "If I Told You" – Nina and Boys "You Never Can Blame a Girl for Dreaming" – Nina and Boys "Good-Bye Little Rosebud" – Guido and EnsembleAct III "Bambalina" – Nina, Count Alberto and Ensemble "The World’s Worst Women" – Lucrezia and Gabrielle "You Can Always Find Another Partner" – Nina and Ensemble Green, Stanley. The World of Musical Comedy, Da Capo Press ISBN 0306802074 Hischak, Thomas S; the Rodgers and Hammerstein Encyclopedia. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Publishing Group ISBN 978-0-313-34140-3. Mantle, Burns. "The Best Plays of 1922–1923", Boston: Small, Maynard and Co
A Fool's Advice
A Fool's Advice is a 1932 American film directed by Ralph Ceder. The film is known as His Honor the Mayor and Meet the Mayor, it was produced by its star, Frank Fay, released by Warner Bros. Pictures. Frank Fay as Spencer Brown Nat Pendleton as Kelly - Naughty Boy Edward J. Nugent as Steve Ruth Hall as Norma Baker Berton Churchill as Mayor Martin Sloan George Meeker as Harry Bayliss Hale Hamilton as George Diamond Esther Howard as Miss Prescott Franklin Pangborn as Egbert - Hotel Clerk Mike Donlin as Mr. Wimple Eddie Borden as Catlett Al Hill as Kelly's Henchman A Fool's Advice on IMDb A Fool's Advice at the TCM Movie Database A Fool's Advice is available for free download at the Internet Archive
Broadway theatre known as Broadway, refers to the theatrical performances presented in the 41 professional theatres, each with 500 or more seats located in the Theater District and Lincoln Center along Broadway, in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Along with London's West End theatre, Broadway theatre is considered to represent the highest level of commercial theatre in the English-speaking world; the Theater District is a popular tourist attraction in New York City. According to The Broadway League, for the 2017–2018 season total attendance was 13,792,614 and Broadway shows had US$1,697,458,795 in grosses, with attendance up 3.9%, grosses up 17.1%, playing weeks up 2.8%. The majority of Broadway shows are musicals. Historian Martin Shefter argues that "'Broadway musicals', culminating in the productions of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, became enormously influential forms of American popular culture" and contributed to making New York City the cultural capital of the Western Hemisphere.
New York did not have a significant theatre presence until about 1750, when actor-managers Walter Murray and Thomas Kean established a resident theatre company at the Theatre on Nassau Street, which held about 280 people. They presented Shakespeare ballad operas such as The Beggar's Opera. In 1752, William Hallam sent a company of twelve actors from Britain to the colonies with his brother Lewis as their manager, they established a theatre in Williamsburg and opened with The Merchant of Venice and The Anatomist. The company moved to New York in the summer of 1753, performing ballad operas and ballad-farces like Damon and Phillida; the Revolutionary War suspended theatre in New York, but thereafter theatre resumed in 1798, the year the 2,000-seat Park Theatre was built on Chatham Street. The Bowery Theatre opened followed by others. By the 1840s, P. T. Barnum was operating an entertainment complex in Lower Manhattan. In 1829, at Broadway and Prince Street, Niblo's Garden opened and soon became one of New York's premiere nightspots.
The 3,000-seat theatre presented all sorts of non-musical entertainments. In 1844, Palmo's Opera House opened and presented opera for only four seasons before bankruptcy led to its rebranding as a venue for plays under the name Burton's Theatre; the Astor Opera House opened in 1847. A riot broke out in 1849 when the lower-class patrons of the Bowery objected to what they perceived as snobbery by the upper class audiences at Astor Place: "After the Astor Place Riot of 1849, entertainment in New York City was divided along class lines: opera was chiefly for the upper middle and upper classes, minstrel shows and melodramas for the middle class, variety shows in concert saloons for men of the working class and the slumming middle class."The plays of William Shakespeare were performed on the Broadway stage during the period, most notably by American actor Edwin Booth, internationally known for his performance as Hamlet. Booth played the role for a famous 100 consecutive performances at the Winter Garden Theatre in 1865, would revive the role at his own Booth's Theatre.
Other renowned Shakespeareans who appeared in New York in this era were Henry Irving, Tommaso Salvini, Fanny Davenport, Charles Fechter. Theatre in New York moved from downtown to midtown beginning around 1850, seeking less expensive real estate. In the beginning of the 19th century, the area that now comprises the Theater District was owned by a handful of families and comprised a few farms. In 1836, Mayor Cornelius Lawrence opened 42nd Street and invited Manhattanites to "enjoy the pure clean air." Close to 60 years theatrical entrepreneur Oscar Hammerstein I built the iconic Victoria Theater on West 42nd Street. Broadway's first "long-run" musical was a 50-performance hit called The Elves in 1857. In 1870, the heart of Broadway was in Union Square, by the end of the century, many theatres were near Madison Square. Theatres did not arrive in the Times Square area until the early 1900s, the Broadway theatres did not consolidate there until a large number of theatres were built around the square in the 1920s and 1930s.
New York runs continued to lag far behind those in London, but Laura Keene's "musical burletta" The Seven Sisters shattered previous New York records with a run of 253 performances. It was at a performance by Keene's troupe of Our American Cousin in Washington, D. C. that Abraham Lincoln was shot. The first theatre piece that conforms to the modern conception of a musical, adding dance and original music that helped to tell the story, is considered to be The Black Crook, which premiered in New York on September 12, 1866; the production was five-and-a-half hours long, but despite its length, it ran for a record-breaking 474 performances. The same year, The Black Domino/Between You, Me and the Post was the first show to call itself a "musical comedy". Tony Pastor opened the first vaudeville theatre one block east of Union Square in 1881, where Lillian Russell performed. Comedians Edward Harrigan and Tony Hart produced and starred in musicals on Broadway between 1878 and 1890, with book and lyrics by Harrigan and music by his father-in-law David Braham.
These musical comedies featured characters and situations taken from the everyday life of New York's lower classes and represented a significant step forward from vaudeville and burlesque, towards a more literate form. They starred high quality singers, instead of the women of questionable repute who had starred in earlier m
Merrily We Go to Hell
Merrily We Go to Hell is a 1932 pre-Code film directed by Dorothy Arzner, starring Fredric March and Sylvia Sidney. Its title is an example of the sensationalistic titles. Many newspapers refused to publicize the film because of its racy title; the title is a line. March plays a man undone by adultery. Sidney plays his wife; the film received a mixed review from The New York Times upon its release. Jerry Corbett, a Chicago reporter and self-styled playwright, meets heiress Joan Prentice at a party and they begin dating. Jerry soon proposes to Joan, though his economic prospects are dim and he is an alcoholic, Joan accepts his marriage proposal, against the objections of her father. Though Jerry becomes intoxicated just before their engagement party, ruining it, Joan stands by him. Jerry writes some plays which are rejected, fights his alcohol addiction, he manages to sell a play and the couple travels to New York to watch the production. The star of the play turns out to be Jerry's former girlfriend, Claire Hampstead, on the premiere night he drinks becomes drunk, mistakes Joan for Claire.
Still, Joan stands by him. But, when Joan catches Jerry trying to sneak out to Claire's one night she kicks him out; the following day she tells him that they will have a "modern marriage" and that she intends to have affairs herself. When Jerry is next seen, he is making a "Merrily we go to hell" toast with Claire. In turn and her date toast to the "holy state of matrimony–single lives, twin beds and triple bromides in the morning." Joan learns from her doctor that her health is poor. She tries to tell Jerry. After he is unable to write a successful follow-up play, Jerry realizes that he loves Joan, regrets his behavior, he commits to sobriety, returns to Chicago, works as a reporter again, but Joan's father keeps them apart. Jerry discovers Joan goes to the hospital to see her. Joan's father tells him the baby day died two hours after his birth, that Joan is ill, that she does not want to see him again. However, Jerry sneaks into her room anyway, while Joan in pain is asking the nurse to send for Jerry, she has to see him.
He discovers. A repentant Jerry pledges his love to her and they kiss. Sylvia Sidney as Joan Prentice Fredric March as Jerry Corbett Adrianne Allen as Claire Hempstead Richard "Skeets" Gallagher as Buck George Irving as Mr. Prentice Esther Howard as Vi Florence Britton as Charlcie Charles Coleman as Damery Cary Grant as Charlie Baxter Kent Taylor as Greg Boleslavsky Robert Greig as Baritone Bartender Theresa Harris as Bathroom Attendant at Nightclub Mordaunt Hall, film critic for The New York Times, gave the film a mixed review upon its release. Hall believed the film was wildly funny in stretches, described the acting by the two leads as "excellent", but believed the scenes in which March played intoxicated went nowhere, that the script was lacking. However, despite similar reviews, which noted that it had been directed by a woman, the film was one of the more financially successful films that year. Jessie Burns of Script criticised the casting of Frederic March in the film, finding him to be unconvincing, though thought that Adrianne Allen showed her "star" quality in her portrayal of an otherwise "artificial" character.
Notes Bibliography Deschner, Donald. The Complete Films of Cary Grant. Citadel Press. ISBN 0-8065-0376-9. Doherty, Thomas Patrick. Pre-Code Hollywood: Sex and Insurrection in American Cinema 1930-1934. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-11094-4. Mayne, Judith. Directed by Dorothy Arzner. Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-253-20896-3. Merrily We Go to Hell at the American Film Institute Catalog Merrily We Go to Hell on IMDb