Saturday, April 07, 2012

Did you know that . . . III?

Having missed a week, I’ll double my posts this time. Here is some more Did you know? I didn’t know most of this stuff, but the internet is an amazing thing. I admit I am not doing a great deal of double checking though and hoping this stuff is accurate. IMDB and Wikipedia are the main sources, but there are a few others. Let me know if you have some evidence they are urban legends.

Did you know . . . :

. . . that Kane, the huge and supposedly monstrous professional wrestling superstar (44 year old Glenn Jacobs), was once a third grade teacher?

. . . that, he is also a libertarian who supports Ron Paul and is active in libertarian activities, including speaking at the highly respected Ludwig von Mises Institute?

. . . that, in the classic cowboy movie, True Grit, John Wayne, who won an Oscar for it, really disliked the young Kim Darby (actually 22, not 14, as was the character) and thought she was unprofessional and a lousy actress? Not only that, did you know he disliked Robert Duvall and threatened to punch him for repeatedly interrupting the director (Wayne was in his 60s at the time – still, he was John Wayne)?

. . . that Red Foxx, who starred on Sanford and Son’s, real last name, was, Sanford?

. . . that the movie staple, popcorn, was invented by American Indians thousands of years ago?

. . . that actor Jim Backus (Mr. Howell, Mr. Magoo) was expelled from Kentucky Military Institute? He rode a horse through the mess.

. . . that Olivia de Havilland is still alive? She’s 95 and lives in Paris. Amazingly, she is not the oldest surviving cast member. Alicia Rhett is.

. . . that Olivia de Havilland is Joan Fontaine’s sister (I've given that as a trivia question before)? Fontaine is 94. Her real last name is also de Havilland. The two haven’t spoken since 1975. Family. Sheesh.

. . . that Tonto in The Lone Ranger, Jay Silverheel’s real name was Harold J. Smith? Not so interesting, is it. He was actually a Mohawk Indian though and Silverheels was a nickname he got as a lacrosse player when young.

. . . that besides the now revealed mystery of his second family, Arnold Schwarzenegger also has a mystery about his height? It’s true. Media sources claim he is much shorter than the 6’ 2” or even 6’ 1.5” he claimed as a bodybuilder. There is even a website dedicated just to this mystery -

. . . that Get Smart was originally supposed to star Tom Poston (The Bob Newhart Show, Mork & Mindy)? But, when it went from ABC to NBC, Don Adams got the role. Tom Poston was a fun actor, but I can’t see him as Maxwell Smart.

. . . that Mark Harmon, of NCIS fame, is married to Pam Dawber, Robin Williams’ wife on Mork and Mindy for 25 years now, beginning a few years before Mork fame?

. . . that Mel Brooks and Mike Nichols are the only two directors who have won at least one Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award? Brooks though also won for writing, composing and acting, and Nichols, not as multi-talented, also won a Golden Globe Award.

. . . that Alec Guinness hated working on Star Wars and convinced Lucas to kill him off? He said he just couldn’t stand reciting the “banal lines” any more. But Lucas said he was actually quite patient on the set.

. . .  that the following actors all turned down the lead in Ghost: Paul Hogan, Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Mel Gibson, Dennis Quaid, Bruce Willis (married to Demi already), John Travolta, Nicolas Cage, Mickey Rourke (I can't see that one), David Duchovny, Johnny Depp, Kevin Costner and Alec Baldwin. The director, Jerry Zucker, did not like Swayze for it until he auditioned.

. . . that Halle Berry is named after a shopping mall in Cleveland, where she was born?

. . . that the second of the Star Trek franchise was not The Next Generation – but Star Trek: The Animated Series (1973-74), which actually featured the voices of all of the original main cast members except Chekhov? He got left out for budgetary reasons, but, did, however, become the first cast member to write an episode for it.

. . . that the rock classic, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, which sounds Italian, was actually supposed to be In the Garden of Eden, but the slurred drunken words of the lead singer, Doug Ingle, became the title?

. . . that Lead Zeppelin was actually Lead Zeppelin, but Jimmy Page was concerned . . . that “thick Americans would pronounce “lead” as in lead singer? Good move.

. . . that Melissa Gilbert, who got the role of Laura Ingalls Wilder after auditioning against 500 girls, was, coincidentally the stepdaughter of Warren Cowan, partner in the largest publicity agency in Hollywood? Hmmm?

. . . that Clint Eastwood’s first film role was as an uncredited lab technician in Revenge of the Creature (from the Black Lagoon, in case you were wondering) in 1955?

. . . That, speaking of The Creature from the Black Lagoon, the lagoon in it was the same one used for Gilligan’s Island.

 . . . That Jonas Grumby is the real name of the character better known as the Skipper on Gilligan’s Island. The Professor’s name was Roy Hinkley. Mary Ann was Mary Ann Summers.

. . . that Leonard Nemoy has been a pet shop owner, including after Star Trek was cancelled?

. . . that the movie Sunrise is no. 82 on the AFI top 100 movies ever list? Sunrise? It is one of two on the list I never heard of before.  I looked it up on IMDB. 1927. I never heard of anyone of the cast either. I also never heard of Swing Time, which was no. 90. But, it starred Astaire and Rogers, and I’m pretty sure I heard of them.

. . . When Ginger Rogers was honored at the Kennedy Center, there was no biographical show, because Fred Astaire’s widow refused to allow any joint scenes to be shown without payment? The widow, Robyn Smith, was the first important female jockey (at least in modern times) and 45 years younger than Astaire (one of the few facts here I actually knew). Is it a surprise her nickname was The Bitch? But, to be nicer about it, she had a really tough childhood – fostered, adopted, returned to a mentally ill natural mother, back to the adoptive family, etc. If she wants to hang onto what is hers, it is hard to blame her.

. . . that Dustin Hoffman has made it pretty clear he did not much like Tom Cruise, his Rain Man co-star, and did not even mention him in his Oscar acceptance speech for the movie role, though he took time to talk about his former roommate, Gene Hackman?

 . . . that basketball great Kareem Abdul Jabbar did not just act in The Game of Death and Airplane, but was also the movies Fletch and Forget Paris and tv shows like Full House, Everybody Loves Raymond, Martin, Diff'rent Strokes, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Scrubs, Tales from the Dark Side, 21 Jump Street, the tv movie The Stand (the only Stephen King book I really liked - didn't see the movie) and a bunch of others.  

. . . that Arthur Stanley Jefferson aka Stan Laurel, was originally an undertudy for Charlie Chaplin, and became a Chaplin imitator when Chaplin after Chaplin left their troupe and went to America (actually, Laurel went too, but Chaplin stayed there)? Eventually, Laurel went to America too and eventually directed Hardy in a few films. A few years later they teamed up and the rest is history.

. . . that in their (in my mind) greatest work, Babes in Toyland aka The March of the Wooden Soldiers,  the actor who played Old King Cole had to laugh a lot, and did such a good job, he had to be hospitalized when he tore his stomach muscles. Actually, Laurel also tore ligaments in his leg, and an unusual number of other injuries occurred, including, right after the finished shooting, Hardy had his tonsils and Hal Roach his appendix removed. I bet that Barnaby had something to do with it.

Okay, I have the new blog format downloaded and it is acting up, so I am going to stop here before it all goes blooey on me.

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I started this blog in September, 2006. Mostly, it is where I can talk about things that interest me, which I otherwise don't get to do all that much, about some remarkable people who should not be forgotten, philosophy and theories (like Don Foster's on who wrote A Visit From St. Nicholas and my own on whether Santa is mostly derived from a Norse god) and analysis of issues that concern me. Often it is about books. I try to quote accurately and to say when I am paraphrasing (more and more). Sometimes I blow the first name of even very famous people, often entertainers. I'm much better at history, but once in a while I see I have written something I later learned was not true. Sometimes I fix them, sometimes not. My worst mistake was writing that Beethoven went blind, when he actually went deaf. Feel free to point out an error. I either leave in the mistake, or, if I clean it up, the comment pointing it out. From time to time I do clean up grammar in old posts as, over time I have become more conventional in my grammar, and I very often write these when I am falling asleep and just make dumb mistakes. It be nice to have an editor, but . . . .