We will return in 2018 with a new look, mission & direction. Stay tuned as we develop our online destination that celebrates contemporary & retro pop culture as well as body, mind & spirit!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Happy 65th birthday, John Ritter!

Your fall-down-funny comedy and goodwill forever dance in our hearts.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Retroality's "Reimagine That!" podcast, episode 22! ............................................................ Chris Mann's special guest, Beth Maitland (pt 2 of 2), on loving Jeanne Cooper, enjoying horses with Jess Walton, not embracing Brenda Dickson's new "hurtful" memoir; and: "stairway to heaven" dreams

Listen to episode 22 of "Reimagine That!" here
Beth Maitland (pt 2 of 2) ... "Rethinking the Drama, Part 2" ... In this candid and revealing conclusion of her exclusive interview, Emmy-winning actress-turned-author and Drama Queen Bee creative-living expert Beth Maitland opens up in depth to "Reimagine That!" host and Retroality.TV founder Chris Mann about her dramatic and comedic experiences on and off set during her three-decade-plus tenure as Traci Abbott Connelly on CBS's "The Young and the Restless."

Here, the fan favorite shares amusing, heartwarming and never-before-told memories of working for more than 30 years with the late, great Jeanne Cooper (see 16:42); discusses her 15-year "day job" working behind the scenes on several sitcoms (see 9:12); and spills on her recent spirited Central-Coast animal adventures with fellow horse lover (and ostrich feeder!) Jess Walton (see 28:02).

Maitland also expresses disappointment at not being invited to Katherine Chancellor's funeral (airing Sept. 3 and 4) or yet receiving a related storyline with fellow Emmy winner Walton's illustrious, long-running character, Jill Foster Abbott Fenmore (see 33:13).

And finally, for the first time ever, Maitland breaks her silence about former co-star Brenda Dickson's explosive and "hurtful" new memoir and difficult on-set behavior during her 1983-87 return as the then-villainous Jill Foster Abbott (a role, sans "Abbott," that Dickson originated in 1973-80). (see 22:15)

A sampling of Beth's comments:

On Jeanne Cooper: (Listen at 16:43) "She had this magical way of making everyone feel like they were her favorite. And also she took new actors under her wing. She loved to give advice and help you if you needed to work through something. She was a great sounding board. The door to her dressing room was always open. She always had people in there, sitting and talking ... She was remarkable. I thought there was just a few of us, but as we all shared our stories we found out almost everybody felt the same way. Almost everybody was her special, favorite one. But there were various phases of Jeanne's life that I got to, for three decades, enjoy." 

Listen at 20:11: "She was a big presence. She was a broad. She'd cuss like a sailor. She hadn't in the later years, but she used to smoke like a fiend. And she drank. And she was a broad. My first agent used to play poker with her. (Laughs.) And the stories they had about her early ingenue starlet days in Hollywood -- just cussing and drinking and smoking and playing poker all night -- it was a Hollywood story. She was bigger than life.

And everyone she touched -- even fans have told me, and she was terrific with fans and loved (them) and considered most of them friends. And she would stop to talk to you, and those blue eyes would drill right into you, and you honestly believed that for that moment you were the most important thing to her. She had that gift." 

On the funeral of Katherine Chancellor (listen at 33:13): "I can tell you that Jill and Traci did not have a story in (these episodes) together -- and I was very disappointed. They did bring back many historical characters to be a part of this, but it was pretty modest. And it was my hope that they would take this opportunity, because they had to wait to figure out how they were doing to handle the loss of such a significant character to that story platform. I thought they would find something really amazing to do with having it impact so many different characters in Genoa City. And they have not hit that momentum; that has not been very revealed. So I was not invited to the funeral.

"I also want to leave the door open for (future unrevealed story developments). Likely these farther-reaching things have just not been revealed yet. But I thought it was just gonna be a gobsmacking episode where some bomb was going to be dropped. And I don't think that happened."

Hear Beth talk about Jeanne's giant flying fingernail during the show's Dynasty-esque '80s hey days at 17:28. And, at 18:35, listen to Beth's touching tale of Jeanne -- after waiting 35 years to win her own long-overdue best-actress Emmy -- generously re-introducing her in recent years to "Y&R" cast and crew as "Ms. Beth Maitland, the first actress to win an Emmy for 'The Young and the Restless.'"

On Jess Walton (listen at 28:02): "We hadn't seen each other for a little while ... We shared a dressing room on the day of the Jeanne memorial taping (broadcast in May). She said, 'I want to talk to you ... I see on Facebook that you know Jill Willis and Jaime Jackson, these pioneers (in the humane care and domestic management of horses)." I said, 'Yes, I'm longtime friends of them. They saved the life of a horse that we adopted and rescued. And they're old friends.' And she said, 'Are you kidding?' -- and they are sort of world-famous. And said said, 'Is there any way I could ever meet them?' I said, "Yeah! Come up any time.' She came up to my place, and the two of us and my daughter headed up to their place. They have a beautiful sample paddock paradise on the mountains overlooking the ocean in Lompoc. So we met for lunch and we had like a girls' road trip, a 'Thelma and Louise' road trip."

On what she's learned working behind-the-scenes on sitcoms (listen at 9:21): "I've continued to add to my bag of tricks. Every now and then what we've seen recently are some really cute, funny scenes with Traci and her brothers that have been almost like a sitcom. They talk fast, they tease each other, we make jokes and we poke fun ... and that really helps me lighten up, coming from a dramatic, emotional character."

On Brenda Dickson (listen at 22:15): "Brenda was, in my opinion, always very complicated ... She was always bigger than life. And honestly, we were never close, although she was always very nice to me ... And I am really conflicted about what to say about her because, again, she was always nice to me. But she ... there were antics. Honestly, she was not easy on people. And she was not easy to work with. And she was not a giving, generous actress. And she was very, very ego-driven in terms of how she was treated there, and it made it hard on everyone else. I saw her at the Emmys just a few years ago -- and it was nice to see her and she was very pleasant -- but she seems to be a person who's always had an agenda."

On Brenda Dickson's book (listen at 24:09): "I honestly have not read her book. Although I have read Jeanne's, I haven't read Brenda's -- and I'm sort of not going to. And this is pretty candid, and I hope that it doesn't hurt anyone's feelings, but I really feel like she waited until no one could defend themselves to come out with several issues that were in her book that I think are hurtful to others. And just as a person, I feel like that's cheap. And I'm not saying that Brenda is cheap, but I feel like the gesture is cowardly. And if she had those stories to tell and she had those axes to grind, it seems like the appropriate, mature and brave thing to do is to talk about those things when others can either comment, defend themselves or rectify it. And it seems to me (it's) a little too little to late.

"And I'm so sad to see the wake of pain and hurt feelings that some of the stories in her book have caused. The people who aren't the direct stories in her book -- the family left over, the people left behind that don't have any answers but that this brings a great deal of hurt to them and sort of taints memories for them. I really feel like it's not very brave, and it was kind of a cheap shot. So I just choose not to put that on my radar ... If you wanted to have these things to say, and if it's about getting publicity and getting attention, then do it when people can answer it. You're gonna generate twice the comments. But doing it now just hurts people.

"As an actor you, to play a different character that's not you, you have to kind of think about how they think. Character analysis is a big part of my daily life. To see something that, like you said, is sort of striking out ... you get to the point where, as young adults, you can't blame your past on your parents. You have to start taking responsibility for yourself at some point. You hope sooner than later. And in order to be a productive person -- to be a good mother or wife ... a good other person on the planet -- you kind of have to take responsibility for yourself. And I just worry when people don't seem to be doing that. I feel bad, but again, I have just chosen not to put that on my radar. Because I'm so loyal to other people involved, I don't want those feelings to be even present in my awareness."

Also ... in Chris's monologue opening the show (listen at 1:36), he shares news about the three talented children of the late John Ritter and his first wife and best friend, Nancy Ritter. Their eldest child, son Jason, is adding to his impressive acting repertoire with his starring role in "Us and Them," a new comedy for FOX (slated for early 2014). The youngest of their brood, son Tyler (see him in this funny Old Navy commericial), opens Friday, Sept. 6, at the Malibu Playhouse in his first play, "The Dream of the Burning Boy." And their daughter, Carly, is an emerging artist, too. A folksy, soulful singer-songwriter, she rolled out her premiere CD, titled "Carly Ritter," in late August. On Sept. 3 you can see her perform live at 10 p.m. during her record release show at The Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles. For more info, she her official web site,

Finally, in her "Reawakenings" segment (click file above or listen at 48:48), our resident dream weaver, Yvonne Ryba, discusses dreams about loved ones crossing over or otherwise (a la Jeanne Cooper's poignant final scene as Katherine Chancellor) ascending the "stairway to heaven."

For more info on Yvonne, check out

For more info on Beth and links to her Drama Queen Bee products and online community, visit

Check out a free preview of Beth's new book here!
Host: Chris Mann

Announcer: Linda Kay

Created by: Chris Mann

Producers: Linda Kay, Chris Mann

Copyright 2013 by Chris Mann/Retroality.TV/ReimagineThat.TV/ChrisMann.TV

Friday, August 23, 2013

Retroality's "Reimagine That!" podcast, episode 21! ............................................................ Chris Mann's special guest, Beth Maitland (pt 1 of 2), on returning to "Y&R," reinventing herself as a creative-living brand/author, and seeing changing realities in daytime in the post-soaring-ratings (and egos!) era; also: intuitive "Reawakenings" dream

Listen to the podcast here
Beth Maitland (pt 1 of 2) ... "Rethinking the Drama" ... In this exclusive and candid interview, Emmy-winning actress, author and Drama Queen Bee creative living expert Beth Maitland opens up in depth to "Reimagine That!" host and Retroality.TV founder Chris Mann about her three-decade-plus tenure asTraci Abbott Connelly on CBS's "The Young and the Restless." Recently returning to the iconic daytime drama's canvas for an indefinite stay (much to the viewing public's, including Marie Osmond's, delight), this newly-Twitter-savvy and Facebook-friendly fan favorite discloses how "Y&R" has been "a gift" in her life since joining the series in 1982. 

Though she has not been a full-time player since the mid-'90s (somebody get this lady a contract, STAT!), she has remained in the Genoa City fold off and on since 1999 -- all the while witnessing drastic changes in the daytime television landscape. While "Y&R" has remained TV's number-one soap, and one of four network sudsers to escape cancellation this millennium, Beth cautions that the genre is not out of the woods yet. "Watching the way daytime has changed," she says, "the number of the shows that have been canceled, the few shows that remain, I hope that (the industry) doesn't dishonor daytime and eliminate it entirely. But the writing is on the wall that we're not finished with the change."

Since leaving the show on a full-time basis, this multi-hyphenate talent has reinvented herself as a crafty quilter, a teacher, a horse enthusiast and, most recently, as an instructional book author -- her first tome, "Bewitching Fresh Stitching: Enchanted Needle Series Book One," rolls out in eBook form next week and as a print book in September.

More on this episode to post soon ...

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Retroality's "Reimagine That!" podcast, episode 20! ............................................................ Chris Mann's special guest, Jaime Lyn Bauer (part 2 of 2), on William Bell, possibly returning to "The Young and the Restless," reinventing herself in the financial planning sphere; also: Comfort TV blogger & TV historian David Hofstede; "new vista" dreams

Click here to hear the podcast!
In the conclusion of her in-depth, emotional interview, actress Jaime Lyn Bauer opens up to "Reimagine That!" host and Retroality.TV editor Chris Mann about her at times complicated working relationship with late "Young and the Restless" creator William Bell, her 2002 return to the CBS soap and the possibility of reprising her iconic role of prolific author Lorie Brooks during the show's 40th anniversary season (and beyond). And while she considers writing her own long-awaited autobiography, she shares her experiences reinventing herself following the 2008 stock market crash as a financial services planner for the organization People Helping People.

While admitting in part one of her interview that Bill Bell "hated" her during her first six months on the show in late 1973/early 1974, Jaime Lyn explains that their relationship soon improved and was always professional. "Bill and I were on very warm terms," she says. "But with Bill I was never quite certain. You know, you have to have boundaries with people that are your employers, your producer, your director. You become friendly with them but only to a certain degree ..."

By the early 1980s, when "Y&R" expanded to an hour, Jaime Lyn was one of the only cast members from the series' first few seasons to remain. In 1982, following the birth of her second child and often working six days a week, she told Bell she had had enough and would exercise an out in her contract with CBS.

"I was so exhausted. When I was doing contract negotiations, they had refused to put a ceiling of three shows a week in my contract -- without my permisson. And I couldn't continue working the way I was working ... I wanted to limit it; they wouldn't agree to it. That's why I ended up leaving. As Bill and I were talking, I said, 'Bill, whatever you do, I'm just telling you I feel I'm going to break. And if you lay anything on me about "It's going to ruin this person's career, it's going to ruin this for so-and-so"' -- all this stuff that had happened over the years with my producer or the network telling me this or that," she recalls.

"Bill was so amazing because he had already decided that if I left he was going to fire my entire family and make a new show under the name 'Young and the Restless' -- and he did not tell me that. If he had told me that I would've stayed because I loved the other actors. They were my family, too. I would've protected them. But he didn't. He let me go. And I thanked him, with tears in my eyes ... Several years later I went back to see him and (wife) Lee (Phillip Bell) and sat and told them some of the personal stuff that had been going on, and she had tears in her eyes, rolling down her face. They were so lovely. It's like, real life goes on."

Jaime Lyn's outcome was much better than that of original cast member Brenda Dickson, who returned to "Y&R" in 1983 after a three-year hiatus -- only to be unceremoniously fired during the 1986-87 season after a dispute with her producers. Dickson discussed her contentious departure in a 2001 episode of E! True Hollywood Story. This spring, she released an e-book of her new tell-all tome, My True Hidden Hollywood Story: My Memoir of Sexual Harassment, Blacklisting and Love Affairs with Some of the Most Powerful Men in Hollywood. In the book (out soon in hardback), Dickson claims she had an affair with Bell in early 1973, that he wrongfully fired her in 1986 and that the Bell family has sought vengeance against her in the decades since. (Bell died in 2005.)

"I have no idea what she said," Jaime Lyn, apparently unaware of the alleged 1973 affair and sexual harassment claims, says of Dickson's recent accounts. "Let's face it -- we were all very young. And, you know, when you're young you're kind of messed up. You've got all of your family issues from childhood and you haven't processed them all yet, and yet you have to act like an adult and you have to be in the real world. So we had a lot of drama going on. And Brenda was young with the rest of us. And I didn't hang out with her, so I didn't know what any of her personal drama was. Bill could be tough. You weren't sure sometimes if you could trust him. At least that was always in my mind. I was friendly and we were close up to a degree but there always was that professionalism that always was maintained. I would say that I wasn't always sure I could trust what he was saying. At the same time in the end what I saw was he made a great sacrifice, and he put me and my wholeness and personal well-being before the show -- and that was a game-changer altogether."

Jaime Lyn also discusses her brief 2002 return to "Y&R" and reveals how much she enjoyed working with Peter Bergman, who took over the role of Jack Abbott from the late Terry Lester in 1989. She also discloses that show producers approached her agent in January, asking if she was available to film during a specific week in February (apparently for the show's special 40th anniversary programming this spring). "So I stayed in town -- because I'd been planning to leave town -- and I waited for the call and never got it. So I have no idea what happened or what the thinking process was. But I was disappointed."

She is still open to the invitation to return as Lorie. "I'd love (returning). I'd love it. It would be great if she just moved back to town." With Michelle Stafford leaving the show next month, would Jaime Lyn enjoy rekindling Lorie's old romantic ties to Bergman's Jack Abbott? "That would be fun. That would be a blast," she says. "Because he was lovely to work with. It was so natural and so easy -- and just so fun, too, (especially) the stuff with Nikki. And I'd never worked with him before. I thought those were some of the best scenes" during Lorie's 2002 return. "Gee," Jaime Lyn adds, "if only you could put it in (producers') ear."

... In our "Reality Reimagined" segment, TV historian and author David Hofestede talks about his classic television blog Comfort TV. After penning several books on the medium, David explains how in this digital (and sadly, for the most part, post-TV-book) age he has created a space online to share his passion for '50s, '60s, '70s and '80s television.

... Finally, in our "Reawakenings" segment, our resident dream weaver Yvonne Ryba interpets two of her brief but potent sleep-time vignettes that inspired her to re-envision her life and all of its offerings.

Host: Chris Mann

Announcer: Linda Kay

Created by: Chris Mann

Producers: Linda Kay, Chris Mann

Copyright 2013 by Chris Mann/Retroality.TV (http://Retroality.TV)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Retroality's "Reimagine That!" podcast, episode 19! ............................................................ Chris Mann's special guest, Jaime Lyn Bauer (part 1 of 2), on loving the late Jeanne Cooper, developing Lorie Brooks, experiencing "Y&R" fame, returning to "DOOL"; also: "Women's Eye" host Stacey Gualandi

Hear episode 19 of "Reimagine That!" here
Jaime Lyn Bauer (pt 1 of 2) ... In this exclusive, in-depth and at times emotional interview, iconic soap starJaime Lyn Bauer opens up to "Reimagine That!" host and Retroality.TV editor Chris Mann about her love for the late Jeanne Cooper, her experiences with TV's Katherine Chancellor behind-the-scenes at "The Young & the Restless" and in the play "Plaza Suite," and her "life lesson" in not having reached out to the ailing actress when receiving her phone number just weeks prior to her death earlier this month.

As Cooper's current co-stars gather to celebrate her life in a one-hour "Y&R" tribute airing on May 28, Jaime reveals that the TV legend was an intimate comrade, a mentor and a mother figure -- in spite of the well-documented personal travails, including alcoholism, that plagued Cooper's life off-camera during her first decade on the CBS daytime drama. (Listen at 20:44.)

"I loved Jeanne," Jaime Lyn says, choking back tears. "She was a very important person in my life. She saved me through some of my worst years. She befriended me, she mothered me. She was an incredible woman. And she was very troubled at that time as well, in her personal life. And we were good for each other. We hung out a lot. I even dated Corbin, her son, for a while, and she was graciously alright with it."

Joining "Y&R" in December 1973 -- a month after Jeanne premiered as the soap's grande dame -- Jaime Lyn quickly shot to fame as the show's original bad girl-turned-heroine, Lauralee "Lorie" Brooks." This character, named after series creator William Bell's daughter, soon became the half-hour soap's centerpiece. Jaime Lyn reveals how she developed the sexual, sophisticated and "bad-seed" character in part by observing men and women "play all these silly games" at the Playboy Mansion.

The actress's and her alter ego's popularity skyrocketed when she became part of daytime TV supercouple Lorie and Lance. But Lance's original portrayer -- "Bold and the Beautiful" star John McCook, who also shares his remembrances of Jeanne in the May 28 "Y&R" tribute -- was but one of Lorie's loves. In the first part of Jaime's "Reimagine That!" interview, she fondly recalls her friendship with actor Tom Selleck, who played Lorie's publisher-turned-paramour Jed Andrews before hitting it big in primetime.

Jaime Lyn also explains the toll the ever-increasing "Y&R" workload took on her -- the show expanded to an hour in 1980 -- leading her to exit the show 1982. In addition, she shares what her then-boyfriend Henry Winkler taught her in dealing with fame and aggressive fans in the 1970s. And she reveals how Leslie Neilsen came to the rescue when one fan became threateningly physical in a Century City high-rise apartment lobby while she took a break from filming the 1975 pilot of the primetime series "S.W.A.T." "This woman came down from having just watched me on ("Y&R")," she recalls. "I'm sitting in this wingback chair, and she came and she grabbed my face in her hand -- so I couldn't move. Because of the wingback, I can't even get up. And she's screaming at me at how horrible I am as Lorie."

Finally, in this first half of her two-part interview, the now-Facebook-savvy Jaime Lyn talks about her brief return last month (see also here and here) as ex-psychiatric patient Dr. Laura Horton in "Days of Our Lives," and discloses just how much the process of filming soaps has changed since she left that series after six seasons in 1999. (She also reprised the role briefly in 2003 and 2010.)

... In our "Reality Reimagined" segment (listen at 50:10), former "Inside Edition" correspondent Stacey Gualandi talks about her true Hollywood stories -- as a hard news reporter, celebrity interviewer and "Match Game 1990" contestant" -- and shares how she reinvented herself as a Vegas-based online media anchor and writer, behind-the-scenes TV producer and now host of the successful Women's Eye radio show. This busy, enterprising woman's star continues to rise.

... And finally, in her "Reawakenings" segment (listen at 1:14:30) our resident dream weaver, Yvonne Ryba, interprets a shopping-mall-centered dream rich with symbols, metaphors and "clues" that led her to expand her horizons and manifest her living dreams in the 1990s.

Host: Chris Mann

Announcer: Linda Kay

Created by: Chris Mann

Producers: Linda Kay, Chris Mann

Copyright 2013 by Chris Mann/Retroality.TV (http://Retroality.TV)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Retroality's "Reimagine That!" podcast, episode 18! ............................................................ Chris Mann's special guest, Morgan Brittany (part 2 of 2), spills on her "Dallas" co-stars (and the TNT reboot), surviving Hollywood as a child actor and reinventing herself yet again as a Politichick; also: Chris's '90s Madonna-toxic cautionary dream!

Click here to listen to the podcast!
In the conclusion of her two-part exclusiveRetroality.TVinterview, child star-turned-Dallasdiva Morgan Brittany tells "Reimagine That!" host Chris Mann how her hardships as a child actress and her family's breadwinner shaped her as a woman who not only would survive Hollywood (including Dallas' ill-fated dream season) but also hold her own as a conservative political columnist andhost. And she's juggled multiple careers while raising two children with longtime husband and stuntman Jack Gill. Their son, Cody, is a musician and their daughter, Katie, is an actress (most recently seen playing Christie Brinkley's daughter in NBC's Parks and Recreation).

After landing her first TV role in 1959 in an episode of The Twilight Zone, the blue-eyed brunette Morgan -- under her birth name, Suzanne Cupito -- soon was cast as a guest star in several primetime series , including Sea Hunt, Gunsmoke, Rawhide, The Outer Limits, My Three Sons, The Andy Griffith Show and two additional episodes of The Twilight Zone. On the silver screen, her child star launched simultaneously thanks to her role as "Baby" June alongside Rosalind Russell and Natalie Wood in Gypsy. This role led to casting in Hitchcock's The Birds and the Lucille Ball-Henry Fonda film Yours, Mine and Ours.

But her young life was anything but an easy-breezy dream. "I was basically just a doll that was trotted out to make money and then put away at night," Morgan recalls, stressing that she did not have a support system growing up. "I don't want my kids to feel that way. I want them to know that no matter what happens, I'm there. I had to learn to make it on my own. I knew that if I fell, nobody would be there to help me up."

After reinventing herself as Morgan Brittany, the actress enjoyed a career resurgence as ABC's Charlie's Angels ushered in a new era of big-haired glamour girls. Soon, she parlayed her resemblance to Gone with the Wind star Vivien Leigh into newfound fame by playing the iconic actress in the 1976 film Gable and Lombard and again in the 1980 telefilm The Scarlett O'Hara War. Shortly following the made-for-TV portrayal -- and the cult fave movie-of-the-week The Initiation of Sarah with "the other Morgan," Ms. Fairchild -- the dark-haired vixen landed the role of Dallas' original Queen of Mean, Katherine Wentworth.

In this segment of her interview, she shares her remembrances of the late Larry Hagman, Joan Collins (with whom she worked on the ABC telefilm The Wild Women of Chastity Gulch), Victoria Principal, Linda Gray and killing off Patrick Duffy's character in the series' controversial "dream season." And she shares her thoughts about how TNT's revival of the CBS series should keep moving forward as the show sets up a cliffhanger leading into a yet-to-be-greenlit third season. (Editor's note: *Cough cough* Bring back Katherine Wentworth! *cough cough*).

In the meantime, Morgan (@MorganBrittany4 on Twitter) tells us how she stays busy working as a conservative columnist and an on-camera commentator/host for Politichicks.TV. And she reveals that she's even been approached to run for office!

Finally, in our "Reawakenings" segment, "Reimagine That!" dream analyst Yvonne Ryba interprets Chris's freaky, circa 1993 dream about being injected with "instant death!" (!) by the queen of reinvention and a master of the fame game, Madonna -- envisioned here as a villainess in the back of a limo on his college campus -- as he embarked on his own odyssey to Hollywood after wrapping his journalism studies at The University of Tulsa. (Hey, we guess it beats being mowed down by a blonde-wig-clad Katherine Wentworth!)

Host: Chris Mann

Announcer: Linda Kay

Created by: Chris Mann

Producers: Linda Kay, Chris Mann

Copyright 2013 by Chris Mann/Retroality.TV (http://Retroality.TV)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Waxing Nostalgic ... Reminiscing about writing my new Old Hollywood book "The Day the Stars Stood Still: A Memoir about Logan Fleming, Top Wax Artist for Movieland Wax Museum" (BearManor)

The author and her memoir. For more about Suzanne,
check out her blog Ferry Tales.
Guest column
By Suzanne 
Sumner Ferry
Author, Blogger, 
Old Hollywood expert

It was an amazing revelation to learn that Mae West really COULD undulate her bosom (the subject of my memoir, Movieland's premiere wax artist and creative director Mr. Logan Fleming, saw it in person in her own bedroom!), that the wax figures of the Clampett Clan (aka The Beverly Hillbillies) actually went jet-setting across the country and that Sammy Davis Jr. knew he could smile only so much before his glass eye squinted. 

The celebs of yesteryear knew themselves very well, practiced their most unique talents and carried themselves with the utmost class (well… I guess undulating one’s breasts is an exception). 

My journey writing The Day the Stars Stood Still: A Memoir about Logan Fleming, Top Wax Artist for Movieland Wax Museum (2012, BearManor Media) was luckily filled with hidden facts, secrets, stories and fantastic quips from many of Old Hollywood’s most beloved stars who became immortalized as wax likenesses by the talented hands of the late Logan Fleming. If I had to become similarly immortalized, I would want no one except Logan and his hands to do this. It’s also amazing that creating eternal wax likenesses helped create an entire new subculture of Hollywood entertainment. 

We love Old Hollywood. And with the current craze of countless reality television shows, recalling and celebrating Tinseltown's golden age is a refreshing diversion. Back in the day, actors were STARS and it was an honor to be asked by Movieland to have your figure created. There were set dedications where the stars themselves showed up to dedicate their own wax figure and set in the museum. There were crazy guests who frequented the museum, only to be caught doing something naughty to the wax figures (I will leave these nuggets for the book!), and once in a while a deceased star’s wax figure would become somewhat of a shrine where family and friends would go to mourn the loss of their loved one. 

At a wax, modern interpretation of The Crucifixion--accompanied by priceless art re-creation at the Stars Hall of Fame, adjacent to Movieland and under the same ownership--guests would kneel, pray and at times weep before the wax image of Christ. I’m not trying to get a tear out of your glass or real eyes; I’m trying to give you some insight into how fascinating this book is. Many never-before told stories and photographs grace its pages, so if you are a huge fan of pop culture and all things Old Hollywood, it will be worth the read. (Editor's note: This book is a retro TV-and-film treasure trove and a must-have!)

It was sad to hear that when Movieland closed, the wax figures--which were worth big bucks--were auctioned off and sold to many folks, domestic and overseas. I hear Tim Burton has the wax figure of Sammy Davis,Jr. in his London living room. There are some folks in the OC who collected the Star Trek crew and Enterprise bridge set, a piece that may be touring across the country soon. 

If Capt. Kirk and company do "hit the road," you bet you can find me at many of their events doing signings for this book! To find out more, contact me at or check out this amazingly entertaining blog: (Editor' note: Suzanne also has her own supercool blog, "Ferry Tales":

One day I needed to locate the wax likeness of Diana, Princess of Wales, so I went to Logan Fleming’s house and was directed to his garage. I found it, but one of the wax hands had gone missing; it was nowhere to be found. Well, at least we got a good shot of her sans hands!

The Day the Stars Stood Still is available online; check on, please give it a great review on Amazon, ask your local bookstore to carry it and order a copy to find all kinds of amazing facts and inside scoop on some of Old Hollywoodland’s most beloved stars, er, celebs.

Suzanne Sumner Ferry has written a juvenile fiction book titled Corinna the Christmas Elf. She is also lining up two more memoirs, both set in the Old Hollywood era. Her books can be purchased via,,, or contact her directly for a signed copy at

Friday, March 8, 2013

Retroality's "Reimagine That!" podcast, episode 17! ............................................................ Chris Mann's special guest, Morgan Brittany, opens up on a possible return to "Dallas," remembering Larry Hagman. Also: TV Guide editor William Keck on J.R.'s funeral, Victoria Principal's decision not to revive Pam Ewing; & a Texas-size dream dissected

Click here to listen to the podcast!
Episode 17, "Reviving TV Villainy" ... In the first of her two-part exclusive Retroality.TV interview, child star-turned-Dallas diva Morgan Brittany tells "Reimagine That!" host Chris Mann about the possibility of returning to Southfork -- in TNT's hot revival of the legendary soap -- as primetime's original queen of mean, Katherine Wentworth.

The blue-eyed enchantress and fan favorite also fondly remembers the late Larry Hagman, whose recent death as J.R. Ewing leaves a historically-rich villainous void on the TNT drama. "I have this fantasy," Morgan spills with an infectious laugh, "that they ask me to come back and my entrance into the show is literally (me) sitting in a chair. And you don't see anything except the back of the chair. The chair turns around and there's a big hat, and all of a sudden I look up, and it's Katherine."

And she responds publicly for the first time to her former TV half-sister Victoria Principal's recent press revelation that she will never return as Pam Ewing. "I think Victoria closed the door on Pam when she left the show," Morgan says. "And I think she moved on and does not want to revisit it for whatever reason ... I respect her for that. Maybe she does feel that she wants people to remember her as she was and as Pam was, and keep that image -- which I think is great. Now for me, I don't care if people see me as a 60-year-old Katherine. Doesn't bother me a bit!"

Morgan discusses various ways she could re-enter the Dallas scene, and reveals how she developed the wicked Wentworth during her original stint on the CBS hit. After a successful run as a child actor in the 1950s and 60s -- she worked with the likes of Henry Fonda, Lucille Ball, Natalie Wood, a young Ron Howard and Alfred Hitchcock -- the former Suzanne Cupito shares what drove her to abandon that name and identity in favor of reinventing herself in the 1970s as Morgan Brittany.

Also, TV Guide senior editor and TV scoop-savvy columnist William Keck offers insights into J.R. Ewing's funeral in the TNT episode airing on March 11. Having extensively covered this revival for multiple TV Guide cover stories -- and via multiple trips to Southfork -- Keck is the ultimate Dallas insider. He fondly recalls Larry Hagman and "the gift" he gave viewers during the final year and a half of his life, salutes Brenda Strong's portrayal as Patrick Duffy's new TV wife, and discloses that Linda Gray has struggled with a storyline suggesting that long-recovering alcoholic Sue Ellen falls off the wagon following the death of the love of her life.

Also for the first time, he responds to Principal's press statement shooting down speculation -- and the hopes of fans -- that she would make a triumphant return as Pam Ewing. Principal labeled a rumored return to this iconic role "a desperate reappearance." Says Keck, "Unfortunately, Victoria set the record straight that fans who'd been dying for a Bobby-Pam reunion are gonna be eternally disappointed. And that's Victoria's decision. That's her gift to fans."

Keck will likely pose and/or field all of these questions -- and many more -- while moderating a panel discussion of the current Dallas cast and executive producers at the PaleyFest television festival in Beverly Hills this Sunday at 1 p.m. PT. Check out a live stream of this event here.

Finally, our dream weaver Yvonne Ryba analyzes a Texas-sized dream she had in 1980 -- the year J.R. was shot (for the first time) -- revealing the stinging and smooth sides that reside in all of us.

For more great info about Dallas, check out, and and

Host: Chris Mann

Announcer: Linda Kay

Created by: Chris Mann

Producers: Linda Kay, Chris Mann

Copyright 2013 by Chris Mann/Retroality.TV (http://Retroality.TV)

Friday, February 1, 2013

Retroality's "Reimagine That!" podcast, episode 16! ............................................................ Chris Mann's special guest, Lara Jill Miller, opens up about "Gimme a Break!," loving Nell Carter and giving life to various animated kids and creatures; also: Normand Authier's reimagined reality and Yvonne Ryba's crystal-clear dream interpretation

Click here to listen to the podcast!

Season 2 premiere, episode 16, "Re-envisioning Your Voice" ... In the Eighties, after a stint on Broadway with Dick Van Dyke in "The Music Man,' Lara Jill Miller grew up before our eyes as Nell Carter's sweet-faced "little girl" Samantha Kinisky on the hit NBC sitcom "Gimme a Break!" In the Nineties she went back to the East Coast, earned a law degree and became a practicing New York attorney ... but her passion for showbiz brought her back to Hollywood once more. In the last decade, Lara Jill has become one of the industry's most in-demand voice artists, with starring roles in several animated series, films, video games and more. In aspecial Valentine-themed episode of the hit Disney Jr. series "Doc McStuffins"--premiering at 10 a.m. today on the Disney Channel and 4 p.m. on Disney Junior--the former child star again takes the spotlight, this time as Doc's lovable pal Lambie. (Check out her Facebook page here and her Twitter page here.)

In this exclusive, in-depth interview about her amazing journey, Lara Jill opens up about her close relationship with the late Carter, revealing how being the "Ain't Misbehavin'" star's "baby" kept Sam in the "Gimme a Break!" fold after the show was extensively retooled (and much of the original cast let go) during its final season. Lara Jill recalls some of the long-running sitcom's landmark episodes (Joey in blackface?! Katie has an IUD?!) and discloses that, had the show been renewed for a seventh season, the focus would have shifted to Nell's misadventures with Sam in college. (NBC, instead giving us "A Different World," missed the boat on this one, folks.)

And after a special clip of Lara Jill singing the Charlie Chaplin-penned tune "Smile," Retroality.TV founder and host Chris Mann chats with singer-songwriter Normand Authier in the first installment of this podcast's new "Reality Reimagined" segment. Norm explains how a recent weight-loss transformation helped reawaken his long-shelved dream to write and perform music -- and, to quote is first recorded single, "To Live Again." And he tells how Annie Lennox and the Eurythmics inspired his artistry.

In connection with "Smile," Chris pays homage to Nell Carter (who died Jan. 23, 2003) and three other TV greats we've lost more recently: "Dallas" icon Larry Hagman, "Three's Company" Regal Beagle bartender (and stage star!) Paul Ainsley and "Maude" and "Diff'rent Strokes" star Conrad Bain.

Finally, our resident dream weaver Yvonne Ryba deconstructs a client's crystal-clear sleeping dream and relates this vision to her client's waking ambitions.

Host: Chris Mann

Announcer: Linda Kay

Created by: Chris Mann

Producers: Linda Kay, Chris Mann

Copyright 2013 by Chris Mann/Retroality.TV

Friday, January 25, 2013

Exclusive sneak peak: My interview with "Dallas" star Linda Gray in the Feburary issue of WellBella

My exclusive interview with the lovely Linda Gray, who's kicking butts and taking names as the stronger, wiser Sue Ellen in TNT's revival of Dallas. The magazine is available nationally at GNC stores on February 1 and at