About Dwayne Epstein

Dwayne Epstein is the author of a number of young adult biographies, covering such celebrity personalities as Adam Sandler, Will Ferrell, Hilary Swank, Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton and Denzel Washington for Lucent Books’ “People in the News” series. Epstein also contributed to Bill Krohn’s bestselling books “Hitchcock at Work” and “Joe Dante and the Gremlins of Hollywood.”Prior to writing biographies, Epstein contributed to film chronicles on a regular basis. He wrote for Filmfax Magazine on subjects such as Bobby Darin, the Rat Pack, television pioneer Steve Allen, film director Sam Fuller, comic book artist Neal Adams, “Invasion of the Body Snatcher’s” Kevin McCarthy, John Belushi and comedy legend Sid Caesar. Epstein later contributed to Cahiers Du Cinema’s “Serious Pleasures” which had a high profile in Europe. He wrote on American films chosen for rediscovery by directors Oliver Stone, Francis Ford Coppola, Woody Allen and Clint Eastwood. Early in his career, Epstein earned his first professional writing credit reviewing films for Hearst Community Newspapers. Epstein was born in New York’s Coney Island in 1960, and moved West with his family at age 8, spending the rest of his childhood in Cerritos, Calif. He moved back east, attended Mercer Community College in New Jersey, and also served as an assistant editor for the five area newspapers of Cranbury Publications. Epstein made one more cross-country move and currently resides in Long Beach, Calif. When he is not writing, he enjoys watching and reading about movies and collecting soundtracks.

ABBIE HOFFMAN!

Abbie Hoffman may not be that well known to a lot of people but he’s always been a personal hero of mine. He was by definition a social activist probably best known for his work organizing anti-war protests during the Vietnam War era. Truth is, he was much more than that. He was an amazing man involved in many different social causes: civil rights, the environment, the Women’s Movement, you name it, and he did it all with a terrific sense of humor.

Abbot ‘Abbie’ Hoffman, as he looked in his prime.

Now with that in mind, one would not think that Abbie Hoffman would be a proper subject for a blog dedicated to Lee Marvin and my book Lee Marvin Point Blank.  Truth be told, I like to think of this blog as that and other subjects of interest, especially when it concerns the lives of interesting and/or unsung individuals. Enter Abbie Hoffman.

Abbie Hoffman’s memoir, SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE.

Having watched the Aaron Sorkin film The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020), recently, I decided to reread Abbie’s autobiography, since it’s always been one of my favorite books as mentioned previously. Glad I did as it is just as great a read as I remember. I could go on about what makes it so wonderful, or even pontificate more on Abbie’s achievements. Instead, read the excerpt below and you’ll see what I mean:

“Radio needed another frame of mind. I studied how it was different, always preferred it to TV, and felt I was better on the radio because the listener couldn’t see what was going on and respond to certain visual images I had to create. One night I was being interviewed by a hostile host live on New York radio station WNEW. I picked up my host’s pack of cigarettes and said, ‘Can I have a cigarette?’
‘Sure, help yourself.,’ he said, and I took one and dragged on it slurpily. ‘Hey, this is really good stuff here, man,’ I said, imitating the stereotypical stoned musician. The host got all flustered and announced, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, he’s just smoking a plain Marlboro cigarette…Tell them that — tell them it’s just a cigarette, man.’ I agreed then apologized profusely. ‘Oh my god, ah shouldna done it…I’m sorry I don’t wanna blow your gig. So cool, though, man, disguisin’ a cigarette.’ There was no way the host could get out of the little trap with just words. He completely lost his composure, but he had me back.

My bookmark, acquired at the memorial tribute to Hoffman in 1989.

On another talk show, I got a call-in death threat. I said over the air that I’d be leaving the studio at 5 o’clock and went on to describe myself, only using the appearance of the host. ‘I got horn-rimmed glasses and a brown and white-checkered sports jacket.’ Most of the time I’d talk about the war or other social issues, using humor as a hook.  I would use the opportunities to advertise upcoming demonstrations. It was free space and effective. … people actually talked on radio. Now it seems like everyone, disc jockeys, broadcasters, newsmen, are all hopping on the same monotonous beat. One-two-three. One-two-three.”

(L-R) Jack Hoffman talks about his brother Abbie to famed lawyer William Kunstler at the 1989 Memorial tribute. Abbie & Jack’s mother is partially seen on the far right. Candid photo taken by yours truly.

Ya gotta love Abbie! Seriously, how inventive and funny was he when it came to such things? I only wish he was still around as we could sure use his perspective now….maybe more than ever.
– Dwayne Epstein

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LEE MARVIN MEMES

Lee Marvin memes may not be a burning topic of conversation amongst film fans, but a simple Google search has certainly brought it to my attention and worthy of the attention of this blog since it is dedicated to the man via my definitive biography, Lee Marvin Point Blank.

Truth be told, I wasn’t even sure how to pronounce meme until a few years ago, let alone how to create one. However, over time, several enterprising and movie savvy geeks created some pretty good Lee Marvin memes as highlighted below.

From a simple p.r. photo, to LIBERTY VALANCE to HELL IN THE PACIFIC to PAINT YOUR WAGON, the effect of the pandemic is obvious.


I’ll start with the most topical for 2020 which, sadly, may now become just as relevant in 2021 and possibly beyond thanks to the surge in Corona Virus infections.



This meme came to me via social media, as most of them have over the years. Some are rather “punny,” like the one of Marvin on his drunken horse from Cat Ballou.

I wonder if Glenn Campbell ever saw this one.



Others are just photoshopped images in need of a caption, like the one of Marvin with Count Basie. 

Any caption suggestions for this Lee Marvin meme including M SQUAD theme composer Count Basie is most welcome.

 

 






Then there are the ones that really impress me. The creator, Cris Shapan, goes out of his way to make realistic record album covers with bizarre content. I love the fact that this one even has that worn ring emerging from the LP through the cover image. Talk about realism!

LEE MARVIN SINGS IRISH BALLAD

The title says it all.


Since the print is kind of small, I can tell you the content

consists of 

“Wild Irish Rose,”

“Punch Me Face.”

“Peat Moss Jig,”

“Pub O’ Me Heart,”

“Who Threw Paddy’s Petrol Bomb In Missus Murphy’s Chowder?,”

“Oh Golly, O’Gallegly,”

“Killarney,”

“The Bog I Love,”

“D’yer Glagh Nokt.” 

The only made up Irish ditty that’s missing is “Whale Oil be Fooked.” 
 
Then there’s this last one which is a personal favorite. No other words are necessary.

“Lee Marvin at the Might Wurlitzer Sings About Pussy”


– Dwayne Epstein

 

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SUMMER UNDER THE STARS, 2021

Summer Under the Stars is a month long event broadcast by TCM in which they show the films of one particular actor each day in the month of August. They’ve been doing it for years and this year they finally get around to honoring Lee Marvin, I believe for the first time. 

TCM’s line up of Lee Marvin films for August 28th. All times are Eastern Standard Time.



Normally, I like to showcase the films of Marvin to be shown on TCM at the end of the month for the upcoming month but this is worthy of some early acknowledgement. Not just for the obvious inclusion of Marvin’s films but the fact that they are being shown pretty much in Chronological order. It allows the viewer to see the progression of his career over time and recognize that even from the inception, his performances were always scene-stealing moments of the highest caliber. As costar Clu Gulager told this author back in 1997: “It turned out, Lee was, in my view, one of the foremost actors of his time. You never know about actors in their formative stages. Lee formed fairly early and became a great actor fairly early. Whereas, an actor like Paul Newman for example, who is today a great actor, did not form as early. I’m just showing you by way of contrast, we all have our time. Like Lloyd Bridges for example became a great actor in his older age. I think Marty Landau also. You just never know. But Marvin he just always was great.” 
The films chosen by TCM for their Summer Under the Stars tribute to Lee Marvin is a decent cross section of his work, despite the presence of a few often aired films, such The Dirty Dozen, Point Blank and Cat Ballou. Luckily, they are also including the likes of rarely shown Pocket Money and Gorky Park
It’s also worth noting the date chose to honor Marvin, as it’s a one day before the date of his death of August 29th, 1987. Probably will get mentioned by one of the on air hosts. There’s some other worthy subjects throughout the month along the way, such as Gloria Grahame on the 17th and the airing of The Big Heat. As for me, I’m also looking forward to the likes of Robert Mitchum (August 6th), George Segal (August 10th), Jane Fonda (August 13th), Robert Redford (august 18th), Tyrone Power (August 22nd) and James Cagney (august 30th) among several others. The calendar can be found here.
Of course, anyone interested in finding out more about the making of any of the films being shown on Lee Marvin day for Summer Under the Stars, can find them all exclusively covered in Lee Marvin Point Blank.  

– Dwayne Epstein

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