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Monday, March 27, 2006

SOME CURRENT FILMS AND A LOOK AT A FILM NOIR FAVORITE

By Jim McAllister

There are a lot of good movies out at the present time, three of which I reviewed last week in this space ("Match Point", "The World’s Fastest Indian", and "Mrs. Henderson Presents"). I recently saw "Transamerica" starring Felicity Huffman of "Desperate Housewives" fame. She is great in this one and should have received more support for Best Actress at the Oscars but that is the plight one faces when they star in a small but expertly made production. Next on my list is "Heart of Gold", a Neil Young concert film made at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, former home to the Grand Ole Opry. Early reports say that it is excellent and a must for Young fans; I’ll see about that and let you know.
All of this is encouraging as there has been a bit of a dry spell for good quality small production movies lately. If it is not showing at an art house, I usually will not be showing up with my $6.00. So, thank you "Good Night and Good Luck", The Squid and the Whale", "Capote", and those listed above for getting me back to the show.
Please do not misunderstand. I love these new movies but I still think that the golden age of Hollywood exists between 1930 and 1950. Maybe in another fifty years or so we can look back and evaluate whether the newer films have withstood the all important test of time. Perhaps someday we will remember the fine dialogue of David Strathairn as Edward R. Murrow as we remember the moving final words from Jane Darwell as Ma Joad in "The Grapes of Wrath" (1940). Only time will tell.
FELICITY HUFFMAN of DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES
does a role reversal in TRANSAMERICA where she
plays Stanley/Sabrina, a conservative transsexual
woman. (photo: The Weinstein Co.)
Probably one of the best film noir movies from the 1940's is "Murder, My Sweet" from 1944. Film noir in the United States was still in its infancy at this time with "The Maltese Falcon" (1941) and "Double Indemnity" (1944) popular early entries representing the form. One of the unique things about "Murder, My Sweet" was the ability of Dick Powell to emerge from singing juvenile parts in the Busby Berkeley musicals of the 1930's and transforming into Raymond Chandler’s hard boiled private eye Philip Marlowe. After the popularity of musicals wore off in the late 1930's, Powell, who was now in his mid-30's, was looking for more varied roles. RKO Studios head Charles Koerner decided to go with Powell in "Murder, My Sweet" after seeing the success of lightweight actor Fred MacMurray in an unaccustomed tough guy role in "Double Indemnity".
"Murder, My Sweet" was the second Philip Marlowe mystery from Raymond Chandler and had been bought by RKO for the bargain price of $2,000 in 1941. Originally titled "Farewell, My Lovely", the story had already been used for one of the low budget "Falcon" films with George Sanders. As World War II progressed, Chandler’s stories became more popular coinciding with Hollywood’s darker look at life through the film noir form. If Powell could duplicate MacMurray’s success, the film had a good chance to be a hit.
Original lobby poster advertising
MURDER, MY SWEET (Photo:
Suspensemovies.com)
The film was easily shot by former "B" film director Edward Dmytryk and was considered a sure winner when released as "Farewell, My Lovely". When initial openings in New England and Minnesota played to basically empty houses, it was decided to change the title to "Murder, My Sweet" as test audiences figured that the original title meant that it was just another Dick Powell musical. The change in title worked and theaters became packed ending all speculation that Dick Powell would ever be in another musical. He was the new screen tough guy!
"Murder, My Sweet" was important in establishing the film noir style. Although "The Maltese Falcon" and "Double Indemnity" went a long way in establishing the style with its dark tones, shady characters, and a violent world, "Murder, My Sweet" was essentially the first film to tie these elements together.
"Farewell, My Lovely" was successfully re-made in 1975 under its original name with Robert Mitchum playing Philip Marlowe. As for Dick Powell, he went on to success in various roles in the movies and on television. Later he was successful in the production end of the business and produced "The Dick Powell Theater" for television from 1959-1961. Powell was married for many years to actress June Allyson when he died in 1963 at the age of 59. Comments?: azjimcallister@cox.net)

Monday, March 20, 2006

WANT TO SEE THREE GOOD MOVIES? WELL, HERE THEY ARE

By Jim McAllister

If you read my stuff with any regularity, and I hope you do, you know that when it comes to movies I think vintage and art house films tower above the pablum of the super special effects junk that we see trying (and usually) failing to draw the public. It was pleasant to see a small film like "Crash", which was released early during 2005 and only did $53 million at the box office, keep its legs and win the Best Picture Oscar. Add to that the kudos for "Capote" and "The Constant Gardener" and my faith in the Academy is slowly being restored.
There are nice dance numbers in MRS. HENDERSON
PRESENTS reminiscent of Busby Berkeley in the
1930's (Photo: Miramax Films)
BOB HOSKINS and DAME JUDI DENCH in MRS.
HENDERSON PRESENTS. (Photo: Miramax Films)
Among the little gems that have made it to the screen recently are three favorites of mine that I think you will also enjoy in case you haven’t seen them already. If you are a special effects freak, you can stop reading now. The movies I enjoy have a story, good acting, and lack the use of computer generated special effects. I am also a sucker for films from the UK and think that the actors from that area are the best around. Here are three reasons why: MRS. HENDERSON PRESENTS, Run time: 103 minutes, Rated "R" (some nudity, language), Miramax Films.....The year is 1937 and Mrs. Laura Henderson (Dame Judi Dench) has just become a 69 year old widow with a lot of money. She is already bored with widowhood and her attempts at philanthropy ("I’m hoping to build a home for future bastards."). One day she accidently stumbles into an old closed theater in London’s West End and decides she would like to be in the entertainment business. She meets Mr. Vivian Van Damm (Bob Hoskins), an outgoing expert in the theater business, and an unlikely duo is formed. The theater becomes the Windmill and through Van Damm’s expertise, begins an around the clock entertainment cycle that is very successful until competitors copy the format. To counteract that problem, Mrs. Henderson suggests using female nudity as an attraction but can only do this, according to the Lord Chamberlain (Christopher Guest) if the girls remain stationary as in the case of artistic nudity. The plan works and the Windmill once again is a huge success. This story is actually based on true events and Dame Judi and Hoskins make an interesting couple as they have an underlying mutual admiration despite some overt jealousies and disagreements. I especially enjoyed the musical numbers and dancing in a Busby Berkeley style. This is a good one that should not be missed.
SCARLETT JOHANSSON and JONATHAN RHYS
MEYERS have a torrid affair in Woody Allen's
latest, MATCH POINT (Photo: Dreamworks)
MATCH POINT, Run time: 124 minutes, Rated "R",( sexuality), Dreamworks Distribution.....This is Woody Allen’s latest effort (as director) and is his first film done in the UK. In this one Jonathan Rhys Meyers plays Chris Wilton, a professional tennis player not quite good enough for the big time. He has taken a job as an instructor at an exclusive London tennis club where he meets rich playboy Tom Hewett (Matthew Goode) and his sister Chloe (Emily Mortimer). Chris and Chloe hit it off and get married while Tom has a gorgeous girlfriend in Nola Rice (Scarlett Johansson). Tom and Nola eventually break up and although Chris is married to Chloe, he starts an amorous relationship with Nola which leads to her getting pregnant. Nola becomes demanding of Chris’s attention via various threats that would jeopardize his marriage and cushy financial situation through Chloe’s wealthy family. This situation leaves him in a quandary as to what to do. To find out what that is you will have to see the movie. I am a Woody Allen fan, I enjoy his sense of humor and his look at people and life’s daily problems. "Match Point" is excellent but a little long at 124 minutes. It reminds me a bit of one of Woody’s best, "Crimes and Misdemeanors" (1989) and is well worth seeing.
ANTHONY HOPKINS starring in THE WORLD'S
FASTEST INDIAN...Burt Munro is a long way
from Hannibal Lecter (Photo: Magnolia Films)
THE WORLD’S FASTEST INDIAN, Run time: 127 minutes, Rated "PG13", Magnolia Pictures (New Zealand and USA).....Burt Munro (Anthony Hopkins) is a bit of a recluse living in the New Zealand town of Invercargill. Burt is an old codger from the early 1960's and dreaming of setting the world motorcycle land speed record at the Bonneville, Utah salt flats. There are only a couple of problems complicating his dream: His bike is a 1920's era modified Indian Scout and how is he going to get to Bonneville? Remember, this is the movies so the townspeople do a benefit for Burt and he sets off on his odyssey to Utah and the obligatory meeting of certain characters along the way that he befriends and offers sage advice. He finally makes it to the flats but will his life long dream be accomplished? This movie is actually based on the exploits of a real Burt Munro (1899-1977) and, despite its movieland treatment by director Roger Donaldson, is quite good. Hopkins is outstanding as always and although the story is pretty corny, it is heartwarming and will possibly make your eyes well up a bit.
I am interested in your opinion of these films. You can contact me at azjimmcallister@cox.net

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

THREE FANTASY JOBS I WOULD LOVE TO HAVE

By Jim McAllister

It doesn’t matter what we have or what we do, I believe we all have in the back of our minds some sort of fantasy job that we would love to have. Whether it is an athletic achievement or writing a great book or whatever, the desire is usually within most of us to do something more noteworthy than the status quo.
In my case I have three choices of fantasy jobs that I think would be fun to take a shot at: Hosting the syndicated game show JEOPARDY!; hosting, introducing movies, and conducting interviews on Turner Classic Movies; and being a member of the investigative team on PBS’s "History Detectives".
In the case of JEOPARDY!, Alex Trebek has been the host for over twenty years while the show has been in syndication, and before him it was Art Fleming doing the honors when it was televised on NBC. Both guys are and were great hosts of this intelligent and interesting show that I still watch daily. As a lover of trivia, I think it would be fun to run through all the fast paced questions and categories with the smart contestants on the show. I have had some experience with television and radio hosting and am a ham anyway, so why couldn’t I do the Alex Trebek role? Did I mention the big bucks that I am sure Alex pulls in for his work? Yeah, that would be nice too! So, Merv and Sony, if Alex decides to hang up his Guccis, you know how to reach me!
ALEX TREBEK...Host of JEOPARDY!
since 1984 (Photo: Philly.Burbs.com)
To anyone who reads this space with regularity, you know that I love old movies which means that I am a big fan of Turner Classic Movies and host Robert Osborne. Osborne has been the host at TCM since the channel’s inception in 1994 but has been involved with the entertainment business much longer than that. He actually got his start as an actor working for Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz in the 1950's and 1960's. Lucy thought that he would be a better writer than actor and he took her advice by writing the "Academy Awards Illustrated". This eventually led him to "The Hollywood Reporter" where he has been writing a column since 1982 covering just about everything in Hollywood and on Broadway. His work as host on TCM is outstanding as there is probably nobody who knows more about classic movies than Robert Osborne.
I also love the classics and think it would be fun to host the movies and do interviews with those involved at TCM. It’s just one more job that I would like to try.
ROBERT OSBORNE...
Distinguished writer, movie
historian, and host of TURNER
CLASSIC MOVIES (Photo:
Academy of Motion Picture Arts
and Sciences)
As my third fantasy job I would like to be one of the investigators on PBS’s "History Detectives". As a history major and writer, I am into research and investigation. Some may think that I am just nosy, but isn’t that what research is all about?
To those not familiar with the show, "History Detectives" looks into historical mysteries and myths connected with various bits of folklore or the investigation of various objects or legends to establish some sort of authenticity. Various types of technology are used to track down information and clues but it is mostly a case of a lot of legwork by the investigators who routinely crisscross the country in their searches. How cool is that?
ELYSE LURAY...Appraiser and art historian, one
of the HISTORY DETECTIVES (Photo:
Elyse Luray.com)
The current team of History Detectives consists of Wes Cowan (Auctioneer and Appraiser), Elyse Luray (Appraiser and Art Historian), Gwen Wright (Professor of Architecture, Author, and Architectural Advisor) and Tukufu Zerberi (Professor of Sociology, Author). In their never ending pursuit of historical truth, these four experts have traveled to every nook and cranny of the United States.
This sounds like something right down my alley. I used to enjoy going to the library in college to dig up information for various papers and now with the availability of the internet, information is even easier and faster to obtain. Some of the subjects investigated on the show include the authenticity of the builder of the engine used in Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis plane, Chief Red Cloud’s Peace Pipe, Jean LaFitte’s spyglass, a Revolutionary War prison letter, Lewis and Clark’s cane, and the mystery of Sheridan’s house.
We all have our fantasy aspirations and mine are listed above. How about you? What would you REALLY like to be doing? Let me know at azjimmcallister@cox.net or http://jmcallister.blogspot.com. Keep that dream alive!

A SNOW STORM HITS SCOTTSDALE AREA!

A lonely horse stands in his corral in Cave Creek
AZ unaware of the oncoming snow storm in the
background. The moisture helped the area but
a severe drought still exists. (photo: AZ Central)
North Scottsdale, AZ on March 10, 2006. After
143 days of no moisture we received an unusual
snowstorm as depicted below. This is very unusual
for the Scottsdale area but was welcomed as it
put a small dent in the drought. Heavy snow fell
in the mountains for the first time this winter.
(photo: courtesy Robert Gallegos)

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

BEST ALBUM EVER? PINK FLOYD'S "DARK SIDE OF THE MOON"

By Jim McAllister

Maybe it is because Pink Floyd reminds me of my favorite group, The Electric Light Orchestra, with their blend of soft and hard stuff, that I feel that DARK SIDE OF THE MOON is the best album to come down the pike. Pink Floyd simply put all the correct pieces together with this album and like ELO with EL DORADO, The Beatles with SGT. PEPPER’S LONELY HEART’S CLUB BAND and The Who’s TOMMY, they pulled out all the stops in concept album production with DARK SIDE OF THE MOON (1973) followed later by THE WALL (1979). Pink Floyd had been around for eight years when DARK SIDE OF THE MOON was released on March 24, 1973. At that time there was considerable disillusionment in the world with the frailty of life being exposed through the King and Kennedy killings of 1968 and the casualties of Vietnam. The conceptuality of the album was a look at life and death and the faults of humanity in between. When you listen you will feel that you are listening to one solid block of music but it is actually 9 different tracks brought together with almost unrecognizable bridges. Leading off is "Speak to Me/Breathe" representing the start of life, gradual insanity with "Brain Damage" and finally death with "Eclipse". In between is "Time", discussing how fast life goes, "On the Run" represents escape, "The Great Gig in the Sky" carries religious overtones, "Money" represents greed, "Us and Them" is about war, and "Any Colour You Like" is basically an instrumental bridge between "Us and Them" and "Brain Damage". Running time for the whole album is 42:57. DARK SIDE OF THE MOON incorporates the use of the then new concept of electronic music combined with classic blues/rock. It also used the combination of natural and industrial sounds (concrete) for extra enhancement of some of the cuts. "Time", Money", and "Us and Them" hit the pop charts with "Money" becoming a best seller at number 13. Although all three went well over the established 3 minute length for pop songs, they received plenty of play on FM radio with edited versions used on some stations. Thanks to The Beatles’ "Hey Jude" in the 1960's, the three minute barrier was pretty much gone by 1973. The thing I remember the most about "Time" was the opening montage of several alarm clocks ticking and ringing. A disc jockey in Kansas City (Ron Brothers of KUDL-FM) used that beginning on his morning drive show to wake me many times!
DARK SIDE OF THE MOON by Pink Floyd
...released March 24, 1973, still popular
after 33 years! (Photo: Yahoo Search)
Early Pink Floyd photo, circa 1971 (Photo:
Pink Floyd and Co.)
DARK SIDE OF THE MOON was recorded in London at Abbey Road Studios between June of 1972 and January of 1973. Originally Pink Floyd had done the entire piece live in concert several times before the album was released. Band members included David Gilmour (guitar, vocals, keyboards), Roger Waters (bass guitar, vocals), Richard Wright (keyboards vocals) and Nick Mason (percussion, drums). Roger Waters wrote all the lyrics which was a first for Pink Floyd. After release the album became a tremendous success. The Guinness Book of Records lists it as being on the best selling charts longer than any album in history. It has sold well over 40 million copies to date. In 2003, 250,000 copies were sold, thirty years after release. In 2004, it was selling over 8,000 copies per week and it is estimated that one in every 14 people in the United States under the age of 50 owns the album. It has spent over 740 weeks on the Billboard top 200 list and had a consecutive weeks streak of 591 at one time. For many years the theory was that one of the reasons for the high sales was that Pink Floyd fans would wear out the old 33 1/3 recordings from the continuous play and would have to replace them with another sale. Well, that may be true but the CD has done pretty well also.
DAVID GILMOUR today and looking
like an English gentleman. Pink Floyd's
guitarist turned 60 in early March.
(Photo: Polly Sampson)
So, why all the fuss over an album from a group that had minimal success before 1973? I guess the answer could be that it reflected well the times of the early 70's and expressed them in a manner attractive to Pink Floyd fans through the use of new musical techniques like electronics and concrete plus a mixture of voice, horns, and guitar. Perhaps some of the success may be because it was a concept album, an idea that had gone over well a few years earlier with The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper. Maybe it was the imposing lyrics of Roger Waters. Maybe it was because the members of Pink Floyd were, plain and simply, great and dedicated musicians who were part of the London sound of the late 1960's. Nobody can say for sure but most agree that it is a great album. I love DARK SIDE OF THE MOON for its mixture of easy going and hard sounds and for the way it represents its time in history. I also enjoy it for its memories of a great time in my life; a time that can be brought back somewhat through listening to this wonderful album. (Comments, questions? http://jmcallister.blogspot.com or azjimmcallister@cox.net)

A QUICK LOOK AT THE OSCARS....REAL QUICK!

It’s nice to see the smaller movies get some recognition at the Academy Awards this year. If you are a regular reader of my columns you know that I don’t think too much of the AA’s. They are usually a popularity contest and too many times deserving movies or actors are left out because of their anonymity. This is not the case this year as "Crash" (box office, $53 million) won Best Picture, the wonderful Philip Seymour Hoffman won Best Actor for totally nailing the part of Truman Capote in "Capote" ($22 million), Rachel Weisz won Best Supporting Actress in the mostly ignored "The Constant Gardener" (Her part was actually deserving of Best Actress). Ang Lee took Best Director with "Brokeback Mountain", a highly discussed film that actually only did $72 million at the box office. Add to that the nomination of Amy Adams for Best Supporting Actress in "Junebug" ($3 million) and Felicity Huffman for Best Actress in "Transamerica" ($4 million) and we see the Academy as looking more to quality than quantity for a change.
PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN
wins Best Actor Oscar for CAPOTE
(Photo: Sony Pictures)
RALPH FIENNES and RACHEL WEISZ in THE
CONSTANT GARDENER (Photo: CIA)
It’s also nice to see Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes pick up their well earned "Razzie" award as the most annoying couple. What happened to Cruise? He was so good and controlled in his early "Risky Business" (1983) and then he becomes a 5' 6" bundle of craziness. Nicole Kidman said it all after her divorce from Cruise when asked how her life had changed: "Well, I can wear heels again."

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

IS IT TRUE OR NOT?

The following piece (following the Robert B. Parker column) about Lee Marvin, Bob Keeshan, and Mr. Rogers has been disputed by some. Please go to http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/bl-marvin-keeshan.htm for a different point of view and decide for yourself what you want to believe. JM

AN ENCORE WITH AUTHOR ROBERT B. PARKER AT THE "PEN"

By Jim McAllister

For those of you who enjoy reading books of the mystery genre and are fortunate enough to live in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area, you should be aware of the two gems available to you in the form of the Poisoned Pen bookstores. Owner Barb Peters carries not only the best in mystery reading but has a continuous schedule of author appearances and book signings to add to the enjoyment of her customers.
Last March I stopped by for a book signing session and discussion with author Robert B. Parker as he was in town to discuss his latest Spenser For Hire entry, "Cold Service". Mr. Parker was back in town on February 7 to promote his latest in the Jesse Stone series, "Sea Change".
Parker is a fascinating guy. At 73 he is still writing three books per year and is now caught up through 2007. His main character through almost 60 books has been Boston private eye Spenser but a few years ago he added lady detective Sunny Randall, also a Boston P. I., into the mix along with Paradise, Massachusetts police chief, Jesse Stone. He has done several books on other subjects such as Wyatt Earp and Jackie Robinson. One of his personal favorites was "All My Yesterdays" written in 1994. It is a chronicle of an Irish family over a time span in the 20th century which I thoroughly enjoyed but unfortunately was not a success.
Parker was asked how he comes up with his various characters. His reply was that he just uses his "plain old imagination". He also doesn’t read reviews of his works and admits that Jesse Stone is a "work in progress". He writes in simple declarative sentences and the moral of his books is to live life on our own terms and enjoy it.
By the age of 30 Robert B. Parker had done about all he wanted to do. He refers to everything after that as "frosting on the cake". As far as the recent controversy over the James Frey book and whether it was fiction or non-fiction, he says simply that one should tell the truth if they are doing an autobiography.
SEA CHANGE....The latest in
the Jesse Stone mysteries by
Robert B. Parker. (Photo: Pen-
guin Group USA)
There have been two Jesse Stone novels translated into made for TV movies and shown on CBS. A third movie is now in post production and will be shown this spring. Tom Selleck stars as Jesse and that is fine with Parker as he feels Selleck is good in the role even if he is about twice the age as Jesse. Parker has no pretensions about his books being made into movies or television shows. He was listed as a consultant for the television show "Spenser For Hire", based on his stories, during its 1985-1988 run on ABC. He realized that the TV show didn’t have much similarity to what he had written in his novels, but he knew that comparing the two was pointless. His feeling is that "the business of television is to put on good television, not to replicate my books. A thing is, after all, what it is, and not something else." Hence, when he sees one of his works being highly edited by a screenwriter, he understands where it is coming from.
Sometimes it is difficult to translate a popular novel into an interesting screenplay. Many good novels have long scenes of dialogue which, if transferred to the movie screen in their entirety, would seem boring and impossible to assimilate by the attention span of the average movie customer. Therefore, it is the job of the screenwriter to adapt a different format to alleviate this problem. That is why one can read a novel and then see the movie and point out many discrepancies and it is also why in the movie credits the words "based on" will accompany the title of the original printed work.
ROBERT B. PARKER....Visited Scotts-
dale on February 7 at the Poisoned
Pen to sign his latest Jesse Stone
novel SEA CHANGE. (Photo:Jon
Jordan)
There have been some great novelists, such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, who attempted screenwriting and failed because they didn’t understand the necessity of extensive changes. In today’s world, a popular novel written by someone like Michael Connelly or Robert B. Parker, is considered a success if it sells in the range of 300,000 hardback copies and about 1,000,000 paperbacks. That sounds like a lot of books but when one considers that the United States has 240,000,000 people, it doesn’t seem that gigantic. So, for one of these novels to be translated to the silver screen, it has to be made to appeal to a lot more than the readers of the works to be a successful movie, hence, the intervention of the screenwriter.
Robert B. Parker is not interested in screenwriting although he has dabbled in it. He likes the philosophy of Raymond Chandler: "When you do a screenplay, it belongs to them (the studio), when you write a novel, it’s yours."
For more information of book signings and author appearances go to poisonedpen.com. (Questions? comments? azjimmcallister@cox.net and jmcallister.blogspot.com)

LEE MARVIN, BOB KEESHAN, MR. ROGERS....YOU MAY BE SURPRISED

Here is an interesting piece from friend Rhonda Mata that may surprise some of you. We usually think of Hollywood types trying to take the easy way out of trouble but this information about Lee Marvin, Bob Keeshan (Captain Kangaroo), and Mr. Rogers may surprise you even more.

In a time when many Hollywood stars served their country in the armed forces often in rear echelon posts where they were carefully protected, only to be trotted out to perform for the cameras in war bond promotions, Lee Marvin was a genuine hero. He won the Navy Cross at Iwo Jima . There is only one higher Naval award... the Medal Of Honor.
LEE MARVIN accepting his Best Actor
Oscar in 1965 for CAT BALLOU.
He is buried in Arlington Cemetery
via heroism in World War II (Photo:
Arlington Cemetery)
If that is a surprising comment on the true character of the man, he credits his sergeant with an even greater show of bravery. Dialog from "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson": His guest was Lee Marvin. Johnny said, "Lee, I'll bet a lot of people are unaware that you were a Marine in the initial landing at Iwo Jima .and that during the course of that action you earned the Navy Cross and were severely wounded."
JOHNNY CARSON in 1992....Lee Marvin told
of his World War II exploits with Captain Kangaroo
(Bob Keeshan) on Johnny's "Tonight" show.
(Photo: NBC)
"Yeah, yeah... I got shot square in the bottom and they gave me the Cross for securing a hot spot about halfway up Suribachi. Bad thing about getting shot up on a mountain is guys getting' shot hauling you down. But, Johnny, at Iwo I served under the bravest man I ever knew... We both got the cross the same day, but what he did for his Cross made mine look cheap in comparison. That dumb guy actually stood up on Red beach and directed his troops to move forward and get the hell off the beach. Bullets flying by, with mortar rounds landing everywhere and he stood there as the main target of gunfire so that he could get his men to safety. He did this on more than one occasion because his men's safety was more important than his own life. That Sergeant and I have been lifelong friends. When they brought me off Suribachi we passed the Sergeant and he lit a smoke and passed it to me, lying on my belly on the litter and said, where'd they get you Lee?' Well Bob... if you make it home be fore me, tell Mom to sell the outhouse!" Johnny, I'm not lying, Sergeant Keeshan was the bravest man I ever knew. The Sergeant's name is Bob Keeshan. You and the world know him as Captain Kangaroo."
BOB KEESHAN played Captain
Kangaroo for 50 years. (Photo:
Tim's TV showcase)
On another note, there was this wimpy little man on PBS, gentle and quiet. Mr. Rogers is another of those you would least suspect of being anything but what he now portrays to our youth. But Mr. Rogers was a U.S. Navy Seal, combat-proven in Vietnam with over twenty-five confirmed kills to his name. He wore a long-sleeved sweater on TV, to cover the many tattoos on his forearm and biceps. He was a master in small arms and hand-to-hand combat, able to disarm or kill in a heartbeat
MR. ROGERS....You can't always tell a book by
looking at its cover (Photo: PBS)
After the war Mr. Rogers became an ordained Presbyterian minister and therefore a pacifist. Vowing to never harm another human and also dedicating the rest of his life to trying to help lead children on the right path in life. He hid away the tattoos and his past life and won our hearts with his quiet wit and charm. America's real heroes don't flaunt what they did; they quietly go about their day-to-day lives, doing what they do best. They earned our respect and the freedoms that we all enjoy. Look around and see if you can find one of those heroes in your midst. Often, they are the ones you'd least suspect, but would most like to have on your side if anything ever happened. Take the time to thank anyone that has fought for our freedom. With encouragement they could be the next Captain Kangaroo or Mr.Rogers