Dec. 24, 2004

Holiday greetings! Santa has delivered acting jobs to three of our Fantasy Femmes. The vivacious and still gorgeous Francine York, whose credits are too numerous to mention, can be seen in a lead guest role as Mrs. Sokol on the hit NBC drama Las Vegas starring James Caan and Josh Duhamel on January 17. If the series pilot is ever rerun catch it to see Drive-in Dream Girl Beverly Washburn of Old Yeller and Spider Baby fame who played Mrs. Johnson. But I digress, back to Francine. She can also be seen in her recurring role as Evelyn the va-va-va-voom former Miss Yonkers who floats Jerry Stiller’s boat on the CBS sitcom, The King of Queens.

Lovely Irene Tsu who beach party fans remember as the wisecracking native girl who tries to entice Frankie Avalon away from Annette in How to Stuff a Wild Bikini has been busy too. She recently made a guest appearance on the Lifetime medical series Strong Medicine and can be seen in an upcoming episode of CSI-NY on CBS.

On the direct-to-video front, Fantasy Femmes cover girl Celeste Yarnall who lost Elvis to Michele Carey in Live a Little, Love a Little can be seen in the 2004 thriller Skinwalker: Curse of the Shaman.

Since I am in a plug-happy mood, I thought I’d share some books that I have enjoyed recently. First, that old adage of “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” definitely applies to Louis Paul’s new tome Italian Horror Film Directors. For some reason his publisher saddled it with a less than deserving cover. But once you open this nicely illustrated book you horror and foreign film fans will be treated to an exhaustive and entertaining overview of some of Italy’s legendary genre directors and their cult films.

One of Tinsteltown’s hippest entertainment journalists, Nelson Aspen, has written his second cook book called Let’s Dish Up a Dinner Party! Nelson, a great guy and a huge Carol Lynley fan like moi, is one of the wittiest writers around and dishes up lots of gossip with his recipe selections.

Though forties actresses are not my cup of tea, I prefer my starlets bikini or mini-skirt clad, Laura Wagner and Ray Hagen have written a wonderful McFarland book called Killer Tomatoes, which features a killer cover. I have to praise their graphic artist for such an eye-catching design. Inside you’ll read interesting profiles on such dames as Joan Blondell, Jane Russell, Lucille Ball, Gloria Grahame, Ann Sheridan, etc.

Finally from the if-you-don’t-promote-yourself-who-will? department, my new book Hollywood Surf and Beach Movies: The First Wave, 1959-1969 should be out in June. It is sort of a compendium containing reviews and synopses on 32 beach movies. To my knowledge it is the first book of its kind for this genre. To make it a bit different from all those similar horror and western books I interviewed a number of folks who worked on the movies for behind-the-scenes gossip. Everybody offered entertaining anecdotes but Jody McCrea, Aron Kincaid, Edward Garner, Quinn O’Hara, Don Edmonds, and Chris Noel really dished the dirt on what went on while the camera was not rolling.

See you in the New Year!




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