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Sunday, August 29, 2010

After Dark May 1971

Bette Midler, Robert Redford, Cal Culver and Ann-Margret have appeared on covers of After Dark multiple times. Bette Midler appeared on the cover of three issues beginning with this one. It was May 1971 and Bette was one of the most talked about song stylists in New York. Whatever became of her? Almost 40 years later, Bette is still working and making music.

Bette has always celebrated her gay fans and eventhough she was no longer a regular performer at the Continental Baths, she would still appear there once in awhile. Sometimes those appearances were announced, but the best times were when she appeared unannounced.

Maggie Smith had appeared in the previous season at England's National Theater in Hedda Gabler.

That season Claire Bloom was appearing at the off-Broadway Playhouse Theatre in two productions. Ibsen's Hedda Gabler is one, while the other is Ibsen's A Doll's House. Each production was played by the repertory company with actors like Donald Madden.
And each production was presented on alternating weeks with both directed by her husband Hillard Elkins.

Miss Bloom is also known on the film screen. Here she is with Rod Steiger in the film version of Ray Bradbury's The Illustrated Man.

In Richard III, Claire Bloom played Lady Anne to Sir Laurence Olivier.

Her first major screen role was in Limelight with Charlie Chaplin.

Fortune and Men's Eyes was in production as a film. The first time the play had been presented, it barely stayed afloat. Sal Mineo revived the play and it was a success. MGM decided to gamble in making the film and Michael Greer repeated his stage role as Queenie.

The cast of the film included Zooey Hall and Wendell Burton with Micheal Greer in this prison mess hall scene.

The film did not shy away from the gang rapes and other forms of homosexual brutality of prison routine that was described by John Herbert in his play.

Wendell Burton as Smitty finally asserts himself with cell bully Rocky played by Zooey Hall.

Another film hitting the theaters was Taking Off directed by Milos Forman. Here is a scene where the parents join in an experiment to close the generation gap by trying pot. Stars Buck Henry, Lynn Carlin, Audra Lindley and Paul Benedict appear.

On March 22, 1971, After Dark celebrated its third anniversary and presented its First Annual Starry Night Award. Keith Baxter, star of the Tony Award winning Sleuth presented it to Ruby Keeler for her triumphant return to Broadway in the hit musical No, No Nanette.

The Starry Night Award would change its name immediately and for hereafter be known as the Ruby Award. Each year that the Ruby Award was given, there would be a star-studded party and I'll present each of those times as separate posts. The award is in recognition of remarkable achievements in theater, films, and music. Future winners would include Mae West, Peter Allen, Ann-Margret, Lucille Ball, Barry Manilow and, of course, Bette Midler!

Part 2 of After Dark May 1971 will feature some fashion, ads, and artists.

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