Sunday, January 17, 2016

Max Sennett, Benjamin Franklin, Sheree North...and MORE!

Max Sennett
We never make sport of religion, politics, race or mothers. A mother never gets hit with a custard pie. Mothers-in-law-yes. But mothers-never.
Mack Sennett

Happy January 17th!
Yesterday, my blog celebrated the 52nd anniversary of Hello, Dolly! Jerry Herman also has a connection to my blog today. Along with Gower Champion and Michael Stewart (all worked on Dolly), they created a musical celebrating the relationship of Mack Sennett and Mabel Normand. That musical was Mack and Mabel.

Mack Sennett was born Michael Sinnott on January 17, 1880 in Danville, Quebec, Canada, to Irish immigrant farmers. When he was 17, his parents moved the family to East Berlin, Connecticut and he became a laborer at American Iron Works, a job he continued when they moved to Northampton, Massachusetts.
He happened to meet Marie Dressler in 1902 and through her went to New York City to attempt a career on the stage. Sennett managed some burlesque and chorus-boy parts and in 1908, began acting in Biograph films. His work there lasted until 1911 including being directed by D.W. Griffith and acting with Mary Pickford and Mabel Normand. By 1910, he was directing films.

Ask who Mack Sennett is to most people on the street today and I am sure they will look at you with a blank stare. He needs to be acknowledged and remembered. He was known as the innovator of slapstick comedy in film. During his lifetime he was known at times as the "King of Comedy". His short Wrestling Swordfish was awarded the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film in 1932 and he earned an Academy Honorary Award in 1937.
Mack Sennett Keystone Studios was known for his keystone cops, bathing beauties, and Fatty Arbunkle, another name pretty
DW Griffith
much forgotten today.
Roscoe Conkling "Fatty" Arbuckle (March 24, 1887 – June 29, 1933) was an American silent film actor, comedian, director, and screenwriter. Starting at the Selig Polyscope Company he eventually moved to Keystone Studios, where he worked with Mabel Normand and Harold Lloyd and mentored Charlie Chaplin and discovered Buster Keaton and Bob Hope.
Arbuckle was one of the most popular
Theda Bara
silent stars of the 1910s, and soon became one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood, signing a contract in 1920 with Paramount Pictures for US$1 million (equivalent to approximately $13,000,000 in 2016 dollars).

Producer and director Mack Sennett was a ringmaster for a motley crew of comedic talent that included Charlie Chaplin, Fatty Arbuckle, Mabel Normand and the Keystone Kops, who slid, slipped and slapped their way across American movie screens of the 1910s. His anarchic world of cross-eyed rubes, nightmare-bearded villains, comely bathing beauties and bumbling cops falling off cliffs, out of buildings, and throwing custard pies was an unexpected creation of a man who grew up wanting to be an opera star. Sennett's brand of crude slapstick humor proved to be highly popular with audiences and helped him become one of the most powerful men of early Hollywood. With outside financial backing, Sennett set up his famed Keystone Studios in 1912 and began cracking out one- and two-reel shorts by the hundreds.
He also ventured into feature filmmaking, most notably with "Tillie's Punctured Romance" (1914), starring Mabel Normand, with whom he had a long and problematic romance until the mid-1920s. In 1917, Sennett left Keystone to make movies independently only to stubbornly hold onto a tired, out-dated formula throughout the 1920s and 1930s. Among the pratfalls, chases, character stereotypes and pantomime, Sennett set the tone in Hollywood's early days and created the ground rules for American screen comedy that were to follow.  (Source:TCM)

Today, is also the birthday of Benjamin Franklin. Born in 1706, Benjamin Franklin is unquestionably the ‘First American’ because of his ideas, inventions, social work and the undying spirit of learning. The man never received any formal education but ironically his wise words are still the milestones on the sands of time.
He was obsessed with reading and gaining knowledge since childhood and had a mastery over 5 foreign languages. Franklin is featured on $100 bills and I hope that all who see this will find 100 one hundred dollar bills in your wallets!
He was One of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Franklin was a renowned polymath, leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, free mason, postmaster, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat.

As a scientist, he was a major figure in the American Enlightenment and the history of physics for his discoveries and theories regarding electricity. As an inventor, he is known for the lightning rod, bifocals, and the Franklin stove, among other inventions.He facilitated many civic organizations, including Philadelphia's fire department and a university.

He has been depicted on stage, film, and television. I asked for your favorites on FACEBOOK.
Here are YOUR results.

Howard da Silva, 1776 stage and screen.
 Howard Da Silva (May 4, 1909 – February 16, 1986) was a versatile American actor, director and musical performer on stage, film, television and radio. He was cast in dozens of productions on the New York stage, appeared in more than two dozen television programs, and acted in more than fifty feature films. Adept at both drama and musicals on the stage, Da Silva appeared in the original 1943 run of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Oklahoma!, and also portrayed the prosecuting attorney in the 1957 stage production of Compulsion. Da Silva was nominated for a 1960 Tony Award as Best Featured Actor in a Musical for his work in Fiorello!, a musical about New York City mayor LaGuardia.In 1961, Da Silva directed Purlie Victorious, by Ossie Davis.

Tom Wilkinson in John Adams.

 Robert Preston in Ben Franklin in Paris on Broadway.
"Bewitched" 1966 episode (IMDB)

Today is also the birthdate of Sheree North.

Sheree North born on January 17, 1932 in Los Angeles, California, USA as Dawn Shirley Crang. She was an actress, known for The Shootist (1976), Charley Varrick (1973) and Maniac Cop (1988).
She was married to Phillip Alan Norman, Dr. Gerhardt Sommer, John M. Freeman and Fred Bessire. She died on November 4, 2005 in Los Angeles. North was known for being one of 20th Century-Fox's intended successors to Marilyn Monroe.

I recently reached out to my friend Linn Maxwell with three
Linn Maxwell
Please check her out if you are not already familiar with her work.

So what have I been working on? 
Last April-May I toured Australia with my one woman play, "Hildegard of Bingen and the Living Light." 
I recently completed a second DVD on this 12th century German saint, whom I have portrayed since 2009.  
Erv Raible was the director of my first play and he appeared in the first DVD (2012). The new DVD is about Hildegard's calling as a prophet of God, based entirely on her writings and historical studies of her life. 
The title is "St. Hildegard: Trumpet of God." It's available on Amazon, etc.
What am I working on NOW? 
My wonderful Hildegard Singers have resumed after a brief suspension and are enjoying our status on the Michigan State Arts Council Touring Directory for 2015-2018. We are four soloists who love performing vocal music of the Middle Ages and Renaissance and we released a new Christmas CD in November called "O Come O Come Emmanuel."
What's next?
I will perform Hildegard of Bingen and the Living Light at Michigan State University in April. What could be more wonderful than to share my experiences with the students at MSU?

Happy Birthday, Betty White! You are on my bucket list of interviews! 
If anyone seeing this can make that happen, I will be forever grateful!

She has performed at clubs, conventions, corp events and private as well as over 55 communities and has had tremendous responses.
2015 WAS A VERY GOOD YEAR for my friend Linda Axelrod!
Below is some information about Linda as Joan........ 
 Her profile was recently featured in " The Washington Post" and has been in demand  among people looking for talent. 
CAN WE TALK!!! LINDA AXELROD is one of the most versatile performers around, entertaining
audiences from LA to NY performing hilarious stand up, emcee and Red Carpet. 
Linda is conquering her audiences with the same inimitable Joan Rivers brand of sassy comedy in her take-no-prisoners style. 
Riffing on celebrities, politics, and current events and gives the ladies and the men the lowdown on love, marriage, money – and how to make the most of all three!
Why not have the top Joan Rivers  impersonator!!! Linda was featured in the Washington Post newspaper as the TOP Joan Rivers impersonator. Filmed for GEICO Insurance, all their in-house commercials as Joan Rivers, in addition to commercials for Nissan Motors. Linda performs as Joan for the official Academy Awards / Oscars fund raiser hosting and performing. 
She has appeared on the The Today Show, Rachael Ray Show, Jon Stewart's The Daily Show, numerous clubs, corporate events and private parties.
She just opened for the original cast of "Jersey Boys", there were over 1,200 people in the audience. This past holiday season,Linda performed for Comedy Central, INTERNATIONAL ROTARY CLUB, OPENED THE JAMES BOND FILM "SPECTRE" FOR JAGUAR, FIRST RESERVE
For more info, please visit her WEBSITE.

Skipper's Suggestions
 Jimmie Bush Jr. Feb 16th. at The Metropolitan Room Voted #1 Jazz Cabaret Club by New York

Magazine, The Metropolitan Room is one of the most critically acclaimed venues in NYC and is known as the "Home" for big name talents and rising stars. 34 W 22nd St, New York, NY 10010
Phone:(212) 206-0440 Reserve your tickets now for what will be an incredible show. 34 W 22nd St, New York, NY 10010
Phone:(212) 206-0440

Maxine Linehan's absolutely delighteful tribute to Petula Clark - Monday, Jan. 18 at 7 PM at the Metropolitan Room!
 Join Maxine as she presents a ONE NIGHT ONLY encore performance of her acclaimed tribute to Petula Clark, WHAT WOULD PETULA DO? at the Metropolitan Room on Monday January 18 at 7pm. WHAT WOULD PETULA DO? exuberantly follows the course of Petula Clark’s extraordinary career from her early, popular recordings in the 1940s, through her mega-stardom in the 1960s, to her award-winning performances in film and on Broadway right up to the 1990s.

Thank to ALL that are mentioned in this blog for the gifts you have given to the world and continue to give! 

Make 2016 the year of YES!

With grateful XOXOXs ,


Check out my site celebrating the legacy of Jerry Herman's Hello, Dolly!
Hello, RCLPC!


Please do what YOU can to be more aware that words and actions DO HURT...but they can also heal and help!   
Linda Axelrod performed as Joan for the authentic Academy Awards / Oscars fund raiser hosting and performing, it is  their only official charity.

Here's wishing all those in the running SUCCESS at the2016 Oscars!

Here's to an INCREDIBLE tomorrow for ALL...with NO challenges!
Please leave a comment and share on Twitter and Facebook

Linda Axelrod has performed at the legendary FRIARS CLUB

Keeping Entertainment LIVE!

February 13th, Peter Filichia in conversation with Richard Skipper at American Popular Song Society 

with Musical Director Michael Lavine
Leah Horowitz and an all star cast will be performing selections from that season!
join  Peter Filichia and Richard Skipper
to celebrate the 1963/64 Broadway Season
Talk/Performance/Book Signing

Call Richard Skipper Celebrates at 845-365-0720 if you need more details.
Many surprises are in store. Please contact me if any questions.
Please LIKE Richard Skipper Celebrates on Facebook
Admission is Free for Members/$15.00 for Non-Members .

Doors open at 12:30 for those who want to buy sheet music Also members can take tables and sell their stuff. 2:30 -1:30 "Flea Market" 1:30 seating - showtime: 1:45 - 3:30.

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