|Born||April 21, 1914|
|Died||January 13, 2003 88) (aged|
|Occupation||Film director, screenwriter, film producer|
Norman Kaye Panama (April 21, 1914 – January 13, 2003) was an American screenwriter, film producer and film director born in Chicago, Illinois. He is known for his partnership with Melvin Frank and their work on films such as Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948), White Christmas (1954), and The Court Jester (1956). Without Frank, he directed films such as How to Commit Marriage (1969).
Panama met his future collaborator Melvin Frank in 1933 when they were both at the University of Chicago.After graduating, they formed a partnership in 1935 which endured for four decades; first writing for Milton Berle before becoming writers for Bob Hope's radio show and for Groucho Marx. In 1941, they sold their first script to Paramount Pictures, My Favorite Blonde (1942), which starred Hope.
They worked for Paramount for five years where, among others, they wrote Road to Utopia (1946), starring Hope and Bing Crosby, for which they received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay.They moved to Columbia Pictures making It Had to Be You (1947) and The Return of October (1948) and also wrote Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948) for RKO.
In 1950, they signed a writing, producing and directing deal with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and made films together as co-writers, co-directors and co-producers.They started with The Reformer and the Redhead (1950) and also made Knock on Wood (1954) and The Court Jester (1956), both with Danny Kaye, with the former earning them another Academy Award nomination. They also co-wrote White Christmas (1954) with Norman Krasna. They wrote a Broadway play together in 1956, later adapted into Li'l Abner (1959), directed by Frank. They received another Academy Award nomination for The Facts of Life (1960) and also worked on The Road to Hong Kong (1962).
He won an Edgar Award for A Talent for Murder (1981), a play he co-wrote with Jerome Chodorov.Panama continued to write and direct through the 1980s. He died in 2003 in Los Angeles, California, aged 88, from complications of Parkinson's disease.
Danny Kaye was an American actor, singer, dancer, comedian, musician, philanthropist, and cook. His performances featured physical comedy, idiosyncratic pantomimes, and rapid-fire novelty songs.
Li'l Abner is a 1956 musical with a book by Norman Panama and Melvin Frank, music by Gene De Paul, and lyrics by Johnny Mercer. Based on the comic strip Li'l Abner by Al Capp, the show is, on the surface, a broad spoof of hillbillies, but it is also a pointed satire on other topics, ranging from American politics and incompetence in the United States federal government to propriety and gender roles.
Joshua Lockwood Logan III was an American director, writer, and actor. He shared a Pulitzer Prize for co-writing the musical South Pacific and was involved in writing other musicals.
The Court Jester is a 1955 musical-comedy, medieval romance, costume drama film starring Danny Kaye, Glynis Johns, Basil Rathbone, Angela Lansbury and Cecil Parker.
Michael Kidd was an American film and stage choreographer, dancer and actor, whose career spanned five decades, and staged some of the leading Broadway and film musicals of the 1940s and 1950s. Kidd, strongly influenced by Charlie Chaplin and Léonide Massine, was an innovator in what came to be known as the "integrated musical", in which dance movements are integral to the plot.
Jerome Irving Wald was an American screenwriter and a producer of films and radio programs.
Knock on Wood is a 1954 comedy starring Danny Kaye and Mai Zetterling. Other actors in the film include Torin Thatcher, David Burns, and Leon Askin. The film was written and directed by Melvin Frank and Norman Panama, with songs by Kaye's wife, Sylvia Fine.
White Christmas is a 1954 American musical film directed by Michael Curtiz and starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera-Ellen. Filmed in Technicolor, it features the songs of Irving Berlin, including a new version of the title song, "White Christmas", introduced by Crosby in the 1942 film Holiday Inn.
Melvin Frank was an American screenwriter, film producer and film director. He is known for his partnership with Norman Panama and their work on films such as Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948), White Christmas (1954), and The Court Jester (1956). He also directed films such as Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell and A Touch of Class (1973).
Leigh Adrian Harline was an American film composer and songwriter. He was known for his "musical sophistication that was uniquely 'Harline-esque' by weaving rich tapestries of mood-setting underscores and penning memorable melodies for animated shorts and features."
Li'l Abner is a 1959 musical comedy film based on the comic strip of the same name created by Al Capp and the successful Broadway musical of the same name that opened in 1956. The film was produced by Norman Panama and directed by Melvin Frank. It was the second film to be based on the comic strip, the first being RKO's 1940 film, Li'l Abner.
Norman Krasna was an American screenwriter, playwright, producer, and film director. He is best known for penning screwball comedies which centered on a case of mistaken identity. Krasna also directed three films during a forty-year career in Hollywood. He garnered four Academy Award screenwriting nominations, winning once for 1943's Princess O'Rourke, a film he also directed.
Walter Scharf was an American musician, best known as a film, television and concert composer and arranger/conductor.
Robert Emmett "Bobby" Dolan was a Broadway conductor, composer, and arranger beginning in the 1920s. He moved on to radio in the 1930s, and then went to Hollywood in the early 1940s as a musical director for Paramount. He scored, arranged, and conducted many musical and dramatic films in the 1940s and 1950s and produced three musicals. At the end of his career, he returned to the stage – where he had begun.
Gerald Green was an American author, journalist, and television writer.
Peter Webster Palmer was an American actor best known for his portrayal of Li'l Abner, alongside Edie Adams, both on Broadway and on film.
Herbert Baker was a songwriter and screenwriter for television and films.
Sheldon Bernard "Shelly" Keller was an American screenwriter and composer.
Lionel Lindon, ASC was an American film cameraman and cinematographer who spent much of his career working for Paramount.
Samuel Donald Hartman was an American screenwriter and director and former production head of Paramount Pictures. He and Stephen Morehouse Avery were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Story for The Gay Deception (1935). He was also nominated with Frank Butler for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for Road to Morocco in 1942.