...Every so often Universal will quietly release a collection of several movies at an amazing price, such as last year's 10-film War Collection. They've done it again with a mid-May release of an eight-film Wartime Comedies set, currently just $9.49 from Amazon. I just ordered it, and at that price it would be worthwhile for me just to get THE PRIVATE WAR OF MAJOR BENSON (1955) with Charlton Heston and Julie Adams. The set also contains Abbott and Costello in BUCK PRIVATES (1941) and IN THE NAVY (1941), Bob Hope in CAUGHT IN THE DRAFT (1941), Bing Crosby in HERE COME THE WAVES (1942), Eddie Bracken in HAIL THE CONQUERING HERO (1944), Donald O'Connor and Julie Adams in FRANCIS JOINS THE WACS (1954), and Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh in THE PERFECT FURLOUGH (1958).
Once Upon a Screen. There's also a Blu-ray due out soon from Flicker Alley.
...A new cookbook coming in October: THE PIONEER WOMAN COOKS: DINNERTIME by Ree Drummond.
...I'm periodically startled and amused by the pronunciation of "Los Angeles" with a hard "G" sound in old movies, as I've lived in Southern California my entire life and had never heard it pronounced that way. I've always wondered if that used to be a common pronunciation or was just something occasionally mispronounced on film. It's said with a hard G in Hitchcock's SABOTEUR (1942), and in an ensuing Twitter discussion on the pronunciation with Will McKinley and Cliff Aliperti, Cliff came up with a 2011 gem by Steve Harvey in the Los Angeles Times. The Times story goes into great detail on the evolving pronunciation of the name for the City of the Angels. The pronunciation "AN-ju-less" was formalized by the Chamber of Commerce in 1952. In my reading I also came across an anecdote that Brian Donlevy corrects someone's "hard G" pronunciation in the radio show DANGEROUS ASSIGNMENT, telling the person that the Chamber of Commerce voted to say it with the soft G!
NIGHT HAS A THOUSAND EYES (1948), which is now out on a Region 2 DVD.
...Beth Accomando has written articles on TCM's "Summer of Darkness" and related online college course for KPBS in San Diego and for NPR.
...I enjoyed Leonard Maltin discussing some of Warren William's work on the radio.
...Here's a tribute to Paulette Goddard by Wendy T. Merckel, posted at CineMaven's Essays From the Couch.
...While reading up on William Wellman and family, thanks to the new book and UCLA series, I came across this video tribute to Dorothy Coonan Wellman, "the last of the Busby Berkeley dancers," which was co-created by William Wellman Jr. after her passing in 2009. It runs just under eight minutes. The dancer-actress, who also starred in Wellman's WILD BOYS OF THE ROAD (1933), is seen here at the right.
...The recent passing of Christopher Lee prompted Will McKinley to write a touching column, "For Classic Film Fans, Death is a Way of Life." I was particularly moved by Will's memory of the impact of the passing of Zeppo Marx when Will was young: "...there I was, the only 11-year-old kid in America leading his Catholic school class in a memorial prayer for a dead Jewish actor who hadn’t made a movie since 1933."
...The "TCM Remembers" tribute to Christopher Lee may be found here.
shown at UCLA on Wednesday, June 24th. I really enjoyed seeing the century-old Morison at the Noir City Fest earlier this year and although it's harder for me to get up to UCLA on a weeknight I'm hoping to see it. It's paired with a 1955 TV production of ONE TOUCH OF VENUS starring Janet Blair. Musical expert Miles Kreuger hosts.
...More for Southern Californians: I haven't seen E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL (1982) since I bought the DVD for my kids years ago, and I'm very enthused about a Hollywood Bowl screening with a live orchestra scheduled for Labor Day Weekend. The movie, with its alien theme and heavy reliance on John Williams' superb score, seems especially well suited for an outdoor screening with live music. I get goosebumps just thinking about seeing and hearing the final scene in that venue. We've really enjoyed the Hitchcock and 20th Century-Fox "movie concerts" at the Bowl, and I hope to attend this one as well.
...Even more for Southern Californians: A new exhibit, To Live and Dine in L.A., just opened at the Los Angeles Central Library, showcasing historic menus from Los Angeles restaurants. The L.A. Times has more information. There's a related book on the topic. The exhibit will be open through November.
...And speaking of L.A. restaurants: I mentioned the reopening of Cassell's Hamburgers, a Los Angeles institution, in January. Here's a story from April, "Inside Cassell's Hamburgers' Complete Rebirth in Koreatown."
Have a great week!