Author Archives: lmharnisch

About lmharnisch

I work at the Los Angeles Times

Rediscovering Los Angeles: Pennies Arrive in L.A., 1881

In going through my old files, I discovered several copies of a feature that appeared in the Los Angeles Examiner titled “Rediscovering Los Angeles.” These pieces were written by W.W. Kane, apparently based on interviews with early residents. This should … Continue reading

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated +)

  For Monday, we have a young mystery guest.

Posted in Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Jack Freulich, Universal Still Man

Laura La Plante in a photograph by Jack Freulich, Motion Picture Classic.  History is written by survivors, so those who die young often seem to recede into memory, forgotten or ignored as time passed them by. While often great artists, … Continue reading

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Mystery Movie Plot

Here’s a question for the Brain Trust: Many years ago, as a young kid watching movies on TV, I saw a film set in the Depression. In one scene in a hobo camp, one of the main characters takes his … Continue reading

Posted in Film, Hollywood | Tagged , | 15 Comments

Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

This week’s mystery movie has been the 1921 picture “Seven Years Bad Luck,” starring Max Linder, sometimes called “the Charlie Chaplin of France,” who died in a double suicide with his wife on Oct. 31, 1925.  The movie was his … Continue reading

Posted in Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo | Tagged , , | 20 Comments

Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Republic Pictures Honors ‘The Little Girl With the Golden Heart’

Mabel Normand in a Hartsook portrait, courtesy of Mary Mallory.     Hollywood’s public acts of charity often come with an ulterior motive. Such is the case with Republic Picture’s magnanimous naming of its gigantic new sound stage in December … Continue reading

Posted in 1940, Film, Hollywood, Hollywood Heights, Mary Mallory, San Fernando Valley | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

LACMA Acquires Authentic 1940s Zoot Suit

LACMA has announced the acquisition of an authentic zoot suit (from New Jersey). Which is a good reason to repost the links to our “ ‘Zoot Suit’ and History” items. “Zoot Suit” and History, Part 1| Part 2 | Part … Continue reading

Posted in 1940, Fashion, Zoot Suit | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

‘Laura’ — The Making of a Film Noir Classic, Part 53

Note: This is the last of the “Laura” posts I had in reserve from last year, when I went on sabbatical. It was a fun project, but my focus on the Dahlia project prevents me from doing any more. Reading … Continue reading

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

This week’s mystery movie has been the 1961 MGM picture “Ada,” starring Susan Hayward, Dean Martin, Wilfrid Hyde White, Ralph Meeker, Martin Balsam, Frank Maxwell, Connie Sawyer, Ford Rainey, Charles Watts, Larry Gates, Robert S. Simon and William Zuckert. Music … Continue reading

Posted in Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo | Tagged , , | 54 Comments

Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Let’s Talk Turkey Cooks Up Promotions

  “Let’s Talk Turkey,” 1939.   Motion picture studios and exhibitors dreamed up great exploitation campaigns in the early decades of cinema in order to build interest in a title, increase word of mouth, and hopefully draw larger audiences to … Continue reading

Posted in 1939, Film, Food and Drink, Hollywood, Hollywood Heights, Mary Mallory | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Laura’ — The Making of a Film Noir Classic, Part 52

One important aspect about the script for “Laura,” beyond the filming of the movie, is the complicated agreement that Twentieth Century-Fox had with David O. Selznick in sharing the contract of Jennifer Jones, who was originally cast in the lead … Continue reading

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‘Laura’ — The Making of a Film Noir Classic, Part 51

The final shooting script for “Laura,” dated April 18, 1944, with additions as late as July 1944. On Monday, Nov. 1, 1943, Twentieth Century-Fox head of production Darryl F. Zanuck issued his stinging critique of Jay Dratler’s draft of “Laura.” … Continue reading

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‘Hail Caesar’ and E.J. Fleming’s ‘The Fixers’

Josh Brolin as Eddie Mannix in “Hail, Caesar!” the Coen brothers’ fanciful tale about MGM’s purported “fixer.” We’re reluctant to write too much about the upcoming film “Hail, Caesar!” the Coen brothers’ comedy scheduled for release Feb. 4. It is … Continue reading

Posted in Film, Hollywood | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

‘Laura’ — The Making of a Film Noir Classic, Part 50

“Memo From Darryl F. Zanuck,” edited by Rudy Behlmer. On Nov. 1, 1943, Darryl F. Zanuck, the Twentieth Century-Fox head of production, issued a stinging critique of Jay Dratler’s first draft of “Laura.” In this post, we will look at … Continue reading

Posted in 1942, 1943, 1944, Books and Authors, Film, Hollywood | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Midnight Show at the Follies Burlesque — July 29, 1939

Somebody bought a ticket for the July 29, 1939, midnight show at the Follies Theatre and got to see Betty Rowland, “the ball of fire.” The ticket stub is listed on EBay for 99 cents.

Posted in 1939, Downtown, Theaters | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

In Memory of Elizabeth Short

Over the years that I have been researching the Black Dahlia case, I have seen Elizabeth Short remembered in all sorts of ways. Some people buy “Justice for Beth” buttons on EBay. Others leave cigarettes and bottles of liquor at … Continue reading

Posted in 1947, Black Dahlia | Tagged , | 7 Comments

‘Laura’ — The Making of a Film Noir Classic, Part 49

“Memo From Darryl F. Zanuck,” selected and edited by Rudy Behlmer.   Jan. 19, 2016, update: When I began my “sabbatical” last year, I had a backlog of a few unpublished posts on the making of “Laura.” At the time, … Continue reading

Posted in 1944, Film, Hollywood | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Who Can Spot the Mistake?

This illustration by Los Angeles artist Jeffrey Smith appeared in the New York Times on Jan. 16, 2016, accompanying a story about an elaborate hoax that occurred in 1941. Who can spot the mistake?

Posted in 1941, Art & Artists | Tagged , , | 45 Comments

Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

This week’s mystery movie has been the 1946 picture “Cloak and Dagger,” starring Gary Cooper, Robert Alda, Vladimir Sokoloff, J. Edward Bromberg, Marjorie Hoshelle and Ludwig Stossel, and introducing Lilli Palmer.  The screenplay was by Albert Maltz and Ring Lardner … Continue reading

Posted in Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo | Tagged , , | 30 Comments

Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: The Priscilla Dean Tam – Fashion Statement and Marketing Ploy

Priscilla Dean and her tam, Photoplay, January 1921   The entertainment industry mastered the use of publicity and cross promotion from its very beginnings, creating elaborate ballyhoo campaigns to build word of mouth and huge box office receipts. It quickly … Continue reading

Posted in 1921, Fashion, Film, Hollywood, Hollywood Heights, Mary Mallory | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments