Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + +)

Sept. 26, 2022, Mystery Photo
For Monday, we have two mystery guests. Continue reading

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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.

A Personal Message to Steve Hodel.
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Posted in 1947, Black Dahlia, Cold Cases, Homicide, LAPD | Tagged , , , , , | 14 Comments

Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: L.A.’s Hispanic History in Its Place Names

A detail of Ord’s 1849 survey of Los Angeles, showing street names in Spanish and English.

Hispanic Heritage and history have greatly contributed to the rise and evolution of California and Los Angeles from Spanish colonization through Mexican land grants to the rancho period and on to today. Many streets and cities in and around Los Angeles are named after significant people and places in this long Spanish history, though often corrupted or Anglicized over time. Edward O.C. Ord’s map in 1849 shows street names in English and Spanish, such as Calle Primavera and Spring, and Calle Principal and Main. The following is a small list of streets and place names that honor our Hispanic past. Continue reading

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Two Forgotten Women of Early Films

Lillian Greenberger with women who replied to a casting ad
Throughout the silent film industry, women took an active part in production, gaining more positions and power than women occupy now. Without women behind the screen, production companies could not have manufactured enough moving pictures to satisfy audience demand as popularity surged in the 1910s. By the second decade, even more women were working behind the scenes as production expanded. From major companies to small independents, women occupied a variety of positions, not just those considered more feminine, recognized for their skills.

As Alice Eyton wrote in the series Unknown Women of Filmland in Story World and the Photodramatist, “These women belong to various departments of the moving picture industry, and their work therein – it is as important, just as creative, and sometimes, more self-developing than the work of the stars, writers, supervisors, and directors…These silent workers form the real background of the profession.”

Unknown Women of Filmland: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Main Title, Becky Sharp, elegant writing on a wallpaper background
This week’s mystery movie was the 1935 film Becky Sharp, with Miriam Hopkins, Frances Dee, Cedric Hardwicke, Billie Burke, Alison Skipworth, Nigel Bruce, Alan Mowbray, G.P. Huntley Jr., William Stack, George Hassell, William Haversham, Charles Richman, Doris Lloyd and Colin Tapley. Continue reading

Posted in 1935, Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo | Tagged , , , , , | 28 Comments

Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Cinecon Returns After Two Years Online

After occurring online for two years because of the pandemic, Cinecon threw a live 58th Annual Festival Labor Day weekend at Hollywood’s beautiful Hollywood Legion Theater. A perfect way to spend time during a blistering hot holiday weekend, the festival featured entertaining films and the chance to reconnect with old friends, a perfect combination.

FOR THE RECORD, Sept. 16, 11:02 a.m.: A previous version of this post referred to the American Legion Theater.

Like any typical Cinecon, films ended up with various odd themes reoccurring over the weekend, some in odd ways. The festival saw such diverse themes as family feuds, homilies, abandoned babies, blindings, doubling, dogs, performing on stage, mashers or harassment, child abuse, kidnappings, heirs forced into marriage for inheritance, train travel, fake sanitariums, and multiple performances of people like Regis Toomey, Fred Kelsey, J. Carrol Naish, or Claire Trevor. Many films also featured the work of unsung women behind the scenes who helped make silent film art. While there were a few so so films, most of the lineup was truly entertaining. Continue reading

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Coming Attractions: ‘Man Behind the Curtain’ – Doug Laux’s Prize-Winning Documentary

Doug Laux.
Early in The Man Behind the Curtain, Doug Laux’s new documentary about revealing himself to family and friends as a former CIA case officer, we see him as a young boy telling a joke in a school auditorium. It’s a kid joke, corny and silly, recorded on a home camcorder. The video could have been done by any proud parent at any school in America in the 1980s. Growing up in an economically pressed farm town in the Midwest, Doug went off to college figuring he would pattern himself after the most successful man he knew – the local optometrist.

The Man Behind the Curtain at the Silicon Beach Film Festival, Sept. 15, at the TCL Chinese Theatres.

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Mary Mallory: Hollywood Heights – ‘The Loves of Pharaoh’


Photo: Dagny Servaes in “The Loves of Pharaoh.” Credit: American Cinematheque.

Note: This is an encore post from 2011.

To celebrate the 89th anniversary of the opening of Hollywood’s Egyptian Theatre, American Cinematheque screened the 1922 restored Ernst Lubitsch film THE LOVES OF PHARAOH Tuesday night, October 18. Both revel in Egyptian decoration and mythology and look great in their renovated glory.

THE LOVES OF PHARAOH was the last film Lubitsch directed in Germany before immigrating to America to make films. Larger than life yet full of intimate detail, the film tells a moving story in glorious images. The story is basically a Greek tragedy, where actions set in motion by our lead characters bring destruction and death.

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Posted in 1922, Film, History, Hollywood, Hollywood Heights, Mary Mallory, Photography, Preservation, Theaters | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Main Title. Lettering Over Clouds
This week’s mystery movie was the 1944 film Storm Over Lisbon, with Vera Hruba Ralston, Richard Arlen, Erich von Stroheim, Otto Kruger, Eduardo Ciannelli, Robert Livingston, Mona Barrie, Frank Orth, Sarah Edwards, Alice Fleming, Leon Belasco and Kenne Duncan.
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Posted in 1944, Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo, World War II | Tagged , , , , | 35 Comments

Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Main Title over a man's silhouette
This week’s mystery movie was the 1952 Paramount film My Son John, with Helen Hayes, Van Heflin, Dean Jagger, Robert Walker, Minor Watson, Frank McHugh, Richard Jaeckel and James Young. Continue reading

Posted in 1952, Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo | Tagged , , , , , , | 37 Comments

Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights – The Hollywood American Legion: The House That Boxing Built


Hollywood American Legion Post 43, courtesy of Mary Mallory.

Note: This is an encore post from 2013.

World War I was a bruising, mentally jarring affair for returning American soldiers. Dazed, hardened, in pain, the men looked for an opportunity to gather together with like-minded individuals for camaraderie, comfort and counsel. The American Legion was formed in 1919 to give all veterans a place to congregate together in fellowship as well as memorial.

Hollywood formed its own post in 1919, chartered originally at Toberman Hall at 6416 Hollywood Blvd. Space was small in their rented facilities, so the group built a boxing arena called the American Legion Stadium at North El Centro Avenue and Selma Avenue to bring in a steady income and raise funds for constructing their own headquarters. Timing was perfect; boxing ranked among Americans’ favorite spectator sports and profits soared. Weekly, if not daily fights, occurred at the stadium, with boxing legend Max Baer and others throwing punches. Soon, Hollywood American Legion Post 43 ranked as one of the wealthiest branches in the country.

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Posted in 1929, Film, Hollywood, Hollywood Heights, Mary Mallory, Nuestro Pueblo | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Main Title: Lettering against a steep staircase
This week’s mystery movie was the 1949 film Black Magic, with Orson Welles, Nancy Guild, Akim Tamiroff, Frank Latimore, Valentina Cortese, Margot Grahame, Stephen Bekassy, Berry Kroeger, Gregory Gay (later Gaye) and Raymond Burr.

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Posted in 1949, Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo | Tagged , , , , | 40 Comments

Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: 58th Annual Cinecon Honors Mitzi Gaynor, George Chakiris

Cinecon poster, a movie facade with elephants like the Babylonian set of Intolerance
After two years online due to the COVID pandemic, the 58th Annual Cinecon Classic Film Festival returns to in-person screening September 1 through 5 at Hollywood’s American Legion Theatre at 2350 Highland Ave. in Hollywood. Besides offering films not available on DVD, streaming, or television, the festival will feature educational presentations, special celebrity guests, opening night reception, and opportunity to visit the Hollywood Heritage Museum, making this a don’t miss proposition. Full festival passes or day passes are available online, since programs can only be accessed with day or full feature passes.

The festival kicks off Thursday, September 1 with a grand opening reception offering a great way to reconnect with long missed friends or meet other cinema lovers. Besides enjoying food and greeting fellow cineastes, festival goers will get to experience the lush Hollywood Legion Theatre, renovated and opened just over three years ago.

Full festival passes are $299; day passes are $65 to $75. Visit the Cinecon EventBrite link to purchase tickets. A van will transport guests to and from the Ovation Mall in the evenings during the dinner break. Guests should park at the Ovation Mall, or can park at the Hollywood Legion for a fee each day. Continue reading

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Yutaka Abe, ‘DeMille of Japan,’ Started in U.S. Silent Films

Jack (Yutaka) Abe in an ad for Mystic Faces in Film Daily, Sept. 1, 1918.

Virtually unknown today, young Yutaka Abe gained fame in the American silent film industry after immigrating to the United States in 1912. While not as successful as fellow Japanese immigrant Sessue Hayakawa, Abe received excellent reviews for his film work, even writing for the screen. When the country became increasingly intolerant in the early 1920s and added Japanese immigrants to the harsh dictates of the Exclusion Act, originally written to handcuff the Chinese in the United States, Abe returned to his home country, becoming a successful director.

Born February 2, 1895, in Yamato, Miyagi, district, Abe and his younger brother, Toshinaka, immigrated to the United States with their father from Japan’s Sensai district, arriving in San Francisco on June 3, 1912. Later newspapers would claim that he was the son of the renowned Japanese ship builder. They arrived the year before California passed an alien land bill against the Japanese in 1913, preventing them from purchasing land or working certain professions.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Main Title, bold yellow letters against an African sunset
This week’s mystery movie was the 1959 MGM film Watusi, with George Montgomery, Taina Elg, David Farrar, Rex Ingram, Dan Seymour, Robert Goodwin, Anthony M. Davis, Paul Thompson and Harold Dyrenforth.

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Posted in 1959, Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo | Tagged , , , , , | 35 Comments

Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Sudden Fear Main Title. Type over a clock.
This week’s mystery movie was the 1952 RKO film Sudden Fear, with Joan Crawford, Jack Palance, Gloria Grahame, Bruce Bennett, Virginia Huston and Touch (Mike) Conners.
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Posted in 1952, Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo | Tagged , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights — ‘Spirit of ’76’ as Propaganda

"Spirit of '76"
A still from the lost film “Spirit of ‘76” from Moving Picture World.


Note: This is an encore post from 2013.

he United States’ Espionage Act was ratified in 1917 to punish those abetting the enemy, promoting military insubordination, or interfering with recruitment. Over the years, it has been amended to include punishing for the disclosure of secret information. For good or ill, such individuals as Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, Daniel Ellsberg, and Bradley Manning have been convicted under its statutes. One of the first people to be ensnared after its creation was filmmaker Robert Goldstein, producer of the 1917 patriotic film, “Spirit of ’76.” A film he intended to unite Americans in pride instead became a tool for destroying his life.

Born in San Francisco, Robert Goldstein was the son of Simon Goldstein, the owner of one of the United States largest costume and wig making businesses. This connection enabled young Goldstein to meet many early moving picture performers, like D. W. Griffith, Lillian and Dorothy Gish, Henry Walthall, Mae Marsh, and others. Motion pictures thrilled him so much that he moved to Los Angeles in 1912 and established a branch of the family’s costume businesses, providing wardrobe for the film industry.

Mary Mallory’s “Hollywoodland,” a collection of her posts from the L.A. Daily Mirror, is available from Amazon.

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Posted in 1917, Crime and Courts, Film, Hollywood, Hollywood Heights, Mary Mallory, World War I | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + ++)

Main Title What Every Woman Knows. Type over bagpipers
This week’s mystery movie was the 1934 MGM picture What Every Woman Knows, with Helen Hayes, Brian Aherne, Madge Evans, Lucile Watson, Dudley Digges, Donald Crisp, David Torrence and Henry Stephenson. Continue reading

Posted in Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo | Tagged , , | 44 Comments

Mary Mallory: Hollywood Heights – Ruth Harriet Louise

Aileen Pringle
Photo: Aileen Pringle, photographed by Ruth Harriet Louise, listed on EBay at $49.99.

Note: This is an encore post from 2012.

Motion picture production jobs both on and off the set have mostly been held by men throughout history, and those for still photography are no different.  Early stills men were mostly cameramen who also acted as photographers of scene stills, like Alvin Wyckoff for Selig Studios.  D. W. Griffith hired James Woodbury to assist and take stills for “Intolerance,”  and others started following suit.  Studios created key books for each film, with photographs organized by scene number, and with each film assigned its own code.  These images could be then be referenced and duplicated, to be sent out as publicity for the picture.

The studios soon realized that portraits of the stars could more easily sell films to consumers.  These photographs were sent en masse to hundreds of magazines and newspapers, which required a never ending stream of material for publication.  Portraits also were numbered in each studio’s own code system, and organized in key books as reference for approved shots of each star.

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Posted in Film, Found on EBay, Hollywood, Hollywood Heights, Mary Mallory, Photography | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Viola Lawrence–Hollywood’s First Woman Film Editor

Viola Mallory
Viola Mallory Lawrence in Exhibitors Herald, Dec. 25, 1920.

Mostly forgotten today, or in the shadow of other female editors, Viola Mallory Lawrence actually was the first to cut a film in 1912, going on to work almost 50 years with some of the most iconic and visionary directors. Her work cemented films’ stories together while also creating a dynamic pacing. Dedicated and disciplined, Lawrence turned to editing at a young age and grew into one of the field’s most respected veterans.

Born December 2, 1894, in Brooklyn, New York, Viola Mallory grew up with the exploding popularity of moving pictures as a child. She joined Vitagraph studio in Flatbush at the age of 12, standing on a box to hold cards being photographed as titles. Within a few years, she gravitated to cutting, dedicating herself to the field. Apprenticing under Vitagraph’s lead editor, Frank Lawrence, she learned quickly. In 1912, she edited the three-reeler O’Henry, her first opportunity to fully serve as editor. Continue reading

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

This week’s mystery movie was the 1930 MGM short The Devil’s Cabaret, with Eddie Buzzell.
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Posted in Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo | Tagged , , | 28 Comments