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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Gabrielle Drake, Moonbase Maiden


Gabrielle Drake UFO Lt. Gay Ellis legends.filminspector.com
Gabrielle Drake as Lt Gay Ellis in "UFO."

Fans of television science fiction usually have fond memories of the Moonbase ladies from classic British science fiction show "UFO." If not, they likely at least recall the girls with the purple hair. Well, the leader of the pack was Lt. Gay Ellis, played by Gabrielle Drake.

Gabrielle Drake UFO Lt. Gay Ellis legends.filminspector.com

Gabrielle is the little sister of British singer-songwriter Nick Drake.

Gabrielle Drake UFO Lt. Gay Ellis legends.filminspector.com

"UFO" was filmed in 1969 by Gerry Anderson and Sylvia Anderson for Lew Grade's ITC Entertainment Company.

Gabrielle Drake UFO Lt. Gay Ellis legends.filminspector.com
Gabrielle with series star Ed Bishop, who played  Cmdr. Ed Straker.

The series aired in the United Kingdom and Canada in 1970. It only lasted for one season, or series as the British call it. It came to the United States and elsewhere beginning in 1972, when "UFO" was syndicated.

Gabrielle Drake UFO Lt. Gay Ellis legends.filminspector.com

Gabrielle was not in the entire series. She had another project and left midway through the series. In total, the Lt. Ellis character appeared in 11 of 26 episodes.

Gabrielle Drake UFO Lt. Gay Ellis legends.filminspector.com

Despite being in less than half the episodes, Gabrielle's characterization became one of the most memorable aspects of the series.

Gabrielle Drake UFO Lt. Gay Ellis legends.filminspector.com
Micheal Billington played Col. Paul Foster.

In fact, in virtually all subsequent marketing of "UFO," Gabrielle Drake as Lt. Ellis is invariably prominently displayed somewhere on the packaging.

Gabrielle Drake UFO Lt. Gay Ellis legends.filminspector.com

It is easy to see why Gabrielle's character is so prominent.

Gabrielle Drake UFO Lt. Gay Ellis legends.filminspector.com
Gabrielle with fellow Moonbase denizen Joan Harrington.

As you can see, the most distinctive aspect of the Moonbase personnel is that they are female and have purple hair. Nobody has any idea why they have purple hair - they just do.

Gabrielle Drake UFO Lt. Gay Ellis legends.filminspector.com
A rare shot of the rear of the Moonbase outfits.

In fact, though it is not as noticeable, almost everyone on "UFO" wears a wig at one point or another - including the male characters.

Gabrielle Drake UFO Lt. Gay Ellis legends.filminspector.com

Sylvia Anderson, who designed the costumes, had a theory that wigs would become commonplace in the future.

Gabrielle Drake UFO Lt. Gay Ellis legends.filminspector.com

The Moonbase crew is there to direct interceptors against approaching alien spacecraft. They spend a lot of time on the radio.

Gabrielle Drake UFO Lt. Gay Ellis legends.filminspector.com

However, there are some episodes when Gabrielle's character gets to return to earth. In those episodes, she switches out to more normal attire (usually with a futuristic bent, such as metallic skirts and such) and ditches the purple wig.

Gabrielle Drake UFO Lt. Gay Ellis legends.filminspector.com

For those who like precision, the UFO Moonbase is in the Mare Imbrium in the northeast part of the Moon.

Gabrielle Drake UFO Lt. Gay Ellis legends.filminspector.com

The episodes of "UFO" were broadcast out of filming sequence. Thus, even though Gabrielle left midway through the series, some of her episodes appear toward the end of the season. It appears she is there throughout, and just not in some episodes. In fact, she had left "UFO" completely when the show went on hiatus and changes studios. The episodes are not written in sequence, either, with some falling in "UFO time" before other episodes which were written and produced earlier.

Gabrielle Drake UFO Lt. Gay Ellis legends.filminspector.com

All of this has led to a lot of confusion about the chronological order of the episodes. Believe it or not, a lot of study has gone into placing the episodes in their proper chronological sequence. However, some of that is based on guesswork and "clues." The show was simply filmed without regard to trying to create a continuous storyline, so each episode essentially is self-contained.

Gabrielle Drake UFO Lt. Gay Ellis legends.filminspector.com

There are occasional efforts to revive "UFO" in some format. These have included both new television series and films.

Gabrielle Drake UFO Lt. Gay Ellis legends.filminspector.com

The show was at one point slated to have a second series, or season, with the original cast (or at least some of them). This did not happen. However, Gerry Anderson did sell the project sufficiently to get another series made, "Space: 1999" starring Martin Landau and Barbara Bain.

Gabrielle Drake UFO Lt. Gay Ellis legends.filminspector.com

"Space: 1999" did not include any of the actors or characters from "UFO." It also did not feature the purple wigs or metallic costumes.

Gabrielle Drake UFO Lt. Gay Ellis legends.filminspector.com

Instead, "Space:1999" featured drab tones, formless outfits and surprisingly dull plots. It did last for two years, from 1975-77.

Gabrielle Drake UFO Lt. Gay Ellis legends.filminspector.com
When working on Earth, the Moonbase ladies did not wear their purple wigs or metallic outfits.

For some reason, science fiction made in the '60s tended to have very bright colors, vivid contrasts, tight or skimpy costumes and provocative characters. Science fiction shows produced in the '70s tended toward less color, muted tones, formless costumes and characters who spent a lot of time agonizing over what to do.

Gabrielle Drake UFO Lt. Gay Ellis legends.filminspector.com

Overall, the science fiction shows produced earlier, such as "UFO," "Star Trek" and "Lost In Space," tended to make a bigger impact with audiences over the long term. You always see new "Star Trek" movies, and "Lost In Space" also has occasional revivals. There also is perpetual talk about bringing back "UFO."

Gabrielle Drake UFO Lt. Gay Ellis legends.filminspector.com

Nobody, however, seems interested in reviving shows like "Space: 1999."

Gabrielle Drake UFO Lt. Gay Ellis legends.filminspector.com

There was a plan to make a big-screen version of "UFO" for release in 2013. Nothing came of it. There has been no further word on any plans to revive the show.

Gabrielle Drake UFO Lt. Gay Ellis legends.filminspector.com


Gabrielle Drake herself, though, needs no reviving. She has been very busy in the years since "UFO."

Gabrielle Drake UFO Lt. Gay Ellis legends.filminspector.com

Gabrielle, who currently lives in Wenlock Abbey, England, has been in a number of prominent shows over the years.

Gabrielle Drake UFO Lt. Gay Ellis legends.filminspector.com

In fact, she was on "Coronation Street" before her appearances in "UFO," then returned to the show in 2009 for a couple of appearances as another character.

Gabrielle Drake UFO Lt. Gay Ellis legends.filminspector.com

Gabrielle also appeared in "The Brothers" in the early 1970s. She also does a lot of theater and commercial work.

Gabrielle Drake UFO Lt. Gay Ellis legends.filminspector.com











2017

Audrey Hepburn, Fawn-Like Beauty


Audrey Hepburn legends.filminspector.com
Audrey Hepburn with her pet fawn Pippin, late 1950s.

Audrey Hepburn (born Audrey Kathleen Ruston; 4 May 1929 – 20 January 1993) is an iconic Hollywood legend.

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Photo by British photographer Angus McBean, 1950. This was taken before Audrey became a star.

Audregy has the type of enduring beauty that the Hollywood star system was designed to create and nourish.

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Audrey was born in suburb of Brussels called Ixelles. Her father left the family when Audrey was very young, and her mother was a baroness.

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Audrey Hepburn by Richard Avedon for the 1961 October Issue of Harper’s Bazaar

Thus, Audrey Hepburn wasn't just Hollywood royalty - she was actual royalty.

Audrey Hepburn movieloversreviews.filminspector.com
A rare shot of a young Audrey Hepburn and her mother, Baroness Ella van Heemstra

The family had divided political loyalties, with her father a committed Fascist. Audrey herself was active in the resistance during World War II, dancing to earn money for those opposed to the Germans.

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Audrey just before the war, age 10

The war was very tough on Audrey, as it was for all the Dutch. There was not much food, particularly during the final winter of the war. Audrey was reduced to digging up tulip bulbs and scrounging for food wherever she could find it. She shrank to just 88 pounds. Her youngest son, Luca Dotti, recalled later in his memoir "Audrey at Home: Memories of My Mother's Kitchen" that this led to many sad habits and illnesses caused by malnutrition.
"She would spend entire days in bed with a book, thus hoping to expel from her mind obsessive thoughts about food."
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Audrey on the set of "Charade"

When the British showed up in 1945, they gave Audrey chocolate. She associated the taste with liberation and kept a supply stashed in her living room for the rest of her life.

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She also became hooked on British cigarettes, which she smoked for the rest of her life and unfortunately may have contributed to her eventual death from cancer in 1993.

Audrey Hepburn legends.filminspector.com

Audrey kind of drifted after the war. She wanted to become a ballerina and studied it very hard, but ultimately gave it up to try her luck in films. Success did not happen right away.

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Audrey's first film appearance was in a Dutch educational film in 1948, "Dutch in Seven Lessons." This did not lead to a break into the true film business, and she modelled, studied ballet and took roles as a chorus girl. They were hard times, and the family had trouble paying the rent.

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The small theater roles led her to take elocution lessons. A casting director spotted her in one of those productions, and she began getting small roles in minor films. It was a start.

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While filming "Monte Carlo Baby" in 1951, French author Colette spotted Audrey. Colette liked Audrey on sight and picked her to play "Gigi" on Broadway. The play turned into a phenomenon, and Audrey was a star.

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"Gigi" went on tour around the United States, finally closing for good in May 1953. Now a well-known actress Audrey was cast in "Roman Holiday" that year with Gregory Peck. The movie was another smash, with Audrey winning the Academy Award for Best Actress.

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The success of "Roman Holiday" got Audrey a seven-picture deal with Paramount. "Sabrina," a 1954 film with William Holden and Humphrey Bogart, was another smash hit.

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Audrey alternated film and stage work. She starred in "Ondine" on Broadway with Mel Ferrer, who she married in September 1954.

Audrey Hepburn legends.filminspector.com

More iconic film roles followed. She was asked to play the lead in "The Diary of Anne Frank," as she was particularly suitable for the role of a Dutch girl. Audrey turned down the role. It hit a little too close to home.

Audrey Hepburn legends.filminspector.com

Audrey married Mel Ferrer in 1954. Their wedding photo, above, does not show much joy in either of their faces. The marriage did not last long despite the lavish wedding.

Audrey Hepburn legends.filminspector.com

Among her subsequent films were "War and Peace," "Funny Face" and "Love in the Afternoon." Audrey was one of the top stars in Hollywood.

Audrey Hepburn legends.filminspector.com

The peak of Audrey's career was her role as Holly Golightly in "Breakfast at Tiffany's." The quirky role was perfect for the slim, quirky Audrey. She was nominated for another Academy Award.

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Audrey played a lesbian in "The Children's Hour" with Shirley MacLaine and James Garner. It was a controversial choice, and perhaps not the best that Audrey could have made. She was fine in her role, but the whole film seemed somewhat sordid and was full of nasty people doing nasty things to each other. After this, Audrey's film career was on the downslope, though she still had a few tricks up her sleeve.

Audrey Hepburn legends.filminspector.com

At this point, Audrey needed another star turn that would put her in a favorable light. She starred with Cary Grant in "Charade" (1963), and was another success. Grant loved starring with Audrey, and Audrey was nominated for more awards.

Audrey Hepburn legends.filminspector.com

Audrey's next big role was as Eliza Doolittle in "My Fair Lady." Audrey was sensational in the role. However, her singing was dubbed by veteran dubber Marni Nixon. This was done not because Audrey could not carry a tune, but because the particular songs were not quite right for her own vocal range. Audrey did not like this decision - her singing in fact was quite adequate - and stormed out of filming over it, but the studio had control of the process. Some believe that the controversy led Audrey to not being nominated for an Academy Award that many thought she deserved.

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Perhaps more damaging to Audrey's future was that Audrey had been chosen for the role by Jack Warner over a likeable new British actress who had originated the role on Broadway, Julie Andrews. Warner thought that Andrews was not experienced enough. The whole thing blew up in Audrey's face when Andrews won the Best Actress Oscar for the role she took instead, "Mary Poppins."

Audrey Hepburn legends.filminspector.com

After that, Audrey was damaged goods through no fault of her own. She never again got a role that showed her to her best advantage. A few minor (by her standards) films followed, which included her fifth Academy Award nomination for "Wait Until Dark," and then Audrey essentially retired from acting in 1967.

Audrey Hepburn legends.filminspector.com

While a few final film roles awaited, including "They All Laughed" in 1981 directed by fan Peter Bogdanovich and "Always" in 1988, that was pretty much it for Audrey. She did perform in a variety of other projects, including a PBS special for which she won a posthumous Emmy and also a Grammy.

Audrey Hepburn legends.filminspector.com

Throughout her life, Audrey had a few quirky eccentricities, such as having a pet deer that she brought with her everywhere, even on shopping errands. The fawn was named "Pippin," or "Ip" for short. The story goes that Audrey was going to be working with a fawn for the film "Green Mansions," which was directed by her husband at the time, Mel Ferrer. He suggested that Audrey take one of the fawn home so it would be more comfortable with Audrey before filming began.

Audrey Hepburn legends.filminspector.com


The fawn and Audrey were inseparable from that moment. Bob Willoughby, a photographer on some of her films, became good friends with Audrey and got many personal snaps of her - including with the fawn.

Audrey Hepburn legends.filminspector.com
Audrey and her pet deer, "Pippin"
Audrey did a lot of charitable work for UNICEF, which hearkened back to her own humble origins in war-torn Europe. She journeyed to impoverished countries such as Vietnam and Somalia.

Audrey Hepburn legends.filminspector.com
A famous shot of Audrey snapped in her dressing room during the 1950s. And you wondered why smoking was considered glamorous.

Audrey became sick after her trip to Somalia, and was diagnosed with abdominal cancer. The cancer had spread too far to be treated, and Audrey died a few months later. Her passing did not get nearly the attention that it deserved because she had outlived her peak period of fame.

Audrey Hepburn legends.filminspector.com

Her countless fans, though, deeply mourned her passing. Audrey Hepburn's iconic image will always be remembered by those who treasure the true originals of Hollywood.

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Audrey with Gregory Peck in "Roman Holiday"

Audrey Hepburn legends.filminspector.com
Audrey Hepburn legends.filminspector.com
Audrey Hepburn legends.filminspector.com
This is a phony photo - this never happened - Marilyn Monroe actually was kissing her husband, Joe Dimaggio.
Audrey Hepburn legends.filminspector.com
Audrey Hepburn legends.filminspector.com
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Audrey with Humphrey Bogart and William Holden in "Sabrina"
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Audrey in a typical 1950s starlet photo, which she made her own by doffing her shoes
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Audrey with Pippin.
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Audrey in "War and Peace"
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Audrey Hepburn legends.filminspector.com
Audrey with Cary Grant in "Charade"
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Audrey Hepburn with her Oscar for "Roman Holiday."
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Audrey in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" with George Peppard.
Audrey Hepburn legends.filminspector.com
Audrey Hepburn legends.filminspector.com
Audrey Hepburn legends.filminspector.com
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Audrey Hepburn legends.filminspector.com
Audrey Hepburn legends.filminspector.com









2017