Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated +)

Aug. 15, 2022, Mystery Photo
For Monday, we have a mystery guest. 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 — ‘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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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

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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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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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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Main Title over nighttime streetscape of New York
This week’s mystery movie was the 1942 RKO film The Big Street, with Henry Fonda, Lucille Ball, Barton MacLane, Eugene Pallette, Agnes Moorehead, Sam Levene, Ray Collins, Marion Martin, William Orr, George Cleveland, Vera Gordon and Ozzie Nelson and His Orchestra. Continue reading

Posted in Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo | Tagged , , | 34 Comments

Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights — Nelson Evans, Hollywood’s Early Forgotten Portrait Photographer

Nelson Evans

Photo: Nelson Evans

Note: This is an encore post from 2012.

Unlike the theatrical world, the early motion picture industry was slow in recognizing the importance of photographs to help publicize and sell its films. While Broadway producers hired great New York portrait studios like Sarony, White, Lumiere, Vandamm, and Moody to shoot scene and portrait stills of stars for newspaper and magazine coverage in the early 1900s, film studios, particularly those here on the West Coast, did not engage in the practice until the mid-teens.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Little-Known Figures of Hollywoodland

The Patrick M. Longan residence at 1305 Durand Drive, designed by John De Lario, courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library.

Although a heavily advertised, exclusive real estate development owned by such investors as Harry Chandler, M. H. Sherman and Eli P. Clark, Hollywoodland mainly succeeded because of the work and efforts of mostly forgotten men. Two individuals, however, gained importance over the decades for their public contributions, though details of their lives remained clouded in obscurity. John L. De Lario’s and Albert Kothe’s work helped epitomize Hollywoodland in shadow and substance. Continue reading

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Main title of Greenwich Village. Caricatures of painters, dancers, against a green checkerboard background
This week’s mystery movie was the 1944 Twentieth Century-Fox film Greenwich Village, with Carmen Miranda, Don Ameche, William Bendix, and introducing in her first featured role, Vivian Blaine. And Felix Bressart, Tony and Sally De Marco, The Revuers, B.S. Pully, Four Step Brothers and Emil Rameau.
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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Hollywood Sign Built and Illuminated November-December 1923


The Hollywoodland Sign, in a photo published in the Los Angeles Evening Herald, Dec. 8, 1923.

Note: This is an encore post from 2017.

riginally constructed as a publicity gimmick and branding symbol to help generate sales for a real estate development, the Hollywood Sign is now a worldwide icon just as powerful as Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower, and the Statue of Liberty, signifying a land of glamour and opportunity. Myths have always existed about it, from the date of its construction to how the city of Hollywood obtained it. After in-depth research by both historian Bruce Torrence and myself, we can conclusively say the sign was constructed in late November and early December 1923, and illuminated in that first week of December.

Like me, a California transplant involved in history, research, and writing since I was child, Torrence has always been fascinated by Hollywood history, perhaps because his two famous grandfathers contributed much to it. His paternal grandfather, Ernest Torrence, starred in many classic silent films such as “Steamboat Bill Jr.” and “Peter Pan” after a successful career as an opera singer. His maternal grandfather C. E. Toberman could be called the builder of Hollywood for his construction of so many iconic structures around Hollywood Boulevard. Bruce began a photo collection of Hollywood in 1972 with thirty photographs, which has blossomed into thousands. He employed these photos in writing one of Hollywood’s first detailed history books in 1979 called “Hollywood: The First 100 Years.”

Hollywood at Play: The Lives of the Stars Between Takes, by Stephen X. Sylvester, Mary Mallory and Donovan Brandt, goes on sale Feb. 1, 2017.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Update + + + +)

Main Title Ma and Pa Kettle. Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride on an old rattle-trap truck
This week’s mystery movie was the 1949 Universal picture Ma and Pa Kettle, with Marjorie Main, Percy Kilbride, Richard Long, Meg Randall, Patricia Alphin, Esther Dale, Barry Kelley, Harry Antrim, Ida Moore and Emory Parnell.
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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Hollywood Bowl


Note: This is an encore post from 2012

Attending a concert at the Hollywood Bowl during the summer is a long Los Angeles tradition. This treasured local jewel located at 2301 N. Highland Avenue gained fame for its natural and wonderful acoustics in the late 1910s, with the Theatre Arts Alliance choosing the site in 1919 to construct an amphitheatre. The site opened with simple wood seats and stage in 1920 at the site originally known as the Daisy Dell.  The Hollywood Bowl Association was formed in 1924 when the Arts Alliance organization deeded the land to Los Angeles County. Plays, dances, concerts, and Easter Sunrise Services comprise only a small amount of the varied programs held annually at the site, known as the United States’ largest known amphitheatre.

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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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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)


This week’s mystery movie was the 1971 movie Johnny Got His Gun, with Timothy Bottoms, Jason Robards, Kathy Fields, Donald Sutherland, Marsha Hunt, Diane Varsi, Donald Barry, Eric Christmas, Charles McGraw, Eduard Franz, Byron Morrow, Kerry MacLane and Sande Brown Wyeth. Continue reading

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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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