Mary Mallory: Hollywood Heights – Hugh Herbert

March 13, 1952, Hugh Herbert dies
March 13, 1952, Hugh Herbert
March 13, 1952: Hugh Herbert dies at the age of 66.

Note: This is an encore post from 2011.

Per an ad in the July 27, 1937, Daily Variety, “Public Screwball No. 1 to the film audiences of the world is a rubber-faced flibber-jibbett who began his career in talking pictures 30 years ago, wrote the first all-talking picture nine years ago, won fame as Broadway’s only Scotch-Irish Jewish comedian, and is named Hugh Herbert.”

Born 1888 in Binghamton, N.Y., Herbert worked as a newsboy, messenger and tailor’s boy to help make ends meet for his family, before becoming usher and assistant prop master at Proctor’s 125th St. Theatre in Harlem.  He made his stage debut as a boy in the melodrama “Blue Jeans,” working in a saw mill.  He told the Los Angeles Times in a Sept. 18, 1938, story that “…I had to take bows as I picked up boards.  That taste of applause made me an actor.  You never get over applause, never get over it.  Gets in your blood, your ears, or something.”

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Black Dahlia: Jacob Edward Fisk, Victim of Long-Running Wikipedia Prank

Jacob Edward Fisk, Wikipedia, Aug. 25, 2020

I decided to randomly surf Wikipedia this morning and I’m never disappointed with how bad it is. Example: Some bozo has restored Jacob Edward Fisk as a “suspect” in the Black Dahlia case. Fisk’s name was added as a prank in 2009 and has become hopelessly embedded in the case.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + + +)


This week’s mystery movie was the 1956 film “The Long Arm” (also known as “The Third Key,”) with Jack Hawkins, John Stratton, Dorothy Alison, Geoffrey Keen, Ursula Howells, Newton Blick, Sydney Tafler, Ralph Truman, Maureen Delany, Richard Leech, Meredith Edwards, George Rose, Jameson Clark, Ian Bannen, Maureen Davis and Peter Burton.

Screenplay by Janet Green and Robert Barr, additional dialogue by Dorothy and Campbell Christie.

Photography by Gordon Dines, art direction by Edward Carrick. Music conducted by Gerbrand Schurmann, played by the Sinfonia of London conducted by Dock Mathieson.

Associate producer Tom Morahan. Directed by Charles Frend. A Michael Balcon Production.

“The Long Arm” is available on streaming from, but the audio ranges from tolerable to atrocious. The DVD is available from Amazon UK in Region 2 format, which is incompatible U.S. players unless you have an all-region player.

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Mary Mallory: Hollywood Heights – Mary Pickford and Miniature Golf

Aug. 3, 1930, Miniature Golf

Note: This is an encore post from 2012.

The 1920s saw a series of fads sweep the nation as the American populace searched out the new and exciting after experiencing hardship and deprivation during World War I and a great recession in the early 1920s.  Mah Jongg, Ouija Boards, Crossword Puzzles, and the Charleston were a few of the newest things introduced to the American public in the middle of the decade, soon followed by miniature golf.  This peewee golf boom exploded in the late 1920s, with celebrities joining the bandwagon.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Motion Pictures Promote Suffrage

The Woman Citizen Suffrage Cover 1920 Color
Women began campaigning for universal suffrage in the United States at the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention. Over the next seven decades, they would patiently and persistently push the message of enfranchisement through ridicule, patronization, and insults from their opponents. Moving from genteel lectures, magazines, and pageants to marches and mass marketing, women took their message to Americans. With the advent of motion pictures, more people could be reached at one time.

Traditional moving picture companies discovered the power of movies to inflame emotions and influence action early on. Renowned director D.W. Griffith focused on social issues in many of his early shorts, particularly “A Corner in Wheat”, revealing the degradation, manipulation, and enslavement of the poor by unscrupulous merchants and investors. Reformers influenced by these films worked to improve living and working conditions of struggling Americans and punish those inflicting pain.

Mary Mallory is giving a virtual presentation on “Your Girl and Mine” on Aug. 19 at 7:30 p.m. PDT. Tickets are $7.50 for Hollywood Heritage members and $15 for nonmembers.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

This week’s mystery movie was the 1952 Stanley Kramer/Columbia picture “The Sniper,” with Adolphe Menjou, Arthur Franz, Gerald Mohr, Marie Windsor, Frank Faylen, Richard Kiley, Mabel Paige, Marlo Dwyer and Geraldine Carr.

Screenplay by Harry Brown, story by Edna and Edward Anhalt. Musical score by George Antheil, musical director Morris Stoloff. Photography by Burnett Guffey, art direction by Walter Holscher, edited by Aaron Stell, set decoration by James Crowe, assistant director Milton Feldman, sound by Frank Goodwin.

Associate producers Edna and Edward Anhalt. Directed by Edward Dmytryk.

“The Sniper” is available on Columbia Pictures Film Noir Classics, Vol. 1.

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How to Fix Archive.Org Thumbnails


One of the annoyances of is that thumbnails seem to be assigned randomly instead of properly displaying the cover. If you Google for instructions, you will find them needlessly complex. Here’s the nearly painless way to fix them. After you fix one or two, it will be easy. Almost so easy that a computer could do it.

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St. Francis Dam Under Construction

This is a clip from “The Temptress” (1926) showing the St. Francis dam under construction. The dam failed in 1928, and the flood left hundreds of people dead or missing. The incident is referred to in “Chinatown” (1974) as the “Van der Lip dam disaster.”

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

The Temptress
This week’s mystery movie was the 1926 MGM film of Vicente Blasco Ibanez’s “The Temptress,” with Greta Garbo, Antonio Moreno, Marc MacDermott/McDermott, Lionel Barrymore, Armand Kaliz, Roy D’Arcy, Robert Andersen, Francis McDonald, Hector V. Sarno and Virginia Brown Faire.

Scenario by Dorothy Farnum.

Titles by Marian Ainslee, settings by Cedric Gibbons and James Basevi, wardrobe by Andre-Ani, photographed by Gaetano Gaudio and William Daniels. Edited by Lloyd Nosler. Assistant director H. Bruce Humberstone.

Personally directed by Fred Niblo.

A Cosmopolitan Production.

“The Temptress” is available on DVD from Warner Archive.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: ‘Your Girl and Mine’ Promotes Women’s Suffrage

“Your Girl and Mine,” Moving Picture World.

Note: This is an encore post from 2015.

From the 1840s on, many women in the United States fought to vote. Considered merely chattel, like slaves, women were forced to endure horrible marriages, see their children taken away, and forbidden to work in most professions, the property either of their fathers or their husbands.

Women like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton began fighting for woman’s suffrage, believing if women had the right to vote, not only would their rights and conditions improve, but so would that of those less fortunate: the factory worker, the slave, the foreign laborer. The states and country would be forced to look at conditions like economics, schooling, and social issues, rather than focusing on military and industrial issues. As Anthony stated, “Women, we might as well be great Newfoundland dogs baying to the moon as to be petitioning for the passage of bills without the right to vote.”

Mary Mallory is giving a virtual presentation on “Your Girl and Mine” on Aug. 19 at 7:30 p.m. PDT. Tickets are $7.50 for Hollywood Heritage members and $15 for nonmembers.

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Mary Mallory: Hollywood Heights – Horse Racing and Can’t Wait

Feb. 15, 1938: Stagehand noses out Can’t Wait.

Note: This is an encore post from 2012.

Horse racing has always been considered the sport of kings, because it requires so much money for housing, training, feeding, and transporting horses.  In the United States, old money on the East Coast dominated the racing scene, including the Triple Crown races of the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont.  The sport mushroomed in California after the state passed Proposition 5 in 1932, legalizing it.  By 1935, Hollywood jumped in on the craze, buying horses and helping build Santa Anita racetrack.
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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Aug. 8, 2020, the snake pit
This week’s mystery movie was the 1948 Twentieth Century-Fox film “The Snake Pit,” with Olivia de Havilland, Mark Stevens, Leo Genn, Celeste Holm, Glenn Langan, Helen Craig, Leif Erickson, Beulah Bondi, Lee Patrick, Howard Freeman, Natalie Schafer, Ruth Donnelly, Katherine Locke, Frank Conroy and Minna Gombell.

Screenplay by Frank Partos and Millen Brand from the novel by Mary Jane Ward. Music by Alfred Newman, orchestral arrangements by Edward Powell, photography by Leo Tover.

Art direction by Lyle Wheeler and Joseph C. Wright. Set decorations by Thomas Little and Ernest Lansing. Edited by Dorothy Spencer. Wardrobe direction by Charles Le Maire. Costumes designed by Bonnie Cashin. Makeup by Ben Nye. Special photographic effects by Fred Sersen. Sound by Arthur L. Kirbach and Harry M. Leonard.

Produced by Anatole Litvak and Robert Bassler. Directed by Anatold Litvak.

“The Snake Pit” is available on DVD from Amazon  and on streaming from Amazon Prime.

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Posted in 1948, Books and Authors, Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 42 Comments

A Note to Scotty Bowers’ Fans

The announcement that an untitled Scotty Bowers project is in the works at Fox Searchlight has generated new interest in a series of posts I did on Bowers’ “Full Service” in 2012.

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Posted in 2012, Books and Authors, Film, Hollywood, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: George P. Hommel, Pensive Photographer

Thelma Todd Portrait Hommel
Overshadowed by the work of 1920s Paramount colleagues Donald Biddle Keyes and Eugene Robert Richee, stillsman George P. Hommel crafted thoughtful portraits highlighting both the beauty and sorrow of those he photographed. Like Keyes,  the peripatetic Hommel always looked for new challenges, new opportunities, keeping him on the move. Unobstrusive and elegant, Hommel’s work reveals hidden depths in those he shot.

Little is known about his early life. Born George Peter Hommel in New York City, May 8, 1901, Hommel turned to photography at a young age. Trades list him as an assistant cameraman working with Edwin Carewe in 1919. At the time, Pathe director Carewe had established his own unit to produce “The Girl of the Moulin Rouge” with Dolores Cassinelli in Europe. Young Hommel gained early film experience serving as an assistant cameraman, studying the importance of lighting, angles, and setting a mood.

Mary Mallory’s “Living With Grace” is now on sale.
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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

Aug. 1, 2020, Condemned Women
This week’s mystery movie was the 1938 RKO picture “Condemned Women,” with Sally Eilers, Louis Hayward, Anne Shirley, Esther Dale, Lee Patrick, Leona Roberts, George Irving, Richard Bond, Netta Packer, Rita LaRoy and Florence Lake. Musical direction by Roy Webb, photography by Nicholas Musuraca, art direction by Van Nest Polglase and Feild M. Gray, recorded by Earl A. Wolcott, montage by Douglas Travers, edited by Desmond Marquette.

Story and screenplay by Lionel Houser. Produced by Robert Sisk. Directed by Lew Landers.

“Condemned Women” has never been commercially released on VHS or DVD. It last aired on TCM in 2017. Copies of unknown quality are available on the gray market.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

This week’s mystery movie was the 1932 Columbia picture “Forbidden,” with Barbara Stanwyck, Adolphe Menjou, Ralph Bellamy, Dorothy Peterson, Thomas Jefferson, Myrna Fresholt, Charlotte V. Henry and Oliver Eckhardt.

Story by Frank Capra, adaptation and dialogue by Jo Swerling, edited by Maurice Wright, photography by Joseph Walker.

Directed by Frank Capra.

“Forbidden” is available on DVD from TCM in “Frank Capra: The Early Collection.”

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights — Celebrities in Bloom

Mary Pickford Orchid
Photo: Mary Pickford admires a namesake orchid. Courtesy of Mary Mallory.

Note: This is an encore post from 2012.

Flowers, like actors, sometimes have short-lived celebrity. Once their aura of uniqueness fades, many languish or fall by the wayside. Some disappear. Others continue to thrive because of their hardy nature, popularity, or beauty.

Breeders and growers of flowers have struggled to develop attention-grabbing names for their plants for hundreds of years. Many name discoveries after themselves; others give monikers to plants that resemble the person they are named for or might help it prosper. Most plants that gain popular names are hybrids developed through luck or discovery.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: 2178 High Tower Drive, L.A.’s First Community Elevator

The Tower appeared in the March 24, 1939, installment of Nuestro Pueblo by Joseph Seewerker and Charles Owens of the Los Angeles Times.

Both marketing gimmick and necessity, the elevator shaft that gave the name High Tower Drive to a street in the Hollywood Highland Avenue Tract is now an icon in Los Angeles. Almost 100 years old, the tower represents the can-do spirit of Los Angeles and its residents.

In 1901, Los Angeles investors H.J. Whitley, F.H. Rindge, Griffith J. Griffith, M.H. Sherman, and E.P. Clark organized the Los Angeles Pacific Boulevard and Development Company to purchase land for development north of Prospect Boulevard in Hollywood. Sherman and Clark, brothers-in-law from Arizona, owned the streetcar line around the city adjacent to land they purchased for later sale as residential lots. Their trolley line ran down Prospect Boulevard and up Highland Avenue as well. The November 18 Los Angeles Evening Press stated “the purpose of this corporation is to boom Hollywood, to make it an attractive suburban town.”

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 1964 picture “The Last Man on Earth,” with Vincent Price, Franca Bettoia, Emma Danieli, Giacomo Rossi-Stuart, Umberto Rau, Christi Courtland, Tony Corevi and Hector Ribotta.

Photographed by Franco Delli Colli, edited by Gene Ruggiero, production manager Vico Vaccaro, assistant director Carlo Grandone, assistant production manager Lionello Meucci, art direction by Giorgio Giovanni, makeup by Piero Mecacci. Music composed by Paul Sawtell and Bert Shefter, orchestration by Alfonso d’Artega, music editor Norman Schwartz.

Screenplay by Logan Swanson and William F. Leicester from the novel “I Am Legend” by Richard Matheson. Produced by Robert L. Lippert, associate producer Harold E. Knox. Directed by Sidney Salkow.

Associated Producers Inc. in conjunction with Produzioni La Regina.

“The Last Man on Earth” is available on DVD from TCM.

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Book Review: ‘Cary Grant – A Brilliant Disguise’

Cary Grant Cover

Executive summary: “Cary Grant: A Brilliant Disguise,” the latest in Scott Eyman’s long series of Class-A Hollywood biographies, opens strong with the last day of the acclaimed actor’s life and quickly declines to a tedious slog in a book more like a catalog than a life story. Only for the most ardent Cary Grant fans, and even they will end up skipping sections and just thumbing through it to see what Eyman says about Grant being gay. Forthcoming from Simon and Schuster on Oct. 20, 2020; 576 pages, $35 for hardcover, $16.99 for Kindle.


Young Archie Leach, born in Bristol, England, in 1904, has a nightmarish childhood with terrible parents, finds refuge in the theater, comes to America, makes some lousy films that are mostly forgotten, and then goes on to fame and fortune in his carefully invented and nurtured persona of the always elegant and charming Cary Grant. He is tight with a dollar, painfully insecure, obsessed with his career and meticulous about his clothes. In later life, he becomes a father during his brief marriage to Dyan Cannon, takes LSD (lots of LSD) and in retirement watches TV game shows and gets his home remodeled.

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