Apocalypse Earth as Frozen Popsickle

DATELINE: Doomsday Glacier

  

Now blizzards are something we can warm up to. The latest doomsday show starts off with the 1300s and the Little Ice Age, which was bad for a 100 years but lingered until almost 1900.

If the series is correct, everything from the Black Death to the French Revolution could be traced back to failed crops and angry people. And, the worst may be about to return.

It’s enough to make you want to colonize Mars where it’s cold, but there is no snow. This is another of those compilation from the lost burial ground of snow documentaries.

Smack in the middle of discussing ice ages, there is a sidebar in which climbers of a Himalayan mountain barely escape an avalanche. It is adrift from the rest of the show, under the odd heading of survivor stories. You mean there was no one who could speak to the Blizzard of ’78 and how hard it was?

Not in this oddball pastiche.

The best part of the show came in the final 30 minutes or so when glaciers and hailstorms came under discussion. Rock gouges indicate that there have been a dozen glaciers coming and going over the past million years.

One glacier may have been four times as high as the Empire State Building over New York City.

Another shocking moment was the home video of a family home in Oklahoma being decimated by softball size hail. It is terrifyijng, and this few scenes make up for the drivel also poured over the audience.

These “specials” from History are hit or miss, every other week. And they are hit and miss within their own hour or two. The final episode of the “season” will be shown next week on the topic of tsunamis, again with no particular order or progression of development.

 

 

 

Capone’s Last Year

DATELINE: Just Call Al ‘Fonzie’ 

 The Ultimate Al Capone.

Forget those performances by Robert Di Niro, Rod Steiger, Paul Muni, or a half dozen other actors who played the version of Scarface. This version of Capone  is filled with hungry alligators and chilling dreams of slaughter under his rubric.

Add Hardy’s blithering performance as a seminal Al Capone to the canon. Traditional crime movie fans will hate this unpleasant bio-drama.

Tom Hardy plays the addled, diseased, paranoid, syphilitic Capone living in Florida under FBI surveillance in 1948.

It’s hard to believe he was only 48 when he died after being released from Alcatraz in physical and mental decline. This film features Hardy with bloodshot eyes, barely verbal, hallucinating, deluded, and incontinent. No wonder fans of crime movies and Capone as kingpin hate this movie.

This is your anti-Capone mobster: a fallen slob who hears re-enactments of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre every time he turns on a radio. He can barely shuffle around his Florida estate and the feds believe he is faking it at the end.

The story of Capone’s vault being empty comes out of this storyline:  that Al, called Fonzo, hid ten million bucks and forgot where he put it. Agents of Hoover were eavesdropping to hear if he revealed where it was, as they never believed he was mad as a hatter from syphilis.

Kyle MacLachlan is around as a FBI-hired doctor to try to wheedle info out of him between his final strokes. Matt Dillon is not holding up well as a fantasy figure from Al’s past. Dillon is looking his age and is nearly unrecognizable nowadays from his youthful self.

How much of this is true? We can never know what delusions and nightmares Capone suffered at the end of his life, or if the stories of his family around him were accurate.

This is quite a performance by Tom Hardy, but you are looking at a fantasy world Chicago mob figure in utter decline. It is fascinating to behold.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wait for Your Laugh: Irrepressible Rose Marie

 DATELINE: Second Bananas are Tops

 irrepressible

A major star before Shirley Temple was born, Rose Marie’s last act was the receive the lifetime Shirley Temple Award in 2017. Waiting for Your Laugh is her testimonial, made with her cooperation shortly before she died in 2017.

Never a beauty, but always a beaut. As a child, Rose Marie counted among her friends and supporters, gangsters like Al Capone and Bugsy Siegel.  Capone told her to call him “Uncle Al.”

She helped Bugsy build a resort entertainment venue that happened to be Las Vegas. She was the first headline and didn’t think twice to tell Siegel her paycheck was short $11.

He apologized and paid up.

She worked with them all—from Jimmy Durante to Milton Berle. Among her friends were Jerry Lewis and Johnny Carson, whom she called “angels.” They all treated her like a daughter and she liked all of them.

She learned how to do standup comedy to enhance her singing career. And, when TV demanded, she became a character actress on shows like Gunsmoke. Though she performed movies and Broadway, nightclubs were her secret passion. She played everywhere in America.

When TV comedy needed her, she did the Dick Van Dyke Show when no one knew who he was. She did a dozen years on Hollywood Squares, and made dozens of guest shots as cranky old bossy women. Her coworkers like Morey Amsterdam and Peter Marshall adored her.

In a time when old singers were forgotten, she organized Rosemary Clooney, Margaret Whiting, and Helen O’Connell, into a lucrative concert series.

Rose Marie lived 90 years, a staple of entertainment for multiple generations and only passed away last year.

In her love life, there was the greatest tragedy, having found the ideal man, Bobby Guy, a trumpeter from Kay Keyser and Bing Crosby bands, but who died too young—stealing her only personal love besides work.

This compelling documentary cannot be stopped. It unfolds and hypnotizes like Rose Marie herself.