RIP Robert Osborne (1932 – 2017)

 

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Robert Osborne, the always affable TCM host, has died at 84 after years of declining health.

TCM Remembers Robert Osborne (video).

Los Angeles Times.

Variety.

Washington Post.

New York Times profile.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

'The Beast of the City'
This week’s mystery movie has been the 1932 MGM film “The Beast of the City,” with Walter Huston, Jean Harlow, Wallace Ford, Jean Hersholt, Dorothy Peterson, Tully Marshall, John Miljan, Emmett Corrigan, Warner Richmond, Sandy Roth and J. Carroll Naish, and directed by Charles Brabin. It was a Cosmopolitan production, from a story by W.R. Burnett, with photography by Norbert Brodine.

I hadn’t planned to do another pre-code so soon, but this was too good to pass up.

“The Beast of the City” is available from Warner Archive for $17.99.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Hillview Apartment Building Graces Hollywood Boulevard

 

Hillview Apartments, Postcard
A postcard of the Hillview Apartment Building, from the California State Library.



L
ong an elegant sight on Hollywood Boulevard, the Hillview Apartment Building’s (now the Hollywood Hudson Apartments) central location in Hollywood and its graceful look attracted entertainers of all fields looking for a comfortable but stylish home. Almost 100 years old, the structure still operates as an apartment building for those trying to climb the rungs of the Hollywood entertainment ladder.

Hollywood functioned mostly as a sleepy little farming community until the moving picture industry discovered it in the 1910s, turning the burg into a busy industrial center by the early 1920s. Movie-struck people from around the country poured into the community hoping to gain their fame in the Hollywood game. As the town grew, its main street, Prospect Avenue, filled with stately Victorian mansions and parks, evolved into the commercially driven Hollywood Boulevard. Between 1915-1935, Hollywood Boulevard between Argyle Avenue and El Centro functioned as the film industry’s main street, a prime shooting location, entertainment center, and shopping mecca.

Hollywood at Play, by Donovan Brandt, Mary Mallory and Stephen X. Sylvester is now on sale.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

March 4, 2017, Mystery Photo
This week’s mystery movie has been the 1952 RKO film “Blackbeard, the Pirate,” with Robert “Yarr” Newton, Linda Darnell, William Bendix, Keith Andes, Torin Thatcher, Irene Ryan, Alan Mowbray, Richard Egan, Skelton Knaggs, Dick Wessel, Anthony Caruso, Jack Lambert, Noel Drayton and Pat Flaherty.

The screenplay was by Alan LeMay from a story by DeVallon Scott, with music by Victor Young, photography by William E. Snyder, art direction by Albert S. D’Agostino and Jack Okey, set decorations by Darrell Silvera and John Sturtevant, costumes by Michael Woulfe, musical direction by C. Bakaleinikoff and makeup by Mel Berns. Dialogue direction was by Hal A. “Yarr” Long. The movie was produced by Edmund Grainger and directed by Raoul Walsh.

It is available on DVD from multiple sources.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: 940 N. Highland Ave. Salutes Animals

 

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940 N. Highland Ave. via Google Street View.

Long a striking icon on Highland Avenue, 940 N. Highland Avenue’s attractive facade highlights the building’s original use as a dog and cat hospital. Simple and elegant, its sleek modernistic look hints at streamline moderne with its horizontal window and door lines, as stylish now as it looked at its 1930 opening.

Veterinarian Dr. Alexander (Alex) Moxley purchased the property to expand his veterinary practice beyond his 1410 E. Washington Blvd. office location. Born November 2, 1888 in Missouri, Moxley arrived in Los Angeles around 1910, as he and his wife Helen are listed in the 1910 U. S. census as living in Los Angeles. The 1910 Los Angeles city directory lists his veterinary practice at 528 S. San Pedro St. In 1912 his business is located at 1900 S. Central Ave., where he was also operating an auction house. Moxley had some renown, as a wire photo ran in multiple newspapers showing him operating on a zoo elephant. The 1917 directory lists his veterinary business at 1410 E. Washington Blvd.

Hollywood at Play, by Donovan Brandt, Mary Mallory and Stephen X. Sylvester is now on sale.

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Eve Golden’s YouTube Theater: Some People . . .

Gypsy--Ethel Merman
Ethel Merman in Gypsy on the cover of Playbill.


So Barbra Streisand is still talking about playing Mama Rose in Gypsy. Now, I love Babs, but she is 74, and when Dainty June and Rose Louise went into vaudeville in the early 1920s, “Mama Rose” was only in her early 30s. Seriously, Barbra, who’s going to play your Dainty June, Madonna?

By the way, here is some footage of the actual Dainty June Havoc, aged six, in a Harold Lloyd comedy:

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

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This week’s mystery movie has been the 1931 RKO picture “Millie,” based on the novel by Donald Henderson Clarke, directed by John Francis Dillon, produced by Charles R. Rogers, adapted by Charles Kenyon, with dialogue by Charles Kenyon and Ralph Murphy, music by Nacio Herb Brown and photography by Ernest Haller. The movie features Helen Twelvetrees, Lilyan Tashman, Robert Ames, James Hall, John Halliday, Joan Blondell, Anita Louise, Edmund Breese, Frank McHugh, Charlotte Walker, Franklin Parker, Charles Delaney and Harry Stubbs.

The movie is available on Amazon.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights – Hollywoodland’s Kanst Art Gallery

 

kanst_art_gallery
Note: This is an encore post from 2013.

The Hollywoodland housing development possessed many unique features when it opened in 1923. The neighborhood was the first themed housing development built on hillsides, the first to include a shopping center in its environs, and the first to house an art gallery. While the developers planned the first two elements on their own, the art gallery came into existence because of the dream of its builder, John F. Kanst. Kanst was Los Angeles’ veteran established art dealer when he bought land on Mulholland Highway to construct his dream home and art space.

Kanst arrived in Los Angeles in 1895 at the age of 32 intent on teaching the finer points of art to the public, training them to recognize and appreciate great works to buy for decoration of their homes. He arrived at a time when most people hung “chromos” or copies on their walls instead of original works. Kanst began buying paintings from Southern California artists and slowly began the process of educating the public about what art was and why it was important. As he would state, “An original painting of good quality is a living presence in the home.”

Hollywood at Play, by Donovan Brandt, Mary Mallory and Stephen X. Sylvester is now on sale.

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L.A. Times Recants 1942 Editorials on Internment of Japanese Americans

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Feb. 21, 1942: The Times reports President Roosevelt’s executive order on the evacuation of Japanese Americans. Note the byline: Future Nixon booster Kyle Palmer.


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Feb. 19, 2017: The Los Angeles Times recants its 1942 editorials on the internment of Japanese Americans.


Although long overdue, this is a rare admission for a newspaper. Of course, The Times wasn’t the only newspaper that took embarrassing editorial positions during the war. Here’s an editorial in the Los Angeles Examiner (d. 1962) against allowing Japanese Americans to return to California.

Oct. 16, 1944, Los Angeles Examiner

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Black Dahlia: Remembering ‘Severed’ Con Man John Gilmore

John Gilmore 'Bonanza'

I promised I would tell a few tales about the late John Gilmore, author of “Severed.” It’s on L.A. Review of Books. (Though prone to exaggeration, Gilmore actually had a few small roles as an actor, including this 1960 appearance in “Bonanza” in an episode titled “The Gunmen.”)

Posted in 1947, 2016, Another Good Story Ruined, Black Dahlia, Hollywood, Obituaries, Television | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Eve Golden’s YouTube Theater: Theresa Harris

 

Theresa Harris
An image of Theresa Harris from PM magazine, Oct. 29, 1949, listed on EBay for $60.

Lena Horne was an angry, angry woman—she felt that if she’d been white she’d have had the career of Rita Hayworth or Doris Day. Anna May Wong was an angry, angry woman, as she saw Katharine Hepburn, Luise Rainer, Loretta Young and Sylvia Sidney cast as “Asian” in unintentionally hilarious makeup, while Anna’s career languished. Today, Peter Dinklage is an angry, angry man, as he knows damn well that if he were six feet tall, he’d be another George Clooney. Life is not fair, and show business even less so.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

The Verdict

Several members of the Brain Trust identified this week’s mystery movie as the 1946 film “The Verdict,” and with four good reasons: Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, Joan Lorring and Rosalind Ivan. (And I could have thrown in Arthur Shields and Colin Kelly, who also appeared in both films).

But as producer David Lewis once said, Warner Bros. ran a tight ship unlike MGM, and it got a lot of work out of its players. So we will put away our trickster hat and say that this week’s mystery movie ….

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights — AMPAS Awards Stills Photographers

AMPAS STILLS SHOW SONG OF B

“A close second as the Best Production Still Out-of-Doors, is this beautifully composed and lighted scene from “Song of Bernadette,” 20th-Century-Fox production, by Stax Graves,” Courtesy of Mary Mallory.


Note: This is an encore of a post from 2014.

O
ver its 87-year-old history, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has recognized outstanding work by individuals involved in the filmmaking process. Above-the line-talent like actors and directors have been recognized, along with behind-the-scenes contributors like editors, composers, and production and costume designers. Science and technology experts are also receive awards for their contributions in improving equipment and technology for the filmmaking process.

For four years during the 1940s, AMPAS also presented awards to motion picture studio stills photographers, recognizing their work in producing creative and beautiful visual representations selling motion pictures to consumers. Although the winning stillsmen did not receive Oscar statuettes or gain wide publicity for their awards, this competition was the very first important public acknowledgment of the importance still photographers played in promoting films to the movie-going public.

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

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Eve Golden’s YouTube Theater: Blossom Seeley — The Other Sophie Tucker

 

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Blossom Seeley and Bennie Fields in a Vitaphone short.

 


TCM recently showed the fascinating pre-Code Broadway Thru a Keyhole, with an amazing cast including poor Russ Columbo Texas Guinan, and Blossom Seeley. Bizarrely, Blossom was not given a musical number (one of Frances Williams’ could and should easily have been handed over to her).

Blossom (1891-1974) was a hard-boiled belter of the Sophie Tucker school. She made a splash on Broadway in Lew Fields’ The Hen-Pecks (1911), costarring a pre-Irene Vernon Castle—her ragtime number Toddling the Todalo became her first big hit. Blossom—with her third husband and onstage partner Benny Fields—went on to appear in Broadway revues and in vaudeville through the 1930s, topping the bill at the Palace time and again.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Feb. 11, 2017, Mystery Photo

This week’s mystery movie has been the 1973 film “Bad Charleston Charlie,” released by International Cinema Corporation, presented by Reno Carell, in association with Bad Charleston Charlie Associates. It was produced by Ross Hagen, directed by Ivan Nagy, with Ross Hagen, Kelly Thordsen, Hoke Howell, Dal Jenkins,  Carmen Zapata, Mel Berger,  John Carradine, Ken Lynch, Jon Dalk, Tony Lorea, Claire Hagen and Paul Gregory White. It was photographed by Michael Neyman, written by Ross Hagen, Ivan Nagy and Stan Kamber from an original story by Ross Hagen and Ivan Nagy.

“Bad Charleston Charlie” is not available on DVD or Blu-ray. The VHS copies are quite rare and usually go for a lot of money on EBay.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Edward A.D. Christopher Home Witnesses History

 

11015 Front Facade Windows - Columns
The Edward A.D. Christopher home, photograph by Mary Mallory.



W
ith the speed of change in technology, transportation, and society, it’s often amazing that something historic survives. The Edward A. D. Christopher home at 11015 Aqua Vista Street in Studio City is such a specimen, a simple farmhouse which is a survivor and witness to the evolution of San Fernando Valley history for over 109 years. Time perhaps could be catching up to the home, and it needs your help to prevent demolition at the Thursday, February 9, 2017, Planning Commission meeting.

The Christopher home remains as one of the last vestiges of an original ranch home constructed when the Lankershim Ranch Land and Water Company began colonizing the former Rancho de San Fernando with white farmers in the late 1800s. On July 2, 1869, the San Fernando Farm Homestead Association purchased all interest in the ex Mission de San Fernando Rancho from Pio Pico. They also brought a suit for partition against the heirs of Eulogio de Celix and received full title to the southerly portion of the Valley.

Hollywood at Play, by Donovan Brandt, Mary Mallory and Stephen X. Sylvester is now on sale.

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Eve Golden’s YouTube Theater: Mephisto

 

Igo Sym
A postcard of Igo Sym listed on EBay as Buy It Now for $6.

So I’m watching this 1927 German silent film, Café Elektric, starring Marlene Dietrich as a ne’er-do-well spoiled rich girl. And I am charmed by the young blond actor playing the male lead. Igo Sym; never heard of him, but he is handsome and charming and such a good actor. I’ll look him up online and see whatever became of hi—OMIGAWD!

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Coming Events: Book Signing for ‘Hollywood at Play’

Hollywood at Play

A book signing for “Hollywood at Play,” by Donovan Brandt, Mary Mallory and Stephen X. Sylvester, will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday at Larry Edmunds Bookshop at 6644 Hollywood Blvd.

Posted in 2017, Books and Authors, Coming Attractions, Film, Hollywood, Mary Mallory | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

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This week’s mystery movie has been the 1931 Paramount film “The Smiling Lieutenant,” with Maurice Chevalier, Claudette Colbert, Charlie Ruggles, Miriam Hopkins, George Barbier and Hugh O’Connell. The film was directed by Ernst Lubitsch, written by Ernest Vajda and Samson Raphaelson, based on “The Waltz Dream” by Leopold Jacobson and Felix Dormann, and the novel “Nux Der Prinzgemahl” by Hans Muller, with music by Oscar Straus, lyrics by Clifford Grey and photography by George Folsey. It was preserved by the UCLA Film and Television Archive.

It is available on DVD for $47.96 in the four-disc box set from the Criterion Collection: “Lubitsch Musicals” with “The Love Parade,” “Monte Carlo” and “One Hour With You.”

 

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Cecil B. DeMille – Big Man on Campus

 

Sept. 8, 1956, Cecil B. DeMille
Cecil B. DeMille meets students who will attend DeMille Junior High School, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Sept. 9, 1956.



S
chools are often named after historic or famous figures that offer inspiration, hope, and good examples to students of that neighborhood or district. While many buildings are named after Presidents, authors, inventors, and the like, sometimes world famous film folk like Cecil B. DeMille are honored as well. In the 1950s, two Southern California schools were named after the legendary director at the peak of his popularity.

In 1955 Long Beach, California required a new junior high for its expanding district. After much consideration, school Supt. Douglas Newcomb announced on January 3, 1955, that they would honor both the motion picture industry, the largest Southern California industry, and the great director by naming their new school the Cecil B. DeMille Junior High School. It would be located on land they hoped to acquire from the city of Long Beach.

Hollywood at Play, by Donovan Brandt, Mary Mallory and Stephen X. Sylvester goes on sale Feb. 1.

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