Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Animated Anti

Well this might be a little risky, so be warned, but I am going to provide a link to an intersting little video concering "the truth about Mormon theology". Anyway this roughly 6 minute, decently animated film, was made by a protastant group round about 1975. I also understand that it is included as part of Ed Deckers infamous anti-Mormon film The Godmakers. The clip presents its information in a tone that is suppose to sound removed, but it is obviously partisan. Many of the things cited in the film as Mormon doctrine, are more acurately folk belifes that originated in the 19th century church, but do sadly persist in some quarters today. There are also some over simplifications, stereotypes, and stories of disputed accuracy included. I think however that the only time I really felt uncomfrotable watching this was the depictions inside the temple, which makes me a little leary about posting this. However I think people have the right to see it, let them make up there own minds. Pluse I know many Mormons have an odd fascinaiton with this kind of stuff, my self included, and would be curious to give it a look-see. So here again, is that link.

I also found this video about door-to-door athesists that I kind of liked.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Flock Together

Hitch Part 10 of 15

Just rewatched The Birds, great movie. The film starts out as kind of an odd romantic comedy, with dark undertones of forboding. Eventully these undertones make their way to the surfice and the flick crashs head on into horror movie territory. Model Tippi Hedren was introduced to the world as an actress in this film, and her character of Melanie Daniels remains her signiture role. In fact most people couldn't name another film with her in it, though for me when that name comes up I'm as likely to think of Citizen Ruth, in which she played a feminist leader, as I am of The Birds. A lot of people also forget that Jessica Tandy and Suzanne Pleshette are in this movie as well. Also featured is underapricated leading man Rod Taylor, best known by geeks for his lead role in George Pals 1960 rendition of The Time Machine.

It is also amazing what they are able to do with the birds in this movie. Of course with modern computer effects we wouldn't have to think twice about doing even more complicated shots, but the visuals in this film have more impact than any aided by CGI. In many ways this is also the most unsetteling of Hitch's films because of the lack of any clear cut explination for the various happinings. Any explination would kill the film, you need to not know whats going on, just like the characters, in order to be properly effected by the picture. If you haven't experinced The Birds, then I suggest you do so.

DVD set also contains a 80 minute All About The Birds documentary made in 1999.

"Dizzy": Reformer in an Age of Mutton Chops


In the 1978 BBC mini-series Disraeli, Ian McShane does an admirable job tackeling the role of the 19th Century Prime Minister. This is a particularly impressive feet in light of McShanes compition, the late George Arliss practicaly made a career out of the part, playing it on the London and New York stages, as well as in a 1929 feature film. Where the mini-series differs from the film is in scope, while the 29' Disraeli feature focuses on the PM's handeling of the Suez Canel crises of the 1870's, the mini-series cover the bulk of Benjamin Disraeli's life. The mans wit, integrety, and devoition to his wife (played by Mary Peach) are on display throughout, though the middle two parts are stronger then the ends.

"I think on the judgment day men will be called to account for only very few simple fundamental qualities, and all the pecularities that catch the eye and engage the attention now will be swallowed up in death. But that is no reason why we shouldn't notice them in life, and rejoice in them, for it is only through them that we can tell t'other from which.

"Of all the qualities that will persih in the grave, I think humor is the best. Indeed, I'm not sure that it will not survive death, for it often hangs on to the last. I have known saints, the best of saints, too, whose last word was a joke, perhaps about not liking the prospect of their souls going naked into the other world, and before the joke was ended, they were dead. Perhaps they ended it on the other side. Who knows? It is all mystery. I used to run to humor in my sermons, and the next day be sorry for it; but I found years after, when I had forgotten the sorrow and the sermons, that people remembered the humor. I sometimes think God must enjoy humor, and that he won't be strict in reckoning with a humorist."- Brigham Young

Dennis Haysbert Will Play Him When I Do The Bio-Pic


Paul Robeson is really one of the most fascinating yet largely unknown figures of the 20th Century, I did an episode of my now defunct radio series about him last year. Click here to learn more about him. Anyway I rented a double picture DVD of Robeson movies from the BSU library, so far I've only watched one of the two flicks, both of which were made during his sojourn in England. Robeson was not pleased with the stereotyped parts available to blacks in the U.S. film industry, but in Britian there was a willingness to taylor parts just for him. Both of the movies on the set, his two best known from that period, where directed by J. Elder Wills.

Song of Freedom features Robeson as a London dock worker turnerd opera star, who discovers he is the heir to an African thrown. That plot sounds corny and contrived, but it works and I quite enjoyed the film. Here Robeson has the chance both to act and sing in a dramatic context. The movie is also a strang kind of forrunner to Roots, as Robeson's character is obseased with learning about "where my people come from", and gets involved in a singing career in the hopes that by doing so he will be in a better position to look into his origans. Kudos to Elizabeth Welch as Robesons devoted wife.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Jingo Jangel Jingel



Control Room is an award winning 2004 documentary covering Al-Jazeera's coverage of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, via the networks team station at Coalition Centrial Command in Qatar. The two central characters in the film are perceptive Al-Jazeera reporter Samir Khader, and ernest army media relations officer Lt. Josh Rushing (who has since had a small role in what looks like a b-movie). The film stresses the difficultys of providing news within an Arab community with little history of a free press, and the Al-Jazeera network comes off quite positively. One should note that neither the American military or Saddams government were happy with Al-Jazeera's coverage of the war, which I take as an indication they were doing something right. Everytime Don Rumsfeld talked about the importance of telling the truth and liars getting caught, my thoughts were "comic genius".


Based on the book by Terry Ryan, the Jane Andersons directed 2005 feature The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio, tells the true story of the authors mothers work as homemaker and jingel writer. Julianne Moore returns to the 50's housewive roles that earned her two oscar noms in 2003. As Evelyn Ryan, Moore is as always sympathetic and strong, and brings out the complicated nuance in her character. Woody Harrelsons role as Evelyns husband Kelly, a bitter and alcoholic former croner, who was forced by a car accident to give up his dreams and become a machinest, is less complicated but the performance near equally strong. Laura Dern has a minor supporting role as a fellow jingel writer.

Betty Comden Dead at 89

In Memory

Bette Comden, the female half of musical writing team Comden and Green, passed away Thanksgiving Day in a New York Hospital at age 89. The Comden and Green team were responisable for musical work both in Hollywood, where their most famous project was the 1952 musical Singing in the Rain, and on Broadway for hits such as 'Wonderfull Town.' The team recived its last of many Tonys in 1991 for 'The Will Rogers Follies'. Adolph Green passed away in 2002.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Subversive Penguins & Company


Happy Feet will make you happy. The image of that baby penguin dancing could be used as a treatment for depression. That being said the movie has a surprisingly subversive edge to it. Aside from the obvious animated movie lessons about the enviroment, and it being okay to be different, the movie hints at issues of social control through religion, and as someone pointed out to me, a possible gay subtext. Anyway the movie is quite entertaning with an impressive scale and voice cast, as well some intersting use of CGI/human actors towards the end. Pluse it has Robin Williams. Recomended.

I know how The Company got made. The pitch meeting went something like this: "Neve Campbell, tights, two hours." Ironicly the movie its self would probably not appeal to the demographic most inclined to view Ms. Campbell in tights. The Company is the story of the triumphs and trials of the overworked and underpaid performers of Chicago's Joffrey Ballet, with focus on the romance between dancer Campbell and a cook played by James Franco. Altman aims for reality with this slice of life film, and captures the dance sequences beautifully. I was particularly impressed with the ballet in a strom sequence. Malcolm McDowell is perfectly cast as the director of the company.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

First Birthday

The Dredge Report turns one year old today. Happy Birthday to my blog.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Robert Altman Dead at 81

In Memory

Inovative film director Robert Altman, noted for his bitting satire and overlapping dialouge, passed away monday night in a California hospital. Altman, whose film credits include M.A.S.H., Nashville, and the recent Praire Home Companion, reached the hight of his success during the 1970's. Though for some time he has been only a middeling box office draw, Robert Altman was a favorit among film critices and enjoyed a large cult following of devoted fans. Earlyer this year he recived his life time achevment award from the Acadamy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Mommie Dearest

Hitch Part 9 of 15

Psycho is likely Alfred Hitchcocks best known movie. It contains the definative performances of both Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins careers. It also ranks #23 on imdb's populist lists of the best 250 movies ever made.

Based on the gritty novel by Robert Bloch, the storyline recevied modertly heavy alterations by scrib Joseph Stefano, who turned Normon Bates into a more sympathetic and likable figure, as well as fleshed out what became Janet Leigh's storyline. It is Leighs storyline, that of Marion Crane a secretary at a Phonix real estate office who absconds with $40,000 of her employers money, in a moment of emotional distress, that misdirects the audiance as to the nature of the film. This makes the impact far greater when Ms. Crane, after making the decison to return home with the money and face the consequences of her actions, is vicously stabed to death in the shower of her motel room in one of the most memorable scenes in cinema history.

It was audacious of Hitchcock to kill off his leading lady fourty minutes in the picture. In fact it was audacious of Hitchcok to even make this fairly small budgeted, black & white slasher pic. The movie is in stark contrast to the star-studed, VistaVison, technicolor, adventure/romances that had become his stock-n-trade during the 1950's. But Hitchcock was a director with the ability to grow and adapt with the changing times, which is why after having been in the movie buisness since the silent days, he could make something so uterly new and daring as his Psycho.

One should also never forget Anthony Perkins performance was Norman Bates, it as much as Hitch's direction is what makes the movie work. In fact Perkins characterization in the film is only a slight variation on his performance severl years earlyer in William Wylers Friendly Persuasion, only in an obviously more sinister and psychological vain. Unfortanity the film also type cast Perkins, who might have had a much different and more varied career had it not been for his performance in this film.

Psycho is a classic, a must see, and I don't see how even the near shot-per-shot 90's remake could ever compair to the rough energy the lies beneth this film.

The Hitchcock set also comes with an hour and a half long documentary, The Making of Psycho, produced in 1997.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Nate Dredge in the Morning

I had to stop by the Comm building early this morning to drop something off for a class I'm taking. While I was there I thought I heard Joes voice coming from one of the radio labs so I stopped by to see what was up. It seems that Rob Ormonds previous co-host for the university Pulse morning show (which is broadcast Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7-9 am over the UP website) had to bow out, so now Joe was helping with the hosting duties. Since I was there they asked me to do a news and commentary segment with them and I ended up staying on for the whole show. Anyway I've now been invited to cohost the morning show with Rob and Joe from now until Christmas vacation starts (excepting Thanksgiving week, when no live show will air). I've accepted and have dubbed myself the politics and popular culture correspondent. Even though this translates to only two weeks of work, for which I will not be paid, I'm excited about the prospect of being on the air again, and with limited responsibilities.

Also Nobel prize winning economist and free-market advocate Milton Friedman has passed away at the age of 94, and my sister-in-law turns 21 today.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Short Takes Vol. 5


Teus 11/14

Joe Dante (Matinee, Explorers) directed the hour long Homecoming as part of a limited run horror anthology series that ran (I think on Showetime) in 2005, it is now on out DVD along with the programs twelve other installments. While the characters are thinly veiled, Homecoming is about dead Iraq war vets coming back as Zombies to vote against President Bush in the 2004 election. It can be called partisan, but its point is well taken and creatively presented. Memorable image: Ann Coulter vs. Zombie solders.

Part of the reason for Katharine Hepbruns appearing on the Dick Cavitt show in 1973, was to promote her work in the American Film Theaters production of Edward Albee's Pulitzer winning play A Delicate Balance. The American Film Theater had come up with the intriguing idea of producing about a dozen plays on film (these are not filmed plays in the traditional sense, they have real sets yet retain a certain 'stagy' feel) and selling them as a package deal to consumers, kind of like a season pass to a Shakespear company. In other words they would rent out movie theaters in major cities like New York, and they would rotate another of their productions through it each week. It coasted about $35 per person back in 73'. Anyway A Delicate Balance is about a dysfunctional New England family whose best friends move in with them after suddenly becoming deathly afraid of being alone. Hepburn excels in these kind of 'family on the brink films' like A Lion in Winter and Suddenly Last Summer, and Balance is no exception to the rule. Paul Scofield is quite good as Hepburns husband Tobias, with Joseph Cotten as his best friend, and Lee Remick as their daughter (Scofield and Hepburns not Scofield and Cottens).

Fri 11/17

Oscar's Greatest Moments: Highlights of Oscar-casts from 1971-1991, produced in 1992. I enjoyed it. Hosted by Karl Malden.

Panic in the Streets: This Elia Kazen helmed film noir concerns the efforts a doctor from the 'U.S. Public Health Service' (Richard Widmark) and a New Orleans police captian (Paul Douglas) to prevent an outbreak of bubonic plague, brought into the country by an illegal immegrant. Barbara Bel Geddes plays Widmarks wife, and Jack Palance and Zero Mostel are two bit hoods unknowingly infected with the plague. I enjoyed this movie, it's inovative and unlike any other film noir I've seen. Excellent use of source music. This movie is begging to remade in the post 9/11 world.

Sat 11/18

Watership Down: I watched this because it's in the directors cut of Donnie Darko, and because I'm a fan of Richard Briers, mostley from his work in the 70's britcom Good Neighbors. Based on Richard Adams book, Watership Down is the tale of a group of rabbits who set out from their old home under the leadership of the prophetic Fiver (Briers) and his brother Hazel (John Hurt), to start a new coloney where they will be safe from man and beast. Unlike most cartoon films the mood of this feature is rather somber and the problems faced by the characters real ones, like finding a mate and not getting killed. This is very Joseph Campbell stuff, lots of archtypes and illusions to both the Bible and 20th century political conditions. This is a thinking mans cartoon. Zero Mostel provides the littel comedy relife in the film as a helpfull, possibly Russian bird named Kehaar.

Sun 11/19

Over the Hedge: 2006 computer animated feature about a crafty raccoon (Bruce Willis) who try's to dupe, and then is charmed by, a group forrest scavangers who live on the edge of the suburbs. Impresive voice cast includes Garry Shandling, Steve Carell, Wanda Sykes, and William Shatner. Enjoyable throughout, a caffieine related gag sequance towards the end is impossible not to laugh through.

Mon 11/20

I had a private showing (meaning no one else bought tickets to the 9:25 PM showing) of Stephen Frears new film, The Queen. The Queen tells the story of Elizabeth II (Helen Mirren) royal mishandeling of events following the death of Princess Diana in 1997. Michael Sheen, who is the spitting image of Tony Blair, plays the then new Prime Minister, who is despretly trying to convince the royals to show some grieff after the death of their former daughter-in-law. It's a quietly moving picture that contrasts two very different styles of dealing with death, and indeed of dealing with life, with the stoic Windsors cast in harsh releaf against the modern Blairs and emotional British public. Not the kind of story you'd think would make it to film, but I'm glad it did.

Teus 11/21

The Last Days of Patton: Made for television sequal to the 1970 theatrical hit Patton. Film chronicals Pattons post European war activites through the December 1945 automobile accident that eventually took his life. Staring George C. Scott in the role for which he won an Oscar (which he refussed to accept), and Eva Marie Saint as Mrs. Patton. Slooooooww.

Wed 11/22

Hells Angles: This is the movie you see Howard Hughs directing early on in The Aviator. In short the plot concerns two English brothers (Ben Lyon, James Hall) who fall for the same girl (Jean Harlow), and their German friend from Oxford days (John Darrow), who of course they come up against in the Great War. I might add that none of the major players in this film even attempt an accent. This movie is very Hughs, a blue collar spectical, with pre-code sensuality, and impressive visual effects for its time, including special sequences both tinted and in color. All of this, combinded with a strong sense of mellow-drama make Howard Hughs one of the most distinctive film makers of his time; a protracted sequence set on a zeplin, which merits study, is a testment to the mans often underused cinematic talent.

Thurs 11/23

Johnny Guitar: Emma (Mercedes McCambridge) loves the Dancin' Kid (Scott Brady). The Dancin' Kid loves Vienna (Joan Crawford). Vienna loves Johnny 'Guitar' Logan (Sterling Hayden), who loves her. Turkey Ralston (Ben Cooper) also loves Vienna. Marshal Williams (Frank Ferguson) just wants peace, but he ain't gonna get it becasue all these people have guns. Fine overwrought western from Republic Pictures gloary days. Theme sung by Peggy Lee.

Fri 11/24

The Lepoard : The best thing about viewing this dubbed and trunkated version of Luchino Visconti's 1963 classic, is the opertunity it affords me to recommend the film in its proper Italian version. Based on the novel by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, The Leporad is a sort of Italin Gone With The Wind, telling the story of a family of the Sicillian aristocracy, and its efforts to weather the changes brought by Garibaldi's revolution of 1860. The film features a strong international cast including Burt Lancaster, and the lovely Claudia Cardinale, my favorite of the many popular Italin beautys of the 1960's (Cardninale, not Lancaster). The ball sequance at the end of the movie is much remarked upon by students of film.

Monday, November 13, 2006

It's The Dick Cavett Show


The good people at Shout! Factory have again made me happy by releasing more semi-obscure vintage television on DVD. In this case I am referring to The Dick Cavett Show: Hollywood Greats, one in a series of DVD sets containing episodes of the personable hosts early 70's late night talk show. The focus of the Hollywood seat is on big name tinseltown stars, weighted heavily towards golden age veterans. I very much enjoyed this set, I found Cavett extremely likeable, and if through some odd chance I ever get to have my own talk show, I think I'd like to model it off of his. Anyway I just want to share my impressions of the various guests who appear on the set:

Kate Hepburn- Endlessly fascinating.
Bette Davis- Almost as fascinating as Ms. Hepburn.
Fred Astaire- A very cooperative guest.
Debbie Reynolds- I think underrated in many ways.
Grocho Marx- He's just great.
Kirk Douglas- A very likeable man.
Frank Capra- Very levelheaded in what he says, not the egotist he is sometimes made out to be.
Robert Altman- Came off as humble and unpretentious, the opposite of how most of his films are taken.
Mel Brooks- Very manic when he was younger.
Peter Bogdonovich- A walking encyclopedia of movie knowledge.
John Huston- Great voice, charming manner.
Robert Mitchum- The biggest surprise of the set, very dry sense of humor.
Orson Wells- A great story teller.
Alfred Hitchcock- What a persona, delightful to watch.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Daddies Girl

The Otto Preminger Centennial

Based on the best selling book by teenage author's Francoise Sagan, Bonjour Tristesse is the story of 17 year old Cecile (played by the ill-fated actress Jean Seberg), and her scheme to keep her ladys man widower father (David Niven) from marring her late mothers best friend (Deborah Kerr). This film was pretty different from anything else I've seen Preminger do, and most likely chosen simply as a vehicle to prove the worth of his discovery Jean Seberg, whose previous film Joan of Arc had failed at the box office. Seberg makes the film, and is totally beguiling and believable in a multi-dimensional portrait of a spoiled young women of wealth, who adores her father. I'm going to spoil the ending here because I have to say I don't buy the Deborah Kerr character as a suicide, I think that resolution bespeaks the author as having been a teen, yet the rest of the story worked for me with the lead characters overall voice seeming very true. A unique offering.

Actress Jean Seberg was found dead in her car of a drug overdose in 1979.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Jack Palance: 1919-2006

Jack Palance, tough guy actor whose more then half a century long career included such highlights as Shane and the TV version of Requiem for a Heavyweight, has passed away from natural causes. Palance was Academy Award nominated for the 1952 film Sudden Fear but didn't win an Oscar until the early 1990's, playing Curley in the dude ranch comedy City Slickers. Palance became a national sentimental favorite after his City Slicker win, and famously performed push-ups on stage during the Oscar Cast. Jack Palance was 87.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

News Man Ed Bradley Dead at 65

Long time 60 Minutes personality Ed Bradley has passed away from Leukemia. Click here for more.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Morning After

Well the Democrates have taken over the House, and most likely the Senate, and the Presidents already sent Rummy packing. The next two years are going to have a different feel about them that's for sure, but I think that is going to be a good thing. I feel the nation needs divided government right now, espeacily after the abuses we've been getting from the right over the past several years. Not that all this has changed much of anything in Idaho, Sali and Ottor beat there centerist-democratic rivals in the states two most hotly contested elections. The Gay marriage/civil unions ban was voted into the state constitution, but Boise residents voted against the controversy inviting Ten Commandments measure. Netiher Propositon passed, I voted for both, but quickly came to realize I was wrong on ballot measure 2. I often find myself surprisingly wrong on how my fellow Idahons are going to vote on something, I was wrong about the Mayors contest that elected Dave Beiter, I was wrong about the Republcian congressional primary this last spring, and I was wrong about prop 2, 80% of Idahoans voted against it. Anyway you can hear more mostly pirated local and national election analisis by me on the radio show this Sunday. We also intend to unvail an Anti-Family add on the program. You always hear about candidates being labeld anti-family, nows your chance to hear what such an add might actully sound like. Remember AM 730 from 2-3 Sunday afternoon, or online at

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Internet Down Update

Well last week my dad clicked 'okay' on one of those software updates computers are always asking you to do. Well it turned out that the update loaded was incompatable with the way our system is now, and my internets been down for about a week. Thus I have been forced to do all my 'surfing' (already archaic 90's term aleart) during free spells on campus. Anyway my posting my continue to be iregular for a while as we try to sort all this out, but I did want to update you all on a few things.

First I finally finsihed the massive unabridged audio book of 'American Theocracy', written by the penatent author of 1969's 'The Emerging Republican Majority'. Phillips book is long and depressing, but I think he's mostly right. His theory, which is almost conventional wisdom at this point, is that the three biggest threat to the United States in the 21st century are: 1)A culture of debt, 2)Over dependence on imported oil, and 3) acceptance of radical religon in the political sphere (read the theocratic tendinces of Evangelicals, conservative Catholics, and my fellow Mormons). This book really crystilzed a lot of opinons that I have been slowely working towards for some time now. It's a downer, but worth a look, espically for moderate Republicans. So brace for America becoming the U.S. becoming the new U.K, and Chinese globel economic dominance, or express yourself at the ballot box.

I watched the 1979 film 'Escape from Alcatraz' Sunday night with my dad. The film is based on the true story of Frank Morris (Clint Eastwood), who along with two fellow inmates escaped from 'the rock' in the early 1960's, and were assumed drowned at sea. I belive they actully filmed this on Alcatraz island. Also Patrick McGoohan, who body of film work is tragically small (love 'The Prisoner'), is good as Alcatraz's slightly unstable warden.

Finally it looks like I'll be offering commentary on this weeks election on Joe's show on the 12th. It's called 'The Showcase' and is one 730 AM from 2-3 pm (or got to the University Pulse website at that time). It will be pretaped on Wendsday so I don't know how truely informed it will be. I will also be teaching the Elders Quarm lesson on Sunday, the topic is exercisng agency and making rightous choices, so it should fit right in with the theme of the week.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

"It is a horrible thing to have to enter into the details of inter-party polemics; it is like diving into a cesspool."- George Orwell, 1937

"One believes that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables."- Romans 14:2, Recovery Version. The funny things you'll find if you actully read the thing.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

"Confound It!"

A Boxed-Set Review:
Nero Wolfe Season 2

Nero Wolfe, the Montenegro born detective and resturantor, was created by author Rex Stout, and featured in books and stories spanning the 1930's to 70's. In 1936 a Nero Wolfe movie, staring Edward Arnold in the title role and featuring a young Rita Hayworth, was released presumable with the intent to make more, but no film series ever materialized. Around the time of my birth Nero Wolfe came to television, but I don't believe it was all the popular as it disappeared soon after. Then in 1999 A&E made its own Nero Wolfe tele-film, staring Maury Chaykin as the agoraphopic super-sleuth, and Timothy Hutton as his wise-cracking, ladies man assistant Archie Goodwin. That tele-film spawned two seasons of this unique, delightful, and very stylized television program. While a small core of regulars play the same characters on every episode in which they appear, the program also features a large repertory company, including James Tolkan and the late George Plimpton, who appear as different characters throughout the series. The pace is leisurely and the dialogue wity, its smart and refreshing entertainment and I'm sad they didn't make more. Comes highly recommended.

Note on Boxed-set: Two part episodes are presented in TV movie format as originally aired.

Dead Celebrity of the Month, November 2006: Agnes Moorehead

The only child of a Presbyterian minister, Agnes Robertson Moorehead was born on the 5th December 1900 in Clinton, Massachusetts (though she would later claim to have been born in 1906). Agnes did most of her growing up in St. Louis, Missouri, where she graduated from Central High School in 1918. Education was important to Agnes and in 1923 she earned a bachelors degree in biology from Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio. After Graduation from Muskingum she moved to Wisconson, where she taught public school for five years while earning a masters degree in English and public speaking from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. This was followed by a post-graduate degree in 1929 from the American Academy of Dramatic arts. Later in life Agnes would receive an honorary doctoral degree from Bradley University.

In the 1930's Agnes Moorhead would move to New York to pursue a career in acting. She ended up becoming a popular radio performer, working on 'the Shadow' from 1937-1939, and eventually falling in with Orson Wells and his 'deluxe Mercury Radio Theater on the Air'. In addition to all this Agnes inaugurated the role of the self-centered, neurotic who overhears plans for a murder on crossed telephone lines, in the radio play 'Sorry, Wrong Number'(which in the late 40's was made into a feature film staring Barbara Stanwyck and Burt Lancaster). Her voice work would later land her a position as a dialogue coach for the 1961 movie King of Kings.

Orsen Wells would take Agnes, along with many of his fellow Mecury players such as Joseph Cotton, with him when he went to Hollywood in 1940. Wells cast Moorehead in the role of the title characters mother in his first film, Citizen Kane. Moorehead would be given an even stronger role in Wells next film The Magnificent Ambersons, as the old maid Aunt Fanny, a performance that would earn her 1942's best actress award from the New York Film Critices association and a best supporting actress Academy Awards nomination (she would receive additional noms for the latter in 1944, 1948, and 1964).

Agnes Moorhead would work quite regularly in film through the 1940's and 50's in such pictures as: Jane Eyre (1944), Since You Went Away (1944), Our Vines Have Tender Grapes (1945), Dark Passage (1947), Johnny Belinda (1948), The Stratton Story (1949), Fourteen Hours (1951), Show Boat (1951), and the Douglas Sirk films Magnificent Obsession (1954) and All that Heaven Allows (1955). She most often played busy bodies, spinsters, secretaries, and various puritanical types.

In the 1950's and 60's Agnes would continue to work in films (most notably Robert Aldriche's Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte for which she would receive her final Oscar nom), and sometimes on Broadway, but seemed to concentrate on television performances. Some of the Programs Agnes worked on include: The Colate Comedy Hour, Matinee Theater, Studio 57, Climax, Wagon Train, Playhouse 90, General Electric Theater, Alcoa Theater, and Startime. Some of her other notable film work of the late 50's and early 60's include: Raintree County (1957), The Story of Mankind (1957), Pollyanna (1960), and a rare staring role opposite Vincient Price in The Bat (1959).

The 1960's saw continued work, mostly on television, for Agnes, including a non-speaking role as a women doing battle with tiny astronauts in The Twilight Zone episode 'The Invaders'. In 1964 Agnes Moorehead was talked into accepting the role of Endora on the television show Bewitched by its star Elizabeth Montgomery. Moorehead expected the show to maybe last a season, but ultimately it was on the air from 1964-1972 and Endora became Mooreheads best rememberd role.

In the early 1970's Agnes began to suffer the effects of cancer, a condition that came to take the lives of many of her costars (including John Wayne) from the 1956 western The Conqueror, which was filmed near a nuclear testing site in southern Utah. Agnes Moorehead passed away in Rochester Minnesota on April 30th 1974. Among her last work was the voice of the goose in the 1973 animated film version of E.B. Whites Charlotte's Web. Agnes Moorehead was twice married and survived by one adopted child.

The Very Long Life of Silas Simmons

Click here for more on the longest lived semi-pro baseball player ever.