Sunday, January 1, 2017

A PSYCHO Connection

Did you know that two actors in the musical comedy BYE BYE BIRDIE have a connection to the tale of Norman Bates?  Happy New Year.  Since it is the first day of a new year and you may not be up for reading anything too complicated, let me just share some movie trivia with you that I realized just last month while watching TV.  Janet Leigh secured her place in cinema history with her performance in the Alfred Hitchcock masterpiece, PSYCHO.
Before a hard rain forces Marion Crane off the road and before she meets her doom while under running water, we see her in arid Phoenix, Arizona having a love affair and working as a highly efficient, highly professional and usually trustworthy real estate office secretary.
Her slim, rather reserved boss comes in and seems a tad uneasy with the indiscreet, bragging buddy customer wearing a cowboy hat.
The cowboy wants to have a drink.  He boasts about having lots of money.  In fact, he's got $40,000 on him in cash.  The middle-aged cowboy sees the young, shapely and lovely office secretary.  He's a married man whose daughter is getting married soon.  We can tell that he'd like to have a few drinks and a horizontal hootenanny with the office secretary.  He gets up close to her and waves that wad of cash in her face like he's a flasher who just exposed himself and is wiggling his generous manhood.

Secretary Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) is aware of but not at all interested in his advances.  She is to take that hefty amount of cash and put it in the bank for the boss.
The randy middle-aged cowboy in Hitchcock's 1960 classic was played by Frank Albertson.  In 1963, he and Janet Leigh would share screen time again.  Only this time in a festive, colorful big screen adaptation of a hit Broadway musical comedy.  Janet Leigh wears a brunette wig in BYE BYE BIRDIE.  Why?  Well, she had a contract deal with Columbia Pictures and owed them one last movie.  She got the role originated on Broadway by Chita Rivera.  That's why Janet Leigh wears a dark wig to play the whip-smart and fast-thinking Latina secretary, Rosie DeLeon.
 She's basically like a top Manhattan publicist and event planner.  An Elvis Presley-like rock superstar will appear on a top network TV variety, sing a new song and kiss a small town girl fan.  This will be huge publicity for the girl's small town.  Dick Van Dyke (left) starred opposite Janet Leigh as her aspiring songwriter boyfriend.  Paul Lynde (right) co-starred as the harried father of the small town girl chosen to kiss the rock star on national TV.  Ann-Margret played his daughter.
Rosie arranges a town square promotional event in which the mayor will give the sexy rock star the key to the city while lots of the star's teen girl fans scream with glee in the town square.  This leads up to a big musical number in BYE BYE BIRDIE.  The overwhelmed mayor is played by Frank Albertson.
Albertson had some pretty good films on his acting resume.  One of the most popular is now shown on NBC at Christmastime.  Frank Albertson played Sam Wainwright in IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE.  He's George Bailey's friend on the phone to Mary while George listens in before snapping to his senses and kissing Mary passionately because he's really in love with her. And she with him.

There you have it.  Two actors who went from the Norman Bates killer drama to the breezy BYE BYE BIRDIE.  Happy New Year.

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