Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. Restoration Summit

Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.
An image from a Georges Melies film presented by Serge Bromberg at the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.’s Restoration Summit.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.,  best known for hosting the Golden Globes, presented its second annual Restoration Summit February 15 and 16 at Hollywood’s Egyptian Theatre, screening a diverse selection of films it helped preserve. President Lorenzo Soria began the first presentation by announcing that one of the association’s main goals is preserving our film culture, one of the main art forms of the 20th century. Introduced to film preservation by Martin Scorsese several years ago, the association donates funds to restore and preserve motion pictures from around the world.

Film preservationist and historian Serge Bromberg hosted “Retour de Flamme” or “Treasures from the Silent Era,” an informative and entertaining stroll through the world of silent-film preservation. The passionate and expressive Bromberg revealed the process of film restoration, from finding original camera negatives to fine-grain master positives to release prints, and then combining the best elements of what survives to restore a film as closely as possible to the original filmmakers’ intentions.

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

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Noble Johnson Emancipates African Americans With Lincoln Film Co.

Noble Johnson
Note: This is an encore post from 2019.

Recognized for playing Native Americans, Pacific Islanders and Latinos in “King Kong,” “The Mummy,” “The Ten Commandments” and many others throughout his long film career, African American Noble Johnson achieved greater renown for establishing Lincoln Motion Picture Company in 1916, the first company making and releasing films strictly for African American audiences. Almost forgotten today, Johnson strove to make what were called “race” films emphasizing the intelligence, talents and success of black Americans as a counterpoint to the often racist and off-putting portrayals of African Americans in contemporary films.

Born 1881 in Missouri, Johnson moved with his family to Colorado Springs, Colo., where he worked with animals before he began appearing in silent films in 1914, including Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Squaw Man.” His athletic, tall frame and dramatic features helped land him many acting jobs at major studios, and his talent for performing gained him good notices in almost everything he portrayed, even in small roles. Not only did he act, but he also wrote scripts.

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 + + + +)

Feb. 22, 2020, Biography of a Bachelor Girl

This week’s mystery movie was the 1935 MGM film “Biography of a Bachelor Girl,” with Ann Harding, Robert Montgomery, Edward Everett Horton, Edward Arnold, Una Merkel, Charles Richman, Greta Meyer, Willard Robertson and Donald Meek.

Screenplay by Anita Loos, additional dialogue by Horace Jackson, based on a play by S.N. Behrman. Musical score by Herbert Stothart, recording by Douglas Shearer, art direction by Cedric Gibbons, Joseph Wright and Edwin B. Willis, gowns by Adrian, photographed by James Wong Howe, edited by William S. Gray.

Directed by Edward H. Griffith.

“Biography of a Bachelor Girl” has never been commercially released. The movie aired in 2013 on TCM during its tribute to Anita Loos and will air March 18, 2020.  The film has its problems but definitely deserves to be seen.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

This week’s mystery movie was the 1960 MGM film “Home From the Hill,” with Robert Mitchum, Eleanor Parker, George Peppard, George Hamilton, Everett Sloane, Luana Patten, Anne Seymour, Constance Force, Ken Renard and Ray Teal.

Screenplay by Harriet Frank Jr. and Irving Ravetch from the novel by William Humphrey. Music by Bronislau Kaper, orchestra conducted by Charles Wolcott. Photography by Milton Krasner, in CinemaScope and Metrocolor.

Art direction by George W. Davis and Preston Ames, set decorations by Henry Grace and Robert Priestley, special effects by Robert R. Hoag, color consultant Charles K. Hagedon, assistant director William McGarry. Edited by Harold F. Kress, recording supervisor Franklin Milton, costumes by Walter Plunkett, hairstyles by Sydney Guilaroff, makeup by William Tuttle.

Photographic lenses by Panavision.

Produced by Edmund Grainger. Directed by Vincente Minnelli. A Sol. C. Siegel production.

“Home From the Hill” is available on DVD and Blu-ray from Warner Archive.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: The Case of the Clicking Heels, Part 2


Hazel Glab
In later life as Hazel Stoddard

Note: In an encore post from 2015, this is Part 2 of the story of Hazel Glab, flamboyant flapper, whose husband, John, died under mysterious circumstances June 18, 1928, at 12744 Ventura Blvd., in Studio City. Murder charges against her were dropped for lack of evidence.

The Case of the Clicking Heels, Part 1.

Hazel Glab disappeared from the scene until tragedy once again brought her name into newspaper headlines in 1935. Wealthy Los Angeles manufacturer Albert Cheney, 65, died of a heart attack March 13, 1935, in Las Vegas, only 10 days before he and his fiancee, Hazel, who was 36, were to wed. Newspapers reported on April 22 that the former Mrs. Glab would return to Los Angeles to enter into probate a will handwritten in purple ink on hotel stationery, which left almost his entire $400,000 estate to Hazel, with only his home and furnishings at 15 Berkeley Square left to his daughter, Mrs. Taylor.

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

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: ‘Hollywood’s Architect | The Paul R. Williams Story’ – A Moving Portrait of Renowned Black Leader

Hollywood's Architect: The Paul R. Williams Story

Courtesy of KCET/PBS SoCal.

Long renowned for its excellent documentaries and intelligent programming, KCET PBS SoCal premieres another strong work with its moving portrait of pioneering African American architect Paul R. Williams in “Hollywood’s Architect: The Paul R. Williams Story.” Co-producers/co-directors Royal Kennedy Rodgers and Kathy McCampbell-Vance focus on Williams’ inspiring story with an insightful production as graceful and stylish as the man himself.

Born in Los Angeles in 1894 after his parents moved from Memphis looking for a healthier climate, Williams was orphaned at the age of 4, separated from his brother Chester Jr. and raised by a foster family. Scolded by a guidance counselor for considering a career in architecture, Williams transformed himself into one of Southern California’s premier designers of elegant, refined homes.

A trailer for “Hollywood’s Architect: The Paul R. Williams Story” is here.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)


This week’s mystery movie was the 1932 Warner Bros. film “Life Begins,” the studio’s  previous version of the first mystery movie of the year, “A Child Is Born.” “Life Begins” features Loretta Young, Eric Linden, Aline MacMahon, Glenda Farrell. Clara Blandick, Preston Foster, Frank McHugh, Walter Walker, Hale Hamilton, Vivienne Osborne and Dorothy Peterson.

Screen adaptation by Earl Baldwin, edited by George Marks, art direction by Esdras Hartley, photography by James Van Trees, gowns by Orry-Kelly, technical director Dr. Harry Martin. Vitaphone Orchestra conducted by Leo F. Forbstein.

Like “A Child Is Born,” “Life Begins” was never commercially released, but is available in “gray market” copies. TCM aired “Life Begins” during Star of the Month features for Loretta Young and Glenda Farrell. Continue reading

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: The Case of the Clicking Heels, Part 1

Hzel Glab mugshot
Hazel Glab’s mug shot.

Note: This is an encore post from 2015.

This story arises from Linda Hammonds asking for further information regarding a 1920s Spanish home that sits at 12744 Ventura Blvd. on the Facebook page SoCal Historic Architecture. While I found virtually no information on the house itself, the story about what happened there proves that truth is stranger than fiction.

Pretty, blonde Hazel Belford was born in Oklahoma circa 1900, becoming orphaned at the age of 4. Her early life was full of adventure: friends with cowboys and Indians on the plains, and befriended by Al Jennings, bank robber. She dreamed of fame and fortune for herself, which many felt possible, with her delicate frame and long blonde hair.

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

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: L.A. Master Chorale’s ‘Sunrise’ Soars

Composer Jeff Beal provided new voice to F.W. Murnau’s lyrical silent film “Sunrise” on Sunday, Jan. 26, with a mystical, otherworldly score for chamber orchestra and the 40 voices of the Los Angeles Master Chorale. Emphasizing the mysterious alchemy of romance and love, blending poetry and the human voice, Beal’s score wonderfully captures the emotional quality of the film.

Unlike Richard Einhorn’s “Voices of Light,” inspired by the silent film “Joan of Arc,” which he called “Opera With Movie” at the TCM Film Festival a few years ago, Beal’s score is one with the film, underscoring its emotions rather than overshadowing the film as does “Voices of Light.”

Mary Mallory’s “Living With Grace” is now on sale.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

This week’s mystery movie was the 1960 Twentieth Century-Fox film “Seven Thieves,” with Edward G. Robinson, Rod Steiger, Joan Collins, Eli Wallach, Alexander Scourby, Michael Dante, Berry Kroeger, Sebastian Cabot, Marcel Hillaire and John Beardino.

Screenplay by Sydney Boehm from “Lions at the Kill” by Max Catto.

Music by Dominic Frontiere, photography by Sam Leavitt. Art direction by Lyle Wheeler and John DeCuir, set decorations by Walter M. Scott and Stuart A. Reiss, orchestration by Edward B. Powell. Edited by Dorothy Spencer, assistant director Ad Schaumer, costumes by Bill Thomas, makeup by Ben Nye, hairstyles by Myrl Stoltz.

Sound by Charles Peck and Harry M. Leonard. CinemaScope lenses by Bausch and Lomb.

“Seven Thieves” is available from Amazon on DVD, Blu-ray and streaming.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: ‘Oh Doctor’ Welcomes Prohibition

Oh Doctor Sheet Music

Popular culture often comments on social and political issues of the day when citizens have no other way to voice opinions, change policy, or confront government. During the early years of the 20th century, sheet music provided a running commentary on contemporary topics and situations, serving as one of the first forms of social media.

The mass consumption of sheet music reached its heyday in the 1920s, just as major events such as voting rights for women, the Jazz Age, and Prohibition were inaugurated. Movies and sheet music provided a sharp and often humorous take on Prohibition, which after decades of protests by groups like the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union took effect to weed out the manufacture of spirits and alcohol, close bars and taverns which these groups believed contributed to prostitution, drug use, and crime. After Congress ratified the 18th Amendment in 1919, Prohibition began January 17, 1920.

Mary Mallory’s “Living With Grace” is now on sale.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Jan. 25, 2020, Mystery Photo
This week’s mystery movie was the 1950 Warner Bros. film “Stage Fright,” with Jane Wyman, Marlene Dietrich, Michael Wilding, Richard Todd, Sybil Thorndike, Kay Walsh, Miles Malleson, Hector McGregor, Joyce Grenfell, Andre Morell, Patricia Hitchcock and Ballard Berkeley. With Alistair Sim.

Screenplay by Whitfield Cook,  adaptation by Alma Reville, based on a novel (“Man Running”) by Selwyn Jepson.

Photography by Wilkie Cooper, art direction by Terence Verity, edited by E.B. Jarvis, sound by Harold King, makeup by Colin Garde, production supervisor Fred Ahern, music by Leighton Lucas, musical director Louis Levy.

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

“Stage Fright” is available on DVD from Warner Archive.

Note: I am always open to suggestions for mystery movies, depending on their availability.

Selwyn Jepson’s “Man Running” or “Outrunning the Constable” is hard to find. The story was serialized in Collier’s. The first installment is available via

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Hollywood Athletic Club Trains Filmdom’s Elite

The Hollywood Athletic Club, Photoplay, 1924.

Note: This is an encore post from 2015.

In the 1910s and 1920s, social clubs were all the rage in Los Angeles and surrounding communities. Many people immigrated to Southern California’s sunny shores pursuing new adventures. Most arrived friendless and eager to make new connections. Some joined clubs organized around the cities or states from which they had come, or single sex groups like women’s clubs or men only clubs. Others searched out social organizations, cultural opportunities, or sports leagues with more open policies.

The little farming community of Hollywood, founded around solid virtues and churchgoing, organized groups creating strong minds as well as strong bodies. Many offered educational, cultural, and social opportunities while providing community service. As the city grew and more artistic types arrived, cultural groups grew more diverse, like the Masquers or Lambs’ Clubs.

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

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Black Dahlia: Trim Your Roses on Jan. 15 to Remember Elizabeth Short

Today is Jan. 15, the anniversary of Elizabeth Short’s death. As is the custom, the Daily Mirror will be dark.

Trim your roses in her memory.

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Black Dahlia: BlackDahliaSolution.Org Is Utter Nonsense

Jan. 14, 2020, Jack Pico comment

I usually don’t publish the crackpot comments I get about the Black Dahlia case, but the anniversary of the killing (Jan. 15) is bringing out more than the usual amount of crazy stuff. So I’ll make an exception for this message, which I received today. was the work of John Frederick “Jack” Kohne Jr., who died in 2016 at the age of 83. And please note that I have a folder several inches thick of his material, as he wrote to me frequently using the fake name Jack Pico and the return address of the now-vacant Mailboxes, Etc. in San Diego’s Clairemont Square Mall.

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Leesa Jo Shaner – Back in the News

Leesa Jo Shaner, No Date

Photo: Leesa Jo Shaner

Note: This is an encore post from 2011. Paula Zahn’s new piece on the case has renewed interest in the killing.  William Floyd Zamastil was convicted in 2011 in the killing.

An attempt to resolve one of the nation’s most baffling unsolved crimes is quietly unfolding in federal court in Tucson: The mystery of Leesa Jo Shaner, who vanished May 29, 1973,  on her way to the local airport, where she had gone to pick up her husband, Gary, a newly discharged serviceman returning from Okinawa.

Shaner’s father, James Miller, was an FBI agent in Tucson and the bureau quickly took over jurisdiction from the Pima County Sheriff’s Department. But despite years of investigation, little progress has been made since her remains were found Sept. 16, 1973, buried on the grounds of Ft. Huachuca, Ariz., a remote military base more than an hour’s drive from the airport, through miles and miles of unoccupied desert.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Mack Sennett, Theater Owner

Woodley Theatre Motography 7-14-17
The Woodley Theatre, from Motography, July 14, 1917.

Comedy king Mack Sennett recognized the self-promotion power of owning his own movie theater long before film studios owned theater chains or Netflix looked to acquire the Egyptian Theatre. In 1917, savvy Sennett purchased downtown Los Angeles’ Woodley Theatre to premiere and plug his product, adding a touch of prestige to slapstick and burlesque comedy.

Selling his Optic Theatre at 533 S. Main, veteran theatre owner Robert W. Woodley purchased 836-840 S. Broadway in 1913 to upscale his trade as moving pictures blossomed into big business. He hired architects Train and Williams to design a 900-seat theater costing $22,500 in April 1913, opening for business September 27, 1913.

Mary Mallory’s “Living With Grace” is now on sale.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)


This week’s mystery movie was the 1940 Republic film “Dark Command,” with Claire Trevor, John Wayne, Walter Pidgeon, Roy Rogers, George Hayes, Porter Hall, Marjorie Main, Raymond Walburn, Joseph Sawyer, Helen MacKellar, J. Farrell MacDonald and Trevor Bardette.

Screenplay by Grover Jones, Lionel Houser and F. Hugh Herbert, based on the novel by W.R. Burnett. Adaptation by Jan Fortune. Production manager Al Wilson, photography by Jack Marta, supervising editor Murray Seldeen, edited by William Morgan, art direction by John Victor MacKay and costumes by Adele Palmer.

Associate Producer Sol C. Siegel, musical score by Victor Young. Directed by Raoul Walsh.

“Dark Command” is available on DVD from TCM. The film is in public domain and readily available online, though quality may be awful. The 1947 John Wayne-Gail Russell movie “The Angel and the Badman,” another Republic film in public domain, was on TCM recently and I was shocked the lousy quality of the print.

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Mary Astor’s Lost Film ‘New Year’s Eve’

Since TCM is featuring Mary Astor, here’s a brief post on her lost movie “New Year’s Eve.” (A tip of the hat to Lou Lumenick, who tweeted about the movie on — New Year’s Eve.) I also uploaded a version of this post to IMDB, in case you see it there.

Fox originally announced the film under the title “Strong Arm,” based on the story “$100” by Richard Connell, published in the August 1928 issue of Cosmopolitan Magazine. The film was supposed to star Lois Moran and George O’Brien in the leads, under the direction of J.G. Blystone. Fox initially planned the movie as a talkie, but released it as “New Year’s Eve,” a silent directed by Henry Lehrman with sound effects and music, designated “sound on film.”

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‘Scandal: The Trial of Mary Astor’ Premieres on TCM


Alexa Foreman Note: “Scandal: The Trial of Mary Astor” will air at 8 p.m. Monday on TCM. This is a post from 2018.

Alexa Foreman, who was TCM’s head researcher for many years, will be featured in a Q&A session on her new movie, “Scandal: The Trial of Mary Astor,” at Larry Edmunds Bookshop, 6644 Hollywood Blvd., on Wednesday at 11 a.m.

The movie deals with Astor’s sensational 1936 trial to regain custody of her 5-year-old daughter, Marilyn, following Astor’s divorce from Dr. Franklyn Thorpe. Seeking to show that Astor was an unfit mother, Thorpe’s attorneys released portions of the actress’ diary containing hundreds of pages of what the Los Angeles Times called  “intimate secrets concerning Miss Astor’s private life, written painstakingly in lavender ink.”

In 1952, the diary was burned page by page in a county-owned incinerator under the observation of Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Stanley N. Barnes, who ordered its destruction. Astor later claimed that the diary was a forgery.

The film is narrated by Lee Grant. It features interviews with Astor’s daughter, Marilyn; David Wyler, son of William Wyler, who was directing the actress in “Dodsworth” at the time of the trial; former Los Angeles Times film critic Kevin Thomas; and film historians Molly Haskell and Leonard Maltin.

It will be premiered during the TCM Classic Film Festival at 8 p.m. Friday at Club TCM at the Hollywood Roosevelt.

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