Looking back at the origins of kung-fu films
The latest installment of Movies Now’s looks back at classic Hollywood examines the sudden surge of kung-fu flicks that followed after Bruce Lee’s classic “Enter the Dragon” in 1973.
From Stephen Chin, who donated his huge collection of kung-fu posters to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences:
“There was an intensity, realism, dynamism and energy to this stuff that no one had ever seen before.”
And, of course, the posters for even the lesser-known kung-fu films are still fantastic.
Photos: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Stephen Chin collection, Bruce Lee Enterprises
Bringing Lucha Libre stateside
Luchadors and Lucha Libre may be wildly successful south of the border, but the industry has yet to achieve much mainstream success in the U.S. - something Lucha Libre is hoping to fix.
Putting the services of Starlight Runner Entertainment in a headlock, luchadors are hoping that the same company that helped reboot Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Transformers can work the same magic for the machismo of the mysterious masked men.
Read more over at Company Town.
Photos: David McNew / Getty Images, Francine Orr/ Los Angeles Times
RIP Annette Funicello
One of the biggest stars of the initial “Mickey Mouse Club,” in the 1950s,
Annette Funicello passed away today at the age of 70 after a lengthy battle with multiple sclerosis.
Funicello followed her Disney stardom by defining the 60’s-era “beach” movies alongside frequent co-star Frankie Avalon.
As for her humble beginnings, she was chosen for her breakthrough role by Walt Disney himself:
Funicello was a 12-year-old dance-school student when Walt Disney saw her performing the lead role in “Swan Lake” at her dance-school’s year-end recital at the Starlight Bowl in Burbank in the spring of 1955.
Read the Times’ full obituary on Funicello here.
Photos: The Walt Disney Company, Lennox McLendon / Associated Press, Vince Vucci / AFP
The post of misfit photos: Every now and then, our photography blog Framework likes to highlight some of the photos that, while left behind by Times photographers, still hold a place near to their heart.
Above is the work of photographer Robert Gauthier, complete with commentary on just why these particular photos strike a chord.
Photos: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times
A kinder, gentler Perez Hilton
The man who built up a reputation for mocking Hollywood stars, and pushing the boundaries of what a gossip blog could get away with (often at the expense of good taste), seems to have turned over a new leaf.
In Perez Hilton’s own words:
“I don’t have to give people nasty nicknames anymore. I don’t have to say people are stupid, or people are fat, or people are ugly. I don’t need to draw inappropriate things on photos or out people. I can still be sassy and fun and do my job.”
Here’s to hoping he keeps it up. For the full story, check out columnist Robin Abcarian’s profile here.
Photos: Kirk McKoy/ Los Angeles Times
From the little-known fact department: In 1935, Mae West was the subject of an extortion plot — someone threatened to throw acid in her face if she didn’t pay $1,000, which she was told to leave at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Bronson Avenue in L.A.
The money was dropped at the spot. A man who picked it up was detained, but he insisted that he’d only happened upon it and had nothing to do with the extortion case; he was later released. Six “suspicious characters” that were taken to the D.A.’s office for questioning were released as well.
All that brings us to the photos above, the back story for which was detailed in a Times story published Oct. 10, 1935:
Before the release of the suspects, Harry Dean, District Attorney’s investigator who, dressed in feminine finery, impersonated Mae West while placing the pocketbook on four attempted contacts with the extortionists, received acclaim from his fellow-workers.
He arrived at his office to find the telephone decorated with bits of ribbon, on the desk top an array of flowers from sweet peas to pansies, and the room sprayed with essence of hyacinth.
And now you know.
Photos: Andrew H. Arnott / Los Angeles Times
Photo credit: Raul Roa / Glendale News Press
What I learned from Andy Griffith: Ron Howard shares memories of Andy Griffith and professional and life lessons learned from him.
He proved hour by hour, episode by episode that creativity and neurotic angst were in fact not inexorably linked. He led by example and we demonstrated that a cast and company could play practical jokes on one another, laugh ‘til they cried and still get 12 pages of the script shot every day while producing a No. 1-rated show.
Photo: Andy Griffith, left, and Ron Howard starred together on “The Andy Griffith Show.”
By 1970, when The Times ran a Sunday Calendar cover story on him, James Stewart’s children were grown and “the house was empty. Empty.” So he did a Broadway revival of “Harvey” and a movie, “Cheyenne Social Club,” with Henry Fonda. ”He doesn’t need money,” reporter Wayne Warga wrote, “he needs the activity.” At home, he had a couple of dogs to keep him busy.
Photo: Kathleen Ballard / Los Angeles Times Archive / UCLA
Beverly Hills Hotel marks 100 years: Still billed as a discreet retreat for stars, the hotel is at the center of Hollywood’s concept of itself. And like the celebrities it serves, it has a public face and a private one.
Photos, clockwise from top: (1) Faye Dunaway. Credit: Terry O’Neill / Getty Images. (2) Rita Hayworth. Credit: Hulton Archive / Getty Images. (3) Marilyn Monroe. Credit: Beverly Hills Collection
Yep, that is indeed a picture of Leonard Nimoy and Jimi Hendrix hanging out.
April 1, 1962: Following her arrival in Los Angeles, Janet Leigh tells a press conference of a black eye – her right eye – received when she was knocked unconscious in a bathroom fall in her New York hotel.
Photo credit: Bill Murphy / Los Angeles Times
The lawyer beside Lindsay Lohan: Attorney Shawn Holley was a steady presence in the star’s courtroom saga, and perhaps, to some extent, in her life.
A few hours after Lohan was freed, I headed off to meet her lawyer. In my 30-minute drive, I heard the story of Lohan’s court hearing three times on the radio. She was wearing a “tight-fitting blue pantsuit,” one announcer intoned.
She wasn’t. It was more like teal, and it was tailored and tasteful — conservative, if you’re 25.
It seems we can’t resist a dig, even on her most triumphant morning. That reflects our investment in her bad-girl persona. And that troubles Holley.
Photo credit: Mario Anzuoni / Getty Images
Bieber fans vote on new single’s artwork: Nate Jackson breaks down the difference between the two options given to Beliebers:
To the untrained eye, the difference between these two nearly identical photos seems inconsequential. Wrong. Each one tells a very specific tale — one that probably says more about the beholder than it does about Biebs himself. Behind these two equally expressionless gazes exist two very different sets of values, thoughts and fears that are worth examining.
Let’s take a closer look, shall we?
Photo #1 (left)
At first, this pose appears to be a classic Bieber. The sight of his hand mussing through his phantom curtain of bangs that he shed long ago denotes a nostalgic feeling for the past…
“BB Forever,” an exhibition of photographs celebrating the life of Brigitte Bardot, is on display at the Hotel Sofitel in Beverly Grove. Admission is free and open to the public.
Photo credit: Copyright Tirage numerique d’apres le tirage orignial de Sam Levin/Mediatheque de l’architecture et du patrimoine, France