Black Dahlia: Leslie Dillon, Paul De River and the LAPD – Part 3

The Mirror

The Mirror (that would be the other Mirror) jumps on the Dahlia Murder “Solved!” bandwagon.


Nobody “enjoys a good murder” as much as the Brits, so we are seeing a wave of publicity for Piu Eatwell’s new book, “Black Dahlia, Red Rose,” in which she “solves” the Black Dahlia case.

Executive summary: Brit writer stumbles into mass of disorganized documents and makes an elementary mistake, deciding that a suspect who was cleared in the 1940s was part of a massive conspiracy and coverup involving the police and “organized crime.”

CEO summary: Leslie Dillon was in San Francisco at the time Elizabeth Short was killed. Everything else is merely window dressing.

 

The Black Dahlia: Leslie Dillon, Paul De River and the LAPD: Part 1 | Part 2

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Black Dahlia: Leslie Dillon, Paul De River and the LAPD – Part 2

De_River_Sexual_Criminal_o_900

“The Sexual Criminal,” by Dr. Joseph Paul De River, in a revised edition with an introduction by Brian King published in 2000. More about this book later. It will be important.



Where does one start in telling the curious story of Dr. Joseph Paul De River?

Certainly not with the Black Dahlia case.

As nearly as we can determine, De River was born Nov. 6, 1893, and died in April 12, 1977.

Beyond that, it’s complicated.

The Black Dahlia: Leslie Dillon, Paul De River and the LAPD: Part 1

 

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Black Dahlia: Leslie Dillon, Paul De River and the LAPD — Part 1

True Detective

The Paul De River/Leslie Dillon/LAPD coverup conspiracy theory in the 1947 Black Dahlia murder is getting some traction with the upcoming release of Piu Eatwell’s “Black Dahlia, Red Rose,” which purports to “solve” the Dahlia case.

Spoiler alert

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Sept. 16, 2017, Mystery Photo
This week’s mystery movie has been the 1952 MGM picture “The Prisoner of Zenda” and, as many people pointed out, it is not as good as the Ronald Colman version (1937).

This version of “Zenda” stars Stewart Granger and Deborah Kerr, with Louis Calhern, Jane Greer, Lewis Stone, Robert Douglas, James Mason, with a screenplay by John L. Balderston and Noel Langley, adapted by Wells Root from the novel by Anthony Hope and the dramatization by Edward Rose. Music by Alfred Newman, adapted by Conrad Salinger, photography by Joseph Ruttenberg, art direction by Cedric Gibbons and Hans Peters, set decoration by Edwin B. Willis and Richard Pefferle, costumes by Walter Plunkett, hair styles by Sydney Guilaroff and makeup by William Tuttle. It was produced by Pandro S. Berman and directed by Richard Thorpe.

“The Prisoner of Zenda” is available on DVD from Amazon.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: 2017 Cinecon Salutes Entertainment

 

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The entertaining 2017 Cinecon Film Festival offered a little something for everyone this year, showcasing over 50 silent films, talkies, television kinescopes, musical shorts, and even documentaries with lovely vintage prints and live accompaniment adding some extra pizzazz. Several of the films offered timely messages about issues that still plague us today, while others continued to entertain with their goofy or physical humor. The festival highlights materials mostly unseen since their original release and unlikely to air on TCM or even be released as DVDs or through streaming, from top rate releases of the day through general programmers screened in small town houses. Fifty-three years young, Cinecon remains the ultimate destination for those seeking out rare, obscure, and typical American film releases starring superstars to mid-level talent to virtually unknown character actors.

While perhaps not an outstanding program, this year’s festival featured some moving and knockout pictures, as well as many engaging ones, in which truth, justice, and the American way always succeeded in the end, unlike that in real life. A smorgasbord of unplanned themes and topics highlighted the films, including cross-dressing, false identities, gambling, underhanded double dealing, working women, potential philandering, financial struggle, judgmental busybodies, and prescient politics. Each day built on the other, with Monday, September 4 featuring the strongest and most memorable pictures.

 

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

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Black Dahlia – Piu Eatwell’s ‘Black Dahlia, Red Rose’ Exhumes Leslie Dillon

Black Dahlia, Red Rose, cover

Since I learned a few months ago that British writer Piu Eatwell was going to “solve” the Black Dahlia case in the forthcoming book “Black Dahlia, Red Rose,” I have been waiting to see if she would open

— Door No. 1 (George Knowlton in Janice Knowlton’s “Daddy Was the Black Dahlia Killer”).

— Door No. 2 (Jack Anderson Wilson in John Gilmore’s “Severed”).

— Door No. 3 (Dr. George Hodel in Steve Hodel’s “Black Dahlia Avenger” franchise).

— Door No. 4 (Leslie Dillon in Jacque Daniel’s “The Curse of the Black Dahlia”).

This is, of course, assuming that nobody in their right mind would open Door No. 5 (Norman Chandler/Bugsy Siegel in Donald Wolfe’s “The Black Dahlia Files”).   See “Blogging the Wolfe Book” for more information.

Or perhaps she had a completely new suspect.

Now, according to a new review in The Sunday Times, we have Door No. 4: Leslie Dillon.

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‘Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood’ at the Toronto Film Festival – Oh Dear

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Scotty Bowers, author of the b.s.-laden book “Full Service,” is the subject of a “documentary” (cough, cough) by Matt Tyrnauer. Image courtesy of the Vanity Fair, which really ought to know better.


This is Scotty Bowers, who wrote a heaping pile of garbage called “Full Service,” which makes “Hollywood Babylon” look distinguished film scholarship. Back in 2012, I took a deep dive into fact-checking the book, which you can find here in 26 parts:

Fact-Checking “Full Service”: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13 | Part 14 | Part 15 | Part 16 | Part 17 | Part 18 | Part 19 | Part 20 | Part 21 | Part 22 | Part 23 | Part 24 | Part 25 | Part 26 
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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Sept. 9, 2017, Mystery Photo
This week’s silent mystery movie has been the 1925 MGM film “Lady of the Night,” with Norma Shearer, Malcolm MacGregor (McGregor), Dale Fuller, George K. Arthur, Fred Esmelton, Lew Harvey, Gwen Lee and Betty Morrisey (Morrissey). It was directed by Monta Bell. Story by Adela Rogers St. Johns, scenario by Alice D.G. Miller, settings by Cedric Gibbons and photography by Andre Barletier.

The DVD is available from Warner Archive for $17.99.

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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 + + + +)

Sept. 2, 2017, Mystery Photo
This week’s mystery movie has been the 1949 Walter Wanger film “Reign of Terror” later retitled “The Black Book,” with Robert Cummings, Richard Basehart, Richard Hart, Arlene Dahl, Arnold Moss, Norman Lloyd, Charles McGraw, Beulah Bondi and Jess Barker. The story and screenplay were by Philip Yordan and Aeneas MacKenzie, music by Sol Kaplan, photography by John Alton, art direction by Edward Ilou, orchestrations by George Parrish, conducted by Charles Previn. The film was produced by William Cameron Menzies, who did storyboards for the film, and directed by Anthony Mann. It was shot using the sets from the 1948 Walter Wanger film “Joan of Arc” as a way to recoup some of the financial losses from that movie.

The movie, which lapsed into public domain, is available on DVD from many sources, including TCM.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: 53rd Cinecon Festival Offers Diverse Lineup

 

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The 53rd Annual Cinecon Film Festival starts Thursday, August 31 at Hollywood’s glorious Egyptian Theatre, offering a welcoming diversity of programs and films from silly to sublime, topical to timeless, filmed everywhere from Wilshire Boulevard to Saugus to Truckee to Catalina. Live accompaniment by outstanding musicians gives voice to the silents, a true treat. Silents, sound films, musical and comedy shorts, documentaries, kinescopes and television programs, cartoons, celebrities, memorabilia sales, and even a play round out the wide-ranging schedule for this year’s event, offering something to delight everyone, the vast majority of which will neve be seen on DVD, TCM, YouTube, or streaming.

Special honorees this year include the erudite 101-year-young Norman Lloyd, receiving the Legacy Award during opening night festivities, the elegant 102 year-old Patricia Morison, appearing at the screening of her film “Untamed,” and the stylish and articulate Marsha Hunt, a 99-year-old youngster appearing for her film “The Accusing Finger.” These formidable legends bring a wealth of knowledge and history to movie lovers of all ages.

PDF of the Cinecon 53 program.

Brown Paper Tickets Here.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + )

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This week’s mystery film has been the 1959 French picture Deux hommes dans Manhattan or Two Men in Manhattan and I chose it to feature the Los Angeles Public Library’s new service of streaming films from the Criterion Collection. It’s provided by Kanopy and it’s free.

The plot of Two Men in Manhattan unravels about two-thirds of the way into the movie but the shots of New York (lots of hand-held camera filming on location) are interesting and it’s got a jazzy score.

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Movieland Mystery Photo – Special Edition

Mystery Photo

Alan K. Rode sends along this undated mystery photo taken at the Warner Bros. commissary, showing Michael Curtiz, right, Howard Hawks, center, and a mystery fellow on the left. Any help in identifying our mystery chap would be much appreciated.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: ‘Don’t Be a Sucker’ Promotes American Values

 

Aug. 21, 2017, Don't Be a Sucker
“Don’t Be a Sucker” is on YouTube.

 


Still as relevant today as when it was first produced over 70 years ago, the United States Army Signal Corps’ short “Don’t Be a Sucker” describes the founding principles of the United States’ Declaration of Independence and Constitution, that all people are created equal and should share in the bounties and freedom that they and all parts of our melting pot have created. From its beginnings, our country has welcomed people from around the world, blending voices and lives to create a wonderful smorgasbord of culture. Without all those beautiful grace notes, America would not be the country it is.

The Signal Corps created all types of films for the Army during World War II: training and instructional films, propaganda, rallying, and patriotic pieces, all aimed to get soldiers to devote their all in fighting our enemies to preserve our way of life. Most were never intended to be viewed by the general public, aimed strictly at the boys going overseas, both during the fight and then to prepare them for returning home and demonstrating these honorable values to others.

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

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Hollywood Reservoir – Hollywood’s Forgotten Lake

 

Mulholland Dam
Feb. 2, 1924: Hollywood Dam under construction.


A virtually forgotten oasis located in what was originally known as Weid Canyon in the Hollywood Hills, the Hollywood Reservoir served as much as bucolic paradise as water supply when first constructed in 1924. The decorative concrete structure has survived storms of protests for more than 90 years to serve the many needs of Hollywood and Los Angeles residents.

As early as 1897, newspapers described Weid’s Canyon as a quiet, peaceful place for strolls and picnicking. Named after its original owner Ivar A. Weid, who owned a quarry nearby and died in 1903, the gentle bowl was first surveyed as a possible site for a dam in 1912. The little town of Hollywood found itself desperate for water to feed its many crops, asking the city of Los Angeles for annexation in 1910 in order to obtain its needed supply. The 1913 construction of the Los Angeles Aqueduct provided an even greater source of water. By 1920, Los Angeles itself began looking for suitable locations throughout the metropolitan area on which to construct dams to service local communities, especially as it weathered a series of droughts.

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

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

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This week’s mystery movie was the 1952 RKO film “At Sword’s Point,” with Cornel Wilde, Maureen O’Hara, Robert Douglas, Gladys Cooper, June Clayworth, Dan O’Herlihy, Alan Hale Jr., Blanche Yurka, Nancy Gates, Edmond Breon, Peter Miles, George Petrie and Moroni Olsen. The screenplay was by Walter Ferris and Joseph Hoffman from a story by Aubrey Wisberg and Jack Pollexfen, with photography by Ray Brennahan, art direction by Albert S. D’Agostino and Jack Okey, music by Roy Webb, set decorations by Darrell Silvers and William Stevens and gowns by Edward Stevenson. The producer was Jerrold T. Brandt and the director was Lewis Allen.

The movie is available on DVD from Warner Archive for $19.99.

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Book Review: ‘Playboy Laughs’

Playboy Laughs

Playboy Laughs: The Comedy, Comedians and Cartoons of Playboy
By Patty Farmer
Beaufort Books, 355 Pages

Judging by a chronological list of Playboy covers, I started reading the magazine about January 1967 and stopped with the October 1970 issue, which featured twins Madeleine and Mary Collinson. In the years that followed,  Playboy, which at the age of 15 had seemed to me simultaneously sophisticated and smutty, was eclipsed at newsstands across America by the raunchiness of Larry Flynt’s Hustler and to a lesser extent Bob Guccione’s Penthouse. Rather than being purchased at the drugstore for 75 cents or $1, like Playboy, Hustler and Penthouse could be found at the back of the bottom drawer of the manager’s desk at United Parcel Service, my employer at the time.

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Black Dahlia: ‘Hard-Boiled Hollywood’ and the ‘Blah Dahlia’

hardboiled_hollywood

Hard-Boiled Hollywood: Crime and Punishment in Postwar Los Angeles
By Jon Lewis
University of California Press, 233 pages.

 

“Sometimes it’s interesting to see just how bad bad writing can be.
This promised to go the limit.”
Joe Gillis, Sunset Boulevard

This dreadful book was recently left on my doorstep like a rather large, somewhat festering rat that had been dragged in by the cat. But calling Hard-Boiled Hollywood a dreadful book is an insult to all the other dreadful books in the world. Even “atrocious” isn’t enough. We could fire words at this book until the thesaurus was empty and still be grasping for ways to describe so much failure crammed into 199 densely written pages, plus endnotes and index. That’s right: no bibliography.

If Hard-Boiled Hollywood were from some fringe publisher like Feral House or Amok Books, we could shrug it off, but it was published by the University of California Press, which calls itself “one of the most distinguished university presses in the United States, [enriching] lives around the world by advancing scholarship in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences.”

Do tell.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Aug. 12, 2017, Seven Days Ashore

This week’s mystery movie has been the 1943 RKO film “Seven Days Ashore,” with Wally Brown, Alan Carney, Marcy McGuire, Dooley Wilson, Gordon Oliver, Virginia Mayo, Amelita Ward, Elaine Shepard, Marjorie Gateson, Alan Dinehart, Miriam LaVelle, Margaret Dumont, Freddie Slack and Orchestra and Freddie Fisher — Colonel Corn and His Band. The screenplay was by Edward Verdier, Irving Phillips and Lawrence Kimble, from an original story by Jacques Deval. The musical director was our old friend C. Bakaleinikoff, with songs by Mort Greene and Lew Pollack, orchestra arrangements by Gene Rose, and dance direction by Charles O’Curran. Photography was by Russell Metty, art direction by Albert S. D’Agostino and set decorations by Darrell Silvera and William Stevens. “Seven Days Ashore” was produced and directed by John H. Auer.

It is not commercially available on DVD and was apparently never released on VHS.

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Mary Mallory: Hollywood Heights – A Perfect Villain

Gustav von Seyffertitz
Photo: “Rasputin and the Empress,” with Gustav von Seyffertitz, center, with Ethel Barrymore, Edward Arnold, John Barrymore, Tad Alexander and Lionel Barrymore. Photo listed on EBay. Bidding starts at $9.99.


Note: This is an encore post from 2011

One of the best villains of the silent screen also possessed one of the most unusual and incredible names of the period. Gustav von Seyffertitz, hissable villain extraordinaire, lived up to his unbelievable name. Born in Bavaria, Germany on August 4, 1863, von Seyffertitz immigrated to America sometime in the late 1890s and soon became an actor at the Irving Place Theatre, the top German theatre in New York City.

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

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