Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Tell No Tales

This week’s mystery movie was the 1939 MGM picture “Tell No Tales,” with Melvyn Douglas, Louise Platt, Gene Lockhart, Douglass Dumbrille, Florence George, Halliwell Hobbes, Zeffie Tilbury, Harlan Briggs, Sara Haden, Hobart Cavanagh, Oscar O’Shea, Theresa Harris, Jean Fenwick, Esther Dale, Joseph Crehan and Tom Collins.

Screenplay by Lionel Houser, based on a story by Pauline London and Alfred Taylor.

Musical score by Dr. William Axt, recording director Douglas Shearer, art direction by Cedric Gibbons and Daniel B. Cathcart, set decorations by Edwin B. Willis, wardrobe by Dolly Tree, photography by Joseph Ruttenberg, montage by Peter Ballbusch, edited by W. Donn Hayes.

Produced by Edward Chodorov.

Directed by Leslie Fenton.

“Tell No Tales” has never been commercially released. It airs occasionally on TCM and there is a funky print on YouTube.

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Mary Mallory: Hollywood Heights – Oviatt’s

Oviatt Clock
Photo: An Oviatt clock, listed on EBay in 2010.


Note: This is an encore post from 2012.

Thanks to the motion picture industry here in Los Angeles, fine haberdashers and designers have sold elegant, tailored clothing to the rich and famous, while also existing in stylish surroundings themselves. Bullock’s Wilshire is one such establishment, Adrian’s another. Alexander and Oviatt, a fine men’s haberdasher in downtown Los Angeles, constructed a beautiful Art Deco sales room in the late 1920s, one which exists to this day.

James Oviatt helped found Alexander and Oviatt in 1912, to provide fine tailored clothing and furnishings for a male clientele. Located in downtown Los Angeles at Hill and Sixth Streets, the firm offered elegant, European cuts and styles, discovered during Oviatt’s travels overseas to offices in London, Paris, Berlin, and Vienna.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

May 9, 2020, Mystery Photo

This week’s mystery movie was the 1948 RKO picture “Fighting Father Dunne,” with Pat O’Brien, Darryl Hickman, Charles Kemper, Una O’Connor, Arthur Shields, Harry Shannon, Joe Sawyer, Anna Q. Nilsson, Donn Gift, Myrna Dell, Ruth Donnelly, Jim Nolan, Billy Cummings, Billy Gray, Eric Roberts, Gene Collins, Lester Matthews, Griff Barnett, Jason Robards (Sr.), and Rudy Whistler.

Executive producer Jack J. Gross. Screenplay by Martin Rackin and Frank Davis, story by William Rankin.

Photography by George E. Diskant, art direction by Albert S. D’Agostino and Walter E. Keller, special effects by Russell A. Cully, set decorations by Darrell Silvera and Adolph Kuri, makeup by Gordon Bau.

Music by Roy Webb, musical director C. Bakaleinikoff, edited by Frederic Kundtson, sound by Frank Sarver and Terry Kellum, assistant director John Pommer, dialogue director Eugene Busch.

Produced by Phil L. Ryan.

Directed by Ted Tetzlaff.

“Fighting Father Dunne” has never been commercially released on DVD. It was issued on VHS and occasionally airs on TCM.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Dick Grace, Hollywood’s Daredevil Sky Pilot

 

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Dick Grace in action.


Note: This is an encore post from 2014.

H
ollywood and aviation took off at about the same points in history, helping to put each other on the map. Early American aviators inaugurated the fledgling field in the early 1900s, just as early filmmakers were introducing short motion pictures to the American public. These film directors and producers sought out the magical sport of flying, capturing it with their cameras and screening it for astonished audiences. The Wright brothers’ first flight, the Dominguez 1909 Air Rally, as well as several others, were shot as moving pictures and shown to the public. Soon, stars themselves took to the air, with actress Mabel Normand possibly the first celebrity aloft in the 1914 Keystone short, “A Dash Through the Clouds.” Aviation really took off when it helped win the Great War in 1918.

Air thrills excited audiences, particularly those tricks performed by former war pilots barnstorming the country, so the movie industry quickly turned their cameras to the skies. Early films captured flying stunts by building large stands atop high hills and shooting angles that made it appear stars were aloft in the area. By the early 1920s, studios hired veteran aerialists to devise spectacular air stunts to energize moviegoers, stunts which also goosed the adrenaline of the thrill-seeking pilots. Mostly forgotten today, except by dedicated aviation fans, Richard “Dick” Grace stands out as perhaps Hollywood’s top daredevil sky pilot, intentionally diving and crashing planes for movies, living to tell the tale. Grace’s life and flying career rival any daring adventure concocted by film studios.

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

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Deja Vu All Over Again With COVID-19

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For more than a month, most of the world has lived in a state of suspended animation as we all deal with the effects of COVID-19. Many are not following guidelines or procedures, griping about the situation, etc., seeming to forget that their grandparents or great-grandparents dealt with the exact same things during the 1918-1919 global flu pandemic which killed more than 50 million people worldwide. They had no vaccines, specialized medicine, or procedures for dealing with such things.

The world then as now found itself quarantined and forced to follow rules and procedures trying to halt the spread of the disease and save lives. Movie theatres in particular seemed to feel the brunt of the situation in 1918, but perhaps it is good to be reminded of how people endured them to show that we can survive now.

Mary Mallory’s latest book,
Living With Grace: Life Lessons from America’s Princess,”  is now on sale.

 

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

May 2, 2020, The Dude Goes West
This week’s mystery movie was the 1948 King Bros. movie “The Dude Goes West,” with Eddie Albert, Gale Storm, James Gleason, Gilbert Roland, Binnie Barnes and Barton MacLane.

Original screenplay by Mary Loos and Richard Sale. Music score composed and conducted by Dimitri Tiomkin.

Arthur Gardner, assistant to producers, photography by Karl Struss, production manager Herman E. Webber, set decoration by Sidney Moore, edited by Richard Heermance, dialogue direction by Jo Graham.

Special effects by Ray Mercer, sound engineer Tom Lambert, assistant director Frank S. Heath, technical advisor, Herman King.

Produced by Maurice King and Frank King. Directed by Kurt Neumann.

“The Dude Goes West” is available on DVD from Warner Archive.

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Black Dahlia: Zoom Sessions on the Black Dahlia Case

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Because so many people are using Zoom to connect in these uncertain times, I thought it would be interesting to host a series of Zoom sessions on the Black Dahlia.

I envision weekly meetings with a fairly small group, maybe five or six to keep it manageable, intended primarily for people in law enforcement or teaching police science, working in the justice system, working in or teaching forensics, and that kind of thing.

The goal is a serious discussion and evaluation of all aspects of the murder, based on original news accounts, various public documents and that sort of thing. The one thing it will not be is a festival of snuff pictures or juicy tidbits for crime show producers, tour operators and podcast hosts (especially the ones who rip off my voice without permission – you know who you are).

The sessions are tentatively planned for Wednesday afternoons or evenings starting April 29. Email me if you are interested.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + + +)

April 25, 2020, Hell Harbor
This week’s mystery movie was Henry King’s  1930 picture “Hell Harbor,” with Lupe Velez, Jean Hersholt, John Holland, Gibson Gowland, Harry Allen, Al. St. John, Paul Burns, George Bookasta and Ulysses Williams.

Adapted by Fred DeGresac, from the novel “Out of the Night” by Rida Johnson Young. Dialogue and screenplay by Clark Silvernail.

Edited by Lloyd Nosler, scenario by N. Brewster Morse, photography by John Fulton, Max Stengler and Robert M. Hass (Haas), art direction by Robert M. Hass (Haas). Production staff Harry Ham, Louis King and Richard Harlan, settings by Tec-Art Studios, sound by Ernest Rovere. Music by Gene Berten, Harvey Allen, Sextetto Habanero and Ernesto Lecuona.

“Hell Harbor” is available on DVD from TCM and is on YouTube in multiple versions.

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Mary Mallory: Hollywood Heights – George Hurrell

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Glenn Ford and Evelyn Keyes in a George Hurrell portrait for “The Desperadoes” listed on EBay at $149.95.


Note: This is an encore post from 2012.

Recognized for his gorgeously lit, glamorous images of movie icons, photographer George Hurrell is considered one of the masters of Hollywood’s still portrait photography. An innovator as well as craftsman, Hurrell moved between studios, his independent galleries, and fashion work as the mood hit him. In fact, he could be said to suffer from attention deficit disorder, as he couldn’t sit still, and when bored, moved on to newer pastures. He remained active for decades, and his work attracts high demand, selling for high prices.

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Zoom on Fridays With the Daily Mirror Brain Trust

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Our first session was most enjoyable. I got to meet Brain Trust members from across the U.S. We shared our experiences with the quarantine, discussed mystery movies and learned the “Perry Mason Drinking Game” (Thanks, Earl!). There will be another session this Friday at 4 p.m. PDT. Email me if you are interested in joining.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

The Fugitive Kind
This week’s mystery movie was the 1960 United Artists film “The Fugitive Kind,” with Marlon Brando, Anna Magnani, Joanne Woodward, Maureen Stapleton, Victory Jory, R.G. Armstrong, Virgilia Chew, Ben Yaffee, Joe Brown Jr., Mary Perry, Spivy, John Baragrey, Sally Gracie, Lucille Benson, Emory Richardson, Nell Harrison and Janice Mars.

Screenplay by Tennessee Williams and Meade Roberts, based on the play “Orpheus Descending” by Tennessee Williams, as produced on Broadway by Robert Whitehead for Producers Theatre.

Photography by Boris Kaufman, music composed and conducted by Kenyon Hopkins. Song “Blanket Roll Blues,” music by Kenyon Hopkins, lyrics by Tennessee Williams.

Art direction by Richard Sylbert, edited by Carl Lerner.

Assistant director Charles H. Maguire, costume designer Frank Thompson, wardrobe by George Newman and Flo Transfield. Makeup by Robert Jiras and Philip Rhodes. Hairstyles by Mary Roche. Set decorations by Eugene Callahan. Camera operator Saul Midwall. Sound recording by James Gleason, re-recording by Richard Vorisek.

Dialogue supervisors Mickey Knox and Jud Taylor, script supervisor Marguerite James, production coordinator Stephen Bono, sound editor Frank Lewin. Head gaffer Howard Fortune. Head grip Edward Knott. Production secretary Helen Burta. Unit photography Muky Munkacsi.

Associate producer George Justin. Produced by Martin Jurow and Richard A. Shepherd. Directed by Sidney Lumet.

Filmed at Gold Medal Studios, New York (and on location in Milton, N.Y.).

“The Fugitive Kind” was released on Blu-ray by the Criterion Collection and available from TCM.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: William Pereira, Entertainment Architect

Pereira_boxofficejulsep137unse_0478 Elmer Balaban, left, Mary Martin and William L. Pereira, Boxoffice, Aug. 3, 1940.


Almost a year to the day after the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved funding to construct a new Peter Zumthor-designed building for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on Wilshire Boulevard, demolition began on the William L. Pereira three-building campus for the museum erected in the 1960s. Academy Award winners Brad Pitt and Diane Keaton lauded the work of Zumthor and praised the number of awards he had received, without realizing that original architect Pereira had not only had won architectural awards, but also served as an academy member and had shared the 1942 Oscar for special effects for the film “Reap the Wild Wind.” Pereira began his architecture career with a focus on entertainment, and over the next 20 years, he made a major impact on the field through both architecture, charitable efforts, and films.

Born April 25, 1909, in Chicago,  Pereira graduated from the University of Illinois School of Architecture in 1931, joining the firm of Holabird and Root. He contributed to the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair master plan before helping found his own film with his brother Hal called Pereira, Senseney and Pereira, quickly gaining recognition for their design of Chicago’s Esquire Theatre for Balaban and Katz. Within seven years, the film designed 74 other motion picture theatres and contributed buildings to the San Francisco World’s Fair before the Pereira brothers moved to Los Angeles in search of bigger challenges.

Mary Mallory’s latest book, Living With Grace: Life Lessons from America’s Princess,”  is now on sale.

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Black Dahlia: Beware Faked Black Dahlia Picture

April 7, 2020, Fake Dahlia Photo

Warning: Some clown is circulating a photo on social media that he says shows Elizabeth Short wearing a cameo brooch. And of course, he then produces a brooch just like it. Gosh. Imagine that! At left, the bogus photo and at right, the authentic image. Just what the world needs, another Black Dahlia fraudster.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

April 11, 2020, It Happened on Fifth Avenue

This week’s mystery movie was the 1947 Allied Artists picture “It Happened on Fifth Avenue,” with Don DeFore, Ann Harding, Charlie Ruggles, Gale Storm, Grant Mitchell, Edward Brophy, Alan Hale Jr., Dorothea Kent, Edward Ryan Jr. and Cathy Carter.

Screenplay by Everett Freeman, additional dialogue by Vick Knight, original story by Herbert Clyde Lewis and Frederick Stephani.

“It’s a Wonderful Wonderful Feeling,” “That’s What Christmas Means to Me” and “Speak — My Heart” by Harry Revel. “You’re Everywhere” by Paul Webster and Harry Revel, vocals by The King’s Men.

Photography by Henry Sharp, production manager Glenn Cook, assistant director Frank Fox, edited by Richard Heermance, music editor G.K. Wood, art direction by Lewis Creber, set decorations by Ray Boltz.

Recording by Corson Jowett, chief electrician John Lee, makeup by Harry Ross, furs by Willard George, fashion supervision by Lorraine MacLean, assistant to the producer Clarence Bricker.

Associate producer Joe Kaufman.

Produced and directed by Roy Del Ruth.

“It Happened on Fifth Avenue” is available on DVD from TCM.

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Mary Mallory: Hollywood Heights – Franklin Pangborn

Franklin Pangborn
Photo: Franklin Pangborn and an unidentified co-star.


Note: This is an encore post from 2012.

When 1930s Hollywood needed a seemingly organized and efficient bank or hotel manager who quickly became nervous and rattled, who better to turn to than the scene-stealing, ever lovable Franklin Pangborn? Busy and in demand from the beginning of his film career, he spent several years mostly starring in one- and two-reel comedies for the likes of Mack Sennett, Educational, Pathe, and Mermaid, along with occasional feature roles, until settling in as Hollywood’s favorite nervous nelly in the mid-1930s.

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Movieland Mystery Photos: Brain Trust Meetings on Zoom

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This mystery gent emeritus, who knows how to wear a newsboy cap, is here to help promote Mystery Movie Brain Trust meetings on Zoom. I have heard from several Brain Trust members who are interested in using the new technology to meet and discuss mystery movies, films in general, or other subjects that may arise. Email me if you are interested in joining.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

April 4, 2020, Interrupted Melody
This week’s mystery movie was the 1955 MGM picture “Interrupted Melody,” with Glenn Ford, Eleanor Parker, Roger Moore, Cecil Kellaway, Peter Leeds, Evelyn Ellis, Walter Baldwin, Ann Codee, Leopold Sachse, and Stephen Bekassy. Written by William Ludwig and Sonya Levien, based on “Interrupted Melody,” by Marjorie Lawrence.

Operatic recordings supervised and conducted by Walter Du Cloux, musical supervision by Saul Chaplin, operatic sequences staged by Vladimir Rosing. Photographed in Eastman Color, photographed by Joseph Ruttenberg and Paul C. Vogel, art direction by Cedric Gibbons and Daniel B. Cathcart. Color consultant Alvord Eiseman.

Dramatic music score adapted and conducted by Adolph Deutsch, recording supervisor Wesley C. Miller, set decorations by Edwin B. Willis and Jack D. Moore, special effects by Warren Newcombe, assistant director Ridgeway Callow.

Costumes designed by Helen Rose, edited by John Dunning, hairstyles by Sydney Guilaroff, makeup by William Tuttle, music adviser Harold Gelman.

Produced by Jack Cummings. Directed by Curtis Bernhardt.

“Interrupted Melody” is available on DVD from Warner Archive (which is currently on hiatus because of COVID-19).

Note: Please leave a comment or email me if you would be interested in Zoom sessions of the Brain Trust to discuss mystery movies or other aspects of film. Zoom is quite simple and with a few precautions on the part of the host (which would be me) seems to have adequate security.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Larry Edmunds Bookshop Provides Film Education for More Than 75 Years

 

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Jeanne Moreau shoots a scene for the 1970 film “Alex in Wonderland,” starring Donald Sutherland, right, at Larry Edmunds Bookshop, from a catalog listed on EBay 


Note: This is an encore post from 2016. The Larry Edmunds Bookshop has been hit by the cancellation of the TCM Classic Film Festival, cancellation of screenings at the Egyptian Theatre and postponement of the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books until October. The store is taking orders for shipment — please patronize it if you can — editor.

Long a mecca for film aficionados, Hollywood’s Larry Edmunds Bookshop continues educating film lovers through talks and signings by authors and through its large selection of film books on every topic. Probably the first true film book shop, Larry Edmunds has survived the ups and downs of book publishing for over 75 years as it serves the needs of cineastes.

Original owner Larry Edmunds, who worked at Book of the Day store on La Brea Avenue in the late 1930s, bought out Sam Reiser and his book shop at 1603 N. Cahuenga Blvd. in 1939 and brought in Milton Luboviski, a former co-worker, as partner in 1940. When Edmunds committed suicide in 1941, Luboviski and his wife, Git, took over.

“Hollywood Celebrates the Holidays” by Karie Bible and Mary Mallory is available at Amazon and at local bookstores.

 

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

A Royal Scandal

This week’s mystery movie was the 1945 Twentieth Century-Fox production of “A Royal Scandal,” with Tallulah Bankhead, Charles Coburn, Anne Baxter, William Eythe, Vincent Price, Mischa Auer, Sig Ruman, Vladimir Sokoloff and Mikhail Rasumny.

Screenplay by Edwin Justus Mayer, adapted by Bruno Frank from a play (“Czarina”) by Lajos Biro and Melchoir Lengyel.

Music by Alfred Newman, orchestral arrangements by Edward Powell, photography by Arthur Miller, art direction by Lyle Wheeler and Mark Lee Kirk, set decorations by Thomas Little and Paul S. Fox, edited by Dorothy Spencer, costumes by Rene Hubert, makeup by Ben Nye, photographic effects by Fred Sersen, sound by Alfred Burglin and Roger Heman.

Produced by Ernst Lubitsch. Directed by Otto Preminger.

“A Royal Scandal” is available on DVD from TCM.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: George Ali, World’s Greatest Animal Impersonator

 

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George Ali in “Peter Pan.”


Note: This is an encore post from 2014.

B
est remembered for portraying Nana the dog in Herbert Brenon’s 1924 film adaptation of “Peter Pan,” George Ali excelled at playing all types of animal characters in vaudeville and the stage for over thirty years. His realistic, animated portrayals of four legged creatures earned him the moniker, “world’s greatest animal impersonator” in many reviews. Wearing an oversize animal costume, Ali’s expressive, whimsical performances touched children and adults alike, giving dignity and human like qualities to pets or service animals.

Not much is known about Ali’s early years prior to working on stage. A 1925 issue of Photoplay, describing his wonderful work in “Peter Pan,” states that Ali “was trained as an acrobat in his youth by a troupe of strolling Arab gymnasts. His non-professional name is George Edward Bolinbroke.” Searches under both names, however, fail to turn up any evidence of his true name and background.

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