Pinky, We Hardly Knew Ye

on May 03, 2010 by Steve Simels
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Oh heck, another pin-up dream of my youth has passed. I refer, of course, to the adorably sexy Dorothy Provine (1935-2010), who died of emphysema last week at her home in Bainbridge Island, Washington. Provine had more or less retired by 1968, so these days she's probably best remembered as Milton Berle's wife in Stanley Kramer's 1963 comedy behemoth It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World...

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...in which she's sweetly funny as pretty much the only person in the film not obsessed with the buried money that drives the plot. I first noticed her, however, in the title role of The Bonnie Parker Story (1958), a B-crime flick that nonetheless holds up far better than Arthur Penn's Bonnie and Clyde due to the merciful dearth of Penn's sledge-hammer Freudianisms.

Plus Provine looks hotter posed with a gun and a stogie in front of an old car...

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...than Faye Dunaway ever did. IMHO.

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That said, it's probably a safe bet that most guys of my generation fell for Provine in her signature role -- as leggy flapper Pinky Pinkham, the owner and chief entertainment attraction at the Charleston Club in the Warner Brothers TV series The Roaring 20s, which ran for two seasons from 1960-2. My favorite episode was "Lucky Charm," in which Pinky falls in love with a dashing but shady gambler played by Cesare Danova. She sings Gershwin's "Someone to Watch Over Me," to a full house, and rather jauntily, at the top of the show, but in the third act, after Danova has been gunned down by his gangster pals and Pinky's heart is broken, she sings it again in the now all but empty speakeasy and breaks the TV audience's heart in the process.

The series hasn't been rerun anywhere that I know of in ages, and only a few snippets are currently on YouTube, but if anybody out there has a clue as to where I might find a DVD of "Lucky Charm" let me know. I'll be your best friend, as they say.

 

Tags: Milton Berle, Stanley Kramer, Arthur Penn, Cesare Danova
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