A Dapper star leaves a legacy


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Having just recently had another birthday and waking up alive I thanked the Lord for a new day.  I am luckier than many, especially it seems lately with   the famous, in having another day.  Sadly, again I am writing of a star actor who has died. He  had a part in my view of television as I grew up. Living in Montana now, I  understand  having a television in Wisconsin was a real gift that only a few had in the beginning.  My family used the TV as their entertainment and it became part of the culture of our family.  I grew up with the excitement of a new series being a big deal.  Television brought new worlds into our lives with its entertainment.  Even though I spent time weekly   watching   Efron  Zimbolist Jr. on 77 Sunset strip and later on the series “Remington Steele”  with his daughter, Stephanie and on “The F.B.I.” series. Only now, in reading his obituary have I   gotten  a small glimpse into the real man.   

It amazed me how our lives mirrored each other in tiny ways of which I will only mention a few. His family was of
"The FBI"
Russian decent which also is  in part   my background. His gift of music came from his great grandfather, grandfather and father. His great grandfather was a conductor.   His father was a violinist with the Berlin Philharmonic and later the Boston Symphony Orchestra. His mother was a known   soprano singer and later after his mother’s death his stepmother founded the Curtis Institute of Music.  His life work included introducing to Broadway   three operas he produced.. One of his operas he produced   won a Pulitzer Prize and the New York Drama Critics' Award.  He went to Yale for 2 years   enjoying  the freedom of the world.  Others can speak of his wild lifestyle during that time as he sowed his oats.  Not wanting to tell his mother of his escapades or his departure from college so  he moved in with a   friend   where   he worked as a NBC  page. He was not excited about “77 Sunset Strip” and for 6 months refused the offer.  He finally gave in but just saw it as a job. “I ended up with my life slanted toward television and I just accept that,” he said. “I think you play the hand the way it’s dealt, that’s all.” I have to admit “Kookie” the car attendant was my favorite.  Roger Smith was the crazy kid and Zimmerman the straight handsome glamorous dapper man in the show.  They won a Golden Globe in 1960.  He was excited for his second series. The series “The FBI’ mimicked the actual organization and ended with a most wanted criminal.  He saw the need for the FBI and was known to J. Edger Hoover, Later in 2009, the FBI honored Mr. Zimbalist with his own special agent’s badge, making him an honorary G-man in recognition of the contributions his show and his character made to the agency’s reputation. At the time .FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III   said , “We could not have asked for a better character, or a better man, to play his role” .He also was a   close friend of Ronald Reagan.  In my life I also had a very unique brush with the FBI as a teenager and understand how they work.   

.    He also  joined the service and received   a Purple Heart after being wounded. With the loss of his wife   of   cancer he left   acting to work with his father.  He also  appeared in the soap opera   “Concerning Miss Marlowe.”  He was   offered   roles with actors like Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy. His contributions to film also were many. Under Warner Bros. direction he was   cast  in several feature films, including” ‘’Home Before Dark,” ‘’The Crowded Sky”, “Too Much Too Soon, ‘’The Chapman Report” and “Wait Until Dark.” For me his most memorable movie appearance was as Audrey Hepburn’s husband in the 1967 thriller “Wait   Until Dark.”

If  you are young you may not know him from the old TV roles.  As he was good in doing, he reinvented himself again and in 1990 he started using his voice in roles the younger generation would know.
He was the   voice of Alfred the butler in the cartoon version of the “Batman” TV series.  He was quoted as saying that  cartoon , “has made me an idol in my little grandchildren’s eyes.”  He was also in Superman: the animated series, The Batman animated films   Mask of the Phantasm,  Mr. Freeze: subzero, Mystery of  Bat woman and  in the Spiderman animated  series he played Doctor Octopus.

He also shared his quiet faith with others using   his voice and   wisdom on the Trinity   Broadcasting Network.

His families announcement  sums him up well,  “We are heartbroken to announce the passing into peace of our beloved father, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., today at his Solvang ranch,” the actor’s daughter Stephanie Zimbalist and son Efrem Zimbalist III said in a statement. “He actively enjoyed his life to the last day, showering love on his extended family, playing golf and visiting with close friends.” He was 95 years old when he died on Friday, May 2nd   and   what a contribution he made to the world of entertainment and to the world in general. 







Congratulations TCM and Robert Osbourne!

I love chocolate and the outdoors.  I love people and   wildflowers. But my   all   time love beyond my husband and family is old films.  I am an old   movie junkie.   They make me cry, laugh, sigh and think.  They fill my day with the sounds, actions and music of a time gone by.  Oh, don’t get me wrong, I also love some new movies as well like Argo and Lincoln to name a few.   I enjoy that those old movies have so much content. They share their family,   values ,  their adventures and their troubles.  Life’s messages come on a reel of black and white or color.  Songs are sung with dance or opera or rhyme.  You get to travel to Africa, Australia and other places unknown.   

Being a lover of vintage I enjoy seeing the sets and fashion.  I also have watched the movie houses being closed and torn down. I read the obituaries of the film stars of the past.   I have read the stories of the loss of film destroyed by fire or fading away from light and dirt.  Twenty years ago that started to change when TCM was born from the idea of opening up the vaults and showing again those films of the past,  With that came the possibility of raising funds to digitally preserve those icons of the past.  It opened the door for me and others, young and old to enjoy another time and world.  Wise people found Robert Osbourne  to host the show with his wit, knowledge and connections to the industry.  So as TCM turns 20 years old I will say the slogan that seems so trite but true, “thanks for the memories”.   
Happy 20th Birthday

Happy Birthday's are a part of everyone's life and they definitely come and go.  We  often hear in the news what star, political figure or singer is celebrateing their special day.  With the last name of Kappelhoff  you might not even react when you hear she turned 90 yearsold  the other day. Her dream at 15 to have a career in dance was destroyed in a car accident. She spent several times in her life fighting depression, went on the road singing at 17, married young to a "psychopath musician" according to her memoir and won one Oscar.  She found love again and married for 17 years. After he died she found out he had embezzled all of her life earnings.  And yet she kept on smiling.
She started singng in clubs, on radio and later sang with the Les Brown big band of the 40's.  She became well known as a recording star on records . She was this perky lady who actted across from Cary Grant and many other leading men.  Have you guessed who it is?   She sang the song "Day by Day" and changed her name to Day because of the lyrics. Of course, by now you recognize her as doris Day.  That's right she turned 90 on April 3rd.    Can you remember the first time you saw her in a movie?  Her perky face, wonderful ability to be the "straight man" or should I say girl.  the won the Oscar for Pillow Talk but she made 30 movies from Calamity Jane to Julie and lastly "With six you get eggroll".   What a gift she gave us.  Watching those movies now I realize how timeless they are.  Thank you Doris for being willinging to put yourself out there and share your talent with us.

No Blarney in this St. Patty's history

Happy St. Patrick’s Day. As you wear your green and look for leprechauns here are a few things about this special day.

St. Patrick has quite a history of adventures including being kidnaped and held for 6 years. He traveled many places. How do we know these things? There are two documented letters totally or partially written by St Patrick in which he describes his life. One is called the Declaration and the other is a letter to soldiers of Corotius.

The history of St. Patrick contains quite a bit of folk lore. For instance the legion of him chasing snakes out of Ireland cannot be true. Scientists have determined there were and are not snakes in Ireland. It is one of the few places in the world with that distinction. The symbol may be connected to the fact that he was known to change heathens minds to Christianity. Change serpents to angels as has been said.
In many of the pieces of artwork found from St. Patrick’s time showing him wearing blue not green. Lue is often associated with Ireland and its flag. The change of color for his vestments may have something to do with the “emerald isles” of Ireland as they are often called.

If you are a betting person don’t bet that you can find a 4 leaf clover in a day or a week or a month. The chances of finding one is 1 in 10,000.
Did you know? There are more people of Irish decent in the USA than in Ireland in the 1900’s . In the 1900’s the Irish immigrated to the USA because of discrimination and famine in their country.
We celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on the anniversary of his death. He died on March 17th 461.
Did you know that the in the early 1900’s to 1970 St. Patrick’s Day was a religious day in Ireland and because of that all pubs were closed for the day in honor of him. In 1970 it became a national holiday and then it became a day to drink.
So whether you are irish or only Irish for the day if you are pinched for not wearing green you now can prove your origin by sharing these tidbits of knowledge.


A bit of the Irish

  • Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  Treat yourself to one of the   wonderful old movies that remind us of the Irish culture we all become a part of for St. Patrick’s Day even   if we were not ‘born Irish”.  One delightful movie is full of the Irish Brogue and is called   Little Nellie Kelly.  This movie is from   1940 and features Judy Garland & George Murphy.  Judy sings her own version of “Singing in the rain” and” It’s a great day for the Irish”.  This movie is based on George M.  Coan’s   Broadway   play.   Another   wonderful movie to watch is   My Wild Irish Rose from 1947 which was nominated for an Academy Award.  Featuring the tenor voice of Dennis Morgan & acting of Arlene Dahl.  It tells the story of Chancellor Alcott in the late 19th century and early 20th century.  Not only does it have the movie title song but also the beautiful ballad, “When Irish Eyes are smiling” in it.  And if you want leprechauns, dancing and song watch   Finian’s  Rainbow from  1968.  Featuring  Fred Astaire & Petula Clark it is a whimsical childlike quality.  Each of these movies will put the Irish spirit in your day and the Irish jig in your walk.

           I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending out a love letter to the world.
                                                                 Mother  Teresa

:Sparkle Shirley Sparkle"

Think of a girl with curly bouncy blond hair tap dancing and singing and your mind always goes to  Shirley Temple.  No matter what age,  whether you are 10, 30, 60 or 80 you have been somehow touched by her image or her talent.  The fact that there are DVDs out again in 2014  illustrates that point.  I could easily speak of her movies but I’d  like to share the other Shirley Temple who was hidden from the public eye but who leaks out of the pages of books and stories  written about her. Shirley was more than that talented child that director Allan Dwan was quoted saying, ''With Shirley, you'd just tell her once and she'd remember the rest of her life," ''Whatever it was she was supposed to do - she'd do it. ... And if one of the actors got stuck, she'd tell him what his line was – she knew it better than he did”, the director of Heidi said" As Shirley matured her life changed remarkably but each of her new experiences made her an impressive woman. When she found her film career was not going well she made a surprising announcement that she would retire.  At age 17 she married John Agar Jr  who had starred with her in Fort Apache.  She found out quickly that he could be a mean drinker  and philander.  She was forced to drive herself to the hospital when she went in to labor with her daughter Linda Susan. With the reality of her life she divorced and decided to retire from her film career to give her daughter all her time.  A year later she fell madly in love with Charles Alden Black a California businessman.  He was also interested in world economics and politics.  Shirley found she had a real interest in it.  She and her new husband had two children, Chuck and Lori.   Her next focus was helping others doing community service. When her brother developed multiple sclerosis she involved herself in learning all she could about the disease.  She went to the doctor with George to learn as much as she could. She found that more people needed to be doing research on the disease so she became co-founder of the international Multiple sclerosis Society.  She could be seen visiting at the hospital doing things like  serving meals and visiting tirelessly. Her focus was on them, never herself.  Later she was asked to be a UN delegate.  She saw that her film reputation helped her to be able to speak to many political  figures and she took advantage of that fact and became an asset to the UN. Later she became the Ambassador to Ghana.  She was able to help with the crisis there,  Her next  appointment was as  Ambassador to Czechoslovakia.  After arriving in Czechoslovakia she and her husband heard a group of youth demonstrating.  They followed the noise and ended up right in the center of the start of a revolution.  After escaping  to the hotel 61 yr. old  Shirley took a seat on the upstairs window ledge as the  Ambassador and  watched the event. She was spotted by the newspaper and she again became a new kind of leader.  The area of Prague was a political hot spot and she fought  a huge battle trying to free prisoners ,  fighting for human rights and working for democracy  behind the scene.  She worked for 20 years in service starting with Nixon and ending with Carter when he came into office.  Her ability to see and work through the complex issues of a foreign power showed the abilities she had.  One day she discovered a lump in her breast and returned to the US for a mastectomy.  She decided that she should use this recent crisis to make women aware of the need to take care of themselves.  She was the 1st celebrity to speak of her mastectomy and cancer  publically.   She helped to promote self - breast exams.  Over the years she received many film awards including a mini Academy Award  but she lovingly said at age 80 that her greatest roles were as wife, mother and grandmother. "There's nothing like real love. Nothing." Her husband of 55 years, Charles Black, had just died a  few months earlier.  That curly topped singing dancing little girl changed the morale of the US during  the Great Depression  and gave us so much more in her 85 years that sadly is not often recognized. Thank you Shirley, you sure did do what your mother said   “Sparkle Shirley Sparkle” in your life.