Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: San Francisco Silent Film Festival Celebrates Humanity

The Cameraman

Just as today’s immigrants search for shelter and sanctuary, the films at the 24th Annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival featured protagonists pursuing their own refuge and safety through the dreams of opportunity, love, and home.

Spanning the globe with movies from Russia, Japan, Germany, India, France, Italy, Czechoslovakia, and the United States, the festival’s schedule demonstrated the messiness and joy of humanity, uniting us in our imperfections, sadnesses and joys.

Unintentionally interweaving such subjects and themes as aimlessly stumbling through life, experiencing hallucinatory travels through purgatory, and finding sanctuary in family and the land, the festival’s emotionally satisfying and edifying slate also highlighted the evolution of the art of silent filmmaking.

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May 7, 1959: Dodgers Honor Roy Campanella as Coliseum Crowd Sets Record

May 7,1959, Los Angeles Times

Keith Thursby has the story of Roy Campanella being honored in a ceremony during an exhibition game at the Coliseum between the Dodgers and Yankees. The game raised nearly $60,000 for the former Dodger catcher, who was partially paralyzed in a 1958 car crash.

The story originally appeared on latimes.com in 2009 and is available via Archive.org.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

image
This week’s mystery movie was the 1935 Columbia film “She Married Her Boss,” with Claudette Colbert, Melvyn Douglas, Michael Bartlett, Raymond Walburn, Jean Dixon, Katherine Alexander, Edith Fellows, Clara Kimball Young, Grace Hale and Charles E. Arnt. Screenplay by Sidney Buchman, story by Thyra Souter Winslow, photography by Leon Shamroy, editing by Richard Cahoon, art direction by Stephen Goosson, directed by Gregory La Cava.

“She Married Her Boss” has never been commercially released on DVD or VHS. It is available on streaming via Amazon and shows up occasionally on TCM.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Los Angeles Elks’ Temple Highlights Importance of Fraternal Organizations

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The Elks Temple in an undated photo.


Note: This is an encore post from 2015.

Long a glamorous, outstanding example of Neo-Gothic Architecture and the powerful force of fraternal organizations, Los Angeles’ Elks’ Temple #99 still stands proudly at 607 S. Park View St. across from MacArthur Park. Now mostly an empty shell, the striking building once housed a busy Elks’ Temple that hosted all manner of social groups, an almost holy place that exalted the power of fraternal groups to better living conditions, educational skills, and the ongoing life of their surrounding communities.

The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks” Lodge #99 was one of Los Angeles’ premiere fraternal and charity organizations, founded in 1888 in downtown Los Angeles. The organization allowed men to gather together in friendship as well as providing services to the community such as allowing children to grow and thrive, feeding and clothing the needy, culturally enriching their neighbors, and honoring American veterans. Originally housed on South Spring Street, the organization outgrew its location in 1908 and moved into a larger, more elegant facility on Third and South Olive Street at the top of Angels’ Flight. By 1920, the organization once again was searching for a new home, and considered buying a couple of properties over the next couple of years.

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

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Follies Burlesque Dancer Scales Rosslyn Hotel!

Follies EBay

A photographer for an unidentified men’s magazine from the 1950s (Argosy? Swank? Nugget?) took a dancer with the nom de strip “Dotty Pearce” up to the roof of the Rosslyn Hotel for some pictures. The article is part of a lot of magazine clippings listed on EBay for $12.95.

Technical note: This is the side blade of the Rosslyn Hotel sign. (Nathan Marsak, this is for you!)

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Los Angeles Junior League Cookbook, 1930

Junior League Cookbook

A copy of the Los Angeles Junior League cookbook from 1930 has turned up on EBay. It’s not cheap, listed as Buy it Now for $250, but then again, who can put a price on Mrs. John Russell’s recipe for prune whip with soft custard? Or Biltmore chef Gus Waser’s recipe for small cream puffs?  As Junior League cookbooks go, this is quite early and, presumably, collectible. A previous copy sold for $600.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

May 4, 2019, Mystery Photo
This week’s mystery movie was the 1933 Fox film “State Fair,” with Janet Gaynor, Will Rogers, Lew Ayres, Sally Eilers, Norman Foster, Louise Dresser, Frank Craven and Victor Jory. Screenplay by Sonya Levien and Paul Green, from the novel by Philip Stong, photography by Hal Mohr, sound recorder A.l. Kirbach, settings by Duncan Cramer, wardrobe by Rita Kaufman, musical direction by Louis De Francesco. Directed by Henry King.

“State Fair” is not commercially available on DVD. Amazon Prime seems to offer a streaming version of a lousy print and the accompanying reviews are of the later musicals. TCM occasionally airs a fairly good print of this version and that’s where I got it.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: ‘The Home-Maker’ Upends Gender Stereotypes

The Home Maker (1925) Directed by King Baggot Shown: Clive Brook, Alice Joyce

In the early 1920s, Universal purchased many popular novels and short stories for adaptation into motion pictures. Many of these were hugely popular and possessed giant name recognition with filmgoing audiences, while also focusing their stories on intimate human relationships, cheaper and more economical to produce.

The studio turned to the intimate family drama “The Home-Maker” in 1925, based on Dorothy Canfield Fisher’s widely successful novel of the same name, ahead of its time in gender depictions and expectations. Canfield Fisher, one of the most popular and acclaimed writers of the day, was a well-known advocate for adult education, racial equality, and women’s rights, and one of the people Eleanor Roosevelt most admired.

The San Francisco Silent Film Festival, May 1-5

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March 16, 1969: The Rosey Grier Show

Rosey Grier Show

March 16, 1969: Rosey Grier, seen in the “Fearsome Foursome” making their debut on Shindig, is the star of a weekly TV show on Channel 7. Keith Thursby has the story.  This post originally appeared on latimes.com in 2009 and is available via Archive.org..

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Long Beach: Cyclone Racer in ‘Half Angel,’ Part 3

'Half Angel'

In this sequence, our romantic leads dash out of the Cyclone Racer.

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Long Beach: Cyclone Racer in ‘Half Angel,’ Part 2

'Half Angel'

Cut to Cyclone Racer, which closed in 1968. Our romantic leads go for a ride on a roller coaster, being 1950s symbolism at its best.

The bored operator is Edwin Max.

The sign in the background appears to say: “Hold Your Hats and Your Girls, Not Responsible for Lost Items.”

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: Alberto Vargas Glorifies 1940s Young American Woman

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Vargas poses with Kay Aldridge in a photo published in Cine-Mundial.


Note: This is an encore post from 2014.

“One day I will paint a Vargas girl so beautiful, so perfect, so typical of the American Girl, that I shall be able to show it to people anywhere in the world, without my signature on it and they’ll say, that’s a Vargas girl!” — Alberto Vargas quoted in “Vargas” by Taschen.


A
lthough some people might not know his name, many recognize the curvy, overly endowed model drawings designed by illustrator Alberto Vargas in the latter half of his career. Drawn for Esquire and Playboy magazines, these luscious line drawings of sexy yet innocent young women attracted great attention, and cemented his name in the national conscience.

Born Joaquin Alberto Vargas y Chavez in Arequipa, Peru, to wealthy parents, young Vargas showed deep interest in art from an early age. Drawing caricatures from the age of 7, before moving on to landscapes and portraits in his teens, Vargas was inspired by his famous photographer father to follow his dreams. His mother sent him and his brother to Zurich, Switzerland, in 1914 for a quality education in photography and languages, but Vargas soon traveled Europe after taking up painting. A natural autodidact, the young artist studiously visited galleries and museums, learning technique and form.

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

 

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Long Beach: Cyclone Racer in ‘Half Angel,’ Part 1

'Half Angel'

Here’s the Cyclone Racer sequence in “Half Angel,” last week’s mystery movie, that begins about the 32-minute mark. Joseph Cotten and Loretta Young are promenading along what is probably a Twentieth Century-Fox set, judging by the lighting. Editing by Robert Fritch.

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Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

April 27, 2019, Two Arabian Knights

This week’s mystery movie was the 1927 United Artists picture “Two Arabian Knights,” with William Boyd, Mary Astor, Louis Wolheim, Ian Keith, Michael Vavitch, M. Visaroff, Boris Karloff, De Witt Jennings, Nicholas Dunaev, Jean Vachon and Denis D’Auburn.  Screenplay by Wallace Smith and Cyril Gardner, from the story by Donald McGibeny, continuity by James O’Donohue, titles by George Marion Jr., art direction by William Cameron Menzies, photography by Antonio Gaudio, technical direction by Ned Herbert Mann, interior decorations by Casey Roberts, assistant director Nate Watt, editing by Douglas Biggs, production managers Walter Mayo and Leeds Baxter. Produced by Howard Hughes and John W. Considine Jr. Directed by Lewis Milestone.

Turner Classic Movies in association with the University of Nevada  Las Vegas, digitally restored by Flicker Alley, music by Robert Israel, dedicated to Irvin Kershner.

“Two Arabian Knights” was digitally restored by Flicker Alley but has not been commercially released. It airs occasionally on TCM, which is where I got it in 2016, during the William Cameron Menzies retrospective hosted by Robert Osborne and James Curtis. The restoration is quite good, but the nitrate damage is still apparent in some segments.

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Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: TCM Film Festival Walks on the Dark Side

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Humphrey Bogart in a Warner Bros. ad for “All Through the Night.”


TCM threw a wild party for its 25th Anniversary on air and 10 years of honoring classic films with its just concluded TCM Classic Film Festival, a packed four days of classic films, social activity and special events for cineastes and fans alike. With an eclectic blend of movies, it offered a little something for everyone, a crowd- pleaser to the nth degree.

Depending on the selection of films to watch, the festival-going experience offered divergent emotions and points of view, thereby fulfilling every taste. Though I chose to attend only 1920s through 1940s films, I ended up walking on the dark side of life, where movies produced decades ago dramatically confronted issues and subjects as timely today as when they first raised their ugly heads, showing the dramatic impact of popular culture and entertainment to open minds and thoughts.

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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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