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Sadly my favorite actress of all-time Carol Lynley suddenly passed away last week. She died peacefully in her sleep reportedly related to a heart attack. What shook me about her death was that I spoke with her in March and April as she finally agreed to an interview for my upcoming tribute BearMano Media book Carol Lynley, Lady in Peril: Her Film & TV Career in Thrillers, Fantasy and Suspense.
I became a fan of Carol’s when in 1973 my parents for my birthday took me to see The Poseidon Adventure at the Westbury Drive-in. I was mesmerized. The movie changed my life. I loved all the characters but the pretty hippy blonde hot pants go-go boot wearing pop singer stood out. While most of the other actors went over the top at times, she projected sheer terror throughout. I asked my mom afterwards who she was and she said, “Carol Lynley. She was in that vampire movie [The Night Stalker] I told you not to watch.” Oh yeah I thought.
I have followed her career ever since and was impressed with her range of movies. The ABC 4:30 Movie introduced me to teen queen Carol (Holiday for Lovers; Return to Peyton Place); sex kitten Carol (Under the Yum Yum Tree; The Pleasure Seekers); and lady in peril Carol (The Shuttered Room; The Immortal; Weekend of Terror). But there were other impressive roles a pregnant teenager looking to get an abortion in Blue Denim; a priest’s sweet sister turned tango-dancing prostitute in The Cardinal; sex bomb Jean Harlow in Harlow; an unstable woman searching for her daughter real or imagined in Bunny Lake Is Missing; a psycho gold club weilding heiress in Once You Kiss a Stranger: a foul-mouthed Southern hooker in Norwood; a reporter’s vampire-believing girlfriend in The Night Stalker; etc. Later films included Death Stalk; Bad Georgia Road; Fantasy Island (original TV movie + 10 guest spots): The Cat and the Canary (outstanding as Annabelle West; The Shape of Things to Come; Vigilante; Dark Tower; Blackout: Spirits; Neon Signs; and Vic.
Yes I was an obsessed fan that perplexed my family to no end. And there was no end. My upcoming book will hopefully be seen as objective and a fitting farewell to such a beautiful and talented actress who brought lots of unknowing happiness to this movie nerd while he was growing up.
I have been waiting years for Turner Classic Movies to show Carol Lynley some love and they finally will just months before my BearManor Media tribute book Carol Lynley, Lady in Peril: Her Film & TV Career in Thrillers, Fantasy and Suspense comes out in March 2020! Here’s hoping for a future TCM tribute featuring me talking about some of her lady in peril roles in movies maybe aired such as The Shuttered Room, The Poseidon Adventure, and The Cat and the Canary.
SEPT 8 SUNDAY PRIMETIME THEME(S):
STARRING CAROL LYNLEY
8:00 PM Bunny Lake Is Missing (‘65)
10:00 PM Blue Denim (‘59)
Saw The Love Machine based on novel by Jacqueline Susann on the big screen recently. Trashy tale of handsome vile local newscaster with model thin good looks Robin Stone played by stiff John Philip Law from Barbarella fame filling in at the last minute for Brian Kelly the dad from Flipper injured in a motorcycle accident. Robin has his own Dionne Warwick theme song “Movin’ On” played throughout the movie as he rises to national newscaster, head of news division and finally network head.
For me the unappealing Dyan Cannon (in looks and acting) is the network president’s bored trashy wife who has the hots for Robin and the over wrought Jodi Wexler is the model who falls in love with Robin after a one night stand where he slaps her around. When he rejects her she takes the blue pills. It is that kind of movie. Thank goodness for the overtop hairstyles and fashions and the supporting cast: David Hemmings hams it up as a flamboyantly gay photographer (I lost count how many times they call him a “fag”); Maureen Arthur as slutty gold digging secretary who lands abrasive comic Shecky Greene; and lovely Alexandra Hay in too brief a role as one of Robin’s many bed partners.
Not nearly as campy fun as Valley of the Dolls due to stilted dialog and clumsily edited. Movie seems it was cut with a meat cleaver and sure director Jack Haley, Jr. must have delivered a longer more coherent cut.
My final tribute post is to the ill-fated lovely Sharon Tate who is played by Margot Robbie in the new movie. Tate was one of my faves and her death was truly tragic. Clips of her in The Wrecking Crew are shown but I liked her better in Valley of the Dolls and Don’t Make Waves. Louis Paul and I profiled her in our McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers book Film Fatales.
Today’s 1969 actress of the day is Carol Lynley from the mystery spoof The Maltese Bippy starring Dan Rowan and Dick Martin. It was supposed to be a big hit, it wasn’t. What’s a bippy? More in my upcoming BearManor Media book Carol Lynley: Lady in Peril Her Film & TV Career in Thrillers, Fantasy & Suspense due March 2020.
today’s 1969 movie actress of the day is Tina Louise in The Wrecking Crew, which is seen in clips in the film Tina had a banner 1969 co-starring in 3 additional movies the comedy How to Commit Marriage w/ Bob Hope and Jackie Gleason; the western The Good Guys and the Bad Guys w/ Robert Mitchum; and Richard Brooks’ Oscar-nominated drama The Happy Ending. Tina is profiled in my and Louis Paul’s McFarland book Film Fatales: Women in Espionage Films & Television, 1962-1973.
today’s 1969 tribute is to actors Wayne Maunder and James Stacy from TV’s Lancer. They are played in the movie by Luke Perry and Timothy Olyphant. As a kid, I was not a western fan (more sci-fi) but loved me some Lancer. James Stacy also co-starred with William Wellman, Jr. in the beach/ski movies A Swingin’ Summer with Raquel Welch and Quinn O’Hara and Winter a-Go-Go with Beverly Adams, Julie Parrish, Nancy Czar, and Linda Rogers. The films are profiled in my McFarland book Hollywood Surf & Beach Movies: The First Wave, 1959-1969.
today’s 1969 movie actress of the day is Joanna Pettet who is played by Rumer Willis in the movie. Pettet lunched with Sharon Tate the afternoon of her gruesome murder. An accomplished actress, Joanna Pettet made a splash as part of The Group before becoming a Bond Girl in the spoof Casino Royale. More films and lots of TV followed most memorably a string of guest appearances on Night Gallery. Pettet is profiled in my and Louis Paul McFarland book Film Fatales: Women in Espionage Films & Television, 1962-1973.