Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Hometown Manager Has Eyes For New Owner in “It Happened in Flatbush,” With William Frawley

Lloyd Nolan and Carole Landis star in this vintage baseball romantic comedy, also featuring a future legend of the early TV era.

by Rich Watson

This post is part of what’s known as a blogathon. That’s when a bunch of bloggers gather to write about a given topic. This one is called “The What a Character Blogathon,” devoted to supporting actors from the Golden Age of Hollywood. In my previous blog I took part in it for years, and 2021 marks its tenth anniversary. At the end I’ll tell you where you can read more entries in this event.


In 1951, William Frawley was sixty-four, a veteran of not only a hundred-plus movies, but vaudeville as well. Rumor had it, though, he was an alcoholic and difficult to work with. It seemed he was approaching the end of his career in entertainment.

Then he heard about an opportunity in the new medium of television: a sitcom about a ditzy housewife and her musician husband. The show was looking for a duo to play their neighbors, an older married couple. Frawley, eager to land the role of the husband in the older couple, called the lead actors and co-creators of the new program: Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. 

They gave him a chance. Despite initial resistance from the network, CBS, Frawley, paired with Vivian Vance, was an anchor of what would become I Love Lucy, one of television’s greatest programs. Years later, Arnaz would testify that Frawley always came to work on time and was a total professional.

Lucy was the highlight of a long career for Frawley, the former court reporter from Iowa who toured the vaudeville circuit with his brother Paul, singing and writing, before moving to Broadway and eventually, Hollywood. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

When Andrew McCutchen Proposed to His Girlfriend on TV

The Pirate superstar asked his girlfriend to marry him the way many celebrities do—in front of an audience.

by Rich Watson

In recent years, Andrew McCutchen has become one of the game’s biggest stars, mostly as a Pirate. He’s at the tail end of his career now, but his achievements to date include being a five-time All-Star and a former National League MVP. He also competed on the international stage in the World Baseball Classic in 2017.

As a Pirate, he met and dated Maria Hanslovan, the woman who would become his wife in 2013. How he proposed to her, though, took her and his fans by surprise.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Meat Loaf’s “Paradise By the Dashboard Lights:” A Love Song With a Baseball Twist


One of the greatest rock albums of all time puts a baseball spin on a power ballad about teenage romance.

by Rich Watson

He was born Marvin Lee Aday, but the world knows him as Meat Loaf, the plus-sized rock star with the bombastic voice and operatic songs. He has toured with Janis Joplin, Van Morrison, The Who, The Grateful Dead, Bob Seger and more. He has also acted on TV and in movies such as The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Fight Club.

In 1977, after appearing on stage in musicals such as Hair and touring as part of several acts, he released a debut solo record, Bat Out of Hell. It wasn’t a big hit at first but it would eventually go multi-platinum. 

One of the best-known hits from that album was “Paradise By the Dashboard Lights,” a song about teenage lust with an unusual twist: a spoken-word movement halfway through performed by a baseball Hall of Famer.