True or False with Alan Ladd

Alan Ladd - ActorOur target of this truth versus fiction exercise is known for being a Hollywood hunk, but that was not always the case. Who is our subject? It is Alan Ladd.  Alan Walbridge Ladd was born in Hot Springs, Arkansas, the only child of an actress and a freelance accountant. His father died when he was four and that left his mother in a bit of a pickle. How to raise a son when you have no income?

Q1 – While playing with matches he burnt down his apartment?

True – While playing with matches as a child, he burned down the apartment where he and his mother lived. By the time he was eight he had jobs picking fruit, delivering newspapers and sweeping floors. Their poverty also led to his suffering from malnutrition-related stomach ailments.

Q2 – With few opportunities available to him, Ladd opened his own restaurant?

True – Ladd opened a hamburger shop after graduating high school called Tiny’s Patio; “Tiny” had been a nickname given to him while in school due to his height.

Q3 – Ladd’s army career was cut short?

True – He was drafted in January 1943 and discharged in November with an ulcer and double hernia.

Q3 – Hollywood recognized his greatness right away and immediately gave him starring roles!

False –  His introduction to the entertainment industry included working as a grip for Warner Brothers and as a faceless reporter in the Orson Welles classic Citizen Kane. Throughout the 1940s his tough-guy roles packed audiences into theaters and he was one of the very few males whose cover photos sold movie magazines. After making a name for himself as a screen bad guy, he took on what proved to be his best-remembered role in the 1953 classic Shane.

Q4 – Despite his success, Alan Ladd was never considered one of the Hollywood Elite.

False – Ladd was among the top money-making stars in 1947, 1953 and 1954. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and two golden globe awards. I think that qualifies him for Hollywood elite.

Q4 – Alan Ladd died in 1964 from suicide.

False – In November 1962 he was found unconscious lying down with a bullet wound near his heart, a probable suicide attempt. In January 1964 he was found dead, apparently due to an accidental combination of alcohol and sedatives.

This Week’s Podcast:

On the show, we have a Suspense story starring Alan Ladd.  We also, debut a brand new segment called, Is it true? You can listen to this podcast on Thursday at Ron’s Amazing Stories, download it from iTunes, stream it on TuneIn Radio or on the mobile version of Spotify. Do you prefer radio? We are heard every Saturday night at 6:00 pm (EST). Check your local listing or find the station closest to you at this link.

The Calendar:

February 01 – Who is Helen Huber? – (RAS313)
February 08 – The Bear Trap – (RAS314)
February 15 – Suspense Episode – (RAS315)
February 22 – (HE #20 or RAS316)

True or False with Ron’s Amazing Stories

Help WantedI have received a number of questions and comments and the most of you want to know two things: How are you doing? and How Can I help?.  I thought I would answer that question in a fun and exciting way (at least for me). Let’s play True or False with Ron’s Amazing Stories.

Q1 – Ron is down in bed suffering from Sciatica and is not able to walk.

False – I am up and around suffering sciatica. I don’t walk well, but the only way to get the offending nerve back into place is to stretch and walk a bit every day. I am getting better and little things like getting up in the morning is not a traumatic event. Thanks for all your comments and warm thoughts. They mean a lot.

Q2 – There is nothing you can do to help Ron’s Amazing Stories!

False – Very false, untrue even! You can help out the show by sending me your stories! Lately, I have seen a fall off in submitted tales. So if you have a story, I want to read it on the show, or better yet have you come on and tell it yourself. You can find out more about how I deal with your stories on a blog I wrote called Telling Our Stories.

Q3 –  I should submit reviews and comments about the shows I hear.

True – Yes you should! Reviews and comments on Ron’s Amazing Stories go a long way to get new listeners. You can do this in many ways: First, you can head to our Facebook Fan Page and make comments there. Also, leave reviews on the service you use to listen to the show. For example, if you use iTunes it takes just a second to click on the stars and leave a quick comment. Most services make it just as easy and it gets the job done. So, please consider doing a review today. It is very much appreciated.

Q4 – Ron’s does not take donations!

False – Heck ya I take donations to the show! All of the money donated goes directly into the support costs. These include server, website, software, and hardware costs. I currently pay these myself and any help would never be turned down. Ron’s Amazing Stories makes no profit. If I did I could not bring you some of the content that I do.

This Week’s Podcast:

On the show, we have a supernatural tale from Suspense that you will not see the end coming. Also, we have something special that involves baseball and Shakespeare. So come check it out! You can listen to this podcast on Thursday at Ron’s Amazing Stories, download it from iTunes, stream it on TuneIn Radio or listen to it on your radio Saturday night at 6pm Eastern time. Check your local listing or find the station closest to you at this link.

The Calendar:

November 02 – David Larsen’s Marionette (HE #19)
November 09 – Old Rambling House (RAS #303)
November 16 – Suspense Week – (RAS #304)
November 23 – Thanksgiving Podcast Replay
November 30 – (RAS #305)

True or False with Edmund O’Brien

It is detective week here on Ron’s Amazing Stories. While our target of this truth versus fiction is actually known for being a character actor, he also did his fair amount of detection. Who is our subject this time? It is Edmond O’Brien. Let’s get started.

Edmund O'Brien 1950sHe was one of the most-respected character actors in American cinema. Born in New York City, The Bronx, O’Brien learned the craft of performance as a magician?

True – O’Brien reportedly was tutored by neighbor Harry Houdini. Also, he worked with another magician, Orson Welles, in the Mercury Theater’s production of “Julius Caesar”, appearing as “Mark Antony”. He took part in student theatrics in high school and majored in drama at Columbia University.

The hard boiled actor had his big break on Broadway?

True – He made his Broadway debut at the age of 21 in 1936. Later that year, played the part of, “The Gravedigger” in the legendary production of “Hamlet” starring Shakespearean actor John Gielgud. Four years later, he would play “Mercutio” opposite Laurence Olivier in his 1940 Broadway production of “Romeo & Juliet”. That is some very exclusive company!

With all of his great acting he never won Oscar, which is always true of character actors?

False – O’Brien won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in The Barefoot Contessa (1954) and also received a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for his role as a drunken senator who ferrets out an attempted coup d’etat in Seven Days in May (1964).

O’Brien never served in the military?

False – During World War II, he served in the U.S. Army Air Force. He also and appeared in the Air Force Broadway play Winged Victory by Moss Hart. He appeared alongside Red Buttons, Karl Malden, Kevin McCarthy, Gary Merrill, Barry Nelson, and Martin Ritt. He toured in the production for two years, and after returning from his wartime service with the Army Air Force built up a distinguished career as a supporting actor in A-list films.

O’Brien learn the best rule of performing from James Cagney?

TrueJames Cagney once said that he had only one rule, he would tap his heart and he would say, “Play it from here, kid.” O’Brien always did and he believed it’s the best rule for any performer. He could play a scene 90 ways and never repeat himself. He did this to keep himself fresh. [Writer’s Note: I try to do this with every podcast produce]

That is it for this this true a false session. I hope you enjoyed learning about one of America’s greats in Edmond O’Brien.

This Week’s Podcast:

On the podcast this week we have a scary story about a shadow, a archaeologist gets into trouble and of course we continue with our Five Minute Mysteries. You can listen to this podcast on Thursday at Ron’s Amazing Stories, download it from iTunes, stream it on TuneIn Radio or listen to it on your radio Saturday night at 6pm Eastern time. Check your local listing or find the station closest to you at this link.

The Calendar:

August 31 – Rope Of Sand – (RAS297)
September 07 – Memory Lane #1
September 14 – The Potter’s Of Frisk – RAS298
September 21 – Detective Week – RAS299
September 28 –  
October 05 – Old Time Horror W/Jim Harold – (RAS300)

True or False with Burt Lancaster

We tune up the search engine once again for Ron’s Amazing Stories true or false. This time we focus on another American icon, Burt Lancaster. Let’s start with the truth.

Burt Lancaster circa 1950True – Burt Lancaster was not only was one of America’s darlings, but his background was the stuff of legend. He was one of five children, born in 1913 in Manhattan, NY, and was a tough street kid who took an early interest in gymnastics.

Burt joined the circus as an acrobat?

True – Lancaster met Nick Cravat, with whom he developed a lifelong partnership. Together they learned to act in local theatre productions and circus arts at Union Settlement.  Together they formed the acrobat duo Lang and Cravat in the 1930s and joined the Kay Brothers Circus. They continued this until Burt was injured and had to give up the circus life.

Burt didn’t find acting until after World War II?

False – It was in the Army during WW II that he was introduced to the USO and acting. At first he liked the idea of acting, but it was not his first choice for a career. He tried out for the play, A Sound of Hunting and his performance attracted the interest of Hollywood agent, Harold Hecht. This lead to an eight-movie contract and his first film, The Killers (1946).

Burt attended some the finest acting schools in the world?

False – He was a self-taught actor who learned the business as he went along. Lancaster sought demanding roles, and was prepared to work for less pay than he might have earned elsewhere. He even helped to finance movies in whose artistic value he believed in.

Burt became a producer/director in the later stages of his career?

True – He chose not to sign with a major studio. Harold Hecht promised him the opportunity to produce their own movies within five years of hitting Hollywood. Hecht kept his promise and the two formed a partnership production company under the name Norma Productions (the duo later changed the company’s name to Hecht-Lancaster Productions). He also mentored directors such as Sydney Pollack and John Frankenheimer and appeared in several of the firms films. Including Lancaster’s last film, Field of Dreams (1989) .

Burt Lancaster never won an Oscar?

False – Lancaster made many great films during his career:  Criss Cross (1949), The Crimson Pirate (1952), Trapeze (1956), Birdman of Alcatraz (1962), The Train (1964), Atlantic City (1980), and many others. He was nominated for an Oscar four times, and took home the golden statuette for the title role in Elmer Gantry (1960). In addition, his company produced several successful films, most notably the Best Picture Oscar-winner, Marty (1955).

Closing Thoughts?

Burt Lancaster lead an impressive life. He made many films and produced or directed many more. He held actors Montgomery Clift and Marlon Brando in high esteem and said that they were the only two men whose talent intimidated him. Lancaster died in his Century City apartment in Los Angeles from a heart attack in 1994 at the age of 80.

This Week’s Podcast:

On the podcast this week we will feature Burt Lancaster in a reprise of his role as a diamond thief in Rope of Sand. You can listen to this podcast on Thursday at Ron’s Amazing Stories, download it from iTunes, stream it on TuneIn Radio or listen to it on your radio Saturday night at 6pm Eastern time. Check your local listing or find the station closest to you at this link.

The Calendar:

August 03 – HE #17 – Out Of Body
August 10 – You Were Wonderful – (RAS294)
August 17 – The MUFON Story – (RAS295)
August 24 – Rope of Sand – (RAS296)
August 31 – Science Fiction Week – (RAS297)

True or False with Frank Sinatra

Q1 – Frank Sinatra was born December 12, 1915  in Hoboken, New Jersey, to Italian immigrants. He almost died at birth.

True – Frank almost died during childbirth – the doctor had trouble removing the 13 ½ pound baby Frank from his mother, scarring him with forceps and puncturing his eardrum. Frank’s grandmother, Rose, noticed the baby wasn’t breathing and held him under cold running water until he finally began to breathe. Because of his eardrum he would not be allowed to serve in the military.

Q2 – Amazing as it sounds Franks Sinatra and Bing Crosby never met.

False – Frank knew he had to be a singer after seeing Bing Crosby live at Loew’s Journal Square in New Jersey. Also, he first appeared on-screen with his hero Bing Crosby in the 1956 movie High Society, which also marked Grace Kelly’s final performance before she became Princess of Monaco.

Q3 – Sinatra had his first musical break with local music group The Hoboken Four in 1935, winning the popular Major Bowes and His Original Amateur Hour radio contest.

True – After his radio success he was able to sign a contracts. in the swing era, with bandleaders Harry James and Tommy Dorsey. The rest was history and he went on to sell 150 million records worldwide.

Q4 – Frank Sinatra was not allowed to entertain the troops for most of World War II.

True – He did travelled to Europe to entertain the U.S.O. troops during World War II in 1945, with Phil Silvers. However, the FBI prevented Frank from traveling on previous tours. Briefly, there were rumors reported by columnist Walter Winchell that Sinatra paid $40,000 to avoid the service, but the FBI found this to be without merit.

Q5 – Frank Sinatra Jr. was kidnapped and held for ransom in December of 1963.

True – Frank Sr. paid a ransom of $240,000 to free the then 19 year-old Frank Jr. from kidnappers. After being held for several days, Frank Jr. was released safely. The FBI eventually caught the kidnappers and recovered most of the ransom money.

Q6 – Sinatra never did as much as people thought. In truth he really had just a few hit songs and made two movies (High Society and From Here to Eternity).

False – Whoa, that was really false! He performed on more than 1,400 recordings in a 6-decade career, appeared in more than 60 films, and produced 8 movies. He actually won an Academy Award for, From Here to Eternity, he starred in The Man with the Golden Arm (1955), and received critical acclaim for his performance in The Manchurian Candidate (1962). The awards and accolades are too many to list here. You can go to this page to learn more.

Q7 – Frank Sinatra raised millions of dollars for his work with various charities.

False – Throughout his life, Frank Sinatra raised more than one billion dollars for charities around the world. How about that?!

This Week’s Podcast:

On the podcast this week we have something special from Frank Sinatra, have a story about a terrible murder committed in the 1940’s and much more! You can listen to this podcast on Thursday at Ron’s Amazing Stories, download it from iTunes, stream it on TuneIn Radio or listen to it on your radio Saturday night at 6pm Eastern time. Check your local listing or find the station closest to you at this link.

The Calendar:

June 29 – C-Chute – (RAS290)
July 06 – Replay Cypherus Canyon With Jim Harold
July 13 – Tale From Development Hell – (RAS291)
July 20 – Stagecoach Stop – (RAS292)
July 27 – The Black Dahlia – (RAS293)
August 03 – RAS294 or HE16?