‘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’

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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

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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

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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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‘Laura’ — The Making of a Film Noir Classic, Part 11

Laura Cover

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, several months after another noir classic, “Double Indemnity,” which was shot in late 1943 and released in August 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.

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 15, 1944

July 15, 1944, Comics
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July 15, 1944:

Our women are really going places and doing big things in the movies. Just today I learned that Kay Francis reports Sept. 1 at Monogram Studios as co-producer of “Divorce.” Jeffrey Bernerd, who has done so much for this little company, was responsible in bringing Kay there as star and co-producer.

Jeffrey Bernerd, in case you don’t recall is the stepfather of Donald Wolfe, author of “The Black Dahlia Files.”

From the Philadelphia Inquirer via Fultonhistory.com.

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Weird Al Gets ‘Tacky’ in Downtown Los Angeles

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Weird Al has a new video, “Tacky,” a satire on Pharrell’s “Happy.”

The sign for the Los Angeles Theatre is clearly visible in the shots, pegging this as Broadway in downtown Los Angeles.

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The Los Angeles Theatre and the Palace (the old Orpheum Theatre) as shown in Google Street View.

So I’m guessing it was shot in the Palace.

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Aha! The little round window clinches it as the Palace.

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The Palace via Google Street View.

Yep. It’s the Palace. Congrats to Weird Al for shooting in dtla!

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Movieland Mystery Photo ( Updated + + + )

Captain Fury

This is the 1939 film “Captain Fury,” which for some mysterious reason isn’t out on DVD or VHS and is only available on the gray market.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Crossword Mama, You Puzzle Me

Crossword Mamma You Puzzle Me
“Cross Word Puzzle Mama, You Puzzle Me,” courtesy of Mary Mallory.

Recording of “Cross Word Puzzle Mama.”



T
he 1920s were a decade of fads. Everything from mah jongg, radio, bridge, golf, solitaire and dance steps exploded into popularity before being replaced by the next big thing. Though around for about a decade, crossword puzzles shot to fame when Simon and Schuster introduced a crossword puzzle book in 1924.

Various forms of puzzles existed for centuries before the crossword puzzle. Frances Hansen writes in “The Crossword Obsession” that Greeks inscribed word squares into statues in 6th century B. C. Acrostics, anagrams and riddles puzzled people for decades as well, a form of study for learning vocabulary, word origins and the like. Will Shortz, crossword puzzle editor of the New York Times, notes that word square puzzles became popular in the 1870s, though existing since 1859. In 1896, the San Francisco Call ran a regular section called “cross-word puzzle,” similar to Mensa mind puzzles and quizzes today.

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

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Lorin Maazel in Memoriam — A Musician Remembered

Here are some videos culled from YouTube of the late Lorin Maazel.

Maazel conducts his arrangement of Wagner’s music in “The ‘Ring’ Without Words”  with the NHK Symphony Orchestra of Tokyo.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Hollywoodland Sign Premieres November 1923

Jan. 6, 1924, Hollywoodland Sign
Jan. 6, 1924: The Times publishes a photo of an Oakland car that was driven up to the Hollywood sign.


Note: Here’s a post from November 2013 for those who wrongly assume that the Hollywood sign was unveiled on July 13, 1923. (Wikipedia, no surprise, has it wrong). Mary Mallory gives the real story


I
n the early 1920s, developers began opening virgin tracts of land for construction all around Los Angeles. To help sell these new developments, real estate agents coined fancy names like Bryn Mawr, Outpost Estates and Whitley Heights, while also constructing large signs spelling out their names with individual letters in white and red.

The Beachwood Canyon development named Hollywoodland opened March 31, 1923, under the auspices of real estate developers Tracy Shoults and S. H. Woodruff, on behalf of landowners E. H. Clark and Moses Sherman, and partner Harry Chandler. They considered the best way to advertise their new planned community, as well as outshine the myriad other developments around the city.

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

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Christopher Evans Hubbart: A Look Back at the ‘Pillowcase Rapist’

Nov. 8, 1972, Christopher Evans Hubbart

Nov. 8, 1972: The Pasadena Star-News reports the arrest of Christopher Evans Hubbart, 21, of 415 Baseline Ave., on suspicion of committing 23 rapes in the San Gabriel Valley.

 


With the release of Christopher Evans Hubbart, the so-called “Pillowcase Rapist” (a nickname also given to Reginald Muldrew), I thought I would pull together some of his early history.

On Nov 9, 1972, Hubbart was indicted on 11 counts of burglary, six counts of rape, three counts of sodomy and one count of assault with intent to commit rape.

The rapes occurred in Glendora, Hacienda Heights, La Verne, Pomona, Rowland Heights and Walnut. All of the victims were married women in their 20s who were assaulted in the early morning while their husbands were at work, according to the Associated Press.  Hubbart routinely threatened to harm the women’s children if they resisted, according to April 14, 1973, Pasadena Star-News.

Dec. 16, 1991, a look at Washington’s sexual predator law.

A March 17, 1994, Times story by Vicki Torres reports that Claremont residents sought to bar Hubbart’s release. The story also includes a detailed timeline of Hubbart’s record.

A Nov. 23, 1994, Times story by Renee Tawa examines conflicting psychological reports about Hubbart.

July 19, 1996, Times reporter Anna Cekola writes about the constitutionality of California’s sexual predator law, which allowed Hubbart to be confined after serving his sentence.

July 11, 2014, Hubbart’s release to a home in the desert near Palmdale is tightly restricted, writes Tami Abdollah of the Associated Press.

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1944 in Print — Hollywood News and Gossip by Louella Parsons, July 12, 1944

July 12, 1944, Louella Parsons

July 12, 1944

If and when Robert Cummings is free from his Universal troubles he will make a picture for Harold Lloyd. Harold, who is just back from a Shrine convention in the East, cannot discuss the Cummings deal because Judge Hollzer, to whom the Cummings vs. Universal case went, has not yet handed down his final decision.

“The Freshman,” which many people regard as Harold’s best, was run a few weeks ago for Preston Sturges, who is crazy about the story and the idea. The plan now is to bring it up to date, with Bob doing the Lloyd role. We could do with a few pictures on the order of “The Freshman,” “Grandma’s Boy” and others of this ilk.

From the Philadelphia Inquirer via Fultonhistory.com.

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