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Monday
Apr232012

I know that face! It's Mary Wickes

You know those actors who show up in film after film, after film, after film yet they never became a household name? Bellybuzz plans to show some respect to these movie mainstays by showcasing their work. First up? The original wisecracking supporting actress....meet Mary Wickes

You may know her as the singing nun in Sister Act, or the bus-driving, Converse-wearing nun in Where Angels Go Trouble Follows, or you may know her from about a thousand other roles spanning more than five decades. You probably don't even realize how often you've seen her because she was just always there -  everywhere you watched - you couldn't have missed her if you tried.

Her career spanned both movies and television - where she was a regular on several series and a guest star on dozens of others. She popped up on everything from "Dennis the Menace" and "The Love Boat" to "Bonanza", "Columbo" and "Punky Brewster". Her friendship with Lucille Ball landed her on every incarnation of her shows including Ball's TV movie "Lucy calls the President". Wickes was a regular on the 70s campy after-school classic "Sigmund and the Seamonsters" as well as Disney's vehicle for Annette Funicello, the sitcom "Annette" in the 1960s. She may be best known on television as a regular on "The Father Dowling Mysteries" which was near the end of her long career.

One memorable guest starring appearance has Wickes playing an admirable foil to Redd Foxx's Fred Sanford on an episode of "Sanford and Son"  as a lazy white maid -  classic comedic combo right there, folks. You can watch the entire episode here.  

In addition, Mary co-starred with everybody under the sun from Jimmy Cagney, Bette Davis (in 3 films: Now Voyager, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner &  June Bride ), Frank Sinatra, Rosalind Russell, Jack Lemmon, Angie Dickinson, Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, Jack Benny, Susan Sarandon, Jimmy Durante, Meryl Streep, Danny Thomas, Red Skelton, Doris Day, Bing Crosby, Whoopi Goldberg, Danny Kaye... I could go on... and on... and evidently, on. 

Here's a little slideshow I've put together featuring a smattering of Mary's screen appearances, both big and small. 

I told you she was everywhere! Considering she had such a prominent, yet relatively anonymous, existence onscreen, she kept a reasonably low personal profile. She never married but was known to be the longtime companion of playwright Abby Conrad. At the time of her death in 1995, Wickes left a large estate and made a $2 million bequest to the Isabella and Frank Wickenhauser Memorial Library Fund for Television, Film and Theater Arts in memory of her parents. Wickes was posthumously inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame in 2004.

I'd like to leave you with a quintessential example of Ms. Wickes' appeal in this clip is from Dennis the Menace where she portrays the crooning Miss Cathcart. She's just so adorably awkward and sassy, you have to love this woman as she steals the show. You know - I would have loved to see her play Olive Oyl. One can only hope that she's starring in the stage production of Popeye way up there in movie star heaven. I'd know I'd buy a ticket.... and it'd be nice to see her name ABOVE the title for once. 

 

Wednesday
Mar282012

Vincent takes a little bite outta Bette. 

I thought we could all use a little classy sassiness this evening - so I humbly present a good old-fashioned Dean Martin celebrity roast featuring Vincent Price doing his best to gnaw a little on the steely Bette Davis and get under her skin. Keep your eyes open for tablemates Henry Fonda. Classic comedy folks.

Sunday
Jan152012

Bellybuzz Roundup

I've been busy making updates here and there and everywhere around the site and it would please me much if you would check them out at your convenience. If reading this at all it's highly unlikely you have anything better to do... so get to it already... clickety click click....

Lobby Card Gallery - Been gathering together an out-of-control collection of lobby card images and sharing/organizing as much for my own sanity as for your viewing pleasure. I literally have thousands of images catalogued and ready to share - so if this is your kind of thing, bookmark it for regular updates. In the meantime, here's some links to a few of my faves or you can view them all here:

Vintage Celebrity Ads - they just keep coming! See em all or check out a few additions including Smirnoff Vodka, Lady Baltimore Luggage, Ponds Fresh Start, and Kramer guitars

One of my new year's resolutions is to be ruthless about cleaning up all kinds of dead links and lost thoughts that got away from me around the website. Stay tuned... I may or may not follow through, only time will tell. In the meantime... kitteh says hi.

 

Sunday
Jan152012

Star spotting: The Blues Brothers (1980) Edition


I was recently watching the Blues Brothers, and was reminded how many stars signed up for cameos in is this classic flick from 1980. Star after star shows up... big and small... fun for movie buffs like me to grab some popcorn and go starsearching. I am happy to say that this movie has more cameos than a Victorian jewelry convention. BA dum bum.

In the words of Elwood Blues, "Our Lady of Blessed Acceleration, don’t fail me now” -- here's the rundown as I see it of 16 recognizable faces. Supposedly Mr. T is in one of the street scenes, but I haven't been able to find a picture of him. I guess it just gives me an excuse to watch the movie again, for the 47th time or so....  

Row 1: Aretha Franklin, Cab Calloway, Carrie Fisher  
Row 2:
 Chaka Khan, Frank Oz, Henry Gibson  
Row 3: James Brown, Joe Walsh, John Candy  
Row 4: John Lee Hooker, Kathleen Freeman, Paul Ruebens  
Row 5: Ray Charles, Steve Lawrence, Steven Spielberg
and last but not least Row 6:Twiggy.

This movie is chock full of musical stars, so suffice it to say, it's also chock full of awesome musical numbers. Not in that burst into song for no reason kind of way, well maybe a little, but the music is a big part of the story too. One of my favorite numbers is Cab Calloway's Minnie the Moocher. He sings it while stalling for the Brothers Blue while they try to get to the big show. Classic. You know that Minnie, she's just a red hot hoochie coocher.


Cab Calloway - Minnie The Moocher (Blues... by Bodhisattva1956

Saturday
Jan142012

North Koreans get down, get down...

When they're not being jailed for not showing enough fake emotion over the death of their dasterdly dictator,  the North Korean People's Army sure know how to cut a rug. Well, not really, but I thought this video was cleverly edited. It made me smile. At least this is one thing about North Korea that makes me smile....

Saturday
Jan142012

Random Facts #4: All about teeth

I'm not gonna bore you with the mundane facts about teeth like humans have two sets in their lifetime, specifically 20 baby (or "milk") teeth and 32 adult (or "permanent") teeth. Nor am I going to share about how proper oral hygiene prevents a host of health issues including heart disease. Instead, I am going to dazzle you with some off-the-wall and remotely interesting facts & figures about teeth and teeth-adjacent topics. So sit back and learn a little something, why don't ya. It's not gonna hurt.

1. Wanna dress up your smile? Ever thought about getting a tooth tattoo?? Yeah, me neither. However, if you're so inclined, go check out toothartist.com. They've developed a method of tattooing on dental crowns for a unique look. I love the David Letterman shown above... with that in your mouth, how could every day not be a party? Also wondering why you want a picture of the Queen Mother or Tiger Woods in your mouth. Why? And take into account this incredulity is coming from someone with an Elvis tattoo. Anyway, go check out their site and see more examples.  

2. Steve Martin has provided us with more than one memorable, toothy movie moment including his classic turn as the demented dentist in Little Shop of Horrors - the perfect counterpart to Bill Murray's masochistic patient. Classic. He also starred in 2001s dark comedy,  Novocaine as yet another deluded dentist. This time he plays Dr. Frank Sangster, and gets accused of murder due to his involvement with a shady patient. The movie's not great but it's a good example of Steve showing off his more serious acting chops, plus, Laura Dern always brings the crazy. 

Interested in more dentist movies? What's wrong with you??? Well, lucky for you, there's no shortage for you to catch up on. Check out The Dentist with W.C. Fields, The Secret Lives of Dentists with Hope Davis and Campbell Scott, Bob Hope as Paleface, Alan Arkin in The In-Laws and Sam Waterston in Serial Mom

3. Prince Charles is way too important to squeeze his own toothpaste onto the royal toothbrush. Instead his personal valet, Michael Fawcett, is the only person Charles trusts with this awesome responsibility. One must presume that Charlie's morning breath and dental hygiene declines exponentially whenever the valet goes on vacation. Yikes.  [MSNBC.com]

4. China celebrates September 20th as a national holiday known as “Love Your Teeth Day.” That's a lot of teeth, people. If the average person has 25 teeth (accounting for children, etc), then that's approximately 33,457,487,500 teeth. 

5. Contrary to popular legend, our first president George Washington, did not have teeth made out of wood. Instead, he had many pairs of dentures made of all kinds of innovative materials including, of all things, hippopotamus teeth. He also had teeth made out of ivory, lead, human teeth, cow and sheep's teeth. Makes you wonder if he endured any level of lead poisoning and whether or not it affected his judgement. Lead teeth, think about that. Heavy. lol.

6. Cleaning one's teeth has been a concern since the beginning of time. You can't convince me that Adam and Eve didn't get  a strawberry seed wedged between two molars that drove them crazy enough to seek out a solution. Since the middle ages, people have used everything from burnt bread to ground-up chalk or charcoal, lemon juice, ashes and even a mixture of tobacco and honey to clean their teeth. In ancient times more primitive materials like bones & oyster shells did the abrasive work.  By 1900, a paste made of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda was recommended for use with toothbrushes. Pre-mixed toothpastes were first marketed in the 19th century, but did not surpass the popularity of tooth-powder until the 1920s. 

7. St. Apollonia is the patron saint of dentistry. In 249 AD Rome, a woman named Apollonia was tortured and killed for her Christian faith. Legend has it that “her tormentors broke her teeth with iron points, and extracted the roots with tongs.” The legend also says that after her teeth were broken, she was given a choice of renouncing her faith or being burned alive, whereupon she voluntarily jumped into the fire. Her suffering resulted in her canonization as the Patron Saint of Dentistry in 300 AD.

The following is a prayer to Saint Apollonia: “Apollonia, Apollonia, Holy Saint in Heaven, see my pain in yourself. Free me from evil pain, for my toothache may torture me to death.”

8. An elephant in the wild grinds his several-hundred-pound-a-day diet of vegetation with his four large molars, two uppers and two lowers. The wear-and-tear warranty on these molars is up after ten years as they are gradually worn down to the gum line and drop out. These are soon replaced by another set of grinding molars, but each elephant only gets up to six sets of molars within its lifetime. Each of these molars measures a foot across and weighs between 8 and 10 pounds. Sounds like it would have made a nice paperweight for Fred Flinstone.

9. There have been many many songs written about a smile, but only a few worth mentioning about teeth including Crooked Teeth by Death Cab for Cutie, Summerteeth by Wilco and maybe Skin O My Teeth by Megadeth. Below is my favorite submission,  Lady Gaga's homage to chomper charm, simply titled, Teeth.