Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Dec. 5, 2020, Darby O'Gill

This week’s mystery movie was the 1959 Walt Disney picture “Darby O’Gill and the Little People,” with Albert Sharpe, Janet Munro, Sean Connery, Jimmy O’Dea, Kieron Moore, Estelle Winwood, Walter Fitzgerald, Denis O’Dea, J.G. Devlin, Jack MacGowan, Farrell Delly and Nora O’Mahony.

Photography by Winton C. Hoch. Edited by Stanley Johnson, special effects by Peter Ellenshaw and Eustace Lycett, animation effects by Joshua Meador. Assistant director Robert G. Shannon, costumes by Chuck Keehne and Gertrude Casey.

Makeup by Pat McNalley, hairstyles by Ruth Sandifer, sound by Robert O. Cook, sound mixing by Dean Thomas, technical advisor Michael O’Herlihy, music editor Evelyn Kennedy.

Art direction by Carroll Clark, special art styling by Peter Ellenshaw and Don Da Gradi, set decoration by Emile Kuri and Fred MacLean.

Music by Oliver Wallace, orchestration by Clifford Vaughan. “The Wishing Song” and “Pretty Irish Girl” by Lawrence Edward Watkin and Oliver Wallace.

Written by Lawrence Edward Watkin. Suggested by H.T. Kavanagh’s Darby O’Gill stories.

Directed by Robert Stevenson.

“Darby O’Gill and the Little People” is available on DVD from TCM and is streaming at Disney Plus.

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Black Dahlia: 6 Reasons Dr. George Hodel Didn’t Kill Elizabeth Short — No. 6 No Connection

Elizabeth Short contrasted with the unidentified woman found in George Hodel’s photo album. Not at all the same.


Here are six reasons Dr. George Hodel did not kill Elizabeth Short that you will need to know before watching the TNT mini-series “I Am the Night” or listening to the eight-part podcast accompanying the production.

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L.A. Daily Mirror Retro Holiday Shopping Guide

Dancing_Bear_page

Gladwin Hill’s “Dancing Bear: An Inside Look at California Politics,” published in 1968, is a new addition to my annual holiday gift suggestions. I’m generally cool toward books on California politics (the result of reading a zillion stories out of Sacramento during my years at the Los Angeles Times). Hill’s book is an exception. He was the New York Times bureau chief in Los Angeles and observed California as an outsider. I reviewed the book in 2011 a blog post. Hill gets into the history of California government and has a particularly insightful section on the early political career of Ronald Reagan.

“Dancing Bear” is long out of print, but used copies are plentiful and cheap.

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L.A. Daily Mirror Retro Holiday Shopping Guide

Down These Mean Streets

Note: This is an encore post from 2017.

Virtually everyone who writes about Raymond Chandler cites this book by Philip Durham, but very few people seem to have read it.

Writing in 1963, four years after Chandler’s death, Durham produced a biography of Chandler as a writer rather than examining the whole fabric of his life. Durham also made what is probably the earliest systematic analysis of Chandler’s output, tracing Chandler’s extensive self-borrowing from earlier short stories into his novels. It’s a relatively brief book that includes a checklist of Chandler’s writing, a selected list of reviews and a bibliography.

We recently found a nice copy on EBay and thought we should add it to our holiday shopping suggestions. Bookfinder (and really that is the best way to locate a vintage book) lists quite a few copies, starting with a fairly low price for a less than perfect book up to ridiculously overpriced.

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L.A. Daily Mirror Retro Holiday Shopping Guide

Chavez Ravine, 1949

Note: This is a repost from 2013.

You might have to hunt a bit for Don Normark’s 1999 book “Chavez Ravine, 1949,” but your search will be rewarded. The photos are terrific and the residents’ recollections make the book even better. Copies can be found via bookfinder.com.

ps. I should note that a recent story by longtime Los Angeles Times writer Louis Sahagun erred in stating:

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L.A. Daily Mirror Retro Holiday Shopping Guide

Los Angeles in Maps

Note: This is a repost from 2013.

Glen Creason’s book on maps of Los Angeles shows the many ways people have viewed the city over the years. I interviewed him for The Times in 2012 and fortunately for all concerned, the column was seen by a real estate agent who was getting ready to sell off a rather curious home in Mt. Washington that had been owned by a man who had a mania for maps. The result was the discovery of the “map house,” one of the great (and strange) stories of Los Angeles.

“Los Angeles in Maps,” published in 2010, is in many local bookstores and available online.

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L.A. Daily Mirror Retro Holiday Shopping Guide

Nuestro Pueblo

Note: This is a repost from 2013.

Whenever I’m asked about my favorite books on Los Angeles, my first recommendation is “Nuestro Pueblo,” a selection of features by Times artist Charles Owens and writer Joseph Seewerker that appeared in The Times. I went through all of them when the blog was at latimes.com, so I won’t repeat them now, but if you’re a fan of Rediscovering Los Angeles, which was illustrated by Owens with commentary by Timothy Turner, you may enjoy “Nuestro Pueblo.”  Unfortunately, Rediscovering Los Angeles was never published in book form and has languished in obscurity.

“Nuestro Pueblo” is long out of print and the prices have gone up since I started writing about it, with some dealers asking more than $100 for a copy. A patient shopper can still find a copy for less than $20, however. One of my favorite tools for finding out of print books is bookfinder.com, which shows wide price range on copies of “Nuestro Pueblo.”

And what are your gift recommendations for this holiday season?

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Mary Mallory: Hollywood Heights – Max Davidson

Max Davidson "Call of the Cuckoo"

Photo: Lillian Elliott and Max Davidson in “Call of the Cuckoo.”


Note: This is an encore post from 2012.

America has always been the land of immigrants. From when this part of the world was a mere colony to other countries, this nation has been a haven for the oppressed, weak, and dreamers, and grew mightily with this influx of people. The largest years of immigration occurred from the late 1800s into the early decades of the twentieth century. New forms of entertainment like vaudeville arose, catering to many of these immigrants, and employing ethnic humor. Many ethnic groups such as Italians, “Dutch” or German, and Jews,were stereotyped or parodied through dialect, expression, or movement in a way that revealed the common foibles of each group, how alike each were. Most of these stereotypes were carried over into film, with people like Weber and Fields excelling as “Dutch” comedians and George Beban as Italian.

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L.A. Daily Mirror Retro Holiday Shopping Guide: ‘Bunker Hill Los Angeles’

Bunker Hill cover
Time to start the Daily Mirror’s holiday gift suggestions and there’s no better way to begin than with “Bunker Hill Los Angeles: Essence of Sunshine and Noir” by my Crime Buddy Nathan Marsak, published by Angel City Press ($40). The book is full of historic photos and vintage ephemera, and the text is a deep dive into L.A. history in Nathan’s freewheeling style. If you’re fortunate and have a local independent bookstore, try it first.

Nathan is also the author of “Los Angeles Neon” (2002) which is out of print, but available from a variety of dealers.

As of today (Nov. 27), “Bunker Hill” is in stock at Skylight Books and Book Soup and can be ordered from Vroman’s in PasadenaAlso available online from Angel City Press.

Also available from Amazon.

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L.A. Celebrates a Wartime Thanksgiving, 1943

Nv. 26, 1943, Thanksgiving
Note: This is an encore post from 2013.

A wartime Thanksgiving in Los Angeles, with many service personnel welcomed into people’s homes for a holiday meal.

The Times published cooking tips for war workers, advising cooks who were otherwise engaged “for the duration” to use prepared mixes, packaged pie crust and canned pumpkin to cut preparation time.

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An 1890s Thanksgiving in the Kitchen

Everyday Cook-Book

Note: This is an encore post from 2011.

Here’s a traditional roast turkey recipe from the “Every-Day Cook-Book and Family Compendium,” written about 1890 by Miss E. Neill. Be sure your fire is bright and clear and watch out for the gall-bag.
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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: L.A.’s Vegetarian Roots More Than a Century Old

Veg Cafe Day
A vegetarian restaurant opened near Angeles Flight in 1900.


From earliest recorded history, many people have searched for a clean and healthy diet that benefited society as well as their health. Prehistoric persons originally survived on a meatless diet since plants couldn’t run away, gradually adding in meat. Centuries later, many practiced vegetarianism for ethical and religious reasons, including Ancient Greek philosopher Pythagoras, believing all creatures possessed souls.

Certain religious and spiritual sects continued the custom, picked up by those of an academic bent. Such followers established the Vegetarian Society of England in the mid-1800s as an additional way to pursue abstinence, temperance, and self-control. Early practitioners included Leo Tolstoy, George Bernard Shaw, and Bronson Alcott, father of “Little Women” author Louisa May Alcott.

Mary Mallory’s “Living With Grace”
is now on sale.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Nov. 28, 2020, Queen of the Orange Bowl
This week’s mystery program was “Queen of the Orange Bowl,” which aired Jan. 13, 1960,  on the CBS anthology show “U.S. Steel Hour.” With Anne Francis, Johnny Carson, Glenda Farrell, Frank McHugh, Elizabeth Wilson and Robert Elston. Adapted for television by Bob Van Scoyk from an original story by Roger Squire.

Directed by Paul Bogart. Executive producer George Kondolf.

“Queen of the Orange Bowl” was restored from 2-inch videotape by UCLA and is available online.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

2020_1121_credits_04
This week’s mystery movie was the 1963 Universal-International picture “For Love or Money,” with Kirk Douglas, Mitzi Gaynor, Gig Young,  Thelma Ritter, Julie Newmar, William Bendix, Leslie Parrish, Richard Sargent, Elizabeth MacRae, William Windom, Willard Sage, Ina Victor, Amy Moore, Jose Gonzales Gonzales, Don Megowan, Billy Halop, Joey Faye, Theodore Marcuse, Frank Mahony.

Photographed by Clifford Stine, Eastman Color by Pathe.

Gowns designed by Jean Louis. Art direction by Alexander Golitzen and Malcolm Brown. Set decoration by Ruby Levitt, Sound by Waldon O. Watson and Corson Jowett. Jewels by David Webb.

Edited by Alma Macrorie, makeup by Bud Westmore, hairstyles by Larry Germain, unit production manager Lewis Leary, dialogue coach Michael Ross, titles by Pacific Title.

Associate director Joseph Kenny.

Music by De Vol, music supervision by Joseph Gershenson.

Written by Larry Markes and Michael Morris.

Produced by Robert Arthur.

Directed by Michael Gordon.

“For Love or Money” has never been commercially released. It aired once on TCM in 2014.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: T.L. Tally – L.A.’s Pioneer Film Exhibitor, Part 2

Tally's First Show Shop

“The Great Corbett Fight” at Tally’s theater.


Note: This is an encore post from 2017.

Former Texan T. L. (Thomas) Tally pioneered early film exhibition practices in the film metropolis of Los Angeles, catering to the needs of his audiences. Always enamored with technology, he seemed to anticipate and lead trends in advancing both the presentation of films as well as their selling and distribution. Though Tally was recognized as an innovator, his history has been promulgated with repeated errors that distort history.

In my first post, I presented the first part of the factual history regarding Tally’s life. Born in Rockport, Texas in 1862, he established his first phonograph parlor in San Antonio in 1890 and first visited Los Angeles that year. Fascinated with engineering and mechanical marvels that produced sound and images, he began seeking out these products.

Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: T.L. Tally – L.A.’s Pioneer Film Exhibitor, Part 1

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: T.L. Tally – L.A.’s Pioneer Film Exhibitor, Part 1 (Updated)

tally_1915_movingpicturewor25newy_0283

T.L. Tally, Moving Picture World, 1915.


Note: This is an encore post from 2017.

Los Angeles has stood at the forefront of not only motion picture production, but the fields of exhibition and distribution as well. Former Texan T. L. (Thomas Lincoln) Tally pioneered in these fields, seeming to anticipate changes in the marketplace during the early decades of the Twentieth Century. Shrewd and risk-taking, Tally earned a fortune entertaining the citizens of Los Angeles, introducing several firsts to the city, including the first theatre built exclusively to show motion pictures and the first to cause a nitrate fire. As early as the 1920s, articles and books proclaim him as the pioneer exhibitor in Los Angeles, but “printing the legend” instead of the facts as to when he entered the moving picture business.

Little is known of his early life, save that Tally was born July 6, 1862, in Rockport, Texas (per ship passenger logs). By 1890 he resided in San Antonio per the March 26, 1890, San Antonio Daily Express and first visited Los Angeles in April, when the April 6, 1890, Los Angeles Herald lists him as a guest at the permanent exhibit of California on Wheels.

Hollywood at Play, by Donovan Brandt, Mary Mallory and Stephen X. Sylvester is now on sale.

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Coming Attractions: Nathan Marsak Discusses Bunker Hill With Mary Mallory and Brian Judd

bunker_hill_cover

My old Crime Buddy Nathan Marsak has written a book on Bunker Hill in his informed yet freewheeling style and will be appearing Wednesday at 7 p.m. PST in a virtual event hosted by Hollywood Heritage in its “Evening @ The Barn” series. Nathan will be interviewed by Mary Mallory and Brian Judd. Tickets are $7.69 for members, $15.38 for non-members and are available online.  Hollywood Heritage says the book will be available through its online shop.

Posted in 2020, books, Coming Attractions, Preservation | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Elsie Janis Rallies the Troops for World War I

elsie_janis_portrait_mopicwor40chal_0556
Note: This is an encore post from 2019.

World War I, the “War to End All Wars,” concluded 100 years ago at the 11th minute of the 11th hour, November 11, 1918. A bloody conflagration involving such countries and republics as the United States, Canada, England, France, Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Russia for more than four years, it saw borders dissolved and reconfigured, terrible new lethal means of killing and maiming men created, and eventually led to World War II.

Young American men found themselves weary, repulsed, and depressed as they slogged on and on, looking for a ray of sunshine and an end to the mayhem. Vaudeville and stage star Elsie Janis, quick with a quip and song, came to their rescue, providing a measure of hope and forgetfulness. Long before Bob Hope visited troops around the world during World War II to bring moments of levity, Janis became the first major star to tour camps and hospitals entertaining the American Sammies, our soldiers.

Mary Mallory’s “Living With Grace” is now on sale.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

2020_1114_credits_01
This week’s mystery movie was the 1955 Columbia film “The Crooked Web,” with Frank Lovejoy, Mari Blanchard, Richard Denning, John Mylong, Harry Lauter, Steven Ritch and Louis Merrill.

Story and screenplay by Lou Breslow.

Photography by Henry Freulich, art direction by Paul Palmentola, edited by Edwin Bryant, set decoration by Sidney Clifford, assistant director Gene Anderson Jr., special effects by Jack Erickson, sound by Josh Westmoreland, music conducted by Mischa Bakaleinikoff, unit manager Leon Chooluck.

A Clover Production.

Directed by Nathan Hertz Juran

“The Crooked Web” is on YouTube in a mediocre print and on DVD from Amazon.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Nov. 7, 2020, Mystery Photo
This week’s mystery movie was the 1932 Columbia film “Washington Merry-Go-Round,” with Lee Tracy, Constance Cummings, Walter Connolly, Alan Dinehart, Arthur Vinton, Arthur Hoyt, Burton Churchill, Frank Sheridan, Clay Clement and Clarence Muse.

Screenplay by Jo Swerling, story by Maxwell Anderson, technical advisor Eugene Thackeray, photography by Ted Tetzlaff and Ira Morgan, edited by Richard Cahoon.

Directed by James Cruze.

“Washington Merry-Go-Round” has never been commercially released on VHS or DVD, but is available on the gray market. It last aired on TCM in 2013.

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Mary Mallory: Hollywood Heights – ‘Peter the Hermit’

Peter the Hermit, Sept. 30, 1923

Peter the Hermit, Sept. 30, 1923

Note: This is an encore post from 2011.

Like Blanche Dubois, Peter depended upon the kindness of strangers to augment his spare existence working odd jobs and living in a shack in the Hollywood hills. He wore simple white shirts and pants and sandals, resembling an Old Testament prophet, and carried a staff or large walking stick in his hand. A gentle man and vegetarian, animals like dogs, goats, burros, and chickens gathered around him in the hills. Not exactly a panhandler, Peter accepted donations of food, money, and other things without flat- out asking for them. He spoke out in favor of vegetarianism, taking care of the environment, odd philosophizing, and looking out for each other long before these became accepted norms in this country.

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Posted in Brain Trust, Film, Hollywood, Hollywood Heights, Mary Mallory, Obituaries, Religion | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment