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The TV That Time Forgot: Sky King

In television’s early days, the hands-down, most popular, can’t miss genre was Westerns. Especially when it came to kids’ programs.

One of the many lies that TV peddled so easily in those more innocent days was that the American West was somehow virtually unchanged from its post-Civil War heyday. Sure, there might be telephones and here and there a jeep to help with the ranching, but people still preferred to ride horses and settled their disputes with a good ol’ six-shooter.

One Western that bucked that trend was Sky King, who not only didn’t ride a horse; he didn’t even ride in a car. No sir. Sky King help keep law and order along that still untamed frontier in an airplane! Not just any airplane – but in the legendary Songbird!

Right off, how fortunate was it that his parents thought to name him Schuyler (a.k.a. “Sky”) and that his last name was King? I mean, talk about wacky coincidences!

Read more: The TV That Time Forgot: Sky King

Back-to-Back to the Future

As these photos prove, the make-up team on Back to the Future got things pretty close when it came to aging their stars (except Lea Thompson is far prettier than they made her appear).

Thomas Wilson and Crispin Glover are pretty darn close.

We'd have a Pepsi Free in their honor (if we could find one).

Okay, now here's an even more recent photo of Michael J. Fox, Thomas Wilson, Christopher Lloyd and Lea Thompson.

 

Operation Petticoat (1959)

What could be funnier than men having to discuss bras and panties, right? Ah, the much more innocent 1950’s came to an end at movie theaters with this extremely popular WWII-themed sex comedy.

Operation Petticoat was made at Universal Pictures in 1959, apparently because Navy veteran Tony Curtis really wanted to co-star in a submarine movie with his idol, Cary Grant.

In one of those ironic little twists, Curtis’ other big picture for 1959 was Some Like It Hot, which also involved women’s underwear (this time, him wearing it) and Curtis performing a hilarious impression of Cary Grant as part of that film’s plot.

The film was directed by Blake Edwards, who would go on to much greater fame with the Pink Panther series and so many more movies. Paul King, Joseph Stone, Stanley Shapiro, and Maurice Richlin wrote the script, incorporating many actual incidents from World War II (including the accidental torpedoing of a bus and women military members needing to be evacuated by submarine). Looking at this lightweight bit of fluff today it’s hard to see how their screenplay was nominated for an Oscar, but it was.

Read more: Operation Petticoat (1959)

10 Things You Never Knew about "It’s a Wonderful Life"

It’s a Wonderful Life turns 72 this month. Here are 10 things you probably never knew about this holiday classic:

  1. It’s probably the only movie ever based on a Christmas card.

When author Philip Van Doren Stern couldn’t sell his short story “The Greatest Gift” to any publisher, he had 200 copies printed up as a 21-page Christmas Card and sent them to his friends. A copy fell into the hands of the head of RKO Studios. He liked it and bought the film rights for $10,000.

  1. Cary Grant was supposed to play George Bailey.

When RKO couldn’t turn the story into a proper script for Cary, they sold the rights to Frank Capra. It was Capra who wanted Jimmy Stewart for the lead.

Read more: 10 Things You Never Knew about "It’s a Wonderful Life"

7 Facts You Never Knew About "White Christmas"

Before A Christmas Story, before the Grinch and Charlie Brown, most Baby Boomers’ holiday tradition was watching the movie White Christmas, the 1954 musical starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen. We saw it so often, we probably knew almost every line by heart.

But here are a few things you probably didn’t know about the movie:

1. The Danny Kaye part was intended for Fred Astaire. The movie began as a quasi-remake of Holiday Inn, the black & white film that first teamed Bing Crosby and Astaire and the movie debut of the Irving Berlin song, “White Christmas.” But Astaire had announced his retirement (it wouldn’t stick) and turned the part down. It was then offered to Donald O’Connor, who accepted. Then he became ill and had to bow out. So, Kaye was the producers' third choice.

2. The musical number “Sisters” wasn’t in the original script. Crosby and Kaye were horsing around with the girls’ costume on the set. It cracked up director Michael Curtiz so much that he had the number worked up and included in the film.

3. Try and see Vera Ellen’s neck. Throughout the film, Vera is always wearing a turtleneck, scarf or other covering around her neck. No one knows why. Some theorize that there was some flaw in her neck that she was covering up. Others think it was Vera Ellen’s attempt to create a trademark look for herself.

4. While Rosemary Clooney plays Vera Ellen’s older sister, she was actually 7 years younger than her co-star. Also, Bing Crosby was a bit older than Dean Jagger, who plays “the old general” in the film. By the way, Bing was nearly twice Clooney’s age (51 to her 26!).

5. If you look closely, you’ll see future West Side Story star George Chakiris as a chorus boy in the production numbers.

6. The photo of “Benny the Dog-Faced Boy” who was brother to Rosemary & Vera is a photo of a grown-up Alfalfa Switzer of Little Rascals fame.

7. Bob Fosse worked on the film as an uncredited choreographer. It was early in the legendary dancer/choreographer/director’s career and Vera Ellen brought him on to choreograph her numbers, but without screen credit.

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