Cracked Rear Viewer’s 2016 Year in Review

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It’s time to take a look back on the first full year of Cracked Rear Viewer. Begun in June 2015, CRV has certainly grown in readership. While not the biggest film and entertainment blog around, I’ve gained over 300 followers, with 19,912 views from 12,006 visitors. Can we crack the 20,000 mark before the New Year’s Ball drops?

The biggest month was October, when I do my annual “Halloween Havoc!” marathon, posting a horror film review a day (along with other terror-related tidbits). This is a labor of love for me, and I started working on it in August to keep up with the hectic pace. Still, by the end of the month I was scrambling to complete. The stats tell me it was worth it, and I thank all you Dear Readers for your support.

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What were the top posts this year? It was a virtual tie between two distinctively different movies: the John Ford/John Wayne classic STAGECOACH  and Bert I. Gordon’s no-budget ATTACK OF THE PUPPET PEOPLE  , proving you Dear Readers have as diverse tastes as I do! John Wayne showed up again in his final film THE SHOOTIST  , and I can assure you we haven’t seen the last of the Duke here! My running series CLEANING OUT THE DVR proved popular, as Part 7(Film Noir Festival ) and Part 4 (B-Movie Roundup! ) both made the top ten viewed posts. Newer posts like THE INCREDIBLE MR. LIMPET,  THE FRENCH CONNECTION, THE BEGUILED,  and PHILIP MARLOWE, TV Detective  made the list, as did a few favorites from 2015, CASABLANCA,  PENELOPE,  and THE KENTUCKY FRIED MOVIE.

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The good ol’ USA tops the list of viewers by country, followed by Germany, France, the UK, Canada, Brazil, Australia, Spain, Italy, and Norway. There have been views everywhere from Algiers to Zimbabwe, with many more all over the globe. I’ve received referrals from Facebook, Twitter, IMDb (and its German counterpart OFDb), and my good friends at THROUGH THE SHATTERED LENS  , where I gladly share my content with a staff of loaded with solid writers (follow that link and visit us!). I never dreamed I’d have so many readers across the globe, and I’m grateful to you all for making this project a success. I’m looking forward to new challenges in 2017, and hope you’ll all join me for “Fresh Takes On Retro Pop Culture” in the year to come. Have a Happy and Safe New Year, and my sincere thanks to you Dear Readers! You make my efforts worthwhile!

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2016 IN MEMORIAM (S through Z)

This is the final entry in our tribute to those artists, entertainers, and pop culture figures who passed away in 2016. Let’s all hope the 2017 list is much, much shorter.

Veteran CBS News journalist Morley Safer (“60 Minutes”)

Actress Theresa Saldana (“Raging Bull”, “The Commish”)

DC comic book letterist Gaspar Saladino

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Actor Joe Santos (“The Rockford Files”)

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Prolific character actor William Schallert

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Horror star Angus Scrimm (the “Phantasm” series)

Comedian/actor Garry Shandling

Grand Ole Opry star Jean Shepherd

Actress Madeleine Sherwood (“The Flying Nun”)

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Actor/singer/conductor Frank Sinatra Jr.

MMA fighter Kimbo Slice

Actor James Stacy (“Lancer”)

Singer Kay Starr (“Wheel of Fortune”)

Music & film producer Robert Stigwood

ruthGolden Age actress Ruth Terry

Actor/host Alan Thicke (“Growing Pains”, “Thicke of the Night”)

Television producer/executive Grant Tinker

Futurist writer Alvin Toffler (“Future Shock”)

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Mexican actress Lupita Tovar (1931’s Spanish language “Dracula”)

jtChild actor Jerry Tucker of Our Gang

vanitySinger/actress Vanity

pvBritish character actor Peter Vaughn (“Game of Thrones”)

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 Actor Robert Vaughn (“The Man from UNCLE”, “The Magnificent Seven”)

 Southern rocker Jimmie Van Zandt

Singer Bobby Vee (“Rubber Ball”, “Take Good Care of My Baby”)

Actor Abe Vigoda (“The Godfather”, “Barney Miller”, “Fish”)

Voice actress Janet Waldo (Judy of “The Jetsons”)

Author Bill Warren (the seminal “Keep Watching the Skies”)

Earth Wind & Fire Maurice White 1981 (Photo by Chris Walter/WireImage)

Maurice White of Earth, Wind, & Fire

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The fabulous Gene Wilder

Charlton Comic artist George Wildman (“Popeye”)

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Actor Van Williams (“The Green Hornet”)

Actor Douglas Wilmer (“The Golden Voyage of Sinbad”, “The Vampire Lovers”, British  TV’s “Sherlock Holmes”)

Musician Bernie Worrell (Parliament-Funkadelic, Talking Heads)

Porn star/heavy metal icon Tera Wray

Singer Glenn Yarbrough (“Baby, the Rain Must Fall”)

CAR & DRIVER editor/screenwriter Brock Yates (“The Cannonball Run”)

STAR TREK

Actor Anton Yelchin (“Star Trek”)

alanyActor Alan Young (“The Time Machine”,   TV’s “Mr. Ed”, voice of Scrooge McDuck)

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TV Horror Host Zacherley

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Cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmund

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Cajun music legend Buckwheat Zydeco

May The Force be with them all.

RIP The Unsinkable Debbie Reynolds

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One day after the tragic death of her daughter Carrie Fisher, the unsinkable Debbie Reynolds has passed at age 84. I’m not going to update my previous IN MEMORIAM  post; Miss Reynolds deserves a post of her own.

Full shot of illustration of Gene Kelly as Don Lockwood, Debbie Reynolds as Kathy Selden, and Donald O'Connor as Cosmo Brown walking together in rain, holding umbrellas during the opening musical number "Singin' In The Rain."

One of the last of the old studio contract players, Debbie got good notices in such musical films as THE DAUGHTER OF ROSIE O’GRADY, THREE LITTLE WORDS, and TWO WEEKS WITH LOVE, but it’s her role as Kathy Seldon in SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN that made her a star. This joyful ode to the transition from silent movies to sound isn’t just my favorite musical, it’s one of my favorite films ever! Debbie shines as the ingénue forced to lip-synch for catty star Lina Lamont (the wonderful Jean Hagen), and more than holds her own in the dancing and clowning departments with Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor. Like CASABLANCA and CITIZEN KANE, SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN is a perfect movie, and 20  year old Debbie played a big part in making it a dream come true for film fans.

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More hits followed: THE AFFAIRS OF DOBIE GILLIS, SUSAN SLEPT HERE , THE TENDER TRAP, THE CATERED AFFAIR (a dramatic change-of-pace costarring Bette Davis), BUNDLE OF JOY. Another signature role was up next as Debbie portrayed backwoods tomgirl Tammy Tyree in the romantic comedy TAMMY AND THE BACHELOR, singing the hit title tune as well:

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1964’s THE UNSINKABLE MOLLY BROWN brought Debbie her first (and only) Oscar nomination in this adaptation of the award-winning Broadway musical. Her output slowed down as the decade wore on, and Debbie did more television and stage work, garnering a Tony nomination for the 1973 revival IRENE. She kept busy in Vegas, amassed a huge collection of Hollywood memorabilia, and was given the honorary Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Oscar in 2015 for her work in raising awareness on mental health issues (daughter Carrie suffered from bipolar disorder).

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Debbie Reynolds had her share of tragedies and scandals… first husband Eddie Fisher had a notorious affair with Elizabeth Taylor, resulting in divorce, and second husband Harry Karl’s gambling addiction almost bankrupted her. Her difficulties dealing with Carrie’s mental health and drug issues have been well documented. But through it all, Debbie Reynolds kept smiling and moving forward, a true star not only of show biz, but a star of life. This final tragedy of Carrie’s death was more than she could take, however. Bless you, Debbie Reynolds, I hope you find peace at long last.

 

2016 IN MEMORIAM Part 3 (L through R)

Continuing to pay tribute to those who have departed in 2016:

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Musician Greg Lake of King Crimson and ELP

50’s crooner Julius LaRosa

Cartoonist Mell Lazarus (“Miss Peach”)

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Actress Madeleine LeBeau (“Casablanca”)

Author Harper Lee (“To Kill A Mockingbird”)

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Grindhouse director Herschell Gordon Lewis 

Character actor Richard Libertini (“The In-Laws”, “Fletch”)

Singer/songwriter John D. Loudermilk

Rockabilly guitarist Lonnie Mack

ECW wrestler Balls Mahoney

Actor David Margulies (“Ghostbusters”)

Actor Don Marshall (“Land of the Giants”, “The Thing with Two Heads”)

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Producer/director/writer/actor Garry Marshall

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Beatles record producer Sir George Martin

Soap villain Joseph Mascolo (Stefano on “Days Of Our Lives”)

Singer Gayle McCormick of Smith (“Baby It’s You”)

Comedian Kevin Meaney

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Singer George Michael

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Grindhouse filmmaker Ted V. Mikels (“The Astro-Zombies”, “The Corpse Grinders”)

Film noir actress Kristine Miller (“I Walk Alone”, “Too Late For Tears” )

Actor/singer Mike Minor (“Petticoat Junction”)

smScotty Moore, guitarist for Elvis Presley

Actress Michele Morgan (“Higher and Higher”, “Passage to Marseille”)

Wrestler Blackjack Mulligan

Warhol superstar Billy Name

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TV’s Lois Lane, Noel Neill

Soap Opera writer/creator Agnes Nixon (“All My Children”)

‘Singer Behind the Stars’ Marni Nixon (Deborah Kerr in “The King and I”, Natalie Wood in “West Side Story”, Audrey Hepburn in “My Fair Lady”, so many more)

Hugh O'Brian, US actor, in costume leaning against a post, with a horse in the background, in a publicity portrait issued for the US television series, 'The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp', USA, circa 1958. The western series starred O'Brian as 'Marshall Wyatt Earp'. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

Actor Hugh O’Brian (“The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp”)

Actor Kevin O’Morrison (“The Set Up”,  “Sleepless in Seattle”)

Golfing legend Arnold Palmer

MLB pitcher Milt Pappas

Singer Billy Paul (“Me & Mrs. Jones”)

Singer/record producer Gary S. Paxton (“Alley Oop”, “The Monster Mash”)

MLB second baseman Tony Phillips

Actor Jon Polito (“Miller’s Crossing”, “The Big Lebowski”, “Homicide: Life on the Streets”)

prince2The simply amazing Prince

Songwriter Curly Putnam (“Green, Green Grass of Home”)

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Actress and former First Lady Nancy Davis Reagan

Singer/songwriter Mack Rice (“Mustang Sally”)

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Actor Alan Rickman

Actress Doris Roberts (“Everybody Loves Raymond”)

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‘Master of Time and Space’, musician Leon Russell

NFL coaching legend Buddy Ryan

(to be concluded tomorrow… )

2016 IN MEMORIAM Part 2 (F through K)

Continuing the roll call of those in arts & entertainment taken from us in 2016. Sadly, another name has been just been added to this list. RIP Carrie Fisher.

Singer Joey Feek

Actor Abel Fernandez (TV’s “The Untouchables”)

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Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez

Actor Frank Finlay (“The Three Musketeers”)

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‘Princess Leia’, actress/author Carrie Fisher

Jazz clarinetist Pete Fountain

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 02: Glenn Frey of The Eagles performs live for fans at Qantas Credit Union Arena on March 2, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Don Arnold/WireImage)

Glenn Frey of The Eagles

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Iconic nurse Greta Zimmer Friedman

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Character actor Bernard Fox (“Bewitched”, “Hogan’s Heroes”)

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Wrestling’s Mr. Fuji

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Actress/socialite Zsa Zsa Gabor

Actress Rita Gam (“The Thief”, “No Exit”, “Klute” )

Major League catcher/announcer Joe Garagiola

Actress Lisa Gaye (“Rock Around the Clock” )

Actor Ron Glass (“Barney Miller”)

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Astronaut/U.S. Senator/American Hero John Glenn

Wrestler Archie Gouldie, aka The Mongolian Stomper

Singer Gogi Grant (“The Wayward Wind”)

Broadway & Hollywood actress Tammy Grimes

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Country legend Merle Haggard

Actor Dan Haggerty (“Grizzly Adams”)

Director Guy Hamilton (“Goldfinger”)

Writer Earl Hamner Jr (“The Twilight Zone”, “The Waltons”)

Director Curtis Hanson (“LA Confidential”)

Director Robin Hardy (“The Wicker Man”)

Comic actor Pat Harrington Jr (“One Day at a Time”)

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Singer/actress Florence Henderson (“The Brady Bunch”)

Musician Dan Hicks (of Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks)

Director Arthur Hiller (“Love Story”, “Silver Streak”)

Actor Ken Howard (“The White Shadow”)

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NHL legend Gordie Howe

Actor Robert Horton (“Wagon Train”)

Character actor David Huddleston (“The Big Lebowski”)

MLB Hall of Famer Monte Irvin

Actress Anne Jackson (“The Secret Life of an American Wife”, “The Shining”)

Country singer Sonny James (“Young Love”)

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Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane/Starship

Comic actor Marvin Kaplan (“Top Cat”, “Alice”)

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Academy Award winner George Kennedy (“Cool Hand Luke”,  “The Naked Gun”)

Child star Tommy Kelly (“The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”)

Baseball novelist W.P. Kinsella (“Shoeless Joe”, adapted onscreen as “Field of Dreams”)

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Actor Burt Kwouk (Cato in the Pink Panther films)

to be continued….

2016 IN MEMORIAM (Part 1, A through E)

This past year, the Grim Reaper took a bumper crop from the worlds of film, television, music, sports, literature, and pop culture. Here at Cracked Rear Viewer, we salute those men and women who in some way touched our lives:

Television director Norman Abbott

julius-adamsNew England Patriots great Julius Adams

Voice actor Joe Alaskey

Playwright Edward Albee (“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”)

ali1‘The Greatest’, Muhammed Ali

Folk/Blues/Jazz star Mose Allison

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   Catholic TV host Mother Angelica

Actor Arthur Anderson (voice of the Lucky Charms Leprechaun)

Producer/voice actress Sylvia Anderson (“Thunderbirds”)

Actor Eddie Applegate (“The Patty Duke Show”)

r2d2Actor Kenny Baker (Star Wars’ R2D2  )

Lennie Baker of Sha-Na-Na

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Film & TV Car Customizer George Barris

Actress Patricia Barry

Actor Brian Bedford

Last of the Vaudevillians, Irving Benson

Actress Maggie Blye

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The incredible David Bowie

Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca

30’s child star Bobby Breen

Animation producer Al Brodax (The Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine”)

Actor Tony Burton (the “Rocky” movies)

Actor Don Calfa

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Pittsburgh Horror Host/Wrestling Announcer/”Night of the Living Dead” actor Bill Cardille, aka ‘Chilly Billy’

Child actress Joan Carroll (“Meet Me in St. Louis”)

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Child actor Billy Chapin (“Night of the Hunter”)

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Wrestling superstar/pornstar Chyna (aka Joanie Laurer)

Director Michael Cimino (“The Deer Hunter”, “Heaven’s Gate”)

R&B/Soul singer Otis Clay

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Singer/songwriter/poet for the ages, Leonard Cohen

Longtime TV tennis commentator Bud Collins

Singer Jerry Corbetta of Sugarloaf (“Green-Eyed Lady”)

Actress Noreen Corcoran (“Bachelor Father”)

Actress Adrienne Corri (“A Clockwork Orange”)

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MAD/EC comics illustrator Jack Davis

MGM musical actress Gloria DeHaven

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Jim Delligatti, inventor of the Big Mac!

Actor Larry Drake (“LA Law”, “Dr. Giggles”)

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Oscar & Emmy winning actress Patty Duke

Country singer Holly Dunn (“Daddy’s Hands”)

Novelist Umberto Eco (“The Name of the Rose”)

Comedian Bob Elliott of Bob & Ray

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Rock keyboard/synthesizer wizard Keith Emerson of ELP

(tomorrow… part 2, F through K)