What a Character! 2018 – Sassy Sisterhood: Eileen Heckart & Louise Latham

It’s that marvelous time again, when one of the most enjoyable Blogathons has come around, it’s the 7th Annual What A Character Blogathon. And the reason I adore it so much –it’s purpose is essential in paying tribute to the memorable character actors who have often added the sparkle to the cinematic sky of movie stars– they touch our lives so profoundly because of their unique contribution as the characters they bring to life!

I want to thank Aurora of Once Upon a Screen, Paula Guthat of Paula’s Cinema Club, and Kellee Pratt of Outspoken & Freckled. for giving me the opportunity to once again show my sincerest love for the actors & actresses who are so discernible within the art of film, television and theatre. It is their unforgettable performances that make it a much richer, more compelling experience — as they are as much the stars who inhabit the dream of art because of their singular personalities.

I’ve been participating now for 7 years, and it’s always a great expedition to delve deeper into the careers of the people who I’ve found the most enigmatic, extraordinary, and uniquely engaging. This year I’ve been excited to pay special attention to two remarkable women, Eileen Heckart, and Louise Latham.

For years I have always thought of these two women together, as one of those odd associations–yet inexplicable– that makes you put certain faces or impressions together in your head. Another example of two actors that often seem to merge in that vast noggin of mine — I’m always thinking of E.G. Marshall and Eli Wallach together. Heck, maybe, next year I’ll do the same double feature for them. As I adore them both!

It struck me that I should pair Eileen and Louise as a kind of sisterhood, for both of their uniquely extraordinary styles stand out and somehow stand together for me. And an interesting confluence happened as I went on my more intensive journey of discovering of these two fine actresses. I found out that Eileen Heckart and Louise Latham appeared together in a rare episode of The Doctors and The Nurses an hour-long television medical drama that ran from 1962-1965. In a macabre tale reminiscent of a Robert Bloch story — the episode is called Night of the Witch, about a woman (Eileen Heckart) who is tortured by the loss of her 6-year-old daughter, and seeks her own brand of retribution from the medical staff she believes is responsible. The hospital receptionist who is cold and unfeeling is portrayed by none other than Louise Latham. The fascination I’ve had to see this performance led me to hunt down a rare copy and now I own it and have put together a sample of it here for you. It’s a rather long clip of the episode in honor of their appearing together. It showcases both their talents. I hope you enjoy the excerpt And I am praying that the television series itself will someday find a full release as it is worthy of being re-visited for its groundbreaking content, incredible cast, and performances.



As in past What A Character Blogathons Burgess Meredith, Ruth Gordon, Agnes Moorehead, Martin Balsam, and Jeanette Nolan–each of these actors– had a way of elevating every single project they were involved in, making it just that much more fascinating, delightful, heart-wrenching and unquestionably memorable because of their performance–no matter how small their presence, they changed the landscape and impacted the narrative.

It is my absolute honor this year to feature two of the most remarkable women whose legacy still lives on.

Continue reading “What a Character! 2018 – Sassy Sisterhood: Eileen Heckart & Louise Latham”

Classic TV Blog Association celebrates with A Very Merry MeTV Blogathon 2015!



The Andy Griffith Show

Season One episode 11– Aired on December 19, 1960

Santa Fife



On the eve of Christmas when Andy and Barney are planning on celebrating Christmas with Aunt Bea, Opie and Ellie, Andy is setting his mind to allowing both cells full of prisoners who were disturbing the peace (the basic holiday drunkeness) to go home for Christmas!

Andy’s sweeping up and apologizing to the prisoners about there being the only kind of pillows they got for the cells. Often Andy’s jail seems as homey and welcoming as most towns people’s homes. What with Aunt Bea’s hand made Doilies and bringing supper consisting of chicken and dumplings, sweet potato pie, johnny cakes, (no worries –not those bad ole home pickles– them kerosene cucumbers! They’re scattered all the way from Seattle to Nova Scotia) At the jailhouse there’s always breakfast, lunch and dinner, and it’s always a feast for either wayward prisoner, or Otis sleeping off a snoot full….


Greeting from State Prison

Barney comes in in a particularly jovial mood with a package of Christmas cards. More people seem to remember them this year than any other!

And boy Andy does love to get and open up Christmas cards more than anything he knows of.

Barney opens up a card from the Hubacher Brothers.

Just a note: We rescued 3 little feral tabby kittens last year. Of course we named them the Eubacher brothers. Sadly we lost Mikey to a horrible virus a few months later, but Archie and Sidney are doing well! And whenever the show mentions those Hubacher brothers, it tickles us thoroughly.

Barney tells Andy “They always send such nice family pictures.”

Andy asks where they are right now. Barney matter of factly answers,  “Up in State Prison.”
Andy enjoyed the picture they sent last year more. It was more “outdoorsy and Christmasy feeling” Barney tells him, “They was all working out on the County Road then.”

“Merry Christmas from State Prison” Barney smiles “I think it’s just wonderful that they’re all together on Christmas.” Then Andy finds one for Barney marked personal. You know he’s about to poke fun at him royally about either Hilda May or later on in the show it will be… the unseen Jaunita over at The Blue Bird Diner.

Barney reads the card and giggles to himself. “That’s sweet.” When he realizes that Andy is watching him he quickly shoves it in his pocket, looking like a boy caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

Andy answers the phone all toothy and grinning. Aunt Bea is on the phone. “Oh Hey Aunt Bea Yeah, I got the doodads for the tree…” He tells her he doesn’t want to be Santa Claus again this year. “I was last year….”

Andy is so excited about the Christmas Party, and he tells Barney that he’s gonna be Santa Claus this time, but Barney says no… because he isn’t gonna be there since he’s going to be on duty minding the prisoners in the cells.

Andy says “Oh yeah, well that does make a problem then don’t it” Barney tells him… “You know with a little practice I could have done a very mean Ho Ho Ho Merry Christmas!”

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Andy is figuring on what he has them boys in the cells for anyways. Barney thinks he means what law infractions. Like disturbing the peace. But that’s not what Andy is driving at. “We got em in there to kind a teach them a lesson, ain’t that right?” Barney reluctantly goes along at first. In one of Andy’s crafty rationals he figures that it makes the prisoners sort of like students, making he and Barney teachers and the jail house sort of like school! So when it’s a holiday what else can you do…?

Only one thing to do, right! Let all them students go home for Christmas!

Barney tries out a hearty Ho Ho Ho!

Acting in this Christmas play is the modern day Ebenezer Scrooge, the crotchety department store owner Ben Weaver (Will Wright) who’s ill-tempered swagger injects his mean spirited humbuggery into the gaiety around the prison.

Weaver barges into the jail like a grizzled old bounty hunter with Sam Muggins (Sam Edwards) gripped in one hand and a jug of hard cider in the other.


Weaver, the miserly, curmudgeon wants Sheriff Taylor to arrest Sam for moon-shining and lock him up in a cell on Christmas Eve! That man has got all the meanness in town…

Weaver’s caught Sam red handed and shows him the jug as evidence. Andy takes a sniff and his eyes roll back in his head. “Well I’ll have to admit… it ain’t exactly Sarsaparilla.”

Andy pleads his case to Weaver… Sam Muggins really only just made “a batch, to merry up Christmas… Ben”“Now you heard me Sheriff lock him up!” urging Andy to do his duty. Andy tries to convince Ben Weaver that Sam didn’t make the spirits to try to sell and after all, tomorrow being Christmas, and Sam being a family man Christmas being a family holiday.

Andy- “If that ain’t the meanest, orneriest, low-downiest man” Andy apologizes and puts Sam in the cell. Poor Sam feels so bad about spending Christmas in a cell without his family and his youngins having to spend Christmas without their Pappy.

Andy tries to reason with the miserly Weaver, “I was just wondering if…” Ben snaps at Andy- No sir! I’d like to see how forgiving you’d be, if you had a store that sold spirits and half the county was cutting in on your sale by making their own. Agin the law!”

Ben tells him he’s gonna keep an eye on him. Andy gives his word that right after Christmas he’ll arrest him and try him strictly according to the law. “And if this here moon-shiner ain’t in that cell every minute of the time, I’m gonna report you to the state officials for being derelict in your duty. and you know I’ve got enough pull up there to make it stick.”

Barney has the notion and asks Andy if they can’t just dismiss school again… He’s worried that Ben could actually make a whole lotta trouble. Barney was sure looking forward to playing Santa Claus he starts to sing Jingle Bells to himself. Andy gets that grin on his face like he’s got another one of those shrewd ideas! “No by dog there’s more than one way to pluck a buzzard. Yes Sir!!!!”

Ben sees Andy bringing the whole Muggins family in the police car. Jingle Bells is playing as he escorts the family out of the car and into the jailhouse.

In Andy’s witty, wise and resourceful manner he often figures out ways around the befuddlements of human nature, and so to appease mean old Weaver he arrests Sam’s entire family, wife Bess (Joy Ellison) and even toothless little Effie (Margaret Kerry) and little Billy.


Andy sees this as a way the Muggins family can celebrate their Christmas all together. So with his home spun cunning and wit, charges Effie and the children as “accessories before, during, and after the fact.”

Andy engages Eleanor and Aunt Bea to help watch over the prisoners Muggins. And of course they need to eat, so the party festivities are re-directed to the jailhouse. The feast and all the fixings are brought there. Even the beautifully festooned Christmas Tree is now at the jail ready to be decorated with tinsel, fringe and ball lights. The festivities continue, lots of roast turkey and egg nog, Andy on the guitar and caroling and the warmth of friendship and kindness abounds.

Weaver’s face appears as if soaked in vinegar as he watches from outside the jailhouse window, a sad lonely man. The old coot becomes embittered while everyone else is full of the joy of Christmas. Weaver does everything he can to get himself arrested. Secretly wanting to be a part of the celebration but soaked in too much pride and cantankerousness to admit he’s lonely.

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Yes Andy’s jail is good enough to host Christmas, with all it’s warmly decorated, folksy Christmas singin’ and carols, good home cookin’ (kerosene pickles aside) and hearty atmosphere of good will to all…

But Ben Weaver the old curmudgeon doesn’t think so. He’s got no holiday spirit in his creaky old body draped in black like the harbinger of doom who Andy refers to as ‘instead of dying’“He’s just going to nasty away.” Bony fingers and hawk like nose Ben Weaver would be a marvelous Ichabod Crane…

Ben Weaver blows his stack when Sam Muggins gets to put his own little Christmas Tree in his cell. “It’s disgraceful that’s what it is… disgraceful a prison is for punishing not for picnicking”  Andy responds- “Now I always thought that a prison was to help wrong doers get back on the path.”  For Ben Weaver tis definitely NOT the season to be jolly.

He does everything he can to disturb the peace so he can be arrested and be included in on a little Peace on Earth at the Mayberry jailhouse…

Andy finally figures out Ben Weaver’s unruly behavior and arrests him so he can be part of the Christmas celebrating! Ben brings his heavy suitcase in, but it’s not filled with his personal items, it’s loaded down with presents for everyone, even toys for the children from his department store. He cleverly pretends that he has no idea how these things have gotten in his suit case, handing out the gifts as if he’s got no use for them himself. Guess he’s got a secret kind spot in his his gnarled looking heart after-all…

Barney gets to play Santa Claus and all is right with the world– Mayberry style….

From all of us here at The Last Drive In… we’re wishing you and yours a very Happy Holiday and Peace on Earth….





Film Noir ♥ Transgressions Into the Cultural Cinematic Gutter: From Shadowland to Psychotronic Playground

“Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.”
Sigmund Freud

“Ladies and gentlemen- welcome to violence; the word and the act. While violence cloaks itself in a plethora of disguises, its favorite mantle still remains sex.” — Narrator from Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965).

Faster Pussycat
Tura Satana, Haji, and Lori Williams in Russ Meyer’s Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! 1965
Françoise Dorléac and Donald Pleasence in Roman Polanski’s Cul-de-sac 1966.
the Naked kiss
Constance Towers kicks the crap out of her pimp for shaving off her hair in Sam Fuller’s provocative The Naked Kiss 1964.
Shock Corridor
Peter Breck plays a journalist hungry for a story and gets more than a jolt of reality when he goes undercover in a Mental Institution in Sam Fuller’s Shock Corridor 1963.
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Bobby Darin is a psychotic racist in Hubert Cornfield and Stanley Kramer’s explosive Pressure Point 1962 starring Sidney Poitier and Peter Falk.

THE DARK PAGES NEWSLETTER  a condensed article was featured in The Dark Pages: You can click on the link for all back issues or to sign up for upcoming issues to this wonderful newsletter for all your noir needs!

Constance Towers as Kelly from The Naked Kiss (1964): “I saw a broken down piece of machinery. Nothing but the buck, the bed and the bottle for the rest of my life. That’s what I saw.”

Griff (Anthony Eisley) The Naked Kiss (1964): “Your body is your only passport!”

Catherine Deneuve as Carole Ledoux in Repulsion (1965): “I must get this crack mended.”

Monty Clift Dr. Cukrowicz Suddenly, Last Summer (1959) : “Nature is not made in the image of man’s compassion.”

Patricia Morán as Rita Ugalde: The Exterminating Angel 1962:“I believe the common people, the lower class people, are less sensitive to pain. Haven’t you ever seen a wounded bull? Not a trace of pain.”

Ann Baxter as Teresina Vidaverri Walk on the Wild Side 1962“When People are Kind to each other why do they have to find a dirty word for it.”

The Naked Venus 1959“I repeat she is a gold digger! Europe’s full of them, they’re tramps… they’ll do anything to get a man. They even pose in the NUDE!!!!”

Darren McGavin as Louie–The Man With the Golden Arm (1955): “The monkey is never dead, Dealer. The monkey never dies. When you kick him off, he just hides in a corner, waiting his turn.”

Baby Boy Franky Buono-Blast of Silence (1961) “The targets names is Troiano, you know the type, second string syndicate boss with too much ambition and a mustache to hide the facts he’s got lips like a woman… the kind of face you hate!”

Lorna (1964)- “Thy form is fair to look upon, but thy heart is filled with carcasses and dead man’s bones.”

Peter Fonda as Stephen Evshevsky in Lilith (1964): “How wonderful I feel when I’m happy. Do you think that insanity could be so simple a thing as unhappiness?”

Glen or Glenda (1953)“Give this man satin undies, a dress, a sweater and a skirt, or even a lounging outfit and he’s the happiest individual in the world.”

Glen or Glenda
Ed Wood’s Glen or Glenda 1953

Johnny Cash as Johnny Cabot in Five Minutes to Live (1961):“I like a messy bed.”

Dr. Moreau (Charles Laughton) Island of Lost Souls: “Do you know what it means to feel like God?”

The Curious Dr. Humpp (1969): “Sex dominates the world! And now, I dominate sex!”

The Snake Pit (1948): Jacqueline deWit as Celia Sommerville “And we’re so crowded already. I just don’t know where it’s all gonna end!” Olivia de Havilland as Virginia Stuart Cunningham “I’ll tell you where it’s gonna end, Miss Somerville… When there are more sick ones than well ones, the sick ones will lock the well ones up.”

Delphine Seyrig as Countess Bathory in Daughters of Darkness (1971)“Aren’t those crimes horrifying. And yet -so fascinating!”

Julien Gulomar as Bishop Daisy to the Barber (Michel Serrault) King of Hearts (1966)“I was so young. I already knew that to love the world you have to get away from it.”

The Killing of Sister George (1968) -Suzanna York as Alice ‘CHILDIE’: “Not all women are raving bloody lesbians, you know” Beryl Reid as George: “That is a misfortune I am perfectly well aware of!”

The Killing of Sister George
Susannah York (right) with Beryl Reid in The Killing of Sister George Susannah York and Beryl Reid in Robert Aldrich’s The Killing of Sister George 1960.

The Lickerish Quartet (1970)“You can’t get blood out of an illusion.”

THE SWEET SOUND OF DEATH (1965)Dominique-“I’m attracted” Pablo-” To Bullfights?” Dominique-” No, I meant to death. I’ve always thought it… The state of perfection for all men.”

Peter O’Toole as Sir Charles Ferguson Brotherly Love (1970): “Remember the nice things. Reared in exile by a card-cheating, scandal ruined daddy. A mummy who gave us gin for milk. Ours was such a beautifully disgusting childhood.”

Maximillian Schell as Stanislaus Pilgrin in Return From The Ashes 1965: “If there is no God, no devil, no heaven, no hell, and no immortality, then anything is permissible.”

Euripides 425 B.C.“Whom God wishes to destroy… he first makes mad.”

Davis & Crawford What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
Bette Davis and Joan Crawford bring to life two of the most outrageously memorable characters in Robert Aldrich’s What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? 1962.


psychotronic |ˌsīkəˈtränik| adjective denoting or relating to a genre of movies, typically with a science fiction, horror, or fantasy theme, that were made on a low budget or poorly received by critics. [the 1980s: coined in this sense by Michael Weldon, who edited a weekly New York guide to the best and worst films on local television.] Source: Wikipedia

In the scope of these transitioning often radical films, where once, men and women aspired for the moon and the stars and the whole ball of wax. in the newer scheme of things they aspired for you know… “kicks” Yes that word comes up in every film from the 50s and 60s… I’d like to have a buck for every time a character opines that collective craving… from juvenile delinquent to smarmy jet setter!



I just got myself this collection of goodies from Something Weird!

There’s even this dvd that points to the connection between the two genres – Here it’s labeled WEIRD. I like transgressive… They all sort of have a whiff of noir.
Grayson Hall Satan in High Heels
Grayson Hall -Satan in High Heels 1962.
Gerd Oswald adapts Fredrick Brown’s titillating novel — bringing to the screen the gorgeous Anita Ekberg, Phillip Carey, Gypsy Rose Lee, and Harry Townes in the sensational, obscure, and psycho-sexual thriller Screaming Mimi 1958.
The Strangler 1964 Victor Buono
Victor Buono is a deranged mama’s boy in Burt Topper’s fabulous The Strangler 1964.
Catherine Deneuve is extraordinary as the unhinged nymph in Roman Polanski’s psycho-sexual tale of growing madness in Repulsion 1965.

Just like Alice falling down the rabbit hole, Noir took a journey through an even darker lens… Out of the shadows of 40s Noir cinema, European New Wave, fringe directors, and Hollywood auteurs brought more violent, sexual, transgressive, and socially transformative narratives into the cold light of day with a creeping sense of verité. While Film Noir pushed the boundaries of taboo subject matter and familiar Hollywood archetypes it wasn’t until later that we are able to visualize the advancement of transgressive topics.

Continue reading “Film Noir ♥ Transgressions Into the Cultural Cinematic Gutter: From Shadowland to Psychotronic Playground”

Life Lessons from Barney Fife -“Mad Worm?”



Barney“You know where most of the karate moves come from?”
Andy- “No”
Barney- “From Animals…”{…} “Guess what animal this is, ready- What is it?”
Andy- “I don’t know”
Barney- “Guess”
Andy- “A worm?”
Barney- “Andy” (Sighs)
Andy- “Well it was wiggly”
Barney- “Andy… this is a deadly animal, vicious… a killer!”
Andy- “A mad worm?”

Stay clear of wiggly mad worms now, ya hear! Your EverLovin’ MonsterGirl

More Life Lessons from Barney Fife! “Suppose He’s a bath tub murderer!”

Aunt Bee’s Invisible Beau-

From Season 5, episode 27 Aired March 16th 1965

You don't know much...

Not a bath tub murderer… just your ever lovin’ monstergirl Joey!