Thursday, February 2, 2012

Happy Groundhog Day!

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Happy Groundhog Day!

Image via Laugh it Out
Groundhog Day is a "happening, not a holiday" celebrated on February 2nd in the United States and Canada. According to folklore, if it is cloudy when a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day, it will leave the burrow, signifying that winter will soon end. If on the other hand, it is sunny, the groundhog will supposedly "see its shadow" and retreat back into its burrow, and winter will continue for another six weeks.
Modern customs of the holiday involve celebrations where early morning festivals are held to watch the groundhog emerging from its burrow. In southeastern Pennsylvania, Groundhog Lodges (Grundsow Lodges) celebrate the holiday with fersommlinge, social events in which food is served, speeches are made, and one or more g'spiel (plays or skits) are performed for entertainment. The Pennsylvania German dialect is the only language spoken at the event, and those who speak English pay a penalty, usually in the form of a nickel, dime or quarter, per word spoken, put into a bowl in the center of the table.

The largest Groundhog Day celebration is held in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Groundhog Day, already a widely recognized and popular tradition, received widespread attention as a result of the eponymous 1993 film Groundhog Day, which was set in Punxsutawney and portrayed Punxsutawney Phil.
Text and image via Wikipedia
The groundhog (Marmota monax) is a rodent of the family Sciuridae
belonging to the group of large ground squirrels.

Now, moving away from groundhogs...

Tab Hunter - THE 1950s Hearthrob


Like many actors of his era, Hunter remained deep in the closet to protect his career. Today, he lives an openly gay life with his partner of more than 30 years.

Arthur Andrew Gelien was born July 11, 1931 and roughly 20 years later, was given the stage name "Tab Hunter" by his first agent, Henry Willson. His good looks landed him a role in the film Island of Desire opposite Linda Darnell. However, it was his co-starring role as young Marine Danny in 1955's World War II drama Battle Cry, in which he has an affair with an older woman, but ends up marrying the girl next door, that cemented his position as one of Hollywood's top young romantic leads. His other hit films include The Burning Hills with Natalie Wood, That Kind Of Woman with Sophia Loren, Gunman's Walk With Van Heflin and The Pleasure Of His Company with Debbie Reynolds. He went on to star in over forty films.
In September 1955, the tabloid magazine Confidential reported Hunter's 1950 arrest for disorderly conduct. The innuendo-laced article, and a second one focusing on Rory Calhoun's prison record, were the result of a deal Henry Willson had brokered with the scandal rag in exchange for not revealing his more prominent client Rock Hudson's sexual orientation to the public. Not only was there no negative impact on Hunter's career, but a few months later he was named Most Promising New Personality in a nationwide poll sponsored by the Council of Motion Picture Organizations.
Hunter had a 1957 hit record with a cover of the song "Young Love", which was #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for six weeks. He also had the hit "Ninety-Nine Ways", which peaked at #11 in the chart. His success prompted Jack Warner to enforce the actor's contract with the Warner Bros. studio by banning Dot Records, the label for which Hunter had recorded the single (and which was owned by rival Paramount Pictures), from releasing a follow-up album he had recorded for them. He established Warner Bros. Records specifically for Hunter, although his singing career foundered after a few more recordings.

Hunter in Damn Yankees  (1958)

Hunter was in the 1958 musical film Damn Yankees, in which he played Joe Hardy of Washington D.C's American League baseball  club. The film had originally been a Broadway show, but Hunter was the only one in the film version who had not appeared in the original cast. The show was based on the 1954 best-selling book The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant by Douglass Wallop. Hunter later said the filming was hellish because director George Abbott was only interested in re-creating the stage version word for word. Hunter was Warner Bros. top money grossing star from 1955 through 1959. In 1958, he sang on ABC's The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom, a venue open to scores of performers in the entertainment world. On October 27, 1960, Hunter performed on NBC's The Ford Show, Starring Tennessee Ernie Ford.

Hunter's failure to win the role of Tony in the film adaptation of West Side Story prompted him to agree to star in a weekly television sitcomOn July 9, 1960, prior to the program's debut, he was arrested by Glendale, California police for allegedly beating his dog Fritz. His 11-day trial started in mid-October, a month after The Tab Hunter Show debuted on Sunday evenings on NBC. It was proved that the neighbor who initiated the charges had done so for spite when Hunter declined her repeated invitations to dinner, and he was acquitted by the jury. The Tab Hunter Show had low ratings and was hence cancelled after one season.
For a short time in the latter 1960s, Hunter settled in the south of France, where he acted in spaghetti westerns. His career was revived in the 1980s, when he starred opposite actor Divine in John WatersPolyester (1981) and Paul Bartel's Lust in the Dust (1985). He is particularly remembered by later audiences as Mr. Stewart, the substitute teacher in Grease 2, who sang "Reproduction." Hunter had a major role in the 1988 horror film Cameron's Closet. He also wrote and starred in Dark Horse (1992).

Currently, a documentary about Tab's life called "Tab Hunter Confidential" is being developed by producers Allan Glaser, Neil Koenigsberg, and Jeffrey Schwarz of Automat Pictures.

In January 2012, Tab Hunter and Joyce DeWitt will appear in A.R. Gurney's play "Love Letters" at Judson Theatre Company in Pinehurst, North Carolina.

Personal life

In Hunter's 2005 best selling autobiography, Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star, he acknowledged his homosexuality, confirming rumors that had circulated since the height of his fame. According to William L. Hamilton of The New York Times, detailed reports about his alleged romances with very close friends Debbie Reynolds and Natalie Wood were strictly the fodder of studio publicity departments. As Wood and Hunter embarked on a well-publicized and groundless romance, promoting his apparent heterosexuality while promoting their films, insiders developed their own headline for the item: 'Natalie Wood and Tab Wouldn't'.
Tab Hunter with Debbie Reynolds.
Tab Hunter with Linda Darnell.
Tab Hunter with Mona Freeman.
Tab Hunter with Natalie Wood.
Tab Hunter with Natalie Wood
Tab Hunter with Natalie Wood
Tab Hunter with Natalie Wood
Hunter did become close enough with Etchika Choureau, his co-star in Lafayette Escadrille, and Joan Cohn, widow of Harry Cohn, to contemplate marriage, but thought he never could maintain a marriage and remained merely platonic friends with both women.
Tab Hunter with James Dean.
During Hollywood's studio era, Hunter says, life "was difficult for me, because I was living two lives at that time. A private life of my own, which I never discussed, never talked about to anyone. And then my Hollywood life, which was just trying to learn my craft and succeed..." The star emphasizes that the word 'gay' "wasn't even around in those days, and if anyone ever confronted me with it, I'd just kinda freak out. I was in total denial. I was just not comfortable in that Hollywood scene, other than the work process." "There was a lot written about my sexuality, and the press was pretty darn cruel," the actor says, but what "moviegoers wanted to hold in their hearts were the boy-next-door marines, cowboys and swoon-bait sweethearts I portrayed."
Hunter had long-term relationships with bisexual actor Anthony Perkins and champion figure skater Ronnie Robertson, before settling down with his partner of 30 years, Allan Glaser.  
Tab Hunter with one-time boyfriend Tony Perkins.
Hunter has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6320 Hollywood Blvd.
Text via Wikipedia

Tab Hunter 
Tab Hunter with James Dean.
Tab Hunter with Roddy McDowell.
Tab Hunter with Roddy McDowell.
Tab Hunter with Rudolf Nureyev 
Image series via Handsome Masculine Men

Image via Wikipedia  Tab Hunter in April 2010

Troy Donahue

Image via Flicker
Born Merle Johnson, Jr., Troy Donahue was often confused with Tab Hunter because of their similar good looks and the types of roles they played. However Hunter was gay while Donahue was decidedly straight. Nevertheless TD was often thought to be G-A-Y.  - Nealbo
Initially a journalism student at Columbia University in New York City Donahue decided to become an actor in Hollywood, where he was represented by Rock Hudson's agent, Henry Willson. According to Robert Hofler's 2005 biography, The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson: The Pretty Boys and Dirty Deals of Henry Willson, Willson tried out the name Troy on Rory Calhoun and James Darren, with no success before it finally stuck to Donahue. The blond heartthrob established himself with uncredited roles in The Monolith Monsters and Man Afraid in 1957, leading to larger parts in several films.
He starred in Monster on the Campus, Live Fast, Die Young, and The Tarnished Angels, all in 1958, and opposite fellow teen idol Sandra Dee in A Summer Place in 1959. The latter made him a star, especially among teenage audiences. He signed a contract with Warner Bros. and played several successive leading roles in films such as Rome Adventure and A Distant Trumpet. The two co-starred Suzanne Pleshette, whom he married in 1964, but divorced later that same year.
Troy Donnahue and Suzanne Pleshette marry in 1964
Image via Fan Picks

After the release of My Blood Runs Cold (1965), Donahue's contract with Warner Bros. ended. He later struggled to find new roles and had problems with drug addiction and alcoholism. He was married again in 1966 to actress Valerie Allen, but they divorced in 1968. In 1969 he appeared in an episode of the long running TV western The Virginian. In 1970 he appeared in the daytime drama The Secret Storm. In 1974 he was cast in his most high-profile role, a small part in The Godfather Part II as the fiancé of Connie Corleone. His character was called Merle Johnson, Donahue's real name.
Donahue starred with Van Williams and Lee Patterson from 1960 to 1962 in the ABC television series Surfside 6, set in MiamiFlorida. After Surfside 6, Donahue joined the cast of Hawaiian Eye for its last season, 1962–1963, in the role of hotel director Philip Barton.

Personal life

After the breakup of his brief second marriage to actress Suzanne Pleshette, Donahue married actress Valerie Pamela Allen on October 21, 1966, in DublinIreland. The union ended two years later when Allen claimed in divorce proceedings that Donahue was constantly late for dinner and ignored her. No alimony was granted, but Donahue agreed to pay Allen $14,000 in monthly installments of $800 each.

Troy Donahue with Robert Conrad 

and Connie Stevens

Image via Listall
Donahue spent his last few years with his fiancée, mezzo-soprano Zheng Cao. He died of a heart attack at the age of 65 on September 2, 2001. His A Summer Place and Susan Slade co-star Dorothy McGuire died the following week on September 13th, 2001.
Text via Wikipedia
Image via Film Bug
Troy Donahue Photo
Image via Film Bug
Image via Gork Zone
Image via fbcdnsphotos 


Troy Donahue and Suzanne Pleshette

Image via Gork Zone
Troy Donahue, Sandra Dee

Troy Donahue and Sandra Dee

Image via Gork Zone
troy donahue

Troy Donahue and Diane McBain

Image via Gork Zone
Image via Gork Zone
liked Troy Donahue a lot)
Image via Gork Zone
Troy Donahue
Image via Gork Zone

'A Summer Place' - 1959

(L-R) Troy Donahue, Constance Ford, unknown actor, Sandra Dee, Richard Egan and Dorothy McGuire

'Crowded Sky' - 1960

'Parrish' - 1961

Dean Jagger,Troy Donahue 

and Claudette Colbert

'Rome Adventure' - 1962

Troy Donahue and Angie Dickenson

'Palm Springs Weekend' - 1963 

Troy Donahue and Stephanie Powers

Troy Donahue, Jerry Van Dyke 

and Stephanie Powers

Image via Brian's Drive-in Theatre

Troy-Donahue and Joey Heatherton in 

'My Blood Runs Cold' -1965


...better known as 'My Blood Runs Tepid.'

Image via Brian's Drive-in Theatre
Image via EBay

'Come Spy with Me' - 1967

'The Love Thrill Murders' - 1971

Troy Donahue 1936 - 2001

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