Preserving our memories of classic music & film. Helping true vintage fans REDISCOVER oldies on digital!
SELECT BLOG CATEGORY
SELECT ARCHIVE MO./YR.

OTHER VINTAGE NEWS

A category for other

jim-kelly_3Yes sexy *ss 70’s martial arts actor James Milton Kelly, also known as Jim Kelly has died a few days ago at the age of  67. Yup, it’s true. Many of you who are hardcore martial arts, and or blaxploitation fans should be familiar with Jim Kelly already. I didn’t even realize he died until a friend told me. Sigh. Not only did I think he was really handsome growing up; I also admired him because he was the only person of color (that I’ve seen/can remember) doing serious martial arts on film as part of his career. Well, at least as close to martial arts as he’d get. His style of fighting on film was more like, “trying not to get bruised for the ladies” type of fighting. However, I heard he used to like to do his own stunts, and film directors would normally cringe at the thought of a lead actor doing his or her stunts. I guess at the suggestions of most directors, the result of avoiding these stunts, gave Jim the appearance that he didn’t want to really fight in many of the films he made.  Unfortunately, this was especially true for blaxploitation film makers at the time. Although blaxploitation was huge in the 70’s, it wasn’t big enough to cover all the liability costs that can incur. Because Kelly performed most of his martial arts in blaxploitation movies, it kinda left many fans to interpret some of his acting as, pretty boy; yet masculine; karate/street fighter mixed; don’t want to injure himself type of fight.

Many of you also may remember him from his VERY short appearance in “Enter The Dragon (1973)”. I gotta say, I was disappointed when they killed him off so quickly in the movie, but then again, Bruce Lee was the star of the movie 🙂 . Then again, even Angela Mao had such a small part in the movie too, I didn’t even know she was in it, until one day I saw the cast names, and I had to watch the movie again. Now, you guys know how much I love Angela Mao, tumblr_m04mt9HYg61qcqtduo1_500she had to have had a REALLY small part for me to watch the movie again. LOL. John Saxon was also a big name in the movie, you may remember him from a couple of appearances on “The Bionic Woman”. “Enter The Dragon” is one of THE classic movies of all times, I think. But I do think it would have been an even bigger hit, if Bruce would have let Jim, Angela, and John fight just as hard as he did in the movie. In retrospect, I now think Bruce was only using their names to draw people to see the movie, just thought he made a big mistake by not capitalizing on their martial arts skills. Granted, Jim Kelly was no were near as good as Bruce, in terms of martial arts ability, but it would have made the movie all the more exciting 🙂 .

From what I’ve  read, Jim Kelly’s wife said that the cause of his death was cancer, however, she did not get in to more detail than that. Although Jim did not have a long filmography, he did make big contributions (along with many others) to the martial arts film community, and helped make martial arts the popular art form it is today. Jim Kelly is also best known for “The Tattoo Connection (1978)”, “Black Belt Jones (1974)”, and “Black Samurai(1977)”. He will be missed.

© 2013 Yogi / Vintagenewscast.com

AfroGrowing up in the mid seventies, I remember hair being one of the most important topics in black community. As a young kid, I was consistently told “boy, you got good hair; were you’re family from?” It was funny because another big thing I remember growing up was that, if you were considered to have “good hair”, it was then immediately assumed you had “Cherokee Indian” in your family (especially if you had naturally curly or wavy hair) ROTF! I remember being in grandma’s kitchen, and seeing for the first time, my aunt sporting a full on afro. I was such in awe, because I couldn’t believe how it was possible that one human being could get her hair so perfect! I mean, there was absolutely no imperfection with my aunt’s afro. No swerves, no dents, no loose strands, no nothing! It was just amazing to see. I realized then just how important having good hair really was to black folk in the 70’s. As I got older I also recognized something else, that the good hair/bad hair mentality further perpetuated the light skin/dark skin social issues we had at the time, which continued to about the mid 80’s I think. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve always had  these issues, but the good hair/bad hair seemed to have added a more complex level, the the already complex issue of light and dark skin. At one time, light skin and dark skin people were damn near segregated amongst each other. Everybody wanted a light skinned person, because there were seen as most likely to be educated and better looking. The only exception to that rule, is if you were a dark skinned person with good hair. I am not making this stuff up. All of my young readers, ask your parents, and grand parents, they will tell you.

I really hated this strong emphasis on hair a lot because, I guess ’cause I was a young kid, women in particular always had this thing where they MUST touch your hair to see how good it was! It was like women had this unofficial “good hair/bad hair test mechanism” using their four fingers. I’m not sure if it was different for girls, but speaking as a young boy, women (often times without even permission; it was like a calling) would proceed to dip their middle finger in my scalp, and work their way from the back to the front of my head. If their fingers could glide through my hair without finding any knots in my hair, I was deemed as having good hair LOL. Hair was so important back then that, you could party all night, go directly to work, smell funky as hell from all the dancing (Right Guard spray was huge in the seventies, and it made sweaty arms smell worse when an extra layer was applied.. LOL), but most did not care, so long as they’re hair and the rest of your appearance looked good, they were good.

I remember grandma’s house would to stay smelling of hot curling iron’s, hot combs, and Hot pics. I guess even today hair is still just as important. However, I think the difference today is, when a person sees someone with nice hair, they usually look at the whole package now, rather then using the hair to predict or prejudge someone’s intellectual, genetic, or even how successful they may be, solely on the basis of hair.

© 2013 Yogi / VintageNewscast.com

 

PamPam Grier was the blaxploitation queen of the 70’s. She was strong, sexy, and took no bullsh*t from anyone on film. She was super-bad! Pam was well known for a string of blaxploitation movie hits such as, Coffy (1973), Bucktown (1975), Sheba Baby (1975), and Foxy Brown (1974). Pam Grier was one of the very few African American women that appealed to such a wide audience in the 70’s. With a great body and a “take no bull from anyone” attitude on screen, her career busted through the movie scene like a freight train. However, when I became a fan of Pam (I was barely a teenager, but old enough to understand) I was worried that she would become typecasted like so many African American women did before her.

You see, although I was very happy that I wasn’t seeing the same o’l actresses playing the same o’l black maids, and or poverty stricken mothers/wives, Pam was a whole different animal all together. Before the seventies black women were not seen as sexy creatures that could actually act, be talented, and blow-up the box offices at the same time; the mindset just wasn’t there yet. Pam2Well, actually, we did have Tamara Dobson (Cleopatra Jones), but, she did not have the same sex appeal like Pam did. Dobson’s image was more of a sophisticated black woman with money, were-as Pam, was more raunchy and not scared of her sexuality. Pam Grier became a cash cow, and unfortunately the types of characters that Pam Grier played, replicated on so many of her other movies in the seventies. She was either taking revenge for a boyfriend, fighting other women in a lesbian bar, playing the feisty hooker who’s goal is to kill the “John”, or taking down some female Madame or female drug lord that looks like either Shirley Winters, or twiggy, or found any excuse to run around topless by the end of the movie. LOL.. 🙂

However, Pam’s career did not seem to be effected by this typecast. She was what people wanted to see. She made straight men drool, empowered black women around the world, and became a gay icon all at the same time LOL. She made so much money for the film industry and won very few awards for her hard work. She has made a few TV appearances on “Law & Order”, “Cosby Show”, and done some cartoon voice-overs for “the Justice League”. She re-emerged as an older, wiser, and reserved Foxy Brown, in a movie called “Jackie Brown”. Jackie Brown was a very good with a number of stars in it. It didn’t have as much action as I thought it was, it is is a great watch for Pam Grier fans. Pam now is in her sixties and still is looking good these days. She is a Cancer survivor, and if I am correct, she is currently on the tv show “The L-Word”.

© 2013  VintageNewscast.com / Yogi

 

The song called “Stormy Weather” was one of Lena Horne’s first recordings, and has made her an international success. The song still remains to be one of her most memorable recordings. It also happens to be one of my favorites songs from that era. Many of my blog members may not know that, a lot of African American people hated Lena early on in her career, because it was said she tried to pass as white, therefore her audience base was primarily Caucasian. Keep in mind in those days they still had “colored” bathroom signs, so it was quite a bit of tension between the obvious black people  and the “passable coloreds”. The average person today can’t fathom the unbelievable amount of pressure, that African Americans of film had, to represent people of color as real human beings; beings with emotion, passion, whit, and true acting ability. People of color not only had to deal with levels of unconceivable racism outside television and theater, but also type casting within the theatre; to be seen more than just a maid, butler, slave, a shield, or a brainless dummy who can be used as bait.  Listen to the original recording of “Stormy Weather” Taken from the titled movie “Stormy Weather (1943) Click Here. Enjoy.

 

Yogi

 

 

I absolutely love this group. Shalamar  consisted of 3 people; Jody Watley, Jeffrey Daniel (later on Miki Free), and Howard Hewett. Some of their biggest hits were, “Second Time Around”, “dancing in the streets”, “A night to remember”, “full of fire”, and more. They have taken on the pop/rock era by storm in the 80’s. Check out their stuff on itunes.

Too my understanding, they all went solo. Jody Watly has done more dance music, and Howard Hewett has gone on to do gospel. Although I’m not sure what has happend to Miki Free & Jeffrey Danial. I am assume they is/was working in the background, song writing etc.,