Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated)

A young woman, brown hair. Against a background of floral wallpaper
For Monday, we have a mystery woman. Continue reading

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Black Dahlia: A Personal Message to Steve Hodel

A short personal message to Steve Hodel. And have a cinnamon roll.

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Black Dahlia: Larry Harnisch Reviews Steve Hodel on ‘Black Dahlia Avenger’

I made a “reaction” video of me watching a Steve Hodel Zoom session sponsored by Sisters in Crime of Atlanta.

I have been fact-checking Steve Hodel since Black Dahlia Avenger was published in 2003 and even I was amazed by some of his lies. Notice that Elizabeth Short is barely mentioned in Steve’s presentation. It’s all about his “journey.”

Also: 6 Reasons George Hodel Didn’t Kill Elizabeth Short.

Steve is a skilled liar and in this video, he unintentionally gives a master class in how police officers lie: He is always confident, self-assured, if he sees an inconvenient fact coming his way, he sidesteps it. He gives out the minimal information and nothing extra. He never gets rattled or loses his cool. He is always in control of the narrative. When he cannot dispute the facts, he attacks the individual, which is what he does with me. I’m the “sour grapes” hardcore “naysayer” who dares to question the great LAPD homicide detective.

Part 1 runs 112 minutes. Part 2 in on the jump. Continue reading

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Hollywood Bowl Celebrates 100 Years

Holly Bowl at night
100 years ago, the Hollywood Bowl hosted its first official summer Symphonies Under the Stars concert, inaugurating a tradition that continues today. Constructed as a way to celebrate the arts in a magnificent outdoor setting, the Hollywood Bowl sprang to life thanks to the passion and inspiration of several women looking to place Hollywood as the epitome of arts and entertainment in the summer.

The idea to enjoy the arts in an outdoor setting grew out of a massive 1916 celebration for the 300th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth. A group of famous stage and film actors joined with the Hollywood Carnival Association to honor the Bard as well as raise money to benefit the Actors’ Fund. Colossal sets spreading over what is now the Hollywoodland entrance at Beachwood Canyon, Belden, and Westshire Drives featured hundreds of performers and major celebrities in a lavish production of Julius Caesar that drew more than 40,000 spectators to the May 18 evening performance, illuminated by massive lights donated by General Electric. The success of this magnificent production inspired others to consider building an elaborate art showplace or outdoor amphitheater in Hollywood in which to celebrate arts and culture and fashion Los Angeles as “the Athens of America.”

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L.A. Celebrates the Fourth of July 1889 – 1960


July 4, 1944: Uncle Sam in a cartoon by Edmund Waller “Ted” Gale for the Los Angeles Examiner and republished in the Milwaukee Sentinel.


Note: This is an encore post from 2014.

Here’s a look at how Los Angeles has celebrated Independence Day over the years.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Katherine Bleecker, Pioneering Cinematographer Turned to Business

Katherine Bleecker with an early crank camera
Katherine Bleecker in 1915.

The early decades of the 20th century promised opportunity to many, as the country sensed new possibilities lay just around the corner. Union membership expanded, people of color glimpsed potential freedoms, and women gained small vestiges of autonomy and freedom in labor and work as the country embraced progressive ideas.

Ambitious, creative, and passionate young women like Katherine Russell Bleecker sought out opportunities to employ their intelligence and skills in new and exciting ways, especially in the booming film industry. During the 1910s, more women achieved positions of power, leadership and creativity in the entertainment industry than they would for the next 90 years. The exploding moving picture industry welcomed the addition of motivated and enthusiastic women to their field in order to meet the growing demand for product.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Main Title of This Side of Heaven, credits over a drawing room with a fireplace.
This week’s mystery movie was the 1934 MGM picture This Side of Heaven, with Lionel Barrymore, Fay Bainter, Mae Clarke, Tom Brown, Una Merkel, Mary Carlisle, Onslow Stevens, Henry Wadsworth, Eddie Nugent, C. Henry Gordon and Dickie Moore.
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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Journey for Margaret main title. Buildings in the foreground. A bomb and a child's stuffed toy in the foreground
This week’s mystery movie was the 1942 MGM film Journey for Margaret, with Robert Young, Laraine Day, Fay Bainter, Nigel Bruce, William Severn, and presenting Margaret O’Brien. Elisabeth Risdon, Doris Lloyd, Halliwell Hobbes, Heather Thatcher, Jill Esmond, G.P. Huntley Jr. and Lisa Golm. Continue reading

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Mary Mallory: Hollywood Heights – Keye Luke

Keye Luke Music

Image: “Just a Little Longer,” illustrated by Keye Luke for Harold Weeks Melody Shop. Credit: Mary Mallory.


Keye Luke Drawing Dec. 16, 1928 Note: This is an encore post from 2011.

Keye Luke, the talented and respected Chinese American actor, is probably best known to moviegoers and television viewers as the Number One son Lee Chan in 1930s Charlie Chan movies, as well as the role of Po in the 1970s TV show “Kung Fu.” Little do most people realize that he was also a talented artist whose job as an illustrator led to his career in acting.

As Charles Caldwell Dobie wrote in “The San Franciscan” in 1928, “Some twenty-five years ago, a young Chinese merchant who was born in San Francisco, upheld his native tradition by returning to China for a bride. He chose, or possibly his parents chose for him, a maiden with the charming name of Golden Chrysanthemum who lived in a village just outside of Canton bearing the equally charming name of Joyous People… As a result of this union, during the Festival of Rice Cakes, the little village of Joyous People found its population increased by the arrival of a prospective male citizen who was given the name of Keye Luke.”Hollywood at Play, by Donovan Brandt, Mary Mallory and Stephen X. Sylvester is now on sale.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Main title in jagged letters with a hand reach for a pistol. And flames!
This week’s mystery movie was the 1959 film Shake Hands With the Devil, with James Cagney, Don Murray, Dana Wynter, Glynis Johns, Cyril Cusack, Harry Brogan, John Cairney, Lewis Casson, Richard Harris, William Hartnell, Niall MacGinnis, Ray McAnally, Clive Morton, Noel Purcell, Peter Reynolds, Christopher Rhodes, Alan White and introducing Marianne Benet. Michael Redgrave as the General, Sybil Thorndike as Lady Fitzhugh (both by special arrangement). Continue reading

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Mary Mallory: Hollywood Heights – Central Library Murals

June 1, 1930, Mural

Note: This is an encore post from 2012.

Los Angeles was a growing metropolis in the 1920s, looking forward to a prosperous future. As such, newly designed municipal buildings reflected the glory and success of the West’s shining city. Griffith Observatory, filled with beautiful murals created by artist Hugo Ballin, was erected in Griffith Park. A magnificent City Hall thrusting at the sky was constructed in the heart of downtown. A new library arose in 1929, filled with elegant tile work, painted design, and gorgeous murals celebrating California history in the dedicated history room. Albert Herter, renowned artist and muralist, created these striking panels. Herter himself grew up surrounded by elegance and beauty, and was inspired to go on to create artistic works of his own.

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ALLIES INVADE FRANCE! JUNE 6, 1944; Complete Radio Coverage

June 7, 1944, D-day

June 7, 1944, D-Day Map

The headline and map by Charles Owens from The Times.

Note: This is an encore post from 2014. Reposting to fix some broken links.

June 6, 1944: Complete radio coverage of the D-Day Invasion. This was pool coverage using correspondents from various news organizations. By 10 a.m., CBS had resumed regular programming with news bulletins, so I’ll only post up to noon. The full day is at

It’s worth noting that German radio was the source for most of the information in the early hours of the invasion. The eyewitness accounts are vivid and it’s worth listening to Quentin Reynolds’ analysis on how the Allies learned from disastrous surprise invasion at Dieppe in 1942.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Main Title, Nero Wolfe. Black bars somewhat like jail cell bars
This week’s mysterious program was a Count the Man Down, a 1959 pilot for the unsold TV show Nero Wolfe with Kurt Kasznar, William Shatner, Alex Scourby, Phyllis Hill, George Voskovec, Eva Seregni, Frank Marth, John McLiam, John C. Becher, Eileen Fulton and Rene Paul. Continue reading

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Julian Eltinge Says ‘I’m at Your Service, Girls’

I'm at Your Service Eltinge

Note: This is an encore post from 2016.


One of the most famous female impersonators of all time, but now also one of the most forgotten, Julian Eltinge stood as one of the most successful headliners of the early 1900s, setting attendance records at vaudeville and theatre box offices. He entertained audiences as one of the best dressed and most hilarious women on stage for decades, with many shows written around his unique talents. For his 1915-1916 theatre musical, “Cousin Lucy,” he saw to it that a song was created that summed up his career, his audience, and his life.

Eltinge began performing on stage in the mid-1890s per historian Tony Slide in his book, “New York City Vaudeville.” The New York Tribune February 2, 1902, states that Eltinge is “well known to Boston, New York, and Newport society as a female impersonator of talent and stunning costumes.”

“Hollywood Celebrates the Holidays” by Karie Bible and Mary Mallory is available at Amazon and at local bookstores.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Sada Cowan, Screenwriting Pioneer

Sada Cowan and writing partner Howard Higgin examine a script
Sada Cowan and writing partner Howard Higgin in 1925, Exhibitors Herald.

Women made an integral contribution to the early silent film industry in all areas, both behind and in front of the camera. Without their presence, the field could not have produced as many movies that made as much impact on society as those created during these early years. Their contributions developed the industry as we know it, before they virtually disappeared from production in the 1920s.

Writer Sada Cowan is one of these unsung heroines, writing and shaping many stories revealing the hopes and frustrations of women in work as in marriage. Turning from one-act plays and poetry to screenwriting, she composed scripts featuring strong women characters for more than a decade before seeing her career virtually disappear with the introduction of sound.

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Black Dahlia: Doug Laux on ‘Selling the Black Dahlia’

Screen shot of text with audio player Selling the Black Dahlia
Here’s Doug Laux’s “story behind the story” on the Black Dahlia. You may have listened to Doug’s Black Dahlia podcast, released in January. Doug spent years on the Dahlia project, pitching it to various people. That “true” crime podcast you loved so much? Yeah, it’s a business and like anything else in the entertainment industry, it can be sleazy.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Credits over a shot of a full moon over the ocean
This week’s mystery movie was the 1942 Twentieth Century-Fox picture Moontide, with Jean Gabin, Ida Lupino, Thomas Mitchell, Claude Rains, Jerome Cowan, Helene Reynolds, Ralph Byrd, William Halligan, Sen Yung, Chester Gan, Robin Raymond, Arthur Aylesworth, Arthur Hohl, John Kelly, Ralph Dunn, Tully Marshall and Tom Dugan.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Charles Fang – Pioneering Chinese American Actor

Portrait of Charles Fang
Charles Fang, Exhibitors Herald, November 11, 1922.

At a time when Chinese born in the United States could not become citizens, could be easily deported, and were prevented from immigrating to this country due to the Chinese Exclusion Act, Charles J. “Charlie” Fang became the first Chinese American film performer identified onscreen, working to bring respect and dignity to his fellow Chinese Americans. Sometimes called “the Chinese Charlie Chaplin” in the press, Fang not only acted but composed music for motion pictures, before appearing on the Broadway stage.

Little is known of Fang’s early years. His World War I draft record says that he was born August 10, 1882, in San Francisco, three months after President Chester A. Arthur signed the Chinese Exclusion Act. Chinese first arrived on the West Coast in 1848 after the discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill.  Eventually, many moved to other occupations, such as running laundries, farming, or helping build railroad lines across the West but felt discrimination and violence wherever they went. By 1882, many on the West Coast resented the Chinese presence, claiming their work led to declining wages and difficult living conditions, leading to the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act on May 6, 1882, suspending Chinese immigration to the United States for 10 years, which was later extended.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

May 28, 2022, Main Title
This week’s mystery movie was the 1938 Warner Bros. picture The Beloved Brat, with Bonita Granville, Dolores Costello, Donald Crisp, Natalie Moorhead, Lucile Gleason, Donald Briggs, Emmett Vogan, Loia Cheaney, Leo Gorcey, Ellen Lowe, Mary Doyle, Paul Everton, Bernice Pilot, Stymie Beard, Meredith White and Gloria Fischer.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: San Francisco Silent Film Festival at 25

A painting of Erich von Stroheim from Foolish Wives
After a two-year absence, the San Francisco Silent Film Festival celebrated its 25th anniversary May 5 through 11 at the Castro Theatre with a melange of films providing a feast for the eyes and the emotions. Thoughtful programming toured the world as it highlighted relationships, reunions, and the messiness of life in its heady schedule. Energetic and evocative accompaniment provided a touching undergirding of the movies, highlighting their emotions without overwhelming the poetry. For a few hours each day, the visceral impact of these beautiful films washed over the audience and wiped away any feelings of disillusionment and despair over current headlines.

Unexpected themes and subjects popped up throughout the week, from attractive train journeys to putting on a show to spectacular and dangerous stunts and visual effects to lively little dogs and possible violence to said animals. Continue reading

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

This week’s mystery movie was the 1959 Twentieth Century-Fox picture Blue Denim, with Carol Lynley, Brandon de Wilde, Macdonald Carey, Marsha Hunt, Warren Berlinger, Buck Class, Nina Shipman, Vaughn Taylor, Roberta Shore and Mary Young.

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