Movieland Mystery Photo

July 28, 2014, Mystery Photo

For Monday, we have a mystery gent.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: First National Building Banks On Hollywood’s Future

Hollywood First National Building
Hollywood First National Bank Building, Courtesy of Mary Mallory.



S
oaring to the skies, displaying confidence in Hollywood’s unlimited future, the First National Building, constructed and opened in 1928, brought Art Deco-Gothic beauty to Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue. Operating as bank and office building for decades, the First National Building celebrated Hollywood’s business success and its glorious potential, a economics temple.

The Hollywood and Highland intersection served as the western end of Hollywood Boulevard’s business district, anchored by the regal Hotel Hollywood. Businesses sprang up around it, two blocks north of Hollywood High School. The First National Bank of Hollywood built a branch here, leasing space on its upper floor to the Frank Meline Co. Meline operated its Hollywood office here at 6777 Hollywood Blvd. from 1920, offering properties in the immediate area for sale. Buster Keaton even filmed a scene from his 1921 short “The Goat” looking south from a garage at 1741 N. Highland Ave. toward the intersection, per John Bengtson on his blog, “Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd Film Locations.”

Mary Mallory’s “Hollywoodland: Tales Lost and Found” is available for the Kindle.

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Dead Man’s Last Words: ‘Here’s a Good Spot to Shoot, Baby,’ July 25, 1944

Dr. Alexander Fleming

July 25, 1944, Love Triangle

“Here’s a good spot to shoot, baby” are the probably the last words spoken by William B. Smith, 39, a dental technician (or a shipyard worker, depending on the story) who was confronted by his angry girlfriend, waitress Mildred Cook, 30, after he told her that he was reconciling with his wife, according to a Times story.

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1944 in Print — Hollywood News and Gossip by Louella Parsons, July 25, 1944

July 25, 1944, comics

July 25, 1944

George Raft has always hankered after romantic parts. Time after time he has turned down “heavy” roles that have brought fame to other actors. But George has always argued that fans like romance and adventure, so it’s interesting that RKO has bought “Mr. Angel Comes Aboard,” the Charles Gordon Booth book. It gets the new title of “Johnny Angel” and George plays a modern swashbuckler and adventurer. He goes to RKO as soon as he finishes “Nob Hill” at 20th. Speaking of George – he’s about 20 pounds thinner and  looks much better.

Loretta Young and Col. Tom Lewis have not bought “Bugsey” Siegel’s mansion. Too expensive, they decided, and the baby, due in a month, will have its first nursery in the house where they now live.

LEO: Power of thought, predicated with determined action, should render effectual assistance in solving tasks successfully. Don’t abuse or dissipate health.

From the Philadelphia Inquirer via Fultonhistory.com.

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1944 in Print — Life Magazine, July 24, 1944

Life Magazine, July 24, 1944

July 24, 1944

Jennifer Jones, a quiet, 24-year-old movie newcomer, last March startled Hollywood by winning the Academy Award for her performance in “The Song of Bernadette.” In her second major movie, “Since You Went Away,” she gives another warm and sensitive performance. She is especially good in scenes with her real-life husband, Robert Walker, from whom she is separated.

The modern farm woman wants – electricity!

No one is surprised that Franklin D. Roosevelt agreed to run for a fourth term, but Life has editorials pro and con.

Gen. Charles de Gaulle visits New York.

The movie of the week is “Since You Went Away.”

Via Google Books.

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‘Laura’ — The Making of a Film Noir Classic, Part XIII

"Laura," The Play

Vera Caspary’s second attempt to turn “Laura” into a play, in  collaboration with George Sklar.

 


 

In case you just tuned in, I’m using Louella Parsons’ May 15, 1944, item on Rouben Mamoulian being replaced as the director of “Laura” to take a meandering look at the making of the film, which was released in Los Angeles in November 1944. So far, we have examined the early writing career of “Laura” novelist Vera Caspary,  four murder mystery films made between 1932 and 1938 based on variations of a story titled “Suburb,” which Caspary sold to the studios eight times before Paramount told her to knock it off, and a brief detour to “Easy Living,” in which we found that in adapting Caspary’s original story for the screen, Preston Sturges discarded everything but the title and the principal plot device: a fur coat.

At long last, we will return to the point in Part VI, in which Caspary said she had tried to write a “mystery play.”

In her autobiography, “The Secrets of Grown-Ups,” Caspary wrote: “In a suitcase lay the scruffy typescript of the play I’d written as an escape from political argument.”

The Making of “Laura” Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | | Part 12

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1944 in Print — Hollywood News and Gossip by Louella Parsons, July 24, 1944

July 24, 1944, comics
July 24, 1944

Jeanette MacDonald’s absence from all social activities this summer is explained. She opens with the Chicago Civic Opera Co. in November and she has been studying hard with Lotte Lehman and her teacher of many years, Grace Adele Newell, to prepare herself for her debut. The contract, signed by Maestro Fausto Cleva, calls for three performances – two of “Romeo and Juliet” and one as Marguerite in “Faust” to be sung in French.

Bebe Daniels writes that the theater where she has been playing in “Panama Hattie” in London was hit by a robot bomb. None of the cast was in the theater, thank heaven.

LEO: Stars offer generous scope for both personal and business affairs. Your particular talents and skill favored; also domestic and social obligations.

Dear Martha Foster: Until eight months ago my husband and I were very happy with our two children. Then, one day at a plant party, he playfully kissed his secretary, and she took him seriously. She declared her love for him and there have been kisses and declarations of love at various times since. I learned this through a note I intercepted from her about a month ago.

From the Philadelphia Inquirer via Fultonhistory.com

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LAPD Parker Center Cop Shop Files: John Doe No. 52 DR 73 478 242

73_478_242_John_Doe_52

In case you just tuned in, I was given a box of material that was cleaned out of the old press room — the “Cop Shop” — when Parker Center was closed.

Today we have an artist’s sketch of John Doe No. 52, a homicide victim described as a white male, age 17 to 20, about 5 foot 4, 130 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes.

I have no further information about this case. Judging by the DR number, I would assume it occurred in 1973.

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1944 in Print — Hollywood News and Gossip by Louella Parsons, July 23, 1944

 

July 23, 1944, Carole Landis

July 23, 1944

The conversation I had with Bing Crosby several days ago was not about the world-famous crooner, the man who is already mentioned for this year’s Oscar because of his performance in “Going My Way.” It5 was with Bing Crosby, the star-maker – the man who was courageous enough to select Greg McClure, an unknown, to play John L. Sullivan in “The Great John L.”

CANCER: Aspects similar to Gemini today, heed same cautions. Especially protect family interests. Don’t worry about what is coming, prepare as well as can, then take things in stride.

From the Philadelphia Inquirer via Fultonhistory.com.

 

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‘Laura’ — The Making of a Film Noir Classic, Part 12

'Easy Living

The fur coat — all that remains of Vera Caspary’s original story “Easy Living” — lands on Jean Arthur in Preston Sturges’ script.


In case you just tuned in, I’m using Louella Parsons’ May 15, 1944, item on Rouben Mamoulian being replaced as the director of “Laura” to take a meandering look at the making of the film, which was released in Los Angeles in November 1944. So far, we have looked at the early writing career of “Laura” novelist Vera Caspary and four murder mystery films made between 1932 and 1938 based on variations of a story titled “Suburb,” which Caspary sold to the studios eight times before Paramount told her to knock it off.

Further research reveals that Preston Sturges discarded virtually all of Caspary’s original story in writing the screenplay for the 1937 film “Easy Living.” The only plot element he retained was an expensive fur coat. In Caspary’s story, it is stolen by the leading lady; in Sturges’ script, the expensive fur coat is thrown from an apartment terrace and lands on working girl Mary Smith (Jean Arthur), who is passing in an open-air bus.

The Making of “Laura” Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | | Part 12

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1944 in Print — Hollywood News and Gossip by Louella Parsons, July 22, 1944

July 22, 1944, Comics

July 22, 1944

Mr. Winkle Goes to War” has set Jack Moss in solid as a producer at Columbia – so solid that his next will be “Pal Joey.” The Broadway stage hit has nothing to do with Pal Joey Stalin, but was the show that first brought Gene Kelly to fame, fortune and fans. Need I add that Mr. Moss, who used to be Gary Cooper’s manager before he took up producing, is keeping his fingers crossed very tightly, hoping to get Gene for the movie version. That might not be such a shot in the dark as you might suppose, because MGM loaned Kelly to Columbia for “Cover Girl,” and look what happened.

(Of course, “Pal Joey” didn’t get made until 1957 with Frank Sinatra.)

Trixie Friganza has donated her money to the Church and is living at the Sacred Heart Convent.

From the Philadelphia Inquirer via Fultonhistory.com.

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Movieland Mystery Photo ( Updated + + + + )

Girl Missing
This is the 1933 film “Girl Missing.” It opened in Los Angeles at the Warner Bros. Western Theater (now the Wiltern) on March 23, 1933, with “Untamed Africa.”

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Douglass Dumbrille, Suave Slickster

Douglass Dumbrille
Douglass Dumbrille, photo courtesy of Mary Mallory.



C
lassic Hollywood studio films employed actors with striking faces and mannerisms as recognizable character types from the 1930s to the 1960s, giving a shorthand to understanding the story as well as a way to add color and spice to films. One of Hollywood’s most outstanding conniving villains during this period was Canadian Douglass Rupert Dumbrille, an often unctuous, forceful presence. Whether attempting to manipulate politics, business deals or romantic relationships, Dumbrille was plotting his rise at the expense of others, usually earning his comeuppance in the end.

Born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, on Oct. 13, 1889, Dumbrille married his wife, Jessie, on Jan. 21, 1911, and worked in a bank, dreaming of a life on the stage. The family entered the United States in 1913, with his younger son Douglas born in Cleveland in 1914. Dumbrille worked in a variety of stock companies and theatrical productions supporting himself and his family.

Mary Mallory’s “Hollywoodland: Tales Lost and Found” is available for the Kindle.

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Books From the Slush Pile: ‘The Return of Comrade Ricardo Flores Magon’

20140414_181923

If I hadn’t written the posts about Los Angeles in 1907 for the 1947project in 2006, I would have never heard of Ricardo Flores Magon, who was arrested in Los Angeles, along with Librado Rivera, Antonio Villareal and L. Gutierrez De Lara, on charges of trying to overthrow the Mexican government. Magon, Rivera and Villareal were arrested Aug. 23, 1907, at 111 E. Pico St., according to The Times.

So, unlike most people, I recognized the name Ricardo Flores Magon on the book languishing in the pile of discards from the book review section put out for the staff and decided it deserved a second chance.

“The Return of Comrade Ricardo Flores Magon” was written by Claudio Lomnitz, the Campbell Family Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University  and published by Zone Books, which is distributed by the MIT Press. It retails for $34.95 and is available from Amazon for $25.79.

It was praised by Samuel Brunk in Times Higher Education, but otherwise seems to have been mostly ignored. Neither the Los Angeles Times, nor the New York Times reviewed it. Possibly there may be some reviews in the scholarly press down the road.

Here is a two-part video of Lomnitz discussing the book.


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1944 in Print — Hollywood News and Gossip by Louella Parsons, July 18, 1944

July 18, 1944, comics

July 18, 1944

One of the most startling medical books of recent years is “Kaiser Wakes the Doctors.” It succeeded in getting its author, Paul De Kruif, in the center of a storm with the American Medical Association. I have no intention of putting myself in the middle of this battle, pro or con, but news is news. After seven months of negotiations, Edward A. Golden, who made “Hitler’s Children” and “The Master Race,” has purchased the De Kruif book and his son, Robert Golden, will produce it in technicolor.

CANCER: Embarrassment often follows carelessness, lack of attention to important matters. Be advised, there are many “don’ts” now. Be reluctant to try unorthodox schemes. Keep your humor.

From the Philadelphia Inquirer via Fultonhistory.com.

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1944 in Print — Life Magazine, July 17, 1944

July 17, 1944

The pretty girl in peasant clothes on this week’s cover is Anne Scott from Columbus, Ohio. Anne has been modeling ever since her graduation from Ohio State University nearly five years ago. Although she has posed for several cover sketches, this is her first photographic cover.


July 17, 1944

Pleasant blouses and skirts are what fashionable young women are wearing these days. Fashion note: The Wartime Production Board has banned the previously popular dirndls and stipulated that no blouse could have more than one ruffle per sleeve. No more ruffles until it’s over, over there!

Notice the cover price of 10 cents an issue and  $4.50 a year, or $1.35 an issue and $60.80 a year in 2014 dollars.

Corsican residents punish three women for consorting with the Nazis: Their heads are shaved, they are stripped of their clothes and forced to leave town, something similar to what will happen in France.

The movie of the week is “Two Girls,” starring June Allyson and Gloria DeHaven.

And the “Greatest Generation” took cat pictures

Scanned by Google Books.

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LAPD Parker Center Cop Shop Files: A Memo From Chief Davis on Media Relations

July 11, 1974, LAPD Memo

In case you just tuned in, I was given a box of material that was cleaned out of the old Cop Shop at the LAPD’s Parker Center and I’m slowly scanning the files.

This is a memo sent by Chief Ed Davis on the necessity of what we would now call “transparency” in dealing with the news media.

“When a free press is operating, we are relieved of the burdensome task of constantly attempting to justify our actions,”  Police Chief Davis said.

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1944 in Print — Hollywood News and Gossip, by Louella Parsons, July 17, 1944

image

July 17, 1944

Lana Turner, as Bunny Smith, the public stenographer, is only one of the star parts in “Week-End at the Waldorf.” In the script, which Sam and Bella Spivak have just completed, there are at least eight other characters just as important. In fact, Arthur Hornblow, the producer, says this musical is comparable to “Grand Hotel” and “Dinner at Eight” in the number of Star roles.

CANCER: Your planets are in more beneficent position than they have been for days. Stir yourself to energy needed to achieve while opportunity is at hand. Think of future needs also.

From the Philadelphia Inquirer via Fultonhistory.com.

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GOP Picks Dewey in Race for President; California Gov. Warren Rejects Draft Movement

image

June 29, 1944, Dewey and Bricker Nominated

 

June 29, 1944

I need to do a little catching up on national politics, with the Republican National Convention, which was held in Chicago. Of course, the convention was covered by Times political editor Kyle Palmer and as usual, the man who helped create Richard Nixon made no pretense of being impartial.

California Gov. Earl Warren delivered the keynote address, but stunned the Republicans when he declined to join the ticket as vice presidential candidate. In rebuffing the “draft Warren” movement, he explained: “I would be happy to accept your offer if I were a free agent. However, I have made certain commitments and assumed certain obligations to the people of my state which are not yet fulfilled.”

Warren also said: “I have to refuse because I must live with my own conscience.”

As a staunchly Republican paper, The Times endorsed Dewey, who lost to President Franklin D. Roosevelt.  On Nov. 8, 1944, Dewey conceded when he was trailing Roosevelt 12,165,763 to 14,411,965 in the popular vote and 136 electoral votes against Roosevelt’s 395.

Notice that Times Managing Editor L.D. Hotchkiss attended the convention and filed a story.

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1944 in Print — Hollywood News and Gossip by Louella Parsons, July 16, 1944

July 16, 1944, Comics

July 16, 1944

Louella Parsons says:

Diana Lynn, who has been everyone’s kid sister in movies on the Paramount lot, has at long last gone glamorous. The dazzling young lady with the blonde curls and the black lace form-fitting dress looked anything but the awkward-age brat, when I paid her a visit on the set of “Out of This World.”

From the Philadelphia Inquirer via Fultonhistory.com.

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