What's My Line? Forums

CBS (ended 1967)

DOROTHY KILGALLEN Forum

  • Avatar of silverscreen789

    silverscreen789

    [141]Apr 23, 2008
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    You know what I particularly love with Dorothy are those moments when she cuts her eyes at the audience as they laugh at her line of questioning. Very cute and funny.

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    stopettearoma

    [142]Apr 23, 2008
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    We don't know that anyone on the staff or crew ever told her to act a certain way so people wouldn't like her, but we know that she was encouraged to pursue "yes" answers relentlessly. Sources include Bob Bach and Mark Goodson, both of whom talked a lot about Dorothy to her biographer Lee Israel. Lee still has audiocassettes of them talking even though she has thrown away a lot of other stuff. The way Lee put it in the book was that Dorothy had been "tacitly assigned the role of unwitting villain." Translation: "they" didn't tell her "the more hatred, the better" but they told her to remain persistent, maybe become even more persistent. Lee also quoted Arlene Francis as saying that on some Sunday nights in the dressing room they shared (even with Bennett), Dorothy said to her, "Why can't I be the adorable one ?"

    In case you doubt Lee Israel's audiocassettes, consider that Franklin Heller said bluntly for publication that Dorothy had been encouraged to act like "a pain in the ass." You can find his comments about Dorothy, Mark Goodson and other Line people in the book The Box: An Oral History of Television 1929 - 1961 by Jeff Kisseloff. Heller made those comments shortly before his 1997 death. He had done two previous interviews that I know of: a 1970s TV nostalgia book that I found at the main branch of the Richmond, Virginia public library and a 1987 video interview with Loring Mandel, a former live TV director who in 1987 worked for the Museum of Television and Radio (later renamed the Paley Center for Media, which can show you the interview today).

    For whatever reason we will never know, Heller became angry when he first read Gil Fates' book in 1978 and told him so, then they alternately argued and buried the hatchet for many years thereafter. Mike Dann, a retired CBS programming executive who appears on a lot of E ! True Hollywood Story broadcasts, told me that. Fortunately for us, statements by Heller and Fates rarely contradicted each other. Fates never said anyone had encouraged anyone else to act a certain way on live television. Then again Fates left many things unsaid, such as the fact that many newspaper reporters resented Dorothy Kilgallen when she showed up at a courthouse to cover a trial. Many did not consider her a serious journalist. Fates never was in those courthouses so he wouldn't know. Fates had control of his own book, but Heller's statements depended on other people. If you watch his 1987 video interview, you will notice at the very end that he wanted to keep talking but they were about to use up the videocassette, so Heller said forget it, then.

    Edited on 04/24/2008 5:34pm
    Edited 4 total times.
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    silverscreen789

    [143]Apr 23, 2008
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    Even with the encouragement to be the 'villain', to me Dorothy still came through as sweet and adorable. That whole tactic is lost on me. I also don't see Arlene as adorable necessarily, but I think she was the sexier panelist. Very hot stuff.

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    puzzlingpixie

    [144]Apr 23, 2008
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    Indeed, Dorothy was always my favorite, followed by Arlene. Competetive yes, but honestly I don't think that made her any less likeable. In fact, I loved that she played the game so well. She had an amazing ability to pinpoint a line and get the group back on track after a series of unhelpful and suggestive questions (especially earlier on when Hal Block would throw everything off track by making it sound like some seductive product or article of clothing). I never found her annoyingly persistent or too pushy. She had a girllish laugh, a charming smile, a wonderful twinkle in her eye, and the most amazing sort of half chastising/half amused looks after one of John's long rants.

    As for her ability to cover a trial, I think it is sad people didn't take her seriously. I was under the impression she had somewhat of a formidable reputation for her coverage of the Sam Sheppard trial.

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    stopettearoma

    [145]Apr 24, 2008
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    Some journalists who expressed opinions of Dorothy were in a tough position. They might have admired her ability to turn out good prose on deadline, but they disagreed with her conclusions. For example, many reporters who covered the Sheppard trial believed Sheppard was guilty. They include Doris O'Donnell. This URL link gives you her career in a nutshell.

    http://upress.kent.edu/books/ODonnell_D.htm

    Doris gets videotaped talking whenever a TV producer approaches her about a show on Sheppard. She has gone on ABC's Nightline with Ted Koppel, the E ! True Hollywood Story, American Justice with Bill Kurtis and God knows what else. That nutshell biography makes her look intelligent, but, curiously, she insists Dr. Sheppard killed his wife. As "proof" she cites courtroom testimony about a dishwasher that Mrs. Marilyn Sheppard purchased using the family bank account without telling her husband. "They had tremendous fights about that," insists Doris O'Donnell.

    Mention Dorothy Kilgallen to Doris and she insists the woman was an alcoholic celebrity who editorialized in her supposedly hard news reporting. In the mid 1990s (before Ted Koppel got involved) evidence came out that Dr. Sheppard didn't do the crime. Many aging ex-reporters still insist that they are authorities on the doctor's guilt because they were "there." "There" meaning the courtroom, not the scene of the crime. Dorothy Kilgallen was the only reporter with a famous byline who said Sam Sheppard could have been innocent. Naturally that makes many of her aging colleagues dispute her, and they trot out the liquor bottles and the dishwasher as evidence.

    Edited on 04/24/2008 5:39pm
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    puzzlingpixie

    [146]Apr 24, 2008
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    Ugh...at least Dorothy had her own opinions and expressed them. She may not have always thought what everyone else concluded, but she thought for herself and went after the truth. If they want to call that 'editorializing' then so be it. I'd rather have someone with a point of view.
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    ClassicTV

    [147]May 24, 2008
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    I have a Netflix account which allows me to watch movies and TV shows on my computer in addition to having the DVDs sent through the mail. Last evening I was watching "Pajama Party", a beach movie released in 1964, when I heard a familiar voice in one scene. Recognizing that it was Dorothy Kilgallen's voice, I replayed the scene, which occurs at :50/1:25.

    A motorcycle chase interrupts a matronly group of women who are marching down a street holding a banner that reads, "Unify Now". When the motorcycles drive through this crowd, one of ladies is thrown up in the air and lands on the seat behind a motorcyclist. Although it is a stunt person connected to a harness that actually lands on the bike in front of a rear projection screen, in a subsequent scene it is none other than Miss Kilgallen. She is wearing a yellow dress and a pearl necklace in this color film.

    She deadpans, "It's awfully nice of you to give me this lift." The motorcyclist responds, "Yeah, yeah, lady." She says, "Ah, don't call me lady, my name's Dorothy, what's yours?"

    The motorcycle eventually drives through a barn. When it exits, Dorothy gets thrown off the bike and lands on a bull. There is a brief scene of her holding a rope while "bronco-busting". The bull is not actually in this scene; the camera is pointed upwards at her as she bounces up and down to simulate being on a live animal.

    In the ending credits I noticed the name Kerry Kollmar. Today I checked Internet Movie Database and found that he was the youngest son of Dorothy and her husband Richard Kollmar. Born in 1954, he would have been around ten at the time this picture was made. I think that he is the boy who throughout the movie witnesses people kissing and says, "Mush". IMDB does list "Pajama Game" in Dorothy's entry, and notes that she was uncredited for her cameo in this film.

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  • Avatar of stopettearoma

    stopettearoma

    [148]May 25, 2008
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    The following is on the topic of Pajama Party and Dorothy putting her young son in it. It also shoots down the theory that Dorothy ever suffered insomnia because she supposedly was disappointed in Johnnie Ray avoiding her. (She and Johnnie were photographed together in a Las Vegas club a month before she died.)

    If you live near or can visit New York City, Washington, DC or Austin, Texas, then you can read the New York Journal American on microfilm. Read the Voice of Broadway for several days running in the first half of August 1964. You will see entire columns that Dorothy devoted to her experiences with her son Kerry in Los Angeles filming Pajama Party. The Journal American is not online, nor is there a database with scanned images of it. Here is a web site that has the Voice of Broadway as it appeared in small-city newspapers in North America. You also get an English-language paper in what was then Nationalist China, now Taiwan. It ran the Voice of Broadway.

    www.NewspaperArchive.com

    You have to pay a fee for access to Pdf scanned images of the newspapers. If you don't want to do that, then see if a public library near you has "Access Newspaper Archive" for free. The Los Angeles city libraries do. Visit any branch, including those in the San Fernando Valley, and you can read or Xerox all the Voice of Broadways you want for free. You can't e-mail them from the library, unfortunately. To e-mail them you must become a paid member, and the recipient of your e-mail gets the Pdf attachments for free.

    I haven't checked to see if the small-city papers in Newspaper Archive carried Dorothy's reports from Pajama Party. You can do that if you want and report your findings here. I have Xeroxes of her Pajama Party columns as they appeared in the Journal American. Before this message gets too long I can point out two pieces of trivia that would interest Pajama Party viewers who plan to visit Los Angeles. Dorothy mentioned them. She and her son Kerry, then ten years old, stayed in a bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel. The main building of the hotel and the bungalows are located in the same woodsy part of Sunset Blvd. today, but of course much of the interior has been gutted and renovated. At least you can get a feel for where it was, and you can approximate the route that mother and son rode in a limousine from their bungalow to what was then the Columbia Ranch on two or three early mornings in a row. They had an early "call time," a term which the industry still uses today. All scenes that mother and son filmed were filmed at Columbia Ranch, but you would have to investigate where the rest of Pajama Party was filmed. The scenes where Dorothy's stunt double filmed the women's protest march and the bronco-busting could have been filmed somewhere else. Columbia Ranch was used mostly for TV sitcoms in the 1950s and 1960s. You can get a list of them by Google - ing "warner brothers ranch," which is the current name. Columbia Pictures lost its studio many years ago. Today you don't see any remnants of an old Western on the lot, so it would be difficult to find out if the word "ranch" described it accurately 44 years ago. At least we know where Dorothy and her son filmed their scenes.

    Many people who worked behind the scenes on Pajama Party, including Sam Arkoff and screenwriter Louis "Deke" Heyward, are deceased. Heyward revealed before he died how Dorothy ended up appearing in the film. Several years before the first beach party picture, Heyward was a writer for one of Ernie Kovacs' New York TV shows. Heyward, other writers and Kovacs did a skit making fun of the cosmopolitan, chic reputation of Dorothy and her husband Dick, who sounded that way on their daily WOR radio show. The skit, available on one of the Kovacs DVD collections, shows actors pretending to be Dorothy and Dick walking into a New York bar where somebody has placed a cow. They are bewildered by the animal, not knowing what it is. Within a few days of the live broadcast, Dorothy telephoned Deke Heyward to say she thought the skit was funny. Although they lost touch for several years, they remembered each other positively. In 1962, Kovacs died suddenly, causing Heyward to scramble to find other work. He ended up writing beach party screenplays. Creating as many cameos from older stars as he could, he made a long-distance call to Dorothy to invite her to do one. She accepted and suggested that Heyward include a small part for Kerry. He did.

    If you read Dorothy's columns as they appeared in the Journal American in August of 1964, you will notice something strange. She does not mention her husband Dick at all. If he has joined his wife and ten-year-old son for the trip to California, she avoids saying that. Curiously, she refers to Dick AKA Richard in other columns that she devoted to her vacations in the 1950s and 1960s. Dorothy describes Dick's reactions to the tourist sights of Cuba in 1957, San Francisco in 1959 and Puerto Rico in December 1963 / January 1964. But he either remains catatonic during their Pajama Party trip or he stays home in New York. When Dick sightsees at those places, Kerry doesn't. In Dorothy's story of the family's trip to Cuba she points out that Kerry is staying home. That's not so strange if you look at the Kilgallen scrapbooks at Lincoln Center in New York. They contain several enlarged photographs of Dorothy with her three children, but Dick is not in any of them. He posed with his namesake Richard Jr. several times, and also with Jill several times. There is no image of Richard posing with his son Kerry in the entire collection. Dorothy posed with Kerry a lot -- just the two of them.

    The only known photograph of father and son Kerry together is included in the photo section of Lee Israel's book. Sure enough, it's credited to something other than the Lincoln Center collection. Many photos in the book are credited to Lincoln. Check out this rare photo of the family of five posing in their "Black Room" at home (credited to AM radio talk host Gary Wagner who died recently) and you will see that Dick avoids touching the toddler, Kerry, but Dorothy lovingly clutches him. This warrants a look at their 1956 Person To Person segment with Edward R. Murrow. It's not on Youtube, so all I can do is describe the last few minutes during which Dorothy and Dick are in the Black Room with Jill and Kerry while Murrow questions them from his studio. Dick is affectionate with Jill, who appeared on What's My Line? Live On Stage in 2005. Dorothy is affectionate with little Kerry. The oldest Richard Jr. is away at boarding school in Connecticut at the time. Dorothy tells Ed Murrow that. Mother and daughter don't touch. Jill says the only connection she has with the Voice of Broadway is that sometimes "I disturb her when she's working." That's a preview of an incident described in this Midwest Today article

    http://www.midtod.com/new/articles/7_14_07_Dorothy.html

    when Jill, now married, barges angrily into the room while hairdresser Marc Sinclaire prepares her mother for What's My Line? in 1965.

    How can I possibly put into words what Edward R. Murrow showed millions of people? After Lee Israel put out her book, nobody wanted to invest money in another Kilgallen project to dig deeper into the columnist's private life or the Oswald Ruby mystery. In 2000 E! Entertainment Television devoted a half hour to Dorothy Kilgallen on the show Mysteries and Scandals hosted by A. J. Benza, whom nobody cares about today, but Benza did not have time to discuss Kerry Kollmar. If people have stopped talking about old stories, then there is a 90 percent chance that publishers and TV companies won't invest money to revive them. They want people to talk with their larynxes as opposed to blogging. Bloggers rarely inspire books or documentaries about stuff that happened 45 years ago. Neither does a low-budget magazine like Midwest Today. Welcome to the world of dead people whom you never met and they're not related to you. You won't see Arlene Francis' life detailed on the Lifetime channel, either. It's money that matters.

    Edited on 05/26/2008 8:31am
    Edited 9 total times.
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  • Avatar of silverscreen789

    silverscreen789

    [149]May 28, 2008
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    I loved this past episode with Dorothy's kids. How cute was Jill? Spitting image of her mother. Even down to those same cutting glances at the audience. LOL. Great show.
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    stopettearoma

    [150]May 30, 2008
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    silverscreen789 wrote:
    I loved this past episode with Dorothy's kids. How cute was Jill? Spitting image of her mother. Even down to those same cutting glances at the audience. LOL. Great show.

    That wasn't Jill's only TV appearance. Have you seen her on the kinescope of Edward R. Murrow's Person To Person in 1956? Her younger brother Kerry is on it, too. One day GSN will repeat the 1958 I've Got A Secret featuring Kerry, Jonathan Cerf and Peter Gabel. The network already showed it in the middle of the night of February 9-10, 2002. To read another poster's recap of that Black & White Overnight, click here.

    http://groups.google.com/group/alt.tv.game-shows/msg/025134b817a4de5d?dmode=source

    Edited on 05/31/2008 5:06am
    Edited 2 total times.
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    DONDABEN

    [151]Jun 9, 2008
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    It's interesting that last night's telecast of WML ocurred on mystery guest Les Pauls' 93rd birthay.
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    astorino

    [152]Jun 10, 2008
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    He's performing every Monday night (on his birthday too!) at this jazz club in NYC:

    http://www.iridiumjazzclub.com/

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    puzzlingpixie

    [153]Jun 12, 2008
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    I know Dorothy was a big fan of music. Does anyone know whom her favorite musicians or songs were? I am trying to do a project on her for one of my classes, so any help would be great. Thanks.
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    stopettearoma

    [154]Jun 16, 2008
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    puzzlingpixie wrote:
    I know Dorothy was a big fan of music. Does anyone know whom her favorite musicians or songs were? I am trying to do a project on her for one of my classes, so any help would be great. Thanks.

    She loved the music of Miles Davis. Check your local library system for Mr. Davis' autobiography and you will find the two pages he devotes to her.

    In 1962, Dorothy expressed fondness for the music of the McGuire Sisters. That's on the April 8, 1962 episode. She said nice things about the Beatles on two TV broadcasts during October 1964: the What's My Line? episode with Beatles' manager Brian Epstein as a contestant and the October 6 local New York telecast of Hot Line that survives in audio only. On those broadcasts she just talked about the Fab Four as cute, funny personalities; she didn't name any of their songs. Her friend Marlin Swing, whom you will find listed in online telephone directories (He lives on Manhattan's East 35th Street), can tell you that Dorothy did, indeed, like the Beatles' music.

    Same with Bob Dylan. Dorothy put two detailed items about him in her column during September and October of 1965, but she didn't actually say she liked his music. She did identify three of his songs: Like A Rolling Stone, Positively Fourth Street and It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry. She noted the "shortie" version of Like A Rolling Stone that Dylan recorded for a 45 single for radio disc jockeys to play. She noted that you had to buy his album to hear the entire song. These facts became easy to find out in the 1980s when "The Big Chill generation" started putting Dylan trivia all over the major media, which they were now running.

    puzzlingpixie -- If and when you include Dorothy's "meat and potatoes" comments in your report -- "meat and potatoes" meaning the unsolved murders she covered in print and her Hot Line comments about Barry Goldwater and pornographic writer Ralph Ginzburg -- are you going to quote Dorothy's own words ? It's nice when today's young people find out what she actually said rather than what armchair Internet historians say she said.

    Edited on 06/16/2008 2:19pm
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    astorino

    [155]Jun 17, 2008
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    puzzlingpixie wrote:
    I know Dorothy was a big fan of music. Does anyone know whom her favorite musicians or songs were? I am trying to do a project on her for one of my classes, so any help would be great. Thanks.

    Two things come to mind. It was mentioned on one of the WML episodes that she danced "The Twist" very well. That would mean she liked R&B songs such as Chubby Checker's "The Twist" and Sam Cooke's "Twisting The Night Away" and Joey Dee and the Starliters' "Peppermint Twist."

    The panel never, ever did well with "classical music" guests, so that was not probably an area of interest for her.

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    puzzlingpixie

    [156]Jun 17, 2008
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    First off, thank you for all of your wonderful information.

    My project is for a Theater Arts class. We are supposed to choose a historic figure in which we are to pitch a play about. I have to create a few scenes, have a musical aid (to create the 'feel' of the play), as well as a symbolic visual aide, and a very brief bit where I say why I choose her. (In essence I am supposed to give a bare bones presentation of what I think a theater play on Dorothy's life should be like).

    Unfortunately due to time constraints and the fact that our finals are this Friday, the presentations are only to last 5 minutes long. I was told to avoid long biographical narratives and merely choose to convey her life story in three brief scenes. The biographical information given will have to be snuck into the "why I choose her" part. The scenes I choose are supposed to be focused on the struggle the character faces, not on explaining any one event in her life.

    Thus, my hands are somewhat tied in being able to accurately portray the complexity of Dorothy Kilgallen. I am in the middle of reading "Kilgallen," by Lee Israel. I have made it to Chapter 20 (Carnival). Whatever else I read about Dorothy and choose to finalize will need to be done by the end of tomorrow. Mostly, I am just trying to decide which portion of Dorothy's life to focus on, because there are an awful lot of events in her life that would be suitable to show 'conflict,' or what kind of woman she was.

    The one really cool thing I am supposed to do is find text; things she said herself, things people said about her. Any revealing quotes about Dorothy that I have found, I made jotted down to create a small list. If you have any specific suggestions though, I am more than willing to listen.

    As for Richard Kollmar, I am sure there is a part of that story that must be told to shed some light on Dorothy's 'inner struggle,' but really I don't want the entire focus of the presentation to be on the fact that her husband was rather openly philandering (so that everyone knew it). My point of view in this piece will be slightly interesting (due to the fact that I don't know what it is), because I can't seem to quite pin down what I think of such a complex woman as Dorothy Kilgallen.

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    puzzlingpixie

    [157]Jun 17, 2008
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    Sorry for the double post, but since asking the question I actually came across some things about Dorothy I didn't know. She loved to dance and danced quite gracefully and beautifully. She is also noted to have loved Beethoven and Bach, so she did have some love of classical music. Here I love the quote so I'll just put the whole thing in (it is about Dorothy's column just before her wedding day): "It was an untypically pensive and soft piece in which she mentioned loving milk, dachsunds, rabbits (except those in Russell Swann's club act, who had apparently nibbled her orchids), Beethoven, Bach, and Benny Goodman. She also admitted to hating alarm clocks and being unable to stay in a room where a clock was ticking. She looked forward with wild impatience to the opening of 'Romeo and Juliet' with Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh."
    Edited on 06/21/2008 9:17pm
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    stopettearoma

    [158]Jun 21, 2008
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    In New York City, Washington, DC and Austin, Texas, you can read what Dorothy actually said in that column from 1940. Going that far back, the column is not likely to turn up on this web site

    http://www.newspaperarchive.com/

    that has small newspapers from small cities and towns. Many carried the Voice of Broadway, but 99 percent of the small papers started carrying it after What's My Line? premiered in 1950. Even in 1950, the spillover from the new television medium to newspapers hadn't happened yet. The only cities that broadcast Line in 1950 were Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and DC. That fact comes from a 1961 Canadian newspaper profile of the series. So most small cities of the Midwest and Texas were oblivious to Dorothy Kilgallen until later in the 1950s.

    What's My Line? is often a bad barometer of what the regulars liked and didn't like. Arlene liked doing yoga as far back as the early 1960s, or possibly the late 1950s (the source is a 1961 TV Guide profile of her), but you never see a yoga instructor on the CBS version of the show. Bennett loved to tell stories about William Faulkner and Gertrude Stein, but a game show never afforded him that opportunity. Dorothy talked about the murders of civil rights workers Goodman, Schwerner and Chaney on the local New York TV show Hot Line, but that topic was forbidden on game shows.

    Puzzlingpixie, your oral presentation to your Theater Arts is over now, but thank you for introducing Dorothy to people so young that they were not even alive when Lee Israel interviewed Dorothy's newspaper colleagues and friends.

    Edited on 06/21/2008 9:23pm
    Edited 2 total times.
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    puzzlingpixie

    [159]Jun 22, 2008
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    stopettearoma wrote:
    Puzzlingpixie, your oral presentation to your Theater Arts is over now, but thank you for introducing Dorothy to people so young that they were not even alive when Lee Israel interviewed Dorothy's newspaper colleagues and friends.

    You're welcome. I would like to thank you as well. You always have the most insightful things to tell me. I love reading all of your posts, because they always have wonderful things in them that I am not likely to otherwise find.

    Oh, and the presentation went well. I received an A.

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    astorino

    [160]Jun 23, 2008
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    Johnnie speaks about Dorothy in four 1981 YouTube videos:

    http://www.youtube.com/profile_videos?p=r&user=XTransit&page=2

    Edited on 06/23/2008 12:52am
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