Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated)

Sept. 27, 2021, Mystery Photo

For Monday, we have a mystery woman. Her somewhat less mysterious companion has been cropped out and will appear later in the week.

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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: Hollywood’s Long Struggle for a Movie Museum

Motion Picture Museum Hall of Fame Sunset Blvd
The Motion Picture Museum and Hall of Fame, about 1932. Photo courtesy of Marc Wanamaker, Bison Archives.


On September 30, 2021, the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures finally opens to the public. Long a dream of many in the Hollywood entertainment industry, film museums in Los Angeles over the last century have failed due to a variety of reasons: lack of attendance, little faith in the concept, money problems, and even indifference and stinginess by the motion picture studios.

The academy has flirted with movie museums before. In 1928, it established a small museum at the University of Southern California in conjunction with its university film classes, which was called the Museum of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, housing cameras and projectors from the primitive days of cinema. In late October 1940, the academy considered creating a film museum in what was then the Cafe Trocadero, to include a variety of exhibits on the production and creation of films as well as a history of the medium from its beginnings. It would cooperate with various local Chambers of Commerce and the Museum of Modern Art’s Film Library to produce exhibits, showcase films, and outfit the museum. Instead, the Board of Governors announced at its November meeting that it was dropping its option on the club and any concept of a film museum would be postponed due to needing a much larger space for exhibits, theaters, and thousands of guests.

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Found on EBay: A. Victor Segno, L.A.’s Greatest Charlatan

Sept. 26, 2021, Victor Segno Covers
A. Victor Segno is my favorite Los Angeles charlatan and I’ve written about him several times. His scam was to have people send money to him at his HQ in Echo Park and in return he would send out a “success wave.” Postal authorities who investigated Segno said he received more mail than any other single individual in California.

A. Victor Segno

Here is Segno with a “success wave” (artist’s concept). Also notice the beautiful hair, the subject of one of Segno’s many treatises, which also included mentalism and living to be 100. He wrote about being happy “tho’ married,” although his decamping with his secretary would suggest that his knowledge of the subject was mainly theoretical.

My 2007 post from the 1947project.

My 2012 story from the Los Angeles Times.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Sept. 25, 2021, The Girl Most Likely. Showing a marina and many sailboats

This week’s mystery movie was the 1957 RKO film The Girl Most Likely, with Jane Powell, Cliff Robertson, Keith Andes, Kaye Ballard, Tommy Noonan, Una Merkel, Kelly Brown, Judy Nugent and Frank Cady.

Screenplay by Devery Freeman.

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Mary Mallory: Hollywood Heights – Slavko Vorkapich

Slavko Vorkapich, Aug. 19, 1923 Note: This is an encore post from 2012.

Many people come from all over the world to try and make a new start in Hollywood, particularly in the film industry. Among these over the years have been many artists from Eastern Europe looking for new opportunities to create art and live freely. One such early trekker seeking fame and fortune was Slavko Vorkapich, recognized as one of the top practitioners of montage editing and shooting in the 1930s and 1940s.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Myrtle Gonzalez – Early Latina Movie Star

Myrtle Gonzalez

An autographed photo of Myrtle Gonzalez by the Martel-Carruthers studio, inscribed to Jean Herscholt, listed on EBay at $250


Mostly forgotten today because of her untimely death in the 1918 influenza epidemic, Los Angeles native Myrtle Gonzalez began singing and reciting as a child before becoming one of cinema’s first Latina stars. Proud of her Hispanic heritage, Gonzalez never stooped to portraying negative stereotypes of Latinos, but instead focused on dramatic and action roles, gaining the moniker “nature girl.”

Born September 28, 1891, in Los Angeles, Gonzalez grew up in the Catholic Church, a refuge for her Los Angeles-born father, Manuel, and her Irish American mother, Lillian. The Gonzalez family supposedly lived for several decades in Los Angeles, with her great-grandfather one of the first people married in the Old Plaza Church. Lillian practiced her music talents, performing in church and organizing programs of recitations, songs, dance and drama for a variety of venues, often as benefits for organizations like the Plaza Church. She directed choirs for adults and children, taught music lessons and managed her students as well. In 1901, she even produced and directed a children’s opera version of “Cinderella” featuring more than 100 voices.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

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This week’s mystery movie was the 1947 Twentieth Century-Fox film The Brasher Doubloon, with George Montgomery, Nancy Guild, Conrad Janis, Roy Roberts, Fritz Kortner, Florence Bates and Marvin Miller.

Screenplay by Dorothy Hannah. Adaptation by Lenoard Praskins. Based on a novel by Raymond Chandler.

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Found on EBay: ‘What Actors Eat (When They Eat!)’

What Actors Eat When They Eat Stan Laurel, recipe for ham ring mold

A copy of the Lymanhouse cookbook “What Actors Eat (When They Eat!)” by Kenneth Harlan and Rex Lease has been listed on EBay as Buy It Now for $79.88. This book, by the L.A.-based publishing house, features recipes by movie stars of the day, and is extremely rare and very desirable among movie history fans. It generally goes for hundreds of dollars when you can find a copy, which is almost never. If you try Mr. Laurel’s ham ring mold, let us know how it is.

Note: As always, a vendor and item should be thoroughly evaluated before submitting a bid.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Cinecon 57 – Brightening Days With Classic Film2

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For the second year in a row, the Cinecon Classic Film Festival occurred virtually, bringing a respite from ongoing COVID struggles with entertaining and informative movies and television kinescopes. Overflowing with music, heart-tugging animals, and even issues society is wrestling with today, the festival offered a diverse and winning program for those missing their classic film fix, with strong documentaries stealing the show.

Friday kicked off with the slight 1927 “Dynamite Dan,” a so-so poverty row crime and boxing picture featuring Boris Karloff as a shady operator with the first screen appearance of young Mary Brian (thanks Mike Hawks!). The breezy musical short “Make Mine Monica” introduced 1949 audiences to aspiring singer/starlet Monica Lewis, cute as a button. Gossip columnist turned TV host Ed Sullivan appears as himself in this slight but sweet short.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Tunes of Glory. At night, a snowy brick road leading to an elaborate Scottish fort on a distant hill

This week’s mystery movie was the 1960 film Tunes of Glory, with Alec Guinness, John Mills, Dennis Price, Kay Walsh, John Fraser, Gordon Jackson, Duncan Macrae, Percy Herbert, Allan Cuthbertson, Paul Whitsun-Jones, Richard Leech, Gerald Harper and Peter McEnery. Introducing Susannah York.

Executive Producer Albert Fennell.

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Mary Mallory: Hollywood Heights – the Photoplayer

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Photo: Joe Rinaudo with his Fotoplayer.  Credit: Joe Rinaudo.


Note: This is an encore post from 2011.

For a short time in the 1920s, 8,000-10,000 photoplayers ruled the roost at medium-sized motion picture theaters. Basically organs with player piano rolls that allowed an operator to make all types of sound effects along with songs, photoplayers helped theater owners reduce costs by replacing their small orchestras with just one piece of equipment and one player.

One roll would play as another would be queued, and the operator could produce any manner of sound effects from items contained in and on the organ, such as percussion drums, bells, whistle, fog horn, train whistle, car horn, Indian tom toms, cymbals, etc.

Not only are they fun to listen to, but especially entertaining to watch the operator as well.  Of course, sound would quickly put photoplayers out to pasture in the early 1930s when talkies arrived, but they were very popular for about 18 years.

Sept. 21, 1912, Fotoplayer Orchestra
Sept. 21, 1912: The $10,000 American Fotoplayer Orchestra at the Mozart Theater.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Cinecon 57 Opens Labor Day Weekend

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Sequences from William S. Hart’s “Blue Blazes Rawden” will be shown at Cinecon 57.


For those missing attending classic film screenings in person, the 57th Cinecon Classic Film Festival, the granddaddy of American vintage film fests, presents over 20 hours of rare and newly restored motion pictures and television kinescopes over Labor Day weekend, Friday, September 3 through Monday, September 6, 2021 on its webpage at www.cinecon.org. Occurring virtually once again due to the pandemic, the free event offers a little something from virtually every genre for film lovers of all ages. The festival will feature introductions by special guests, classic Cinecon memories, a  Jane Withers tribute, and even surprise titles.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Sept. 4, 2021, Patterns Title, New York skyline silhouetted in black against the sky.

This week’s mystery movie was the 1956 film Patterns, with Van Heflin, Everett Sloane, Ed Begley, Beatrice Straight, Elizabeth Wilson, Joanna Roos, Valerie Cossart, Eleni Kiamos, Ronnie Welsh, Shirley Standlee, Andrew Duggan, Jack Livesy, John Seymour, James Kelly, John Shelly, Victor Harrison, Sally Gracie, Sally Chamberlin and Edward Binns.

Edited by David Kummins and Carl Lerner. Assistant editor James Barclay, production manager Max Glandbard, unit manager James Di Gangi.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Mack Sennett and Studio City’s Central Motion Picture District


Studio City CMPDistrict


Note: This is an encore post from 2013.

Eighty-five years ago, the Mack Sennett Studio opened at 4024 N. Radford in Studio City. The studio functioned as a magnet in hopes of drawing other film production companies and studios to the surrounding land owned by Central Motion Picture District.

The Central Motion Picture District land syndicate was conceived by Harry Merrick, formerly president of the Chicago Assn. of Commerce, now a local real estate man. Merrick helped organize Chicago’s Central Manufacturing District and recognized that the wide-open space near the Los Angeles River in North Hollywood could function in a similar fashion for the movie industry.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights – Vice Raid and Early TV in Hollywood’s Biggest Storehouse

Hollywood Storage, Courtesy Google Earth
The Hollywood Storage Building as seen in Google Earth.


Originally Los Angeles’ tallest building when opened in 1926, the Hollywood Storage Building at the southwest corner of Highland Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard towered over the rapidly expanding film city. Today it ironically advertises entertainment programming with giant billboards on its edifice. The Hollywood Storage Building still serves as one of Hollywood’s premier storage locations, as beautiful as it is practical.

Los Angeles residents needed little to no extra storage space pre-1900, as few possessed many superfluous items. With the rise of department stores and the birth of credit, many began purchasing consumer products advertised in magazines or newspapers to keep up with their acquisitive neighbors. Most storage facilities began small, more for businesses to store records and documents, led by the Bekins family and their moving/storage business.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Beyond the Rocks Poster

This week’s mystery movie was the 1922 film Beyond the Rocks, with Gloria Swanson, Rudolph Valentino, Edythe Chapman, Alec B. Francis, Robert Bolder, Gertrude Astor, June Elvidge, Mabel Van Buren (which I’ve been reading as “Martin Van Buren” all week, though the movie isn’t THAT old), Helen Dunbar, etc.

Directed by Sam Wood, written by Jack Cunningham from the 1906 novel by Elinor Glyn.

Beyond the Rocks is available on DVD and via streaming. A video on the restoration of the film is on YouTube. Here’s the AFI entry on the film.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

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This week’s mystery movie was the 1944 Twentieth Century-Fox film Four Jills in a Jeep, with Kay Francis, Carole Landis, Martha Raye, Mitzi Mayfair, Jimmy Dorsey and His Orchestra, John Harvey and Phil Silvers. “Introducing Dick Haymes in his first motion picture.” Guest stars Alice Faye, Betty Grable, Carmen Miranda and George Jessel.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Norvell, Astrologer to the Stars

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Novell and Hedy Lamarr in Screenland.


Note: This is an encore post from 2015.

Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary defines astrology as “the divination of the supposed influences of the stars and planets on human affairs and terrestrial events by their positions and aspects.” For thousands of years, practitioners of this pseudo-science have attracted legions of followers hoping to divine their futures. Those that more accurately predicted events rose to positions of great power and influence, like the renowned Nostradamus.

Astrologers have always been popular in the film and entertainment industries, fields where luck and timing often influences who will become big stars or successes. Many are superstitious, because their careers depend so much upon chance and their futures can be problematical. Many insecure or questioning performers often turned to these fortune tellers hoping to make the right decisions in shaping their careers or finding love and romance.

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

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

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This week’s mystery movie was the 1952 MGM comedy Young Man With Ideas, with Glenn Ford, Ruth Roman, Denise Darcel, Nina Foch, Donna Corcoran, Ray Collins, Mary Wickes, Bobby Diamond, Sheldon Leonard, Dick Wessel, Carl Milletaire, Curtis Cooksey, Karl Davis, Faye Roope, John Call, Nadene Ashdown, Barry Rado/Norman Rado, Wilton Graff and Martha Wentworth.

Screenplay by Arthur Sheekman.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: How the Walk of Fame Was Born

Walk of Fame Groundbreaking

Gigi Perreau and Linda Darnell, center, at the groundbreaking for the Walk of Fame, with Francis X. Bushman and Charles Coburn, right, in an L.A. Times photo.


“Everyone needs a gimmick” goes a lyric in the musical “Gypsy,” and the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce dreamed up a great one in the mid-1950s to attract business and tourists to the area. Tying in with the concept of Hollywood and fame, the group decided to fashion dream streets filled with flashy lights, colored sidewalks, and starry tributes to filmland celebrities, what we know now as the Walk of Fame. In August 1958, the first test stars were premiered to test the viability and look of the notion.

In the 1920s, Hollywood Boulevard stood as one of the most glamorous streets in the world, filled with upscale shops catering to celebrities and other cognoscenti. Posh restaurants and nightclubs lined the boulevard, which attracted thousands of people to watch the annual Santa Claus Lane parade. By the 1950s however, much shopping and retail had moved to suburbs and neighborhood centers, leaving Hollywood Boulevard a shell of its former success……

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