Broadway

The Glorious Corner

The Glorious Corner

G.H. HARDING

A STAR FOR CASS —(via Patch)  A star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was unveiled Monday honoring the late singer “Mama” Cass Elliot, fulfilling a longtime quest by the daughter of the member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame pop group, The Mamas & the Papas.

Bandmate Michelle Phillips and John Sebastian, an original member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame rock band Lovin’ Spoonful, were among those speaking at the ceremony at 7065 Hollywood Blvd. between La Brea and Sycamore avenues.

“On our first meeting, Cass and I experienced our very first acid trip,” Phillips joked. “It was 1965. We never came down. We bonded. She was my best friend. She gave me courage to sing when I thought I couldn’t make a note. She’d say, `Hey, just go for it. You know I’m going to make it.’ And so I went for it.

“She was born to be on stage. I was sick. I was terrified. But she took my hand in hers and walked me on to face 18,000 fans — our very first Mamas and Papas appearance at the Bowl.”

Elliot’s daughter, Owen Elliot-Kugell, and the singer’s sister, singer- turned-attorney Leah Kunkel, accepted the star on behalf of the family.

The crowd cheered loudly as Owen Elliot-Kugell walked to the microphone, recognizing her long-fought effort to have her mother honored on the Walk of Fame.

“What a fantastic day,” she said. “It’s amazing to see all the people who have come out to celebrate my mother and her achievements nearly five decades after she’s gone. It speaks volumes of the wonderful human being that she was to be remembered today with such fervor and such love.

“Of course, she’s never really left us, because her voice and the music she’s a part of creating live on today across the world. And I know that wherever it is heard, her voice makes life a little brighter for whoever hears it, as it does for me.”

The Hollywood Walk of Fame’s selection committee approved Elliot- Kugell’s application for a star for her mother in 2015. She had not been previously nominated, according to Ana Martinez, producer of the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Elliot-Kugell said it was a “grassroots effort” to finally get the star installed and unveiled.

The star is the 2,735th since the completion of the Walk of Fame in 1961 with the first 1,558 stars.

Born Ellen Naomi Cohen on Sept. 19, 1941, in Baltimore, Elliot initially sought a career in theater, including auditioning for the role of Miss Marmelstein in the 1962 Broadway musical, “I Can Get It For You Wholesale,” according to the biography on her website, casselliot.com. The role went to an actress with no previous Broadway experience, Barbra Streisand.

In 1963, Elliot, Tim Rose and John Brown formed a folk trio initially known as the Triumvirate, later known as The Big 3, who recorded two albums and appeared on “The Tonight Show” and the variety shows “Hootenanny” and “The Danny Kaye Show.”

The group metamorphasized into Cass Elliot and The Big 3, which included singer Denny Doherty, and later The Mugwumps, who released a single for Warner Bros. Records.

In mid-1965, Elliot joined Doherty, Phillips and her husband John, who had been performing as the New Journeymen, to form The Mamas & the Papas. The group’s first album “If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears,” released Feb. 28, 1966, was 112th on Rolling Stone’s 2012 list of the 500 greatest albums of all time and part of the 2010 book, “1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.”

“If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears” was the group’s only album to reach the top of the Billboard 200 chart.

The album included “Monday, Monday,” which brought the group its only four Grammy nominations, and a win for best contemporary rock ‘n’ roll group performance, vocal or instrumental in a field that also included The Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations” and The Monkees’ “Last Train to Clarksville.”

“Monday, Monday” was also nominated for record of the year, which was won by Frank Sinatra’s rendition of “Strangers in the Night”; best performance by a vocal group, losing to the Anita Kerr Singers’ “A Man and a Woman”; and best contemporary rock ‘n’ roll recording, losing to “Winchester Cathedral” by the New Vaudeville Band.

The group initially recorded from 1965-68, recording four albums and 16 singles. It reunited in 1971, recording the album “People Like Us” and the single “Step Out.” Its other memorable songs include “California Dreamin”‘ “Dream a Little Dream of Me,” “Creeque Alley” and “Dedicated to the One I Love”

The group’s first concert was at the Hollywood Bowl and it closed the famed Monterey International Pop Festival in 1967.

Elliot recorded five solo albums with hits including “It’s Getting Better,” “Make Your Own Kind of Music” and “New World Coming.”

Elliot starred in prime-time television specials in 1969 and 1973, guest-hosted “The Tonight Show” multiple times, co-hosted “The Mike Douglas Show” for a week in 1974 and appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show” and “The Carol Burnett Show.”

Elliot died of a heart attack on July 29, 1974, at age 32 following a series of sold-out performances at the London Palladium.

Stephen Stills and Micky Dolenz at the Cass Elliot Hollywood Walk of Fame presentation 

Cass Elliot was always a huge favorite and Monkee-Micky Dolenz, who was invited to the presentation by Cass’ daughter Owen, met up with Stephen Stills; who avid Monkees-fans will know originally tried out for the band, didn’t get it, and then suggested roommate Peter Tork who got the gig.

Stephen Stills and Micky Dolenz early on (courtesy of Henry Diltz)

Dolenz sent us this AM an early-photo of them both  which paradoxically references the new photo. Dolenz said of the similarity, “The strangest and most wonderful coincidence.

SHORT TAKES — 2011’s The Green Lantern popped up on the tube so I started watching it again-as I well remember when it came out it was roundly lambasted by the critics. You know, there are certain sequences that are just outstanding, but when the villain shows up – Parallax – being just a set of shadows and a face – the movie sort of lost my interest. It didn’t do well. In fact, it was suppose to be the launching pad for DC Comics through Warner Bros. They tried several Batman movies, then Superman and then The Justice League of America  … but sadly, it still hasn’t happened … Micky Dolenz’s aide-de-camp Jane Blunkell, off and got married last week to John David Oliver.

Congratulations … Tiffany’s new holiday campaign features Beyonce and was inspired by Studio 54. First off, the commercial is great but it occurs to me that no one in the entire ad -including Beyonce- was old enough to even get into 54. Its cute for sure and the last image has Beyonce on a  transparent horse – definitely inspired by Bianca Jagger’s birthday celebration back in the day where she rode into the club on one. Great memories for sure …

Mark Harmon

3 episodes in so far on CBS’ NCIS series this year -their 20th season- without Mark Harmon have been woefully bad. Always liked Harmon, but his exit from this show last year signaled a major, major downfall. I like Gary Cole -ever since his turn in TV’s Midnight Caller back in 1988 – but it ain’t his show … I just saw Lord Andrew Lloyd Weber on Tuesday’s Today show debuting his new Bad Cinderella; set to pen in February. Was not impressed …

Danny Fried

Whatever happened to Sweet Mary Jane the musical from Danny (China Club) Fried? Richard Johnson had the print exclusive back in March, but from then on nothing but silence … Lindsey Buckingham had to cancel his current European tour due to some undisclosed illness. He’s great and I hope he recovers fully and quickly … RIP Loretta Lynn … HAPPY BDAY Frank Conway

NAMES IN THE NEWS —Debbie Lansing; Marjorie Schwartz; Herb Rosen; Dolly Fox; Nina Wurtzel; Jeff Smith; Alex Salzman; Paul Morphos; Jim Yukich; Alan Rothstein; Keith Girard; Richard Branciforte; Eppy; Barry Fisch; Sam Smith; Art Moore; Dolly Fox; Peter Abraham; Sue Simmons; Roger Friedman; and CHIP!

Broadway

G. H. Harding is a four decades insider to the entertainment world. He’s worked for record companies; movie companies; video-production He’s worked for record companies; movie companies; video-production companies and several cable outlets. His anonymity is essential in bringing an unbiased view to his writings on pop culture. He is based in NYC.

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