Wanna see a gallery of Hollywood’s presidential ladies? Then check my Facebook site. Cuz Hollywood isn’t just ga-ga over Hillary. For decades, movies and TV shows have put women in the Oval Office. The historic first was in 1953 with “Project Moonbase,” a low-budget sci-fier based on a story and script co-written by Robert A. Heinlein. Seen only briefly, the film’s “Madame President” was played by Ernestine Barrier. In the Sixties, gorgeous Polly Bergen teamed with Fred MacMurray for the comedy, “Kisses for My President.” Patty Duke briefly took office in 1985; her ABC sitcom “Hail to the Chief” lasted just seven episodes. Other actresses who’ve run the White House include Cherry Jones, of my all-time favorite series, Fox’s “24,” Geena Davis of ABC’s “Commander in Chief,” Alfre Woodard as the first black female President in NBC’s “State of Affairs,” Sela Ward in this year’s sequel to 1996’s block-buster feature, “Independence Day,” and Patricia Wettig in Fox’s “Prison Break.” And this is just a brief round-up!
Members of the Southern California chapter of Mystery Writers of America can read my piece about the group’s March meeting, at which our guest was Meredith Davis, special agent and PIO of the L.A. Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (aka the ATF). Meredith put on quite a program (complete with an armory of firearms), and Yours Truly – an associate member of the chapter – was pleased to be asked to contribute a write-up for the organization’s newsletter.
In the March issue of Orange Coast, I check in with “Protectors of the Past” — local archivists and the amazing collections they preserve and curate. I found Disneyana, Huell Howser’s televised road trips, the 37th President (O.C., after all, is home to the Nixon Presidential Library & Museum), even a center devoted to surf culture. Cowabunga!
Getting bookish with Bond, Bergman … and Bill!
I get to give Santa some pointers about this season’s best entertainment-themed reading in my review roundup in the December issue of BookPage. Along with a stunning pictorial study of Ingrid Bergman, there are lavish coffee table spreads on Bond film production design and the history of musicals, an insightful delve into famous comedians, and a cheeky look at cult clown Bill Murray.
I put the squeeze on Dita Von Teese
In the December issue of Orange Coast, I interview the burlesque superstar about her O.C. past, including her days (actually, nights) at the (former) Lake Forest strip club called Captain Cream’s, her pivotal work in Playboy, and her love of lingerie. Dita also shares tips from her new beauty book. Among ‘em, exfoliate!
Hollywood sure sounds like it was a lot more fun – and definitely more scandalous – in the Golden Age! If you don’t believe me, take a read of John Brady’s upcoming “Frank & Ava: In Love and War” (Thomas Dunne Books), about the stormy hookup of Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner. I give it a rave in the just-out print edition of BookPage, which you’ll find in the nonfiction review section at bookpage.com/print-edition