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RIP

Kirk Douglas on the Kindness of Lauren Bacall

AmericanAcademyDramaticArtsLogoThe year was 1941. And as Kirk Douglas touchingly recalls in this week’s issue of The Hollywood Reporter, the simple gesture of fellow aspiring actor Lauren Bacall made a profound difference to his early Big Apple experiences:

I met Betty when she was 17 and I was 24. We were both studying at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. I was on my own in New York with meager funds. That winter, Betty saw me shivering in my thin overcoat. She didn’t say anything, but she talked her uncle into giving me one of his two thick coats.

I wore it for three years. That sort of unassuming kindness was one of her most endearing characteristics. When I had the honor of presenting Betty with her honorary Oscar in 2009, I told the audience: “People said Bacall was ‘tough.’ She’s a pussycat with a heart of gold.”

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University Professor Recalls a ‘Fearless’ James Foley

JamesFoleyPicIn between Libya and Syria, journalist James Foley spoke in February 2012 at San Diego State University. His February 9 talk with students was part of the series “Understanding the Arab Spring.”

In the wake of Foley’s apparent, horrific execution at the hands of ISIS, SDSU economics professor Hisham Foad has shared with News 10 San Diego reporter Rachel Bianco some memories of this intrepid truth-seeker:

“The story he was telling was like a movie,” Foad recalled. “It was better than a movie almost, going out there, getting captured, his life in captivity.”

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RIP: Don Pardo

For the New York Times obituary of Saturday Night Live announcer Don Pardo, who passed away Monday at age 96, Neil Genzlinger and Bill Carter do a good job of sourcing key portions of a 2006 interview Pardo recorded for the Archive of American Television. Here for example, via that conversation, is how Pardo says he came up with his slowed down and heavily enunciated signature announcing style:

Mr. Pardo said the way The Price is Right was shot led him to develop his peculiar elongated delivery. “The cameras are moving so slowly, and that’s the way I had to describe it: slowly,” he said of the merchandise on the show, which he would describe before contestants tried to guess its price. “Those cameras were large then. You want to make sure you describe what the camera is on.”

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A Robin Williams Selfie Minted at SNL

A year and a half before that great Norm Maccdonald-Robin Williams backstage encounter at Late Night with David Letterman, there was another similar crossing-of-the-paths at Saturday Night Live. Documented by a wonderful selfie that has been shared anew this week to celebrate the warm-hearted spirit of the late Williams.

JimMuracoRobinWilliams_1988

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writer Jason Silverstein caught up with the young man on the left, Jim Muraco, to get the background on this marvelous shot:

Muraco, 44, stumbled upon Williams backstage at Saturday Night Live in 1988. Back then, Muraco was an 18-year-old film buff who recently had moved to New York City and was eager to meet some of his idols.

Muraco said that he tried to sneak backstage at SNL one night in October to meet Tom Hanks. (It didn’t happen.) When he showed up again the next week, a security guard recognized him and invited him backstage.

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Lauren Bacall, by Way of the BBC

LaurenBacallDIDIn the spring of 1979, BBC Radio 4 gifted listeners with Lauren Bacall‘s Desert Island Discs. Along with some wonderful journalist memories of the late actress, this one gets FishbowlNY’s vote.

Let’s start with then-host Roy Plomley‘s voice. Although this program was recorded 35 years ago, it sounds like it could just as well have been bottled during the heyday of Bacall’s cinematic career. (Strangely enough, DID was launched in 1942, just two years ahead of Bacall’s breakout first film To Have and Have Not.)

The sing-song of Mr. Plomley and Ms. Bacall is mesmerizing, interrupted eight times by some glorious and often classical music. And oh, the memories.

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Tracking Down That Norm Macdonald-Robin Williams Episode

Across the Internet, fans and reporters continue to rave about the Robin Williams recollection shared on Twitter by comedian Norm Macdonald.

NormMacdonaldTweet

Reddit user ArrestedDevelopments handily combined Macdonald’s sequential Tuesday tweets into a single narrative stream:

It was my first stand-up appearance on Letterman and I had to follow the funniest man in the world. I was a punk kid from rural Ontario and I was in my dressing room, terrified. I was on the phone to a friend back home when the funniest man in the world ambled by. There was no one else on the floor. In shock, I told my friend who just walked by. Only the funniest man in the world. I guess he heard me say his name, cause in an instant he was at my side. He was a Jewish tailor, taking my measurements. He went down on his knees, asked which way I dressed.

I told my friend on the phone that the funniest man in the world was on his knees before me, measuring my inseam. My friend didn’t believe me so I said, “Could you talk to my friend, sir?” The funniest man in the world took the phone and for ten minutes took my friend’s Chinese food order. I laughed and laughed and it was like I was in a dream because no one else was there. No one.

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Acerbic WNYC Host Steve Post Passes Away

WNYCLogoNew York Daily News writer David Hinckley describes Steve Post as one of “New York radio’s all-time great contrarians.” After learning the ropes at WBAI, Post earned that reputation beginning in 1982 on Morning Music, the WNYC he took over from Robert Lurtzema. Post passed away Sunday at age 70:

The show was primarily music, but Post also injected commentary on matters from Ronald Reagan to WNYC management. He often grumbled that reading “underwriting” messages on WNYC was not much different from reading ads on commercial stations.

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How James Brown Helped a Fledgling Reporter Turn It Loose

ShutterstockJamesBrownThe day before James Brown answered the door at his home in Beech Island, South Carolina in the summer of 2003, reporter Karen Fragala Smith had valiantly rustled up bus fare. From her Huffington Post blog item:

I had withdrawn the last hundred bucks from my checking account and boarded a Greyhound bus for Augusta, Georgia, just over the state line from Beech Island. I was in town to interview James Brown for Newsweek magazine.

Well, sort of. I was an editorial assistant who spent most of my time arranging travel accommodations for the director of the foreign language editions, and making photocopies for an elderly editor who found both the technology of a copy machine and the fact that women in the office weren’t just secretaries anymore, to be equally confounding. I was eager to do something that resembled journalism.

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Remembering the Quest for Tom Snyder’s First Guest

TomSnyderOn this date seven years ago, Tom Snyder passed away in San Francisco. To honor the broadcaster’s life and legacy, longtime friend and producer Michael Horowicz likes to annually at this time share a fond Snyder anecdote.

Adding to the significance of this anniversary is the fact that July 29 is also the date that Horowicz himself was born.

“Much has been made recently about a new talk show’s ‘first guest,’” Horowicz tells FishbowlNY. “There was excitement over Jimmy Fallon’s first guest on The Tonight Show (Will Smith), as well as Seth Meyers on his first show (Amy Poehler). It was the same in December 1994, as we prepared to debut The Late Late Show with Tom on CBS the following month.”

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Miami Beach Officials Aiming to Cancel Arthur Godfrey

At the height of his post-World War II popularity, Arthur Godfrey hosted two weekly CBS-TV series and another 90-minute weekday radio-TV program (Arthur Godfrey Time).

Per Wikipedia, the end-of-the-week daily show was a little different:

The Friday shows were heard on radio only, because at the end of the week, Godfrey traditionally broadcast his portion from a studio at his Virginia farm outside of Washington, D.C., and TV cameras were unable to transmit live pictures of him and his New York cast at the same time.

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