Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! Hope you are spending it with someone special! And here’s a sweet little secret from me: you are ALL my Valentines today!!! Because I love each and every one of you! (P.S. I like anything velvet, sparkly, or peacock!)
If you thought the corniness ended there, you’re wrong. Let’s celebrate by looking at classic movie stars doing adorable, sweet, mushy things, shall we?
Here’s one of my favorite photos of Clark Gable and Carole Lombard. Ugh. Can you say PERFECTION? They’re so cute together it kinda makes me sick, but in a very good way. This is the classic movie lover’s dream relationship right here!
There is something so sweet about Spencer Tracy letting Katharine Hepburn use his back as a table. It reminds me of my high school’s annual Walk-A-Thon in which all my friends would sign the backs of each other’s shirts. Let’s just say that mom was none too happy to see me coming in with my Walk-A-Thon t-shirt covered in rainbow messages and signatures. But Spence is just so much more adorable than a high school student. The way he’s crouching obediently for Kate…that’s the way it should be. Men, take note.
The Gary Cooper cute doesn’t end there. Here he is nuzzling noses with Shirley Temple. It’s the icing on the cutie patootie cake. And mark this, since this is a rare moment in which I actually think Shirley Temple is cute…
Gary Cooper ought to take the cuteness prize because he keeps popping up over and over again in this post. Here, he is teaching his young daughter Maria how to dance. And they say actors are lousy parents!
That’s all I’ve got! Happy Valentine’s Day, loves!
Hello my darlings! Here’s a sequel to the original “That Awkward Moment When” (http://goldenagedames.wordpress.com/2012/10/12/that-awkward-moment-when/) in which we saw that the flawless gods and goddesses of classic film were actually normal people like you and me. So next time you do something embarrassing, don’t fret! Think of this:
That Awkward Moment When Spencer Tracy Forgot His Pants
This scene is from one of my favorite Tracy films, Father of the Bride. Thankfully, father Spencer Tracy did not appear at daughter Liz Taylor’s wedding looking like this. Or maybe he could’ve. He has nice, slim, hairless legs.
That Awkward Moment When Bette Davis Flubs The Line
I think it’s really cute when classic movie stars, especially legends like Bette Davis, mess up the line. The reactions that old movie stars had were vastly different from the reaction stars have today. Like, they would get really upset and embarrassed that they messed up. Back then, time and film were precious, since we are talking about the Studio Era during the Depression. Some actors had really hilarious reactions, though. Like Carole Lombard’s streams of profanity whenever she messed up. You can see plenty of these classic film bloopers on YouTube!
That Awkward Moment When Lucille Ball and Harpo Marx Are Long-Lost Twins
I think I might’ve blogged this before, but the crazy resemblance here never fails to astound me. This is from one of my all-time favorite I Love Lucy episodes, the one in which she dresses up as tons of classic movie actors to impress her New York friend and ends up meeting Harpo Marx. This photo has convinced me that Lucy and Harpo are long-lost twins. They have the same hair, smiles, maniacal expressions…there’s no way that these two weren’t womb-mates!
That Awkward Moment When Marlon Brando Duckfaced
This photo of Richard Burton and Marlon Brando never fails to make me laugh hysterically. I feel that I’m looking at a picture of two bozos on Facebook instead of two acting greats. It has all the qualities of a Facebook photo: the background is obviously someone’s home, they have that “hey buddy!” pose, and the photo was taken with a low-quality camera. But what makes this the absolute perfect Facebook shot is Marlon Brando’s duckface. The man was definitely ahead of his time here. But instead of making the pose something ridiculous that is only done by ugly fake pussies, Brando makes it look classy. Only because it’s Brando.
That Awkward Moment When Buster Keaton Looks Like A Baywatch Babe
Buster Keaton is one beautiful hunk of man. Nothing makes it more obvious than this photo. Look at him seductively gliding through the water like he’s some god of the sea. Look at that sexy swimsuit, complete with an undershirt. Look at those nice pecs. And look at the wonderfully glum expression. He’s giving Pam Anderson a run for her money here.
That Awkward Moment When Joan Crawford Is Given An Ugly Portrait of Herself
Imagine you are Joan Crawford. You are asked to sit for a painting. All the while, you are positive that this painting will be a beautiful gorgeous replica of your beautiful gorgeous face. Then you get…THIS. What the HELL is that painting even?! That’s not pretty Joanie! It looks like the frickin spawn of the devil. And look at Joan’s face. I wouldn’t be pleased if I were painted as Satan’s mistress either. Thankfully her self-esteem didn’t go downhill after this one.
That Awkward Moment When Winston Churchill Leaves Very Little to the Imagination
Okay, I know Winston Churchill isn’t a classic movie star but I came across this photo and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to post this. This takes the cake in embarrassing swimsuit moments (and we’ve all had them) because here he’s actually wearing a swimsuit yet it’s so tight that he might as well be naked. Way to flash the entire beach, Winston Churchill.
That Awkward Moment When Laurence Olivier Ruins the Picture
This has to be my favorite photo of Viv and Larry. There’s Vivien Leigh, so gorgeous and glamorous, as always. And then there is Laurence Olivier, in perhaps the most hilarious photobomb in the history of photography. I’m actually surprised that the usually serious Olivier’s face didn’t shatter into a thousand pieces from all that laughing. Touche, Larry.
That Awkward Moment When Errol Flynn Looks Like He Isn’t Wearing Pants
That Awkward Moment When Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery Are Losing It Over Baby Cows
It’s pretty funny to see non-farm folks doing farm things. Observe how these two baby calves are obviously getting the better of Carole and Rob. Carole seems horrified, but she’s doing a lot better than Robert Montgomery, who is actually about to fall over right into the calves little pen. Which is fine, I don’t like him that much anyway (crucify me now).
That Awkward Moment When Humphrey Bogart Is Dressed Like a Grandma in Public
Humphrey, why are you making what seems to be a public speech when dressed like a sweet little Victorian-era grandmother? What has gotten into you, my man? You are supposed to be a rough-n’-tough hardboiled detective! But he’s Humphrey Bogart and he’s always cool so he probably got away with this.
That Awkward Moment When Katharine Hepburn Shreds Better Than A Twelve Year-Old Boy
Katharine Hepburn is awesome for many reasons. But I betcha didn’t know that she can skateboard! Judging by this photo, she’s got some mad skills. She skateboards so much better than those shrimpy twelve year-old boys with baggy clothes and oily hair who think that they are skating gods but actually end up scraping their knees on the pavement. Kate the Great should’ve been featured in an episode of Rocket Power, if you ask me.
That Awkward Moment When Katharine Hepburn Makes A Giant Food Mess
Here’s another awkward moment featuring Kate the Great, but here she’s dishing the gossip…and the food crumbs. Look at that abhorrent mess around her plates! Oh my Jesus. I don’t know if any of the food that was on these plates actually made it into Kate’s digestive system. It looks like it all ended up as mess for janitors to clean. Hollywood actresses were supposed to eat like ladies, not like cavemen!
That Awkward Moment When Humphrey Bogart and Peter Lorre are Sitting Naked in a Sauna and Playing Cards
That Awkward Moment When Katharine Hepburn Takes a Dive
Kate is on a roll today! This is the third awkward moment featuring her. I believe this extremely embarrassing moment was from a film, but I can’t remember which. It must be from a film, since if someone just happened to push her into the water like that, I would assume they’d never see the light of day ever again.
That Awkward Moment When Gary Cooper Is Too Tall for His Horse
Dude’s feet are pretty much dragging on the ground. His 6’3″ is much too much for that fat little pony. But Coop looks like he’s making the best of the situation, even though the Coop-to-pony ratio is greatly imbalanced.
That Awkward Moment When Fred Astaire Defies Gravity
That Awkward Moment When Your Music is Making Cary Grant’s Ears Bleed
Here, Eva Marie Saint and James Mason were attempting to serenade Cary Grant with a song on the harp while on the set of North by Northwest. However, Cary Grant found the song so vile and so shitty that he had to cover his ears before he lost his sense of hearing entirely. Sorry guys, your music isn’t classy enough for Cary.
That Awkward Moment When James Cagney Falls Into a Cactus Bush and Bette Davis Just Laughs
That Awkward Moment When Vivien Leigh is Dressed to the Nines and Lauren Bacall is Dressed in a Bathrobe
The difference between Viv and Betty in this picture is astounding. Viv is dressed to perfection in black, furs, and pearls. Timeless! However, Lauren Bacall is hanging around in a fuzzy, too-small bathrobe that looks like one I owned when I was four years old. Now that’s what I call awkward!
That Awkward Moment When Ray Milland is Very, Very Drunk
Hope you enjoyed this latest installment! x
Margaret Perry over at http://thegreatkh.blogspot.co.uk/ has given me a Liebster Award! YAY! The Liebster is given to up-and-coming blogs of 200 followers or less. If you are reading this, Margaret, thank you so much for the honor! So, if you receive a Liebster Award, you must share eleven facts about yourself, answer eleven questions from the blogger who awarded you, and award eleven bloggers of your choice! Here we go:
Eleven Facts About Moi:
1. All of my fingers are double-jointed. I’m like some sort of weird finger contortionist.
2. I’m a voracious reader. My all-time favorite book is Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.
3. I think peacocks are the most beautiful, fabulous animals in the entire world.
4. My biggest goal is to travel the world. I hope to study abroad for winter intercession next year in either England, France, or Australia!
5. I’ve always loved cartoons, and I still do! My favorites were (and still are) Tom and Jerry, Merrie Melodies, Mickey Mouse, and Looney Tunes. I also love the classic Disney films.
6. I confess I have a strange fascination with the occult and the unknown. I love learning about that stuff.
7. The things I notice first in a guy are his eyes (I love light-colored eyes, blue being my favorite) and his smile.
8. I was originally left-handed, but I was forced to switch to right.
9. My favorite fruit is the clementine, which is quite unfortunate since they’re in season only during the winter
10. My favorite band is Queen. Queen has gotten me through a lot of difficulties!
11. All my clothes have to: 1) have a vintage flair 2) have at least a dash of sparkle. My latest purchase was a black velvet dress with a gold glitter star pattern from Topshop. It sparkles more than the sun or the stars. Best shopping decision I’ve ever made!
If you could matchmake two of your favorite stars, who would be your OTP?
Hmmm…so many possibilities come to mind! But I think my OTP (one true pair) would be Myrna Loy and William Powell. Every time I watch them in a film I find myself begging them to get married and have babies already. Or Jean Harlow and Clark Gable, those two make sparks on the screen!
What classic movie would you like to see remade?
None. Modern remakes have a funny way of messing up beloved originals.
What is your favorite film genre, and what are your three favorite films in that genre?
My favorite film genre is the screwball comedy! My favorite screwballs are It Happened One Night, Arsenic and Old Lace, and To Be Or Not To Be.
You have the opportunity to share one classic film with a theatre full of your friends. Which film do you choose?
Gone with the Wind, most definitely!
What one actor/actress do you love so much, you would see a film simply because they are in it?
Clark Gable! I’ve sat through some really shitty films (LIKE THE PAINTED DESERT) just to look at Gabe’s perfect face.
What/who is your favorite animal character from a movie?
I love Asta from The Thin Man series. That dog is such a boss.
What years do you consider to define the era of “classic movies”?
This is a great, hotly disputed question, and as Margaret implies, the answer varies from person to person. I personally consider the classic movie era to be from around 1905-ish to 1960.
Astaire or Kelly? Audrey or Katherine? Bette or Joan? Olivia de Havilland or Joan Fontaine? Buster Keaton or Charlie Chaplin?
Astaire or Kelly: love them both with all my heart and soul, but I think I will go with Kelly here. It was a close shave, though!
Audrey or Katharine: Easy. Kate the Great of course! I might get crucified for this, but I CAN’T STAND Audrey Hepburn. The most overrated actress who ever lived, if you ask me.
Bette or Joan: I love Bette, but Joan wins this. Sorry Bette, but Joan is my homeslice for life.
Olivia de Havilland or Joan Fontaine: Livvy is my fave sister. She’s an amazing talent and a delight to watch on the screen. From what I’ve seen of Joan Fontaine’s work, she seems a lot more…forced…than her sister. Just look at the faces she makes in Rebecca and you’ll see what I mean.
Who is your favorite Barrymore?
My fave Barrymore is definitely Lionel. He’s like an old cuddly teddy bear! Who seriously knows how to act.
What is your favorite silent movie? Who is your favorite silent movie star?
Oh geez, this is a toughie. I’m gonna bend the rules here and give two favorite silent movies: Metropolis and The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari. I’m gonna bend the rules again with my favorite silent stars: Clara Bow and Rudolph Valentino.
If you could spend one day with your favorite star, who would it be and what would you do?
I’d spend the day with the lovely Clark Gable and we would tour Hollywood together and visit all of his favorite places there
Now I shall award eleven of my favorite blogs (that meet the qualifications) for a Liebster Award! You guys have to list eleven facts about yourself, answer the eleven questions I give you, and award eleven other blogs with the Award! Congratulations to:
All Good Things http://poohtiger-allgoodthings.blogspot.com/
Classicfilmboy’s Movie Paradise http://www.classicfilmboy.com/
Dear Old Hollywood http://dearoldhollywood.blogspot.com/
Deep Glamour http://deepglamour.net/
Critica Retro http://criticaretro.blogspot.com/
Gone with the Wind Fansite http://gwtwfansite.weebly.com/
Marlene Dietrich Collection http://marlene-dietrichcollection.blogspot.fr/
The Hollywood Revue http://hollywoodrevue.wordpress.com/
Alexander’s Sanctuary http://alexandersanctuary.wordpress.com/
The Kitty Packard Pictorial http://kittypackard.com/
Old Hollywood Glamour http://oldhollywoodglamour.blogspot.com/
1. If you could have a dinner party with seven classic film stars, who would they be?
2. Who is your favorite classic movie director?
3. Who is your favorite most-underrated actor?
4. Have you ever watched a film in which you had NO IDEA what was going on?
5. Who is your favorite Hollywood costume designer?
6. Who is an actor/actress that you would take out of one film and put into a different one?
7. Do you mix up any classic movie actors/actresses.
8. Favorite movie musical?
9. Have you hated an actor/actress whom you now love?
10. What is your favorite performance that was overlooked by an Oscar?
11. What is your most-quoted film?
And if you don’t have a blog and just want to answer the questions, please feel free to do so in the comments! X
As all of you, my lovely readers, know, the name of my blog is called An Elegant Obsession. It’s pretty straightforward why I christened my blog with this name: I am obsessed with all things classic Hollywood and vintage, and unlike most other obsessions, mine is an elegant one, if I do say so myself. After all, I am obsessed with an era of glamour and class. Part of what made classic Hollywood so elegant is the art of glamour photography.
Glamour photography is, sadly, a dying (ore pretty much dead) art. Nowadays, the idea of photographing celebrities is to show that they are “just like us”: they go shopping, they get coffee from Starbucks, they mow their lawns…whatever. The purpose seems to be to capture them at their most UNglamorous. However, in the olden days I so love, the purpose of photography was to depict these stars as gods: too perfect, too beautiful to be living in this world.
George Hurrell was perhaps the greatest and most prolific glamour photographer. With a career that spanned over seventy years, he photographed the faces of every important star from Norma Shearer to Sharon Stone. Hurrell’s photography is so great because it’s so dramatic. His hallmarks were dramatic lighting with strong blacks and whites. But the Hurrell trademark I want to talk about today is “The Hurrell Hair.”
As seen on the beautiful ladies Bette Davis, Veronica Lake, Carole Lombard, and Jean Harlow, George Hurrell loved to spread out the long, luxurious waves that all Hollywood actresses had back in the day. Any picture with the hair like that is a guaranteed Hurrell. Hurrell used a backlight on his subjects when taking a photo like this, as it added a shimmer or “halo” effect to the hair…which goes back to what I said about the whole “goddess” thing.
So, not being a photographer and having NO equipment but an iPhone 5 camera, I set out to do some Hurrell hair pictures of my own.
It isn’t so good, as my hair isn’t long enough, the photos are in color, I don’t have photography equipment, and I am an overall strange-looking person. But achieving a cheap knockoff of Hurrell Hair was not as difficult as I would’ve thought it would be!
If you are interested in doing a Hurrell experiment of your own, or if you just want to have long 1930s-1940s style waves everyday like I do, let me know and I will be more than happy to make a tutorial!
Meanwhile, I’ll be growing out my hair to get it as long as Vivien Leigh’s in GWTW:
P.S: does anyone have tips on getting rid of dark under-eye circles? I have them all the time, and no matter how much rest I get, I always seem tired and sick-looking! Thanks in advance for any advice!
Happy 104th, Carole Lombard! Carole has been one of my greatest Hollywood favorites because she is just so…perfect! She’s the only actress I can think of who has the qualities of a glamour girl, a tomboy, a party animal, and a comedienne all rolled into one. Yes, Carole did have a famous potty mouth, but she was also extremely generous, kind, and friendly to all. I don’t think anyone in Hollywood ever disliked her. Carole is my role model…hopefully I’m doing her justice!
In honor of the lovely Miss Lombard’s birthday, I want to focus on her and Fred MacMurray. They are one of the most-underrated on-screen couples, which is a darn shame, since they have great chemistry together. They made four films as co-stars: “Hands Across the Table” (1935) “The Princess Comes Across” (1936) “Swing High, Swing Low” (1937) and “True Confession” (1937). I’m not reviewing any of the films today, because I usually like for film reviews to have their own post (nitpicky of me, I know) but I’m gonna show some of their publicity photos together. These photos show how well Lombard and MacMurray play off each other, but they also show the fun, dynamic personality so unique to Carole. Happy Birthday to my favorite Hollywood girl!
This photo is from “True Confession.” Lombard’s zany character was said to have been the inspiration behind a certain famous TV character named Lucy Ricardo. Having seen the film, the parallels are so obvious!
This one is my FAVORITE! It never gets old. There’s Fred and Carole clowning around (her face is priceless) and in the background, barely noticeable, is poor Una Merkel not knowing what to do with herself. Total. Photobomb. Love it!
That’s all folks! Now I’m off to pop some Carole films into my DVD player and begin my Lombard festivities! I have tons of great posts for you guys in the very near future so stick around!
The title of this post refers to the famous Uncle Sam poster we’ve all seen in our history textbooks. I’m sure the above photo makes that fairly obvious, but you never know what kind of people read your blog.
So…why the above poster?
Well, I GOT MY VOTER’S PACKET THINGY IN THE MAIL THE OTHER DAY AND I’M SO EXCITED!!!!
For those who may not know, I’m 19 years old. And everyone knows that the voting age in the US is 18. So this is my very first election, you guys! I’m BEYOND excited!
Now, I’m gonna get all Carole Lombard-patriotic on everyone and tell you to VOTE VOTE VOTE!
Voting is important, everyone! A lot of people think that their one vote can’t possibly make a difference, but hell yes, it will! Every vote counts! And in my honest opinion, if a person doesn’t vote, they have no right to complain about the government. Because they did nothing to make a difference.
Everyone knows that we are the greatest most powerful nation in the world. Here in America, we have tons of things that we take for granted that plenty of other countries in the world don’t have. America is effin awesome. And when you vote, you are being an awesome American! We have the best of everything (just look at how amazingly we performed in the Olympics! #1 always!) so let’s keep it that way!
So vote! Glamour gals like Carole Lombard and Myrna Loy did it and sexy he-men like Clark Gable and John Wayne did it, so why shouldn’t you? Classic movie stars were incredibly patriotic and passionate about their country, so take a leaf out of their books! I’ll be voting at both the primaries and the actual elections, so if you live in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, we might have the same voters’ center and we can have a little chit-chat! I’ll be the only dame in electric blue peacock-patterned stockings, so you won’t be able to miss me!
Today I’m going to teach you guys how to do the perfect flapper nails! You know, that elegant vintage nail look often sported in the 1920s-early 1930s and seen on actresses like Jean Harlow and Joan Crawford:
As you can see, only the center of the fingernail was painted. The half-moons and the tips were left bare.
Things didn’t change until (legend has it) Carole Lombard began to paint her full nails, something that was seen as quite shocking in the world of fashion and beauty. However, the trend caught on like wildfire, and women haven’t reverted back to only painting half of our nails ever since!
But if you’re a vintage-obsessed nerd like me, you have a fondness for these old trends and love bringing them back. I’ve taught myself how to recreate the flapper nail look. My lovely, cooperative new boyfriend took pictures of me modeling my nails. They may look a little weird, but hey, the focus is on the fingers, not the face (or in this case, half the face) here! I hope the nails are easy to see in these photos (UPDATE: you can click the pictures if you need to see the nails better!):
It just occurred to me that I probably should’ve taken pictures of each step of this nail look…oy. I’m going to try describing each step as best I can, but if those of you who are trying to achieve this look need a picture for any step, let me know and I can redo this post with pictures!
What You’ll Need:
Top Coat and Base Coat (I use OPI Start to Finish Base & Top Coat, two in one, less hassle!)
Red Nail Polish (I use OPI’s “The Thrill of Brazil”)
How to Do It:
1. Start off with clean nails. (duh) Make sure they are long, but not too long. Just a little over your fingertips (like the way my nails look).
2. Give your nails that pointed look those flappers and 1930s dames had. Use the nail clipper to trim off A LITTLE BIT of the sides OF THE GROWTH (the part that is a little over your fingertips) ONLY. If you go any deeper, you will clip off the part of your nail that is attached to your finger, and trust me, it hurts. Like. A. Bitch.
3. After that, file the sides of your nails so they can look clean and pointed.
4. Now, take your base coat and paint one coat on each nail. They will look clear and shiny. Wait for them to dry (this depends on the type of base coat you have. Mine dries almost instantaneously, so I only wait a minute or so.)
5. Now, take your red nail polish and VERY SLOWLY AND CAREFULLY paint a thin arc right over your half-moon and another right under your growth. Now, you should have bare tips, a stripe of red, a bare nail, another red stripe, and a bare half-moon.
6. Now fill in the space between the two red stripes with red nail polish. Do this for all your nails!
7. Wait for your nails to dry. Then repeat steps five and six for a second coat (yes, a second coat is necessary, because it will give you the true color you are hoping to achieve).
8. Wait for your nails to dry again (completely!!! It’s most important at this time).
9. At this point, you might have some mess or stray nail polish around your fingers. My tip to cleaning messy nail polish (and this can go for any look, not just flapper nails) is to dip a cotton swab into a bottle of acetone and use it to clean around your nails. It’s thin enough to clean without removing the nail polish that is actually on your nails. Here, use this technique not only to clean any skin around your fingernails, but to also clean any nail polish that may have gotten onto your half-moons or tips. Many people complain that DYI nails are messy because they can’t paint the nails on their right hand with their left hand or vice versa. But with this tip, you can make as much mess as you need and you can clean it all up, resulting in salon-perfect nails!
10. After your nails have dried and you’ve cleaned any mess, paint on your top coat.
11. Voila! You now have shiny, red, glamorous, authentic-looking flapper nails!
**I’m not going to lie and say that doing this look on your own is easy. It might not come out 100% great the first time you try, but like with anything else, practice makes perfect. You might also find it easier to get someone else to help you or paint your nails for you. Do not be discouraged, since it is a difficult look! Any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!
P.S: Have you guys noticed the ring I’m wearing in my pictures? That’s the ring the incredibly handsome and talented actor Paul Zivkovich gave me in a one-on-one in my favorite play, Sleep No More. Sometimes the ring is on my finger, sometimes around my neck on a necklace, but I’m always wearing it! I’m quite devoted to this guy.
The Clark Gable and Carole Lombard Murder Case is not only the last book in George Baxt’s celebrity series, but it is also the last book he wrote before his death in 2003 (I have been reviewing these books in chronological order). And of course, Baxt goes out with a bang…this is perhaps the worst book in his entire series!
Before I begin my review, here’s an excellent, original review written by Vincent, who runs the site Carole & Co. (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/50359.html). The review not only points out some of the many things wrong with this book, but it is also a good example of how to write PROPER celebrity fiction! I’ll be referring to it throughout my own review.
Here’s the plot of this hot mess: It’s December of 1939. Gone with the Wind has finished filming and the Atlanta premiere is drawing near (saaay, that rhymes!). However, all of Hollywood, including Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, is suffering from paranoia due to a series of kidnappings. Amongst those who were kidnapped is a promising young protegee of Carole’s named Lydia Austin. But when no leads turn up about Lydia and the body of her ex-boyfriend washes up on the shore during Miriam Hopkins’ beach party, it becomes obvious that there is more to this case than meets the eye. Detective Herb Villon and his sidekick Jim Mallory team up with Gable and Lombard to crack this case.
First of all, the plot was extremely sloppy. It went absolutely NOWHERE for a good three-quarters of the book, and I think it was at that point when Baxt remembered that there has to be some solution to this absolutely boring mystery so he brought the book to a very speedy and unsatisfying conclusion. Here’s the breakdown of the book: 75% was “witty banter” terrible enough that, had they read it, would’ve made Gable and Lombard vomit uncontrollably, and 25% was actually solving the mystery.
And ya know what? The characters who went missing were so unlikable that I didn’t give a fuck about them whatsoever. They were three Nazi spies, seven Japanese spies (remember we’re starting WWII here folks) Carole’s protegee, who was a worse character than the spies!!! The girl apparently had a lot of “talent”…and how Baxt expects us to believe this I have no idea, since all this girl ever seemed to do was sleep with anything that had a penis. She literally has had a roll in the hay with every male character in the book (except the detective) at some point, from Gable to Groucho Marx. Why? Looking for a sugar daddy of course! Whadda bitch. I found myself so glad this little idiot was missing and I never wanted them to find her again. And as the story goes on and we learn more about her character, it becomes obvious that she’s a dim bulb too. WHY Carole Lombard would ever take a person like that under her wing is beyond me. Thankfully, this Lydia character is kidnapped before the action of the book takes place, so all we know about her comes from what we’re told by other characters.
In the book, Carole has three other protegees, but the most ah-nnoying one is the Eskimo, Mala Anouk. The other two are Nell Corday and Nana Lewis (dude, come up with a better name. Nana is what I call my grandma). But Mala takes the cake for being the most disgusting book character ever. Even more disgusting than Peter Pettigrew in the Harry Potter series. The girl lives entirely on BLUBBER. BUH-LUBBER. WHALE FAT. This is a girl who wants to be a HOLLYWOOD ACTRESS and she eats PURE FAT three times a day!!! How do you even eat squares of cold fat!? And by “how” I mean, “how can you live with yourself, do you have no shame?” or “how are you even alive right now, shouldn’t you have died from atherosclerosis a long time ago?” or “how are you not 6000 pounds?” or “how does Baxt expect us to believe that Lombard would’ve ever groomed a fat-eating actress?” In one part, the fat-eater even serves Lombard and Gable BLUBBER COOKIES. How the hell do you make cookies out of FAT!? What kind of shitty cookies are these? I was an avid eater of blubber (I’d eat a raw horseflesh before doing that, ugh!), the earth would not be able to accommodate my weight, lose all gravitational force, and end up spinning away somewhere in the cold, vast universe. Actress on the make eating blubber YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME!?!?
This book also features the most random cast of characters ever. We have Gable and Lombard, Miriam Hopkins, Kay Francis, Humphrey Bogart and Mayo Methot, Groucho Marx, and W.C. Fields, who is completely wasted in this book and completely unnecessary to the story. And so were Bogie and Methot, for that matter. They just came for a couple of pages and left. Absolutely none of these characters were developed, with Baxt instead drawing upon film characters that these actors played. I HIGHLY doubt that Groucho Marx walked around in half crouch with an unlit cigar dangling from his mouth in real life! I seriously think Baxt put a bunch of names is a hat, closed his eyes, picked out these names, and forced them into a story. I’m quite surprised Dorothy Parker didn’t make a cameo appearance in this book like she did in all the rest. She would’ve been the icing on the cake.
Now, onto the characterizations of Gable and Lombard. I don’t even know where to begin here. Well, in his review, Vincent addresses the annoying giggle that Baxt gives Lombard in this book. A giggle that made my eyes twitch. A giggle that almost made me explode in a rage. A giggle that made my heart turn cold and had me wondering if there is a God in this world. “Hee hee hee.” WHEN, In the name of God, did she EVER laugh like that? And this “hee hee hee” is there every single time Lombard opens her mouth in this book! I dunno if this “hee hee hee” after every statement is supposed to make Lombard sound sly and crafty but it only ended up making her sound like she’s lost all her brain cells in an alcoholic fog. Only three types of people say “hee hee hee”:
1) Evil Disney villains.
2) Evil wicked witches.
3) The senile grandmother I mentioned earlier.
Is Carole Lombard one of those three? I don’t think so! Besides the “hee hee hee,” Lombard also spends most of the time screeching and yelling at Gable for everything. EVERY SOURCE I’ve read about Gable and Lombard’s relationship said that it was a relationship based on love and laughter. Sure, they had rough patches like any other couple, but the book makes it seem like their relationship was tense and stressful 24/7. There was also none of that trademark Lombard charm, humor, and generosity. She instead screeches and throws tantrums like a petulant child or my menopausal high school math teacher. The real Lombard would’ve looked down on such behavior! Carole also spends time making obscene pictures out of cheese and crackers in this book (insert facepalm here). This book did one of my favorite actresses NO justice. Baxt did not even try to understand her at all. And why he dedicated the Astaire and Rogers book to her is beyond me. Like she would want any of these books dedicated to her!
Now Gable. Poor, poor Gable. If Baxt was trying to make the readers hate Gable by portraying him the way he did in this book, it didn’t work. I think this book made me love him even more, because it made me realize what a smart, lively, vibrant personality he had. Baxt portrays Gable as a big, lumbering idiot who barely says anything except an occasional “sure, sweetheart, sure” to calm Lombard down. Other than that, he just stands there and watches on as everything takes place around him, like some kind of shadow. And many times in this book, Baxt states outright that Gable is “dumb” and “not good enough” for Carole. First of all, Gable wasn’t dumb, and anyone who cares to learn about him can see that indeed, Gable was quick-witted and very intelligent. He loved to read, and there are plenty of photos out there that prove it. He never finished high school, so educating himself was a matter of great importance to him, and his widow Kay Gable said that he would read a book a day. He read books on all topics, from mysteries to histories (rhyme #2). And I’m sure Lombard knew what she wanted in a man, so saying he’s “not good enough for her” without any proof to back himself up is just plain wrong. Baxt did not do his homework on Gable or any other star he wrote about, and instead poorly portrayed the images the studio system gave these actors. Gable was a very quiet man, never one to brag about himself or make a big deal out of things. There is a difference between being HUMBLE and being STUPID, Mr. Baxt!
As usual, Baxt got a lot of facts wrong in this book. Big, big facts. Once again, the timing is all wrong. The story takes place in December 1939, before the Atlanta premiere of GWTW. In the beginning of the book, Lombard is getting ready to film Made for Each Other with Jimmy Stewart, but as Vincent pointed out, the film was released in February 1939, way before the action of the story and even before Clark and Carole were married! But at the end of the book, Carole was scheduled to begin filming Mr. and Mrs. Smith which wasn’t released until the end of January, 1941! And unlike today, you did not need a year to make a good film. I highly doubt this film would’ve taken more than several weeks to shoot! And whatever happened to In Name Only, Vigil in the Night, and They Knew What They Wanted, the three films that she made in between Made for Each Other and Mr. and Mrs. Smith? Did they just disappear into the mist or something?
At one point, Baxt makes up an entirely new movie for Gable. Apparently he made a World War I film called Hell Below. What the fuck is Hell Below!?!? I am proud to say that I’ve seen Gable’s entire filmography, and he never made a film by that name. I’m thinking that he might’ve mixed up with Hell Divers. But that film isn’t about World War I…rather, it is about naval aviation. Can Baxt get ANYTHING right???
Baxt also makes an outrageous claim that Harlow died from syphilis that William Powell gave her. How low can this author go? But thankfully, anyone who knows even basic facts about the Golden Age knows that Harlow died of kidney failure. Baxt’s low, cruel statement only succeeded in making him look retarded. He also claims that this syphilis is what kept Powell off the screen for two years. HE HAD CANCER. God, who would ever make something like that up!? Who in their right mind would lie about having such a disease? It’s like Baxt had something personal agaisnt these stars! He also claims that Russ Columbo’s death wasn’t an accident, and that Lansing Brown shot Columbo out of jealousy because the two were lovers and he heard Columbo wanted to marry Lombard. It was true that Columbo wanted to marry Carole, they were so very much in love. But the death was indeed an accident, with Brown feeling the guilt for the rest of his life, and THEY WERE NOT LOVERS. I hate it when an author says that every actor in Hollywood was gay! Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with homosexuality, but it’s very unrealistic to claim that ALL OF THEM were homosexual.
And please, don’t even get me started on the claims of Gable abusing Ida Lupino and sleeping with Judy Garland. HE NEVER DATED LUPINO AND JUDY GARLAND WAS ONLY FIFTEEN YEARS OLD! How DISGUSTING. This book and all its ridiculous claims are pure fiction. And horrible fiction at that.
So here’s what I learned from rereading and reviewing this series: the cover is the best part of any Baxt book. Just check out that artwork! I hope you guys enjoyed these reviews, and I hope I did a good job giving you a thorough idea of these books!
Like The Humphrey Bogart Murder Case before it, The William Powell and Myrna Loy Murder Case is just another cheap knockoff of a novel-turned-movie, this time The Thin Man. It’s not the plot that’s a copy of The Thin Man, but the characters. My my, Dashiell Hammett must be turning in his grave.
The plot: Basking in the success of The Thin Man series, best friends and costars William Powell and Myrna Loy are suddenly thrown into real detective work when Claire Young, madam to the stars, is diagnosed with an inoperable cancer and threatens to reveal the contents of her little black book in order to get some money from her famous patrons so she provide for her secret son after she’s dead. This blatant blackmail leads to the murders of Claire’s best friend Fern Arnold, and her secretary, Amelia Hubbard (to whom Claire was dictating her memoirs). Of course, there’s your usual cast of weirdos, including a Hungarian prostitute who works for Claire, her violinist, a young naive prostitute, and a notable doctor. It’s up to detective Herb Villon, along with Nick and Nora…I mean Powell and Loy…to figure out who would be desperate enough to kill for this little black book.
Many things about this book both shocked and disgusted me. First was the characterization of the celebrities. Baxt doesn’t understand that Powell and Loy have personalities of their own. Instead we get a very poor rendition of Nick and Nora Charles, their characters from The Thin Man. The two of them speak purely in quips and are never found without a martini in hand. They also never show any emotion towards the murders, instead making sarcastic jokes about them. This appalled me more than anything else in this book, especially when it comes to Myrna Loy, who was one of the most compassionate, kindhearted Hollywood figures. If someone she knew got murdered, she never would sat there, said “the poor bastard” or something to that effect, and take a swig from her martini. But that’s precisely the Myrna Loy we are presented with here. I find it so sad that Baxt obviously knew nothing about the actors he was using in his books, and instead resorts to bad imitations of their famous film characters. Actors are not always like the characters they portray! There’s also Louis B. Mayer, who does nothing but bang his fists on his desk and pass out in a dead faint (was Mayer always this prone to fainting? He faints at least three times in the book) and Jean Harlow, who does nothing but pout at William Powell and sashay down the MGM in a sheer swimsuit. Again, Harlow wasn’t a loose woman like those she played on-screen!
The friendship that Powell and Loy have with the madam, Claire Young, also confuses me. Each MGM contract player had a morality clause in their contract, correct? Now, I know that many of them had extramarital love affairs and in fact did visit prostitutes, but all this was done in secret and I’m not so sure but I guess it was considered okay as long as it wasn’t publicized and as long as the movie-going public didn’t get wind of it. At that time, stars could get fired for breaking this clause. So why was it okay for Bill and Myrna to publicly visit a whorehouse, get their picture taken by every camera in Hollywood, and get interviewed by reporters!?!? They literally just barge in on this mystery! They had NO point being there. They just walked right into this whorehouse and said they were “researching for their next Thin Man film.” The hell?? THEY HAVE A MORALITY CLAUSE, REMEMBER? And what does Mayer do? Faint in his office. I think the real L.B. would’ve wiped them off the face of the earth!
The way the dialogue in the book is written is dizzying. It’s very dialogue-driven (which in itself gets annoying after awhile. Sometimes you need a break from all that talking and need to read a description or something) so it should always be clear exactly who is speaking. But Baxt rarely ever mentions the speakers. He does only once in the beginning of the conversation and then you have to follow for a good couple of pages. It gets so confusing, and sometimes you have to start again from the beginning to figure out exactly who is doing the talking by the bottom of the page. Talk about frustrating.
I also hated how everyone was an alcoholic in this book. Loy and Powell never stop drinking martinis (God knows how they were still sober enough to do detective work) and you also have drinkers in Hazel Dickson (Herb Villon’s girlfriend) and in Hellman and Hammett. Just because it’s Hollywood doesn’t mean everyone lives solely for their next drink! Honestly, I was waiting for Powell and Loy to die from liver failure by the end of the book.
Another shocking plot point was, believe it or not, Paul Bern’s death. Firstly, Baxt states that Bern was the one who got Claire Young her start in the prostitution business, but then he goes so far to say that Bern was involved with silent film actress Barbara LaMarr and provided her with the drugs that would end up killing her. I don’t know much about LaMarr, let alone her relationship with Bern, so if someone knows anything about this and can tell me, I’d appreciate it! He’s also definite that Bern’s death was not a suicide but a murder. It is a possibility, and there’s evidence that can point that way, but it’s also equally possible that it could’ve indeed been suicide. How can Baxt be so sure? And in this book, the person who murders Claire’s friend and her secretary also murdered Bern, since he was in a way connected with Claire as well. In my opinion, fooling around with an actual murder mystery in a fake murder mystery is playing with fire!
If you want a real murder mystery, read The Thin Man instead.
Sounds like pretty exciting stuff, right?
But The Greta Garbo Murder Case wins the award for making a thriller about busting a Nazi spy ring the most boring thing I’ve ever read.
The plot: It’s 1942. World War II is completely changing Hollywood: many stars are off fighting, audience tastes are changing, films become heavier in tone and subject matter, and stars that were once popular are now known as Hollywood has-beens. Greta Garbo, who had a large European fanbase that has now been cut off because of the war, accepts a role in an epic film entitled Joan the Magnificent in order to avoid joining the has-been club. Garbo soon discovers that there is a Nazi plot revolving around the film’s producer, mysterious billionaire Albert Guiss, and that the cast and crew of the film is made up of both Nazis wanting to figure out U.S. secrets and G-men wanting to bust the Nazis. Soon enough, people begin to drop like flies, having died from thallium nitrate poisoning. Detective Herb Villon, along with G-man Arnold Lake and Garbo herself, are out to crack the case, bust the Nazis, and catch the poisoner.
The book was extremely BORING. It was not even 200 pages long, but it felt larger than the 1463 page Les Miserables (my most favorite book in the whole world). I’ve read Hugo’s brilliant classic over eight times, yet I could barely make it through this little Garbo book for the second time! Something is definitely wrong there.
First of all, this is a MURDER case, correct? In a 197-page book, I find it pretty bad that the first murder (out of FIVE) doesn’t take place until page 105 or thereabouts! In a book that short, Baxt should not have taken up that much paper to “build up” to these murders (I use quotations because most of this build up was boring, useless, predictable, and extremely repetitive). Actually, he shouldn’t have used 197 pages of paper. Period.
Second of all, it was so…so…SENSELESS. Goddammit, the plot of that insipid film Napoleon Dynamite made more sense than this book! It was almost as senseless as SCARLETT (by the way guys, I don’t where my copy of that book went. I hid it on purpose so I never have to look at it again and get deadly ideas like reading it a second time. But I might be going on vacation to the Bahamas in August, and I want to find it again because hey, you never know when you’ll need some emergency toilet paper.) There were easily a thousand things wrong with it. Here are some of the mistakes my little eye caught:
1) AGAIN with the Friends: Like in the Tallulah Bankhead book, Baxt has Garbo’s pals (in here, he chooses screenwriter Salka Viertel and playwright Mercedes de Acosta) practically living off of her! They never seem to leave her house! I’m not sure if Baxt understands that the supporting characters in his books have HOMES OF THEIR OWN. In one part he has Viertel write a script in Garbo’s home, at like, midnight. Now WHY in God’s can’t a highly successful screenwriter have her OWN HOME to do her work? Another thing is that Baxt says that de Acosta and Garbo had a sexual relationship early in Garbo’s career. However, it’s been proven that the two were only friends. It’s a minor point, but it bothers me so much!
2) Unnecassary Characters: Baxt is extremely obnoxious with the name-dropping in his books. Another thing I don’t think he understood is that if he is writing a book involving classic Hollywood, it can be automatically assumed that he knows a thing or two on the subject. But because he DOESN’T, I think he felt the need to name-drop to prove that he “does.” In the book, Marion Davies and William Randolph Hearst live next door to Garbo (in their famed Santa Monica beach house, now the Annenberg Community Beach House, where Marion held many of her famous parties) so of course he has to include the both of them n the book every once in a while, even though they had absolutely NOTHING to do with the plot! Davies was there only to comment on everything in her snarky, bold Brooklyn way (Brooklyn pride! I also learned recently that Lauren Bacall is from Brooklyn too! Honestly, I grow more proud of my amazing city and its amazing people each and every day, but I am going off-topic here.) and Hearst seems to exist solely to be bulied around by Davies. They honestly had NO point in the book. Just a waste of trees. There was another part that REALLY ticked me off, in which the detectives Herb Villon and Arnold Lake are hanging around in the Garden of Allah bar. Here is a summary of what happened in that part: the detectives walk into the Garden of Allah. They look at all the movie stars who are hanging out there (cue Baxt name-dropping like a Nazi dropping bombs over London during the Blitz). One of them says to the other: “It’s too noisy here. Let’s go talk in the office.” The other agrees. They leave. The end. WHY!? I mean, how POINTLESS was that? Just another opportunity for Baxt to write a bunch of names. But at least Baxt didn’t make himself a character in this book, and we should all get down on our knees and thank God for that!
3) “Joan the Magnificent”: this is the fictitious film that Garbo is acting in during the story (as Joan of Arc obviously). Now, films about the Maid of Lorraine are very good, and have been very successful (look at Maria Falconetti and Ingrid Bergman’s portrayals of her) but of course, Baxt messed up with Joan’s story badly, badly, badly. In Joan the Magnificent, Joan is made out as a symbol of anti-Nazism, which is interesting I guess, but in the film, she is also supposed to be sarcastic and funny. She cracks jokes with the boys and plays cards with her jailers. THE FUCK!? There was nothing FUNNY about Joan of Arc!!! And only Rhett Butler can play cards with the jailers and get away with it! What really bothered me was that this film was supposed to be a huge box office success in the book. Everyone thought it was gonna succeed. In this book, Baxt has Sam Goldwyn and Erich von Stroheim think that this mess is GOOD. Who in their right mind would ever call this good film material?? Why would the great Garbo ever agree to do a film like this? And you’ll never guess who Baxt chooses to cast as the Dauphin. PETER LORRE. As soon as I read this casting decision, I got this image of Lorre in a white curly powdered wig, silk breeches with a matching vest, and those little heeled shoes that French royalty loved to wear long ago. Then I died laughing for a good fifteen minutes.
4) Peter Lorre: Speaking of Lorre, Baxt does this terrific actor absolutely no justice. Nothing at all is mentioned about his wonderful talent. Instead he is made to look like an old, disgusting pervert who is always high on cocaine. In the epilogue of the book, Baxt states that Lorre’s cocaine addiction kills him. Um. NO. Firstly, it isn’t even known whether Lorre dabbled in crack or not. Secondly, Lorre had gallbladder problems later on in his life, and was prescribed morphine by his doctors, which inevitably led to addiction. THIS addiction, not cocaine, is what kills him in the end.
5) Greta Garbo: I don’t think Baxt knew anything about Garbo besides her name, her nationality, and her famous line: “I want to be alone” (he even plays around with it. She tells Louis B. Mayer “I don’t want to be a loan.” Get it? Hardy har har har har har…) Because other than that, her characterization was completely wrong. Garbo highly treasured her privacy. She was NOT a recluse, but she did like to take time for herself. She never married, and I suspect it is because she so loved her individuality, her independence as a single woman, and it was something she would never have again if she had gotten married. She HATED publicity (never giving autographs or interviews and never going to premieres or answering her fanmail for the vast majority of her career). She tried as much as she can to live like an average person. So why, in God’s name, would Baxt get her involved in a Hollywood murder case!? I can’t think of anything else that is MORE publicized!!! The interviews and reporters and photographers that come with something like that would’ve pretty much been Garbo’s idea of hell. How could the Garbo who loved to be alone go out there and play detective and willingly endanger her life? Ya know what, forget about Garbo for a sec. What kind of Hollywood star in general would willingly involve themselves in a murder case!? Um, shouldn’t they be keeping themselves away from something like that as much as possible? I can see that bringing a lot of NEGATIVE publicity! It would be extremely detrimental to their careers. So actually, this whole series shouldn’t exist.
6) Carole Lombard: No, Lombard wasn’t a character in this book (she gets a whole book for herself). But she was mentioned once, and of course, it was wrong. In the book, it is quite clear that the story takes place several months into 1942. It had to be, because the story takes place right after the release of Two Faced Woman, which was at the end of 1941. At the beginning of 1942 Garbo was to make another film, The Girl from Leningrad, but the project dissolved soon after. Keep this in mind. In the story (and in real life) Garbo gets a lot of flak for not participating in the war effort (she did, she just never publicized it…another mistake on Baxt’s part). and she says, “I can’t do bond tours the way Carole Lombard and Dorothy Lamour do because I’m terrified of crowds.” Key word here is “do,” it’s in the present tense. So it would seem from that sentence alone that Lombard is still alive and selling bonds. Lombard died on January 16, 1942, only sixteen days into the new year. So of this story took place several months into 1942, she should’ve already been dead! Sloppy work, Baxt. Unless he wants us to believe that Two Faced Woman was released, a new idea for a Garbo film was created, the film was casted, then scrapped, and then Garbo is once again looking for work in only sixteen days into 1942. The time was all wrong!
7) Albert Guiss: In the book, the Joan of Arc film is being produced by a wealthy German named Albert Guiss, who is secretly a Nazi (trust me, I ain’t spoiling anything by telling you this. The book is so predictable and anyone with an ounce of brains can deduce this plot point from the very beginning). The film was only a front for Guiss and his cronies to feed information back to the big Fuhrer back home. But in the beginning of the book, Guiss is made out to be some big producer. Even Peter Lorre says, “No one says no to Guiss.” Obviously, if experienced, independent, famous actors can’t say no to him, he had to have had a pretty excellent body of work, no? BUT, Guiss never produced a film before! He’s no producer, he’s a Nazi! So why COULDN’T they say no to him? None of the stars in the book were under contract to any studio, so they had full say in all their projects. Why would Garbo and Lorre ever accept a film offer from a mysterious nobody, especially when they’re looking to revive their careers? Nothing makes sense. Nothing.
Next up is The Marlene Dietrich Murder Case. It’s over 200 pages. God help me.
If you like to read and research absolutely everything on classic Hollywood like me, you’ve probably heard of George Baxt’s fictional classic Hollywood murder mysteries. I’ve certainly came across them a great deal when educating myself about classic Hollywood, and I thought it was a fun idea to take our beloved stars and put them in a thrilling murder mystery, a work of fiction. So I decided to order a bunch of them two years ago, for my seventeenth birthday. To my chagrin, I found out that the books are extremely rare and out of print, and I ended up having to order them from some bookshop in London! Some books in the series, such as the Dorothy Parker Murder Case and the Alfred Hitchcock Murder Case were either too expensive or too rare, so alas, I don’t have them.
I was beyond excited to read them, but…I am sorry to say, they were an absolute disappointment, especially since Baxt himself was a former Hollywood agent, who was supposed to have known most of these stars. I was expecting an insightful look into the lives of these Hollywood stars, but instead I got a shallow story with a stupid plot and even stupider characterizations each and every time! I have no idea what Baxt meant by writing these books…did he mean to slander the names of the stars of classic Hollywood? Or was all of this meant to be taken as a joke, a lighthearted work of fiction? But when you’re dealing with the personalities of real people, how are you NOT supposed to take what is said seriously?
Anyway, over the summer I will be reviewing what I have from this series for two reasons:
1) The books are rare, so it may be difficult for some to access them and read them for themselves.
2) I don’t think anyone on here deserves to plow through such drivel anyway.
The titles I’ll be reviewing are:
1) The Tallulah Bankhead Murder Case
2) The Greta Garbo Murder Case
3) The Marlene Dietrich Murder Case
4) The Humphrey Bogart Murder Case
5) The Clark Gable and Carole Lombard Murder Case
6) The William Powell and Myrna Loy Murder Case
7) The Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers Murder Case
I’ll discuss what worked and didn’t work for me, and I’ll also put up some of the “facts” that Baxt had in books, just to show how outrageous they sometimes are! This means that I’ll have to re-read them (oy…but at least they’re small, easy reads). So stay tuned!
Some of you may know that I love art. Drawing, painting, printing, carving, I’ve done it all and I love it all. So of course, for my art class in school, most of my subjects dealt with classic films. Here’s some of the work I’ve done recently:
Jean Harlow…not really happy about how this one came out…
Gable and Lombard, publicity shot for No Man of Her Own (1932).
I know this is a bit of a short post, but I wrote a review of Lone Star (1952) and WordPress decided to just delete the entire thing >:( I’m way too frustrated to re-do the entire post now, so keep your lovely eyes peeled for it tomorrow!
Sometimes, when scouring the Internet for images related to classic films and actors, you find lots of random, fun things. Here are some of the gems that you can find when looking up images of some classic movie stars:
Here’s Marion Davies using an odd contraption called the Bentograph. It was supposed analyze the human character. Director Monte Bell gives Marion part of her analysis: “Full forehead; benevolent, creative, learned and happiest when in company of the intellectual. Nose; pretentious, ambitious, sensitive, aims high and demands social and artistic recognition”.
Cary Grant, Sally Eilers, Hal Roach, and Elizabeth Jenns English make for an interesting band!
Ida Lupino visits Harry Fink, bottle collector who used to lend out his collection to film studios so they can be used as props!
Is it me, or does Lana Turner slightly resemble Joan Blondell in this photo?
Anne Shirley, Carol Stone, Rosina Lawrence, Lana Turner, Vicki Lester and Natalie Draper drink soda out of a pumpkin.
Another “handie” (Stewart could perform over 300!): China clipper
Why am I loving Laurence Olivier’s mismatched outfit?
That’s all! I made it quite long to make up for all the days I haven’t blogged. Hope this was fun and entertaining!
Yesterday was Carole Lombard’s 103rd birthday. To celebrate, the lovely Vincent at Carole and Co (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/) is hosting a blogathon in her honor, Carole-tennial +3.
Carole Lombard was considered one of the most fashionable women of her time. She had a lean, lithe body, perfect for modeling clothes, was always seen wearing the latest trends, and was clothed by America’s most venerated couturiers. Of course, she was considered the best dressed woman not only in Hollywood, but perhaps throughout the whole country. However, Lombard never seemed too enthusiastic about her title as reigning fashionista: “I can’t imagine a duller fate than being the best dressed woman in reality. When I want to do something I don’t pause to contemplate whether I’m exquisitely gowned. I want to live, not pose!”. I think that this is exactly she was considered so fashionable. She was never a show-off about her clothes, and was never afraid to have fun and just be a regular girl, even when wearing an evening gown designed by Irene. She wore the clothes, and didn’t let the clothes wear her. Here are some of Lombard’s most popular fashion trends:
As I mentioned above, Lombard had a perfect model’s body: long, lean, and feminine in all the right places. She was a couturier’s dream. When Lombard sported evening gowns, they were designed by the best: Edith Head, Travis Banton, or her personal favorite, Irene. Lombard usually wore clingy satins in light colors, but she also wore sparkles, feathers, and even fur trim!
Of course Lombard, being a top actress, looked breathtaking in an evening gowns. However, unlike many of her peers, she looked just at home in casual, men’s-style clothing. During her relationship and marriage to Clark Gable, Lombard was seen more and more in casual sporty clothing than in glamorous, liquid couture gowns. She immersed herself in Gable’s favorite sports, and therefore popularized a less-dressy, yet always feminine, look for women.
Turbans were all the rage in Old Hollywood, and if you haven’t noticed, they’re starting to make a comeback! Even though turbans are associated with exoticism, no one wore them better than all-American Carole Lombard! Once she started wearing turbans, others, such as pal Ginger Rogers, copied her too:
Lombard wearing a fancy turban in an early glamour portrait. At this stage of her career she was aiming for a more exotic look, like many of her fellow actresses.
Firstly, Lombard was blonde, a hair color that will always and forever be in vogue. But how Carole styled her h0ney-colored locks is what I’m concerned with here. When platinum was popular in the early 30s, she was platinum. When bangs were in during the mid 30s, she sported a heavy, waved fringe across her forehead. When long hair started to emerge in the late 30s-early 40s, her blonde curls tumbled down her shoulders. Lombard’s hair was always up-to-date:
Carole in heavy, curled bangs
In her last film, To Be Or Not To Be, Lombard’s hair was especially long, perfect for 1940s hairstyles.
Many of you must know that throughout the 20s and 30s, the trend was only to paint the middle of your nails, leaving the tip and half-moon blank. However, Lombard was amongst the first to do the unheard of…paint her full nails! It caused quite a stir at the time, but eventually everyone caught up with Lombard’s fashion-forward ways.
When Lombard was asked about her fashion essentials, one of those she listed was a suit. They’re smart, conservative, clean, and elegant. And Lombard sure knew how to wear them! She had plenty of suits,whether they be sporty, or the famous dove-gray suit she wore when she married Clark Gable.
Once upon a time, wearing furs was actually cool. And if something was cool, Lombard was guaranteed to wear it. She wore furs of all kinds…even monkey fur!
Carole and I have the same shopping weakness: hats. Lombard couldn’t get enough of hats, and she became quite well-known for buying several hats at once during a shopping excursion. She would even buy ugly hats, knowing that her husband Clark Gable would get annoyed. Despite her mischievous ways, she always looked glamorous, no matter how over-the-top her hats were.
In a giant sunhat
Although she humbly tried to deny it, Carole Lombard was a fashion icon. She revolutionized women’s fashion, making it possible for us dames to be both causal and glamorous, simple and extravagant. She allowed us to have with our wardrobes and to be beautiful stylish ladies. Kudos to Carole!
Sorry about neglecting my blog for so long…starting college is not easy task, and that’s putting it mildly!
On Sunday, when Hurricane Irene was supposed to come in with a bang but instead came in like a lamb in my area, I greatly enjoyed Carole Lombard’s SUTS day on TCM. Although I watched and recorded about five or six of her films that day, I want to focus on Virtue for now because not only did I love Lombard’s performance in it, but it was a very different role for her. Although it’s a Columbia picture, it’s pretty damn similar to a Warner’s Pre-Code!
The film focuses on the romance between ex-prostitute Mae (Lombard) and a cabby, Jimmy Doyle (Pat O’Brien). Despite her past, Mae changes for the better, settles down with Jimmy, and shows him that her past is forgotten and behind her. However, many things test their marriage, including a money scam in which one of Mae’s prostitute friends, Gert (Shirley Grey) fakes ill in order to get $200 to give to her pimp, Toots (Jack LaRue), and a murder. Will Mae and Jimmy’s marriage last, or will it fall apart?
I really enjoyed the film. It was quite fast-paced, and there was never a dull moment. I personally liked seeing Lombard before she became famous for comedy, and was kinda experimenting in different genres of film (here she was dabbling in drama/gangster films) and I thought she handled it perfectly (I even loved her dramas in the late 30s-early 40s, such as “In Name Only”. Many people feel uncomfortable seeing her in anything other than comedy, but I enjoyed watching her break out of that image.) This is the closest we’ll ever get to Lombard in a Pre-Code Warner’s film, and it was very interesting and engaging.
The supporting cast is quite great as well, especially the…colorful…Mayo Methot as Lil, another one of Mae’s prostitute friends.
I also really loved the fashion in this film. I even went out the next day to buy a dress and hat similar to the one worn by Lombard below:
Something that I found especially interesting in the film was a Clark Gable reference! At the time of filming, Gable and Lombard didn’t star in No Man Of Her Own yet, let alone begin their romance! Ah, fate.
One last observation: the dude was named TOOTS?! Seriously? It gave me a great laugh!
Virtue is an excellent film, one of Lombard’s best before she broke out as a comedy star.
I’ve just come across a new blogathon, and this one’s right up my alley!
The Hollywood Revue (http://hollywoodrevue.wordpress.com/) is hosting a Fashion in Film Blogathon on September 24th! According to the site, you can focus on a particular costume designer, an actress who became a style icon, costumes in a particular film, or how a character’s costumes convey their personality. The best part? You don’t have to join (although a comment is appreciated). You can just pitch in!
I’ll be writing on the costumes from Singin’ In The Rain, because they are fun, splashy, and over-the-top (it was an MGM Technicolor musical, after all!) I’ll even write on the guys’ costumes
Here are some of the banners:
and if you still haven’t joined, Carole & Co’s blogathon is running from October 6-9. Here are some more banners (and Vincent, your work is always good):
I’m going to write about Lombard’s role as a fashion icon (yep, fashion again!) and I chose the date of October 7th. This stuff is a lot of fun, and provides some healthy competition between us bloggers. If you have a blog, please make an effort to join!
Carole & Co, the premier source on all things Carole Lombard (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/), has a very exciting event planned for us this October…it’s hosting its first-ever Carole Lombard blogathon!
The event, in honor of Lombard’s 103rd birthday, will be held from October 6-9. If you wish to participate, contact Vincent, the man behind it all, at email@example.com, saying what you wish to write about, and on which day you wish to write it. Seriously, you can write about almost anything, as long as Lombard is the focus of it. I hope everyone will participate in this; I know I will, definitely! I already have like, fifteen different ideas, I just need to figure out which idea is The One.
Here are the banners:
My favorite is the last one
Hope you participate, it’s always fun to let your creativity shine and to work together with your peers!
In a previous post discussing my tour of Paramount Studios in Hollywood, I mentioned that I bought a book called “Hollywood Poolside” by Frans Evenhuis and Robert Landau.
This book is full of fun, beautiful portraits of golden age stars lounging around the pool, and how these waterside images affected American ideas of wealth and status. Need I mention to all my fellow fashionistas, it’s a great way to see the evolution of swimsuit styles? This book has inspired this post, which not only shows stars by the pool, but shows them rocking their stylish swimsuits anywhere, and is in a way a tribute to the pin-up.
Jane Russell models a cute 50s style powder blue one piece on the diving board.
Ginger Rogers models a 1940s style halter bikini
Jean Harlow modeling the popular black Jantzen one-piece of the 1930s. It had a very demure front, but a revealing back, adding a subtle sex appeal. One of the most popular swimsuits amongst Hollywood’s elite in the 1930s.
Joan Crawford spices up her white one-piece with strappy heels, ca. 1930s
Rita Hayworth in a nautical-themed pin-up shot.
Virginia Bruce models a demure skirt ensemble, ca. 1930s
Grace Bradley in a flattering one piece and chic cape-style coverup, 1936
Una Merkel (cheesy pose!) models a black one-piece and some cute sandals, 1934
A very early photo of Rita Hayworth (socks and sneakers with a swimsuit?), 1938
Marilyn Monroe is very famous for her swimsuit pin-up photos. August 3, 1951
A beautiful candid shot of Monroe laughing, July 1, 1952
Merle Oberon models a cute suit on a diving board, 1939
Who else rocked a swimsuit (and synchronized swimming) better than Esther Williams? January 21, 1948
Although strictly for modeling, Ginger Rogers’ coin suit from Gold Diggers of 1933 is the height of swimming couture!
Yay! A man! Maurice Chevalier (my newest crush) sports a popular men’s swimsuit from the 1930s (men wore it without the shirt as well).
Marilyn Monroe in a cheescake pin-up, July 2, 1953
Grace Kelly and her family on vacation, 1954
Marilyn Monroe in a bikini, May 26, 1952
Claudette Colbert looks adorable in this patterned swimsuit! With Gary Cooper in Bluebeard’s Eighth Wife (1938)
Marilyn and a chihuahua, May 17, 1950
The famous shot of Elizabeth Taylor on the set of Suddenly, Last Summer (1959)
Liz in an adorable polka-dot one piece, July 4, 1956
Ellen Drew, Susan Hayward, and Betty Grable, 1939
Ava Gardner in a…straw bikini? Yep! ca. 1950s
Jane Russell’s bikini looks like an optical illusion! 1950s
Elizabeth Taylor (only 17 years old here) and (hairy) fiance William D. Pawley Jr. relax poolside, August 25, 1949
What’s more fashionable: Marilyn’s swimsuit or heels? January 25, 1952
Marilyn having fun on the beach, ca. 1950s
Maurice Chevalier with an unknown actress in Innocents of Paris (1929). Her polka dot suit is tres chic!
Ann Rutherford sunbathing in a cute swimsuit, 1937
Ann Blyth (in a fashionable swimsuit) and Farley Granger in Our Very Own (1950)
Esther Williams teaches Mickey Rooney a thing or two in Andy Hardy’s Double Life (1942)
William Holden rocks patterned trunks in a scene from the greatest Hollywood-themed film, Sunset Boulevard (1950)
Esther Williams in a sequined swimsuit in Million Dollar Mermaid, 1952
Marilyn Monroe in Some Like It Hot (1959)
In a barely there swimsuit in Something’s Got To Give
Rita Hayworth playing cards on the beach (with herself?) ca. 1940s
Cary Grant and Grace Kelly lounge on the beach in To Catch A Thief (1955)
Cary Grant relaxes in some sporty summer clothing poolside
One of the famous Cary Grant and Randolph Scott portraits, ca. 1930s
Cary Grant checks out Marilyn Monroe, ca. 1950s
Clark Gable and Joan Crawford in the pool in Chained (1934)
Ida Lupino lounges around in a bikini and wedges
A lovely one-piece worn by Virginia Grey
Yvonne deCarlo wears a bikini in this pin-up photo
Evelyn Keyes in a sporty black one-piece
Very stylish, Johnny Mack Brown!
Ann Rutherford in a fashionable one-piece
(Blonde) Evelyn Keyes hangs out on the diving board
I must say, my favorite swimsuit pictures are Bette Davis’. There is something so effortless about the way she wears them!
Dorothy Lamour in a cute skirt ensemble
Paulette Goddard models a darling white one-piece!
Here’s a cute style, modeled by Rita Hayworth
Loving Ann Baxter’s suit!
The always-cute Joan Blondell in an adorable swimsuit
Betty Grable in a striped bikini
Sonja Henie, not on ice!
Ann Francis’ swimsuit is CUTE!
Scratch that. THIS is the cutest swimsuit ever created! Modeled by Dorothy Sebastian
Una Merkel in a conventional 1930s one-piece
Paulette Goddard in a wraparound swimsuit
Lookin’ good, Alan Ladd!
Joan Crawford is goddess-like in this white one-piece
Thank goodness Cyd Charisse is modeling a simple black suit here!
Cyd Charisse in a cute halter bikini
A very young Lana Turner in a diving board pin-up
Elizabeth Taylor’s swimsuit is to die for!
Jane Russell in a ruffly one-piece
Ann Blyth modeling an interesting one-strap suit
Ann Harding is 30s chic!
An early Ida Lupino in a patterned one-piece
Another classy Ida Lupino photo
Ava Gardner is gorgeous in this beachfront photo
Ramon Novarro is mighty, mighty fine…
An early Ronald Reagan in a lifeguard suit!
Mamie Van Doren in a pastel pink one-piece
Here she is again in a patterned one piece
LOVE Ann Sheridan’s bikini here!
Betty Hutton in a swimsuit, carrying an umbrella (?)
Jean Harlow in a low-cut swimsuit? Every man’s dream!
Jean Harlow working on her swimsuit body
This I LOVE. It’s glittery!
This one is adorable too!
Jean always looked fashionable
Fooling around in a standard 30s swimsuit
Joan Crawford and Dorothy Sebastian accessorize their swimsuits with cool headscarves, 1925
Joan looks gorgeous in this publicity shot, 1926
Famous photo of Joan with husband Douglas Fairbanks Jr, August 22, 1929
I simply adore this swimsuit!
Joan and Doug im 1931. The men’s swimsuits make me laugh
Joan with Franchot Tone in Dancing Lady (1933). The black fringe is so chic!
Multitasking sunbathing with answering fan mail
I love Joan’s 1940s swimsuits. Here’s my favorite
This one is HILARIOUS. Gloria Swanson in the 1920s
Jane Powell in an itty bitty bikini
Debbie Reynolds goes for a demure look here
But vamps it up here!
Pulling off a classic pin-up pose
A young Doris Day. Love the bikini, not digging the sandals
Bette Davis is so cute here!
Bette Davis in a swimsuit, and Joan Blondell modeling the beach pajama, a 1930s casual beachwear trend
Mary Astor and Manuel de Campo in Hawaii
Tyrone Power always looked good in those tiny swimsuits!
Tony Curtis brings in some much-needed hairy man leg
Oh my God. Rudolph Valentino is SEXY.
Gary Cooper in one of those things…
A (not so good) photo of Johnny Weissmuller and George O’Brein
LMAO who can guess what’s wrong with the above photo of Philip Reed?
Larry checks out Vivien
Larry and Viv at the beach
Johnny Weissmuller and his brother in identical swimsuits
Paulette Goddard in a black one-piece. Nice background!
Jeanette MacDonald is cool in a white one-piece, sunglasses, and a headscarf
Jeanette MacDonald enjoying the beach
Errol Flynn…what a hottie
Susan Hayward, a beautiful, popular pin-up
Susan Hayward flirts with the camera
A fun bikini modeled by Susan Hayward
Olivia de Havilland looking lovely, as usual (LOVE her shoes!)
Olivia de Havilland goes for more natural scenery
Rocking a patterned bikini
Ginger Rogers caught off-guard at the beach
Loving Ginger Rogers’ swimsuit!
Loving this one, too!
Fellow Brooklyn dame Barbara Stanwyck rocks a bikini!
Gene Tierney in an amazing leopard print suit
Myrna Loy lounging poolside in that backless swimsuit I spoke about earlier
Dolores Del Rio in a one-strap bikini
A pin-up era Lucille Ball modeling a gorgeous strapless one-piece
A very young (and still brunette) Lucille Ball in a cute patterned swimsuit and a killer hat!
Esther Williams in a simple black one-piece. She has her own (ADORABLE!) swimsuit line today.
Wearing a tie-front bikini
The always gorgeous Norma Shearer lounging poolside
The lovely and talented Ruby Keeler
Al Jolson with his wife, Ruby Keeler. Nice rubber swim cap!
Claudette Colbert looks glamorous in this one-piece
And even more glamorous in this vintage bathing costume! With actor John Payne
Joan Blondell models an early version of those cutout swimsuits so popular today
Claudette getting some sun, sand, and surf
Here’s a rare one: Greta Garbo!
Greer Garson looking statuesque in a metallic swimsuit
Deborah Kerr and Burt Lancaster, either before or after that famous scene from “From Here To Eternity”
A colorized photo of Carole Lombard in a glamorous swimsuit and heels
Leggy Lombard was a great pin-up
In a shiny one-piece
Joan Fontaine and Joseph Cotten in September Affair (1950)
Kirk Douglas and Brigitte Bardot on the beach
Color photo of Betty Grable in a yellow bikini (with a polka dot pillow)
Ava Gardner in a pinstripe one-piece
In a black tie-up bikini
And in a polka dot bandeau bikini
Humphrey Bogart looking cool in swim trunks and flippers
Hedy Lamarr in a gorgeous one-piece
Veronica Lake in a black tie-front bikini
Maureen O’Sullivan in a knit one-piece and cute sandals
Maureen O’Hara in one of my favorite designs: the skirt ensemble
Grace Kelly in an elegant black one-piece
That thing on Gene Tierney’s swimsuit is a cover-up…I hope
I love this swimsuit that Grace Kelly wore in High Society!
Kelly looking great in a white ensemble
Yep, Dick Powell was the Jantzen guy at some point
Why, Rock Hudson? Whyyyy???
The most famous, greatest swimsuit photo of all: Betty Grable’s leggy 1940s pin-up shot, quite popular with American World War II soldiers.
Today is the Fourth of July! To celebrate, every July 4th I plan to talk about a great American golden age actor who had done much for the benefit of this great country. To start off, I choose my favorite all-American blonde, Carole Lombard.
It was no secret that Lombard was deeply patriotic. She would cry whenever the Star-Spangled Banner was played, and she didn’t even mind paying the high income taxes. When the United States entered World War II in 1942, she was eager to help in the war effort. Since she was a woman, she couldn’t fight, so she did the next-best thing: sell war bonds.
On January 15th, 1942, Lombard kicked off the first war rally in the nation by raising the flag, singing the National Anthem, and earning $2,017,513 in war bonds, a record. She also delevered rousing speeches to the audience, her most memorable and poignant being her “V for Victory” speech:
Unfortunately, Lombard’s patriotic effort cost her her life, along with that of her mother and MGM publicist Otto Winkler. It was an upright death, and just like the men on the battlefields, Lombard died defending her country.
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt posthumously awarded Lombard a medal for being the first American woman to be killed in action, in defense of her country. In June 1942, Irene Dunne and Clark Gable christened a warship named after her.
FDR himself put it best: “She brought great joy to all who knew her and to millions who knew her only as a great artist. She gave unselfishly of time and talent to serve her government in peace and war. She loved her country. She is and always will be a star, one we shall never forget, nor cease to be grateful to.”
A rare image: (possibly, no one is quite certain) Carole Lombard visiting President FDR in the Oval Office. I’m not sure about the year, but I’m pretty positive it was around the time of her bond tour. From the La Guardia and Wagner Archives.
Like Lombard, let’s appreciate our country for its freedoms and greatness. America has come much farther than any other country in the world, and in only 235 years. Happy 4th!
June is wedding month, right? To celebrate, here’s a group of photos of actresses posed in bridal glamour shots and of some on their big day (or days, that would be a more accurate term!) A couple of week ago, the wonderful site Carole and Co http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/ had a post featuring Carole Lombard dressed as a bride for a glamour shot. Thank you for the inspiration, Vincent!
Marion Davies in a replica of Princess Mary’s wedding gown, ca. 1922
John Wayne married his wife, Josephine, on June 23, 1933 (78 years ago today!) at the home of Loretta Young (standing behind the bride)
Vilma Banky rocks a flapper-style wedding gown in the film The Dark Angel.
Jean Harlow’s wedding to Paul Bern in 1932. To her left is her stepfather Marino Bello. To her right is Bern, and on the far right is best man, John Gilbert.
Joan Crawford and Douglas Fairbanks in the film Our Modern Maidens
Joan Crawford publicity shot for Dancing Lady
Joan Crawford and Clark Gable in Forsaking All Others (notice the slip-on sleeves of her dress!)
Joan sports a more demure gown in Love on the Run
One of my all-time favorites…Joan in The Bride Wore Red! (this is real color)
Now here’s something modern! Joan and Douglas Fairbanks Jr’s wedding on June 4, 1929. How much do you love her without makeup, her freckles showing?
Gloria Swanson’s wedding dress in Her Love Story (1924) has one epic train!
Gloria Swanson in Bluebeard’s Eighth Wife (1923)
Jane Powell and Geary Steffen’s wedding on November 11, 1949
Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher on their wedding day, September 26, 1955
Debbie Reynolds marries again, this time to Harry Karl in 1960
Doris day posing in a wedding dress
But she opted for a simple suit on her wedding to Marty Melcher in 1951
Bette Davis cuts the cake with husband William Grant Sherry on December 3, 1945
Mary Pickford poses in a wedding dress, ca. 1925
Mary Pickford (she’s second from left) in quintessential 20s wedding wear on her wedding to Douglas Fairbanks Sr on August 3, 1922
Mary Pickford opts for a suit on her wedding to Buddy Rogers in 1937
Katharine Hepburn’s wedding dress in Woman of the Year is nice and simple
Marilyn Monroe chooses a demure black suit with a white fur collar for her wedding to Joe DiMaggio on January 14, 1954
A young Marilyn Monroe with her first husband, James Dougherty, in 1942
Newlyweds Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe on July 16, 1956
Judy Garland and Vincente Minelli’s wedding, June 17, 1945
Judy Garland and Mickey Dean cut the cake on March 15, 1969 (no effense to anyone, but he gives me the creeps)
Judy Garland and Mark Herron getting married on November 30, 1965
Jeanette MacDonald and her wedding attendants on her marriage to Gene Raymond on June 19, 1937. From left to right: Mrs. Johnny Mack Brown, Mrs. Warren Rock, MacDonald’s sister, MacDonald, Fay Wray, and Ginger Rogers
Ginger Rogers getting married to Lew Ayres on June 23, 1944 (67 years ago today!)
Barbara Stanwyck and Joel McCrea in Banjo on My Knee
Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz kiss on their wedding day, June 22, 1949. Love those gloves!
Lucille Ball and Gary Morton on their wedding day, November 19, 1961
Norma Shearer and Irving Thalberg’s wedding, October 3, 1927
Another favorite: Claudette Colbert’s elegant wedding dress from It Happened One Night (1934)
The bridal photo of Lombard featured in Carole and Co
Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth on their wedding day: September 7, 1943
Ava Gardner and Frank Sinatra on their wedding day: November 8, 1951
And on her marriage to Mickey Rooney in 1942
Vivien Leigh on her marriage to Leigh Holman, February 1932
The most famous classic movie wedding gown: Grace Kelly’s. She married Prince Rainier of Monaco on April 19, 1956.
All classic film fans are well-aware of the Debbie Reynolds auction, which took place on June 18th. Debbie Reynolds had been collecting Hollywood memorabilia for manydecades, in hopes of building a museum. Unfortunately, her dream never came true and the bills hiked up, and she soon found it necessary to sell her treasures. Many of the 587 costumes and props unfortunately went to Saudi Arabia and Japan (I apologize in advance for any offense this may cause, but I found that shameful. I’m a firm believer in countries keeping their own history. Things that are purely American should remain in America). If I had money, I would’ve bought at least one of the priceless pieces! Of course, Marilyn Monroe items were the highest-selling (the white subway dress was sold for the most money in the auction) and Audrey Hepburn’s Ascot dress from “My Fair Lady” took second. Here’s some of the highlights of the auction and what they were sold for (I know I’m reporting about this a little late, but it took me awhile to find the photos and figures):
Rudolph Valentino’s costume from “Blood and Sand”: $210,000 + $48,300 buyer’s premium
Harold Lloyd’s personal suit and hat: $4000+$920 buyer’s premium
A lock of Mary Pickford’s hair: $3500+$850 buyer’s premium
Charlie Chaplin’s “Tramp” bowler hat: $110,000+$25,300 buyer’s premium
Laurel and Hardy’s suits: $16000+$3680 buyer’s premium
Carole Lombard’s gown from “No Man of Her Own”: $11000+$2530 buyer’s premium
Claudette Colbert’s gown from “Cleopatra” (the most beautiful costume in the auction, in my opinion): $40,000+$9200 buyer’s premium
Harpo Marx’s hat and wig: $45,000+$10,350 buyer’s premium
Charles Laughton’s uniform from “Mutiny on the Bounty”: $42,500+$9775 buyer’s premium
Clark Gable’s vest and breeches from “Mutiny on the Bounty”: $30,000+$6900 buyer’s premium
Leslie Howard’s costume from “Romeo and Juliet”: $$20,000+$4600 buyer’s premium
Katharine Hepburn’s costume from “Mary of Scotland”: $35000+$8050 buyer’s premium
Norma Shearer’s costume from “Marie Antoinette”: $8000+$1840 buyer’s premium
Judy Garland’s blue test dress from “The Wizard of Oz”: $910,000+$209,300 buyer’s premium
Judy Garland’s Arabian-style test ruby slippers (never used in the film) from “The Wizard of Oz”: $510,000+$117,300 buyer’s premium
Clark Gable’s personal robe worn while filming “Gone with the Wind”: $10,000+$2300 buyer’s premium
Olivia de Havilland’s costume from “The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex”: $5000+$1,150 buyer’s premium
Gary Cooper’s uniform from “Sergeant York”: $55,000+$12,650 buyer’s premium
James Cagney’s jockey shirt from “Yankee Doodle Dandy”: $27500+$6325 buyer’s premium
Claude Rains’ uniform from “Casablanca”: $$55,000+$12,650 buyer’s premium
Elizabeth Taylor’s riding costume from “National Velvet”: $60,000+$13,800 buyer’s premium
Judy Garland’s gown from “Meet Me In St. Louis”: $16,000+$3680 buyer’s premium
Vivien Leigh’s headpiece from “Caesar and Cleopatra”: $250+$977.50 buyer’s premium
Joan Crawford’s waitress uniform from “Mildred Pierce”: $22,500+$5175 buyer’s premium
Ingrid Bergman’s suit of armor from “Joan of Arc”: $50,000+$11,500 buyer’s premium
Hedy Lamarr’s gorgeous costume from “Samson and Delilah”: $12000+$2760 buyer’s premium
William Powell’s suit from “Dancing in the Dark”: $2250+$517.50 buyer’s premium
Errol Flynn’s costume from “The Adventures of Don Juan”: $13000+2990 buyer’s premium
Vivien Leigh’s robe from “A Streetcar Named Desire”: $18000+$4140 buyer’s premium
Leslie Caron’s peacock dress from “An American in Paris”: $15,000+$3450 buyer’s premium
Debbie Reynolds’ dress from “Singin’ In The Rain”: $15,000+$3450 buyer’s premium
Debbie Reynolds’ ‘Good Mornin’ flapper dress from “Singin’ In the Rain”: $27,5000+$6325 buyer’s premium
Gene Kelly’s uniform from “Anchors Aweigh”: $27,500+$6325 buyer’s premium
Marilyn Monroe’s red sequin gown from “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”: $1,200,000+$276,000 buyer’s premium
Red MG TD used by Marilyn Monroe and Cary Grant in “Monkey Business”: $210,000+$48,300 buyer’s premium
Lucille Ball’s shirt, blouse, and coat from “The Long, Long Trailer”: $16,000+$3680 buyer’s premium
Marilyn Monroe’s costume from “River of No Return”: $510,000+$117,300 buyer’s premium
Marilyn Monroe’s costume from “There’s No Business Like Show Business”: $500,000+$115,000 buyer’s premium
Marlon Brando’s costume from “Desiree”: $60,000+$13,800 buyer’s premium
Perhaps the most-recognized costume in film history…Marilyn Monroe’s white “subway” dress from “The Seven Year Itch”: $4,600,000+$1,058,000 buyer’s premium
Grace Kelly’s dress from “To Catch a Thief”: $450,000+$103,500 buyer’s premium
Elizabeth Taylor’s gown from “Raintree County”: $16,000+$3680 buyer’s premium
Leslie Caron’s schoolgirl costume from “Gigi”: $65000+$14950 buyer’s premium
Charlton Heston’s tunic from “Ben-Hur”: $320,000+$73,600 buyer’s premium
Elizabeth Taylor’s headdress from “Cleopatra”: $100,000+$23,000 buyer’s premium
Richard Burton’s tunic from “Cleopatra”: $85,000+$19,550 buyer’s premium
Bette Davis’ bloodstained dress from “Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte”: $11,000+$2530 buyer’s premium
Audrey Hepburn’s Ascot dress from “My Fair Lady”: $3,700,000+$851,000 buyer’s premium.
That’s all, folks! If you want to see the rest of the items featured in the auction, you can still download the catalogue for free in the Profiles In History website.
Many people remember “To Be Or Not To Be” as Carole Lombard’s final film. It is my favorite film of hers (from what I’ve seen) and I remember it as her best.
“To Be Or Not To Be” takes a very serious subject (the Nazi regime) and manages to make light of it cleverly and tastefully. Some film-goers at the time felt that releasing the film so soon after Lombard’s death (she died during her war bond tour for the Allied cause, and was acknowledged as the first American woman to die for WWII) but I feel that Lombard would’ve wanted to be remembered this way, not only because the film daringly showed Nazi atrocities against Poland, but also because it showed her at the height of her art.
The film is about a group of Polish stage actors, headed by Joseph Tura (a hilarious Jack Benny) and Maria Tura (the lovely Lombard), that get involved in the Polish resistance movement against their Nazi oppressors. Nazi spy Professor Siletsky (Stanley Ridges) obtains addresses and other information important information that could damage the resistance movement–and cost hundreds of lives. It is up to Joseph, Maria and the rest of the theater company to capture the spy and prevent the information from reaching the Germans.
Is Lombard able to outsmart the Nazis with her charm?
This satire against Nazism has many golden moments (the entire film could be considered a golden moment!). Of course, the scene when Robert Stack’s character walks out on Joseph Tura’s (in character as Hamlet) soliloquy is priceless, and so is the “Concentration Camp Ehrhardt” scene, when Tura pretends to be a Nazi official in order to obtain information from Professor Siletsky, the Nazi spy (but comes up with nothing to say after a couple of minutes).
Walking out on Jack Benny is fun for everyone…except his giant ego.
However, the one supporting actor that, in my opinion, threatened to steal the whole show from under our leads’ noses is Sig Ruman, as the real “Concentration Camp Ehrhardt”. Not only is his voice hysterical, but he’s as mad as a hatter and incredibly funny. And of course…”SCHULTZ!!!!” Ever since I saw this film for the first time over a year and half ago, I’ve looked forward to watching any other film containing Sig Ruman in it!
Of course, Lombard is wonderful in this film. Her comedic timing and delivery were spot-on, and she (always) spoke with a breathless, fast-paced voice, lending that small hint of madness to all her characters. And she rocked that fur-edged dress like it was nobody’s business!
Dream dress of the moment!
This film also contains many witty lines. My favorites are:
Maria Tura: (to Joseph) You’re the greatest actor in the world. Everybody knows that, including you.
Maria: Think of me being flogged in the darkness, scream, suddenly the lights go on and the audience discovers me on the floor in this gorgeous dress!
Joseph: Someone walked out on me. Tell me, Maria, am I losing my grip?
Maria: Oh, of course not, darling. I’m so sorry.
Joseph: But he walked out on me.
Maria: Maybe he didn’t feel well. Maybe he had to leave. Maybe he had a sudden heart attack.
Joseph: I hope so.
Maria: If he stayed he might have died.
Joseph: Maybe he’s dead already! Oh, darling, you’re so comforting.
Joseph: I went to Dobosh and told him when he advertises the new play to put your name first.
Maria: Did you, darling? Oh, that’s sweet of you, but I really don’t care.
Joseph: That’s what Dobosh said, so we left it as it was.
Colonel Ehrhardt: They named a brandy after Napoleon, they made a herring out of Bismarck, and the Fuhrer is going to end up as a piece of cheese!
Joseph: Now listen, you… first you walk out on my soliloquy and then you walk into my slippers. And now you question my patriotism. I’m a good Pole and I love my country and I love my slippers.
Maria: It’s becoming ridiculous the way you grab attention. Whenever I start to tell a story, you finish it. If I go on a diet, you lose the weight. If I have a cold, you cough. And if we should ever have a baby, I’m not so sure I’d be the mother!
Joseph: (disguised as Colonel Ehrhardt)… so they call me Concentration Camp Ehrhardt?
So they called him Concentration Camp Ehrhardt? But he preferred to yell out “SCHULTZ!”
“To Be Or Not To Be” is a widely acclaimed comedy classic that everyone should watch.
The next day we paid a visit to Paramount Pictures, located in Melrose. The tour was pretty much the same as Warner Bros. Studios all do the same thing, so the actual places we were taken to (exterior sets, an interior set of a show, etc), were the same, but the history was different. And that’s what matters, after all!
Famous stars that worked at Paramount: Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Gloria Swanson, Rudolph Valentino, Clara Bow, Miriam Hopkins, Mae West, Marlene Dietrich, Gary Cooper, Claudette Colbert, Carole Lombard, the Marx Brothers, Dorothy Lamour, Cary Grant, Bob Hope, Paulette Goddard, Alan Ladd, Betty Hutton, Veronica Lake, Lucille Ball, and Desi Arnaz.
Like Warner Bros, we waited for the tour to begin in the gift shop. Unlike Warner Bros, the gift shop was awesome! My family stocked up on Paramount sweats, and I bought myself a book, Hollywood Poolside (which has inspired a future post, so keep your eyes peeled for it!). While skimming through a book about haunted Hollywood (which I regret not buying, since Paramount is the most haunted studio), I got countless compliments on my hair and outfit from the Paramount staff. Thanks! Now why didn’t they give me a job as an extra or something?
The Paramount tour was wonderful, and touched upon a decent amount of history. This studio also gets my vote for most visually beautiful. The architecture is fancy, and the studio is practically littered with manicured lawns, bushes, and flowerbeds.
The tour guide, a short, cute blonde girl named Alyssa, was easily the best we had from all the studios we toured. She was friendly, informative, and quite knowledgeable in the studios’ history. She was quite ecstatic when she saw that my sister was wearing an I Love Lucy t-shirt (smooth move, Baby!), since the studio is steeped in Lucille Ball history. The rest of the tour group itself? Not so great. It was my family and another family: a bimbo brunette teenager with red highlights, jean shorts, and a belly shirt, another bimbo peroxide blonde teenager wearing the same, and their poor, poor father. Since the tour revolved around Lucille Ball thanks to my sister, they were quite clueless 95% of the time. HAHA! The only other complaint I had was the stupid walkie-talkie thing we had to wear so the tour guide can communicate with us easily. The headphone took me about ten minutes to put on, and my sister and I couldn’t make any snarky comments about the other family because the tour guide hears every. single. thing. you. say. through. the. headset.
First we stopped by this glass booth thing with lots of artifacts from Paramount’s history. Alyssa explained Paramount’s history in a nutshell, from its founding in 1912 as Famous Players (making it the oldest film studio in America) up until today. At one point she was talking about nickelodeons, and in an attempt to get some audience interaction, she asked if anyone knew what it was. The bimbos were staring off into space. Before they could say that it’s a tv channel, I explained that it was a small machine that when you insert a nickel, you could view a short film. She said that was the first time a person got that question right in years. Unfortunately, that was the scariest thing that happened to me in America’s most haunted film studio…
Some things in the glass case:
One day, every single Paramount star was in the commissary at one time, and a smart person took the opportunity to get them to sign a menu. If you click it, you can spot the signatures of Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Lucille Ball, Anthony Quinn, Jerry Lewis, Cornel Wilde, Dean Martin, Elvis Presley, Cecil B. DeMille, Nat King Cole, Audrey Hepburn, William Holden, Charlton Heston, and Dorothy Lamour, among others.
After looking at the case, the tour guide told us to turn around. Right behind us, looming large in the giant green Hollywood Hills, was the Hollywood Sign! Of course, everyone took the opportunity for some great family photos, with the sign perfectly behind us. Now, onto the tour!
Lucy Park. Lucille Ball’s office was located right across from this park. According to the tour guide, she was such a workaholic that she would pose photos here with her family, pretending that she was spending quality time with them at home, in the backyard, while she was actually at work!
The Bronson Gates, AKA Paramount’s original gates. Back in the 30s, people would line up by the hundreds outside the gate, hoping for a job as an extra for the day. Today, if you touch the Bronson Gates, you’ll have good luck, so of course, everyone patted it (especially me). The Bronson Gates no longer function as the main entrance of Paramount. It’s now…
The soundstage visit: as I explained before, studio tours usually take you on one soundstage to see the interior set of a show. Our tour guide spoke a lot about “Glee” (which is equally bad, or even worse, than a tour guide who was obsessed with “Chuck”) but thankfully we didn’t see the set of “Glee” (apparently it’s that important and highly secretive…whatever). So instead we were taken through the set of “Big Time Rush”, one of the dumbest, most annoying shows on television. So once again, Baby and I could only dream of the greats that have walked through this soundstage before us (Paramount, unlike Warner Bros, does not have plaques outside the doors of its soundstages saying which great films were made there, so my sister and I could only hope and imagine). Remember those bimbos that were with us? Now it was my time to be quiet and clueless and THEIR time to shine! All what I heard was “Ehmagawd! It looks so different on the like, tv!” and “I’ll like, never watch this show the same way ah-gain!” When asked by the tour guide to give a summary of the show: “Umm…it’s about these guys…” Their father stood away from them the entire time. He was that embarrassed. We also got to see an actual shoot (from far away of course) of this show called “Supah Ninjas” (yeah, I’ve never heard of it either). Since I didn’t know the show, let alone the teenage actors, I started once again to daydream of a REAL film shoot…
Anyway, after Paramount, we visited Petersen’s Automotive Museum. The only reason I wanted to visit here was not only that I LOVE vintage cars, but because I read somewhere that cars formerly belonging to Clark Gable, Lucille Ball, and Jean Harlow were on display there. Imagine my disappointment when I found out their Hollywood cars section changes every so often, and I came when it wasn’t Gable, Ball, or Harlow season (well, I didn’t mind about Harlow so much since I did see her Packard at the Hollywood Museum). So, enjoy these hot rods:
Hope you enjoyed! More to come soon!
Dedicated to Mark, who, like me, is never too old for a good cartoon.
Many people I know are impressed that someone as young as I am can appreciate films that my grandparents watched. It’s sometimes very hard, since I don’t fit in with the crowd (to say the least) but instead of killing my love for classic films, it only intensified it. How did I come to like classic films in the first place? Well, it was kind of always in my family. My grandfather was a theater usher in the 1940s and 50s and my parents were raised on greats such as Laurel and Hardy, Chaplin, etc. Therefore, I was not only raised on the silent comedians, but being a child who absolutely loved cartoons (and which child doesn’t?) I also grew up watching the old vintage Disney, Warner Bros, and MGM shorts, the Merrie Melodies, Tom and Jerry, Bugs Bunny…you name it, I saw it and recorded them on countless of those VHS tapes. However, some of these cartoons featured stars of the time, such as Edward G Robinson, Humphrey Bogart, Greta Garbo, Cary Grant, people I wasn’t familiar with at the time. Now, as I re-watch these cartoons, I have a new appreciation for them. They are quite poignant, and so…vintage (for lack of a better description). It’s quite interesting to see Hollywood make fun of itself, and I hope my love for cartoons would inspire you to look back on them.
The Coo-Coo Nut Grove (1936)
Here’s one of Warner Bros’ many caricatures of Hollywood, “The Coo-Coo Nut Grove”. In the 1930s, one of the most popular clubs was the Cocoanut Grove, located in the Ambassador Hotel. It was one of those places in which you were guaranteed to rub shoulders with the famous, and it was quite famous for its unique decor. Sadly, this legend no longer exists, as the Ambassador Hotel was torn down several years ago. This cartoon places all of our favorite 1930s stars (some in animal caricatures, some as people, which confuses me, but no matter) at this famous club, and of course, the antics begin. The cartoon opens with bandleader Ben Bernie (here as Ben Birdie) and gossip columnist Walter Winchell (Walter Windpipe), then goes on to showcase caricatures of stars such as John Barrymore, Laurel and Hardy, Jean Harlow, Johnny Weissmuller, Bette Davis, Mae West (as a bird) and so on. Musical entertainment was provided by Dame Edna May Oliver (as the Lady in Red!) causing Clark Gable to flirtatiously wiggle his ears (possibly making fun of his penchant to flirt with anything in a skirt), the Dionne quintuplets (who’s lives were unfortunately marred by showbiz), and singer Helen Morgan, who even makes tough guys Edward G Robinson and George Raft cry with her torch song. Through it all, Harpo Marx chases a woman, as usual…but is it really a woman? And Katharine Hepburn caricatured as a horse named Miss Heartburn? Classic!
Have You Got Any Castles? (1938)
It’s midnight at the library, so what happens? Why, all the books come to life of course! This cartoon is all about music and riffs on titles of classic books, and Hollywood caricatures were used to serve that purpose. The cartoon opens and ends with a caricature of Alexander Woollcott as a town crier, and is very zany and busy, to say the least. Frankenstein, Mr Hyde, The Phantom of the Opera, and Fu Manchu dance a minuet, a “good earth” prays by his bedside, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson dances on The 39 Steps, Greta Garbo and her infamously large feet grace the cover of So Big, Cab Calloway sings within the covers of The Green Pastures, William Powell as The Thin Man wanders into the White House cookbook, three Jane Withers sing on the cover of Little Women while three Freddie Bartholomews sing on the cover of Little Men, seven Clark Gables sing as a chorus in The House of the Seven Gables, Charles Laughton saunters across the cover of Mutiny on the Bounty, and plenty more where that came from! And as the music gets louder and a rendition of the popular tune, “Have You Got Any Castles, Baby?” begins, the characters get even wilder. But in comes Gone with the Wind (which, by the way, the novel is celebrating its 75th anniversary!) to blow the whole party away. This cartoon has suffered many cuts and censorships over the years, but it is now widely available in its full, uncut version.
Mickey’s Gala Premier (1933)
Mickey’s newest cartoon is premiering at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, and all of Hollywood takes part in the festivities! All the A-list actors are there: The Keystone Kops guard the traffic, Wallace Beery, Marie Dressler, The Barrymores (in costume for Rasputin and the Empress), Laurel and Hardy, and the Marx Brothers arrive in a limousine, Maurice Cheavalier, Eddie Cantor, and Jimmy Durante take turns singing at the mike, while Jean Harlow, Joan Crawford, and Bette Davis and Harold Lloyd, Edward G Robinson, Clark Gable, and Adolphe Menjou sing in groups. Sid Grauman welcomes all the stars, including Joe E Brown, Buster Keaton, and the Marx Brothers. Charlie Chaplin sneaks in, while Mae West makes Grauman blush with her famous line, “Come up and see me sometime”. Finally the true stars, Mickey, Minnie, and their gang arrive, and the cartoon begins. In the audience are tons and tons of stars, from Helen Hayes to Bela Lugosi as Dracula. the cartoon is a great success, and all the stars congratulate Mickey. Even Greta Garbo gets up on stage and kisses Mickey! However…it’s all a dream. A nice bit of trivia” Walt Disney himself is caricatured in the cartoon. You can see him in the scene where Garbo gets up on stage.
Mother Goose Goes Hollywood (1938)
Another Disney short, this one features parodies on Mother Goose’s nursery rhymes featuring the Hollywood stars. All the usual suspects turn up: Hugh Herbert as Old King Cole, Charles Laughton, Spencer Tracy, and Freddie Bartholomew sail in Rub-A-Dub-Dub, W.C. Fields as Humpty Dumpty, Laurel and Hardy as Simple Simon and the Pieman, Edward G Robinson and Greta Garbo in See Saw Margery Daw, and many more stars featured in those nursery rhymes. Then stars a musical sequence, with Eddie Cantor as Little Jack Horner, Wallace Beery as Little Boy Blue, and Cab Calloway and Fats Waller providing plenty of jazz. Then we pay a visit to the Old Woman in a Shoe, where there is more music provided by Edna May Oliver, Joan Blondell, Mae West, ZaSu Pitts, Clark Gable (and his wiggling ears) on flute, George Arliss on sax, and Laurel and Hardy playing clarinet and trombone, respectively. Through it all, my favorite caricature, Katharine Hepburn as Little Bo Peep, looks for her missing sheep. Really, she has! This cartoon has had major problems with censorship, since it depicts African-Americans in an unsavory light, and is rarely shown on television (and usually with the African-American stereotypes cut out), but the full version can still be found. It was also said that Clark Gable was very unhappy with his caricature, and Walt Disney sent him an apology.
The Autograph Hound (1939)
In his first cartoon with his blue sailor hat, Donald Duck tries to sneak into MGM Studios to get some autographs. Although he was deterred the first time, he manages to get through by getting in Greta Garbo’s limousine. When the policeman realizes Donald’s trick, he chases after him for the rest of the cartoon. Donald then sneaks into Mickey Rooney’s dressing room, where a very bratty Rooney tricks him with a variety of magic tricks, frustrating our poor hero. Donald then finds himself on an ice-skating set, and tries to ask Sonja Henie for her autograph. Henie signs her name with her skates in the ice, so by the time he meets the Ritz Brothers on a desert film set, his precious ice block melts. They sign their names on his butt, which makes him angry too. He then bumps into Shirley Temple, who recognizes him and asks him for his autograph! The two happily exchange signatures, but the policeman finally corners Donald. However, Shirley reveals his identity, and soon enough everyone in MGM (and from other studios as well) runs to get Donald’s autograph!
Mickey’s Polo Team (1936)
It’s the Mickey Mousers vs the Movie Stars in this exciting polo match! Team Mickey Mousers: Mickey, Goofy, Big Bad Wolf, and Donald (riding a donkey). Team Movie Stars: Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chaplin, and Harpo Marx (riding an ostrich). Referee: Jack Holt. Let the chaos begin! The audience features both characters from the Mickey Mouse cartoons and Hollywood movie stars: Shirley Temple is next to the Three Little Pigs, Edna May Oliver next to the Hare, and Clark Gable is seated next to Clarabelle Cow. Other Hollywood audience members include Charles Laughton, Eddie Cantor, Harold Lloyd, W.C. Fields, and Greta Garbo. So, after all the chaos and Donald getting his butt kicked by everyone, who wins the match? No one, since the horses end up riding the team members!
Malibu Beach Party (1940)
Jack Benny (spoofed as Jack Bunny) invites all his Hollywood pals for a party at his beachfront home in Malibu. Hailed as one of the most successful parodies of Jack Benny and his radio crew, this cartoon features the usual: Greta Garbo, Edward G Robinson, George Raft, and Clark Gable. But it also features some fresh faces: Claudette Colbert, Cesar Romero, Robert Taylor, Astaire and Rogers, Carole Lombard, Fred MacMurray, and James Cagney. Like at any good party, there is entertainment provided. Deanna Durbin serenades with a tune…and Jack Benny plays on that violin…
Hollywood Steps Out (1941)
Last but definitely not least, my favorite cartoon of them all, Hollywood Steps Out, which, in my opinion provides the best and most hilarious caricatures of the stars. This cartoon also takes place at a very famous (but sadly gone) club, Ciro’s. We first see the exterior of the club…offering dinner at $50 (over $700 today!). Sitting at the tables are Adolphe Menjou, Norma Shearer, and Claudette Colbert. Then we meet Cary Grant, who says “What a place! What a place! It’s as pretty as a picture. But if I ever told my favorite wife the awful truth I’d land right on the front page. Yessireee Bobby”, referencing several of his films. Greta Garbo is working as the cigarette girl, and Edward G Robinson converses with the “oomph” girl, Ann Sheridan. Johnny Weissmuller and Sally Rand arrive in the coat check room, where Paulette Goddard works. James Cagney, George Raft, and Humphrey Bogart, all famous “tough guys” of the cinema, plan to do something risky…and end up pitching pennies. Harpo Marx chases Garbo and lights up one of her extra-large shoes, to which she coolly responds, “Ooouucchhh”. All the while, Clark Gable spots a girl and chases her throughout the cartoon. Bing Crosby introduces conductor Leopold Stokowski, who begins a conga. When Dorothy Lamour begins to sway to the rhythm, Jimmy Stewart chickens out. Oliver Hardy dances with two women, while Cesar Romero steps all over Rita Hayworth’s dress. When Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland run up an expensive bill, Rooney and his onscreen father from the Andy Hardy series, Lewis Stone, wash dishes to make up for it. Then the final act begins: Sally Rand performing her famous bubble ance. Kay Kyser instructs William Powell, Spencer Tracy, C. Aubrey Smith, Errol Flynn, Wallace Beery, and Gilbert Roland to look, resulting in them whistling and catcalling. Peter Lorre “Has never seen such a beautiful bubble since I was a child!”, a naughty Henry Fonda is pulled away by his mother, Buster Keaton and Ned Sparks (who some say was the inspiration for Squidward in the tv show Spongebob Squarepants) provide their famous poker faces, while Jerry Colonna and “Yehudi” look on with binoculars. Harpo Marx pops Sally’s bubble with a slingshot–she’s wearing a barrel–and Gable finally gets the girl…but is it a girl? This is probably the most famous Hollywood-themed vintage cartoon, and it deserves its place immensely!