Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ronnie James Dio, R.I.P. (1942-2010)

Toasting the late, great Ronnie James Dio, who passed away at age 67 on Sunday.

Not only one of heavy metal's all time greatest vocalists, but also a pioneer who, in the MYSTERY video, showed us that no matter how old or short you may be, if you're the lead singer, you get the girl. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Horn Section Salutes: Adele Mara (1923-2010)

Man, what a sad week.  Two of the loveliest ladies to grace films (and walls, in pinup pictures like this one) during the 1940's have left us this week.  First Lena Horne and now Adele Mara, leading lady in countless Columbia and Republic westerns and war films before she retired to marry the damned lucky Roy (MAVERICK) Huggins.  Ms. Mara passed away May 7th at the age of 87.

The beautiful Spanish-American (real name Adelaide Delgado) appeared in some 60 feature films, and is probably best known as John Agar's bride in Allan Dwan's 1949 classic, SANDS OF IWO JIMA.  She remained married to Mr. Huggins from 1952 until his death in 2002 and guest starred in several MAVERICK episodes, including the classic "Seed of Deception" and "The Spanish Dancer". 

This being The Horn Section, you also know Adele Mara is being honored here as Forrest Tucker's greatest leading lady.  Immediately after each had a breakthrough supporting role in IWO JIMA, Republic teamed them up in 1950's ROCK ISLAND TRAIL and CALIFORNIA PASSAGE.  

Interestingly, Tucker had been a supporting player in what would have been Mara's film debut, 1941's Lupe Velez vehicle HONOLULU LU, but Mara's scenes ended up on the cutting room floor.  They later appeared in 5 films together.

Adele Mara and Forrest Tucker
Both Republic films are worth a look, with Mara given a chance to shine (and sing, in TRAIL).  Another Mara film well worth a look is 1948's ANGEL IN EXILE, also directed by Allan Dwan.

As "The Spanish Dancer" on MAVERICK (1958)

R.I.P. Ms. Mara.  More reviews of your films, and many others, to come....

Sunday, May 09, 2010

The Horn Section Salutes Lena Horne (1917-2010)

Sad to report that the great Lena Horne passed away Sunday night at age 92. 

A terrific singer, Lena Horne was best known onscreen for her performances in 1940's musicals such as CABIN IN THE SKY and STORMY WEATHER.  Her version of the latter's title song became even better known than Ivie Anderson's original version (no small feat, trust me!) and in fact she made it her signature song.   Offscreen, she was a pioneering voice in the Civil Rights movement and a lifelong activist.

Those of my generation became familiar with Ms. Horne through her near-constant appearances on popular variety shows (FLIP WILSON, LAUGH-IN, DEAN MARTIN) and for one very memorable appearance as herself in one of the best-loved episodes of SANFORD AND SON.  She was in her late fifties at the time, and her best-known film appearances were three full decades behind her, but Ms. Horne still had us understanding why Freddy G. was so smitten with her.  It goes without saying that she induced yet another "big one" that almost sent the senior Sanford back to Elizabeth!

The first clip at the top is Lena Horne on a 1967 episode of THE DEAN MARTIN SHOW signing with the star of the show.  They sounded great together, and ol' Dino clearly enjoyed singing with her, for she returned to the show 5 times.  And of course, there's much more of Lena on YouTube, and you'd much rather hear her sing, so here ya go:

R.I. P. Ms. Horne.  More reviews coming!