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Canton Film Festival announces lineup

By Rich Heldenfels Published: March 29, 2016, in association with the Canton Palace Theatre, will host the 2016 Canton Film Festival in downtown Canton on April 21, 22 and 23, 2016. During this three-day film forward event, the public will get the chance to screen the short films of independent directors from Canton, North East Ohio and all across the country.

Tickets are just $5 per day. Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling the Palace Box Office at 330.454.8172 Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm. 

The official 2016 Canton Film Festival schedule is as follows:

Thursday, April 21, 2016 

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RIP, Patty Duke

By Rich Heldenfels Published: March 29, 2016

The actress, an Oscar winner and three-time Emmy winner, has died at the age of 69. One obit is here. You couldn't do what I do without crossing paths with her and her work. You can't be of a certain age and not know the theme song to "The Patty Duke Show," which we were just singing here in the office. 

I didn't always like her performances or her choices, but I liked her. We had a talk in 1999 where she was warm and open, including about her past and her travails. Here's the story that came out of that chat:

Some cousins are still two of a kind.
Patty Duke returns to the memorable, if implausible, roles of identical cousins Patty and Cathy Lane for the TV movie The Patty Duke Show: Still Rockin' in Brooklyn Heights, premiering at 9 p.m. tomorrow on CBS.
Duke last played the two parts -- carefree American teen Patty and her staid British cousin Cathy -- in her TV series from 1963 to 1966. Indeed, while Duke is still a working actress, the '60s probably marked the height of her fame -- which included a 1967 appearance at the All-American Soap Box Derby.
"I was treated like the queen of Sheba," she said of her Akron visit. "But I didn't like the picture they took, because I looked fat."
For all the success, the '60s were not, as Duke noted in her 1987 autobiography Call Me Anna, a happy period in her life. They were beset by personal problems and a show-business life that denied her an ordinary childhood.
When she left The Patty Duke Show she severed her ties with the original cast. The most recently she'd seen any of them was seven years ago.
"I was 18 when the show finally went off the air," Duke said in a telephone interview from the Idaho farm she shares with Michael Pearce, her husband of 13 years, and their 10-year-old son, Kevin. "And suddenly I was a serious actress, and I had other things to do, and I said goodbye to all that. ....
"But as I got closer to 50 -- I'm now 52 -- I realized I had been shortsighted and narrow-minded. My personal life was awful but in reality the workplace was a safe haven."
The movie reunites the show's original cast -- including Patty Lane's mom, Jean Byron; dad, William Schallert; brother, Paul O'Keefe; and boyfriend, Eddie Applegate -- and Duke used the filming in Montreal to mend fences.
"We had a ball," she said. "We laughed, we cried. We teased in the old ways and in new ones -- like who can't see and who can't walk."
She's now made it a weekly habit to talk to Byron, to whom she was closest in the old series days.
"I will be eternally grateful to CBS for letting this happen," Duke said.
As for the movie, it finds Patty -- now divorced from Richard (Applegate) and the widowed Cathy as grandmothers of teen-agers. (According to Duke, someone thought the teens -- who are not identical cousins -- could be spun into a TV series.)
Told she could have just as easily played a teen-ager's mother, Duke shouted, "Will you marry me? ... I was a little taken aback by the ages of the grandchildren."
The plot -- intermingled with clips from the old series -- has Patty trying to save her old high school from demolition even as her family, including Cathy, gathers for a special surprise. Charitably put, it's lighter than air. But it did remind Duke of some of the changes in her own life.
"I used to hate playing Patty as a kid," she said. "She was a normal teen-ager, and I didn't know what a teen-ager was like. I loved playing Cathy, who was so centered and intelligent. Now I love playing Patty, because she's fun."
But it's still play. Given her own tough childhood, the idealized Lane family had its appeal. But when asked if she's tried to create that environment for Kevin, she said, "No. When Sean and Mack (her sons with former husband John Astin) were little, I tried to do that. It didn't work because it wasn't real. ....
"We have a very realistic life now," she said. "My little boy knows there are terrible things in the world."
But she's also found ways to get through the tough times, including a strong faith. She remains disappointed that her 1995 NBC series, Amazing Grace, failed since she had hoped her minister character would get out some good messages.
"What a depressing time," she said. "Instead of a minister I was just a social worker. God all went away. The word 'God' was removed from speeches. ....
"But thank God for Della (Reese)," Duke said, praising Reese's series, Touched by an Angel, for doing what Duke hoped Amazing Grace would be. "They have done it beautifully," she said. "What I get from it is love with a capital G-O-D."

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CBS sets series returns, season and series finale dates

By Rich Heldenfels Published: March 17, 2016

The official word:

CBS today announced finale dates, return dates and special event broadcasts for the remainder of the season, including the returns of MIKE & MOLLY, PERSON OF INTEREST and UNDERCOVER BOSS, and three THE PRICE IS RIGHT primetime specials.


Sunday, May 8 is a full night of finales, beginning with the season finale of MADAM SECRETARY (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT), the series finale of THE GOOD WIFE (9:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) and the season finale of ELEMENTARY (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT).

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"Miles Ahead" event set for Akron on April 27

By Rich Heldenfels Published: March 11, 2016

Miles Ahead, the new drama starring Don Cheadle as trumpeter Miles Davis, will get a special showing in Akron in late April.
Besides Cheadle, who also directed, the film’s cast includes local pianist Theron Brown as keyboard legend Herbie Hancock.
While theaters including the Nightlight will start showing the movie on April 22, on April 27 there will be a combination of a showing and an after-party concert in BluJazz+, Brown will play in the concert along with Chris Coles (tenor sax), Dan Pappalardo (bass), Zaire Darden (drums) and a special guest: Akron-born trumpeter Jon Lampley.
For this event, doors will open at the Nightlight at 6:15 p.m. At 6:45, Brown will be part of a meet-and-greet and will briefly perform solo. The movie begins at 7:05 and ends about 8:45. The after-party will be from 9:15 p.m. to midnight.
You can see the movie and attend the concert for $25. The after-party alone is $15. You cannot buy a ticket just for the 6:45 p.m. showing on April 27; the movie will be shown a second time later on the 27th, with tickets $9. There will also be showings on other days.
For more about the April 27 event, see

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"Downton Abbey": The Sequel?

By Rich Heldenfels Published: March 9, 2016

As you know, the beloved series has ended. But I keep thinking about what lay ahead for the characters, especially as England went into World War II. Here's the beginning of my work-in-progress. 

It’s 1939. England is about to enter World War II. Downton is one of the last great estates, but even it has shrunk as Tom and Mary have sold off parcels of land to developers in order to generate a steady income. One of those parcels holds a modest but successful factory making pies and other foods, for which Downton is a regular customer. (Mary, needless to say, thinks these labor-saving dishes "just do not taste as they should," even though some of the recipes were bought from Mrs. Patmore.)

Carson and Mrs. Carson are retired, Mrs. Patmore spends most of her time running her inn (with help from Daisy when she’s not running her small pig farm), and Downton can no longer afford as many servants anyway.

The strongest link to the old days is Thomas though, as he feared in the 1920s, his obligations are now what three men would do in the past. Bates is still there, but his old injuries have sharpened with age. And Anna is busy with their two children – Robert and his younger sister, Anna Marie.

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Rich Heldenfels revisits his meeting with Beatles producer George Martin

By Rich Heldenfels Published: March 9, 2016

George Martin, most famous as the producer of the Beatles' recordings, has passed away. He was 90. I had the huge privilege of meeting Martin in 1998, when he visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. I was just a wee bit nervous: I remember Martin having to point out I was forgetting my umbrella as I made my exit. But his legendary status was accompanied by considerable graciousness and charm, which I hope come through in this article I wrote:

  Since before the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum opened, people have debated whether rock and roll should be enshrined in any museum, let alone I.M. Pei's artsy lakeside structure.
But Sir George Martin, the legendary producer most famous for working on virtually all the Beatles' recordings, was surprised that anyone would question the hall.
"It's part of our culture, isn't it?" the tall, courtly Martin said during his first visit to the hall this week.
"If you asked a young person that question, he would look at you in amazement. I think it's just as valid as anything else in the world of arts. It gives a tremendous amount of pleasure to an enormous amount of people."
Still, the hall stirred other emotions in Martin.
"For me, it's also a little bit sad because all the people I knew who aren't with us anymore," he said. "Carl Perkins. Lovely man, and I worked with him. He was a great character, and he's dead now. A lot of them are dead. It's a little bit melancholic when you go around seeing a lot of your friends, seeing artifacts, seeing the stuff from John Lennon."
Martin was in a reflective mood before he came to Cleveland. While as recently as a year ago he was involved in a landmark recording -- Elton John's tribute to Princess Diana, Candle in the Wind '97 -- Martin is wrapping up his producing career with a farewell album.
In My Life has Jim Carrey, Celine Dion, Phil Collins and other performers doing Beatles songs, with a finale of Sean Connery reciting the title track. It's due out in October, with a television special on the making of the album premiering on Bravo in November.
Charming and funny, Martin seems more than able to keep going. But he's quick to acknowledge that his hearing is not what it once was -- a reality repeatedly illustrated by his leaning forward to catch a reporter's question in one of the echoey, oddly shaped conference rooms at the rock hall.
He blames the hearing loss on age -- he's 72 -- and "listening to sounds that are too loud" over 48 years of making records.
"I've been aware of my hearing deteriorating over the past 15 years, very gradually," he said. "It doesn't affect music very much. It affects speech much more than it does music. . . . But in order to be a producer, you've got to be pretty good in your hearing. I have a son who's a very good producer, and on this last album we did . . . he helped me enormously. In fact, he really produced it for me. He's got great hearing, and I hope he keeps it."
Martin, meanwhile, leaves few ambitions unrealized, having produced more than 700 recordings from classical to comedy, composed music for films, written three books, been knighted, and shepherded old recordings to a new audience -- the Beatles' Anthology collections, for example.
"I've met a lot of good people," he said. "I've had the privilege to work probably with the best people in the world. Almost every artist I worked with has been very, very good, and most of them became very famous. So I've been very lucky."
He admitted to occasional irritation that people associated him only with the Beatles.
"There was a time when it became very tedious," he said. "But the Beatles happen to be the most famous thing that I ever did. It's like Sean Connery will never live down being James Bond. It's one of those things."
But not the only thing. For example, he's long been drawn to comedy, saying "I've got a quirky sense of humor myself." He discovered the Beyond the Fringe troupe that included Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, and put them on record. He once released a record of sound experiments under the name of Ray Cathode.
"My very first No. 1 hit was off the wall in a way, because it was with a band called the Temperance Seven. They were a jazz band, a kind of vintage jazz band. . . . They called themselves the Temperance Seven because there were nine of them and they all drank like alcoholics," he said.
Just as he relished comic playfulness, he found the recording studio a great playground. Classically trained, he once dreamed of being the next Rachmaninoff. But when he went to work at Abbey Road studios in 1950, he said, "I found myself in a world of sound which was fascinating. Over the next few years I . . . realized this was where my future lay, because the shaping of sound has always been a fascinating thing."
It was also something that bound him to the Beatles in 1962 when they came to work for Parlophone, the modest English label Martin oversaw.
"They were intensely curious and they always wanted to look beyond the horizon," he said. "I was showing them tricks which they soaked up like a sponge."
Asked if there were any artists he would have liked to produce but didn't, Martin said, "So few, really, because I've produced most of the people I wanted.
"I would have liked to have met and worked with (Jimi) Hendrix, because I think he's one of the most interesting people. I never did. . . . "I thought I would like to work with (Barbra) Streisand at once point, and I nearly did," Martin said, a smile creeping onto his face. "But I was quite grateful afterwards that I didn't, 'cause I heard about it. She's a great artist, fantastic artist, but I gather she's a bit of a control freak. If I don't get on with a person, if I don't hit it off. . . . then I don't see that there's any point making records."
And what about Elvis Presley, currently the subject of a major rock hall exhibit?
"Not really," Martin said, "because what he did was so right, and you couldn't change it. I think if I met him before he started, it might have been different."
Besides, Martin added, "I like people who create. Elvis had his style but he wasn't a writer. Lennon was a greater talent. Probably a lot of people in this country would lynch me for saying that. But the reason for that is (Lennon) actually wrote the material. So did Paul McCartney. The guys who write are more important than the guys who perform. And if they do both, they're more important than either."

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"Dancing With the Stars" cast: the official word

By Rich Heldenfels Published: March 8, 2016
Dancing with the Stars

From ABC: The celebrity cast of “Dancing with the Stars” are slipping into their ballroom shoes and getting ready for their first dance on MONDAY, MARCH 21 (8:00-10:01 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. The 22nd season’s lineup of celebrity dancers includes a multi-platinum selling recording artist, a Peabody Award winner, a UFC fighter, and Super Bowl 50's MVP, to name a few.

As announced this morning on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” the celebrities with their professional partners heading to the ballroom this season (in alphabetical order) are:

· Mischa Barton with Artem Chigvintsev
· Antonio Brown with Sharna Burgess
· Nyle DiMarco with Peta Murgatroyd
· Kim Fields with Sasha Farber
· Doug Flutie with Karina Smirnoff
· Marla Maples with Tony Dovolani
· Von Miller with Witney Carson
· Wanya Morris with Lindsay Arnold
· Geraldo Rivera with Edyta Sliwinska
· Jodie Sweetin with Keo Motsepe
· Paige VanZant with Mark Ballas
· Ginger Zee with Valentin Chmerkovskiy

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"Bachelor" notes: what all will the women tell?

By Rich Heldenfels Published: March 3, 2016

When I talked to Caila Quinn on Wednesday -- you can read the story here -- she didn't want to talk about the "Women Tell All" special,  since it has not aired yet. But there may be some more fireworks, with her and with other contestants. Here's how ABC is describing the telecast:

“The Women Tell All” – Tempers flare, and there are plenty of fireworks, as the most memorable women this season are back to confront Ben and tell their side of the story. There were highs and lows during Ben’s’ unforgettable season – and then there was Olivia, one of the most controversial bachelorettes of the group. The very self-confident Olivia, who has been the woman viewers and the other bachelorettes have loved to hate, returns to have her chance to defend herself. Caila shares the devastating ending to her love story with Ben. Jubilee and Amanda attempt to get some closure to their heart-wrenching break-ups. Then, take a sneak peak at the season finale and Ben’s final two women – Jo Jo and Lauren B. – both of whom he declared his love to, on “The Bachelor: The Women Tell All,” MONDAY, MARCH 7 (8:00-10:01 p.m. EST), on the ABC Television Network.

Before the pyrotechnics begin, however, climb aboard the Bachelor Bus with Chris Harrison and Ben, as they drop in on Monday-night viewing parties and give Bachelor Nation fans the surprise of their lives.

Amanda and Olivia immediately face off about Olivia’s disrespectful comments about Amanda being a single mom. Lace is brutally honest about her time on the show and what she learned from her “Bachelor” experience.

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Follow 'The Bachelor' live tonight: Will Hudson's Caila Quinn make it another week?

By Published: February 29, 2016

The Bachelor is down to the final three contestants, and Hudson's Caila Quinn is one of them. Will she survive another week on the reality TV show? Follow along with pop culture reporter Rich Heldenfels' thoughts live during the show.

The Bachelor starts at 8 p.m. on ABC tonight.

Here's more of our coverage of Quinn and this season of The Bachelor:

'Bachelor' visit to Hudson airs Monday 

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Video: Rich Heldenfels previews the Oscars and talks big snubs

By Published: February 27, 2016

Rich Heldenfels discusses his favorites for the Oscars and some movies that got lost in the shuffle.

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