Dear TCM

Dear TCM:

Once again, you are airing Melanie Griffith’s “tribute” to Jean Harlow, which is dreadful in every way. I suppose it seemed like a good concept to have a “modern” (well sort of) blond bombshell discuss Harlow. But it doesn’t work.  Griffith is – to say the least – not a film historian and her comments are embarrassing. Her reading is cold and poorly done. I cringe every time it comes on.

You have many other tributes in the vault, such as Tony Curtis and Michael Caine on Cary Grant; or John Waters on Vincent Price; or Martin Landau’s tribute to Bela Lugosi. How about airing one of them instead? Even Robert Redford’s rather wooden tribute to Natalie Wood, while not my favorite, would be an improvement.

Thank you.

Posted in Film, Hollywood | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

‘Laura’ — The Making of a Film Noir Classic, Part 28

'Laura'

Detective Mark McPherson, played by Dana Andrews in the film version of “Laura.”


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. We also explored some of the locations Caspary used in the book.

In the next few posts I’m going to look at the characters as portrayed in the novel, starting with the smaller roles and working up to Waldo Lydecker (played by Clifton Webb in the film). Although the book and film are titled “Laura,” Waldo is the most important character and the one who required the most work, as Caspary noted in her autobiography, “The Secrets of Grown-Ups.”

Finally, we’re getting to the major characters in the book. This time, it’s New York Police Detective Lt. Mark McPherson, played by Dana Andrews in the film.

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 | Part 22 | Part 23 | Part 24 | Part 25 | Part 26 | Part 27 | Part 28

James Ellroy to script remake of ‘Laura’

Spoilers ahead

Continue reading

Posted in 1944, Books and Authors, Film, Hollywood | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: ‘Why Be Good?’ Celebrates the Jazz Age

 

thirsty_for_kisses_sheet_music
“I’m Thirsty for Kisses” from “Why Be Good?” listed on EBay at $8.49.


A pulsating, dynamic salute to the jazz-mad, anything goes generation, the restored Colleen Moore feature, “Why Be Good?” features entertaining performances and gorgeous design set to a syncopated, synchronized symphony of hot jazz music and sound effects. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences hosted the United States premiere of the recently restored film at Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s Bing Theatre, Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014.

Continue reading

Posted in 1928, Film, Hollywood, Hollywood Heights, Mary Mallory, Preservation | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

1944 in Print — Hollywood News and Gossip by Louella Parsons, Sept. 9, 1944

image

Sept. 9, 1944

Danton Walker says: Jackie Gleason (“Follow the Girls”), who originally got his start in burlesque, will play the role of a press agent for a burlesque company in his first picture for 20th Century-Fox.

Louella Parsons says: Maj. Frank Lloyd returns to Hollywood and inactive duty next Thursday. He has been decorated for distinguished service in the South Pacific, and has had an enviable war record. With victory so close, Frank, along with some of the older Hollywood men, is now out of the service and ready to resume his prewar job.

Frank’s first motion picture deal is with William Cagney. He’ll direct James Cagney in “Blood on the Sun.” As soon as he takes off his uniform he will go to work getting the Cagney movie in readiness for the screen.

Lt. Ty Power is spending his leave with Annabella in New York … Jean Negulesco and Ilona Massey are now an item … Ward Bond, on crutches, received a royal welcome at the Clover Club — his first appearance since his accident.

VIRGO: Proceed hopefully with prearranged plans and regular schedule. Profits, quick returns from investments may not be immediate but this should not worry you. Benefits later.

From the Philadelphia Inquirer via Fultonhistory.com.

Continue reading

Posted in 1944, Columnists, Comics, Film, Hollywood | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Movieland Mystery Photo — Tennessee Williams’ Edition

Suddenly Last Summer

A member of the Brain Trust has called my attention to a gent appearing in the film of Tennessee Williams’ “Suddenly, Last Summer,” a movie I have never seen. Apparently this fellow, who plays Sebastian Venable, is unidentified and I thought the rest of the Brain Trust might have an idea of who he is. (No, he’s not on imdb.) In the play, (which I have also never seen), something unfortunate has happened to Sebastian and he never appears, but the screenwriters decided to put him in the film. A good mystery for the Brain Trust!

Posted in Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo, Stage | Tagged , , , | 18 Comments

Carlos Valdez Lozano: L.A., Friday Night

Paramount Ballroom, 2708 E. Cesar Chavez
Paramount Ballroom, 2708 E. Cesar Chavez Ave., via Google Street View.

 



Note: Here’s a post from my Times colleague Carlos Valdez Lozano about an adventure he had with the late George Ramos and former Times reporter Robert J. Lopez.
Here’s a piece he wrote in 2011 on Norm’s.

I pulled up to the Paramount Ballroom around 5:30 p.m. and already the line snaked around the building and down the block. We had bought our $40 tickets in advance but now I was beginning to wonder if we were going to get in at all. From the looks of the line — hundreds deep, it was clear that they had oversold the place.

Not to mention, there were 10 police cars parked out front alongside two ladder trucks. The fire marshal couldn’t be far behind.

Continue reading

Posted in Latinos, Sports | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Buster Keaton’s ‘The Italian Villa’

buster_keaton_home
Note: As many of you know, Mary Mallory’s father passed away, so in her absence we’re running one of her most popular posts, from 2012. 

Buster Keaton seemed to have it all in the mid-1920s. His career was riding high, as the public loved his film comedies, making him one of America’s top film personalities. He had a beautiful wife, Natalie Talmadge, and two lovely boys, though the public didn’t know that behind the scenes, the marriage was shaky. All he needed was a grand house to complete the image of the successful gentleman.

The Keatons first built a nice though average size home that Natalie considered too small for the family and staff once completed. After selling it off, Buster began planning an elaborate estate for his wife, one to rival that of her more successful sisters Norma and  Constance, as well as top stars Harold Lloyd and Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford.

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

Continue reading

Posted in 1926, Architecture, Film, Hollywood, Hollywood Heights, Mary Mallory | 1 Comment

Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + +)

We Live Again
This week’s mystery movie was the 1934 film “We Live Again,” directed by Rouben Mamoulian, starring Anna Sten and Fredric March.

Continue reading

Posted in Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo | Tagged , , | 41 Comments

Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Cinecon Film Festival Screens Forgotten and Historic Films

Paths to Paradise
“Paths to Paradise,” Photoplay, July – December 1925.


Another year and another Cinecon Film Festival has come and gone. Started 50 years ago as an opportunity for classic film lovers and collectors to come together to view long unseen films, Cinecon still follows its mission of screening forgotten or difficult to see silent and sound films every Labor Day Weekend. For five days, film afcionados sit spellbound in the historic 1922 Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood viewing hard to see sound and silent films. Here’s a review of the 2014 Festival.

Thursday, August 28 opened at 7 pm with a screening of a “Vitaphone Frolics,” presenting some of the odd and obscure acts that trolled the vaudeville circuits. This reel featured three acts: a hillbilly group singing western songs, two men doing odd tumbling tricks, and “The Golliwog,” which showed a somewhat racist looking but completely double-jointed figure doing the most amazing folding and bending body skills.

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

Continue reading

Posted in Film, Hollywood, Hollywood Heights, Mary Mallory | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

1943 on the Radio – The New York Philharmonic

Radio Dial 1944

Sept. 5, 1943: The New York Philharmonic with pianist Claudio Arrau, conducted by Dimitri Mitropoulos, performs Darius Milhaud’s (pronounced  “Mil-low”)  “Suite Provencale,” Lizst’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and a Ravel’s orchestration of  Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition.”  Courtesy of otronmp3.com.

I realize we’re doing 1944, but it’s difficult to find New York Philharmonic broadcasts from this era, so I’m cheating a bit.

Posted in 1943, Music, Radio | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Left in Car While Mother Goes Dancing, Boy, 6, Drinks Fatal Shot of Whiskey

Sept. 5, 1944, Comics

image

Harry Truman, friend of libraries!


Sept. 5, 1944

Maria Fierro of 879 1/2 Lookout Drive decided to go dancing with Robert Fierro (apparently her brother) and Robert Gomez at a cafe in the 4600 block of Brooklyn Avenue (now Cesar Chavez).

Because children weren’t allowed in the cafe, Stella Barrios, 13, and Maria’s 6-year-old son, Rudolfo, were left to wait outside in the car. Stella went to get a bottle of soda pop, but Rudolfo found a half-full bottle of whiskey in the car and drank enough to send him into convulsions. He died of alcohol poisoning, with a blood-alcohol content of 0.38%, The Times said.

All three adults were arrested on suspicion of manslaughter, but the charges were dropped.

The Gallup Poll reports that Republican presidential candidate Thomas E. Dewey has a slight edge, 51% to 49%, over President Roosevelt among registered voters who are certain that they will cast a ballot. Roosevelt, however, has a substantial lead among voters who are “fairly certain” or “not certain” of casting a ballot.

In the theaters: “Gypsy Wildcat.”

 

Continue reading

Posted in 1944, Comics, Film, Food and Drink, Hollywood, Politics | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Most Books Are Never Fact-Checked’

image

We are shocked! Shocked! That books aren’t fact-checked! Yes, I mean you, “Hollywood Babylon” and “Severed,” who live on the lowest rungs of the literary ladder. But that goes for you too, “The Fixers,” “Full Service” and “City of Nets.”

In the Atlantic, writer Kate Newman says: “Most books are never fact-checked.”

Scott Rosenberg of MediaBugs says: “I just think you’d have to rip up the publishing industry as it exists and start over if you really wanted publishers to fact-check books.”

Posted in Another Good Story Ruined, Books and Authors | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Sept. 4, 1781: Los Angeles Is Founded

 Sept. 4, 1926, Birthday

Sept. 4, 1926:The Times publishes a map showing the streets of the day, noting the changes made since Ord’s survey.


Sept. 5, 1981, Birthday
Sept. 4, 1981: Mayor Tom Bradley and actress Bernadette Peters cut the cake for Los Angeles’ 200th birthday


Jan. 1, 1892: To retell the founding of Los Angeles, The Times reprints an account from Juan Jose Warner’s “Historical Sketch of Los Angeles County” (1876). This account also appears in the Thompson and West’s “History of Los Angeles County, California” (1880).

Continue reading

Posted in 1781, 1926, 1981, City Hall, Downtown | Tagged , | Leave a comment

LAPD Parker Center Cop Shop Files DR 73-402-191

73_402_191_wickert_harvey

In case you just tuned in, I was given a box of material that was cleaned out of the old press room after Parker Center closed. The items consist of photos, press releases and random bits of ephemera. There is very little information about the photos – many of them are unidentified – so the material has taken quite a bit of time to organize and then research.

Continue reading

Posted in 1973, Crime and Courts, LAPD, Parker Center Cop Shop Files | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

1944 in Print — Life Magazine, Sept. 4, 1944

Life Magazine, Sept. 4, 1944

The U.S. Secretary of State, who is offstage director for the Dumbarton Oaks conference on postwar security is shown in this excellent portrait by Karsh. Secretary Hull welcomed the delegates to Washington. Last week, Mr. Hull talked with John Foster Dulles, Dewey’s foreign affairs adviser. The two agreed on many points but Mr. Dulles came away insisting that a “nonpartisan discussion” of foreign policy was a proper part of the coming campaign.


Sept. 4, 1944

Cordell Hull is the cover feature of this week’s Life magazine.

Alfred Eisenstaedt celebrates 15 years as a photojournalist.

In a feature on which city has the most pretty girls, a photographer snaps photos at Hollywood and Vine.

This week’s Hollywood feature is Jeanne Crain, 19, a graduate of Inglewood High School.

Scanned by Google Books.

Continue reading

Posted in 1944, Film, Hollywood, Photography, World War II | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

1944 in Print — Hollywood News and Gossip by Louella Parsons, Sept. 4, 1944

Sept. 4, 1944, Comics

Sept. 4, 1944

Danton Walter says: Brazil and Colombia plan to cut coffee exports to the U.S. if the OPA price ceiling isn’t lifted … FDR has requested James Byrnes to hold up his resignation until after election day … Major radio stations have already made up their V-Day programs.

Louella Parsons says: “Kiss and Tell” is certainly launched in fine style with Shirley Temple as the star. Yes, that’s the news today. David O. Selznick has loaned her to the new independent production company headed by George Abbott, Sol C. Siegel and F. Hugh Herbert for their first picture. The release is through Columbia.

The controversial “Mildred Pearce” is again the center of controversy. Jack Warner is refusing to bring it to the screen until he is satisfied with the script, so it has been temporarily shelved. It’s so censorable it takes a bit of doing to adopt. Well this means Joan Crawford is again out of a picture, so she is taking a trip to New York until such time as there is a play ready. Jack has said he wants Joan to have a screenplay that is right for her and apparently he thinks “Mildred Pearce” isn’t.

From the Philadelphia Inquirer via Fultonhistory.com.

Continue reading

Posted in 1944, Columnists, Comics, Film, Hollywood | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Laura’ — The Making of a Film Noir Classic, Part 27

 

'Laura'

Laura Hunt (Gene Tierney) and Shelby Carpenter (Vincent Price) in “Laura.”


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. We also explored some of the locations Caspary used in the book.

In the next few posts I’m going to look at the characters as portrayed in the novel, starting with the smaller roles and working up to Waldo Lydecker (played by Clifton Webb in the film). Although the book and film are titled “Laura,” Waldo is the most important character and the one who required the most work, as Caspary noted in her autobiography, “The Secrets of Grown-Ups.”

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 | Part 22 | Part 23 | Part 24 | Part 25 | Part 26

James Ellroy to script remake of ‘Laura’
Spoilers ahead

Continue reading

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

1944 in Print — Hollywood News and Gossip by Louella Parsons, Sept. 3, 1944

Sept. 3, 1944, MGM Novel Award

“Green Dolphin Street” wins MGM’s annual novel award. The movie was released in 1947, starring Lana Turner and Van Heflin, directed by Victor Saville with a script by Samson Raphaelson.


Sept. 3, 1944

Louella Parsons is pushed off Page 1 of the Entertainment section by a review of Eugene Ormandy on a three-month conducting tour of Australia. Ormandy is the longtime conductor in Philadelphia, so it makes perfect sense.

Parsons says: Phil Terry, the tall bespectacled young man whose career took a terrific nose dive just before and after his marriage to Joan Crawford, is on the beam again. For no good reason, after Phil made “The Parson of Panamint” a success, he was never able again to get on his starring feet. He was put in “Sweater Girl,” a B picture and almost crowded out of “Wake Island,” an “AA.” In fact, you couldn’t see him unless you looked quickly.

From the Philadelphia Inquirer via Fultonhistory.com.

Continue reading

Posted in 1944, Books and Authors, Columnists, Film, Hollywood | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

‘Laura’ — The Making of a Film Noir Classic, Part 26

 

'Laura'

An unidentified actress appears as Diane Redfern in “Laura.”


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. We also explored some of the locations Caspary used in the book.

In the next few posts I’m going to look at the characters as portrayed in the novel, starting with the smaller roles and working up to Waldo Lydecker (played by Clifton Webb in the film). Although the book and film are titled “Laura,” Waldo is the most important character and the one who required the most work, as Caspary noted in her autobiography, “The Secrets of Grown-Ups.”

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 | Part 22 | Part 23 | Part 24 | Part 25 | Part 26

James Ellroy to script remake of ‘Laura’

Spoilers ahead

 

Continue reading

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

1944 in Print — Hollywood News and Gossip by Louella Parsons, Sept. 2, 1944

Sept. 2, 1944, comics

Sept. 2, 1944

Danton Walker (who turns out to have been Alexander Woollcott’s secretary for a couple of years), says: Several magazines are racing to put out German editions which would be the first published works to give occupied Germany the truth in the news …

Louella Parsons says: The dynamic and resourceful Mike Todd unearthed an unpublished score by Victor Herbert and kept it under wraps for over a year. He refused $350,000 for it because he believed he had something special. And this is what happens. He has signed Jeannette MacDonald to star in the operetta, which he says will be his greatest producing venture.

She reports for rehearsals in New York Jan. 1, and opens in Boston early in February. That gives Jeanette a very full schedule, with her three grand opera programs in Chicago and her 10 concert and solo appearances with the Cincinnati Symphony.

[I am unable to find any trace of this production being staged -- lrh].

From the Philadelphia Inquirer via Fultonhistory.com.

Continue reading

Posted in 1944, Columnists, Comics, Film, Hollywood, World War II | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment