19 June 1897-4 May 1975

Where Danger Lives (and a Degree of Stoogeration…)

It’s been quite a while since I’ve added anything to what was supposed to be a movie review blog about films that had a connection to the Three Stooges (and I couldn’t help but notice that my Flesh Feast review was supposed to go live FIVE YEARS AGO!!!! Hey, I guess if patience is a virtue, I’ve got it in spades!)

Anyhoo–this entry is about one of the oddest degrees of Stoogeration I’ve ever run across. I first noticed it when I was reading the excellent One Fine Stooge many moons ago. It seems that one of Larry’s grandkids were waiting to visit him at the Motion Picture Home and the nurses told them that they couldn’t enter just yet because Larry already had a visitor. One of the granddaughters finally got it out of the nurse just who this secret visitor was…one Edward G. Robinson! It turns out Robinson never went through the regular entrance–he just showed up at the patio door, knocked, and Larry let him in. The granddaughter was obviously fascinated that the G man himself didn’t have to go through regular channels (I must admit, this fascinated me too–in fact, I need to search to see if there’s any photos of them together.)

Note: after a cursory search, I could find no pictures of them together. Plenty of photos of him with the likes of Ted Knight, Clint Eastwood, Phyllis Diller, Frankie Avalon, Joan Crawford, Harry Cohn, and police officers from the many, many, many police functions they performed at during the mid-to-late 1960s.) How and where did they meet? Did they strike up a friendship when Robinson was at Columbia?

I know, I know–you’re asking what the f*** does this have to do with “Six Degrees of Stoogeration?” Welp, Impatient Reader, I’m going to tell you right now: Burnett Guffey.

Now, whom is Burnett Guffey, you may ask? Well, let’s get to the reason why he’s a degree of Stoogeration.

The beginning of a wonderful career in film noir, though you wouldn’t think it!
Who knew that there was an Academy Award winning cinematographer filming a guy in a beat-up monkey suit?
Just LOOK at these credits!
Of course, this needs no introduction…
Dustin Hoffman and Katharine Ross announcing Guffey’s win for Bonnie and Clyde
(Original Caption) Katherine Ross and Dustin Hoffman are shown with Burnett Guffey, after they presented him with an Oscar for “Best Achievement in Cinematography” at the Academy Awards presentations.
Just LOOK at the shadows here–for some reason, this reminds me of the latter-era Shemp shorts (Gypped in the Penthouse comes to mind), with more elaborate use of shadows, better sets (of course they were from other movies, but still!)
And this last one…JUST LOOK AT IT! It’s glorious!

So, this is how Six Degrees of Stoogeration is played. You can link Edward G. Robinson to Warren Beatty to Faye Dunaway to James Earl Jones (The Great White Hope), to Frank Sinatra (both for From Here to Eternity and The Frank Sinatra Show (1950).

And lest you think I’d forgotten my opening paragraph, here’s a link between Larry Fine, Edward G. Robinson, and Burnett Guffey:

I love this one in particular–you get the whole Hitchockian look (okay, let’s call it what it is…an imitation) but I’d love this even more if Ginger Rogers could be even larger, with Edward G’s head looking less like an afterthought. Brian Keith’s image could be “snazzed up” as well (I’m not a graphics person, so forgive me for my lack of graphics terminology.)

I also like these–I could still do without the obvious headshot of EGR…poster artists could be sooooo creative (just take a look at some of these examples–yet they loved to go back to that floating headshot well…)

OTD in 1955…

The comedy world lost one of the funniest men to ever grace the screen. He didn’t have to say a single word…once he walked into the shot, you felt like laughing, even if he didn’t do anything.

He was also one of the first “sploitation” actors–if you’ve heard the term “Fake Shemp,” this is what they mean. There were four films created with the Fake Shemp (Joe Palma), and since Jules White could direct and produce a film in a matter of HOURS with footage of Shemp from an old short, throw in some new footage of Moe and Larry, and voila! You’ve got a new film to fool theatre managers made for the fraction of the price of a new one! It’s win-win…until Moe and Larry (and even Harry Cohn) realized they couldn’t run the Shempsploitation Express forever…so along came EVERYONE’S favorite Stooge replacement, Joe Besser!

(I actually liked Besser–he was such a totally different comedian that you just went “WHAT?!” when you saw him with the rough and tumble Moe and Larry. No, I’m not giving up my Stooge card–I’ve had it since 1975!)

Reefer Madness (1936)

There’s more degrees of Stoogeration in this turkey than you’d think! The judge is immediately recognizable from “Disorder in the Court,” which also came out in 1936!

and you call yourself a scientist!?

“And more vicious, more deadly even than these soul-destroying drugs is the menace of—marijuana!”

Director:  Louis J. Gasnier

Starring:  Kenneth Craig, Dorothy Short, Lillian Miles, Dave O’Brien, Carleton Young, Thelma White, Warren McCollum, Pat Royale, Joseph Forte, Mary MacLaren

Screenplay:  Arthur Hoerl and Paul Franklin, based upon a story by Lawrence Meade

Synopsis:  Dr Alfred Carroll (Joseph Forte) addresses a meeting in which he exhorts the parents of school students to campaign for compulsory education on narcotics—particularly marijuana. He goes on to illustrate the dangers of marijuana by speaking of a recent tragedy… Mae (Thelma White) and Jack (Carleton Young) own an apartment near a high school, where they deal marijuana. While Mae concentrates on supplying to artists and musicians, Jack works to hook the local school students on the drug, much to Mae’s disgust. Jack makes contact with Ralph (Dave O’Brien), who knows many of…

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MILL CREEK DRIVE-IN MOVIE CLASSICS: Slave of Cannibal God (1978)

Proof that even Stacy “I can save any damn movie and that includes Butterfly” Keach couldn’t save this one…I’ll still watch on Tubi just to see how badly that train gets wrecked.

B&S About Movies

EDITOR’S NOTE: We originally wrote about this movie on February 22, 2018. We’ve added to that original article in this revision for our Mill Creek month. 

Also known as La Montagna del Dio CannibaleSlave of the Cannibal Godand Prisoner of the Cannibal God, don’t be fooled by the pedigree of having big stars like Ursula Andress and Stacy Keach. This film may seem restrained at first, but it goes absolutely insane by the final ten minutes. I mean, when has Sergio Martino (All the Colors of the DarkYour Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key) ever steered us wrong?

Susan Stevenson (Andress, the original Bond girl) is looking for her husband Henry, an anthropologist who has gone missing in the jungles of New Guinea. Along with her brother Arthur and Professor Edward Foster (Keach), they travel to the mountain…

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Q & A Time with Author, Paul Talbot, on His Favorite Actor and Mine …. Charles Bronson

I’m sorry, but the first thing to come to mind when I read this is that he’s got one degree of Stoogeration and the infamous line from Death Wish 3: “They’re teeth.” He was a damn fine actor and proved that sequels don’t HAVE to get worse as they go on–my older sister and I caught Death Wish 5 after dozing through whatever big budget junk that would’ve been out then. Ah, the old days…cigarette machines in the lobby, no one caring why you had that yuge purse, and the ability to pay for one movie and go to the next when it sucked.

Mike's Take On the Movies

One thing that the internet has allowed me to do since starting Mike’s Take nearly 8 years ago is to connect with fellow film fans and in some cases, writers and historians. I guess it was inevitable that I would cross paths with Paul Talbot who has quickly become the leading authority on the career of Charles Bronson. I guess that makes me second????? He’s been kind enough to visit Mike’s Take on occasion and I’m very happy to have shared some old articles and trivia bits with him when I thought it might be beneficial in his research.

I’m also very excited to have him join me here for this spotlight on Charles Bronson as we celebrate his 100th birthday this month.

Paul Talbot is the author of the books BRONSON’S LOOSE!: THE MAKING OF THE “DEATH WISH” FILMS and BRONSON’S LOOSE AGAIN!: ON THE SET WITH CHARLES BRONSON…

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The Sad Tragic Fate Of Veronica Lake | National Enquirer

By DICK SIEGEL, NATIONAL ENQUIRER online editor Jan 22, 2015 @ 5:33AM

Femme fatal film icon VERONICA LAKE fell from Hollywood heights to waiting tables in a sleazy women’s only hotel before succumbing to the ravages of alcoholism and mental illness at only age 50.  

Veronica Lake was born in Brooklyn, New York on November 14, 1922 as Constance Frances Marie Ockleman. Her father worked for an oil company as a ship employee and died in a tragic oil tanker explosion.

Her ethereal beauty, natural charm coupled with a talent for acting prompted her mother and tubercular step-father to move to Beverly Hills, California, where they enrolled her in the Bliss Hayden School of Acting in Hollywood.

Although Connie had been previously diagnosed as a classic schizophrenic her parents saw acting as a form of treatment for her condition. She soon found work as a bit player in several unremarkable pictures but “Sorority House” director John Farrow (Mia Farrow’s father) saw how her long flowing hair always covered her right eye, creating an hint of allure and mystery. While still a teenager, Farrow introduced her to Paramount producer Arthur Hornblow who promptly changed her name to Veronica Lake.

Veronica’s breakthrough film was “I Wanted Wings” in 1941, a major box office hit. 

She then became Paramount’s top female star toplining such classics as “Sullivan’s Travels”, “This Gun for Hire”, The Glass Key”, “So Proudly We Hail” and “I Married A Witch”.

 “She was a very gifted girl, but shedidn’t believe she was gifted,” director Rene Clair recalled.

Often paired with diminutive star Alan Ladd, the couple made seven films together. At first it was out of necessity as Ladd was just 5 feet five while Lake was 4 feet  11 inch but the pair had undeniable on-screen chemistry  

For a short time during the early 1940s, Veronica was at the height of Hollywood stardom.

During World War Two, the rage for her peek-a-boo bangs became a hazard when women in the defense industry would get their hair caught in machinery. Lake was staged in a publicity picture in which she reacted painfully to her hair getting “caught” in a drill press illustrating her hazardous ‘do. Finally, Lake famously cut her hair and, sadly, her popularity diminished.

By the early 1950’s Lake’s career had hit the skids.

Still battling schizophrenia, and in a state of paranoia, she began drinking heavily. As her mental state deteriorated further, with two failed marriages, Veronica became manic-depressive as her self-destructive addiction to booze pushed her over the edge.

Soon, with no film career and little alimony after an IRS forced bankruptcy, Lake drifted between cheap hotels in New York City. She was arrested several times for public drunkenness and disorderly conduct.

In 1963, a reporter found her working as a barmaid/waitress while living at the seedy all-women’s $7-a-night Martha Washington Hotel in Manhattan. In the hotel bar, Lake was working under an alias — Connie De Toth (“House of Wax” director Andre DeToth had been her second hubby).

Lake had never revealed her true name to her co-workers nor customers although her boss Joe Rauji at the Colonnade Bar knew who she was.  “She’s a good girl but she’s had a hard time,” he told a reporter.

Lake later toiled at other bars including Greenwich Village’s famed One Fifth getting a steady paycheck and a never ending stream of booze.

The widely circulated news reports of her plight led to some minor TV and film work  but Lake soon made a financial comeback by penning her memoirs.

 With the profits from her best selling tell-all, Lake co-produced and starred in her last film, “Flesh Feast” (1970), a micro-budget horror movie with a Nazi-myth storyline. It bombed.

After another failed marriage and brief sojourn in England, Lake returned home.

She was already “pretty far along” when she was admitted to the Fletcher Allen Hospital in Vermont, doctors said.

Finally, in the early morning hours of July 7, 1973, Veronica Lake died from hepatitis and acute renal failure — seemingly alone and forgotten at the age of 50.

That is, until the news broke, when suddenly EVERYONE remembered.