Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: ‘The Signal Tower’ Faces Danger

'The Signal Tower'
“The Signal Tower” in Picture-Play Magazine.


In 1923, Universal Studios handed Clarence Brown an opportunity to return to his youth by assigning him the film “The Signal Tower” to direct. A story of a railroad man directing train traffic and trying to read the signals in his own marriage, the movie seemed perfect for a former engineer who grew up near the railroad in Knoxville, Tenn.

Born 1890 in Massachusetts, the precocious Brown displayed great interest in machines and technology, pulling them apart and repairing them. Theatrics also fascinated him, a perfect blend for a future director. He graduated from high school in Tennessee at 15 and by 20 earned a double degree in engineering and established his own business while also maintaining an interest in amateur theatrics.

San Francisco Silent Film Festival, May 1-5, 2019

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

April 20, 2019, Half Angel
This week’s mystery movie was the 1951 Twentieth Century-Fox picture “Half Angel” with Loretta Young, Joseph Cotten, Cecil Kellaway, Basic Ruysdael, Jim Backus, Irene Ryan and John Ridgely. Screenplay by Robert Riskin from a story by George Carleton Brown,  Technicolor consultant Leonard Doss, musical direction by Alfred Newman, music by Cyril Mockridge, orchestration by Herbert Spencer and Maurice de Packh, photography by Milton Krasner, art direction by Lyle Wheeler and John DeCuir, set decoration by Thomas Little and Paul S. Fox, editing by Robert Fritch, wardrobe by Charles Le Maire, costumes by Travilla, music and lyrics by Alfred newman and Ralph Blane, makeup by Ben Nye, special effects by Fred Sersen, sound by Bernard Freericks and Harry M. Leonard. Produced by Julian Blaustein,  directed by Richard Sale.

“Half Angel” is available on DVD from TCM, although the listing says it’s in black and white.

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March 1977: Body of Boxing Manager Howard Steindler Found on Ventura Freeway

March 16, 2009, Howard Steindler

Note: I’m still catching up with posts from the blog when it was at latimes.com. This post about the unsolved killing of Howard Steindler originally appeared in 2009 and is available via Archive.org.

 

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March 5, 1959: Blinded by Bullet, Officer Shoots Gunman Who Killed Partner

Ector A. Garcia

Note: I’m way behind on revisiting old blog posts but here’s one I especially like. It’s a little story about  LAPD artist Ector A. Garcia. Garcia also published a paperback “Portraits of Crime” in 1977. It’s a bit hard to find but has lots of information about old LAPD cases.

The blog post originally appeared on latimes.com and is available via Archive.org.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: San Francisco Silent Film Festival Salutes Human Connection

The Cameraman, San Francisco Silent Film Festival

Many rarely seen and newly restored films from all over the globe examining relationships and the human condition will screen May 1 through 5 at the Castro Theatre as part of the 24th Annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival. From acknowledged masterpieces to obscure chamber plays, all express the longing for connection or affection, through the deep emotionalism of silent cinema.

Classic American filmmakers receive their due this year covering virtually every genre of silent film. Horror maven Tod Browning directs Lon Chaney in their 1928 revenge-driven horror film “West of Zanzibar,” with despicable Phroso plotting retribution on the man who left him paralyzed. The picture features another of Chaney’s remarkable portrayals of men consumed with madness, anger, and deep sorrow.

San Francisco Silent Film Festival, May 1-5.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

April 13, 2019, Iceman Cometh
This week’s mystery movie was the 1973 American Film Theatre production of “The Iceman Cometh,” with Lee Marvin, Fredric March, Robert Ryan, Jeff Bridges, Bradford Dillman, Sorrell Booke, Hildy Brooks, Nancy Juno Dawson,  Evans Evans, Martyn Green, Moses Gunn, Clifton James, John McLiam, Stephen Pearlman, Tom Pedi, George Voskovec, Don McGovern and Bart Burns. Photographed by Ralph Woolsey,  production design by Jack Martin Smith, costume consultant Dorothy Jeakins, edited by Harold F. Kress, production supervisor Irving Temaner. For the American Film Theatre, Henry T. Weinstein, executive producer Edward Lewis, producer Ely Landau, directed by John Frankenheimer.

A special thanks to B.J. Merholz, who mentioned this film in a conversation several years ago.

“The Iceman Cometh” is available on DVD from Kino Lorber, and on streaming via Kanopy.

More about the American Film Theatre here.

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April 3, 1957: Matt Weinstock

L.A. Times 2006

And here’s what the Daily Mirror looked like when debuted at the latimes in 2007.

Matt Weinstock’s complete column is here.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

2019_0406_big_city_blues_title
This week’s mystery movie was the 1932 Warner Bros. film “Big City Blues” with Joan Blondell, Eric Linden, Jobyna Howland, Ned Sparks, Guy Kibbee, Grant Mitchell, Walter Catlett, Inez Courtney and Thomas Jackson, based on a play by Ward Morehouse, screenplay by Ward Morehouse and Lillie Hayward, edited by Ray Curtiss, art direction by Anton Grot, photography by James Van Trees, Vitaphone orchestra conducted by Leo F. Forbstein. Directed by Mervyn LeRoy.

“Big City Blues” is available on DVD from Warner Archive in “Forbidden Hollywood,” Volume 9, which also has previous mystery movie “Hell’s Highway.”

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: ‘Open Secret’ a Timely Tale of Tolerance

Open Secret
TCM tackles a vital subject with its screening of the motion picture “Open Secret” during the upcoming TCM Classic Film Festival April 11-14. 2019. As timely now as when it was first released in 1948,“Open Secret” promotes religious and racial tolerance to a country fighting to accept the very principles upon which it was created. Produced on a much smaller budget than studio films “Crossfire” and “Gentlemen’s Agreement,” “Open Secret” takes a no-nonsense look at growing racial intolerance and anti-Semitism in the late 1940s, fighting back against these loathsome tendencies.

Two years after the United States and its allies crushed the Axis powers of Germany, Italy, and Japan to win World War II and restore dramatic principles of equality and tolerance, fear and hatred of foreigners and “others” was growing among the disenchanted in America. The July 17, 1946, Los Angeles Times reported that the Jewish Labor Committee was beginning a campaign to “eliminate racial discrimination and bigotry among workers.” “It takes a concerted campaign against the conditions which tempt ordinary people to grasp at the dangerous belief that it is the Jews, or the Negroes, or the foreigners who are taking away their economic bread and butter or cultural opportunities. Most antagonism arises from economic insecurity which pits man against his fellow man for jobs, better living standards and social advancement.” The Committee hoped to show that it was economic and political practices which were causing these cuts in wages, not the people.

The TCM Classic Film Festival begins April 11.

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Black Dahlia: Steve Hodel’s Lies on ‘Dr. Phil’; A Case Study

March 26, 2019,. Steve Hodel, Dr. Phil

Would you like to see how Steve Hodel lies about things that can be easily checked? Of course you would. This is a graphic that appeared during Steve Hodel’s appearance on “Dr. Phil.”

It’s helpful, at least for me, for Steve to give the date of this supposed excerpt from the LAPD bug at the Sowden House. Because I have all the transcripts and they are (spoiler alert) Bo-RING! Steve also merges the quotes from March 25, 1950, and March 26, 1950. This guy was a detective with the LAPD? This guy?

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Gentlemen, Your Wedding Photos Are Ready After 62 Years, Part 7

1957 Same-Sex Wedding

In case you just tuned in, I’m slowly going through a set of photos of the wedding of two men in Philadelphia in 1957. The film was left at a shop to be developed and the store manager refused to return the prints because he found them objectionable. Rather than destroying them, however, he allowed a shop employee to keep them and they were eventually sold on EBay with copies given to the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, which is trying to identify the men in the pictures.

Previously:

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: 10th TCM Classic Film Festival Celebrates Love and Romance

image
The TCM Classic Film Festival celebrates not only the glories of film but also the joys of romance in its 10th annual festival April 11-14, 2019 in Hollywood. Highlighting the history of cinema from silents to Cinerama to serials to musicals, the event offers a little something for every filmgoer to love, including enjoying features on the big screen in such movie palaces as the TCL Chinese Theatre and the Egyptian Theatre, the way movies were meant to be seen.

This year, beloved film historian Kevin Brownlow receives the second annual Robert B. Osborne Award saluting preservationists and their impact on film. Brownlow will be honored before a screening of his 1964 film “It Happened Here” at the Egyptian Theatre on Saturday evening. Critic Leonard Maltin will interview him before a Sunday night screening of Clarence Brown’s romancer “A Woman of Affairs” (1928) featuring a print restored by Brownlow’s own Photoplay Productions and with the renowned Carl Davis conducting the accompanying orchestra.

TCM Classic Film Festival website

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Hollywood Photography at Auction: George Hurrell and Cecil Beaton

M39551-2 001

Gary Martin of the Brain Trust passes along word of several lots of photos being auctioned by Swann Auction Galleries. The auction is April 18.

He notes Lot 91, a set of 10 signed photographs by George Hurrell, including Anna May Wong, above, plus John Barrymore, Charles Boyer, James Cagney, Joan Crawford, Jascha Heifetz, Veronica Lake, Gilbert Roland, Ann Sheridan and Gene Tierney. The lot also includes an introduction by Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and a certificate of authenticity, printed in 1980.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Last Angry Man
This week’s mystery movie was the 1959 film “The Last Angry Man,” with Paul Muni, David Wayne, Betsy Palmer, Luther Adler, Claudia McNeil, Joby Baker, Joanna Moore, Nancy R. Pollock, Billy Dee Williams, Robert F. Simon and Dan Tobin. Screenplay by Gerald Green and Richard Murphy from a novel by Gerald Green. Photographed by James Wong Howe, edited by Charles Nelson, art direction by Carl Anderson, set decoration by William Kiernan, costume design by Jean Louis, music by George Duning. Produced by Fred Kohlmar and directed by Daniel Mann.

“The Last Angry Man” was released on VHS, but is not commercially available on DVD. A 16 millimeter print is for sale on EBay.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: 21st Film Noir Festival Highlights Tension-Filled 1950s

Film Noir in the 1950s

Take a walk back in time to the tension-filled, conspiracy-driven world of the 1950s during the 2019 Annual Film Noir Festival at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. Kicking off Friday, March 29, the 21st annual festival examines the down and dirty, double-crossing, and dark despair of characters running out of both time and chances. “Czar of Noir” Eddie Muller and Alan Rode of the Film Noir Foundation will introduce films spanning the decade, showing the rise and fall of the studio system and the turbulent decade.

Opening night features the newly restored 1949 film “Trapped,” starring a young Lloyd Bridges in a tale of Secret Service agents on the prowl through the streets of Los Angeles searching for a counterfeiting ring and ending in the Red Car barn. Tempestuous Barbara Payton plays Bridge’s love interest. Barbara Stanwyck headlines the 1950 noir “The File on Thelma Jordan,” the tale of a duplicitous femme fatale leading Assistant D.A. Wendell Corey astray. A special reception takes place during intermission of the double feature.

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Gentlemen, Your Wedding Photos Are Ready After 62 Years, Part 6

1957 Gay Wedding, Philadelphia

If you just tuned in, I’m digging into the 1957 photos of a wedding of two men in Philadelphia. The film was left at a photo shop and the manager refused to return the pictures, which were saved by a store employee and later sold on EBay. Copies of the images were given to the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, which is trying to identify the men in the photos.

Previously:

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

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Gentlemen, Your Wedding Photos Are Ready After 62 Years, Part 5

1957 gay wedding

This is the last interior shot accompanying the photos of the 1957 wedding of two men in Philadelphia. Let’s see if we can detect anything that may shed some light on our mystery guests.

Previously:

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + + +)

Dulcy
Last week’s mystery movie was the 1940 MGM picture “Dulcy,” with Ann Sothern, Ian Hunter, Roland Young, Reginald Gardiner, Billie Burke, Lynne Carver and Dan Dailey Jr.

Screenplay by Albert Mannheimer, Jerome Chodorov and Joseph A Fields, based on a play by George S. Kaufman and Marc Connelly, photography by Charles Lawton, music by Bronislau Kaper, recording by Douglas Shearer, art direction by Cedric Gibbons, with associate Howard Campbell, set decorations by Edwin B. Willis, gowns by Adrian, hairstyles for Miss Sothern by Sydney Guilaroff and editing by Frank E. Hull

Produced by Edgar Selwyn, directed by S. Sylvan Simon.

“Dulcy” has apparently never been commercially released on DVD or VHS.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights — “ ‘Nice People’ Wear Mallory Hats”

Mallory Hats Window
Mallory hats, courtesy of Mary Mallory.


Note: This is an encore post from 2014.

N
ot many companies in the United States can claim over 100 years in business, especially clothing manufacturers, who must deal with so many unique variables, and in particular, constantly changing styles. Two purveyors of classic, quality clothing, Brooks Brothers and Levi’s, have been operating more than 100 years. One, Mallory Hats, constructed quality, classic men’s and women’s hats for more than 142 years before ending production in 1965. Here is their story.

The brochure/book, “A Century of Hats and the Hats of the Century,” published in 1923, relays the history of the industry surrounding the manufacturing of hats by the Mallory family in Danbury, Conn. The text claims the first hat manufactured in the United States came out of Danbury in 1684. Ezra Mallory established his own hat manufacturing concern in 1823 to construct beaver “stovepipe” hats. Mallory supervised the making of hats, and ventured to neighboring towns and stores to sell his wares, and by 1825, took steamboats to New York promoting his stock. His company slowly grew in number and reputation, adding new styles to their output. They produced roughly twelve hats a week.

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

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Gentlemen, Your Wedding Photos Are Ready After 62 Years, Part 4

1957 Philadelphia Gay Wedding

Here is another interior shot from the film showing the wedding of two men in 1957. This image, alas, doesn’t seem to have as much information. Let’s take a closer look.

Previously:

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

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