Sunday, May 18, 2014

Icon Liz Smith on ICON by Gary Vitacco-Robles

In a recent review, reporter Liz Smith reviewed BearManor Media's important new book, Icon: The Life, Times, and Films of Marilyn Monroe.

Liz writes, "I TOLD YOU a while back about the latest coming in the incredibly long line of books about Marilyn Monroe. This one is titled Icon: The Life, Times, and Films of Marilyn Monroe by Gary Vitacco-Robles (Vol 1. 1926-1956). It has arrived . . . ."

CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF THE FANTASTIC FULL REVIEW. (Be sure and scroll down to this particular book.)

A Rosebud By Any Name Smells Sweet

Here's an advance copy of a review of the super new BearManor Media book Orson Welles and Roger Hill: A Friendship in Three Acts that will appear in the June 2014 issue of RADIO RECALL.

Orson Welles and Roger Hill: A Friendship in Three Acts
by Todd Tarbox
2014, BearManor Media
328 pg. Softcover: $21.95; Kindle: $9.95
Phone: 580-252-3547

"Two Book Reviews by Rob Farr, MWOTRC member"

Two new and very different books are of interest to Orson Welles aficionados, both compiled from taped conversations with the great director/writer/actor/raconteur. The approach of the two volumes couldn’t be more different, even though the recordings were made during the same time period, roughly 1982-85, the final three years of Welles’ life.

My Lunches with Orson: Conversations between Henry Jaglom and Orson Welles, published last summer by Metropolitan Books, received widespread mainstream press largely because the book reproduced at length Welles’ witty and savage takedowns of many of the celebrities he knew from his days in New York and Hollywood. Even the provenance of the book was not without controversy, as different camps weighed in on whether the recordings made by friend and independent director Henry Jaglom were taped with Welles’ knowledge and consent. There is certainly no evidence in the book that suggests any awareness on Welles’ part. Reviewers had a field day quoting unguarded Wellesian takedowns of Lawrence Olivier (“very—I mean seriously—stupid”), Spencer Tracy (“a hateful, hateful man”), Charlie Chaplin (“deeply dumb in many ways”) and Greta Garbo (“a big-boned cow”).

But beyond the gossipy snark, My Lunches with Orson paints a sad portrait of an old man so consumed with crippling self-pity and self-doubt that he invariably sabotages whatever opportunities to work come his way. In one telling vignette, an HBO executive who Jaglom invited to lunch essentially offers Welles’ carte blanche to make whatever television film he wants. Welles refuses to discuss the matter with the poor woman once he decides that she is too stupid to understand his ideas and tells her as much. When Welles complains bitterly and at length that all offers of work have ceased, Jaglom gently reminds him that he never returns his agent’s frequent calls.

The more recently published Orson Welles and Roger Hill: A Friendship in Three Acts (Bear Manor Media, 2014) by Hill’s grandson Todd Tarbox, shows a completely different side of Welles. Hill was Welles’ headmaster, teacher and mentor at the Todd School for Boys in Woodstock Illinois. The relationship between the two continued throughout Welles’ life. Even though Hill was Welles’ senior by twenty years, the teacher outlived the student by another five. This volume allows us to appreciate the full scope of Welles’ intellect, in part because with Hill, Welles was speaking to an intellectual equal. Jaglom, no doubt, fell into the category of “Hollywood friend.”

This is a volume that Welles admirers will treasure. Written as a scripted three-act play, Tarbox uses the recorded phone conversations that Welles and Hill conducted over a three-year period to sketch a portrait of two men who shared a strong love of theater, literature and history. Tarbox’s stage and lighting directions add little to the book, but the conceit that we are watching a two-man play never distracts from the personalities front and center. It is unlikely ever to be staged, but it would make a hell of an entertaining recorded book if the right actors could be found to inhabit the two roles.

In the course of the interviews, Hill makes the distinction between ORSON WELLES! and Orson Welles. This is the more relaxed, contemplative, lower-case Welles. Readers looking for salacious Hollywood gossip will be disappointed. Even when Welles recalls the final years of John Barrymore, it is with admiration and fondness for a former genius of the theater. Lovers of golden-age radio will appreciate Welles’ cherished memories of the medium: “Radio is what I love most of all. The excitement of could happen in live radio, where everything that could go wrong did go wrong…I wouldn’t want to return to those frenetic twenty-hour working days, but I miss them because they are so irredeemably gone.”

The Welles in this book is more optimistic than Jaglom’s. The great director has no illusions about the uphill climb he is facing as he tries to secure adequate financing and the all-important right of final cut. But as he tells his mentor, “Disappointments continue to affect my confidence, but never my resolve.”
Although Hill and Welles made these recordings with the idea of using them in planned memoirs, sadly neither came to fruition. Anyone looking for a straight chronological history of Welles’ life and career will be better served looking elsewhere. The first two volumes of Simon Callow’s biographical trilogy are highly recommended, especially his coverage of Welles’ radio years in Vol. 1.

Whenever the two agree to explore a later aspect of Welles’ career, they invariably return to tales of their beloved Todd School or become happily sidetracked into discussing Shakespeare. For both men, their years at Todd were clearly the happiest of their lives. This is not a weakness of the book, for within these conversations we meet the real Orson Welles, and he is a much warmer, wittier companion than the bitter old man Jaglom took to lunch.

A Strange Idea of Entertainment

Joseph Maddrey and Tom McLoughin, authors of A Strange Idea of Entertainment, know that success comes to authors who promote their books at every opportunity. Here's a fine example of a promotional interview that they just gave on POV, an extremely popular podcast series that is devoted to everything new and shocking in the genre of Horror Films.

Tom McLoughlin’s "reel" life began in 1957 at the age of seven, making 8mm movies in the back lots of MGM studios. He was a magician during that decade, a rock musician in the 1960s opening for groups such as The Doors, a mime in the 1970s studying in Paris with Marcel Marceau, and an Emmy-nominated writer for his work with Dick Van Dyke & Company. In the 1980s, Tom fulfilled his childhood dream of becoming a filmmaker. He has directed more than forty feature film and television projects, including Friday the 13th: Jason Lives and the Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated miniseries In a Child’s Name. Today he continues to pursue his eclectic passions, touring worldwide as the lead singer of the rock band The Sloths while preparing for postmortem appearances at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. A Strange Idea of Entertainment is the behind-the-scenes story of the strange business of creative obsession and one man's strange idea of entertainment.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

He Made 100 Million Baby Boomers What They Are

If you went to school in America during the 1950s and 1960s, you probably watched countless classroom 16mm movies that that featured the bespectacled balding Dr. Research. Perhaps more than anyone else, he opened your mind to the endless possibilities of science. The pinnacle of his achievement was in the Frank Capra-directed Our Mr. Sun starring Eddie Albert and Lionel Barrymore.

BearManor Media proudly announces the release of Sonnets & Sunspots: "Dr. Research" Baxter and the Bell Science Films by Eric Niderost.

The charismatic educator fronted one of the most beloved and popular science series of all time. “Dr. Research” Baxter became an icon to several generations of students. A Professor of English Literature at the University of Southern California, he became a science hero thanks to his alter-ego, “Dr. Research.” Many students even became scientists because of him and the Bell films, which still are among the most entertaining and informative ever made.

The book also features a fascinating history of popular science programming in television and film from primitive beginnings to the twenty-first century. Along the way, readers discover entertaining behind the scenes stories of each production and the personalities involved with them, including director Frank Capra, Walt Disney, legendary voice actor June Foray, actors Eddie Albert and Richard Carlson, movie mogul Jack Warner, James Burke of Connections fame, Carl Sagan of Cosmos, and a score of others. The book also chronicles the story of public television from its earliest beginnings, including the struggles of such pioneering stations as Houston’s KUHT and San Francisco’s KQED. The volume is illustrated by photographs and art of the period, many of them from the author’s own collection.

Available in soft cover and e-book formats exclusively from BearManor Media. $19.95. CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE BEARMANOR MEDIA WEB SITE FOR THIS BOOK

Do You Know This Man?

You may not always remember his name, but you’ve seen the man on the cover in movies and on television as often as a fade out. He’s a “Character King,” one of fifteen gifted actors who specialize in supporting the stars with their outstanding portrayals of men with unusual personalities and strikingly original characteristics.

Fort Worth, TX – BearManor Media proudly announces the release of Character Kings 2, Hollywood’s Familiar Faces Discuss the Art & Business of Acting by Scott Voisin. In this second volume following the ever-popular Character Kings (BearManor Media 2009), Character Kings 2 examines the careers of fifteen of the busiest and most recognizable supporting actors in Hollywood. Discover the fasinating lives and familiar careers of:

Charles Martin Smith, James Rebhorn, Mike Starr, Dale Dye, William Forsythe, Duane Whitaker, Tony Todd, James Hong, Jeffrey DeMunn, Jon Polito, William Atherton, Frank Vincent, Richard Riehle, Stephen Root, and Raymond J. Barry.

The author has overfilled the pages with:

• Behind-the-scenes anecdotes about the making of movies and TV shows
• Tips on how to prepare for auditions
• Techniques that bring a character to life
• Secrets to earning a living in show business

Available in soft cover and e-book formats exclusively from BearManor Media. $26.95

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Checking in With Richard Pacheco

Here's the new article by Sam Benjamin:

"Howie Gordon, also known as Richard Pacheco, Hall of Fame Woodsman, is one of the gems of the Golden Age of Porn. Known as one of the adult film industry's most proficient thespians during a historical moment in which plot-based films abounded, the Berkeley free-love-communard-turned-sex performer made a name for himself working alongside John Leslie, John Holmes, Seka, and Kelly Nichols, receiving a multitude of honors and appearing as Playgirl's Man of the Year in 1980. A feminist, polyamorous, self-deprecating Jew who once might have become a rabbi, Gordon retired from porn in the mid-1980s to pursue a career as a journalist and public speaker, writing and lecturing extensively about pornography and AIDS. The irreverent 66-year-old lives in Berkeley with his wife, and has recently published a hilarious, thoughtful memoir of his time in the adult film industry: Hindsight: True Love and Mischief in the Golden Age of Porn. We checked in to see how life was with the living legend . . . .

READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE:;postID=5506830332983101556

Thursday, May 8, 2014


Take a look at the new review earned by author Mark Thomas McGee and R. J. Robertson for BearManor media's new release, You Won't Believe Your Eyes, a Front Row Look at the Sci Fi/Horror Films of the 1950s. 

Here's a link to the full review plus images:

I've copied the review below for your reading ease:

"To put it about as simply as I can, this is one of the most enjoyable books I have read in quite some time. I'd be amazed if this book doesn't make you seek out some of the movies discussed in this book, no matter if you've seen them or not. Published by BearManor Media, who continues to put out quality products, on some very interesting subjects in the film industry.

"The '50s was a great time for movie monster fans. Sure, they were calling the pictures 'sci-fi films' then, but we all knew that when you have a monster chasing people, that is a horror movie. Of course, reading author McGee making that same comment in his intro, he immediately got my approval. But it wasn't just because of that reason that I enjoyed this book, but because of McGee's style here. Taking not the critical or analytical approach of these films, he takes that of a film fan, one part of a child who seen quite a few of these upon their initial release, to the adult now who has a special fondness for them. Of course, that doesn't mean this is a love letter to each film, ignoring any faults they may have. Those are pointed out, and boring films are exposed as just that. But McGee's what of explaining his thoughts really show that sometimes a cheap movie still can be pretty damn entertaining.

"We really enjoyed reading this book, taking a history lesson back to a very different time. And of course, like any good film fan, I was taking plenty of notes while reading this, adding quite a few movie titles to my "need to see" list, which is something that every good movie book should do. Case in point: ATOMIC SUBMARINE. This was a film that I never would have thought twice about watching it since it just sounds like some underwater adventure film. But after reading McGee's take on it, I knew I had to check it out. And I wasn't disappointed either."