23 May, 2012

Fred Zinnemann




Fred Zinnemann was an Austrian-American film director. He won two Academy Awards for directing films (From Here to Eternity and A Man for All Seasons) in many genres, including thrillers, westerns, film noir, and play adaptations. Nineteen actors appearing in Zinnemann's films received Academy Award nominations for their performances: among that number are Frank Sinatra, Audrey Hepburn, Glynis Johns, Paul Scofield, Robert Shaw, Wendy Hiller, Jason Robards, Vanessa Redgrave, Jane Fonda, Gary Cooper and Maximilian Schell.

Life and career
Zinnemann was born to a Jewish family in Vienna, Austria. While growing up in Austria, he wanted to become a musician, but went on to study law. While studying at the University of Vienna, he became drawn to films and eventually became a cameraman. He worked in Germany with several other beginners (Billy Wilder and Robert Siodmak also worked with him on the 1929 feature People on Sunday) before going to America to study film.

Zinnemann's penchant for realism and authenticity is evident in his first feature The Wave (1935), shot on location in Mexico with mostly non-professional actors recruited among the locals, which is one of the earliest examples of realism in narrative film. Earlier in the decade, in fact, Zinnemann had worked with documentarian Robert Flaherty, an association he considered "the most important event of my professional life".

1940's
One of Zinnemann's first assignments in Hollywood was when he found work as an extra in All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), although he was discharged from the production for talking back to the director, Lewis Milestone. After some success with short films, he graduated to features in 1942, turning out two crisp B mysteries, Eyes in the Night and Kid Glove Killer before getting his big break with The Seventh Cross (1944), starring Spencer Tracy, which was his first hit. The film was based on Anna Seghers' novel and, while filmed entirely on the MGM backlot, made realistic use of refugee German actors in even the smallest roles. The central character—an escaped prisoner played by Tracy—is seen as comparatively passive and fatalistic. He is, however, the subject of heroic assistance from anti-Nazi Germans. In a sense, the protagonist of the film is not the Tracy character but a humble German worker played by Hume Cronyn, who changes from Nazi sympathizer to active opponent of the regime as he aids Tracy.

After World War II ended, Zinnemann learned that both of his parents had died in the Holocaust. He was further frustrated by his studio contract, which dictated that he did not have a choice in directing films like My Brother Talks to Horses (1947) and Little Mr. Jim (1947) despite his lack of interest in their subject matter.[2] However, his next film, The Search (1948), won an Oscar for screenwriting and secured his position in the Hollywood establishment. Shot in war-ravaged Germany, the film stars Montgomery Clift in his screen debut as a GI who cares for a lost Czech boy traumatised by the war. It was followed by Act of Violence (1948), a gritty film noir starring Van Heflin as a haunted POW, Robert Ryan as his hot-tempered former friend, Janet Leigh as Heflin's wife, and Mary Astor as a sympathetic prostitute. Zinnemann considered Act of Violence the first project in which he "felt comfortable knowing exactly what I wanted and exactly how to get it."

1950's
In the critically acclaimed The Men (1950), starring newcomer Marlon Brando as a paraplegic war veteran, Zinnemann filmed many scenes in a California hospital where real patients served as extras. The film is noted for giving Brando his first screen role. It was followed by Teresa (1951), starring Pier Angeli.
Perhaps Zinnemann's best-known work to come out of the 1950's is High Noon (1952), one of the first 25 American films chosen in 1989 for the National Film Registry. With its psychological and moral examinations of its lawman hero Marshall Will Kane, played by Gary Cooper, its allegorical political commentary (on McCarthy-era witch-hunting) and its innovative chronology whereby screen time approximated the 80-minute countdown to the confrontational hour, the film broke the mould of the formulaic shoot-‘em-up western.

For his screen adaptation of the play The Member of the Wedding (1952), Zinnemann chose the 26-year-old Julie Harris as the film's 12-year-old protagonist, although she had created the role on Broadway just as the two other leading actors, Ethel Waters and Brandon deWilde, had.

Zinnemann's next film, From Here to Eternity (1953), based on the novel by James Jones, would go on to win 8 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. Zinnemann fought hard with producer Harry Cohn to cast Montgomery Clift as the character of Prewitt, although Frank Sinatra, who was at the lowest point of his popularity, cast himself in the role of "Maggio" against Zinnemann's wishes. Sinatra would later win an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. From Here to Eternity also featured Deborah Kerr, best known for prim and proper roles, as a philandering Army wife. Donna Reed played the role of Alma "Lorene" Burke, a prostitute and mistress of Montgomery Clift's character which earned her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for 1953.

Oklahoma! (1955), Zinnemann's version of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, is noted for the wide screen format Todd-AO making its debut, as did the film's young star, Shirley Jones. It was followed by A Hatful of Rain (1957), starring Don Murray, Eva Marie Saint and Anthony Franciosa, and based on the play by Michael V. Gazzo.

Zinnemann rounded out the 1950's with The Nun's Story (1959), casting Audrey Hepburn, previously cast in comedic roles, in the role of the anguished Sister Luke.

1960s
The Sundowners (1960), starring Robert Mitchum and Deborah Kerr as an Australian outback husband and wife, led to more Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actress (Kerr) and Best Supporting Actress (Glynis Johns), but won none. Behold A Pale Horse (1964) was a post-Spanish Civil War epic based on the book Killing A Mouse on Sunday by Emeric Pressburger and starred Gregory Peck, Anthony Quinn and Omar Sharif, but was both a critical and commercial flop; Zinnemann would later admit that the film "didn't really come together."

Zinnemann's fortunes changed once again with A Man for All Seasons (1966), scripted by Robert Bolt from his own play and starring Paul Scofield as Sir Thomas More, portraying him as a man driven by conscience to his ultimate fate. The film went on to win six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Scofield) and Best Director, Zinnemann's second such Oscar to date.

After this, Zinnemann was all set to direct an adaptation of Man's Fate for MGM. However, the project was shut down in 1969, and the studio attempted to hold Zinnemann responsible for at least $1 million of the $3.5 million that had already been spent on pre-production. In protest, Zinnemann filed a lawsuit against the studio, and it would be seven years before he would make his next film.

1970s
The cancellation of Man's Fate, according to Zinnemann, "marked the end of an era in picture making and the dawn of a new one, when lawyers and accountants began to replace showmen as head of the studios and when a handshake was a handshake no longer." However, Universal then offered him the chance to direct The Day of the Jackal (1973), based on the best-selling suspense novel by Frederick Forsyth. The film starred Edward Fox as an Englishman who is relentlessly driven to complete his mission to try to kill French president Charles de Gaulle, and Michael Lonsdale as the French detective hired to stop him. Zinnemann was intrigued by the opportunity to direct a film in which the audience would already be able to guess the ending (the Jackal failing his mission), and was pleased when it ultimately became a hit with the public.

The Day of the Jackal was followed four years later by Julia (1977), based on the book Pentimento by Lillian Hellman. The film starred Jane Fonda as Hellman and Vanessa Redgrave as her best friend Julia, a doomed American heiress who forsakes the safety and comfort of great wealth to devote her life to the anti-Nazi cause in Germany. The film was nominated for 11 Academy Awards and won three, for Best Screenplay (Alvin Sargent), Best Supporting Actor (Jason Robards), and Best Supporting Actress for Redgrave, who drew scattered boos on Oscar night for her infamous "Zionist hoodlums" acceptance speech.

1980s
Zinnemann's final film was Five Days One Summer (1982), filmed in Switzerland and based on the short story Maiden, Maiden by Kay Boyle. It starred Sean Connery and Betsy Brantley as a "couple" vacationing in the Alps in the 1930's, and a young Lambert Wilson as a mountain-climbing guide who grows heavily suspicious of their relationship. The film was both a critical and commercial flop, although Zinnemann would be told by various critics in later years that they considered it an underrated achievement.

Final years and death
Zinnemann is often regarded as striking a blow against "ageism" in Hollywood. The story (which may be apocryphal) goes that, in the 1980s, during a meeting with a young Hollywood executive, Zinnemann was surprised to find the executive didn't know who he was, despite having won four Academy Awards, and directing many of Hollywood's biggest films. When the young executive callowly asked Zinnemann to list what he had done in his career, Zinnemann delivered an elegant comeback by reportedly answering, "Sure. You first." In Hollywood, the story is known as "You First," and is often alluded to when veteran creators find that upstarts are unfamiliar with their work.

Zinnemann died of a heart attack in London, England on 14 March 1997. He was 89 years old.

Dan Duryea


Dan Duryea was an American actor, known for roles in film, stage and television.


Brian Aherne




Brian Aherne was a British actor of both stage and screen, who found success in Hollywood.

Early life and stage career
He was born William Brian de Lacy Aherne in King's Norton, Worcestershire, the son of William de Lacy Aherne by his spouse Louise née Thomas. Educated at Edgbaston, Birmingham, he had also carried out some early stage training at Italia Conti Academy in London and had some child roles before completing his education at Malvern College. He first appeared on the stage in Birmingham with the Pilgrim Players (which subsequently developed into the Birmingham Repertory Theatre), on 5 April 1910, in Fifinella; and made his first appearance on the London stage at the Garrick Theatre, 26 December 1913, in Where the Rainbow Ends, a fairy play by Clifford Mills and John Ramsey, with music by Roger Quilter, which ran at various theatres for over 25 years.

He then studied with a view to becoming an architect, but, having had considerable amateur experience in Birmingham, and with Liverpool's Green Room Club, he obtained an engagement under Robert Courtneidge, and appeared at London's Savoy Theatre, opening on 26 December 1923, as Jack O'Hara in a revival of Paddy the Next Best Thing, the play by W. Gayer-Mackay and Robert Ord (from the novel). He then toured with Violet Vanbrugh as Hugo in The Flame, and appeared at the London Playhouse in May 1924 as Langford in Leon Gordon's White Cargo, in which he played all through 1924-25. In 1926 he accompanied Dion Boucicault, Jr. to Australia, where he appeared in several plays by J.M. Barrie: as Valentine Brown in the comedy Quality Street, John Shand in the comedy What Every Woman Knows, Crichton in The Admirable Crichton, Simon and Harry in Mary Rose; and Willocks in Aren't We All? another comedy by Frederick Lonsdale.

Aherne reappeared in London at the Strand in March 1927 again as Langford in White Cargo and continued on the London stage in a succession of plays until late 1930 when he went to America, making his first appearance on the New York stage at the Empire Theatre in New York on 9 February 1931, playing Robert Browning in Rudolph Besier's play The Barretts of Wimpole Street opposite Katharine Cornell. Miss Cornell and Aherne remained lifelong friends and he played in many of her subsequent productions. He was back in London in 1934 but returned that year to New York, where he appeared in December at the Martin Beck Theatre as Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet, with Katharine Cornell. He continued his stage appearances during his film career, which he commenced in 1924 in silent film.

Film and television career
Aherne made his talkie debut in Madame Guillotine (1931). After a few more British talkies he moved on to lead roles in Hollywood, where he made over thirty films, including I Live My Life (1935), the multi-Oscar nominated brilliant ditzy comedy Merrily We Live (1938), Oscar-nominated for his role as Emperor Maxmilian in Juarez (1939), Vigil in the Night (1940), his best film, the 1948 psychological film noir, The Locket, Titanic (1953), and The Best of Everything (1959). In 1945, he played sleuth Simon Templar in the radio mystery series, The Saint.

Aherne also appeared in many TV theatrical series, including General Electric Theater, The Twilight Zone, and Rawhide. He also appeared as guest host on the TV panel show The Name's the Same.
Aherne published his autobiography A Proper Job in 1969, as well as A Dreadful Man (1979), a biography of his friend George Sanders.

Personal life and death
Between 1939 and 1945, Aherne was married to actress Joan Fontaine, which ended in divorce. He then married Eleanor de Liagre Labrot. He was the brother of actor Patrick Aherne.

Aherne died of heart failure in Venice, Florida, USA at the age of 83. Brian Aherne was honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1772 Vine Street.

Fred Korematsu



Fred Toyosaburo Korematsu was one of the many Japanese-American citizens living on the West Coast during World War II. Shortly after the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, authorizing the Secretary of War and his military commanders to require all Japanese Americans be removed from designated "military areas" and placed in internment camps. When such orders were issued for the West Coast, Korematsu instead became a fugitive. The legality of the internment order was upheld by the United States Supreme Court in Korematsu v. United States, but Korematsu's conviction was overturned decades later after the disclosure of new evidence, challenging the necessity of the Japanese internment, which had been withheld from the courts by the U.S. government during the war.

To commemorate his journey as a civil rights activist, the "Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution" was observed for first time on January 30, 2011, by the state of California, and first such commemoration for an Asian American in the US.

President Ronald Reagan





Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States, serving from 1981 to 1989. Prior to that, he was the 33rd Governor of California from 1967 to 1975 and a radio, film and television actor.

Born in Tampico, Illinois and raised in Dixon, Reagan was educated at Eureka College, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and sociology. After his graduation, Reagan moved first to Iowa to work as a radio broadcaster and then in to Los Angeles in 1937 where he began a career as an actor, first in films and later television. Some of his most notable films include Knute Rockne, All American, Kings Row, and Bedtime for Bonzo. Reagan served as president of the Screen Actors Guild, and later as a spokesman for General Electric (GE); his start in politics occurred during his work for GE. Originally a member of the Democratic Party, his positions began shifting rightward in the late 1950s, and he switched to the Republican Party in 1962. After delivering a rousing speech in support of Barry Goldwater's presidential candidacy in 1964, he was persuaded to seek the California governorship, winning two years later and again in 1970. He was defeated in his run for the Republican presidential nomination in 1968 as well as 1976, but won both the nomination and general election in 1980, defeating incumbent Jimmy Carter.

As president, Reagan implemented sweeping new political and economic initiatives. His supply-side economic policies, dubbed "Reaganomics", advocated reducing tax rates to spur economic growth, controlling the money supply to reduce inflation, deregulation of the economy, and reducing government spending. In his first term he survived an assassination attempt, took a hard line against labor unions, and ordered an invasion of Grenada. He was reelected in a landslide in 1984, proclaiming that it was "Morning in America." His second term was primarily marked by foreign matters, such as the ending of the Cold War, the 1986 bombing of Libya, and the revelation of the Iran-Contra affair. Publicly describing the Soviet Union as an "evil empire," he supported anti-communist movements worldwide and spent his first term forgoing the strategy of détente by ordering a massive military buildup in an arms race with the USSR. Reagan negotiated with Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev, culminating in the INF Treaty and the decrease of both countries' nuclear arsenals.

Reagan left office in 1989. In 1994, the former president disclosed that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease earlier in the year; he died ten years later at the age of 93. He ranks highly in public opinion polls of U.S. Presidents and is credited for generating an ideological renaissance on the American political right.

Albert Bachmann



Albert "Bert" Bachmann was a Swiss military intelligence officer.

Early life
Bachmann was born in Albisrieden and worked as a printer after leaving school at age 14. As a young man he flirted with communism, joining the youth wing of the PdA. Following the 1948 Communist seizure of power in Czechslovakia, he changed course and became strongly patriotic. While doing his military service he applied for officer training, and went into military intelligence.

Civil Defence booklet controversy
In 1968, he was the lead author of an official civil defence booklet that was distributed throughout the country which provided instructions on how to respond to invasion, through the character of "Wilhelm Eiferli". Its warning of the danger from collaborationist elements in the Swiss Left made it the subject of national debate. 'Défense civile' has since been translated for distribution in Japan and Egypt; an attempt by Franco's Spain to buy the right to publish the book was rebuffed by the Swiss military. Bachmann was not involved in the subsequent political controversy- he was on a undercover mission in the Republic of Biafra, a small nation struggling for independence from Nigeria.

Return to Swizterland
In 1976, he was promoted to the rank of Colonel, heading up the intelligence and defense subsection of the Federal Military Department. He had control of three clandestine units, Bureau Ha, a foreign intelligence unit, an Extraordinary Intelligence agency, which monitored internal threats, and Special Service D (Spec D), a organization formed to provide the basis of resistance to an occupation. Expanding Spec D, Bachmann formed Projekt-26, a more widely capable unit. He bought the Liss Ard country estate in Cork, Ireland as a retreat for a Swiss government-in-exile in the event of an invasion.

The Schilling incident
In November 1979 Austrian police arrested Kurt Schilling, who was charged with spying on Austrian troops on exercise near Sankt Pölten. As the Austrian government had invited observers from Eastern Europe, it was not clear why he was there. He insisted that he was Swiss and during his trial, he revealed that his mission was to judge how long Austrian forces could last in the case of a Soviet invasion. Due to Schillings' ineptness the judge showed leniency, sentencing him to a five month suspended sentence and deportation.

 Die Presse nicknamed him "the spy who came in from the Emmentaler".

in 1979 Bachmann was forced to take early retirement, and an inquiry by politicians exposed many of his contingency plans to the public. The Swiss government sold Liss Ard in the early 1980s, but Bachmann continued to live around the Cork region following his departure from Switzerland. He ran a riding school in the area for a number of years.

Ralph McQuarrie


Ralph Angus McQuarrie was an American conceptual designer and illustrator who designed the original Star Wars trilogy, the original Battlestar Galactica TV series, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Cocoon, for which he won an Academy Award.

Early Life
McQuarrie was born Ralph Angus McQuarrie on June 13, 1929 in Gary, Indiana and was raised on a farm near Billings, Montana. He served in the United States Army during the Korean War, surviving a shot to the head. After returning from the war, McQuarrie moved to California in the 1960s, studying at the Art Center School, then in downtown Los Angeles. Initially he worked for a dentistry firm, drawing teeth and equipment, before working as a technical illustrator for Boeing, as well designing film posters and animating CBS News's coverage of the Apollo space program at the three-man company Reel Three. While there, McQuarrie was asked by Hal Barwood to produce some illustrations for a film project he and Matthew Robbins were starting.

Career
Impressed with his work, director George Lucas met with him to discuss his plans for a space-fantasy film. Several years later, in 1975, Lucas commissioned McQuarrie to illustrate several scenes from the script of the film, Star Wars. McQuarrie designed many of the film's characters, including Darth Vader, Chewbacca, R2-D2 and C-3PO and drew many concepts for the film's sets. It was McQuarrie who suggested that Vader wear breathing apparatus. McQuarrie's concept paintings, including such scenes as R2-D2 and C-3PO arriving on Tatooine, helped convince 20th Century Fox to fund Star Wars, which became a huge success upon release in 1977. Neil Kendricks of The San Diego Union-Tribune stated McQuarrie "holds a unique position when it comes to defining much of the look of the "Star Wars" universe." McQuarrie noted, "I thought I had the best job that an artist ever had on a film, and I had never worked on a feature film before. [...] I still get fan mail — people wondering if I worked on Episode I or just wanting to have my autograph."

McQuarrie went on to work as the conceptual designer on the film's two sequels The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983).

Christian Blauvelt of Entertainment Weekly praised McQuarrie's works as "pioneering of the 'used future' aesthetic" which unlike other science-fiction, "imagined a lived-in galaxy that was gritty, dirty, and in advance states of decay." He described McQuarrie's style as "strongly geometric subjects rendered in muted colors against a flat, purposefully compressed backdrop. A McQuarrie Star Wars design looks like what would have resulted if Salvador Dali had sketched concepts for Universals 1936 Flash Gordon serial by way of Sergio Leones Old West."

McQuarrie played the uncredited role of General Pharl McQuarrie in The Empire Strikes Back. He appears in Echo Base on Hoth in the film's opening sequence. An action figure in his likeness as "General McQuarrie" was produced for Star Wars 30th anniversary. Action figures based on McQuarrie's concept art, including conceptual versions of the Imperial Stormtrooper, Chewbacca, R2-D2 and C-3PO, Darth Vader, Han Solo, Boba Fett, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda and other characters have also been made.

McQuarrie designed the alien ships in Steven Spielberg's films Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), while his work as the conceptual artist on the 1985 film Cocoon earned him the Academy Award for Visual Effects. He also worked on the 1978 TV series Battlestar Galactica, and the films Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and *batteries not included.


Retirement and death
Rick McCallum offered McQuarrie a role as designer for the Star Wars prequel trilogy, but he rejected the offer, noting he had "run out of steam" and Industrial Light & Magic animator Doug Chiang was appointed instead. McQuarrie retired and his Star Wars concept paintings were subsequently displayed in art exhibitions, including the 1999 Star Wars: The Magic of Myth. Several of McQuarrie's unused designs from the original trilogy were utilized for the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated TV series, including the planet Orto Plutonia, which was based on McQuarrie's original design of Hoth.

McQuarrie died aged 82 on March 3, 2012, in his Berkeley, California home, from complications of Parkinson’s disease.

Tennessee Ernie Ford




Ernest Jennings Ford, better known as Tennessee Ernie Ford, was an American recording artist and television host who enjoyed success in the country and Western, pop, and gospel musical genres.


Early years
Born in Bristol, Tennessee, to Clarence Thomas Ford and Maud Long, Ford began his radio career as an announcer at WOPI-AM in Bristol, Tennessee. In 1939, the young bass-baritone left the station to study classical singing at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music in Ohio. First Lieutenant Ford served in World War II as the bombardier on a B-29 Superfortress flying missions over Japan. After the war, Ford worked at radio stations in San Bernardino and Pasadena, California. In San Bernardino, Ford was hired as a radio announcer. He was assigned to host an early morning country music disc jockey program titled Bar Nothin' Ranch Time. 


To differentiate himself, he created the personality of "Tennessee Ernie," a wild, madcap exaggerated hillbilly. He became popular in the area and was soon hired away by Pasadena's KXLA radio. Ford also did musical tours. The Mayfield Brothers of West Texas, including Smokey Mayfield, Thomas Edd Mayfield, and Herbert Mayfield, were among Ford's warmup bands, having played for him in concerts in Amarillo and Lubbock, Texas, during the late 1940s. At KXLA, Ford continued doing the same show and also joined the cast of Cliffie Stone's popular live KXLA country show Dinner Bell Roundup as a vocalist while still doing the early morning broadcast. Cliffie Stone, a part-time talent scout for Capitol Records, brought him to the attention of the label. In 1949, while still doing his morning show, he signed a contract with Capitol. He also became a local TV star as the star of Stone's popular Southern California Hometown Jamboree show. RadiOzark produced 260 15-minute episodes of The Tennessee Ernie Show on transcription disks for national radio syndication.


He released almost 50 country singles through the early 1950s, several of which made the charts. Many of his early records, including "The Shotgun Boogie", "Blackberry Boogie," and so on were exciting, driving boogie-woogie records featuring accompaniment by the Hometown Jamboree band which included Jimmy Bryant on lead guitar and pioneer pedal steel guitarist Speedy West. "I'll Never Be Free," a duet pairing Ford with Capitol Records pop singer Kay Starr, became a huge country and pop crossover hit in 1950. A duet with Ella Mae Morse, False Hearted Girl was a top seller for the Capitol Country and Hillbilly division, and has been evaluated as an early tune.


Ford eventually ended his KXLA morning show and in the early 1950s, moved on from Hometown Jamboree. He took over from band-leader Kay Kyser as host of the TV version of NBC quiz show Kollege of Musical Knowledge when it returned briefly in 1954 after a four-year hiatus. He became a household name in the U.S. largely as a result of his hilarious portrayal of the 'country bumpkin,' "Cousin Ernie" on three episodes of I Love Lucy.


In 1955, Ford recorded "Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier" with "Farewell to the Mountains" on side B.


Ford scored an unexpected hit on the pop charts in 1955 with his rendition of Merle Travis' "Sixteen Tons", a sparsely arranged coal-miner's lament that Travis wrote in 1946, based on his own family's experience in the mines of Muhlenberg County, Kentucky. Its fatalistic tone contrasted vividly with the sugary pop ballads and rock & roll just starting to dominate the charts at the time.


With a unique clarinet-driven pop arrangement by Ford's musical director, Jack Fascinato, "Sixteen Tons" spent ten weeks at number one on the country charts and eight weeks at number one on the pop charts, and made Ford a crossover star. It became Ford's 'signature song.'


Later years
Ford subsequently helmed his own prime-time variety program, The Ford Show, which ran on NBC television from October 4, 1956, to June 29, 1961. In an ironic play of words, the show was named not after Ernie, but rather, the sponsor—Ford automobiles. Ford Theatre, an anthology series, had run in the same time slot on NBC in the preceding 1955–1956 season. Ford's program was notable for the inclusion of a religious song at the end of every show; Ford insisted on this despite objections from network officials who feared it might provoke controversy. This became the most popular segment of his show. He earned the nickname "The Ol' Pea-Picker" due to his catch-phrase, "Bless your pea-pickin' heart!" He began using the term during his disc jockey days on KXLA.


In 1956 he released Hymns, his first gospel music album, which remained on Billboard's Top Album charts for 277 consecutive weeks; his album "Great Gospel Songs" won a Grammy Award in 1964. After the NBC show ended, Ford moved his family to Portola Valley in Northern California. He also owned a cabin near Grandjean, Idaho on the upper South Fork of the Payette River where he would regularly retreat.
A photo of Ford with country singer Hank Thompson and Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby appeared in the 1988 book, The Ruby-Oswald Affair, by Alan Adelson.


From 1962-65, Ford hosted a daytime talk/variety show, The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show (later known as Hello, Peapickers) from KGO-TV in San Francisco, broadcast over the ABC television network.


Ford was the spokesman for the Pontiac Furniture Company in Pontiac, Illinois in the 1970s.
Ford's experiences as a navigator and bombardier in World War II led to his involvement with the Confederate Air Force (now the Commemorative Air Force), a war plane preservation group in Texas. He was a featured announcer and celebrity guest at the annual CAF Airshow in Harlingen, Texas, from 1976 to 1988. He donated a once-top-secret Norden Bombsight to the CAF's B-29 bomber restoration project. In the late 1970s, as a CAF colonel, Ford recorded the organization's theme song "Ballad of the Ghost Squadron."


Over the years, Ford was awarded three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, for radio, records, and television. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1984, and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1990.


 On September 28, 1991, he fell into severe liver failure at Dulles Airport, shortly after leaving a state dinner at the White House hosted by then President George H. W. Bush. Ford died in H. C. A. Reston Hospital Center, in Reston, Virginia, on October 17, 1991 exactly 36 years after "Sixteen Tons" was released, and one day shy of the first anniversary of his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Ford was interred at Alta Mesa Memorial Park, Palo Alto, California.

Horatio Walker



Horatio Walker was a respected and commercially successful Canadian painter. He worked in oils and watercolors, often depicting scenes of rural life in Canada. He was highly influenced by the French Barbizon school of painting.

Early life
Horatio Walker was born in 1858 to parents Thomas and Jeanne Maurice Walker. Thomas Walker emigrated in 1856 from Yorkshire, England, to Listowel, Ontario, with his wife of French and English heritage. Having some wealth, Thomas purchased land for lumber in Midwestern Ontario and Horatio was raised in relative comfort. His interest in art may originate from his father who crafted small figures as a hobby, and both his father and the local school teacher encouraged drawing as a pastime.

In 1870, on Walker’s 12th birthday, his father brought him to Quebec City, Quebec, for the first time. His father made occasional business trips to the city as part of his timber business. During this sojourn, they visited the Île d'Orléans, in search of pine timber. Walker made subsequent visits to Quebec City during the following years. His formal schooling ended at the Listowel Public School in 1872; he never went on to pursue formal academic training in art. At the age of 15, Walker moved to Toronto, Ontario to apprentice with the photographic firm Notman and Fraser. It was a fortunate opportunity, as several successful artists worked also there; Walker learned watercolour from Robert Gagnon, miniature portrait painting from John Fraser, and painting from Lucius O’Brien and Henri Perré.

Mature life and career
Walker was only at the firm for three years until he moved to the United States of America for uncertain reasons. Writing in 1928, Hector Charlesworth suggested that Walker was, “chucked down the stairs” and fired for quarrelling with a family relative. However, it is more likely that Walker travelled to Philadelphia for the American Centennial in 1876, an exhibition where Notman and Fraser won the international award, which privileged the firm with exclusive photographic rights for the celebrations. Ultimately, Walker may have decided to stay and pursue painting.

During the period of Walker’s life around 1878, he would have become familiar with the painters of the Barbizon school, which were at the time, exhibited in American museums and galleries. In 1880, Walker made an extended trip to Europe to learn more about the Barbizon methods, and its agrarian subject matter, that would come to define his painting for the rest of his life.

What happened with Walker during the two following years remains vague, but in 1878, he opened a studio in New York City. During the 1880s, Walker’s parents moved to Rochester, New York, and Walker participated in the founding of the Rochester Art Club. A further sign of Walker’s growing success was an invitation to join the American Watercolour membership in 1882. In 1883 he married Jeanette Pretty (d. 1938) of Toronto. They had two children, Alice (1884–1891) and Horatio Jr. (1886–1910). It was sometime during this period that Walker purchased a residence on Île d'Orléans in the village of Sainte-Pétronille. From now on until his retirement, Walker would spend his summers in Quebec and winters in his New York City studio.

Walker’s personal life was disastrous: his daughter died of diphtheria, his son of tuberculosis and his wife Jeanette, was committed to hospital permanently in 1914 due to paranoia. These tragedies do not seem influence his painting; Walker’s subject matter and style remained constant throughout this career without much variation.

Memberships and organizations
Walker was a member of several artists' organizations, including the American Watercolor Society (1882), the Royal Canadian Academy of Art (associate member in 1883, full member in 1913), the Society of American Artists (1887), the National Academy of Design (associate member in 1890, full member in 1891), and the British Institute of Watercolours (1901). He was a founding member of the Canadian Art Club, which elected him as its president in 1915. In 1928 he officially retired and moved to Sainte-Pétronille, Quebec. He died there on September 27, 1938.

Awards and prizes
Gold medals, American Art Gallery, New York (1887, 1889)
Evans Prize, American Watercolor Society (1888)
Bronze medal, World Exposition, Paris, France (1889)
Gold medal, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, Illinois (1893)
Gold medal, Pan-American Exposition, Buffalo, New York (1901)
Gold medal, Charleston Exposition, Charleston, South Carolina (1902)
Two gold medals (for oil and watercolor), Louisiana Purchase Exposition, St. Louis, Missouri (1904)
Medal of honor, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1906)
First prize, Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, Massachusetts (1907)
Gold medal, Pan-Pacific International Exposition, San Francisco, California (1915)

He was awarded honorary doctorates from the University of Toronto (1916) and Université Laval, Québec City (1938).

Reginald Denny



Reginald Denny was an English stage, film and television actor. He was once an amateur boxing champion of Great Britain.

Born Reginald Leigh Dugmore in Richmond, Surrey, England, he began his stage career at age seven in "The Royal Family" and in The Merry Widow at age 16. years later he joined an opera company as a baritone, and toured India. After continuing his stage career in America, his film career started in 1915 with the old World Film Company and he made films both in the United States and Britain until the 1960s. He came from a theatrical family which went to the U.S. in 1912 to appear in the stage production Quaker Girl. His father was the actor and singer W.H. Denny. Reginald became friends with actor John Barrymore and appeared in Barrymore's acclaimed 1920 Broadway production of Richard III.

Denny was a well-known actor in silent films and with the advent of talkies, he became a character actor. He played the lead role in a number of his earlier films, generally as a comedic Englishman in such works as Private Lives, and later had reasonably steady work as a supporting actor in dozens of films, including The Little Minister (1934) with Katharine Hepburn, Anna Karenina (1935) with Greta Garbo, Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca (1940) and the Frank Sinatra crime caper film Assault on a Queen (1966). His last role was in Batman (1966) as Commodore Schmidlapp. He made frequent appearances in television during the 1950s and 1960s.

He served as an observer/gunner in World War I in the Royal Flying Corps, and in the 1920s he performed as a stunt pilot. In the early 1930s, Denny became interested in radio controlled model planes. He and his business partners formed Reginald Denny Industries and opened a model plane shop in 1934 known as Reginald Denny Hobby Shops. Denny bought a plane design from Walter Righter in 1938 and began marketing it as the "Dennyplane", and a model engine called the "Dennymite". In 1940, Denny and his partners won a US Army contract for their radio-controlled target drone, the OQ-2 Radioplane. They manufactured nearly fifteen thousand drones for the US Army during World War II. The company was purchased by Northrop in 1952.

Reginald Denny died on 16 June 1967, aged 75, after suffering a stroke, while visiting his native England. He is buried at Forest Lawn - Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles, California.