Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Stephen King in Film: The Hits and Misses

If your are a Stephen King fan, or just curious, here is the infographic for you.  The prolific author has had over 50 of his writings made into films.  However, the "Stephen King" moniker does not always guarantee financial success at the box office.  Just in time for Halloween, here is some background, including graphics and statistics, about many of these films. You can find out where your favourite Stephen King movie ranks.  I hope you find the information enlightening and entertaining. 

- Joanne

Stephen King in Film? by Moneypod.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Gina Lollobrigida at 90: Keeping up with the Italian film legend

"SHE WAS pursued by the Prince of Monaco and said to have made 'Marilyn Munroe look like Shirley Temple,' and in true tinsel-town style the path for the 1950s starlet has since been riddled with scandal."

- Lizzie Mulherin
London Sunday Express
December 16, 2015

Italian movie siren Gina Lollobrigida was once dubbed "the most beautiful woman in the world," after the title of a 1956 film in which she starred.  Gina  turned 90 years old this past summer and the city of Rome held a magnificent party in her honour.  To celebrate the milestone and Gina's career., a statue of the diva was unveiled on Via Condotti   There was a also a red carpet ceremony and an impressive birthday cake.

At the age of 90, Gina remains feisty as ever and seems to have lost none of her caustic wit.  In an interview with Corrierre della Sera, she ruminated on her feud with rival Italian actress, Sophia Loren, who is 83 years old.  "I'm not looking for any rivalry against anyone," she declared.  "I was the Number One."

Luigina "Gina" Lollobrigida was born in the mountain village of Subiaco, Lazio, Italy on July 4, 1927.  Her father was a furniture manufacturer and she had three sisters:  Giuliana (b. 1924), Maria (b. 1929) and Fernanda (1930–2011).  During World War II, she spent much of her teenage years with her parents and her sisters, trying to keep safe from bombs.  In her youth, Gina did some modelling and participated in beauty contests.  After the war, she won national recognition by finishing third in the 1947 Miss Italia pageant and a talent scout noticed her outside of Rome's Academy of Fine Arts, where she was a student of drawing and sculpting.  As a result, she was called to Cinecittà, the Roman film confectionery and offered her first film role.

On January 15, 1949, Gina married Dr. Milko Skofic. a Slovenian physician who gave up his medical practice to manage Gina's career.  They had one child, a son, named Andrea Milko (Milko Skofic Jr.), born on July 28, 1957. but the marriage ended in divorce in 1971.

Gina with Milko Skofic with baby Milko Jr.

During her film career, Gina starred opposite such greats as Humphrey Bogart, Sean Connery and Anthony Quinn. She first came to Hollywood for a screen test at the request of American business magnate and film producer Howard Hughes.  He invited Gina to Los Angeles after seeing her in a publicity photo in 1950.  Hughes was infatuated with the Italian actress and pursued her relentlessly.  Nevertheless, she returned to Rome two and a half months later, but not before Hughes had presented her with a seven-year contract with RKO Pictures.

Her Hollywood breakthrough did not come until the 1953 comedy Beat the Devil, directed by John Houston.and co-starring Humphrey Bogart, Jennifer Jones and Robert Morley.  The film chronicles the adventures of a group of rogues on their way to Africa with plans to strike it rich.  It was apparently Bogart, by the way, who made the comparison between Gina and Marilyn Monroe.

Gina starred in the 1956 circus film Trapeze, alongside Tony Curtis and Burt Lancaster.  She also appeared as Esmeralda opposite Anthony Quinn as Quasimodo in the 1956 French-Italian version of the Victor Hugo classic The Hunchback of Notre Dame.de Paris.  In addition, Lollobridida co-starred with Rick Hudson, Sandra Dee and Bobby Darin in the 1961 romantic comedy Come September.  That same year, she appeared with Quinn and Ernest Borgnine in the drama Go Naked in the World.

Gina and Yul Brynner were paired in the 1959 historical epic Solomon and Sheba.  Brynner played King Solomon of Israel, with Lollobridgida as the Queen of Sheba in this dramatization of Biblical events.  Gina later teamed up with Sean Connery in 1964's Woman of Straw, in which Connery played an ailing tycoon who becomes enamoured of his Italian nurse, Maria, portrayed by Gina.

During the 1960s, Gina had a brief affair with Dr. Christiaan Barnard, the South African cardiac surgeon who performed the world's first human-to-human heart transplant on December 3, 1967.  Dr. Barnard encountered Gina in January of 1969, during a visit to Rome to receive an audience with Pope Paul VI.  Barrard, who died in 2001, described the affair in his autobiography The Second Life.

Gina was also briefly engaged to George Kaufman, a New York real state heir.  The photo below shows Gina and Kaufman as they leave Rome for New York City in November of 1969.

When her film career began winding down, Gina moved on to other endeavours.  By the 1970s, she had established a second career as a successful photojournalist,  Her work received much acclaim and her subjects included Paul Newman, Henry Kissinger, Salvador Dali, the German national football team, Audrey Hepburn and Ella Fitzgerald.  In 1973, a collection of Gina's photographs taken across Italy, entitled Italia Mia, was published.  In 1974, she managed to scoop the media by obtaining an exclusive interview with Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

Gina Lollobrigida with Fidel Castro

The multi-talented Gina also developed a career in sculpting.  In 1992, one of her pieces became the official entry at the Word Expo in Seville, Spain. She maintains a large studio in Pietrasanta, an artists' colony in Tuscany, where she creates marble and bronze sculptures.  Her works have been displayed in in cities such as Paris, Venice and Moscow.

In a October 29, 2006 article by John Stanley for the San Francisco Chronicle, Gina made the following comments about her approach to sculpting: "I don't have time for gymnastics.  It is both mental and physical, sculpting.  I start work at 6 a.m.and don't stop until there is not enough light.  To express myself, that is my life.  To be my own master.  In sculpting, I do moments from my life.  People I knew, things I have seen.  It is all part of me."

In 1984, Gina Lollobrigida appeared on U.S. television for the first time.  She guest-starred in five episodes of the American prime time soap opera Falcon Crest, portraying Francesca Gioberti, the long-lost half-sister of family matriarch Angela Channing (Jane Wyman).  According to William Schmidt, Falcon Crest story editor from 1984 to 1987, Gina was unaware that the role of Francesca had been turned down by Sophia Loren.  In a 2006 interview with TJP Press, Schmidt stated, "I think she (Sophia) was pretty interested, but eventually turned us down.  The funny part was when we met with Gina Lollabrigida, We kept the meeting with (Carlo) Ponti (Sophia's husband) a secret and since neither Gina or her people asked, she did not know that we first contacted Sophia.  In that first meeting, Gina exclaimed, 'I am so happy!  I am so sick and tired of of always being offered Sophia Loren's leftovers!'  All of us around the room assiduously avoided eye contact."

In 1986, Gina had a role in in a two-part episode of The Love Boat entitled "The Christmas Cruise" (Part One, Season 10, Episode #2, Air Date: December 25, 1986), Part Two, Season 10, Episode #3, Air Date: December 25, 1986).  Below is a photo of Gina and Tony Franciosa in a scene from that 1986 episode of The Love Boat.

In October 2006, Gina, 79, announced her engagement to 45-year-old Spanish businessman Javier Rigau y Rafols, in Spain's ¡Hola! magazine.  In 2013, she became involved in a bizarre law suit in which she claimed that Rigau had secretly married her without her consent in order to inherit her wealth.  She contended that he had paid an impostor to stand in for her at a 2010 wedding ceremony in Barcelona (a then-72-year-old friend of Rigau stood in for Gina).

Gina described the alleged marriage as "squalid buisiness" and initiated legal action.  For his part, Rigau y Rafols declared Gina's accusations to be untrue.  According to the Catalan businessman, Gina had signed all the required documents of her own free will and had consented to the proxy marriage.  He claimed that she had consented to a stand-in bride to avoid publicity.  Gina contended that she was unaware what she was signing because she did not speak Spanish.  She said that she signed the legal document in Rome in 2014 because she was under the impression that it concerned a defamation case, not realizing that it was an authorization of their marriage under Italian law.

In 2014, there was further  over Gina's fortune.  Her son, Milko Skofic Jr., told Il Messagero, an Italian newspaper, that he wanted a  a court-appointed administrator to oversee his mother's estate.  Skofic, Jr., Gina's only heir, feared that she would be taken advantage of by her young male adviser, Andrea Piazzolla.  Gina, however, reacted strongly against such an idea  She would have none  it.  In fact, she told the paper that  “I am perfectly capable,” and that she still “travelled the world” despite her age.

Milko Skofic Jr.

In March of 2017, Lollobrigida lost her "fake marriage" case against  Javier Rigau y Rafols,  According to the Spanish online newspaper Vanitatis, the court ruled that Gina's claims of marital fraud were without foundation.  During the trial, Gina's lawyer, Fabrizio Siggia, accused Rigau of planning to wait until she died, then say he was her husband and claim her wealth."  After the court ruling, Siggia stated that Gina would appeal the verdict.


* Gina's nickname is "La Lollo."

* Gina often refers to herself in the third person.

* In 1999, Gina ran unsuccessfully as a candidate for the European Parliament.

* According to a January 26, 2015 article in Vanity Fair by James Reginato, Gina's son, Milko Skofic Jr., "develops scientific information in the field of plant genetics."  He and his estranged wife, journalist Maria Grazia Fantasia, have a son named Dmitri, born in 1994.  The couple lived in an apartment in Gina's villa until their separation, after which Milko Jr. moved to another home in Rome.

Dimitri accompanied his grandmother, Gina, to the 2010 Globo D'Oro Awards in Rome.

* In 2013, Gina sold some of her jewellery collection through Sotheby's.  She donated nearly $5 million from the sale to benefit stem cell therapy.

* Gina Lollobrigida first established her career in Europe and never moved permanently to Hollywood.  She continues to reside in Italy.

- Joanne

EDITOR'S UPDATE:  Gina Lollobrigida died on January 16, 2023 at a clinic in Rome.  She was 95 years old at the time of her passing.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Philippines radio veteran, Hoagy Pardo, writes letter to Corazon Amurao Atienza, survivor of Richard Speck murders

Manila radio legend, Hoagy Pardo, known as "Cousin Hoagy," was one of the first rock DJs on Philipine radio.  He started back in 1970 and has has been a great contributor to the local music scene.  He has a show on JAM 88.3 FM, Manila.

"Cousin Hoagy" emailed me a copy of a Facebook letter he has written to  Corazon Amurao Atienza, the only survivor of the 1966 Richard Speck murders in Chicago.  I am posting the letter because I want to share it with readers.  I wish to express my admiration for Corazon and for Hoagy Pardo.  Best wishes to both of them.

- Joanne

20 Oct 2017
Mandaluyong, WackWack Brgy.

Dear Corazon,

You know, I have been watching a NETFLIX TV show here on a show about the FBI and profiling killers....The one, Richard Speck, was featured in an episode and I thought of you and how they never said a word on your name, ethnicity except being a Nurse. GOOD for you.

I was 20 years old in 1966 and in college at De La Salle.

Wherever you are, I hope you are well.  Such an experience is what movies are made of and it was TRUE.

I have lived half my life in Manila part in Sprinfield, Va. even....Then back and forth till now, 71, that's it....LOLO time.  4 here sa Filipinas and 1 in Connecticut.

I am still working, a lifetime job, as FM radio announcer at JAM 88.3 fm where I play the Blue, Rock, Jazz Soul and everything...plus ALL Pinoy at Midnight...rock, blues, jazz that is NOT played on regular channels.  Google me C. H. Pardo. My radio name is Cousin Hoagy.

You are a brave Filipina and deserve everything for LIVING and trying to move on......

I hope to meet you one day..Sincerely,
Hoagy Pardo

Cousin Hoagy
Rock and Roll Machine 

Here is a video about Hoagy Pardo.:

To see a Number 16 blog piece on Carazon  Amurao Atienza, please click on this link.


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Recycling: Why it's worth the effort

Number 16 presents a guest article that was submitted to me by Francesca Miahh.

- Joanne


By Francesca Miahh

We simply don’t have the room on Earth to keep burying rubbish. Recycling is essential to our future.
It’s also faster and more cost effective than sourcing materials to make new products from. Reusing materials saves a huge amount of energy, which in turn benefits the planet and its ecosystems on the whole.

Recycling Facts

•   Recycling 6 tea bags creates enough energy to make 1 cup of tea

•   Up to 60% of discarded rubbish could be recycled

•   1 recycled tin can saves enough energy worth 3 hours of television

•    A recycled aluminium can will be back on the shelves within 6 weeks

•    Recycling every newspaper would save 250 million trees per year

To celebrate Recycle Week from 25th Sept to 1st Oct Mattress Online, who offer a recycling option when you buy a new mattress from them, have created this quiz to help you determine what type of recycler you are.  Here is the link: https://www.mattressonline.co.uk/blog/sleep-news/what-type-of-recycler-are-you-quiz/