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Archive for December, 2012

There are things about the old year going out and the new year coming in that I could do without.

One of them is that many shows begin showing all the famous people we have known who have passed away during the year.  Something we older generation can attest to is that the older we get the more people we are familiar with (be it movie star/ singer/ politician etc) the more leave us.   And inevitably while watching this list of people one will show up that we didn’t know had passed away.

This year that one, for me, was one of those I fondly called, *a love of my life*  and so upon hearing his name I found my eyes quickly filling with tears and they flowed down my cheeks as my memories turned on and went back to a 10 year old girl immensely smitten and in love with the exotic Mr.. Turhan Bey.   The movie that always took my breath away was Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves… and the slave of Maria Montez.

I could say his passing was doubly hurtful for me, since for me, he has died twice.  For surely I have gotten this emotional twice over the same man.

My story goes like this:

About 17 yrs ago I was lying in bed in California listening to my favorite call in radio program called the Greg Hunter Show.  They openly talked about movies and actors, mostly older movies but sometimes it was a new one.

For years before this I had believed Turhan Bey had died at a fairly young age.  So when a caller who was talking to Greg Hunter asked: Did you know that your friend Turhan Bey is going to appear on both Seaquest and Babylon 5? I did a sit up in bed and screamed at the radio and then calmed down enough to write down the information about when he would appear.   I went around like the proverbial *chicken with their head chopped off* looking for a blank vhs tape so I could record the events.

Not long after doing this, and becoming elated that Turhan was still among the living I wrote him a very long letter in which I proclaimed my love for him when I was 10 yrs old stating that I was going to grow up and he would marry me and protect me the way he protected Maria Montez in Ali Baba.  And how I had long ago heard he had passed away and was divested for years and how I heard he was going to appear on television and all I did to record him and on and on.  I didn’t really expect to hear from him but I did ask for an autographed photo… just in case.

My reply came about a whole year later….

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(if you can’t read his handwriting it says: You should be a writer! Your letter that was forwarded to Vienna and finally reached me is a masterpiece!  Thank you for remembering me! Hope this finds you in high spirits and good health!                       Your, Turhan Bey)

Below is the photo he sent me.

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and below is a photo of Turhan as he appeared on Babylon 5.

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The photo’s underneath are some that I collected of him over the years.

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And so… as I watched television this morning the station decided to show people we lost during 2012…

When Turhan’s photo and name appeared my heart shattered and I broke down and cried.  I knew this time if was for real. 

He had a good life and was 90 yrs old , he passed away this last September and I didn’t know until now. I found this very nice Obituary on him:

Turhan Bey obituary

Successful 1940s film actor whose exotic roles led fan magazines to dub him ‘the Turkish Delight’

  • Wednesday 10 October 2012 13.06 EDT

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Turhan Bey with Katharine Hepburn in Dragon Seed (1944). Photograph: SNAP/Rex Features

"Exotic" is the epithet most frequently used to describe the series of Technicolored escapist movies produced by Universal Pictures in the 1940s. These profitable films, often set in a North African or Arabian desert recreated on the studio backlot, featured the Dominican actor Maria Montez; Sabu, the Indian teenage boy; Jon Hall (son of a Swiss actor and a Tahitian princess); and Turhan Bey, who has died aged 90. Bey was often cast as wily, "foreign" villains, or romantic leads in thrillers and Arabian Nights fantasies, for which he was dubbed by fan magazines "the Turkish Delight".

Son of a Turkish diplomat father and a Czech industrialist mother, he was born Turhan Gilbert Selahattin Sahultavy in Vienna, but emigrated to the US with his mother and grandmother shortly before Austria was annexed by Germany in 1938. In California, through his uncle, a mathematician, he was introduced to Albert Einstein, with whom he kept up a close friendship over the years. But his original intention to study science was soon replaced by acting, which he studied at the Pasadena Playhouse.

Bey’s debut film was a British whodunnit called Shadows on the Stairs (1941), in which he played Ram Singh, a turbaned Indian patriot, one of several murder suspects in a London boarding house. In the same year, he signed up with Universal Pictures, for which he made about five movies a year from 1941.

In the early years, Bey appeared as Japanese characters in several B war films with interchangeable titles such as Burma Convoy, Bombay Clipper, Danger in the Pacific and Destination Unknown, as well as in the serial Junior G-Men of the Air, in which he has to do battle with the Dead End Kids.

Bey’s first principal role came in The Mummy’s Tomb (1942), in which he played an Egyptian high priest called Mehemet Bey, who brings Kharis (Lon Chaney Jr), the 3,000-year-old "living" mummy, to America to avenge the desecration of a holy tomb. In this low-budget sequel to The Mummy’s Hand, Bey gave a subtle performance, at least in comparison to the eye-rolling of the rest of the cast. In another horror movie, The Mad Ghoul (1943), Bey had his first "straight" role, as the accompanist of a concert singer threatened by the brainwashed character of the title.

He was lent to MGM for Dragon Seed (1944), based on Pearl Buck’s novel about Chinese peasants fighting against the Japanese occupation – with a mostly Caucasian cast, including Katharine Hepburn as his wife. More significant, however, was his smallish part as the captain of the guard in Arabian Nights (1942), in which he sells Montez, as Scheherazade, into slavery. The film was the first of the Technicolor extravaganzas featuring Montez, Hall, Sabu and Bey.

Fourth-billed in the romance White Savage (1943), set in the South Seas, Bey played the gambling brother of a princess (Montez). In Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (1944), he is Montez’s slave and the knife-throwing friend of the hero (Hall), but in Sudan (1945), Bey, as a romantic rebel leader, is the object of Montez’s affections, and Hall is the sidekick. According to the critic of the New York Times: "Through it all, Miss Montez saunters with the regality of an usherette, while Turhan Bey gives a boyish imitation of Rudolph Valentino as the desert sheik."

The enjoyably nonsensical Night in Paradise (1946) co-starred Bey as Aesop with Merle Oberon as the Queen of Persia, whom he rescues from King Croesus. At first, Bey appears as an old man who has an aphorism for every occasion but, according to Time magazine, "once he falls for the Persian Queen, he turns up in her bedroom dressed in the ancient equivalent of white flannels and looking as if he has just gulped a goldfish and is now quite prepared to polish off Miss Oberon as a chaser".

It was the last of Bey’s pictures for Universal, and the last before he joined the US army. He returned to Hollywood to star as a false medium in The Amazing Mr X (1948), and to be reunited with Sabu in the jungle adventure The Song of India (1949), in both of which he played suave evildoers. His final film, before a retirement from acting that lasted 40 years, was Prisoners of the Casbah (1953), with Bey this time as a hero pitted against wicked Cesar Romero.

Feeling that he had gone as far as he could in films, Bey returned to Vienna, where he became a successful photographer. He also directed a few plays at the marionette theatre in Salzburg. However, in 1993, on one of his many trips back to Los Angeles, Bey agreed to return to his earlier profession. Among his roles during this second coming were an angel in The Skateboard Kid II (1995) and an emperor in the TV series Babylon 5 (1995 and 1998).

Bey never married. He wished to marry the actress Lana Turner in 1944, but gave her up because his mother disapproved.

• Turhan Bey (Turhan Gilbert Selahattin Sahultavy), actor, born 30 March 1922; died 30 September 2012

I will always love you Turhan…  RIP.

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Reading in 2012 produced 59 books. (23,464 pages) Not my greatest amount, but it does seem to be average for me.

I began 2012 with a book Debi sent me: The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A McKillip…. and guess what… I am ending 2012 with a book Debi gave me: The Dead Secret by Wilkie Collins!  I have come to really like Wilkie Collins.  He may have written a lot less then his friend Charles Dickens, and may not have been as famous.. but I like his writing better than Dickens! (but still like Dickens). I only read 2 Wilkie Collins books but I also did read one that was a small biography of Wilkie by Peter Ackroyd, and one book (Great Expectations) by Charles Dickens this year but I am pleased that I have come to like and read any of them!  Keeping with classics I also read Frances Burnett’s Secret Garden and Little Lord Fauntleroy. I think I did well with Classics in 2012!

This year is also the year I read more “reality” books such as autobiographies and history related books.

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I read The Secret of Crickley Hall by a new author to me named James Herbert. And a few books by another author I had never read before, named Andrew Taylor which began with An Unpardonable Crime. Both very enjoyable reads.

I also read some series including, the Hood trilogy by Stephen R Lawhead , the Amber trilogy by Margaret Weis, and The Scions of Shannara series by Terry Brooks.  I also concluded a series I have been enjoying over the years by reading Michael Scott’s Enchantress.  I hated to see the end of that YA series which I enjoyed immensely!

Lastly, I re-read some of my Favorites! Drood by Dan Simmons (which I enjoyed every bit as much the second time around!).   The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien which I had wanted to read over before the movie came out, and my absolute favorite books ever: Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonflight, Dragonquest and the White Dragon.

As for Favorites :

For New Authors I liked Blacklands by Belinda Bauer and And Unpardonable Crime by Andrew Taylor.

But I have to say my absolute favorites are my rereads of Drood and The Dragonriders of Pern trilogy.  I doubt anything will ever top Anne McCaffrey, and so in a year where I reread them no one else stands a chance!

I want to give special mention to Michael Scott’s Enchantress, and I Am Half Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley because I have so enjoyed both series.

There were 2 books that surprised me that I even read them :, Citizens of London by Lynne Olson. It’s about as far away from fiction as one can get, recalling the time before and during WWII  when President Roosevelt entered the war to help Churchill/ England. The Other book is called Sisters by Mary Lovell and it’s about the Mitford Sisters.  I had never even heard of them before but they are quite famous in England.  One became the Duchess of Devonshire and another was in love with Hitler! Again, both were excellent reading.

As for movies:

I went to only 1 movie this year… but I did go twice. (heh) Of course it was The Hobbit.  How I love Peter Jackson’s version of The Hobbit.  I love it every bit as much as I loved his versions of Lord of the Ring. He always manages to take me right to NZ and to the Shire and keeps me entranced until his movie is over. I am so glad I lived to see the day that someone could make a fantasy movie as well as he has done.

Since I only went to one movie I feel a need to count television ..for only 2 reasons.

1)   11 hours straight of Roots! (I haven’t seen it since it aired in 1977 and it held up beautifully!) I had forgotten how many wonderful actors and actresses were in that movie and how fabulous everyone was!

2)   Lord of the Rings back to back trilogy.  After seeing the Hobbit it was good to see LoTR again. (yes, I own the movies but when movies I like come on tv I sit and watch!)

I guess that’s it for this year.  I set no goals in my reading for 2013… just that I enjoy whatever I read! 

So here’s a toast to 2013

…and to next May when Star Trek comes to the theaters

…and next December when the Hobbit returns!!!

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The Letters of Noel Coward edited by Barry Day.

Publisher: 3rd Edition (December 13, 2007)
ASIN: B004SUY9W8

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Book Description

Lavishly illustrated and annotated, this first and definitive collection of letters to and from Coward provides a divine portrait of an age, from the Blitz to the Ritz and beyond.
The incomparable Noël Coward loved to correspond with friends, enemies, the famous and infamous, the talented and the powerful, including Virginia Woolf, Winston Churchill, Greta Garbo, Laurence Olivier, Katharine Hepburn, Marlene Dietrich, Lawrence of Arabia, Somerset Maugham, and many more. Granted unlimited access to the Coward archive, Barry Day presents many never-published letters and has unearthed new, startling evidence of Coward’s wartime work as a spy. Along with 191 rare photographs, these letters bring to life the people and events that shaped the twentieth century—and a remarkable man who made his own indelible mark at the heart of it.

If you have no interest in Noel Coward, this is not the book for you!  At 756 pages you would be hard pressed to even hold this heavy book let alone read it!

I was hearing really good things about this book and so when I came across it at Friends of the Library I thought I would give it a go.  And so I did.

First off I will tell you that I did read the entire book ..although there was a bit of *skimming* now and then.  It was a very interesting book but I have to admit that it didn’t grip me as other books have.  I didn’t find myself picking up the book the instant I sat in my reading chair , and so it took me longer than expected to finish the book.

However if you want to know every play and song Noel wrote and who the actors were in every play or movie, this book covers it all!   It doesn’t leave out much, and includes the love he had for his mother and many letters to her and many others of course.

Towards the end it also includes mentioning his friendship with the Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth.

This was very much a book that could be called “The Name Dropper”.  Of course many in his younger years aren’t nearly as familiar names as in his later years.  One of his many friends and his dear penpal turns out to be Nancy Mitford who I recently read about her and all her sisters.

There are way too many “names” mentioned in the book to list them all but a few I jotted down consist of:

Peggy Wood , Daphne du Mauier, Clifton Webb, Laurence Olivier, Charles Chaplin, Ethel Barrymore, Douglas Fairbanks, Basil Rathbone, Margaret Rutherford, Ruth Gordon, Helen Hayes, Nigel Bruce, Zazu Pitts and H.G. Wells… and that’s just the tip of the iceberg! (I realize many young people don’t even know many of those names, but having grown up on the “old” black and white movies I know them all!) Just to bring maybe one name up to date… Peggy Wood. (many are going , who?) Well if you’ve seen the Sound of Music you have seen Peggy Wood.. she is the singing “head nun” in the movie. She also did a television series when I was young called “I Remember Mama”.  …. gawd I feel ancient! But that figures since “I AM”!  *sigh*

Surely he was a genius of a man. Author/ Playwright/writer of music and actor.  His letters and the writing between the letters tells much about the man but sadly neglects the happenings of the world at the same time.  It’s one of those books you have to want to read to get through it. All 756 pages!

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In all honesty I’m not sure when this turned into a “collection”!

The first time I remember reading “the Hobbit” was when my kids were only turning teenagers!  Some 30 odd years ago! sheesh.  It was when my eyes were better and so I read a pocket paperback version.. then later I purchased the green hardback below.  Somewhere along the line Rankin/Bass made the cartoon of the Hobbit for television. If I remember right the music was quite good and I guess it made it so young children wouldn’t be quite as afraid of the “darker” parts.

 

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The Rankin/Bass gave me cartoons to try to copy and embroider..which took me some 8 or 9 months to do.

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I also still have a very beaten up / water logged version of the Silmarillion that was given to my brother in 1977.  The inscription reads: To Jim from George, Pat and Boys. (obviously I was married at the time)  My brothers apartment got flooded when an upstairs apartment had a fire.  All the water from the fire trucks made it’s way down to the bottom apartments and they lost a lot..but he saved this book.

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My collection grew when, again after reading paperbacks, I bought this hardback trilogy of Lord of the Rings.

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And who could not buy the dvds???  The extra one of the Two Towers was again, a gift to my brother one Christmas.

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As each movie came out I managed to add the Visual Companion books…

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In two of the books I even have some signatures (not all are shown)

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Unfortunately, I never got to meet Ian.. a friend got this signature for me.  But I’d still love to meet him one day!

…I loved meeting Andy Serkis!!! What a nice, nice man!

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Here are some signatures of some I did not meet but obtained through Creation Convention.

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Most recently I found these two different Journals…

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…and some bookmarks.  This journal is a fake leather with lined paper for writing.

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This other journal is with artwork in it….

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lovely artwork!…

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Nice drawing below of Treebeard.

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Over the years I collected these other paper journals with more artwork.

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And then of course my friend Kris gave me Gandalf the Grey!

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and another friend, Michelle, managed to get these smaller posters for me.. they will be a little late for Christmas but I am super happy she managed to get them!!!

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I can safely say that eons ago, when I first read The Hobbit, I certainly never imagined it would turn into such a “collection”!!!  The fact is: I never meant it to be a collection!  But then again.. there’s not a thing here I’d want to get rid of!

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Who out there is old enough to remember a very special televison series called “ROOTS”?

For the life of me I cannot believe 35 years has gone by since I watched it first on tv. I was mesmerized by it then and when it came on tv yesterday the same thing happened. I couldn’t stop watching it, and it was on for 11 hours straight!

I couldn’t take my eyes off of it. There were oh so many famous stars in it and then there was a new actor.. his name is LeVar Burton.. you may have heard of him since then!

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Below: LeVar as the young warrior, Kunta Kinte.  Who ever thought he’d become even more famous by covering those big eyes of his for Star Trek, or would be known to so many young children on Reading Rainbow?!

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I couldn’t begin to mention all the wonderful actors and actresses in the movie but there are 2 who have always been favorites of mine… one is Lou Gossett Jr who played Fiddler in the movie.

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…and the other who I’ve liked forever is John Amos who played the “older” Kunta Kinte.

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I sat entranced for 11 hours!.. ok so the last few of those hours I was in bed , but I didn’t miss any of it!  Did anyone else happen to see this yesterday or today???

If you’ve never seen it, treat yourself and buy or rent the movie!  It’s really something (a part of history) you shouldn’t miss.

I am so happy they put it on again after all those years…  Fabulous movie. Fantastic writing.  Exquisite acting!

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I Love Cold Fronts!

I wait 10 months out of the year for “cold weather” to hit Florida!  I love taking my morning walks when I have to layer sweat clothes just to go outside!  The cold air rushes into my lungs and I feel alive !!

Yesterday was 37 degrees in the morning before daylight.  It was also very windy and I couldn’t find a hat of any sort to protect my ears which is the only part of me that doesn’t enjoy the “Florida cold”. (note: not mentioning “real winter”!)

But this morning was 39 degrees and no wind at all!… loved it, loved it, loved it!! I did wait until the morning light began and by the time I finished this is what the sky looked like!

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(Five times around the pond is one mile.. that equals listening to the long version of “In the Navy” by the Village People 2 1/2 times!  :o).

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I don’t care much for cloudless skies but the pink just layered itself so nicely I had to snap off a few pics to show you.

Two hours have passed since my mile walk and now I am contemplating walking the “path” in the woods that opened up not long ago right next to us.  It tends to have pretty muddy area’s though so it’s nicer when there’s been no rain for a week or more. If I get the energy I will take a walk in the woods.. we’ll see. :o)

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Middle Earth…

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I totally agree with Carl !! And I certainly could not give such a great review as he does, but I do have to voice in  just a little.

I have found that when I like what I am seeing a movie can never be "toooo loooong"!! I am always amazed at how fast it goes by!  I really loved Richard Armitage as Thorin and I have to say I absolutely loved what they did for the Troll King!!! I thought he was fabulous!

I really liked Sylvester McCoy (oh! nice name! lol)  who played Radagast the Brown was excellent and glad he wasn’t neglected.

Again keeping with Carl’s excellent review, the music by, Howard Shores, was  outstanding!

Already I can’t wait for this to be out in dvd! I feel sorry for those critics that go to movies to do nothing more than to find things wrong (in their minds).  while it’s true  everyone can’t like the same things sometimes they really annoy me trying to drag a movie down when others of us are so happy for what we see before us.

I will forever be gloriously happy that Peter Jackson made all the Tolkien movies (in this case with the help of Andy Serkis who was second director as well as Gollum).  I swear Jackson not only "sees" his movie before he begins but he sees what in the fans hearts and minds too.  So I thank Peter Jackson from bringing Tolkien’s works to life for us… 
however…
I can’t say that *at my age* I can appreciate *having to wait* a whole year for part 2 !!! ARRGGHHHH!

I hope I can get to see this movie again before it leaves the theater. (yes I liked it that much!)

Do yourself a favor and go see The Hobbit. 

Treat yourself.

Let Peter Jackson, Andy Serkis, Ian McKellan and all the others bring you back to Middle Earth.

*note* I have always loved Ian McKellan but after LoTR and The Hobbit, he has cemented himself in my heart, for ever more, as Gandalf!

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