Tuesday, March 30, 2021

No luck yet in finding the elusive "Black Box"

While many "My Living Doll" episodes are still in a warehouse or a collector's basement, a few other Julie items are still missing. For example....

"The Black Box Murders." The episode was part of ABC's "Wide World Mystery" shows, made-for-TV items intended to compete with Johnny Carson's "Tonight Show." (ABC had tried bringing back Jack Paar, and also scheduled a lot of rock concerts for their 11:30pn late night slot.) 

It was broadcast January 13, 1975, well before the average TV fan could get an affordable VCR and record it for posterity. Why ABC didn't think to preserve all the shows in their "Wide World Mystery" series, for re-run use, is anyone's guess. At least half of those 90 minute mystery movies are missing.

Another frustrating item: Julie on "The Greatest Show on Earth." Arthur O'Connell guest-starred as Johnny Slates's (Jack Palance) debt-ridden father. Julie played Slate's girl friend. The episode DOES exist in 16mm. There are still collectors out there who love their 16mm projectors and search for things to play on them. The episode "Of Blood, Sawdust, and a Bucket of Tears" turned up on eBay a year or so ago, selling for around $100. To digitize it would probably be another $100 or more.  From what I've read, the conflict in the episode centers around Palance having to choose to help Arthur, even if it meant losing the girl friend he loves. 

Hopefully some day "Greatest Show" will either stream, get a DVD set treatment, or turn up on one of the nostalgia channels that currently run "I Dream of Jeannie" or "Gomer Pyle" five times a day. 

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Pour a Shirley Temple, but not to celebrate odd-looking Catwoman memorabilia!

Oh, the world of "licensed" BATMAN products can be confusing. This involves issues of trademark and copyright. It also involves "intellectual property." WHO is THIS Catwoman? Yike!

The company was allowed to say "Cat Woman 1966," but that sure doesn't look like Julie! A lot of action figures look very much like her, or even mention her on the box. What gives?  

Go ask the lawyers! Or check with companies that may have only had a budget to use "Cat Woman" and not the name of anyone specific. It's been a pretty even "battle" with companies taken to court over "intellectual property." The heirs for Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff, for example, won, and get a percentage of "Dracula" and "Frankenstein" merchandise. Even with make-up on, their famous faces are evident. But, losing, was a claim by the Fred Astaire estate over a TV commercial that had him dancing with a vacuum cleaner! The studio claimed he was under contract and this was a movie clip and and he wasn't named in the ad...whatever. They won.

You win some, you lose some. Heirs to the Three Stooges get money...but not all of them. A judge ruled that the daughter of Curly Howard (the original Curly) gets nothing, because the LAST group known as The Three Stooges featured "Curly Joe" DeRita, so, er, uh, even if all the merch shows the original Curly, it's De Rita's heirs that rake in the dough. 

So when you notice some product that doesn't look like Julie, there may be a legal reason. 

Lastly, many stars and companies are acting to protect the fans. They are making sure that the product is not shoddy, and as accurate and as of good quality of possible. There's also a bit of morality involved, as  money should go to the creatives not the bootleggers. No less a "nice" lady than Shirley Temple recognized this back in 1989. She told US magazine that she had no problem with the cute use of her name as a drink but, she....

"...sued to stop Soda Pop Kids Co from advertising its Shirley T. soda. The alcohol-free drink called a Shirley Temple (ginger ale, grenadine and a maraschino ocherr) ha been served in restaurants since the 1930s. Shirley doesn't mind that a bit. But "commercial theft" is something else. "I'm a tigress about protecting my name, and my attorneys will go after anyone who is using my name on a product without my permission." 

In the end, the fans win when the stuff they collect is built to last and a worthy investment. It's a bit sad when somebody buys a bootleg photo that fades in a year, or a fake autographed item, or drinks something bad and grunts, "Why did Shirley Temple allow her name on THAT swill?" 

As to people who collect those weird Funko items and actually don't care if the face is right as long as the costume is? To use a Batman phrase: "OOF!" Knock yourselves out.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Julie Newmar - FARMERETTE? Well, close guess, guys...

You may have missed this magazine at the local newsstand. It came out in oh, 1956. 

Back in the day, hungry (if not ravenous) pin-up mags wanted sexy pix, and lots of 'em, to balance out the ordinary news and sports articles they had to run as "redeeming social value." 

The photographers had to be clever...clever enough to find ladies like Julie who actually had acting credentials and needed publicity...and clever enough to try and get published with a unique "slant" and not the same beach pix that were so much competition. 

SO here's Julie, out at a farm, ergo, a FARMERETTE! 

OH...and give some credit to the mag's editors and writers, who dutifully plugged the latest new and beautiful talent, and "invented" some copy to validate the pictures. The anonymous scribe here, did his best. He duly notes that Julie's "ambition..." in show biz is ultimately "to be a comedienne." 

She would soon be getting laughs on Broadway in "Marriage Go Round," co-starring in "My Living Doll," and giving Catwoman that special touch of humor. Yes, much of Julie's best work has involved adding a sense of fun, joy, and laughs into her characters and into her TV interviews as well. 

Inspired by the urban Julie at an old barn, the writer wasn't TOO far off. Just substitute "gardner" and not "farmerette." (PS, it isn't often that your average "farmerette" leaves the plow to get some exercise by hanging from a tree!) 

As Julie fans know, her garden is a true tourist attraction. A few times a year, for charity, horticulture buffs come by select homes in L.A. to view the wonders created by both famous celebrities and ambitious and creative people who just love to spend hours and hours with their flowers. The Julie Newmar Rose is one of several items named after Julie. Which beats being a "farmerette," and somebody at a country fair trying to sell their tribute; a Julie Newmar squash! 

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Been There, DON That -- Feeding the Trolls Gets some Bites

Every day the papers are loaded with articles exposing the various examples of cruelty, incompetence, greed, uncouth behavior and incredible insensitivity of President Trump. A few days ago, the London Daily Mail website offered four in a row. Trump is internationally appalling: 

And yet, ten million, twenty million, thirty million or more love the guy. Absolutely LOVE the guy, from his amusing Don Rickles insults on "Sleepy Joe" Biden to his nepotism, to his racial scapegoating and smug denial of climate change. 

"It's good to be the king," Mel Brooks joked in a movie, but this is real life, and it's sad that so many find a vicarious thrill in thinking they'd be just like THIS guy...shooting off his mouth on Twitter all day, grabbing a mail order bride from Europe somewhere (as long as she'd posed naked and he could see what he was buying), and indulging in all the show-off luxury of golf course games, pompous rhetoric, and simply shouting "Fake News" when caught...time and time again. Porn stars? Daring workers to sue him for construction work on his Trump buildings? Fleecing fools with a fake college or "made in China" hats saying "Make America Great Again?" It's ALL good. 

Anything BAD about this guy is dismissed, including for example, Mary Trump's very interesting book that attempted to analyze how her uncle Donald became such an unfeeling and crude person, how often he was a user, and how sadly hollow and at times sociopathic his personality could get. 

The man practiced showmanship on David Letterman's show, and out of nowhere became a "reality star" via "The Apprentice." Somehow, perhaps because of his outlandish hair (covering up many botched transplant and bald-spot reduction surgeries) or his willingness to seemingly laugh at himself, his arrogance as a rich bully has been seen as lovable by a not-so-silent majority of rednecks, racists, and to be fair, religious lunatics and goofy accountants (the latter insisting that whatever his faults, the economy is good). Does he have charm? Hey, back when I was working with London Features and LGI, I photographed the man for magazines and newspapers. Look at that smile...charming indeed...

Every time Julie's mentioned Trump on FACEBOOK, the result has been predictably the same: a bunch of indignant narrow-minded fools insisting "I'll never watch your movies again," and "I'm no longer following you" and other huffery. The fact that Hillary Clinton beat Donald in the popular vote SHOULD mean that Julie is hardly alone in her views. And why should anyone have to agree with somebody else's politics?

The people walking away from Julie's page, think that 90% of Hollywood isn't on her side? What, never watch a movie or a TV show again because it's likely that the star is not a Trump fan? From vocal people on Twitter such as Bette Midler and Rob Reiner to late night comedians such as Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert, one could end up with nothing to watch but Clint Eastwood and Jon Voight movies, and the selected genius TV shows of Scott Baio. Even then, probably most of the scripts written for the actors were done by people who don't like Trump. You can't win, Trumpers, so why the hypocrisy? 

Because it feels SO good to do that Margaret Dumont impression and declare, "I've never been so insulted in my life!" To which there are many a Groucho quip for a response. 

The sad thing are the out-and-out trolls who love Trump so much they have to emulate him, with thoroughly uncouth, sexist and obnoxious remarks. NONE of them get screen-capped or repeated here, but it IS disturbing that people who clearly love Julie or lust after her enough to friend her or constantly check her page for pix of her, would suddenly turn condescending, oafish and repulsive just because of...well, what was the latest remark she made? Pretty mild: 

That line would probably not even make the cut for "Real Time with Bill Maher." And yet it led to over 600 comments, 200 shares, and a small but vile number of name-calling troll-calls. Of course, one can hang up on these calls, and BLOCK anyone who can't state an opinion without adding insults and catty (and stupid) Catwoman jokes. Or as Mort Sahl used to say when somebody would boo him in the audience: "It would be nice if you could articulate your position." And, if somebody tried to best him with a heckling quip that got zero audience response: "That's not the first time you've failed in the dark."

Julie of course was conciliatory: 


Several people actually did complete the sentence, with very sensible and sober remarks. Still, there's no question that people who don't like Biden express themselves with far more malice, insult, and depressingly irrational rhetoric than those who don't like Biden. The Trump fans are basically as inarticulate as their hero, so they figure a remark slightly below the belt of "Lying Hillary" or 'Sleepy Joe" would be in keeping with what their hero would write. Sadly, in that regard, the right-wing wingnuts are right. 

Is the answer "leave politics out of it?" Many people are "politicians" about this, and indeed, choose NOT to say a word on hot topics such as religion, abortion, politics, or even animal rights and climate change. 

Julie is a LEO (in addition to being known by most Facebookers as the Catwoman) so she will speak her mind. Thankfully, there's a BLOCK for anyone who can't control their heckles and Jeckyls, and insist on the pride of showing off their filthy Hyde. Special thanks to two posters who expressed the situation very well: 

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Busta Rhymes? Busta Keaton? No, Busta Julie Cards

In America, we call them a "Lobby Card Set." In England? It's a BUSTA set. 

These things are fairly rare. Movie studios made 100 or 200 sets and shipped them to the theaters screening the films. After being posted behind glass, or on easels in the lobby or entrance, these cards were supposed to be returned to the studio or destroyed. 

But...fans are happy that some sets have turned up for sale in art shops, memorabilia stores and online. 

In the case of "Mackenna's Gold" (a film that actually has defenders and a cult following) the images on the British cards differ from the ones sent to American theaters. Like so: 

Hopefully the film will remain available, and not be pulled due to the PC Police whining that Omar Sharif was not really Mexican and Julie was not really Native American. And, who knows, Mackenna should've been played by somebody actually named Mackenna, not Peck. 

How amusing, the colorized posters offer Julie's costume in both pink and green and in yellow and red. (We say colorized, which hopefully is ok. If not, consider them "posters of color." But no, these are not colored!

It was a lucky Brit who had the full BUSTA SET and sold it for a pretty good price on eBay! 

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

FORGE GET ME NOTS -- Yes, Julie Newmar Forgeries are Out There

The comments left on celebrity Facebook pages range from the endearing to the alarming, with a lot of not very original "reaction memes" and woefully unoriginal remarks in between. 

This is why most of it is never even seen by the celebrity.  

Recently a fan left a series of off-topic comments on a serious problem: forgeries.  It was more of a warning to others: 

Unfortunately, it's easier than ever to fake signatures, thanks to digital technology, Photoshop, etc.  

Fans at "hit and run" memorabilia shows are very susceptible, since they get excited about something they see, and trust the dealer. They're not likely to take out a cellphone, and Google for photos to see if the autograph is similar to legit ones. The odds are that the item is real, but too many get taken.

Sometimes, like Canadian pennies at the supermarket, nobody notices a fake mixed in, and that includes reputable dealers who operate in bulk. if it's "nickel and dime" items on stars that don't fetch more than $10 or $20, a dealer might spend the time to look very closely, especially when forgeries (including secretarials and autopens) can take a lot of time to study and verify. 

Why are there so many forgeries involving eBay auctions? Well, let's quote an old song:

There's a somebody I'm longin' to see
I hope that he turns out to be
Someone who'll watch over me
I'm a little lamb who's lost in the wood....

Now who is that going to be? Who cares? 

Most celebrities don't. They don't have a VeRO (Verified Rights Owner) rep on eBay, since they don't want to pay somebody to expertly ferret out intellectual property abuses, or bother them with emails and attachments: "this looks like a forgery, confirm please" 

Ebay states "we are JUST a venue," and it's not their responsibility to know what's legit or not. It's up to VeRO reps to point it out. Which is a Catch-22. 

Fortunately, the odds of a Julie Newmar forgery being sold are a bit less. 

Julie and I do care. While I don't have time to inspect every signed photo that turns up on eBay, and sometimes you do have to examine the photo in person to detect the cheat, the more egregious imposters get caught. 

Here's a forger who offers a convincing Julie Newmar signed photo, even adding "Fondly," as Julie sometimes does. It's possible the seller Photoshopped a real "fondly, Julie Newmar" autograph off a photo with a white background, and then used a printer to spit that signature onto an 8x10. The only way for an expert to detect this kind of  cheat is by knowing the peculiarities of printer ink over pen ink, or checking if the dealer offers a lot of pictures where "fondly Julie Newmar" happens to always be the same size and slant every time. 

The mistake was to put the forgery on a Photoshop jobs where Julie's head is attached to the body of a dominatrix with a whip. The seller wanted to have a stand-out photo different from the usual Catwoman items on eBay...but it stood out a little TOO glaringly and he got caught. 

PETA is for the "ethical treatment" of animals. Some stars, including the Catwoman, believe in being ethical toward fans. She's on the side of justice in this case, and doesn't find the criminals quite so endearing and colorful as the ones in "Batman '66." It's easy to say "Caveat Emptor" (even if you don't know Latin) but if it doesn't take too much time to do a weekly check of eBay items, why not do it? As Sam Spade would say, forgeries are bad for business, bad all around. 

Sometimes a seller racks up so many positives he becomes "top rated." If he gets caught offering a bone-headed fake, he MIGHT be able to avoid suspension by claiming it was an "honest mistake." 

Ebay has NO firm rules on how many "honest mistakes" a seller can have before getting suspended. Here's a "top rated seller" who was headed for a $50 or perhaps $75 sale before his auction was stopped a few days short of completion: 

What I found galling about this guy's item was that line: "autograph obtained personally at Burbank Hollywood Autograph Show Last Year." Oh? When the lady in the photo is Lee, the movie Catwoman, not Julie, the TV Catwoman? 

In this case, the forgery is fairly amateurish. Julie's robust "swoop" on the letter J is deflated, the N is all wrong, and there's no fluidity between the w and the m. There are some other imperfections as well, regarding spacing and angle, as well as where and when the pen momentarily stops between certain letters. 

Here's a different problem: how many fans, dazzled by a $19.95 "bargain" know what RP means?

RP means REPRINT. "Caveat emptor" to those who didn't know that. A lot of sellers bury this bit of information in the fine print. Yes, these are removed. So are dupe photos in general, because the copyright owners, the studios, the photographers, the celebrities want their fans to get the best quality merchandise..."authorized." Why should a fan get a bad photo that will turn yellow in a few years, or fade? Not every celebrity or film/TV company cares about this, but many do. Disney is a well known example of a company that prides itself on protecting buyers from fakes. 

Sadly not everyone knows that Julie's website offers very reasonable prices on autographed photos AND that she really does personalize them. She doesn't use a secretary. Actually, this brings up another point  -- many famous stars do hand out "forgeries" all the time. Items sent in by mail to be signed are often faked by the secretary, which makes the star even less likely to care about what some eBay dealer is doing. This is unfortunate, because the odds are that a nefarious eBay dealer is a nefarious person in general, and the money going into the pocket of such a person might be financing other, worse illegal activities. 

The fact is that nobody is going to "watch over you," and treat you like a "lost lamb" when you're wandering around a memorabilia convention or surfing eBay.  Some owners of memorabilia events and some stars with VeRO reps on eBay do try to keep things ethical, but even with a super hero patrolling Gotham City, crimes do happen. 

Unholy Forgeries! Yes, it happens on Catwoman and Batman pictures all the time, and the practice is Purrrfectly Dastardly! 

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Don't "Love That Bob"

Some people are a bit surprised that lovable sitcom legend Bob Cummings could be petty if not obnoxious on the set of "My Living Doll." It's always a bit surprising when somebody who projects a light or comic image is not always so pleasant (see: Godfrey, Arthur, see Cosby, Bill, etc. etc.) 

It seems that Bob's reputation was well known, and in the decade after "My Living Doll," apparently got worse as his ability to find work decreased. Why else, this very odd moment from "The Match Game," airing in 1980? 


“You may not know this, but after filming, Lassie goes to her dressing room, takes off her beautiful fur coat, and then the truth is known. Lassies is really a……….” 

Robet Pine said chihuahua

Brett Somers said greyhound

Charles Nelson Reilly said cat…

Bill Daily said… Robert Cummings 



If you want to see for yourself, the episode is on YouTube:

Bob seemed to have an increasing amount of problems in his life, and Bill Daily, among others, knew it. They certainly knew that Bob had been married five times, and was known to take a Dr. Feelgood "vitamin" shot each day that happened to have some amphetamine in it. In fact, Bob was addicted to the drug since the late 50's, and not even the intervention of beloved TV personality Art Linkletter could cure him. Fortunately, like a variety of people from Peter Lorre to William Burroughs, Cummings was able to keep working by at least controlling the amount and duration of the needed "meds." Still, some fans who heard the rumors that he was linked to Dr. Feelgood (Dr. Max Jacobson) were a bit queasy about the doctor's claim that his special elixer was merely powerful herbs and vitamins along with...sheep sperm and monkey gonads!   

Bill Daily, a long time member of the sitcom world as well as a Hollywood insider, probably knew of Bob's arrogance and nefarious scheming, which wasn't nearly as funny as the sitcom plots of his dopey shows, like "My Hero" his first TV outing circa 1952. He fired a writer on that show (he was already swell-headed). Soon after he made headlines when he refused to be handed a summons while in his car. Instead, he gunned the engine and dragged LA County Deputy Sheriff William Conroy along a stretch of road. Lawsuits against Bob were not uncommon. Gossip columnist Hedda Hopper reported on four of them in the late 40's! 

Cummings was a vegetarian, which is laudable. But not so laudable, and not so lawful, was his pyramid scheme in 1972 that ended up with complaints of fraud against "Bob Cummings Inc.," purveyor of vitamin supplements. Only three years later, squeaky clean Cummings was embarrassed by an arrest for owning a "blue box," which allowed him to make free phone calls. This was all quite the reverse of his image as a sitcom actor as Republican as Buddy Ebsen. 

Cummings was a capable leading man in the 40's. He shouldn't be painted red like some kind of devil. He had his good points, and the fact that he was used so often in movies points to him being worth any minor troubles involved. 

Of course he became a big star thanks to his role as a leering Lothario in the "Love That Bob" sitcom (1955-1959). Too bad things slid after that. "The New Bob Cummings Show" flopped in 1961, and "My Living Doll" (1964-65) struggled with a killer time slot (opposite "Bonanza") and an iffy chemistry on screen and off between Cummings and Julie. The word is "iffy" because watching "My Living Doll" isn't too "cringeworthy" because of him. He has his moments where he gets some smiles registering chagrin, embarrassment and confusion over the sitcom plots and the uncontrollable and guileless behavior of the beautiful robot in his charge. He was aging; perhaps an actor more like Danny Kaye, twitching and swooning and pratfalling, or a sexless goofus ala Red Skelton doing similar takes and looks of surprise, could've worked better. A male with ANY kind of testosterone opposite a female robot that can be programmed...is going to raise, er, eyebrows. 

Given Bob's reputation as a creepy ladies man, many viewers were a bit uncomfortable wondering what a man who looked twice Julie's age, was doing with an easily-programmable robot. That he played a psychiatrist and "seemed" to have girlfriends in his life didn't reduce the smarm-level or raise his charm level. He never gave Rhoda a suggestive request? Really? 

The role required finesse. Bob Crane was considered for the job, but he would've been worse. Crane, a truly creepy man off-stage, also exuded a strange sexual vibe. One would be even less trusting of him opposite Rhoda the Robot than Cummings. Jack Mullaney, who became the co-star when Cummings was finally fired, was a better choice, but he too had an air of untrustworthy desperation about him as 'Peter." The built-in solution on "I Dream of Jeannie" was having Larry Hagman play a stalwart astronaut...a man of impeccable morals. The solution on "Bewitched" was to have Samantha married to her man (as well as clearly someone with more power and control!) The solution on "My Favorite Martian" was to have two men co-starring. Could "My Living Doll" have worked if an Imogene Coca or aging Lucille Ball played opposite the robot? Hmm....

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Yes, we remember the guy from the Portland Beavers who played Benjamin Pontipee

 Sometimes Julie fans ask "Who was THAT guy?" 


He passed away on July 28, 1989. For some who watched "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" on small square TV sets in the 60's and 70's, he was the guy you didn't always see. 

He was matched with Julie because of his height, but somebody forgot to note that while he had been an amateur baseball player (for the Portland Beavers) he was not much of a dancer. So...in the widescreen scenes, he and partner Julie were usually placed at the far end, with the better dancing couples in the middle. When "fitted for your screen," he (and Julie) disappeared entirely. 

One of the more "authentic" brothers in the film, Richard Mansfield Taylor actually was born in rugged lumber territory; Oregon (November 1, 1924). Oregon is the setting for "Seven Brides," of course.

After Navy service, the 22 year-old joined the Portland Beavers as a shortstop, and moved on to the Seattle Senators. At that time, there were no West Coast professional baseball teams, so he wasn't scouted by either the S.F. Giants or L.A. Dodgers. After a ligament injury, the tall, good-looking ex-athlete turned to a career in movies. He played a baseball player in the 1950 comedy "Kill the Umpire," and was signed to MGM the following year. That's when Richard Taylor became Jeff Richards. 

He played a baseball player - again - in "Angels in the Outfield" (1951) and yet again in "Big Leaguer" (1954). That was the year, age 30, he became one of the brothers in "Seven Brides..." He was nearly a decade younger than his dance partner. 

His career kicked into gear with "The Marauders" (1955) and "The Opposite Sex" (1956),  where he didn't quite have seven bride possibilities, but wasn't doing badly at all. You might recognize Joan Collins and Ann Miller among his admirers.

While some of the other guys who played brothers in "Seven Brides" didn't amount to much, and may not have been able to put their arms around many or any famous women,  Richards was considered a very promising star in his 30's. Mamie Van Doren is a victim of rope in this odd publicity still for the 1958 cult item "Born Reckless." 

Not one to brood over those "sobbin'" women in "Seven Brides," Jeff moved on to the "Island of Lost Women" in 1959 with John Smith. A variation on "sword and sandals" flicks, it was a bare chests & sarongs epic. If the film was re-made today, it might be the men in sarongs and the women showing the bare chests. 

Starring roles in mediocre films and TV shows didn't help his career.  He starred in the forgotten "It's a Dog's Life" (1955) and "Secret of the Purple Reef" (1960). Well, the ONLY other young brother from "Seven Brides" to actually be the star of a movie was Russ Tamblyn, so nice going, Mr. Richards. PS, you were fortunate not to get a dog bite in that 1955 epic...

Richards was the title character "Jefferson Drum" in 26 episodes of the NBC series (1958-59). 

So, "that guy" who was just another brother in a favorite film musical, actually was quite a guy, with some starring opportunities on TV and in film, and a pretty good credit list in the 50's. 

After a six-year drought, his last screen appearance was in "Waco" (1966) starring his pal from the "Seven Brides" days, Howard Keel. 

Zoom Blah! or..."Caption This, Please."

You've seen it on social media all the time: "CAPTION THIS!" 

Somebody tosses a photo and people are supposed to have fun imagining what could be said. 

IMAGINING is the fun part. Seeing what people contribute usually isn't. So, just IMAGINE what could be going on and...keep it to yourself! 

What exactly this is, well, it looks like a ZOOM question and answer session, and Julie does a few of these, which usually involves the usual Catwoman questions and appropriate gushing praise for a living legend.

She's always been polite to those amateurs who point a camcorder at her at a memorabilia show and say "This is going on YouTube" or "I have a Public Access TV Show!!!" 

What harm does it do? Not a lot. During the pandemic, "ZOOM BLAB" is pretty vital. For months, Stephen Colbert and the professionals have been training their cameras on themselves, and doing remote interviews with people. It beats re-runs. 

So here we have what looks like the West Hollywood version of Bill Maher, clutching a teddy bear and asking questions...make up your own scenario to explain Julie's expressions. Looks like a pretty hilarious Q&A -- well, the guy is certainly having the time of his life and he sure gets reactions! 

It does confirm that Julie is a fantastic mime, and could've been a huge star in silent films, a rival of Mabel Normand! 


Monday, August 10, 2020


Julie and I are always looking for her "lost" TV shows.

Over the years, many have turned up, and (copyright permitting) some clips have been shared on YouTube. One item that may not exist anymore is from "ALL-STAR REVUE."

The early variety show struggled along for several seasons, never as successful as "The Colgate Comedy Hour" or the later "Show of Shows," both existing today thanks to kinescopes (16mm camera to TV screen) made as the live shows aired.

It was expensive to make kinescopes, but some stars were egomaniacs and some fans were archivists and we thank them for taking the time and spending the money! 

UNFORTUNATELY, few were intent on preserving "ALL-STAR REVUE," which was originally titled "FOUR STAR REVUE" after the four alternating hosts. By the third season, Ed Wynn was burned out, Danny Thomas was gone, and the two main hosts were Tallulah Bankhead alternating with George Jessel.

George hosted seven episodes. Tallulah hosted six. Turning up to host one show: Rosalind Russell, Perry Como, the Ritz Brothers, Olsen and Johnson, Bob Hope, Ben Blue and Dennis Day. Several second bananas turned up quite a few times, including Ben Blue. 

Mr. Blue was a slim, sad-faced guy who some thought of as a junior Buster Keaton. THIS guy:

He usually wasn't smiling, and neither was Julie Newmar after her scene with him.

Ben Blue hosted on March 28th 1953, but Julie recalls that George Jessel was the star of the episode that featured her in an uncredited comic dance number. It was April 18th 1953, the last show for the season, and the last appearance for Julie because "I had to be taped up after Ben Blue got his arms around me!"

Rib-tickler Ben turned out to be a rib-cracker. While hoisting Julie in the air for a comical dance moment, he accidentally did some serious damage to a few of her ribs. She completed her scene of course, but perhaps after that, she thought of her co-star as Ben Black And Blue.

Ben Blue did a lot of comical dance numbers when he guested on the "ALL-STAR REVUE," usually with a statuesque woman much taller than he. More desperate than amusing now, at the time, audiences howled at his wobbly-legged dancing and his gawping at the unattainable he was trying to impress. 

Viewers were tolerant in that naive age, and laughed at mime acts that involved dense dopes tripping over their feet, constantly dropping their hats or gloves, or repeatedly getting an arm caught in a coat sleeve. It was a slower-paced time when people didn't yell "GET ON WITH IT!" Those were the days when Mr. Hulot could take a holiday and people were impressed. 

While Keaton's comedy was witty and well-timed, vaudevillians like Ben Blue were obvious and goofy. His segments on "All Star Revue" didn't vary much as he performed the same schtick over and over. The tall blonde you see above could've had the same fate as Julie. Who knows, maybe instead of a broken rib she ended up with a stomped toe.

The two sequences above were from the February 14th 1953 episode hosted by Perry Como — one of only a half-dozen surviving episodes of the series. 

Still lost are scenes that somebody should've been recording off the flickery TV screen: a sketch featuring Martha Raye, Boris Karloff and Peter Lorre...Tallulah doing a dramatic monologue as Nurse Edith Cavell and getting laughs with a Scarlett O'Hara parody on "Gone With the Wind..." young Johnny Carson in a doctor sketch...arias from Rise Stevens and "I'm Gonna Live Till I Die" from Connie Russell...so many other magic moments.

What we know about the missing episodes of "All Star Revue" comes mainly from the weekly reviews in the trade newspaper Variety. IMDB doesn't even list Julie's "All Star Revue" show because, like the two women above, most of the extras were "uncredited," and not mentioned by name in Variety reviews.

At the time, Julie was doing uncredited scenes in movies (including "The I Don't Care Girl" "Band Wagon" and "Farmer Takes a Wife" all released in 1953).  

It's long odds and a tall order that somebody will discover a kinescope of the show featuring short Ben and his tall dance partner Julie. Do we have hope? Hope, yes. When Bob hosted the show, he had the money and the ego to demand that somebody kinescope it for him. Also surviving, a shows hosted by Danny Thomas, The Ritz Brothers and Olsen and Johnson.

Fortunately Julie's first sitcom guest spot was on "The Phil Silvers Show," and it was filmed. Fans love that one, and she was the hit of the episode, and did get billing: Julie Newmeyer.