Eve Golden’s YouTube Theater: Ann Pennington and Her Anti-Gravity Legs

Ann Pennington in an ad for Lux soap, listed on EBay as Buy It Now for $9.99.

Note: We are pleased to introduce a feature by author Eve Golden, whom longtime readers will recall from her previous feature “Queen of the Dead.”

Ann Pennington (1893-1971) was a tiny bundle of delight who shone on Broadway in the 1910s and ’20s. From a Quaker family, she dashed off to Broadway, where she was soon dancing in the Ziegfeld Follies (seven editions between 1913 and 1924–she also danced for Ziegfeld’s arch-enemy George White, in five of his Scandals, proving that she was both an invaluable performer and a delight to have around).

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)


This week’s mystery movie has been the 1933 RKO picture “Professional Sweetheart,” directed by William A. Seiter, written by Maurine Watkins, photographed by Edward Cronjager, with Ginger Rogers, Norman Foster,  Zasu Pitts, Frank McHugh, Allen Jenkins, Gregory Ratoff, Franklin Pangborn, Lucien Littlefield, Edgar Kennedy, Frank Darien and Sterling Holloway.

As far as I can tell, it has never been commercially released on VHS or DVD.

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Civil War: Been There, Done That

Aug. 24, 1863, telegram

A sample telegram from “Decoding the Civil War.”

After reading the Los Angeles Times’  account about the effort to transcribe nearly 16,000 telegrams, I was ready to pitch in. It certainly seemed a more productive way to pass a spare evening than playing Freecell.

But not so fast. I transcribed several telegrams and then, out of curiosity, did a Google search on a particular phrase in one message. Crushing realization: It was already transcribed, published in the 19th century and was even online via Google books.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Rockhaven Sanitarium Seeks Its Rehabilitation

Rockhaven Gate

The gate at Rockhaven, by Mary Mallory

Hiding in plain sight and sitting in a state of arrested decay at 2713 Honolulu Ave. in Montrose, the historic Rockhaven Sanitarium stands as the only living example of Glendale’s and the Crescenta Valley’s long history of providing rest and rehabilitation sanitariums for the whole United States. Rockhaven also exists as the only female conceived and operated facility functioning solely for the benefit of women. Now threatened, the site’s fascinating background deserves rehabilitation as both park and center documenting the area’s history.

Glendale and the Crescenta Valley gained fame and prosperity as one of the United States’ first “health resorts,” catering to middle and upper class citizens looking for a peaceful haven to rest and recuperate from illnesses in the pure, dry air and beauty of the area, with more than twenty eventually operating in the community. Many served strictly as rehabilitation facilities after surgeries or sickness, while others served tuberculosis/consumption, alcoholism, and mental illnesses. One of the most famous was the 75-room Glendale Hotel, purchased by the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Co. in 1905 and converted into recuperation center providing rest cures in the sunny, dry climate of the lovely Verdugos, from ads in the 1905 Los Angeles Herald.

Historic Resource and Conditions Assessment of Rockhaven Sanitarium.

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


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Found on EBay: Manly Palmer Hall

Manly Hall

The biography of Manly Hall by my Los Angeles Times colleague Louis Sahagun.

Two lectures by Manly Hall have been listed on EBay as Buy It Now for $69. Hall was included in a Los Angeles Conservancy tour in 2009,  “City of the Seekers,” which was an excellent introduction to some of Los Angeles’ influential religious figures. Other sites on the tour were Angelus Temple, the Self-Realization Fellowship Mother Center, Chapel of the Jesus Ethic and the Bonnie Brae House, where the Pentecostal movement began in the Azusa Street revival.


Manly Hall lecture Manly Hall Lecture

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

'Possessed' 1931
Meet Mystery Movie No. 1, the 1931 MGM film “Possessed,” directed by Clarence Brown, with Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, Wallace Ford, Skeets Gallagher, Frank Conroy, Marjorie White, John Miljan and Clara Blandick. The 1931 “Possessed” was adapted from the play “The Mirage” by Edgar Selwyn with additional dialogue and continuity by Lenore Coffee. Art direction by Cedric Gibbons, gowns by Adrian and photography by Oliver T. Marsh.

The 1931 “Possessed” is available from Warner Archive for $15.19

'Possessed' 1947

Mystery Movie No. 2 was the 1947 Warner Bros. picture “Possessed” with Joan Crawford, Van Heflin, Raymond Massey, Geraldine Brooks, Stanley Ridges, John Ridgely, Moroni Olsen and Gerald Perreau. The screenplay was by Silvia Richards and Ranald MacDougall, adapted from a story by Rita Weiman. Photography was by Joseph Valentine, art direction by Anton Grot, set decoration by Fred M. MacLean. Wardrobe by Bernard Newman, Crawford’s wardrobe by Adrian. Music by Franz Waxman, directed by Curtis Bernhardt.

The 1947 “Possessed” is also available from Warner Archive on DVD for $16.69 and Blu-ray for $18.59.

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


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 

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 + + + +)

Aug. 13, 2016, Mystery Photo
This week’s mystery movie was the 1941 Twentieth Century-Fox film “Dressed to Kill,” with Lloyd Nolan, Mary Beth Hughes, Sheila Ryan, William Demarest, Ben Carter, Virginia Brissac, Erwin Kalser and Henry Daniel. The screenplay was by Stanley Rauh and Manning O’Connor, based on the novel by Richard Burke and the character Michael Shayne created by Brett Halliday. The film was photographed by Glen MacWilliams, with art direction by Richard Day and Joseph C. Wright, set decorations by Thomas Little, editing by Fred Allen and costumes by Herschel. It was directed by Eugene Forde.

It’s available on DVD from TCM for $8.25.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Cinecon Film Festival 52 Offers Entertaining and Eclectic Films

A still from “The King of Jazz,” which will be shown at the Cinecon Film Festival.

Labor Day weekend is almost upon us, and it offers another madcap melange of movies at the 52nd Cinecon Film Festival at the historic Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, California. Cinecon, co-presented with Hollywood Heritage, welcomes film lovers, authors, scholars, and collectors to five days of film screenings, special programs, meeting celebrity guests, dealer’s room, and opportunity of making new friends. The festival offers a chance to see vintage rare and restored short films and features on the big screen as they were meant to be seen, with silents accompanied live on piano. This year’s Festival is particularly poignant, as it is dedicated to recently deceased past President Robert S. Birchard.

Virtually every genre is covered in this year’s Cinecon Film Festival, including musicals, westerns, film noir, comedy, and drama, spanning the years 1912 to 1949. Sound stars such as Gary Cooper, Ginger Rogers, Spencer Tracy, Dolores Del Rio, Claire Trevor, Anna Mae Wong, and the Marx Brothers are featured, along with such silent superstars as Douglas Fairbanks, Harold Lloyd, Tom Mix, and Laurel and Hardy. Supporting player scene stealers like Gustav von Seyffertitz, Sojin, Roy d’Arcy, Sidney Bracey, Charles Lane, and Fred Kelsey also appear in scheduled films.

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

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Olympics: Scenes From the 1932 Los Angeles Games

1932 Olympics

Several years ago, I bought a group of German images showing the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics and the 2016 Rio Games seemed like a good time to share them.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

This week’s mystery movie has been the 1959 American International Pictures film “A Bucket of Blood,” produced and directed by Roger Corman. Please see the comments for Eric Yarber’s excellent analysis of the film. It is widely available on DVD.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Two Chinese Restaurants in Studio City

Rickshaw Boy Matchbook

A matchbook cover for Rickshaw Boy, Courtesy of Mary Mallory.

Graphics, films, advertisements, music – all demonstrate values and cultures of the time and place in which they were created. Words, phrases, or images considered acceptable at that time can often be considered demeaning or racist to future generations. Seeing them reveals a society and how far or little it has come.

California is a remarkable laboratory for understanding the evolution of thought and behavior towards people of other races, particularly the Chinese. Many Chinese first came to California during the Gold Rush fever of the late 1840s. Later their dedicated work and sacrifice helped build the railroads and vast agricultural empires that crossed the state and helped it expand in population and importance. When times became bad, however, white authorities blamed “the other” for problems they themselves created, angry and resentful that people like the Chinese were succeeding through hard work, dedication, and sacrifice. Laws like the Anti-Exclusion Act were enacted to limit their rights to become citizens, own property, or even marry.

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

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Mary Mallory on Studio City Before the Studio

Studio City Before the Studio Flyer

One more reminder that Mary Mallory will be speaking at 3 p.m. today at the Studio City branch of the Los Angeles Public Library, 12511 Moorpark St. The event is free.

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Black Dahlia: Elizabeth Short’s Birthday


July 29 is Elizabeth Short’s birthday. Try to find some way to remember her that doesn’t involve dressing up as a bloody murder victim. Please.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

July 30, 2016, Mystery Photo

This week’s mystery movie has been RKO’s first singing, talking and dancing picture, the 1929 film “Street Girl,” directed by Wesley Ruggles, with Betty Compson, John Harron, Jack Oakie, Ned Sparks, Guy Buccola, Joseph Cawthorn, Ivan Lebedeff, Doris Eaton, and Gus Arnheim and His Ambassadors.

The screenplay was by Jane Murfin based on the story “Scandals of Broadway: The Viennese Charmer” by W. Carey Wonderly, published in the March 1928 issue of Young’s Realistic Stories magazine. Art direction was by Max Ree, photography by Leo Tover, musical numbers by Oscar Levant and Sidney Clare and editing by Ann McKnight and William Hamilton. RKO also adapted the story for the the 1936 film “That Girl From Paris,” starring Lily Pons with a return by Jack Oakie, and the 1942 film “Four Jacks and a Jill.”

The film has never been released commercially on DVD (or VHS as far as I can determine).

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Mary Mallory: Hollywood Heights – Hollywood Country Club

Feb. 6, 1921, Hollywood Country Club

Editor’s note:  Mary will be giving a presentation on “Studio City Before the Studio: An Afternoon of Local History” on July 30 at 3 p.m. at the Studio City branch of the Los Angeles Public Library, 12511 Moorpark St. This post originally appeared in 2012.

With the name Hollywood Country Club, one would assume that a golfing club so named would be located in the actual city or hills of Hollywood, California. While a club by that name was twice attempted to be organized, it failed to materialize. In the late teens a group formed to build a new Hollywood Country Club, this time in the hills between Ventura Boulevard and what would become Mulholland Drive, in what is now Studio City, California.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

This week’s mystery movie has been the 1946 Twentieth Century-Fox film “If I’m Lucky,” with Vivian Blaine, Perry Como, Harry James, Carmen Miranda, Phil Silvers, Edgar Buchanan, Reed Hadley and Harry James’ Music Makers. The screenplay was by Snag Werris, Robert Ellis, Helen Logan and George Bricker, music and lyrics by Josef Myrow and Edgar De Lange, choreography by Kenny Williams, photography by Glen MacWilliams, art direction by James Basevi and Leland Fuller,  set decorations by Thomas Little and Frank E. Hughes, costumes by Eleanor Behm and Carmen Miranda’s costumes by Sascha Brastoff. The movie was produced by Bryan Foy and directed by Lewis Seiler.

In selecting a mystery movie, I thought a musical was overdue. The political theme during the Republican National Convention was a bonus.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Russell Ball — An Eye for Glamour

Doris Kenyon
Doris Kenyon by Russell Ball, Motion Picture Magazine, 1928.

Motion picture still photography, just like any brand marketing, is all about creating a recognizable and attractive product appealing to consumers and leading to sales. Going a step further, stills photography’s aim is to fashion a fantastic dream world, taking people into the realm of fervid imagination. Russell Ball, one of the early masters of portraiture, composed alluring, glamorous images of stage and screen stars, accentuating a naturalistc romanticism in his work.

Born March 24, 1891 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Russell Earp Ball fell in love with photography as a twelve year old, shooting when he could. He worked as a Gas Light Manufacturing Co. salesman in 1910 supporting his mother after the death of his father, per the 1910 census. By 1912 Ball was working in New York as a newspaper photographer, and married his wife, Gladys Hall, later a famous movie magazine writer, on February 1, 1912. His World War I draft registration in 1917 lists him as a commercial photographer, and by 1920 he was shooting motion picture portraits, per the 1920 census.


Ernest Bachrach Defines RKO Glamour

Preston Duncan Shoots for Artistry

Bert Longworth and ‘Hold Still, Hollywood’

Mack Sennett stillsmen Albert Kopec and George F. Cannons

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

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Prof. A. Victor Segno: Los Angeles’ Greatest Charlatan



Prof. A. Victor Segno, my favorite Los Angeles charlatan, has surfaced on EBay. This envelope is addressed to the author of “How to Be Happy Though Married,” “How to Have Beautiful Hair” and many other books on self-improvement and mentalism at his HQ on North Belmont Avenue. The envelope undoubtedly carried the equivalent of $1, for which the sender could be sure of a “success wave.”

Segno’s “success wave” (artist’s concept). Note the beautiful hair.

More about Segno in a 2007 blog post.

And a column in the Los Angeles Times in 2012.

Bidding on this item starts at $4.99.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Hollywoodland Sign Premieres November 1923

Jan. 6, 1924, Hollywoodland Sign
Jan. 6, 1924: The Times publishes a photo of an Oakland car that was driven up to the Hollywood sign.

Note: Here’s a post from November 2013 for those who wrongly assume that the Hollywood sign was unveiled on July 13, 1923. (Wikipedia, no surprise, has it wrong). Mary Mallory gives the real story.

In the early 1920s, developers began opening virgin tracts of land for construction all around Los Angeles. To help sell these new developments, real estate agents coined fancy names like Bryn Mawr, Outpost Estates and Whitley Heights, while also constructing large signs spelling out their names with individual letters in white and red.

The Beachwood Canyon development named Hollywoodland opened March 31, 1923, under the auspices of real estate developers Tracy Shoults and S. H. Woodruff, on behalf of landowners E. H. Clark and Moses Sherman, and partner Harry Chandler. They considered the best way to advertise their new planned community, as well as outshine the myriad other developments around the city.

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

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