Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + +)

Oct. 26, 2020, Mystery Photo

For Monday, we have a mystery guest who does not approve of such goings-on.

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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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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Schloesser’s Castles Lord It Over Hollywood

A postcard of A.G. Schloesser’s Castle San Souci, listed on EBay for $7.98.

Before movies introduced dream-like locations and visions to the world, Dr. Alfred Schloesser constructed stunning fantasy castles, mentally transporting viewers to more romantic times and places. Although Glengarry Castle and Castle Sans Souci existed for only a few decades, they left an indelible impression on the city of Hollywood.

Born in Chicago on April 19, 1851, Dr. Alfred Guido Rudolph Schloesser lived and dreamed large from a young age. Born to naturalized Americans who had escaped oppressive Prussia and then achieved success in Chicago real estate, Schloesser graduated from respected high end schools before receiving graduate and medical degrees. He graduated Rush Medical College at 20, the youngest as well as first in the class. After graduation, Schloesser toured Europe, gaining additional knowledge and experience, studying tuberculosis in Berlin and spinal deformities in Switzerland.

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

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + + +)

Oct. 25, 2020, Native Son

This week’s mystery movie was the 1951 Argentine film “Native Son,” with Richard Wright, Jean Wallace, Nicholas Joy, Charles Cane, George Rigaud, George Green, Gloria Madison, Willa Pearl Curtiss, Gene Michael, Don Dean, Ned Campbell, Ruth Roberts, George Nathanson, George Roos, Lewis MacKenzie, Cecile Lezard, Charles Simmonds, Leslie Straughn and Lidia Alves.

Screenplay by Pierre Chenal and Richard Wright, dialogue by Richard Wright.

Photography by Antonio Utges Merayo, location shots by R.A. Hollahan, edited by Jorge Garate, sets by Gori Munoz, sound by Mario Fezia and Carlos Marin.

Music by John Elhert, song “The Dreaming Kind” by Lilian Walker Charles, vocal quintette of Katherine Dunham.

Produced by James Prades. Directed by Pierre Chenal.

An extensively restored print of “Native Son” is available on streaming via an arrangement between movie theaters and Kino Marquee, with an introduction by Jacqueline Stewart and Eddie Muller (TCM hosts, although TCM apparently wasn’t involved in this project). Check your local ZIP Code to see if it’s available. It’s $10 well spent.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights — Spooky, Ooky Witch’s House Haunts Beverly Hills

Willat-Lescalle House

A sketch of the “The Witch’s House” by Charles Owens from “Nuestro Pueblo,” courtesy of Mary Mallory

Note: This is an encore post from 2013.

Once upon a time, home design and architecture saluted fantasy and make-believe, and not just in fiction. Bilbo Baggins and lucky leprechauns resided in twee little bungalows, short, off-kilter, hutch-like, but so did imaginative and childlike Los Angeles residents of the 1920s. Storybook architecture, dreamed up and promoted by film industry veterans, flourished near movie studios, magical little Brigadoon-like structures.

A strong proponent of storybook design was Hollywood art director Harry Oliver. Noted for his work as art director on films “7th Heaven” (1927) and “Street Angel” (1928). Oliver merrily dreamed up colorful structures on the side, like the famous Van de Kamp’s windmills and Los Feliz’s Tam-o-Shanter restaurant. Another whimsical structure, however, remains his most famous design, the Witch’s House in Beverly Hills.

Mary Mallory’s “Hollywoodland:Tales Lost and Found” is available as an ebook.

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James Ellroy: Handwritten Copy of ‘White Jazz’ Listed in Auction


James Ellroy’s 1992 handwritten draft of “White Jazz” will be auctioned Thursday in a sale of rare books from the collection of Otto Penzler. Current bid (as of Wednesday night) is $975. Penzler is the proprietor of New York’s Mysterious Bookshop, which published many of Ellroy’s books under its Mysterious Press imprint, beginning with “Because the Night.”

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: 39th Pordenone Silent Film Festival Transports Audiences

In a tumultuous year filled with pandemic, isolation, ill will, and seeming madness, the 39th Annual Pordenone Silent Film Festival transported guests on magical journeys to other worlds, eras, and even dimensions, revealing the richness of love and humanity at a time it is so desperately lacking. Turning lemons into lemonade, the festival’s organizers masterfully arranged a thoughtful, select program of motion pictures, author talks, master classes, and live discussions that still engendered community, discussion, and scholarship.

At the conclusion of each film program, live discussion between festival director Jay Weissberg, archivists, scholars, authors, performers, and the like provided further context to the motion picture, performers, and themes located in the work, further enriching the experience.

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

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Oct. 17, 2020, Mystery Photo

This week’s mystery movie was the 1960 Columbia picture “Pepe,” with (hold on to your hats):

Cantinflas, Dan Dailey, Shirley Jones, Carlos Montalban, Vicki Trickett, Matt Mattox, Hank Henry, Suzanne Lloyd, Carlos Rivas, Maurice Chevalier, Bing Crosby, Michael Callan, Richard Conte, Bobby Darin, Sammy Davis Jr., Jimmy Durante, Zsa Zsa Gabor, the singing voice of Judy Garland, Greer Garson, Hedda Hopper, Joey Bishop, Ernie Kovacs, Peter Lawford, Janet Leigh, Jack Lemmon, Jay “Dennis the Menace” North, Kim Novak, Andre Previn, Donna Reed, Debbie Reynolds, Edward G. Robinson, Cesar Romero, Frank Sinatra. Billie Burke, Ann B. “Schultzy” Davis, Col. E.E. Fogelson, William Demarest, Jane Robinson, “Big” Jack Entratter, Bunny Waters and Charles Coburn. “And ? ?”
Introducing Don Juan.

Art direction by Ted Haworth, photography by Joe Mac Donald.

Photographic lenses by Panavision, Eastman Color by Pathe, special sequences photographed in CinemaScope. Edited by Viola Lawrence and Al Clark, set decoration by William Kiernan.

Assistant director David Silver, associate art director Gunther Gerszo.

Pepi and Mimi special material and routines by Roger Edens. Makeup by Ben Lane. Hairstyles by Larry Germain and Myrl Stoltz. Script supervisor Marshall Wolins. Recording supervisor Charles J. Rice. Music editor Maury Winetrobe. Sound by James Z. Flaster.

Las Vegas sequences photographed at the Sands Hotel, the Tropicana Hotel.

With grateful appreciation to the members of the Motion Picture Production Workers’ Union of the Republic of Mexico for their splendid cooperation.

G.S.-Posa Films International production.

Songs: “Faraway Part of Town,” “That’s How It Went, All Right” music by Andre Previn, lyrics by Dory Langdon, conducted by Andre Previn. “Pepe” music by Hans Wittstatt, special instrumental by Johnny Green. Lyrics by Dory Langdon. “The Rumble,” instrumental piece by Andre Previn. “Lovely Day” (“Concha Nacar”) music by Augustin Lara. Spanish lyrics by Maria Teresa Lara. Special English lyrics by Dory Langdon. Maurice Chevalier recordings of “September Song” and “Mimi” courtesy of MGM records.

Choreography: “The Rumble” and “Faraway Part of Town” by Eugene Loring. Additional choreography by Alex Romero.

General music supervision and background score by Johnny Green.

Associate producer Jacques Gelman.

Screenplay by Dorothy Kingsley. Screen story by Leonard Spigelgass and Sonya Levien. Based on a play by L. Bush-Fekete.

Produced and directed by George Sidney.

“Pepe” has not been commercially released on DVD, but it is available in graymarket copies.

Note: The original reviews refer to a running time of three hours and 15 minutes without intermission. The TCM print had a running time of two hours and 37 minutes.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Assistance League Scouts Film Locations

Motion Picture Magazine, 1925.

Note: This is an encore post from 2015.
In the early days of the motion picture industry, no rules and regulations held down the field’s growth and development as companies basically made it up as they went along. There were no labor rules, no production blueprints, no permits required for much of anything. This free form independence allowed filmmakers the opportunity to let their imaginations go wild on story ideas, sets, even film locations. With small crews, a film company could easily sneak shots at virtually any public location without notifying police or gaining anyone’s permission.

This guerrilla style of filmmaking is obvious in primitive cinema, where dogs standing on the sidewalk run into the scene, or crowds can be glimpsed watching the filming or even joining right in. Moviemakers basically shot wherever they wanted, as many owners of possible locations just wanted to see stars or a film being made, and required no payment. Others were given cameos, and some possibly earned a fee for allowing filming, there is no historic paperwork to explain.

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

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)


This week’s mystery movie was the 1932 film “False Faces,” with Lowell Sherman, Peggy Shannon, Lila Lee, Berton Churchill, David Landau, Harold Waldrige, Geneva Mitchell, Oscar Apfel, Miriam Seegar, Joyce Compton, Nancy O’Neil, Edward Martindel and Purnell Pratt.

Screenplay by Kubeck Glasmon and Llewelyn Hughes, photography by R.O. Binger and Theo. McCord, edited by Rose Loewinger, settings by Ralph DeLacy, supervising editor Martin G. Cohn, musical director Val Burton.

Directed by Lowell Sherman.

The film, restored by UCLA, is available for streaming online. The film is also on Vimeo.

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Los Angeles Times Bombed 1910: ‘A Terrible Roar’

Times bombing
Courtesy of University of Southern California, on behalf of the USC Special Collections.
Oct. 1, 1910:  The Times Building in flames, as seen from Broadway
just south of First Street. Notice The Times Eagle outlined by the fire.

Oct. 15, 1929, Times Bombing
Note: This is an encore post.

El Alisal, Oct. 1, 1910:

This is a sad day for me and for every other man that loves Los Angeles.

At one this morning I was dictating to Brownie and heard a terrible roar in town and remarked that it sounded like dynamite and just casually thought it might be The Times.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Eastern Columbia Brings Style to Shopping

Eastern Building
One of Los Angeles’ most glorious examples of architecture merging glamour and commerce, downtown’s Eastern-Columbia building turned 90 years old September 12. Designed by Claud Beelman and erected in 1930, it symbolizes the City of Angels’ ascendance to the pinnacle of style, pizzazz, and success during the delirious 1920s. A stunning Technicolor Art Deco masterpiece, the Eastern Columbia Department Store exemplified the aspirational nature of both the companies that constructed it and the booming city in which it stood. The Los Angeles’ flagship location combining the operations of two outfitting companies, the Eastern Outfitting Company and the Columbia Outfitting Company, it demonstrated the growing success of the two concerns.

Though two separate organizations, both companies were founded and operated by the same gentlemen, Polish immigrants Henry and Adolph Sieroty and Henry Shemanski. Eastern Outfitting Company sold furniture and housewares while the Columbia Outfitting Company sold clothing; both selling well made, affordable products to those aspiring to greater things. To ease purchasing, the Eastern Outfitting Co. established credit installment pay plans in the 1880s, allowing the middle class access to better merchandise by paying fixed prices over a set period of time.

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

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Oct. 3, 2020, Mystery Photo

This week’s mystery movies were the 1937 Warner Bros. picture “Confession” and the 1935 German film “Mazurka.”

“Confession” stars Kay Francis, Ian Hunter, Basil Rathbone, Jane Bryan, Donald Crisp, Mary Maguire and Robert Barrat. “Mazurka” stars Pola Negri, Albrecht Schoenhals, Ingeborg Theek, Franziska Kinz and Paul Hartmann. Directed by Willi Forst.

“Confession”: Original screenplay by Hans Rameau. English adaptation by Julius J. Epstein and Margaret LeVino.

Dialogue direction by Stanley Logan, musical score and songs by Peter Kreuder, lyrics by Jack Scholl, musical direction by Leo F. Forbstein.

Photography by Sid Hickox, edited by James Gibbon, art direction by Anton Grot and gowns by Orry-Kelly.

Directed by Joe May.

”Confession” is available on DVD from Warner Archive. “Mazurka” is on YouTube.

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Posted in 1935, 1937, Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 39 Comments

Mary Mallory: Hollywood Heights, Ernest Torrence

Ernest Torrence "The Wanderer"
Photo: Ernest Torrence and Greta Nissen in “The Wanderer,” listed on EBay at $34.95.

Note: This is an encore post from 2011.

Long remembered for playing both villainous and comic supporting roles in silent films, Ernest Torrence achieved big success on the New York theatrical stage before becoming involved with movies.  Torrence was ambitious from the time he was a child in Scotland, and employed his talent as a calling card for America.

The actor grew up in Scotland only a mile from Edinburgh, later studying at the Edinburgh Academy.  He studied piano and singing several years at the Royal Academy of Music in London, winning medals and appearances in concerts, before spending three years taking singing lessons in Stuttgart, Germany.  Torrence first appeared on the stage in London “in a romantic role at the Savoy Theatre, but soon afterward I jumped into musical comedy work and sang at the Gaiety Theatre.”  His deep baritone was appropriate for appearing in Gilbert and Sullivan.  He also wrote some compositions, including music for a Greek play which was produced in Edinburgh when he was 19.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Sept. 26, 2020, Girl From 10th Avenue

This week’s mystery movie was the 1935 Warner Bros. film “The Girl From 10th Avenue,” with Bette Davis, Ian Hunter, Colin Clive, Alison Skipworth, John Eldridge, Phillip Reed, Katharine Alexander, Helen Jerome Eddy, Gordon (Bill) Elliott, Edward McWade, Adrian Rosley and Andre Cheron.

Adaptation screenplay by Charles Kenyon from a play by Hubert Henry Davies. Edited by Owen Marks, art direction by John Hughes, photography by James Van Trees, gowns by Orry-Kelly, musical direction by Leo F. Forbstein.

Directed by Alfred E. Green.

“The Girl From 10th Avenue” is available on DVD from Warner Archive.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Cineconline Brings Entertainment in Troubling Times


After isolating through the pandemic, sweltering summer, and blazing fires, Cineconline brought a respite of lighthearted , breezy entertainment. While Cinecon 55 occurred only online, it succeeded beyond its wildest dreams in providing rare films to thousands of film fans. Thanks to collectors and archives, rare, unseen silent and sound films and television kinescopes brought hours of happiness to grateful audiences.

The online Festival kicked off September 3 with a program featuring trailers that survive from lost silent features, providing a hint of the stories and entertainment they might have shared. Included among the lot was the trailer for the recently rediscovered “Lorraine of the Lions,” hooking audiences for its September 5 screening.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Sept. 19, 2020, Mystery Photo

This week’s mystery movie was the 1959 Allied Artists film “The Atomic Submarine,” with Arthur Franz, Dick Foran, Brett Halsey, Paul Dubov, Bob Steele, Victor Varconi, Joi Lansing, Selmer Jackson, Jack Mulhall, Jean Moorhead, Richard Tyler, Sid Melton, Ken Becker, Frank Watkins and Tom Conway.

Written by Orville H. Hampton. Photography by Gilbert Warrenton, art direction by Don Ament and Dan Haller, assistant to the producer Ruth Alexander.

Edited by William Austin, production manager Edward Morey, assistant director Clark Paylow, set decoration by Harry Reif, properties by Max Frankel, chief set electrician George Satterfield, sound by Ralph Butler, narration by Pat Michaels, alien cyclops creature’s voice by John Hilliard.

Production associate and dialogue supervisor Jack Cash, wardrobe by Roger J. Weinberg and Norah Sharpe, makeup by Emile Lavigne, script supervisor Judith Hart, sound editor Marty Greco, music editor Neil Brunnekant.

Associate Producer Orville H. Hampton. Electro-sonic music composed and conducted by Alexander Laszlo. Produced by Alex Gordon, in association by Jack Rabin and Irving Block.

Directed by Spender G. Bennet.

“The Atomic Submarine” is available for streaming from Amazon.

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Black Dahlia: My 24 Years With L.A.’s Coldest Cold Case

Delacorte Review

UC Irvine professor Miles Corwin, an old friend from the L.A. Times, spent months interviewing me about the Black Dahlia case. Here is Miles’ deep dive, published in the Delacorte Review, into my decades-long journey exploring the life and death of Elizabeth Short. It’s also been published on Crime Reads.

Posted in 1947, Black Dahlia, Cold Cases, Homicide, LAPD | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Labor Day in Los Angeles, 1886

Sept. 7, 1886, Labor Day

Note: This is an encore post from 2011.

Sept. 7, 1886: The Times publishes a roundup of events marking  Labor Day, but there are no reports of any celebrations in Los Angeles. On the jump, Labor Day, 1891, is celebrated on the West Coast, but there’s nothing about Los Angeles.

For Labor Day, 1895, The Times reported on a parade that began at the old junction of Temple, Main and Spring, which was  changed when Spring Street was straightened to make room for City Hall.

The parade went down Spring to 5th Street, east on 5th to Main, north on Main to 1st and from there to La Grande Station [the Santa Fe depot  at 1st and Santa Fe Avenue (d. 1946)], where many participants took the cars to Redondo Beach.

The parade consisted of four police officers on bicycles, a marching band, the council of labor  and 14 members of the Turnverein Germania. There were 48 members of the Plumbers Union, No. 78; 36 members of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners; 34 members of the Typographical Union, No. 174; 25 members of the Retail Clerks Protective Assn.

After another marching band, there were 50 members of the Pastry Cooks Union; 30 members of the Tin, Sheet and Cornice Workers Union; and 45 members of the Painters and Decorators Union.

The parade ended with 31 men in black shirts and red neckties with “a blood-red flag bearing the words “Socialistic Labor Union,” The Times said.

“The Socialistic Labor Union refused to go to Redondo, claiming that the principles of the organization forbade the needless enriching of a railway corporation’s coffers, and there was small opportunity to capture a train,” The Times said.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Ethel Barrymore Dons Blackface for ‘Scarlet Sister Mary’

Ethel Barrymore in Scarlet Sister Mary Drawing Ethel Barrymore in “Sister Scarlet Mary”

Stage legend Ethel Barrymore continually sought challenges to advance her craft through her many decades in the theater. In the late 1920s, she took on perhaps her biggest challenge, portraying the lead character in “Scarlet Sister Mary,” adapted from Julia Peterkin’s 1928 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name. What she then considered appropriate and rewarding for her career would today be considered a major faux pas, since the lead character was actually a 16-year-old Black woman.

The third book of novelist Peterkin, “Scarlet Sister Mary” followed in her tradition of strong Black characters speaking in the Gullah dialect, with independent, self-assured women making their own rules for life and love. While she wrote about the Black experience, Peterkin was actually the white plantation mistress, but one who felt a strong affinity for her characters and their real life models.

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

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Sept. 12, 2020, Vicki

This week’s mystery movie was the 1953 Twentieth Century-Fox film “Vicki,” with Jeanne Crain, Jean Peters, Elliot Reid, Richard Boone, Casey Adams, Alex D’Arcy, Carl Betz and Aaron Spelling.

Screenplay by Dwight Taylor from a novel by Steve Fisher. Music by Leigh Harline, photography by Milton Krasner.

Art direction by Lyle Wheeler and Richard Irvine, set decorations by Claude Carpenter, photographic effects by Ray Kellogg, edited by Dorothy Spencer, wardrobe direction by Charles Le Maire, costumes by Renie, musical direction by Lionel Newman, “Vicki” by Ken Darby and Max Showalter (who also appeared in the film!), orchestration by Edward B. Powell, makeup by Ben Nye, sound by E. Clayton Ward and Roger Heman, assistant director William Eckhardt.

Produced by Leonard Goldstein. Directed by Harry Horner.

“Vicki” is available on DVD from Amazon.

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