Thursday, May 7, 2020

You Bet Your Bippy....

Julie Newmar clips on YouTube continue to get nice comments.

Here's one for the moment in "The Maltese Bippy" when Dan Rowan flirts with Julie.

The channel tries to add clips from time to time, but sometimes, there are surprises. A 40 second scene from "Fools, Females and Fun" (Julie and Dick Sargent) was automatically denied. Huh? It turns out that Universal has spent a lot of time and money creaing digital "footprints" for every inch of even their most obscure films and TV shows. As soon as a clip is floated to YouTube, it is matched, detected and blocked.

YouTube (owned by Google) offers no appeal procedure, and doesn't recognize "fair use." One would think that less than a minute would only encourage interest in this made-for-TV "Love American Style" movie. Universal has no plans to stream it, make it available to a cable TV station, or release it on DVD.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Julie Newmar - a little gem of publicity from 1958

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Julie Newmar: "I want to see good acting!" We went to see SHIRLEY KNIGHT

Whem going to Broadway shows with Julie, the most important thing wasn't the spectacle, or being seen at the "hottest ticket in town." It didn't matter if it was a play or a musical, a comedy or a drama.

Julie knew her line, and I had it memorized:

"I want to see good acting!"

So it was, that we sometimes went off-Broadway rather than the Great White Way itself. We walked out at intermission on a play starring a TV legend, with Julie hoping that we could latch onto the second half of something better. We ended up at a revival of an Oscar Wilde production that didn't have a famous name in the cast. What it had, however, was good acting.

Shirley Knight was a good actress. Like Julie, she sought out the masters who could teach her how to be superb at her craft. Knight's mentors included three of the best in the business: Jeff Corey, Lee Strasberg and Uta Hagen. She trained at the Actors Studio, and after "We Have Always Lived in a Castle," she won a Tony for her Marilyn Monroe-influenced turn in "Kennedy's Children."

Julie of course, followed "Lil Abner" with her Tony-award winning part in "Marriage-Go-Round."

"I want to see good acting..." led us to to the Goodman Theatre one night. Horton Foote's "The Young Man from Atlanta" was on the boards, and it featured Rip Torn (who passed on last year) and Shirley Knight, who left us only days ago.

Julie is right; sometimes the most exciting and memorable thing about a play is the acting. You might not remember a line of dialogue, or recall the twist ending that literally brought down the curtain and triggered applause. Instead, you leave with the emotional satisfaction of seeing a great performance.

I don't remember much about Horton Foote's play, but I do remember that Shirley Knight and Rip Torn were brilliant. Afterwards, Julie said, "Let's go backstage." It wasn't out of show-biz friendship. I don't think she'd ever even met Rip Torn before. She said, "it's what you do," if you're also a thespian, and you want to give the highest compliment possible. It's sort of like "my compliments to the chef," but instead of to the waiter, you go back and tell the chef. Shirley was nominated for a Tony for "The Young Man from the South." After seeing Shirley Knight in a production of "A Streetcar Named Desire," Tennessee Williams wrote a play just for her: "A Lovely Sunday at Creve Coeur."

While many performers find their greatest satisfaction on the stage, and the bond between the performer and the viewer is strongest that way, some of their finest work at least remains preserved via film. Shirley Knight was twice nominated for an Oscar, for "Dark at the Top of the Stairs" and "Sweet Bird of Youth," and was critically acclaimed for "Dutchman," and "The Rain People" (Francis Ford Coppola wrote it envisioning Shirley). She also won Emmy awards for television work, and was called upon for everything from "The Outer Limits" to "NYPD Blue" and "Desperate Housewives."

Shirley Knight was not the most famous actress, but she didn't care much about fame itself. She said, "Many people who are very famous are ridiculous. I mean, look at the Kardashians. There are people walking around who don't know who The Beatles were. If you think your food is you want to be famous, you're going to starve to death. Your food has to be that you want to do good work and you want to become better at what you do.

She was better at what she did than quite a lot of more famous TV and movie stars. Some people want to go to a show to see somebody famous, like a TV star with limited live acting experience. Others, like Julie Newmar, say "I want to see good acting." Good acting: SHIRLEY KNIGHT.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Caricatures Then and Now

Once upon a time (or a Russian) caricature artists, trained classically, offered fluid pen and ink lines. Here's an example: Julie (and company) immortalized before the opening of "Once There was a Russian," co-starring Walter Matthau and Albert Salmi.

The old-fashioned "flattering" heterosexual brand of caricature is now so old-fashioned it doesn't even exist.

The idea is to mix things up, bend the gender, and go for outrage. And then, as RuPaul would phrase it, "sashay away," leaving nothing but admiring gasps.

One of Julie's idols in the world of caricature is "RISKO," who dares to take conventional music and scare something unique out of it. BOO!

You didn't know Julie had pale blue icy eyes? A squidgy nose that resembles Sam "Gunga Din" Jaffe? That her mouth looks like she was eating a pint of strawberries too fast? Well, that's the NEW look, and it's bright and bold, and so clearly captures Julie Newmar.

Or does it? Well, the same artist should not be restricted to just one view.

Another conventional view of women is that they have breasts. That's a bit 20th Century isn't it?

The fact is, if a woman can be a super hero, maybe she has the same chest development as a male? That would be squared pectorals, and a flat behind. Scary? Well, that's the way caricature works. It shakes things up! BOO!

Both of the above are capturing Julie in "super hero" mode, because fans love it. This is especially true of the rabid ones who bark and pant and race over to Facebook to say "You were the BEST CATWOMAN." Their cuteness needs to be rewarded.

However, there's another side to the actress. The garden side. But again, there's no reason to be traditional about it, and shoot for any kind of glamour approach, as the Daily News artist did in promoting "Once There Was a Russian."

With full use of color, and a refusal to accept traditional proportions of heterosexual beauty, here's Julie in a shapeless dress, traditional old lady gray hair, raisin-drooped eyes, and a doleful camel-like pout, although the chin is more moose-jaw than camel jaw. The result is completely original, and can define only one caricaturist's style!

The Margo Feiden Gallery might not even exist anymore (the place where people used to spend tens of thousands of dollars to get a New York Times lithograph of one of their famous caricatures. There never WAS a gallery for the Daily News item you see up top. But on the Internet, the challenging world of caricature is available all over, and open to anyone who wants to be unconventional when it comes to what beautiful women look like, or what the human body should or shouldn't resemble. Some aren't so sure about all of this (there are some that don't like graffiti, or even question why RuPaul and his fellows appear in "woman face" when there's no longer "yellow face" or "blackface" anymore. Still, art is very much in the eye of the beholder. In fact, now that there's Photoshop, people can download and alter the art to suit their own perspective. Yes, that's another challenge, but the art world is always enthusiastic about being stood on its ear. Just ask Van Gogh.

Fortunately, "Social Media" at this level doesn't matter

Here's a friendly "Social Media" post that alerts fans that if they meet Julie, or perhaps some other celebrity, it's ok to put your hand on her. Why? Because she's so desperate and insane and horny she'll respond by kissing your neck.

"Social Media" is also where people think that somebody being polite might lead to fame. A book contract, perhaps? If you can name-drop a star and give a public thanks, surely every book company in America will have a rep breathlessly asking for a copy of the manuscript.

NOT...to worry.

In the industry (ie, the business) we know what "SOCIAL MEDIA" means, in BOLD LETTERS.

It doesn't mean Facebook.

It means TWITTER, and it means A DAILY VIEWERSHIP OF A MILLION OR MORE.

What high-powered managers and agents want is for their client to always have THOUSANDS of "likes" for any comment, and a guarantee that every comment will be be viewed by MILLIONS of people.

If that doesn't happen, "it's not happening."

It's a testament to what are uncharitably called "the D-listers" that they aren't ruled by numbers, and aren't worried by the Mark David Chapmans of the world. OR worried by "what people think" when they either waste their time posting to a teeny, teeny, tiny audience, or seem to have unlimited time in responding and commenting to people who a) are not in the industry and so therefore b) do not matter.

What's the point then? The little bond between the sad and lonely fan and the star who, in a Disney dream come true, actually shines down and seems to even give a special little sparkly hello.

The high powered agent or manager might knock off a bizarre photo and comment that makes his client seem too accessible, a bit desperate, or borderline nuts, but in the little world of Facebook, everyone knows that "she kissed me on the neck" or "she liked my story" doesn't mean passion or Hemingway.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Newmar RETRO News - Trumpet Voluntary, 1956

"It's good publicity!"

BACK IN THE DAY, publicists would do anything to get coverage in one of the half-dozen (or more) daily big city papers.

Always surefire, was "get a pretty girl to promote it." Like, the Randalls' Island Jazz Festival.

Who cares about that? How many readers know or care about who Don Elliot is? We're a busy newspaper, why should we promote some bunch of guys playing jazz on Randalls' Island?

Wait...wait...let's get JULIE NEWMAR to hold a trumpet! Give some other babe a french horn. Point drumsticks at some other starlet. NOW you've got a picture....

THIS PICTURE:

This shot ran in THE JOURNAL, and maybe it caused a few people to run to Randalls' Island, hoping a few of the girls would be there.

Julie was the star of this trio, only a few months away from her debut in "Li'l Abner," and already a cover girl with several film credits (including the "golden girl" in "Serpent of the Nile."

Ms. Nickel (french horn) was somewhere in the cast of Roz Russell's "Auntie Mame." Trivia fans might note that Lynn Dollar, decoration on "$64,000 Question," began to get serious. A mere year after this photo was taken, she won the position of weather girl at WRCA-TV.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

R.I.P. RIP

Rip Taylor.

He first achieved fame as "The Crying Comedian," doing an act that included "woe is me" one-liners that were punctuated with mock hysterics and tears. Ed Sullivan loved him, and booked him often.

He even issued an odd single, "How Does It Feel?" which had him chuckling to an ex who has endured a breakup. "Does it hurt? Heh heh. Are you blue? Ha ha ha." Chorus: "How does it feel now that it's happened to you?"

Not exactly "I Wanna Be Around," but...sort of Tony Bennett on helium.

Perhaps a few Demento trivia fans would put it on the same warped shelf as Allen Swift's cover of "Are You Lonesome Tonight," which, more in the Taylor-made vein, has him breaking out into comical sobs and rages.

We all know what happened after a while: Rip Taylor morphed into the zany, confetti-throwing kind of desperate sight gags and outrageous one-liners, his wild eyebrows matched by his mountainous wig, which made him look quite a bit like Frank Morgan's doorkeeper character in "The Wizard of Oz."

When I was editing RAVE ("the Playbill of comedy clubs") I had the good fortune to sit in with Rip as he guested on the Alan Colmes radio show, and then walk around midtown with him afterward. He was kindly, fun, and a great guy.

Julie's main connection with Rip Taylor was co-starring in a sketch with him for the hour-long "Minsky's Follies," which was released on VHS by RKO Video.

Here's Julie at a little "memorial" to Rip, with some of Taylor's friends. In the purple, to the left of Julie, is the Laugh-In legend Joanne Worley.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Noisy Leaf Blowers - YES, a BAN is POSSIBLE

Noise annoys. Julie called attention to the problem several years ago, but in this "PC" age, there was backlash. Huh?

It seemed that some were defending the noisy leaf blowers because they were being wielded by "people of color," and many were pitiful poor immigrants. Should they have to go back to using old-fashioned rakes, as people all over the world have used for hundreds of years?

The facts are that most of the leaf blowers are owned by, guess who, home owners. They have enough money for a home and a garden, and they're just plain lazy. Some get a thrill out of making noise; probably the same people who love to ride motorcycles through quiet suburbs on a Sunday morning. Those that employ gardeners, which include very rich people in Beverly Hills and Santa Monica, pay very good wages.

At this point, we're seeing...what, the turning over of a new leaf? Here's an article from a recent issue of THE ATLANTIC. It's from Jame Fallows: "GET OFF MY LAWN: How a small group of activists (our correspondent among them) got leaf blowers banned in the nation's capital.

Here's the URL

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/04/james-fallows-leaf-blower-ban/583210/

HERE'S A DIRECT LINK TO THE ARTICLE on LEAF BLOWERS The articles starts this way:

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

But would they have anything GOOD to say about him?

A slight mis-communication in the booking...

Saturday, September 28, 2019

This just in from the mental hospital....

Most of Julie's contemporaries, including Ruta Lee, Jackie Joseph, Angie Dickinson, Dawn Wells, Barbara Feldon, Diana Rigg, Terry Moore and Diane McBain, either are not on Facebook at all, or post nothing but a photo once in a while or a reminder that photos are available for purchase.

Julie will give a lot more, including delving into politics. Sometimes this gets some dangerously snarky comments from people on the other side of the issue, but that's balanced by some charming off-topic cries of love and devotion.

Someone gets out of a mental hospital and first thing, posts a love letter on a thread about Trump? That's something.

Give the guy credit for openly stating that he's a mentally ill Julie Newmar fan. Further down on the thread? Some people who would tell you they are perfectly sane. They have people "liking" what they've written, too.

There's a lot of "positive energy" on Facebook.

People are positively sure that what they post is not going to raise a red flag. It's all "communication." Every picture tells a story, and every comment paints a picture, too.

If you're not on Facebook yet, get in on the fun.