Hollywood’s Ukrainian roots

Ukrainian land was always full of talented and bright people. Some of them lived and worked on native land but a lot of them were spread all over the world and became famous and popular in far away countries. For different reasons the list of prominent Ukrainians who gained their fame outside the motherland is very long. One is true Ukraine gave many famous people to our world and a lot of famous has Ukrainian roots. This article I would like to devote to great actor, actually a Ukrainian American film actor Jack Palance.

Jack Palance was one of the great movie heavies of the 1950s, when he was often cast as a sinister villain in film noirs, westerns and melodramas. His impressive debut in 1950's Panic in the Streets was followed by Oscar-nominated performances as menacing baddies in Sudden Fear (1952, starring Joan Crawford) and Shane (1953, starring Alan Ladd). Palance was the first which won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He appeared in about 90 movies, stealing scenes in supporting roles and carrying films in leading roles. American audiences knew him as "Joker" Jack Nicholson's doomed sidekick in Batman, as the cartoonish heavy in Stallone and Russell's Tango & Cash, and as the aging bad guy in the Gen-X western Young Guns. In City Slickers, he spoofed his tough image, leading Billy Crystal and Daniel Stern on a cattle drive.

He was born Volodymyr Palahniuk on February 18, 1920, in Lattimer Mines, Pennsylvania. Palance's parents were Ukrainian immigrants, mother Anna from Lviv region (Western Ukraine) and father Ivan a native of Ivane Zolote in Southwestern Ukraine. He called himself Walter Jack Palance to keep from being teased. As a young man, Palance supported himself with stints as a miner, professional boxer, short-order cook, fashion model, lifeguard, and radio repairman. During World War II service, he enlisted in the AAC and piloted bombers, one of which crashed, knocking him unconscious in the process. The severe burns he received led to extensive facial surgery, resulting in his gaunt, pinched face and, ironically, paving the way for stardom as a character actor.

Palance attended the University of North Carolina and Stanford University on the G.I. Bill and considered a career in journalism, but drifted into acting because of the comparatively higher wages. While he was a struggling actor, he worked as a short-order cook, soda jerk, and lifeguard. He understudied Marlon Brando in the original Broadway production of A Streetcar Named Desire, and Brando invited Palance to work out with him in the theater's basement. The actors were pounding a punching bag when Palance missed the bag and splattered Brando's nose. Brando was taken to a hospital for medical attention, while Palance took the stage in the lead, and his performance drew a contract offer from 20th Century Fox. Palance always maintained that making his own "big break" was an accident.

Palance debuted on film in Elia Kazan's 1950 Panic in the Streets, as a sociopathic plague host opposite Richard Widmark. He landed equally sinister and villainous roles for the next few years, including Jack the Ripper in Man in the Attic (1953), Simon the Magician (a sorcerer who goes head to head with Jesus) in The Silver Chalice (1954), and Atilla the Hun in Sign of the Pagan (1954). Palance received Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominations for his performances in both Sudden Fear (1952) and Shane (1953).

Beginning in the late '50s, Palance temporarily moved across the Atlantic and appeared in numerous European pictures, with Jean-Luc Godard's 1963 Le Mépris/Contempt a particular highlight. Additional big-screen roles throughout the '60s and '70s included that of Ronald Wyatt in Freddie Francis's horror episode film The Torture Garden (1967), the monastic sadist Brother Antonin in Jesús Franco's Justine (1969), Fidel Castro in Che! (1969), Chet Rollins in William A. Fraker's Western Monte Walsh (1970), Quincey Whitmore in the 1971 Charles Bronson-starrer Chato's Land, and Jim Buck in Portrait of a Hitman (1977).

Unfortunately, by the '80s, Palance largely disappeared from the cinematic forefront, his career limited to B- and C-grade schlock. He nonetheless rebounded by the late '80s, thanks in no small part to the German director Percy Adlon, who cast him as a love-struck painter with a yen for Marianne Sägebrecht in his arthouse hit Bagdad Cafe (1987). Turns in Young Guns (1988) and 1989's Batman (as the aptly named Carl Grissom) followed. In 1991, Palance was introduced to a new generation of viewers with his Oscar- and Golden Globe-winning performance in Ron Underwood's City Slickers.

Accepting his Best Supporting Actor award at the 1992 Academy Awards ceremony, Palance won a permanent place in Oscar history when he decided to demonstrate that he was, in fact, still a man of considerable vitality by doing a series of one-handed push-ups on stage. He reprised his role in the film's 1994 sequel, City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold.

On TV, he joined the circus in The Greatest Show on Earth, played the detective Bronk, and hosted Ripley's Believe It or Not! for several years.

Palance has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6608 Hollywood Boulevard. In 1992, he was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Jack Palance died on November 10, 2006 at his home in Montecito, California. He had been married and divorced twice, first to Virginia Baker from 1949-1966 (with whom he had three children), and then to Elaine Rogers in 1987. Palance lived his last years on his ranch in rural California, and also owned a farm in Hazleton, Pennsylvania. His daughter Brooke is married to Michael Wilding Jr., son of Elizabeth Taylor.

Jack Palance was one from great number of Ukraine origin Hollywood actors. Dustin Hoffman, Milla Jovovich, Michael Douglas, Natalie Wood to name just a few with Ukrainian roots. I would try to write about them letter on so please back to my blog;)


Iron bird

Ukraine is the birth place of the biggest iron bird in the world. An-225 Mriya (Mriya, Мрiя means Dream in Ukrainian) is the world's largest plane (fixed-wing aircraft). Actually An-225 is hard to name just a plane with its load capacity of 250,000 kg (550,000 lb), max takeoff weight 640,000 kg (1,323,000 lb), maximum speed 850 km/h (530 mph) and range up to 15,400 km (9,570 mi) this is much closer to fantastic flying creature from the dreams of science fiction writer.

Ukrainian heavy transport airplane made its first flight on December 21, 1988 (breaking 106 world records). Mriya found its place on the pages of the Guinness book of records as the transport vehicle with the longest list of aviation records. According to the Antonov’s plant press-service International Aviation Federation (FAI) has registered 6 world records set up by this airplane on June 16, 18 and 19, 2004. Thus, the total number of records fixed by the plane make 240. The representatives of the Antonov press service informed that 240 world records demonstrated by An-225 (with max cargo weight of 640860 kg on its board) had opened the way for Mriya to the Guinness book of records. 

It is until now the largest working plane in the world, there is only one specimen of it and it is used by Antonov Airline for exceptional transport missions (An-225 at Gostomel airport). Mriya now has the Ukrainian flag painted on its drift and is recorded under the name UR-82060. Moreover, it has undergoes some modifications such as the addition of new safety systems, navigation and communication. According to the manufacturer the fuselage was reinforced which allowed increasing the maximum gross weight to 640 tonnes (1,410,000 lb). Lastly, it was equipped with a new cockpit and a new passengers cabin.  

After being modified for heavy cargo transport An-225 was placed back in service under the management of Antonov Airlines. On 23 May 2001, the An-225 received its type certificate from the Interstate Aviation Committee Aviation Register (IAC AR). The type's first flight in commercial service departed from Stuttgart, Germany on 3 January 2002, and flew to Thumrait, Oman with 216,000 prepared meals for American military personnel based in the region. This vast number of ready meals was transported on some 375 pallets and weighed 187.5 tons. Beginning in June 2003, the An-225, along with An-124s, delivered over 800 tons of equipment to aid humanitarian efforts in Iraq. The An-225 has also been contracted by the Canadian and U.S. governments to transport military supplies to the Middle East in support of Coalition forces. On 11 August 2009, the heaviest single cargo item ever sent via air freight was loaded onto an Antonov 225. At 16.23 metres (53.2 ft) long and 4.27 metres (14.0 ft) wide, the consignment–a generator for a gas power plant in Armenia and its loading frame–weighed in at a record 189.09 tonnes (416,900 lb). Also during 2009, the An-225 was painted in a new blue and yellow paint scheme. In February 2010, the An-225 transported 108 tonnes of construction machinery from Japan to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic for quake-stricken Haiti.
Link to the video about Mriya plane http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prd4RNuB6YY&feature=related

An-225 got the prominent role in “2012” movie. Trailer with plane participation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3Wucar1vxQ

Odessa tourism logo

Odessa tips
Odessa is a port on Odessa Bay of the Black Sea. With the territory 160 square km and population over 1 million people it is one of the largest Ukrainian cities. Odessa is a major industrial, cultural, scientific, and resort centre in the Northern Black Sea region. Ukrainians, Russians and Jews predominate in Odessa's cosmopolitan population.

For years Odessa has been known under the name «Pearl by the Sea». The city was always famous for its uniqueness – first as the Southern gate to the Russian Empire and the only city where the Jews were allowed to stay, then as a location of the magnificent Opera House, Deribassovskaya Street, Primorsky Boulevard and Potoymkin Stairs and a birthplace of brilliant musicians, writers and robbers. Odessa is not only a seaside resort, it is place with incredible histories, original humour and witty jokes. Now Odessa is also night life centre of Ukraine with number of cool disco clubs.

Odessa logo
But lets back to the main topic. On April, 2, 2008 Odessa City Mayor has started a competition for the best city tourism logo. The term of contest had been extended for several times and finally it has finished on December, 22, 2008 while the logo was presented on February, 5, 2009. Bohush Communications (Kyiv, Ukraine) with its logo (see below) became the winner of the contest. As for me this identity symbol is out-of-date, have too simple background and lousy idea.
However, Odessa City Council has not approved that proposed logotype design in February 2009. In the opinion of leading designers, architects, and Odessa citizens, the smiling sun design does not accurately reflect the character and the essence of Odessa, its deep cultural background and storied history. So for several months, designers, artists, and architects worked on an alternative version of Odessa’s tourism logo, and then turned to the Internet for help.
Proposed logo versions:
Logo 1.

Logo 2.
Logo 3.

  Logo 4.
Logo 5.

Logo 6.
Logo 7. 

For a limited time (till the end of January), visitors Savva Libkin’s blog or LiveJournal (http://logo.of.odessa.ua/) could vote for the logo that best represents the historically rich, multifaceted European metropolis. Results of the Internet audience choices one might see at http://savva-libkin.com/15-01-2010/results-tourist-logo-odessa/

Logo 1 won in the survey. As for me 1 and 2 is the most strong one while others obviously quite weak. What is your opinion? Any way hope finally Odessa will receive nice and creative tourist logo which could attract people to this marvellous city.

P.S. Official Odessa Web http://www.odessa.ua/?lang=en