#168: Famous Relativity 3

168.1  The first 2 installments of “Famous Relativity”…here and here…have been among the most popular of my blogs…and this third go-around proved of special benefit to yours truly. Over the past several years, I have accumulated a huge number of bits and pieces, supposedly “organized” in various folders on my computer desktop, but as time wore on, that organization became haphazard at best. This gave me a chance to go thru everything and sort it all out…and I found far more famous relationships than I realized I had. Mind you, these will be ones that are generally less well known, and of interest mainly to Baby Boomers. I’ll assume you already know…or simply don’t care…who Kate Hudson’s mom is, and whose daughter Jennifer Garner isn’t.

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168.2  We start with a couple from Disney. In the Fifties and Sixties, the 7 Corcoran siblings were all over the place on TV and movies. Best remembered were Donna (left) from the original version of Angels in the Outfield…Kevin as Disney’s “Moochie” (center)…and Noreen (right), the niece on John Forsythe’s series Bachelor Father, and also a recording artist. Hugh, Brian, Kerry, and Kelly had a few scattered parts in this and that…and yes, sometimes some of them appeared together. I wouldn’t say these were ugly children…sure, they had heads like little pumpkins, but they could act and that was the important thing.

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168.3  Then we have Mouseketeer Darlene Gillespie. She was the most talented of the kids hired for the first season…by far the best singer…and was tabbed for stardom, even given her own “serial” Corky and White Shadow. Alas, talent isn’t everything when you’re Annette, who had that indefinable “something”…and Darlene faded into the #2 slot. Before, during, and after Disney, she was part of a singing group with her sisters. Seen here are Gina (bottom, left), the youngest, 10 years Darlene’s junior, and Larrian. They even performed together on Talent Roundup Friday….by this time older sister Patricia had left the group. Gina went on to play the little sister on the short-lived 60s sitcom Karen…best remembered today because the Beach Boys sang the theme song…check it out here.

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168.4  And how about mothers? Interestingly, 2 acting mothers who would later be eclipsed by their acting daughters had supporting roles on Jock Maloney’s Yancy Derringer, 1958-59sort of a half-hearted (hoof-hearted?) attempt to recreate the Paladin character. Charlie McCarthy’s “little sister” Candice Bergen’s mother Francine as the saloon owner, and Sally Field’s mother Margaret Field, then using the name Maggie Mahoney, as an Irish immigrant who sets her cap for ole Yance.

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168.5  Fathers and sons. Top row, these dads appeared in all types of roles over the years, but pop up most often in Westerns. Rance Howard (left) is in 4 episodes of The Andy Griffith Show and 3 episodes of Happy Days…so watch for him! Walter Clarence Taylor II was nicknamed Dub as a child…for the Dubba-U of Walter…he was in a large number of B-Westerns as a sidekick character named Cannonball, and was often billed as Cannonball Taylor instead of Dub Taylor. Son Buck was Newly on Gunsmoke.

168.6  Neil Oliver “Bing” Russell is best known as recurring character Sheriff Clem Foster on Bonanza…he was also in The Magnificent Seven, altho not as part of the septet. His love of baseball prompted him to buy the independent Portland Mavericks of the single-A Northwest League in the 1970s. He ran the team like the second coming of Bill Veeck, with a bit of Charlie Finley thrown in…signing Jim Bouton not once but twice, hiring baseball’s first woman general manager, using tri-colored bases, once stealing 7 bases in the first inning, having the fielders rotate thru all the positions in a single game, that type of thing. In 1971 at age 20, son Kurt Russell decided to give pro ball a whirl, as his father had done in the minors in the late 1940s.

168.7  After 2 years at single-A ball with decent numbers, Kurt began 1973 with double-A El Paso, an Angels farm team. After 6 games he was batting 9/16, a .563 clip when a collision at second tore a rotator cuff, and that was that. A comeback attempt later that summer with his dad’s team fizzled…never mind that he was at the same time an executive with the club, going the concept of “player/manager” one better. A one game, one-at bat encore 4 years later with the Mavericks marked the end. Was he any good? Scouts at the time said yes, a natural hitter from both sides of the plate…unfortunately, the constant tug of tinsel town proved too distracting, and he neglected the other facets of his game…but he did love to hit!

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168.8  Art Carney (left, center) was the youngest of 6 boys from Mt. Vernon, NY. Fresh out of high school, his first show business job was as a comic singer and impressionist with the Horace Heidt Orchestra…an audition arranged by his oldest brother Jack, a talent scout. Another brother, Fred, worked as a TV director in the 1950s…that’s him far right, from a 1954 burlesque special, with nattily attired brother Art. Fred switched to acting late in life, with small roles in Bustin’ Loose, Meteor, Dallas, and Rockford Files, among others. And small world…for a time Art Carney’s agent was Joe Funicello, Annette’s younger brother.

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168.9  Do you figure El Exigente, The Demanding One, was any relation to fellow Columbian coffee-nista Juan Valdez? I honestly couldn’t say. I do know that Savarin’s spokesman thru the 1960s and 70s was the older brother of Ricardo Montalban, older by 17 years. Other than hawking java, Carlos is best known as the dictator in Woody Allen’s movie Bananas…but his main gig was behind the scenes as a voice actor, and he was famous worldwide as the Spanish language spokesman for Marlboro cigarettes.

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168.10  It’s been said that actor Christopher Lee (left) was “related” to James Bond author Ian Fleming (right)…sources say they were “cousins” or “step-cousins…one actually spells it out, arriving at sort-of cousins…“As it happens, Ian Fleming’s mother was sister to Christopher Lee’s step-father, thus making them cousins through marriage.” You think? Guess we better suss this deal out, long-hand…

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168.11  For the record, Ian Fleming’s mother was known as “Eve” and his step-father as “Ingle.”  While Christopher Lee’s mother was of Italian nobility, there is some dispute as to whether she was a Marchesa, the feminine form of Marchese, in English Marquese/Marchioness, one step down from a Duke…or a Contessa, counterpart of a Conte, in English Earl/Countess, 2 steps down from a Duke. Most of Europe has some equivalent of Count/Countess…in the UK, he’s an Earl…there is no such thing as an Earl-ess.

168.12  So what does Chart 595 tell us? From Ian’s point of view, Lee was Ian’s uncle’s step-son…from Lee’s vantage point, Ian was Lee’s step-father’s nephew. Well, someone who is your uncle’s son and your father’s nephew is surely your 1st cousin…put step- in front of everything, I suppose it works out. At least Lee and Ian are genealogically of the same generation, so no removeds needed. Here at Related How Again?, we prefer in a case like this to say they were “connected” rather than “related”…and when pressed for details, simply say one was the nephew of the other’s step-father…just that and no more.

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168.13  Granted, “by marriage” is a general catch-all for use when 2 families are thus associated, but “cousin by marriage” sounds more like your spouse’s cousin…and the goal of kinship terminology is to  pinpoint an individual’s position on your family tree, which “cousin by marriage” clearly doesn’t. Comes to that, “step-1st cousin” is also ambiguous…it could very well mean the sons of 2 step-brothers, Chart 596. In fact, one hapless website calls Ingle Ian’s step-cousin…it should be uncle…a slip of the pen? Who can say?

168.14  And parenthetically, can you real have a “slip of the pen” on a computer? Well, here “pen” refers to writing…as opposed to a “slip of the tongue,” which is speaking. It means you intended to say one thing but by mistake said something else…like: “My father breast-fed me for the first 6 months.” Obviously, a slip…they meant “mother” not “father.”  So…”slip of the keyboard”? 

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168.15  BTW and TBT, Kate Hudson’s mom is Goldie Hawn, seem above as a dancer in her first TV appearance, on an Andy Griffith variety special from Feb. 1967. And Jennifer Garner is an interesting case…for example, what do you do if your last name is McDonald and you want to open a restaurant? You hire a phalanx of sharp shysters…or save yourself the money and aggravation and chose a different name. In show biz, it’s generally considered bad form to change your last name to a famous one, trying to hitch a ride on somebody’s coat-tails. But what if that is your last name?

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168.16  And not only was Jennifer Garner born a Garner, but James Garner wasn’t! His last name was Bumgarner. He had a brother Jack Garner (left, center) who was also an actor…he was on many episodes of Rockford Files in various roles, including recurring character Lt. McEnroe in the 6th and final  season. And altho he never appeared on the original Maverick, he was Jack the Bartender on the 1980s version Bret Maverick. Be with us again next week, when things come out, sorry to say, half-baked…

wicked ballsy

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If you don’t watch HBO’s Game of Thrones, this means nothing to you…still, if you’re curious, ask the water-cooler crowd next chance you get.

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 Copyright © 2014 Mark John Astolfi, All Rights Reserved

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