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!


Welcome to My First Post

Dec. 14, 2004

Hello all. I am Tom Lisanti the author of the books on sixties cinema found on this site. I am going to use this Blog to keep you abreast of current news and gossip on all your favorite sixties starlets and B-movie hunks as well as share my views and opinions on the Hollywood scene.

First up, Gail Gerber (you may remember her as Gail Gilmore star of The Girls on the Beach and Beach Ball, among others) was in New York City recently to attend a program at The New York Public Library on the banning of the novel Candy by Terry Southern during the sixties. Terry and Gail were together for over thirty years. Terry also wrote the screenplays for Dr. Strangelove, The Loved One, and Easy Rider, among others. Gail and his only son Nile formed a trust to protect and promote his work. Director Steven Soderbergh bought the collection and donated it to the Library. Gail, who is simply delightful, also accompanied me and my boyfriend Ernie to see the sensational Ilene Kristen perform her live act at the Triad NYC. Gail and Ilene worked in theater together during the early nineties.

For you non-soap fans Ilene currently plays foxy Roxy on One Life to Live (John-Paul Lavoisier plays her son sexy Rexy) and portrayed (along with Randall Edwards) my all-time favorite soap diva devious Delia Reid Ryan Coleridge on the sadly missed Ryan’s Hope. How wickedly bad was Delia? Well, she sent her first husband Frank Ryan flying down a set of stairs when he asked for a divorce (the two-timer was cheating on her with the haughty Jill Coleridge and deserved his fate); tricked his brother Pat into marriage and feigned blindness to hold on to him; developed unholy alliances with Mafia kingpin Tiso Nivotny and his nephew Joe Novak to open the fab restaurant the Crystal Palace; ran down her lover Barry Ryan and deliciously framed her drunken passenger the sickenly sweet Faith Coleridge for the dirty deed; and set up her five year old son for stealing as a ploy to win back her ex-husband! It is a testament to Ilene’s (and Randall’s) talent that they were able to make such a devious character so wacky and lovable that you rooted for Delia to triumph over the show’s self-righteous “heroines” Mary, Jill, and Faith.

Anyway, I digress. Ilene has a sexy smoky voice that works so well with her material that ranges from rock to Latin. She was simply brilliant from singing some of her original compositions to her hilarious banter with the audience. She will be performing live there again so if you have a chance to see her…go!

Also write in to those jerks at ABC who have dropped Ilene from contract to recurring on One Life to Live. She is one of the very few bright spots on that lousy soap and to treat this Emmy-nominated daytime legend like dirt while a number of no talent blondes and overbaked muscular hams, and fans of the show know whom I speak, are put in front burner storylines is a crock. And the networks wonder why their daytime ratings are down the toilet.

On another note, is Jim Belushi really in that desperate need of publicity that he has to sue THE Catwoman, next-door-neighbor Julie Newmar to get some press!?! Jeez, Jim, drop the suit before our Julie scratches back. Meow!