RIP Karen Black
Sad news that Karen Black has died. She was a great character Actress, and it was her role that spawned the campy classic “The stewardess is flying the plane!”
The Stewardess Is Flying The Plane!: American Films of the 1970s – published in 2005
Ron Hogan (Author), Peter Bogdanovich (Contributor)
Sad news to report that terrific Actress Karen Black has died. She will always be remembered for her performances in such classics as “Five Easy Pieces”, but this is what I wrote about one of her most popular performances!
Let’s get started with these words from actress Karen Black, courtesy of the classic film “Airport ’75!
“It’s Nancy Pryor… stewardess. Something hit us! All the flight crew is dead or badly injured! There’s no one left to fly the plane! Help us! Oh my God, help us! – from Airport 1975
Yes, Karen Black was the “Stewardess Who Flew The Plane”! This is a fantastic love letter to the movies of the 70’s…ALL OF THEM. It was, as you know, the decade for movies such as “Star Wars”:
And it was ALSO the decade for classic such as “Caged Heat!”
Here is what Publishers Weekly had to say about this great book: With films such as The Godfather, Star Wars, The Sting, Rocky, Apocalypse Now, Jaws and M*A*S*H, the 1970s is now considered the second Golden Age of Hollywood. There is renewed interest in some of the decade’s most durable genres, including disaster films and blaxsploitation flicks, allowing viewers to rediscover early performances from major stars such as Jeff Bridges, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Meryl Streep and Diane Keaton.
The Stewardess is Flying the Plane! is a lavishly illustrated, fun and informative look at more than 400 films of the decade – not just classics like The Godfather or Taxi Driver, but cult favorites like Kansas City Bomber and even spectacular flops like Lost Horizon.
The cover is a last legacy to Karen Black’s role in the title of the book as well!
With an introduction by Peter Bogdanovich, hundreds of never- before-published photographs and new interviews with key participants in the ’70s film industry, “The Stewardess is Flying the Plane!” is the most comprehensive overview of this fascinating era of American film.
It was a decade as varied as “A Clockwork Orange” above to “Cleopatra Jones” below:
This book puts the decade into perspective with categories like “Thrillers”, “Hard Crime” and “Horror”…
It was a decade of Raquel Welch in “Myra Breckinridge” – and Diane Keaton “Looking For Mr. Goodbar” – with Richard Gere’s help…
It was a decade of some of the best – and worst- movies of all time – let’s celebrate them with a big toast!
Let’s toast to some of the craziest drinkers in movie history – as well as the wild wild world of 70’s cinema!
Oh, and let’s find out how Barbara Streisand’s hair stylist became one of Hollywood’s most powerful men – and helped give the Japanese a VERY expensive haircut!
RICHARD BURTON. OLIVER REED. RICHARD HARRIS. PETER O’ TOOLE. The most legendary English drinkers in movie history!
Here is what Amazon had to say about this hilarious book: “This highly entertaining biography of four charismatic and much loved actors follows them through five decades of boozing, brawling and braggadocio.”
At their career peaks, these four controversial actors had the whole world at their feet and lived through some of the wildest exploits Hollywood has ever seen. But all that fame had a price; Richard Burton’s liver was shot by the time he was 50, Richard Harris’s film career stalled for over a decade. Peter O’Toole’s drinking almost put him in the grave before his 43rd birthday, and Oliver Reed ended up dying prematurely.
“I did quite enjoy the days when one went for a beer at one’s local in Paris and wake up in Corsica,” Mr. O’Toole once quipped.
This is the story of four of the greatest thespian boozers who ever walked — or staggered — off a film set into a pub. It’s a story of drunken binges of near biblical proportions, parties and orgies, broken marriages, drugs, riots and wanton sexual conquests. And yet these piss-artists were seemingly immune from the law.
Mr. Reed is said to have drunk 126 pints of beer in 24 hours, and as you can see, loved to carouse with The Who drummer and legendary mad man Keith Moon.
Mr. Harris joked of having formed a support group called Alcoholics Unanimous that worked this way: “If you don’t feel like a drink, you ring another member and he comes over to persuade you.” Mr. Reed, by far the most hellish of the four, had an eagle’s head tattooed on his shoulder.
Oliver Reed also had the eagle’s claws tattooed on the part of his body that he most enjoyed exposing without warning. “Would you like to see where it’s perched?” he liked to ask about the bird.
And what about Richard Burton? Mr. Elizabeth Taylor – TWICE? Here’s a story about Mr. Burton during the filming of “The Klansman,” one of his worst. “If you want to interview a drunk or see a drunk fall in the camellia bushes, come ahead,” that film’s publicist supposedly told the press. And when the film’s makeup artist was complimented on how well he had prepared Mr. Burton for his death scene, the makeup man replied: “I haven’t touched him.”
They got away with it because of their extraordinary acting talent and because the public loved them. They were truly the last of a breed, the last of the movie hellraisers. This is a great great book – but it will make you thirsty!
Hit & Run – by Nancy Griffin and Kim Masters – originally published in 1997
Hit and Run tells the improbable and often hilarious story of how two Hollywood film packagers went on a campaign to reinvent themselves as studio executives — at Sony’s expense.
Veteran reporters Nancy Griffin and Kim Masters chronicle the rise of Jon Peters, a former hairdresser, seventh-grade dropout, and juvenile delinquent, and his soulless soul mate, Peter Guber — and all the sex, drugs, and fistfights along the way. It is the story of the ultimate Hollywood con job and the standard by which every subsequent business blunder has been measured. Hit and Run delivers rock-solid business reporting liberally laced with inside gossip and outrageous scandal — plus a new afterword bringing us up to date on the latest fallout from the Guber-Peters legacy.
From Publishers Weekly: This is basically the story of two boys who never grew up, but ended up running Sony-owned Columbia Pictures into the ground. Peters, whom the Los Angeles Times described as a “seventh-grade dropout and reform school graduate who began his show-business career as Barbra Steisand’s hairdresser-boyfriend-manager,” was a master at self-promotion; only semi-literate but able to count well enough to make it big in Hollywood.
Bostonian Guber earned several academic degrees before “going Hollywood,” somehow managing to indifferently run several studios and make high profits and only a few good films. This book will leave film fans drooling at charges that Peters hired Heidi Fleiss’s prostitutes as gifts and that he either bedded or assaulted his numerous conquests (Jacqueline Bisset and Lesley Ann Warren, among others). Peters has said recently he wants to publish his autobiography, so it will be interesting to see how many of these charges he refutes in print.
According to the book – Guber, the quintessential New Age yuppie, is seen heading off his divorce because it would cost him too much, and participating in hand-holding group-therapy sessions with business-partner Peters. The business side of this book is also intriguing, recounting internecine financial twists and turns that finally have a top Sony executive exclaiming: “Huh! You bankrupt Sony!”
This is a great inside look at how the movie industry operates, especially when outsiders try to navigate the expensive waters of Hollywood.
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