1944 in Print — Hollywood News and Gossip by Louella Parsons, Aug. 21, 1944

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Aug. 21, 1944

Today, we stumbled across a columnist named Danton Walker (d. 1960). We don’t know his name, but his prose is so familiar that we can recite by heart the stale, snide New Yorker’s boilerplate on Los Angeles. It’s the sort of thing still being circulated, scarcely unchanged, by some of today’s smartest East Coast writers whose sum of experience consists of a stay in West Hollywood or Beverly Hills and a jaunt to Farmers Market.

Walker writes:

Hollywood, like Broadway, is largely a state of mind. Originally an exclusive residential section of that vast, sprawling, unwieldy community called Los Angeles (“six suburbs in search of a city”), it has become the capital of filmdom and a symbol for all that goes with it. But Hollywood has now moved from Hollywood, and though four major producers — Sam Goldwyn, RKO, Paramount and Columbia — still maintain their centers in Hollywood proper, the rest of the industry has spread and is still spreading, mushroom fashion, over the hills and canyons of Beverly Hills, Holmby Hills, West Wood, Belair, San Fernando Valley and Ensino   Valley, and the homes of movie stars cling precariously, like the nests of birds, to the slopes of the Sierra foothills, miles and miles away from the famed corner of Hollywood and Vine. Miami Beach is positively cozy by comparison; Hollywood lives on wheels, and deprived of motor transportation, it would vanish from this earth as surely as Tyre and Sidon, the biblical cities of the plain.

Etc.

Louella Parsons says: A deal is hot on the griddle for 20th Century-Fox to borrow Kathryn Grayson from MGM to star in “State Fair,” one of their important musicals. If “State Fair” slips your mind, let me remind you it was made years ago with Janet Gaynor and Will Rogers in the top roles. Now it’s being converted into a musical by Dick Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. There’s a great chance here for 20th to capitalize on the same hay-foot, straw-foot appeal that has made “Oklahoma!” such a smash.

LEO: Make an effort to “Hi Neighbor” associates. It’ll put your mind in cheery attitude, your daily good deed donation and you’ll function better. Cheery news.

From the Philadelphia Inquirer via Fultonhistory.com.

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‘Laura’ — The Making of a Film Noir Classic, Part 21

828 Fifth Avenue, New York, via Google Street View.

Susan Treadwell (renamed Ann Treadwell and played by Judith Anderson in the film) lives in a mansion on upper Fifth Avenue (Page 22).


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. Previous posts have examined the writing career of “Laura” novelist Vera Caspary and the state of the detective story in 1941, when she was writing the novel.

In this series of posts, we’re looking at some of the sites used in the novel. Recall that in “Murder for Pleasure, Howard Haycraft’s 1941 book on the history and art the detective story, Haycraft urged mystery writers to use actual locations.

Note: In researching this post, I discovered an entertaining blog Daytonian in Manhattan, which focuses on “buildings, statues and other points of interest that make Manhattan fascinating.”

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 | Part 13 | Part 14 | Part 15 | Part 16 | Part 17 | Part 18 | Part 19 | Part 20 | Part 21

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1944 in Print — Hollywood News and Gossip by Louella Parsons, Aug. 20, 1944

Aug. 20, 1944, Linda Darnell

Aug. 20, 1944

To tell a woman she is beautiful is the most acceptable compliment any daughter of Eve can receive. It’s the most exciting praise every girl, whether she resides in Hollywood or lives on an isolated farm, enjoys hearing, and it’s the one thing she waits to hear from the lips of her lover or her husband.

Yet Hedy Lamarr, conceded to be Hollywood’s greatest beauty and mentioned as the most glamorous motion picture star, hates the very word “beautiful.”

Bestsellers this week: “History of Rome Hanks” and “I Never Left Home.”

From the Philadelphia Inquirer via Fultonhistory.com

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‘Laura’ — The Making of a Film Noir Classic, Part 20

East 62nd Street, New York, Via Google Street View

“I stood beside him in the bay window of Laura’s living room. East 62nd Street had yielded to the spirit of carnival…”

The 200 block of East 62nd Street, New York, via Google Street View.


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. Previous posts have examined the writing career of “Laura” novelist Vera Caspary and the state of the detective story in 1941, when she was writing the novel.

In this series of posts, we’re looking at some of the sites used in the novel. Recall that in “Murder for Pleasure, Howard Haycraft’s 1941 book on the history and art the detective story, Haycraft urged mystery writers to use actual locations:

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 | Part 13 | Part 14 | Part 15 | Part 16 | Part 17 | Part 18 | Part 19 | Part 20 | Part 21

Spoilers ahead

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1944 in Print — Hollywood News and Gossip by Louella Parsons, Aug. 19, 1944

 

Aug. 19, 1944, Comics

Aug. 19, 1944

Really interesting news that Freddie March is ready to sign a contract to play Major Joppolo in “A Bell for Adano.” I don’t mean the movie, either. He is being signed by Leland Hayward for the stage play, which will reach New York before the movie is finished.

Little Joyce Reynolds has certainly won a place for herself on the Warner lot since “Janie.” Interesting that she will play the shrewish daughter in “Mildred Pearce,” a real departure from the wholesome schoolgirl in “Janie.”* Joan Crawford, who plays Mildred Pearce, is, I am told, negotiating with Edward Small for the lead in “Bella Donna.” That would give her one of the really dramatic parts of her career.

LEO: Stars offer fine scope for your talents and ability. Responsibility needed to fathom pitfalls and be able to combat same properly.

From the Philadelphia Inquirer via Fultonhistory.com.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

'Hot Water'
This is the 1924 film “Hot Water,” starring Harold Lloyd.

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Times War Correspondent Tom Treanor Dies Covering the Liberation of France

Aug. 22, 1944, Tom Treanor

Aug. 18, 1944

Times war correspondent Tom Treanor is injured in a Jeep accident while covering the liberation of France and dies of his injuries the next day. As I noted in a 2007 post, a journalism scholarship was established in his name at UCLA, but it apparently hasn’t been awarded since 1961.
His final story is here.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: The Masquers Club Laughs to Win

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The Masquers reliving Keystone Kops days after shooting “Stout Hearts and Willing Hands,” from left, Roscoe Arbuckle, Bobby Vernon, Ford Sterling, Chester Conklin, Clyde Cooke, Mack Swain, Jimmy Finlayson and Hank Mann.



S
ince the beginning of time, people have joined clubs in order to socialize with like-minded individuals and enjoy shared activities. Many original clubs revolved around religion, politics, colleges and fraternal organizations like the Masons, Optimists, Elks and the like. Professions organized their own clubs; actors in New York formed the Lambs’ Club as a way to honor their own and practice the art of acting.

In the teens and early 1920s, many people formed social groups in Los Angeles around similar lines. Besides fraternal organizations, social groups like the Uplifters, Breakfast Club, Jonathan Club and California Club were formed to honor spiritual as well as financial aims. The entertainment industry organized its own social groups like the 233 Club, 400 Club, Embassy Club and others in which to socialize outside of work. Many of these gradually dissolved due to financial, personal and organizational problems.

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

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Books, Reading and Lending Libraries

in_the_wrong_rain_cover

in_the_wrong_rain_cover

Note to millennials: This is an example of a book from a lending library. These were generally small  businesses that rented books for pennies a day and specialized in current literature and somewhat racy material that wasn’t available at the public library. (Hence the line in “Chinatown”: Sir, this is not a lending library, it’s the Hall of Records.” )

This 1959 example, by Times book editor Robert Kirsch, rented for a nickel a day with a minimum of 15 cents, about $1.23 in 2014 dollars, and was apparently offered by the Guild Library on Hollywood Boulevard. Lending libraries were part of the literary landscape in America until the 1970s, but I don’t recall ever seeing one after that.

This copy of “In the Wrong Rain” (which is not much of a book) is listed on EBay as Buy It Now for $10.40.

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1944 in Print — Hollywood News and Gossip by Louella Parsons, Aug. 15, 1944

Aug. 15, 1944, comics

Aug. 15, 1944

Clark Gable is not returning to work in September. He says he may never make another picture, which would be a terrible blow, not only to his studio, but to all his many fans.

Said Clark: “I saw so much death and suffering overseas that the movies will never appeal to me again, unless I can do something off the beaten path; something that is not conventional, but is important and significant. Otherwise, I don’t want to return to the screen. I don’t need the money. I’m not rich but I can live on my very little ranch and be happy.”

MGM already has announced “Lucky Baldwin” and several other pictures for Clark. (As we know, “Lucky Baldwin” was never made.)

LEO: With vibrations favorable, the Sun your ruling planet and your keyword POWER — there should be plenty of useful “fireworks,” if you are living up to the true Leo-born.

From the Philadelphia Inquirer via Fultonhistory.com

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‘Laura’ — The Making of a Film Noir Classic, Part 19

Laura Page 151

Page 151 of “Laura.” Novelist Vera Caspary uses the date Friday, Aug. 27, 1941.


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. Previous posts have examined the writing career of “Laura” novelist Vera Caspary and the state of the detective story in 1941, when she was writing the novel.

”Laura” novelist Vera Caspary chose the precise date of Friday, Aug. 27, 1941, for the interrogation of Shelby Carpenter (played by Vincent Price in the film) by Detective Mark McPherson (played by Dana Andrews). This fixes the date of the murder as the previous Friday, Aug. 20, 1941.

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 | Part 13 | Part 14 | Part 15 | Part 16 | Part 17 | Part 18 | Part 19 | Part 20 | Part 21

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1944 in Print — Life Magazine, Aug. 14, 1944

Life Magazine, Aug. 14, 2014

Aug. 14, 1944

The tough, haggard man on the cover is one of the thousands who are winning the battle for France. He is Lt. Kelso C. Horne of the U.S. airborne infantry. Men like Lt. Horne saw their hardest fighting on June 6, when many of them were landed behind German lines in Normandy with parachute troops. In the great breakthrough in France, airborne troops are probably being used as infantry shock troops.

What the postwar bathroom will look like in another racy ad (by 1940s standards) from Cannon Towels.

The Saturday Review of Literature celebrates its 20th anniversary by asking readers to pick the best novel and best author to appear in the last 20 years. Readers named “Arrowsmith” as the best novel and Ernest Hemingway as the best novelist. Other best novels from the previous 20 years were, in order, “A Farewell to Arms,” “U.S.A.,” “The Grapes of Wrath” and “For Whom the Bell Tolls.”

Unfortunately, Life published a photo of the books rather than listing them and some of the titles are illegible. How many have you read?

Life also features Chester Gould and his comic creation Dick Tracy. Did you know there was a villain named Redrum?

From Google Books.

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1944 in Print — Hollywood News and Gossip by Louella Parsons, Aug. 14, 1944

Aug. 14, 1944, Comics

Aug. 14, 1944

Sat and talked with Joan Fontaine the night before she left for Mexico and I have seldom seen her as happy. She had an engagement to meet Preston Sturges and there is a very good chance he may direct “The Affairs of Susan,” her first picture for Hal Wallis at Paramount. Her eyes sparkled as she told me if he didn’t direct it at least he would write the story and she knew that would make it the picture she has been waiting for all these months.

Joan was very cute when she said she had cut her household expenses because she hadn’t worked for so long. The man who was with us offered to lend her money. “Oh,” she said. “I don’t need money. I have saved enough so I can live without ever working, but I can’t be extravagant.”

LEO: Planetary rays beneficent. Solid application improved rules of progress necessary for maximum gains. You have capability.

From the Philadelphia Inquirer via Fultonhistory.com.

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‘Laura’ — The Making of a Film Noir Classic, Part 18

times_square_ebay

Times Square about 1940, in a postcard listed on EBay at $12.50.


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. Previous posts have examined the writing career of “Laura” novelist Vera Caspary and the state of the detective story in 1941, when she was writing the novel.

Before getting into the locations used in the book, I thought it would be useful to touch on the general atmosphere of the novel.

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 | Part 13 | Part 14 | Part 15 | Part 16 | Part 17

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1944 in Print — Hollywood News and Gossip by Louella Parsons, Aug. 13, 1944

Aug. 13, 1944, Kiss and Tell

Aug. 13, 1944

When I say [Michael Curtiz] is one of the very few I do not resent calling me “Lolly,” you get an idea we have been good friends through the years. I was one of five guests when he married Bess Meredyth.

From the Philadelphia Inquirer via Fultonhistory.com

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‘Laura’ — The Making of a Film Noir Classic, Part 17

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. Previous posts have examined the writing career of “Laura” novelist Vera Caspary and the state of the detective story in 1941, when she was writing the novel.

At long last we’re going to open the book and begin the deconstruction of “Laura,” not as a reader who might casually indulge in a mystery novel for recreation, but with the eye of a writer in considering an adaptation for the screen — for the novel is merely the beginning of the journey to the film. Producing a script for “Laura” was a daunting task that required a series of writers.

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 | Part 13 | Part 14 | Part 15 | Part 16

Spoilers ahead

 

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

 

Aug. 12, 1944, Comics

Aug. 12, 1944

Geraldine Fitzgerald’s sparkling performance as Edith Galt, second wife of Woodrow Wilson, creates a new and fresh interest in her. Fitting, I think, that Jack Warner should again lend her to Darryl Zanuck, for he did more to bring out her talents as an actress than any other producer.

Laird Cregar had a change of heart and is back in the East. George Sanders ditto. Cregar went on eight weeks suspension, but apparently thought better of his revolt and is back on the lot.

LEO: Uneventful maybe as far as important advance (events?) go. Takes on different aspect in domestic affairs, personal interests. Much depends upon your disposition, cheery manner.

From the Philadelphia Inquirer via Fultonhistory.com.

 

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

image
This is “Montana Moon,” a 1930 MGM film directed by Malcolm St. Clair. And although the TCM write-up says the  film was shot on location in Montana, we have the famous train station in beautiful Chatsworth, jewel of the northwest San Fernando Valley.

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No Arole-Cay Ombard-Lay Otos-Phay Here!

image
Sigh.
No. 1 in eath-day een-say otos-phay.


Note: I apologize for using pig Latin, but it’s a way to be invisible to oogle-Gay. I don’t want any more traffic on this subject than I already have.

ECM-Tay’s daylong feature of arole-Cay ombard-Lay films sent my traffic through the roof yesterday. But not in a good way.

Some time ago, I wrote a post about the ane-play ash-cray that illed-kay actress arole-Cay ombard-Lay. At the time it seemed like a newsworthy event.

But over the years, the aily-Day irror-May has become the go-to place for people looking for information about the ane-play ash-cray. A subsequent post merely added fuel to the fire by using ey-kay ords-way that oogle-Gay “liked.”

So let me say it again, in words that can be read by people, but not oogle-Gay.

There are no otos-phay of arole-Cay ombard-Lay here. There is nothing that shows her ecapitated-day and there is nothing, I assure you, about whether her eft-lay and-hay was missing.

It is a tad discouraging to conduct serious historic research on Los Angeles only to become a target for people hunting uff-snay otos-phay.

Sigh.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Bimini Baths’ Curing Waters Heal the Soul

Bimini Bath House

A postcard showing the Bimini Baths, courtesy of Mary Mallory.



F
or centuries, those looking for healing of mental or physical ailments visited therapeutic spas and springs at such places as Bath, England, and Baden Baden in Germany. By the 1860s, Glen Ivy Hot Springs offered refreshing waters to Southern California residents. In the early 1900s, Los Angeles boasted a curative hot springs near Westlake Park, the Bimini Baths.

Discovered accidentally when an African American worker searching for oil struck a natural mineral springs 1,750 feet underground beneath marble three feet thick, the waters quickly became popular after Dr. David Edwards opened Bimini Baths on Dec. 31, 1902. Located remotely from downtown near Third and Vermont amid a eucalyptus grove, Bimini Baths was named after a Butterworth poem that described Ponce de Leon’s search for the fountain of youth. The Baths, the second largest on the West Coast after San Francisco’s Sutro Baths were housed in one building with three separate pools.

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

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