The Galaxy Gang Welcomes You!

Saturday, April 30, 2022

 MAY 2022

CAMEOS & FACES IN THE CROWD

This month we invite all the members of our wonderful Galaxy audience to participate in a fun reminiscence of classic film, TV and music videos.  One of the most interesting features in the aforementioned media venues is the cameo -- i.e., a brief appearance of a well-known person within the tapestry of the story.  In many instances, cameos are not featured in the credits and so it becomes a treasure hunt in identifying famous or favorite people that are essentially faces in the crowd!

Here is a sample of notable cameos.  Perhaps one of the most famous was the recurring cameos by film director Alfred Hitchcock in 40 out of his 54 classic films from the late 1920s to the mid 1970s.  Often Hitchcock would be spotted in a crowd scene near the beginning of his many films and this was viewed as his "signature" or "watermark" for his artistic directorial work.  This made for heightened audience interest right from the start as filmgoers would keep sharp lookout for the iconic director whose cameos were so brief that if you happened to take your eyes off the screen for a single moment you would miss him!  One of the most interesting cameos was in the 1944 film "Lifeboat" (set in World War II).  In such a confined setting, Hitchcock was seen in a newspaper being read by one of the characters while seated in the lifeboat.  Specifically the newspaper showed a before-and-after photo sequence of Hitchcock in an advertisement for a weight-loss program.


Some classic cameos on film are only "heard" but not seen!  Two such instances are in the motion pictures "A Letter to Three Wives" (1949) and "King of Kings" (1961).  "A Letter to Three Wives" tells the story of a woman sending a letter to three women, informing them she has left town with one of their husbands but not specifying which one!  The unseen woman who wrote the titular letter is a constant presence throughout the film because of her occasional narration of key events in the story, including the surprise but ultimately satisfying ending.  This "voice" cameo was uncredited but was performed by Celeste Holm.  Similarly, the Biblical epic "King of Kings" was narrated by none other than Orson Welles.  His deep, sonorous voice, while familiar to one and all, was also uncredited.  But it played a noteworthy part in heightening the illuminating story on the life and ministry of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Baby boomers who watched the "Batman" TV series (1966-68) will fondly recall the window cameos in which very famous people would have brief conversations with the Caped Crusader and Boy Wonder as they would scale up the side of tall apartment buildings.  There were 14 such window cameos that included such luminaries as Sammy Davis Jr, Dick Clark, Don Ho and Edward G. Robinson.


For those who remember "Friday Night Music Videos" in the 1980s, there is the official Bruce Springsteen "Dancing in the Dark" video of the Boss performing at a 1984 concert in St Paul, MN.  In this truly amazing video -- noted for the very high energy level by Springsteen, his bandmates and the audience -- a 20 year old Courtney Cox (a full decade before her iconic Monica role in the 1990s TV series "Friends") is first seen standing in the front row right up against the stage fully involved with the concert and then in the closing sequence is brought up on stage by Springsteen to dance with the Boss in what is now regarded as a scripted spontaneous event!


What are your favorite cameos?  What made them so special or memorable to you and your loved ones?  We invite you to share them by emailing us directly through the GNN website or posting to the GNN FACEBOOK page (and "liking" us when doing so).  If you are looking for a fun way to make binge watching more interesting, using the "cameo" theme is a fun way to revisit favorite films, shows and music videos.

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