Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: TCM Classic Film Festival Salutes Hollywood’s Golden Age

After a two-year absence due to the Covid pandemic, the TCM Classic Film Festival triumphantly returned to Hollywood, four-day nirvana for vintage film fans. The festival joyfully celebrated classic cinema, screening mostly 35-millimeter film prints on the big screen the way they were meant to be seen and happily reunited long-missed friends. Overloaded with films, special programming, and celebrity appearances, the event offered the opportunity to immerse oneself in the glamour of Golden Age Hollywood.

For my weekend, I mostly focused on Pre-Code films and special programming. My festival kicked off with a rare screening of the 1933 Columbia film Cocktail Hour starring Bebe Daniels and Randolph Scott, a dashing light aperitif to start off a frantic film weekend. While only slightly risque, the movie revolved around the effervescent, independent artist Daniels, celebrating life and a career on her terms and surrounded by men. Daniels sketches magazine covers for her dandy boss Scott while trading flirty repartee. Chasing excitement she embarks on an Atlantic cruise, pursued by men along the way. Composer/director Victor Schertzinger keeps the film uptempo and energetic, a heady little cocktail featuring an entertaining performance from Daniels, promising early work from Scott, and sprinkled with cameos by character actors like Willie Fung, Sam McDaniel, and Rolfe Sedan. Film historian Cari Beauchamp offered background and history before the film with guest Suzanne Lloyd, granddaughter of silent film great Harold Lloyd, who met Daniels several times.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Main Title. A brick wall with a menacing shadow
This week’s mystery movie was the 1943 picture Hangmen Also Die! with Brian Donlevy, Walter Brennan, Anna Lee, Gene Lockhart, Dennis O’Keefe, Alexander Granach, Margaret Wycherly, Tonio Selwart, Jonathan Hale, H.H. v. Twardowski, Billy Roy, Reinhold Schuenzel, Louis Donath, Arno Frey, Sarah Padden, Byron Foulger, Edmund MacDonald, Lionel Stander, Lester Sharpe, Arthur Loft, George Irving and James Bush.

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Mary Mallory: Hollywood Heights – ‘Auction of Souls’

Jue 23, 1919, Auction of Souls
Photo: June 23, 1919, “Auction of Souls.” Credit: Los Angeles Times


Note: This is an encore post from 2011.

Los Angeles has long been a haven for refugees and artists, particularly those fleeing political and militaristic struggles.  As early as 1915, Armenians began arriving in Southern California after fleeing from the massacres and pogroms inflicted on them by Kurds and Turks.  By December of that year, 1,500 Armenians lived here without knowing the whereabouts of many members of their families back home.

Many continued to come, as the papers warned of massacres, imprisonment, torture, and murder of innocent men, women, and children. Genocide.  An article’s headline in the September 27, 1915, Los Angeles Times read, “Massacre of Armenians at Height of Its Fury, … Report States that Five Hundred Thousand Men, Women, and Children Have Either Been Killed by the Turks or Driven to the Desert to Perish of Starvation – Extermination of Non-Moslems is Programme Decided Upon.”  850,000 were reported killed by late October, nearly three quarters of the population of the entire country.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

William A. Wellman's Track of the Cat. A snowy background with trees

This week’s mystery movie was the 1954 Warner Bros. film Track of the Cat, with Robert Mitchum, Teresa Wright, Diana Lynn, Tab Hunter, Beulah Bondi, Philip Tonge, William Hopper and Carl Switzer.
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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: TCM Classic Film Festival Returns to the Big Screen

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The TCM Classic Film Festival welcomes movie fans as it returns to Hollywood after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. The festival features something for everyone, whether it’s star appearances, new film restorations, classics films, and even special programming. Based at Hollywood’s Roosevelt Hotel, the festival will hold screenings April 21 through 24 at such theaters as the El Capitan, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre IMAX, and the Hollywood American Legion Theater.

Film historian and author Leonard Maltin receives highly deserved praise for his dedication to celebrating and recognizing the history of film with the Robert L. Osborne Award. Maltin will receive his prize before the presentation of Universal’s 1933 Pre-Code Counsellor at Law.

Note: Patrons are strongly encouraged to purchase festival passes  ($399-$2,549) to ensure entry to screenings. Individual tickets are sometimes available at each individual theater’s box office on a first-come, first-served, standby basis prior to the start of a film. Individual tickets are $20 and students with valid student ID receive 50% off.

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Correction: A previous version of this post referred to the movie Spy Smasher as Spymaster.
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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Noir City Packs a Modern Punch

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Noir City Hollywood, with hosts Eddie Muller and Alan K. Rode, is back, hitting town with a vengeance Friday with stunning photochemical restorations and 35-millimeter prints after an almost two-year absence due to the pandemic. The hard-boiled, driving lineup features themes seemingly ripped from today’s headlines, offering a powerful examination of social issues while providing riveting entertainment. The festival also highlights the work of several insightful, daring filmmakers caught in the often duplicitous, backstabbing, and treacherous underbelly of Hollywood, with a mini focus on blacklisted writer/director Cy Enfield, who offered a pessimistic, messy look at repressive policies.

Kicking the festival into high gear is Enfield’s engrossing Try and Get Me (1951), based on the true story of a 1934 kidnapping and murder in San Jose that sparked mob violence. Slick criminal Jerry Slocum (Lloyd Bridges) manipulates gullible, struggling ex-GI Howard Tyler (Frank Lovejoy) into profitable criminal activities that quickly take a calamitous turn before offering a searing indictment against vigilante justice.

Tickets and information on Noir City Hollywood, Friday through Sunday at Hollywood’s American Legion Post 43 Theater, 2035 N Highland Ave.

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Black Dahlia: BethShort.com Domain Listed for $5,499

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BethShort.com c. 1998, platform for the late, lying John Gilmore and many graphic crime scene photos.


If you were on the Infobahn in the dial-up modem days and were interested in the Black Dahlia case, you may recall Pamela Hazleton’s now-defunct website BethShort.com, with its color scheme of black backgrounds, white type and bright yellow links. The website launched in the late 1990s and had a curious affiliation (always denied) with the late, lying John Gilmore (d. 2017). Continue reading

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Main Title for Double Door with credits superimposed on a pair of doors.
This week’s mystery movie was the 1934 Paramount picture Double Door, “The play that made Broadway gasp,” with Evelyn Venable, Sir Guy Standing, Kent Taylor, Mary Morris, Anne Revere, Colin Tapley, Virginia Howell, Halliwell Hobbes, Frank Dawson, Helen Shipman and Leonard Carey.
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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Hollywoodland Opens March 31, 1923

Hollywoodland Ad 10-23 Hollywood Citizen
An ad for Hollywoodland, October 1923.


On March 31, 1923, owners of a new hillside development in the Hollywood Hills called Hollywoodland announced the opening of their elaborate new tract in stories run in Los Angeles and Hollywood newspapers. For all the syndicate partners, it represented the pinnacle of their real estate careers in hyperbole as well as class, the first tract to sell a lifestyle of glamour and success. Hollywoodland would be as much about selling ambition and making it as it would be in promoting a humble family home location.

Hollywoodland perfectly encapsulated the lives and careers of its five owners, men who had risen from modest means to achieve wealth and power. Savvy in real estate and business promotion, all were as shrewd in crafting career personas to build their empires. Behind the scenes, these dreamers and schemers plotted their rise up the ladders of success, achieving renown and respect from other hard-nosed businessmen.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

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This week’s mystery movie was the 1927 silent picture Rubber Tires, with Bessie Love, Harrison Ford, Erwin Connelly, May Robson, Frank Coghlan Jr., John Patrick and Clarence Burton. Continue reading

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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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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

April 2, 2022, Main Title of House by the River, showing a wide river

This week’s mystery movie was the 1950 Republic film House by the River, with Louis Hayward, Lee Bowman, Jane Wyatt, Dorothy Patrick, Ann Shoemaker, Jody Gilbert, Peter Brocco, Howland Chamberlin, Margaret Seddon, Sarah Padden, Kathleen Freeman, Will Wright, Leslie Kimmell and Effie Laird. Continue reading

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Crossword Mama, You Puzzle Me

Crossword Mamma You Puzzle Me
“Cross Word Puzzle Mama, You Puzzle Me,” courtesy of Mary Mallory.

Recording of “Cross Word Puzzle Mama.”


Note: This is an encore post from 2014.

The 1920s were a decade of fads. Everything from mah jongg, radio, bridge, golf, solitaire and dance steps exploded into popularity before being replaced by the next big thing. Though around for about a decade, crossword puzzles shot to fame when Simon and Schuster introduced a crossword puzzle book in 1924.

Various forms of puzzles existed for centuries before the crossword puzzle. Frances Hansen writes in “The Crossword Obsession” that Greeks inscribed word squares into statues in 6th century B. C. Acrostics, anagrams and riddles puzzled people for decades as well, a form of study for learning vocabulary, word origins and the like. Will Shortz, crossword puzzle editor of the New York Times, notes that word square puzzles became popular in the 1870s, though existing since 1859. In 1896, the San Francisco Call ran a regular section called “cross-word puzzle,” similar to Mensa mind puzzles and quizzes today.

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

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Elsa Lopez, Silent Film Art Director

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Scenes of Paris, 1922, art direction by Elsa Lopez.


Virtually unknown today, women like Elsa Lopez played an integral part in the early silent film industry. Not just actresses or in administrative behind-the-scenes jobs, females made active contributions in creating moving pictures, serving in positions in which they helped shape the look and production of movies, a fledgling, open industry looking for dynamic ideas. Argentinian born, Lopez provided creative elements to industry superstars at a time when few women of color offered important input, becoming one of the first Latino women to gain status in Hollywood.

Born 1887 in Argentina, Elsa Solano Lopez remains somewhat cloaked in mystery before arriving in Hollywood, and kept her life a closely guarded secret after entering the film industry. By 1910 she lived in Portland, Oregon, where on October 29, 1910, she married clerk Justin Patrick O’Connor, giving birth in 1912 to their son Patrick Justin O’Connor. By 1914, the family lived in Los Angeles, with O’Connor serving as mercantile reporter and Elsa serving as housewife/mother. A later short industry biographical notice said she served as interpreter and newspaper writer early in her career.

Lopez and other women will be showcased in an exhibition of images from collector Dwight M. Cleveland’s poster collection opening April 8 at New York City’s Poster House called Experimental Marriage: Women in Early Hollywood.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

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This week’s mystery movie was the 1956 MGM picture Meet Me in Las Vegas, with Dan Dailey, Cyd Charisse, Agnes Moorehead, Lili Darvas, Jim Backus, Oscar Karlweis, Liliane Montevecchi, Cara Williams, George Kerris, Betty Lynn, Pete Rugolo, Jerry Colonna, Paul Henreid, Lena Horne, Frankie Laine and Mitsuko Sawamura. Continue reading

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

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This week’s mystery movie was the 1958 Universal picture A Time to Love and a Time to Die, with John Gavin, Lilo Pulver, Jock Mahoney, Don DeFore, Kennan Wynn, Erich Maria Remarque, Dieter Borsche, Barbara Rutting, Thayer David, Charles Regnier, Dorothea Wieck, Kurt Meisel, Agnes Windeck, Clancy Cooper, John Van Dreelen, Klaus Kinski, Alice Treff, Alexander Engel, Dana J. Hutton, Bengt Lindstrom, Wolf Harnisch, Karl-Ludwig Lindt and Lisa Helwig.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Reading Codes on Movie Stills

Thelma Todd

Note: This is an encore post, Mary’s first from 2011!

Mary says: For Thelma Todd, 802 is the production number for FOLLOW THRU.  The 154 could be a scene code; usually that’s after a dash following the main number.  Paramount used a numbering system, which sometimes can be confusing, because there were East and West Coast branches through the early 1930s and they used the same codes.


Regular Daily Mirror readers will recognize author and photo archivist Mary Mallory as a key member of the Brain Trust. She’s agreed to contribute items and here’s her debut post. Thanks, Mary!

Thelma Todd I thought I’d start with a little history as to production numbers and still codes and explain why Larry has to hide them in the movie star mystery photo postings. Studios and production companies shot production and publicity photographs from early on as both reference for that and future productions and to help promote the films.

These photographs were called stills for a reason: the actors would pose after finishing a scene and remain motionless for several seconds while photographers using 8×10 negatives took aim. Most of the very first stillsmen were cinematographers, who would take production photos after finishing a scene. Almost none received or took credit.

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Daylight Saving Time: A Reminder From Pier Angeli and the Daily Mirror

Pier Angeli

Pier Angeli and her adorable little friend remind Daily Mirror readers that Daylight Saving Time begins today and to set your clocks forward one hour. Hi Eve!!

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

March 12, 2022, Sally Main Title
This week’s mystery movie was the 1929 First National picture Sally, with Marilyn Miller, Alexander Gray, Joe E. Brown, T. Roy Barnes, Pert Kelton, Ford Sterling, Maude Turner Gordon, E.J. Ratcliffe, Jack Duffy, Ethel Stone and Nora Lane. Continue reading

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Gladys Rosson, DeMille’s Right-Hand Woman

Salt Lake City Tribune, Oct. 23, 1940
Gladys Rosson in the Salt Lake City Tribune, 1940.


Larger than life film director Cecil B. DeMille surrounded himself with intelligent, strong women at home and work to keep his empire running. Impressed with his mother’s thoughtfulness and drive, a young Cecil admired her as a person, influencing his actions  and support of women throughout his life. Several women dominated his creative endeavors, including writer Jeanie MacPherson, editor Anne Bauchens, and secretary Gladys Rosson, a group which some referred to as his “harem.”

Rosson would remain at DeMille’s side for 39 years as secretary, but author Lisa Mitchell describes her as actually like the director’s vice president or aide-de-camp, organizing and ruling his business office like a controlling general. DeMille acknowledged her power and importance to his life, stating in the book Yes Mr. DeMille that she “rules my home and my office.” Continue reading

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