Tuesday, June 16, 2009


I used to do this all the time, almost every day, back when I started blogging and for about a year or two after- it takes a minimum of effort (image searching takes the most time) and provides a little blogfodder when you don't have anything else in mind to write, something which has happened to me with dismaying frequency lately. Perhaps it's time I started doing them again. So, how about some recent birthdays that have a little resonance for me:

My Forties inamorata, Priscilla Lane, would have been 94 last Friday. Above, you can see her in a screencap from what is probably her best-known film, Arsenic and Old Lace, made in 1941 but not released till 1944 due to the popularity of the stage version. Many will recognize her from the Hitchcock film she made as well, 1942's Saboteur. She had an energy and vivaciousness that lit up any movie she appeared in, and a certain outgoing quality that made her a natural for "good gal" kinds of parts, even though I bet she could have played the "bad girl" if she wanted. She didn't make too many more films after that; she had an independent streak, it seems, and didn't play well with the studio system of the time, which makes me love her all the more. It's a pity that Turner Classic Movies, which at least screens her films from time to time, won't dedicate an evening to her or recognize her in some fashion. At this point, I could direct you to the Priscilla Lane Picture Gallery, but due to the dismantling of Geocities, its owner is in the process of moving all the pics to the Priscilla Lane Fan Club Yahoo! Group, which will require you to join in order to see them. Because I've written about her on numerous occasions in the past, I got an email a year or two ago from Priscilla's granddaughter, who was looking for online pics of her grandma. I directed her to that site, and was really geeked for about a week...

Yesterday would have been the 68th birthday of Harry Nilsson. My love for Harry's music knows no bounds, ever since getting the 45 of "Coconut" when I was 11, and also loving the B-side "Down". The first album I bought came a few years later, 1974's Pussy Cats, which got my attention because of John Lennon's name in the production credits. After that, I picked up everything I could get my hands on, including what is still my favorite LP of his, Son of Schmilsson, which had a couple of tracks that featured his rowdy good humor side to career-derailing effect. Be that as it may, it showed every facet of his multi-faceted musical abilities, from vulgar to sweet, sometimes in the same song. To this day, rarely does a week go by that I don't listen to some Nilsson somewhere. He left us all too early. A good place to go if you want to get acquainted with Harry is the For the Love of Harry blog, dedicated to all things Nilssony.

Yesterday was also the 64th birthday of one of my all-time favorite comics writers, Don McGregor (left in picture), who, unlike the other two BSBdG nominees, is thankfully still with us. As I've written many times here, McGregor wrote one of my absolute favorite comics series, War of the Worlds featuring Killraven, his verbose style adding a sense of high drama to the proceedings, ably assisted by an up-and-coming young P. Craig Russell, Herb Trimpe and Gene Colan on earlier issues, and others. I came to his other great 70's work, Jungle Action featuring the Black Panther, a bit late (the first issue I chose to buy was the last one he wrote!), but I soon made up for that by scouring the quarter boxes and back issue bins of that new phenomenon, the comics store. I really wish Marvel would release a TPB of "Panther's Rage". The above pic was found on McGregor's Facebook page.

That's all for now! Maybe I'll even post some whose birthday is today!

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