For those of you who might be having a bad day, here’s a rundown of what’s going on in my life to make you feel better:
1) I’m planning to spend part of 2014 traveling the world and studying abroad. After months of begging and pleading and finally convincing my parents, I am, of course, having trouble renewing my passport because of this fucking government shutdown. I went to the post office yesterday to pick up the renewal form and schedule an appointment, but instead all I got was some bored lady telling me that they can’t process anything because everything is closed. So then I had to call the New York Passport Agency to schedule an appointment with them, but in order for them to issue a passport to anyone, you need to present evidence that you are traveling within two weeks. I am not leaving the country until 2014, but my applications need for me to make a copy of the photo page of my passport by October 18th. My appointment is October 16th. If the agency decides not to process my passport overnight, I’m screwed. I’m fucking sick of conservatives making this country look like a fucking joke.
2) I took my passport photos yesterday and dolled myself up so I can actually look good in this one (my old passport photo was taken before I got contacts. I had to take off my glasses and of course I couldn’t see shit, so I looked like a deer in the headlights, with my eyes the size of saucers). Despite the ages I took applying my makeup and styling my hair in perfect Dita Von Teese waves, I still managed to look like an escaped criminal in the photos. How is it that a person can look one way in the mirror but look COMPLETELY different in a photo? I’m so ugly I can’t even stand the sight of my own face. If only plastic surgery was affordable.
3) I had to do a voice-over narration for my multimedia journalism class. My voice is hideous. Absolutely hideous. I’ve never liked the sound of my own voice and I never will. I’m 20 years old yet I still sound like a goddamn child. Every time I pick up the phone and it’s a flippin’ telemarketer, they always ask me if my mommy or daddy is home and I fume into a silent rage before hanging up in their faces. I wish I could have a rich speaking voice, like Joan Crawford or Norma Shearer.
4) My body image has gotten worse, if that’s possible. Since I started school, I know I gained all the weight I lost through my summer starvation diet. However, my family is telling me that I haven’t gained any weight, but they’re my family, so they’re supposed to say that. I don’t want to talk to my friends about it because I don’t want them to know about my body insecurities. There is a gorgeous vintage dress that I’m just dying to buy, but because it’s a straight silhouette I know it will hug every. single. ugly. curve. It will highlight my butt, my hips, and my boobs and quite frankly that scares me because I am not a size 0. I am also eying these matching vintage shoes, but the heels are three inches tall, which will turn this 5’5″ dame into a 5’8″ Amazon woman
5) There is so much schoolwork I need to do, yet I’ve got no motivation to do it. I don’t want to interview strangers about our local representative running for City Council Speaker. I’m almost positive that no one in my neighborhood of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, even knows who our representative is. All I want to do is curl up somewhere cozy and finish reading Crime and Punishment dammit. Can’t a girl just find out what’s happening with Raskolnikov?
6) My novel is NOT coming along swimmingly. Writing is so hard. I constantly suffer from writer’s block and an inability to find the right words to express my thoughts. I constantly worry that I’m going either too fast or too slow in my plot, or that my characters aren’t developed or relatable enough. Writing is so difficult when you have a low self-esteem. I wish I had a friend who cared enough to read my work and critique it so I can know if I’m on the right track, but I don’t think I can trust any of my friends with something this personal. I’m a shy, secretive person deep down inside. There’s also the little problem of not knowing anyone who actually likes to read books…
I guess I’m just a disillusioned, jaded youth who doesn’t want to live in this sick, sad world anymore. Part of me wants to love someone and be loved by someone, but I know that things like love and respect and passion are dead, dead, dead. People pretend to love each other and they use and manipulate and hurt each other deliberately and it makes me so sad. My generation is nothing more than a group of fakes who pretend to be things they aren’t just to fit in with a preconceived notion of society. Every single person I meet is just a cookie-cutter image of another person. Whatever happened to individualism, to realness, and to honesty? Like Clark Gable said in It Happened One Night, I want to meet somebody that’s real, somebody that’s alive. But they don’t come that way anymore. Everyone is playing a part just to be popular; the youth of today are basically a bunch of highly talented actors who will never win Oscars . No one is interested in truly loving someone with every fiber of their being, because it takes too much time, too much attention. People waste so much time fearing to reveal their true feelings for each other because the world is telling us to look at people like they are just pawns on a chessboard.
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
New York City. The Big Apple. The City That Never Sleeps. Destination of the world’s leaders and tourists from every corner of the planet. Home to the world’s freaks and geeks, the wealthiest of the wealthy, the most renowned celebrities, the dirt poor, and your humble blogger. I know I make a mighty big deal about being a New Yorker, but being from a glittery yet gritty place like this, how could I not? Everyone is aware of the magic of New York. Even Old Hollywood! Nowadays, New York is a prime filming destination (Who can forget when Sacha Baron Cohen paraded down Manhattan on a procession of camels for his film The Dictator?) and often my school has been used as a film location, the most notable being that inane series Gossip Girl (that day was a TOTAL NIGHTMARE…school was a circus because Leighton Meester and Ed Westwick were outside) and the Kevin Bacon series The Following (which happened at the same time as touring the Freshman class around the campus for their orientation. My school plans these things well, doesn’t it? Oh well, we got to see Kevin Bacon AND an exploding car!) You’d never think that Old Hollywood was up for location filming when it was cheaper and quicker to film on a soundstage. However, Hollywood is not the only place to travel to for your classic film fix, New York has its own classic film landmarks too! So if you don’t live here, don’t forget to come for your classic movie pilgrimage!
And may I recommend flying to New York at night? This might not be possible though, because I’m not sure how many hotels would allow night check-ins. But the aerial view of New York at night is just so beautiful, like sparkling golden jewels nestled in a case of black velvet:
Adam’s Rib (1949)
Summary: Married lawyers Adam (Spencer Tracy) and Amanda Bonner (Katharine Hepburn) find themselves on the opposite sides of the courtroom when Adam is prosecuting a case involving a woman who tried to murder her cheating husband and Amanda is her defense attorney.
The entire beginning sequence of the film, which is about the woman and her husband, was filmed in New York:
This is the scene in which the woman sees her husband going into his gal pal’s house. “Allan’s Steak Heaven” no longer exists, but it used to be located on East 52nd Street and Lexington Avenue.
Here’s an easy location: The Criminal Courts Building, 100 Centre Street
This location is apparently 104 Bayard Street and Baxter Street…but I kinda doubt that. In the screenshot from the film, you see the awning for Carmine’s Restaurant, a legendary eatery famous for its GIGANTIC Italian dishes (I’ve eaten there before, and trust me, one dish can comfortably feed you and a date, with some to spare). But Carmine’s is located in the Theater District, at 200 West 44th Street. Hmm…
All About Eve (1950)
Summary: Broadway newbie Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter) gets lucky when she befriends the great, legendary stage diva Margo Channing (Bette Davis). Through her friendship with her role model, she gets close to Channing’s other connections. Everyone thinks that Eve is an innocent, star-struck, obsessed fan, except for cynical theater critic Addison DeWitt (George Sanders) who sees Eve for what she truly is: a manipulative snake who uses Margo to make her way up in the notoriously merciless world of theater.
Here is the famous 21 Club, located on 21 West 52nd Street. The 21 Club is a restaurant and a former 1920s speakeasy (it was opened in 1922. Also notice how the doors are a little bit under the ground.) Although the joint was raided numerous times by the police, the owners of the speakeasy were never caught, since a system of levers was used to tip the shelves of the bar and throw all the liquor down a chute and into the sewers. Sounds like a scene straight from a Pre-Code! The 21 Club also had a secret wine cellar, accessed through a secret door in the brick walls and leading to the basement of the building next door, 19 West 52nd (!!!) This wine cellar became the storage spot for the private wine collections of numerous celebrities, including President Gerald Ford, JFK, Richard Nixon, Elizabeth Taylor, Ernest Hemingway, Frank Sinatra, Al Jolson, Sophia Loren, Gene Kelly, Gloria Swanson, Judy Garland, and Marilyn Monroe. Every president since FDR with the exception of George W. Bush (who was an asshole anyways) has dined there. Can you say New York legend?
Bell, Book, and Candle (1951)
Summary: Gillian Holroyd (Kim Novak) is a modern-day witch (such people do exist…this is New York I’m talking about here!). When publisher Shep Henderson (Jimmy Stewart) walks into her building, she falls in love with him and decides to have him all to herself…especially since he’s engaged to her former enemy from her college days. So Gillian casts a spell on him. Will it work?
You can’t really tell because of the use of close-up shots, but this scene was in fact shot on top of the Flatiron Building, located on 175 5th Avenue. The Flatiron Building was built in 1902 and is considered to be the world’s first skyscraper (I know, I know, it’s impossible to think that this was actually once thought of as a skyscraper). At its time, it was the tallest building in New York City.
Breakfast At Tiffany’s (1961)
Summary: I don’t like the film or the book (don’t hate me) but much to my chagrin, Breakfast at Tiffany’s is considered a legendary New York story. Holly Golightly is a madcap prostitute who lives in a brownstone on Manhattan’s East Side. Her apartment is only half-furnished, her cat has no name, she constantly loses her keys, and she loves to visit Tiffany’s because it “feels like home.” (and NO, you can’t eat breakfast at Tiffany’s, it’s a jewelry store for goodness sake. Unless your idea of breakfast is a bunch of diamonds and semiprecious gems.) After spending a day in the city with Holly, her neighbor Paul Varjak falls in love with her. But Holly is determined to marry Jose, a millionaire from exotic South America.
It ain’t Breakfast at Tiffany’s without the Tiffany and Co. flagship store, located on 727 5th and 57th Street. In the film, Holly would spend every morning eating a pastry and drinking coffee while admiring Tiffany’s window displays. When filming this scene, hundreds of onlookers were watching Audrey, which made her nervous and caused her to constantly mess up. It wasn’t until a crew member was nearly electrocuted behind the camera that Hepburn was able to collect herself, forget about the crowd, and finish the scene. This location has been the flagship of Tiffany’s since 1940.
This beautiful locale is the Conservatory Water in Central Park, which stretches from 72nd to 75th Street.
This scene was filmed at the New York Public Library, located on 5th between 40th and 42nd Streets. It is one of the most iconic and largest libraries in the world and one of the leading research libraries.
This final film exterior was shot at Park Avenue and East 52nd Street.
Butterfield 8 (1960)
Summary: Fashion model Gloria Wandrous is embroiled in an illicit affair with married socialite Weston Liggett. However, Gloria’s desire for respectability causes her to reconsider her lifestyle.
In the film, Liz Taylor tells the taxi to take her to 38 Horatio Street. However, the actual location is 15 Gay Street and Waverley Place.
In this scene, Liz takes a stroll down 5th Ave and pauses to look at the window display of the store on the corner of 5th and 55th. However, what is located there is now…the Disney Store. Something tells me Elizabeth Taylor wasn’t interested in the latest Mickey Mouse toys and Disney Princess dolls!
42nd Street (1933)
Summary: Big-time Broadway director Julian Marsh (Warner Baxter) is putting on a new show and has to deal with the torrential love life of its star, the stuck-up diva Dorothy Brock (Bebe Daniels). On the night before the premiere of the show, Dorothy breaks her ankle, and it’s up to unknown chorus girl Peggy Sawyer (Ruby Keeler) to take the lead. The show must go on!
Okay. I totally cheated here. 42nd Street wasn’t really filmed on 42nd Street. It was instead filmed in Warner Brothers Studio in Burbank, California. I passed through those same soundstages where Ruby Keeler tap-danced her way into the hearts of millions of Americans. But it’s fun to see the real location where the famous finale of the film is supposed to take place!
This is what West 42nd Street looks like today. Obviously, the 1933 recreation and the 2012 reality cannot be compared. When the film was made, West 42nd Street was a hotbed of crime, porn, and prostitution. It remained so until the early 90s when Giuliani cleaned it up (I was a little kid then…dear God, do I feel old!) However, there are still one or two adult film schowcases lying around there. Now 42nd Street is the center of the city: it’s in the heart of Times Square and the Theater District. It’s also Tourist Central…so GOOD LUCK walking through there. I have to bite my tongue to prevent the unleashing of the Potty Mouth on the Midwesterners wearing Bermuda shorts and fanny packs and taking VIDEOS of the Empire State Building. Because apparently the Empire State Building moves. People like that don’t last a day in a city like this. End tourist rant.
The Godfather (1972)
Summary: Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) is the aging Don of the Corleone Mafia Family, one of the five greatest Mafia families of New York. As soon as his youngest son, Michael (Al Pacino) returns home from World War II, the ten year peace is broken when a drug dealer named Virgil Sollozzo asks the Corleones for protection of his drug ring in exchange for money and a share in his drug dealership. However, the Don is morally against drugs and refuses. This prompts Sollozzo to hire hitmen to attempt to assassinate the Don. While the Don recovers, it is up to his sons Santino, Frederico, and Michael to lead the Corleone Family in one of the most violent Mafia wars in New York history.
Who doesn’t know Radio City Music Hall? Built in 1929 by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., this legendary venue has remained largely unchanged since. Renowned interior designer Donald Deskey (ever heard the term “Deskey Deco”? He’s why) designed the elegant, razzle-dazzle interiors which still remain today. The theater’s gold curtain is also the largest in the world. Radio City has also premiered some of the greatest classic films, including the original “King Kong,” “It Happened One Night,” “National Velvet,” “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “Mame,” and “To Kill A Mockingbird” (whose star, Gregory Peck, was a former usher at Radio City). Nowadays, Radio City is one of New York’s most iconic Christmas venues. Every year it stages Christmas Spectacular, featuring the New York Rockettes, who are celebrating their 85th anniversary this year.
This is of course, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, located on 5th Avenue between 50th and 51st streets. A note here: the cathedral is undergoing major renovations, so its famous facade is temporarily hidden by scaffolding. St. Patrick’s is the seat of the archbishop of the Roman Catholic diocese of New York.
How To Marry A Millionaire (1953)
Summary: Three models, Shatze (Lauren Bacall), Pola (Marilyn Monroe), and Loco (Betty Grable) hatch a plan: tired of cheap, poor boys, each one of them plans to trap and marry a millionaire. However, it is difficult to tell the big money apart from the hucksters, and in the end, will the money even be worth it?
Pola’s apartment is located on 36 Sutton Place and East 55th Street. Some of Manhattan’s wealthiest have lived in this neighborhood, including Freddie Mercury (one of the greatest loves of my life), Bill Blass, Joan Crawford (another love of my life), Marilyn herself, and her then-hubby Arthur Miller.
Here, my friends, is the George Washington Bridge. One of the world’s busiest bridges, the George Washington spans the Hudson to connect Manhattan to New Jersey.
The Hucksters (1947)
Summary: Fresh from the war, Victor Norman (Clark Gable) is looking for a job in the competitive world of advertising. His first task is to get widow Kay Dorrance (Deborah Kerr) to endorse Beautee Soap. He does so and gets the job, but things don’t go smoothly when Vic finds himself attracted to Kay instead of his current girlfriend, the young Jean Ogilvie (Ava Gardner).
The Jazz Singer (1927)
Summary: Cantor Rabinowitz (Warner Oland) is upset because his son Jakie (Al Jolson) would rather become a jazz/ragtime musician than uphold the family tradition of five generations and take on the role of cantor in his neighborhood’s synagogue. Relations between father and son get so bad that Jakie leaves home, changes his name to Jack Robin, and gets a big opportunity through stage actress Mary Dale. However, Jakie constantly remembers his family and is torn between his career as a jazz singer and his family’s wishes for him to become a cantor.
King Kong (1933)
Summary: Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong) is finishing up his film starring leading lady Ann Darrow (Fay Wray) and has found the perfect location: the mysterious, eerie Skull Island. The crew does not know what they will encounter here, but they soon find out that this island is the home of the giant menacing gorilla King Kong. Kong kidnaps Ann, and it is up to the crew to rescue her.
The most iconic scene of the movie and one of the most iconic scenes in film history was shot at the Empire State Building, located at 350 5th Avenue and West 34th Street. The scene I’m talking about is, of course, the one in which Kong climbs the Empire State, Fay Wray in his hands, and swats away at the fighter planes. The establishing shots of the fighter planes were shot in my great homeland Brooklyn (at the U.S. Naval Airbases). The scenic NYC views in the film were shot from the top of the Empire State, and the scenes involving the monkey were shot on replicas of the building in Hollywood (the filmmakers secured the original architectural plans of the Empire State in order to create a convincing recreation for the movie). This 102-story Art Deco landmark was built only two years earlier than the film, in 1931. Here’s a sweet little secret from someone who was walked right past this building numerous times: if you look closely, the windowpanes of the Empire State are red!
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
Summary: A heartwarming classic New York story. At the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, an old man discovers that the actor portraying Santa is drunk. Special events coordinator Doris Walker (Maureen O’Hara) persuades the old man to take his place and becomes a sensation, quickly gaining the post of in-store Santa at Macy’s. Doris then finds out that the man calls himself Kris Kringle and truly thinks of himself as Santa Claus, which makes her uncomfortable since she does not believe in fantasy. However, the people also believe there is something special about Kris. But unfortunately, Kris is soon held at Bellevue and all seems lost until his friend Fred Gaily promises to release him. A hearing is then set up in which Gaily argues that Kris is in fact Santa Claus. Will he win?
This scene was shot at East 61st Street and Madison Avenue.
Parade scenes were filmed down Central Park West between 76th and 77th Streets.
And of course, parade scenes were filmed at Macy’s, located at 34th street between 6th and 7th avenues, Herald Square. Ah, Macy’s. I’ve got a love/hate relationship with that place. The world-famous flagship location has been standing in Herald Square since 1901. A tip for all of you who are planning a trip to New York and have Macy’s on your agenda: the store has ten floors. It is a behemoth, a monster that saps up all your strength and energy and sanity after awhile. So make sure to give Macy’s an entire day for itself. It is also always unbelievably crowded. And the shoe department is a total nightmare. But if you are an international visitor, go to the Information Desk at the Visitor’s Center on the second floor for a discount card good for 11% off your purchases (yay!) What I like about Macy’s is that it has a large range of products for people of all economic standings (it’s the only place I can think of where I can buy a pair of new Louis Vuitton flats and a Gucci purse and a pair of dirt-cheap jeans from the juniors section) and some of the store still has the old wooden escalators from the early 1900s (although with the recent renovations happening in the store, I don’t know what will become of these relics).
The court scenes of the film were shot at the New York County Supreme Court, located at 60 Centre Street in the Financial District.
North by Northwest (1959)
Summary: New York advertising exec Roger O. Thornhill (Cary Grant) is kidnapped by a gang of spies led by Philip Vandamm (James Mason) because they mistakenly believe that Thornhill is CIA Agent George Kaplan. Thornhill is able to escape Vandamm’s clutches, but he now must find Kaplan to clear himself of a murder that is believed he committed. Thornhill then meets the beautiful femme fatale Eve Kendall (Eva Marie Saint)…but is Eve really trying to help Roger?
The scenes of Cary Grant’s character exiting his workplace were filmed at the CIT Financial Office at 650 Madison Avenue. You know, I’ve walked past this building many, many times, never knowing that Cary Grant did so too.
Thornhill then walks into the world-famous Plaza Hotel (750 5th Avenue and Central Park South) this 20-story palace of luxury will be featured greatly in a one of my favorite films, which will be coming up soon on this list.
Sensing that he is being followed, Thornhill then goes to the United Nations Headquarters on 1st Avenue between 42nd and 48th Streets. Nowadays, this is where Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinajad (dunno if I spelled that right) comes to perform his crazy antics every year.
Summary: Linus (Humphrey Bogart) and David (William Holden) are wealthy brothers, while Linus is all work, David is all play. Sabrina Fairchild (Audrey Hepburn) is the shy, awkward daughter of the family chauffeur and is in love with David “who hardly knows she exists.” Sabrina then goes to Paris for two years and comes back an elegant, beautiful, society women who not only captures the heart of David, but Linus’ as well.
The Seven-Year Itch (1955)
Summary: Richard Sherman (Tom Ewell) is the exec of a publishing firm and your regular average Joe. He sends his wife and son for a vacation in the country. Always a faithful family man, Sherman often dreams of being successful with women…and temptation strikes when a beautiful sexy blonde (Marilyn Monroe) moves into the apartment upstairs.
Arguably THE most iconic scene in cinema history was filmed right here in New York: the scene in which an oncoming subway train rushes past, causing Monroe’s skirts to billow upwards as she stands above the subway grating. This legendary grating is located on 52nd Street and Lexington Avenue. The scene was shot on September 15, 1954 at 1 in the morning. However, portions of this scene had to be re-shot in Hollywood because onlookers whistled and cheered Monroe on as her skirts flew up, causing her to forget her lines.
Strangers on a Train (1951)
Summary: One of my favorite, and most underrated, Hitchcock films. Creepy Bruno Antony (Robert Walker) thinks he has hatched the plan for the perfect murder when he meets pro tennis player Guy Haines (Farley Granger) on a train. If Haines kills Antony’s hated father for him, he will kill Haines’ slut of a wife, freeing him to marry his elegant socialite girlfriend, Ann Morton (Ruth Roman). Guy laughs off the plan, but Bruno is serious and murders Guy’s wife. When Guy chickens out of his end of the bargain, Bruno threatens him by telling him that he will plant evidence at the scene of the crime, framing Guy for the murder. Not only is the police suspecting Guy, his career is tainted, his relationship with Ann is strained, and he is being stalked and blackmailed by a psycho. Will he go through with the plan?
Once again, we see Penn Station in a classic film. Penn Station is one of the busiest rail stations in the world. However, the original Penn Station, built in 1910 was much grander and larger, a Beaux-Arts gem of New York City. However, in 1963, orders were given to demolish the head-house and train shed of Penn Station to make way for an office complex and expansions to Madison Square Garden.
That Touch of Mink (1962)
Summary:Sweet, conservative little country girl Cathy Timberlake (Doris Day) meets the man of her dreams, wealthy city man Philip Shayne (Cary Grant) when his Rolls-Royce splashes her with mud while on her way to a job interview. Philip is in love with Cathy as well, but there is one problem: he is not the marrying man, while marriage is the only thing she has on her mind.
This glorious scene of topless Cary Grant was filmed at the new York Athletic Club (180 Central Park South and 7th Avenue). It used to have a red awning. Today it is green and has the initials of the Athletic Club instead of the full name like it used to have.
Week-End at the Waldorf (1945)
Summary: Pretty much a happier, light-hearted remake of 1932′s Grand Hotel but taking place in the swanky Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. It stars Lana Turner in the Joan Crawford role, Edward Arnold in the Wallace Beery role, and Walter Pigeon in the John Barrymore role. The biggest plot stretch from the original comes with Van Johnson as a war hero about to undergo major surgery, and who wants to enjoy what would perhaps be the last days of his life. There is also an appearance by humorist Robert Benchley and a cameo appearance by Xavier Cugat as the Waldorf-Astoria’s bandleader.
The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel is located on 301 Park Avenue between East 49th and 50th Streets. This 47-story luxury dream of a hotel was built in 1931 and is a world-famous Art Deco landmark. It is also the first hotel in the world to offer room service, forever changing the face of the hotel industry. The hotel houses three American and European restaurants, a beauty parlor, its own railway station as part of Grand Central Terminal, a collection of boutiques, and an elevator large enough to fit FDR’s automobile (!!!)
Home Alone 2: Lost In New York (1992)
Summary: Okay, okay, this isn’t a classic film in the true definition of the term. But I consider it a classic because EVERYONE adores it! Ten year-old Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) and his unbelievably large family decide to spend Christmas in Florida (ew…) However, our young hero loses his family and accidentally boards a plane to New York City. Kevin then discovers the power of the credit card, checks into the Plaza Hotel, and leads a life of luxury (i.e. being driven in a limo to the toy store while eating pizza and having banana splits delivered to your hotel suite every day). However, his dream life is ruined when he runs into his old enemies, Harry and Marv (the hilarious Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern). Kevin hatches a plan to put Harry and Marv behind bars once again when he finds out of their plan to rob a toy store on Christmas Eve. Because no one messes with kids on Christmas, bitches.
Here Kevin visits Battery Park, where he uses one of the many binoculars to get a closer look at the Statue of Liberty. It’s a warmer, dryer option than taking the ferry to Liberty Island (I once made the unfortunate mistake of doing this in a pink silk summer dress…Worst. Idea. Ever.)
One of the most heartwarming scenes of the film, when Kevin wishes for his mother to come find him, was filmed at Rockefeller Center (5th Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets). Since 1931, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree has lit up the holidays each December for native New Yorkers and tourists alike. It has become a Christmas icon and has brought holiday cheer to millions. Indeed, I cannot imagine Christmas without this tree. The first Rockefeller Center Christmas tree was a 20-foot Balsam fir. Today, the tree is a Norwegian spruce that can be anywhere from 75 to 90 feet tall.
Phew! What a post! I hope you enjoyed and learned something new, and if you are a classic movie fan who lives in or is planning to visit New York, I hope this will be a help to you! If I’ve forgotten anything, feel free to post in the comments
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.
Hiya folks! I’ve been blogging on “An Elegant Obsession” for close to two years now. Starting this blog is easily the best decision I’ve ever made; I’ve met so many wonderful people through it! But one thing always bothered me: I know what some of you guys look like because of your icons and photos on your blogs and whatnot, but you don’t know what I look like! The reason I’ve never put up any pictures of myself is because, believe it or not, I’m actually very shy. Especially camera shy. I’m no beauty: my hair is naturally black and wildly curly, (think Joan Crawford in “Rose Marie”), I dress in vintage-style clothing, and I’m a big loudmouth with a heavy Brooklyn accent. I’m no sweet-looking, soft-spoken thing with golden hair and large blue eyes. But about two weeks ago, my sister took some pictures of me because she wanted to prove to me that I look like a classic movie actress (as if!) and the shots actually came out pretty decent, for me anyways. So I thought to share one of them with you, so you can know exactly who you’re talking to hahaha! So, here’s my face:
Even though my nose looks extremely long and I have bags under my eyes (I’m an insomniac) it has a lot of 1930s-style elements in it that I’ve never really noticed before. That’s all! I hope my face doesn’t turn you guys away from reading this blog :/ P.S: I’m halfway through the next book in George Baxt’s celebrity series. Not only is it boring, but it’s also confusing! Prepare for yet another bad book review coming soon!
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!
I’ve recently realized that I’ve never really written about music. Yet, music was such a major part of the golden age. My taste is quite wide and varied. I have almost every genre of music on my iPod, except country (no offense to those who like it, but NO, just no, to it all) . I love classical music (my fave is Tchaikovsky), show tunes (Les Miserables, The Phantom of the Opera, Wicked…)foreign music (especially French and Italian), pop/dance music (Michael Jackson <3), and last but DEFINITELY not least, vintage music! I have more of this genre than any other on my iPod, and since this is a golden age blog, I will concentrate on the golden age songs that I’m playing at a constant loop nowadays:
Adelaide by Frank Sinatra
Any song that comes out of Frank Sinatra’s mouth is instant gold. From the 1955 film Guys and Dolls, this song has a lilting rhythm and is really fun to sing to. It also makes me wish my name was Adelaide since it sounds so nice when sung. Now can someone help me with the Nathan Detroit/Sky Masterson debate? I’ll never be able to choose one over the other!
All I Do Is Dream Of You by Debbie Reynolds and Chorus
This is the first of many Singin’ In The Rain songs that I’m listening to right now. I got the film on DVD for my birthday in April so I’m always watching it. This song is fast and fun, and very 20s (the decade in which this film takes places, duh).
Anything You Can Do by Bing Crosby, The Andrews Sisters, and Dick Haymes
This song is so much FUN. There are five people singing in it, and they’re all making unusual sounds and voices, so it’s a great exercise in harmonizing. It’s pretty witty to boot. You can totally let out your inner goofball with this one.
Babalu by Desi Arnaz
This song is entirely in Spanish, but who cares? It’s so much fun! Between the sultry beat of the conga drum and screaming “BABALU! BAAAABAAALUUUU!” on the top of your lungs, who needs to understand the language?
Beautiful Girl by Jimmy Thompson
All songs from Singin’ In The Rain are absolutely fantastic. But this romantic number is about fashion (the fashion show in this song is epic). I like fashion. It teaches that beauty is not based on looks alone. As Thompson sings: “A beautiful girl is like a great work of art. She’s stylish. She’s chic. And she also is smart.” If we all had this guy in our lives to serenade us with this song, life would be bliss, wouldn’t it ladies?
Because of You by Gloria DeHaven
This song is so lovely and romantic, and brings out that inner dreamer in me (which I always try to suppress!) “Beautiful Girl” plus “Because of You”, is a formula for a lasting relationship.
Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen by The Andrews Sisters
Everyone loves the Andrews Sisters. In my opinion, this is one of their best. It’s a clever, modern, jazzy love song. The kind of thing that expresses feeling while being fun to dance to.
Blue Moon by the Casa Loma Orchestra
If you’ve seen the film Manhattan Melodrama, you’re probably familiar with the song “The Bad In Every Man”. Unfortunately, I can’t find an mp3 with these lyrics, so I’ve settled with “Blue Moon”, which has the same music and rhythm, but different lyrics. This song is now a great jazz standard, covered by everyone from Ella Fitzgerald to Elvis Presley.
Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy by The Andrews Sisters
Yes, the Andrews strike again. Probably their most famous song, “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” is a gem of the swing/big band era. And everyone loves to sing along and dance to it! If my sister’s airhead Jersey Shore-loving friends know this one, you should too.
By A Waterfall by Ruby Keeler, Dick Powell, and chorus, choreographed by Busby Berkeley
This is the song I’m obsessed with the most. I listen to it on a constant loop! Another lovey-dovey romantic song, it’s so whimsical, dreamlike, and so…1930s, a decade marked by escapism. Busby Berkeley’s over-the-top, delightfully unrealistic stage numbers (with their signature dash of pre-code) were the ultimate in escapism. The song by itself is wonderful, but when you watch the full number in the 1933 film Footlight Parade, it borders on the fantastic.
The Charleston by Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra
It’s the CHARLESTON!!! What’s NOT to love?
Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief by Betty Hutton
Not only is this a good, incredibly fun song, but Betty Hutton makes it okay to sing, scream, and screech on the top of your lungs. Because she does too, and she was a famous singer, right? So when you sing “NO, NO, NO, IT COULDN’T BE TRUEEEEE..” you should feel good about yourself.
Egyptian Ella by Fats Waller
The most important event of the 1920s was the discovery of King Tut’s tomb in Egypt. This sparked an Egypt craze in the 1920s (strong lip and eye makeup, jewel tones, beaded, ornately styled clothing). Everyone wanted to look exotic (for example, stars like Theda Bara and Clara Bow), and this song definitely cashed in on the craze, but in the most hilarious way possible. It’s about a dancer named Ella who becomes so fat, she loses her job. So she goes to Egypt to become a bellydancer, because they like their ladies hefty there. I’ve been to Egypt, and it’s 100% true!
El Relicario by Rudolph Valentino
Unfortunately, we will never hear Rudolph Valentino’s voice on-screen. Fortunately, he recorded two (very rare) songs: Pale Hands I Loved (Kashmiri Love Song) and El Relicario. I’ve obsessed over Pale Hands I Loved for so long now, it’s time to rave over this one. I must say, Valentino has a sexy, deep voice. And the way he fumbles a little on the Spanish is simply adorable!
Fit As A Fiddle (And Ready For Love) by Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor
Another Singin’ in the Rain gem! This one is not as well-known, unfortunately. It’s excellent, and shows great chemistry between Kelly and O’Connor (who is seriously now the love of my life). The song is reminiscent of vaudeville and dance halls, and Kelly and O’Connor make dancing look a lot easier than it is(my sister tried one of the moves from this song for two seconds and almost faceplanted).
How Could Red Riding Hood? by the Hot Rhythm Orchestra
Oh those naughty twenties! Messing around with our childhood! Nothing was innocent in the Jazz Age, not even fairy tales, apparently, since this song actually suspects that Little Red Riding Hood was a prostitute! But seriously, it’s a good, jazzy song.
I’ll Sing You A Thousand Love Songs by Eddy Duchin and his Orchestra
I’m back to the slow, romantic ballads. Along with “Because of You” and “By A Waterfall”, this is one of the tops. Featured in the 1936 musical Cain and Mabel, it’s sappy and sweet, with a lot of heart.
I’m Sitting On Top Of The World by Al Jolson
Al Jolson is amazing. Although this song is short, it’s fun, jazzy, and makes you get up and dance like a crazy person. You’d feel like you were on top of the world after this one!
It’s Winter Again By Hal Kemp and His Orchestra feat. Skinny Ennis
I heard this on a commercial about a cruise line and it was so good I had to desperately search the internet to find it. And I love the winter. Enough said.
It’s A Good Day by Peggy Lee
The ultimate in happy, upbeat, optimistic music. It can make any crap day feel like new. And who doesn’t love the line: “I said to the sun, good morning sun!”
Ja So Bin Ich by Marlene Dietrich
We all know Marlene Dietrich was an accomplished actress, but not many know of her prolific singing career. She had a wonderful, husky voice, and even though half her songs are in German, it really doesn’t matter. They were good!
Je Cherche Apres Titine by Charlie Chaplin
This sweet, funny, wonderfully ridiculous ditty from Modern Times (1936) was the first time Charlie Chaplin spoke on-screen. And WHAT a talkie debut! The song is entirely in gibberish, borrowing and tweaking here and there from various languages such as French, Italian, etc. Although it’s comedy gold, it has a deeper message, the Little Tramp is international, he’s an everyman that represents humanity.
La Mer by Charles Trenet
This song was sent to me by a friend. I loved it. I sent it to another friend, who never got back to me on it, even though I worked hard translating all the lyrics, so I’m supposing he hated it But what does he know? This song, (entirely in French), is beautiful. It’s romantic, summery, and very expressionistic. And what gal in her right mind doesn’t like a sexy French guy crooning in her ear?
The Lady Is A Tramp by Lena Horne
This is my theme song every single word in this song describes me perfectly. It’s my personality in a nutshell. Except for the “Hate California” part. Other than that, I’d like to imagine Lena sang this for me!
Ma, She’s Making Eyes At Me by Kay Kyser
This song is fun and hilarious. From Kay Kyser’s opening wail (“MAAAAAAA! SHE’S MAKING EYES AT ME!”) to the jazzy music, I never get tired of this one. And the fact that Kyser comes off as a big baby in this song!
Music, Maestro, Please by Kay Kyser feat. Ginny Simms
With the summer time comes summer love, right? Well, what happens when your summer fling heads for splitsville? You gotta forget about him, that’s what! And that’s the lesson of this song. The music is lilting and romantic, and Simms’ voice is husky and full of emotion. When the going gets tough…music, maestro, please!
My Baby Just Cares For Me by Ted Weems and His Orchestra
This 1930 tune is simply fun and jazzy, and the lyrics are easy to memorize. It’s basically about a guy singing about his dream girl, who wants nothing but him. In some versions, there is a line about Clark Gable’s smile, but alas, it’s not in the version. Gable or no Gable, this is a good song.
My Dancing Lady by Joe Venuti’s Orchestra
This was the theme song to the 1933 film Dancing Lady, a musical that combined the team of Gable, Crawford, and Tone with Ted Healy and his Stooges, and marked Fred Astaire’s film debut. Sounds crazy, huh? This is a cute song that reminds me of all the antics that took place in this film!
Nice Work If You Can Get It by Fred Astaire
All of Fred Astaire’s songs are fun. But this one gets particularly jazzy in the end and it’s fun to dance like a crazy person then! Also, like the rest of Astaire’s work, this can get stuck in your head forever.
Pass That Peace Pipe by Bing Crosby
I first heard this song on I Love Lucy (sung by Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance, and William Frawley) and I scrambled to find an mp3 version of it. Thankfully, I found an equally good version by Bing Crosby. I can’t stress how fun this song is, from the Native American style music to listing all the tribe names.
Puttin’ On The Ritz by Clark Gable
This song is 56 seconds of pure hilarity. You need to watch the entire clip from Idiot’s Delight to get the full experience. Even though Clark really can’t sing, I adore his deep, manly voice. And even though he can’t really dance, I replay this scene over and over again like someone who’s hypnotized. This song is an experience, let’s leave it at that!
Reckless by Jean Harlow
Jean Harlow is one of those people whose singing voice sounds a heck of a lot like their speaking voice. Since Jean Harlow’s speaking voice is amazing (she may be from Missouri, but her accent sounds distinctly New York), no complaints! The beginning part of the song is all her, but in the second half, when the real singing kicks in, she is dubbed over by someone else. Oh well, at least we get to hear her sing for a little. This song’s first line also gets stuck in your head forever (“I wanna live, love, learn a lot. I’ll light my candle and I’ll burn a lot!”) and also taught me to say “I wanna go places and look life in the face” whenever people ask me what I want to be when I grow up. It’s the ultimate vintage rebellion song.
‘S Wonderful by Gene Kelly
Who could dislike this song, and the hot French guy that sings with Gene Kelly in it? It’s amazing! ’S wonderful! Okay, that was corny.
Shanghai Lil by James Cagney and Ruby Keeler
One of my favorite Busby Berkeley numbers, from Footlight Parade (1933) when you watch the clip (specifically the opium den scene) you sometimes have to make sure you aren’t seeing things! And James Cagney singing and dancing, and doing it much better than Ruby Keeler? An instant favorite!
Sunday by Jean Goldkette and His Orchestra
Why do I have a photo of a flapper here? In my opinion, Sunday is the ultimate 1920s song. It has jazzy music, Charleston-worthy moments, chorus girls with high-pitched, child-like voices that were favored at the time, and even a couple of de-oop! de-oop’s!
Teacher’s Pet by Doris Day
This song has a fun rhythm and a good beat. but I hope hope HOPE Doris Day was singing about an all-adult situation here…
Verlaine by Charles Trenet
This song sounds SO romantic, from the slow music to the sexy French the guy says in the middle of the song. But actually, it’s really sad. And that’s when I pretend to stop understanding enough French to translate the song and imagine that I’m dancing with some handsome man to it. Doesn’t Trenet look a bit like Franchot Tone on this album cover?
The Waters of the Minnetonka by Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball
This song is from one of my all-time favorite I Love Lucy episodes: The Indian Show (also the episode where I first heard “Pass That Peace Pipe”) This song is hilarious. It’s for the bad singers, the loudmouths, the noisemakers. It’s for people like you and me.
Whatever It Is, I’m Against It by Groucho Marx (and a line sung by Zeppo Marx)
Marx Brothers=hysterical. First of all, Groucho is like, the best dancer ever. He can twist his knees, flap his hands like a bird, dance on tables, and wave his arms like he’s in the middle of a riveting version of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”. He also has an average singing voice that can go a little high-pitched at times. And he (and the rest of his brothers, including Harpo) also had that traditional New York accent. The way this song ends is PRICELESS.
Whatever Lola Wants by Sarah Vaughan
This is the ultimate femme fatale song. A song that is enough to make a man kinda fear for his life. With Vaughan’s smoky, cool voice and that (kinda creepy) male chorus, it’s become a very popular song, and was recently featured in a commercial.
Why Am I So Romantic? by Harpo Marx
It’s no secret that Harpo Marx is my favorite Marx brother. He’s cute, funny, and incredibly talented. He’s my go-to man when I’m feeling angry, sad, sick, or nervous. There’s nothing his beautiful harp music can’t cure!
You Are My Lucky Star by Debbie Reynolds
The last Singin’ in the Rain one, I promise! This song is slow, sweet, sappy, and downright romantic. Favorite line: “You’re my Fairbanks, my Moreno, Rod La Rocque, and Valentino”.
You Brought A New Kind Of Love To Me by Maurice Chevalier
French men are, and always will be, my greatest weakness. This song by Maurice Chevalier (famously spoofed by the Marx Brothers in Monkey Business) does nothing to quell that desire within me. If I were alive then and he serenaded me with that ditty, can someone say, “shotgun wedding”?
42nd Street by Ruby Keeler and Dick Powell
The ultimate Busby Berkeley number from the ultimate Busby Berkeley musical, 42nd street has it all: a colossal, realistic set, daring lyrics, outrageous costumes, fun tap dancing, the lovely Ruby Keeler and goofy Dick Powell, a metropolitan feel, and even a fake rape and a fake murder. They don’t make musicals like this anymore! Although 42nd street has long since been cleaned up of crime and seediness by former mayor Rudy Giuliani, it’s fun to look back at this piece of Old New York (and when you walk the city streets today and look around you, remnants of Old New York are everywhere, mixed in with the ultramodern glass skyscrapers), and honestly, New York is still pretty much the same. It’s loud, restless, noisy, with people milling about doing what they have to do so help you God, the homeless and the fabulously wealthy sharing the same pavement, cars loudly honking their horns, …it’s all very distinctly American, and what an exhilarating place to be!
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.
The Dames Hit Hollywood! Day Six: Sony Pictures/Columbia Tri-Star Pictures, Formerly The MGM Studios (Confused Yet? Good.)
This was the studio tour I was most excited–and most nervous–about. I was excited because I was about to tour the former MGM Studios, where EVERYONE made movies. In the 1930s, MGM boasted “more stars than there are in the heavens” and I totally believe that (maybe because in the five boroughs of New York, starry skies are nonexistent). Stars that worked at MGM: Greta Garbo, John Gilbert, Norma Shearer, Lon Chaney, Buster Keaton, Joan Crawford, William Powell, Wallace Beery, Myrna Loy, Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, Jeanette MacDonald, Nelson Eddy, Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Constance Bennett, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, the Marx Brothers, Jimmy Stewart, Ginger Rogers, Lucille Ball, Elizabeth Taylor, Esther Williams, Lana Turner, the Barrymores, Robert Taylor, Rosalind Russell, Greer Garson, Hedy Lamarr, Robert Montgomery, Robert Young, Jimmy Durante, and Margaret O’Brien. The studio chiefs: Louis B. Mayer, Irving Thalberg, etc. were just as interesting and entertaining as the performers. I wasn’t exaggerating about the “everyone” part.
But despite MGM’s rich history (can you IMAGINE all the things that must have happened here?) the studio was bought by Columbia TriStar/Sony Pictures in 1990. I knew the focus of the tour would be on Columbia (which is still cool) but I was hoping that they would acknowledge MGM a bit on this tour as well (because it was MGM so COME ON!!!)
The references to MGM on this tour were so little it’s practically negligible. It was easily the most disappointing, most grueling studio tour I went on in Hollywood.
That morning, I was so ready to go, and a lot more energetic than I normally am (and I’m a pretty hyper person as it is). I made the reservations, booked the tickets…everything was going to go fine. But right after that I felt a bit sick. I didn’t think anything of it, popped three pills, and we headed to what is now known as Sony/Columbia TriStar Studios (I’m going to refer to it as the ex-MGM Studios for short).
On the way there, Baby, with her crazy paparazzi skills, snapped a few pictures of the original MGM gates. I’m glad she did, because we didn’t go near those gates ONCE during the tour:
By the time we got to the entrance of the studio, which is at the new, modern glass Sony Pictures Building, I was officially sick. My medicine failed me, and every curse word in the book was running through my woozy brain. How the heck was I supposed to do a two-hour ALL WALKING tour on a 90 degree day when I was weak, covered in a thin film of cold sweat, and dizzier than a person with vertigo? I was NOT looking forward to this at all.
Thankfully, the office building was large, spacious, and cool, with plenty of nice couches where I could wallow in my self-despair and pray that my medicine, by some miracle, would kick in before the tour officially began. I tried to calm myself down by staring at a huge poster of It Happened One Night (it’s now Columbia Pictures, after all) that was hanging from one of the all-glass walls, but THIS ANNOYING GUY sitting on the couch across from me was having the most “hilarious” phone conversation of all time and his stupid high-pitched voice was giving me a migraine, to add to my pains. Basically, I wasted a half-hour of my life listening to this guy scream”HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!! OH YOU’RE SOOOOO BAD! YOU CALLIN’ ME BAD? YOU’RE THE BAD ONE!” My sister was blatantly, hysterically laughing in his face, but he was so into convincing the person on the other side of the line that they’re so bad, he didn’t even notice when she snapped this picture of him:
Anyway, I was feeling too uncomfortable sitting still, so my sister, my dad, and I decided to look at the display cases of props and costumes, even though they were all from modern films:
The costume from Paul Blart: Mall Cop. For some sick, psychotic reason my sister actually LIKES this movie and I’ve been forced to watch this thing too many times for my liking. Oh well, nothing works like gazing into space and pretending like you’re watching something better!
After that, I was too tired to continue, and felt dizzy and in pain, so I sat down on the steps, trying to wrap my delirious mind around how I was supposed to do this, but couldn’t. At that point, this annoying camera guy who worked for the studio INSISTED that everyone who was going on the tour take a picture by the green screen (they would put in a background and the photo would be yours to keep after the tour). This resulted in probably the worst family picture in the history of bad family pictures. Everyone managed to look normal except me, standing an inch shorter than my younger sister, with a lazy eye, a white blouse turned see-through by sweat, and skin the color of Elmer’s liquid glue. This embarrassing, gross photo is now proudly displayed in my home, in a place that where any guest walks in, they can’t help but see it. Epic. Fail.
Anyway, the tour commenced soon after that. Our tour guide was a cheerful blonde hipster guy named Mike or Mark or something that starts with an M. The guy was so perky about everything that the disgustingly stuck-up German family that was also part of the tour group made so much fun of him the entire two hours. I felt really bad for him. At least he likes his job.
Then the kid gave us a lecture about taking pictures and how it wasn’t allowed unless he said so. Or he could lose his job. Although I was way too out of it to comprehend even being on the MGM lot, I could practically feel my camera-happy dad’s disappointment radiating out of him.
Like in Warner Bros, we watched a short film about the history of Columbia leading to its upcoming releases. I used this time to try to forget about my sickness, but it wasn’t working at all. The only time I showed any signs of life during that film was when It Happened One Night popped up on the screen. After that, the tour officially began.
The next stop on the tour was the Thalberg Building, an imposing white Deco-style building that was Irving Thalberg’s offices when he was head of MGM in the 1930s. At that point, everything that I was feeling went from bad to worse. I thought I was going to vomit and pass out right then and there in the ex-MGM lot, in front of Irving Thalberg’s ex-office.
Which was so not an option.
Although I was in no condition to even be out of bed, let alone walking around a Hollywood film studio, I convinced myself to suck it up. Walking on the same ground so many demigods have walked on before me is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I was gonna finish this tour and enjoy it!
Unfortunately, the Thalberg Building was one of the many places that was off-limits to photos, so no pictures guys When we went inside, my fried brain was absolutely blown away by the Art Deco decor. I felt like I was inside one of those beautiful hotels or office buildings from the Golden Age films. On display in glass cases were the Best Picture Oscars of some Columbia films, including It Happened One Night and You Can’t Take It With You. Since the rest were for modern films, I just hovered near these two Oscars, unable to comprehend that the only thing separating me from It Happened One Night’s Oscar was a thin sheet of glass.
The tour guide took us to the middle of the lobby for a second. He asked us if anyone knew how the Academy Award statuette got the nickname “Oscar”. Never one to pass up the opportunity of being an insufferable know-it-all, I told him two theories: that AMPAS librarian Margaret Herrick thought it resembled her uncle Oscar and that Bette Davis thought it resembled her first husband, Harmon Oscar Nelson, Jr. After getting weird stares from everyone in the lobby of the Thalberg Building, from workers, security guards, and tourists alike, and a genuine look of concern from the tour guide (I probably looked like I was high on something, no doubt), he said that those two theories are quite popular, but attempted to refute them by going on some spiel about how Cedric Gibbons designed the Oscar. Sorry dude, but that has nothing to do with how the statuette got its name.
Here are two streets on the lot. Which brings me to another point. The MGM lot was HUGE. I’m talking hundreds and hundreds of acres. Yet this was the smallest studio lot I’ve been on from all the tours. It was SO disappointing and so sad. When I looked over at my sister, I could tell she was upset too.
After that we were going to go inside a soundstage. We snaked through the normal, blank studio buildings. However, these buildings weren’t numbered like at the other studios. They were named after great stars. We passed the Tracy Building, the Garland Building, the Gable Building, etc. Our tour guide then stopped us by the Hepburn Building, saying that Katharine Hepburn loved to throw parties on its roof. He never said that no photos were allowed here, and it was nothing but a boring white building, who would even care? So my dad took a picture of me standing in front of it, my hands meekly folded in front of me. But we got busted by the stupid tour guy, and he took my dad to the side and told him to stop taking pictures unless he said so. It was like a parent lecturing a toddler for putting their hand in the cookie jar, and it was the first time I cracked up all day.
Basically, this studio is famous for being the place where game shows such as Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune are filmed. We were taken inside the Jeopardy studio and got to sit in the audience seats while the tour guide droned on endlessly about the game show. By this point I was feeling much better, and thanked God in my seat instead of listening to the guy. Although the show was on hiatus and all the sets covered in white canvases and although everyone on the planet has watched Jeopardy at least once in their lives, we were still not allowed to take pictures. Um, tour guide, I bet you the aliens on Mars know what Jeopardy is. It’s not like I’m leaking photos of a blockbuster film set.
Anyway, we moved on to the spot outside the Wheel of Fortune studio, but we weren’t allowed to go in because we “already visited one soundstage” . Puh-leez. So we were set loose to check out the mini Wheel of Fortune museum they had going on there:
The last stop of the tour was the gift shop. And WHAT a gift shop. It had absolutely nuh-thing. No books, no classic films, nothing. Zip. Nada. It was quite a disappointing tour. We barely touched upon MGM’s history. The tour only made it worse.
Here’s a nice poster to lighten things up around here. Cary Grant’s handsome face is always a welcome sight:
Only one more day left, everyone! And WHAT a special day it was! But you’ll just have to wait and see to read just what made my last day in the Land of the Silver Screen so memorable…
Everyone has one of those days in which everything goes wrong from the moment they get out of bed. For me, today is one of those days. To make myself feel better, I think about a gal that had weathered a lot in her life: Joan Crawford. Not only do we have similar sharp physical features (large eyes, long lashes, black eyebrows that slash across the face, strong square jawlines, and thick hair) but we both deal with problems the same way: grab them by the horns and attack with full force. Obviously, we are both women of high tempers, strong passions, and an unflappable determination. If she were alive today or if I was alive then we probably would’ve been the best of friends. But Joan has something I don’t. She is just so…cool. Everything she does just becomes awesome, and she lived such a colorful life. She is definitely someone I look up to. So, to put a smile on my face and yours, here’s the awesomeness of Joan Crawford. If you ever have one of those blue days, it’s the post for you!
Joan preparing dinner, July 1940
Joan takes in some sun, ca. 1940s
Relaxing with then-husband Douglas Fairbanks Jr, ca. 1932
One of my favorites: Joan at the soda fountain with editor Alice Thompson, 1939.
You don’t mess with this dame!
Jewelry shopping, 1955
So effortlessly glamorous
Getting the projector ready (and wearing the most adorable bikini!), ca. 1940
How amazing is this golfing look?
Showing some leg in Our Modern Maidens, 1929
Relaxing on the beach, ca. 1925
Joan with a…windsheild? Ca. 1920s
Looking like a frontier explorer, ca. 1920s
What a narcissist! 1940.
Checking out the National Horse show at Madison Square Garden in New York City, November 7, 1940
Visiting WWII veterans, January 30, 1944
Joan with costar Norman Kerry in The Unknown, 1926
LOVE this glamour portrait!
Joan and a furry friend jazz it up in Torch Song, 1953
Joan partying in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1960
Never has a film title been more true: Joan and Robert Montgomery in Untamed (1929)
Aaah, those cheesy portraits we all love! Joan and Dorothy Sebastian on a beach in Santa Monica, ca. 1925
Crazy stuff! Joan surrounded by her fans, all who happen to have the same photo of her, 1952.
Flirting with Ed Wynn, April 29, 1951
I kinda liked her in the blonde phase, ca. 1931
Hamming for the cameras on vacation in Capri, June 21, 1950
You can be too sick to receive your Oscar at the ceremony, but not to sick to wear makeup in bed! March 9, 1946
Getting instructions from the director, July 7, 1946
Strolling with Fred Astaire on the MGM lot, 1933
Double-daring Robert Montgomery, ca. 1930
Giving a new meaning to the term “bad Santa”, 1925
Joan plays with some Russian Wolfhounds, January 22, 1959
Ice skating with Jimmy Stewart and Lew Ayres in Ice Follies of 1939
The many moods of Ms Crawford, July 19, 1956
A sequence of Joan dancing, ca. 1920s
A fearsome ping-pong opponent! ca. 1930s
This picture is hysterical. ca. 1920s
Reading to her children, 1950
Sporting a healthy tan with husband Franchot Tone, ca. 1936
Helping her son cut the cake, 1945
No, this is not a still from some cheesy 80s or 90s film. It’s Joan holding a surfboard! Late 1940s.
Did you know that Joan played boxing to keep in shape? Neither did I! Here she’s sparring with her trainer, Gene Alsace. Joan keeps this rough sport glamorous by wear high heels. March 1927
Joan gets acquainted with the other side of the camera, 1957
Remember Joan’s leg makeup that I saw in the Hollywood museum? It’s being put to use here, while she gets ready to film a scene in The Way We Are.
With her…frenemy…Bette Davis. July 16, 1962
Hanging out with Barbara Stanwyck and husband Franchot Tone, June 23, 1936. I really want a pair of sunglasses like that!
One of my faves: eating a cookie with the creepiest clown that ever walked the earth, ca. 1939
I adore her romper! Posing in her backyard, 1941.
Joan and Douglas Fairbanks Jr playing darts, and judging by her blonde hair (I have the best way of dating photos, don’t I?) ca. 1930-31
Hahaha! A shot from the Hollywood Revue of 1929. From left to right: Charles King, Joan, Conrad Nagel, and Cliff Edwards
Gossiping with gorgeous British socialite Brenda Mazier (who, by the way, has awesome hair) ca. 1930s
I can’t tell you how much I LOVE this one! Being “blown into the air” by a firecracker, 1927
A LOT of work went into movie-making! Filming a scene for Possessed (1947)
I’ve always wanted to curl my hair that way!
Her facial expression (and rolled socks) are pure GOLD.
Receiving her new name! September 1925
The funny part of the picture is that poor boxing dummy!
And now, for those cute cheesy holiday/fake background portraits:
I am DYING for those shoes with fuzzy socks!
This guy freaks me out. From the film Tramp, Tramp, Tramp (1926)
Joan sports the boy look in a 1926 issue of Photoplay
A successful woman always multitasks! 1926
Promoting her trade. 1926
Her eyes in this photo are gorgeous! From The Unknown (1926)
I like the outfit. Men like the garter.
Staring contest! 1927
His buttons are THAT shiny?! ca. 1928
Revenge!!! From the 1928 film Rose Marie. Her hair in this film, more than any other, resembles my own. Thanks for making me feel good about it, Joan!
Mugging while reading the sheet music from Rose Marie (1928)
Attempting to hide from the cameras with Ramon Novarro. From the 1928 film Across to Singapore
Creepiest old guy ever. From Across to Singapore (1928)
With Charlie Chaplin on the set of Four Walls (1928) the case says something about Gross Gags.
This picture is so weird it’s funny.
A publicity shot from Our Dancing Daughters (1928) with costar Eddie Nugent. When I saw this photo in my sister’s old history textbook, I nearly had a heart attack and died out of joy lol
Oh. My. God. The cuteness!!!
You know why this is here!
Playing the coquette.
I. Love. This. Not only does she look GREAT, but it’s fun to scare my sister with it!
Wearing glasses and studying French? A woman after my own heart!
Picking up her fan mail on the MGM lot, 1928
I tend to find beauty in scary pictures, don’t I?
Tough-gal Joan! From Untamed (1929)
When I was younger, I went through an odd phase in which I wanted to become a pirate when I grew up. Now that I see this picture, maybe the idea wasn’t so bad!
Partying hard! 1929
If I could freak people out like this, the world would be a better place.
A rare cheesy holiday from 1929
Haha my sister and I work the same face when we want something!
This is too funny! August 1929
Look at the cute little birdie! August 1929
Getting her block done at Grauman’s Chinese, September 14, 1929. Her hands were only slightly bigger when I measured mine against them there :)
I want this sweater so badly. More than any other item I’ve coveted from the wardrobes of these movie stars (yes, even more than Rosalind Russell’s eye shirt from The Women).
Tea with Douglas Fairbanks Jr, 1929
Looking every bit like the perfect housewife, 1929
We all have our creepy hobbies. Joan’s was collecting dolls, and devoting a room to them.
You only get this with Pre-Codes, folks! From the film Montana Moon (1930) with Johnny Mack Brown.
That’s what I call service!
Joan’s version of the final scene of The Great Train Robbery? Actually, it was publicity for Montana Moon (1930)
Chilean artist Jorge Delano’s caricature of Crawford, 1930
Posing as Lady Liberty, 1930
Love that kitty! 1930
Haha, well the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach after all! With Clark Gable in the film Laughing Sinners (1931). This is one of my favorite Gable/Crawford pairings.
Uhhhh…after visiting the Hollywood Museum in Hollywood and seeing all the odd beauty devices used by Max Factor, I know better than to ask.
With Doug at a costume party, 1931
The Letty Lynton dress. When copies of this dress hit Macy’s they sold out within minutes. 1932
Simply gorgeous publicity shot for Rain (1932)
I want to be this picture
Hanging out with Claudette Colbert, 1932
Signing autographs in London, 1932
Partying in class with Clark Gable, Norma Shearer, and her husband Doug
Leslie Howard!!! 1932
With Marie Dressler, 1932
Looking cute at a costume party with Constance Bennett, 1932
Signing autographs for extras on the set of Dancing Lady (1933) considering the cast and the antics that must have happened, this was probably a really fun set!
Laurence Olivier (?????????????????) visiting the set of Dancing Lady (1933)
Showoff! Fred Astaire dances on the MGM lot during the filming of Dancing Lady (1933)
With Ted Healy and the Three Stooges on the set of Dancing Lady (1933)
This is for the boys! Joan uses lighting to her advantage in a publicity shot for Dancing Lady (1933)
Joan and her bro Hal LeSueur, who worked as an extra in Fox
I. WANT. THIS. DRESS.
The world’s first disco ball debuted in the 1934 film Sadie McKee!
Studying the script of Forsaking All Others (1934)
If you’ve seen Forsaking All Others, you definitely know what this is! It has confused and confounded the bejesus out of probably every viewer of the film since 1934. It’s the infamous “kids” picture!!!
Joan is glamorous, Robert is dapper, and Clark is sexy. Forsaking All Others had some really good publicity!
A cute shot from Forsaking All Others (1934)
One of the perks of this wonderful film is seeing a gentleman like Robert Montgomery make a total fool out of himself.
I like to think that Clark is giving me that face, even though he’s totally pawing Joan. A girl can dream, right?
Once again, here’s some of that girl multitasking power!
Most glamorous sneaky pit sniff ever
Playing with her adorable niece, Joan. 1935
Getting a piggyback ride on the set of I Live My Life, 1935
Clark Gable, in costume for Mutiny on the Bounty, visits Joan on the set of I Live My Life, 1935
With an unknown couple at Ginger Rogers’ roller-skating party, 1935
The definition of cool. Leaving her dressing room in 1935
In her dressing room, 1935
With her niece, Joan on the set of The Gorgeous Hussy (1936)
Anna Boettiger (FDR’s daughter) visiting the set of The Gorgeous Hussy (1936)
Amusing Robert Taylor on the set of The Gorgeous Hussy (1936)
Getting a hand from Clark Gable on the set of Love on the Run (1936)
Yay for the hat, rocking chair, and clogs!
This picture gets me every time!
Is there something in my teeth?
Tea party! With Italian singer Tito Schipa, 1936
Grabbing a bite at the MGM Commissary, 1936
Double dates are always fun! Franchot Tone, Joan, Barbara tanwyck, and Robert Taylor at the Trocadero in 1936
I am obsessed with photos of Joan knitting! And I’m obsessed with her falsies
Joan plays with two adorable puppies, while Robert Young plays backgammon
She looks like she’s ready to kill someone
Looking glam on the set of The Bride Wore Red
With niece Joan in 1937
On a badminton break with husband Franchot Tone, 1937
Joan in action!
I LOVE this outfit!
Relaxing…or trying to figure out how to recline in that chair
Feeding her puppy at home in 1937. The hat is to die for
Hanging out poolside with hubby Franchot Tone in 1937
I love Franchot Tone.
Is Franchot Tone jealous of Jack Oakie?
An art-deco inspired caricature
With James Cagney YAY!!
Spencer Tracy being a total creep on the set of Mannequin (1938)
What a diva!
Joan stares at herself on the set of The Shining Hour (1938)
Joan plows through the fans in New York City, 1938
Joan Crawford…inspiration for the Polo Ralph Lauren logo
Is Gary Cooper really having a conversation with Joan?
No doubt about it, the woman knows how to accessorize!
LOL at Fanny Brice!
This does not look safe. At all.
It’s rare to see colored pics of the stars in the 1930s! From The Ice Follies of 1939
Four color screenshots of Joan and Jimmy Stewart in The Ice Follies of 1939
With her puppy on the set of The Women (1939)
This is why vintage dames like me get frustrated styling our hair. We don’t have THESE anymore!
Joan and Tone celebrate…their divorce. March 1939
With Lana Turner and Ann Rutherford in 1939. Every time I see Joan with a turban, I want one too!
Lighting up Cesar Romero’s cigarette, 1939
Looking great in color!
Knitting on the set of Strange Cargo, 1940
In costume for Strange Cargo, 1940
Awww! With baby Christina, before things went downhill
With a bust of herself, 1941
At Judy Garland’s bridal shower in 1941, but you wouldn’t know it from Joan!
<3 the mini sailboat!
Lovely men’s pajamas! On the set of They All Kissed the Bride (1942) with Glenn Ford.
Melvyn Douglas is funny…for onece
Best sequence of photos ever:
Sporting a blonde look for the film Above Suspicion in 1943
Working for the American Women’s Volunteer Services in 1943
With daughter Christina in 1943
Giving the kids a bath, 1944
On the set of Mildred Pierce (1945) with Jack Benny
This post is loooong and I’m getting quite tired, so I’ll stop it here. Hope you enjoyed this taste of Crawford coolness!
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.
While in Hollywood, we visited three movie studios, one per day. First we visited Warner Brothers, located in beautiful, hilly Burbank. When you visit the studio, everywhere you look you are surrounded by the verdant hills and mountains, and boy was it impressive! (I’ve never seen a mountain until I visited California. I’m an unpriveleged child.)
Before I start showing off the pictures, let’s talk about touring studios in general (if you are planning to visit Hollywood and tour the studios for yourself):
- Plan ahead and make reservations: The tours take a limited number of people per day, so call up the studios and arrange your tour beforehand (the morning of should work just fine). I actually wanted to visit Paramount first, but they could not take us that day. You do not want to make the trip for nothing, only to find out they cannot accommodate you on a tour.
- Bring identification: this is common sense. All film studios need to be uptight about security, so bring an ID card or your passport when you check-in. They will also give you an ID bracelet or something of that nature, so if you don’t want to be thrown out of the studio, you must wear it!
- Photos are limited: there aren’t going to be as many photos in these studio posts (cheer or cry here). Taking pictures is quite limited, and varies from studio to studio (Warner Bros. and Paramount weren’t bad, MGM was STRICT). In any studio, do NOT take photos of the actual movie/tv sets…they’re copyrighted material!
Okay, now to the fun stuff! Warner Bros. was a really good tour, and I highly recommend it. Not only was it thorough, but it has a museum (which they sadly only give you about 20 minutes to view, and they actually make you lock your cameras and cellphones away in the tour cars before you enter, so no photos of it, I apologize), there is not much walking at all (most of the tour is done by a little tour car) and I got to see things here that I didn’t see in other studios. The only minor complaints I had was that (and this is for all studios) they focused A LOT on tv shows and not much at all about films or film history, and my tour guide was an annoying hipster-ish guy named Doug, who was obsessed with the show Chuck (almost all the sets he took us to were used in Chuck as well as other films and tv shows).
So, here are some famous stars that walked through the sets of Warner Bros: Al Jolson, Douglas Fairbanks Jr, Rin Tin-Tin, James Cagney, Edward G Robinson, Dick Powell, Joan Blondell, George Raft, Ruby Keeler, Paul Muni, Bette Davis, Errol Flynn, Humphrey Bogart, Olivia de Havilland, Ingrid Bergman, Barbara Stanwyck, Joan Crawford, Marlon Brando, Vivien Leigh, Lauren Bacall and Sidney Greenstreet, among others. The Warner Bros. themselves are famous (or infamous) for their business ethic and temperamental natures, and the studio was the home of gangster films, swashbucklers, film noirs, and the Busby Berkeley musicals.
As soon as you get to the studio, you are greeted by giant statues of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck:
After getting through security, you are taken to the waiting lobby/gift shop/mini Harry Potter tribute, where they had some costumes and props from the film series (the museum, which has two floors, devotes its entire second floor to Harry Potter).
Teacups and crystal ball used in the Divination classroom.
The tour starts off with a short film about the history of Warner Bros, from the Jazz Singer (the first sound film) up until today. When you go outside to actually start seeing things, you are first greeted by the sight of that famous water tower!
Now here are various spots around the lot (which is HUGE.) I’ll try to point out as many classic movie references as I can remember. Doug knew a heck of a lot more about tv shows like Chuck and Friends than he did about classic films…
Whenever they get the chance, studios would film using their own land. It’s common sense, but sometimes it seems quite unbelievable. This patch of grass sometimes doubles as…Central Park. That was not a typo.
More of the New York street. Let me say now that many of these buildings that make up the “streets” are actually facades–false fronts with no insides, and only used for exterior filming. So, there are no rooms in these buildings. Interior shots are usually done of the soundstages. And all the materials are hollow and fake. Nothing is real, from the wood to the marble. And you aren’t allowed to lean on them…you might topple them down! Not even the sidewalks are real.
Now here are some photos of the Central Perk set from Friends. It was left fully intact, and we were even allowed to sit on the couch. Interior sets in general are quite small (our group could barely fit in), are built in odd angles (that make them look a heck of a lot bigger on camera), and incredibly fake (you really lose the movie magic when you see how it all works). Oh and all the studios smell quite musty and kinda like a construction job. Which is okay because I like that smell (odd I know):
More from around the lot:
The last thing we did was go inside a soundstage and visit the actual set of a tv show (an aside: all the soundstages there have plaques on the outside that state which classic films were made there. I would’ve much rather learned about that than whatever Doug had to say! We passed soundstages that were home to The Life of Emile Zola, Robin Hood, Dodge City, The Public Enemy, 42nd Street, Footlight Parade, Mildred Pierce, Now Voyager, Jezebel, and the Maltese Falcon, to name a few. Did Doug acknowledge ANY of this? Nope!) Instead he took us to the set of…you guessed it…Chuck. Like the Central Perk set, it was musty, fake, and small. And boring as hell. Instead of listening to dumb Doug ramble endlessly on his favorite tv show, Baby and I dreamt about the great luminaries who must’ve walked on the soundstage before Doug and his hipster show did.
About the museum: my favorite part of the tour was the Warner Bros. museum. They’re really dumb about it though. They don’t allow to take cameras or cellphones inside with you, and you only get about fifteen to twenty minutes to see the entire thing! I was able to finish it, but I could only look over things instead of basking in their presence. The first floor has various film memorabilia, the second floor is entirely Harry Potter. Here’s the classic film fan/Harry Potter fan’s guide to the museum, so if you plan to visit, you can allot your time wisely:
First Floor: much more fun (for me anyway). Contained the Best Picture Oscar statuettes for The Life of Emile Zola (1937), Casablanca (1942), and The Jazz Singer (1927), along with two others. I practically peed my pants seeing real Oscars, and for such great films! The Jazz Singer’s Oscar was different. The gold was duller and it was shorter than the others. The museum also had Errol Flynn’s red coat from “The Adventures of Don Juan” Humphrey Bogart’s suit and Ingrid Bergman’s dress from “Casablanca”, Joan Crawford’s dress from “Daisy Kenyon”, and costumes worn by chorus girls in The Gold Diggers of 1933. There are also various costume sketches and contracts (such as Al Jolson’s contract for The Jazz Singer). Oh, and Al Jolson’s suit and shoes were there as well! And of course, you can’t forget Sam’s piano from Casablanca!
Second Floor: all Harry Potter. Contains: the sorting hat, models of various creatures such as dementors and mandrake plants, Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s costumes from all the films, Umbridge’s costume from Harry Potter 5, costumes of all the Triwizard champions from Harry Potter 4, the Triwizard cup, Death Eater costumes, and various props used throughout the films.
And to top it all off, there were costumes from none other than…SURPIRSE!…Chuck on the first floor. Guess where Doug spent his fifteen minutes?
After the tour, we went back to the Boulevard, where I touched Clark’s hands hello at Grauman’s (I did it at least once a day!) and went souvenir and gift shopping. Along the way, we saw these wonderful stars:
Saw These weird souvenirs:
And THIS JUST IN FROM THE PAPARAZZI…Elvis Presley was spotted shopping for plastic glitter sunglasses at a cheap Hollywood Boulevard souvenir shop!
Hope you enjoyed!
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!
Since I love history and Hollywood, I was excited beyond belief to visit the Hollywood Museum, located at the former Max Factor building. I’ve heard beforehand that the museum is chock-full of rare artifacts and collectibles…and boy was that an understatement! If you ever visit this museum (which you totally SHOULD!) I recommend you take two or three days to see it, so you can fully view and appreciate everything it contains. Obviously, this was one of my favorite parts of the vacation.
The entrance to the museum, which has the scariest Marilyn Monroe statue of all time waiting there. “Hooray for Hollywood” from the film Hollywood Hotel was playing on a constant loop there, which meant that I was whistling along on a constant loop as well!
The people who work there are very nice. They complimented me endlessly on my hair and makeup (yay!) A lot of people complimented my style in Hollywood in general. Hollywood people are a lot nicer than New York people for sure! Anyway, The entire first floor is intact from the Max Factor days, and is now a tribute to the master behind our favorite faces and hairstyles. So, they still got the pink lobby (which has a ton of stuff to look at as well), and you know that Max Factor’s makeup was created based on hair color, right? (he would create a line for redheads, another for brunettes, blondes, etc) Well, he actually had rooms for the hair colors as well, where he would treat the actresses. Today, each room features a famous actress well-known for having that hair color. The room “For Redheads Only” features Lucille Ball and Rita Hayworth, and even some Joan Crawford. “For Blondes Only” features mostly Marilyn Monroe. “For Brunettes Only” features mostly Judy Garland.
In the pink lobby:
Another pair of Joan’s eyelashes, and what I suppose is the stuff she would use to apply them. I think the black thing is mascara, which was dry at that time and quite different from what we have today.
In the Redhead Room:
In the Brunette Room:
In the Blonde Room:
Randomness inside the museum (second and third floors):
Then there was a “portrait room”, full of nothing but glamour photos and shots of vintage Hollywood. That room on its own would take hours! Here’s some highlights:
More bits of vintage Hollywood awesomeness:
I’ve mentioned in a previous post that I saw the Harlow at 100 exhibit at this museum. Here are the photos from it:
A souvenir program from the premiere
A menu from the MGM commissary signed by all the major stars of the time: Jean, Robert Taylor, Franchot Tone, William Powell, Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, Jeanette MacDonald, Robert Montgomery, and Myrna Loy, among others
Beyond the Harlow exhibit:
More vintage film equipment:
The entire basement of the museum was replicated to look like the prison from Silence of the Lambs. Since my family and I were the only people in the museum that day, it was 364237623 times creepier than it should’ve been:
Us seniors got our yearbooks last Wednesday, and since then, it’s been nothing but yearbook MANIA. Everyone is scrambling for signatures, passing the book around to friends, running after teachers with pens in hand, allotting valuable page space among people (empty front and back pages for close friends, divide these pages among the close friends, everyone else can sign by their photo in the book, so on and so forth). Of course, there’s also the frustration of what to write and where to begin writing. There’s also the dread of someone you really don’t know well asking you to sign their book, and you’d have to end up writing some weak, obviously fake, generic message to them (“I’m glad we got to know each other! Good luck in college!”). An ex-friend of mine (she’s a SEVERE NUTCASE and as soon as I found out, I dumped her faster than a hot potato, and you have no idea how much I was made to look like the bitch after that!) asked me to sign her yearbook. To my inner satisfaction, I was probably the second person to sign. I told her to be happy in life (she’s faking being depressed about everything. Sorry for the amount of parentheses in this post).
But what if I was lucky enough to go to school with Classic Hollywood? What would they have to say to me? Look no further!
Hooray for having big beaver teeth like me girl! Go us!
Clark knocked me up so take THAT!
So…wanna go out for dinner at a five-star restaurant tonight? Just kidding! And please stop laughing hysterically at me when I trip/fall on my butt/make pigeon-like motions with my head/get constantly confused and baffled by what’s going on around me.
DAAAAAAAHHHHHHH-LIIIIINNNNGGGG! Best in luck with everything you do dahling, but dahling, you ain’t ever gonna be better than me dahling!
Your dahling friend,
Tallu (DAHLING) (DUH)
You’re butt-ugly! What else can I say, being a blonde bitch?
So…wanna go out for dinner at a five-star restaurant tonight? You get full access to my schnozz!
THE HIIIIILLLLLLLSSS ARRRRRRREEEEE ALLLIIIIIIVVVVVEEEE WITH THE SOUND OF MUUUUUUSSSIIICCC! Please stop calling me “Judy” Andrews. MY NAME’S FRIGGIN JULIE, GET WITH IT GIRL!
With Kindest Regards,
I’m so glad we are friends! I’m not the only cheapskate who badly plays an instrument!
From Your Pal,
Admire the profile! Wanna go out for a drink? Don’t worry about getting a fake ID!
Thank you for tormenting me with duck jokes you meanie!
Robert “Quack” Young
I AM THE FUNNIEST MARX BROTHER! Just wait and see!
I am in love with our friendship! Who else says “MONEY!” instead of “CHEESE!” when we take pictures??
I’m glad you are one of the few who appreciate my brand of humor and acknowledges my talent…even though you often say I look like a turtle.
BABALU! BAAAABAAALLLUUUU! Keep on Babalu-ing, amiga!
~~Desiderio (I know you have an obsession with my full name)
Congratulations to the Queen of Sheba! You, like me, can throw a swell left!
YOU NEED SOME PIANO LESSONS STAT.
We’re two of a kind! But I’m the prettier, thinner one!
Your accent, loud voice, fast way of speaking, sprinkling of your speech with disgusting swearwords, and tendency to make rude noises while conversing are shameful to the integrity of the English Language. I, a mere child, can speak with better diction than you ever will in your entire lifetime. Please try to make an effort to see me sometime this summer so I can attempt to alleviate your situation.
Mr. Freddie Bartholomew
So we share birthdays! How about I eradicate you off the face of the earth so I can be the only one eh?
You’re just jealous of my mumbling voice and brooding persona, so stop making fun of it! And you have to admit, I was cool as Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls!
HOW MANY TIMES MUST I TELL YOU I DO NOT LOOK CONSTIPATED THROUGHOUT GWTW! I hope you will become blinded by my shiny golden locks!
So you think you have big eyes huh?
Thank you for always hoping that someday I will get the girl over Clark Gable.
Voules-vouz le taximeter?
I AM NOT EVIL.
I hope you someday find your very own pale hands by the Shalimar. Stop making fun of my thick Italian accent and my incredibly long name. I know it’s sexy, but please contain yourself.
The only time you ever showed any promise in dance is when you badly needed to use the restroom.
I’m very happy for you really I am.
Aww, I dunno what to say…ummm…aw gawsh!
Sir Laurence Olivier
Aww baby, you should be sittin’ on top of the world!
Al (which rhymes. New song!)
Gentlemen prefer blondes!
I thoroughly enjoy terrorizing everyone with our caustic remarks!
Why do all of your tights look strangely like mine?
Errol Flynn (aka In Like Flynn…please stop randomly saying that)
I’VE NEVER SEEN SUCH A BEAUTIFUL BUBBLE SINCE I WAS A CHILD! You can imitate my voice so well it even creeps ME out!
PS: I LIKE MONEY!
Please excuse me while I count my cocoanuts
Louis B Mayer:
There’s room for only one tyrant around here!
Fellow Brooklyn dames!!!
Please remove this monstrosity of a yearbook away from me! By the way, I still can’t get rid of the botanical freak from Life With Father.
Please stop playing with my nose and calling me Myrna Boy! I’m not a boy!
I did NOT steal my cable-knit sweaters from Clark Gable!!!
We have so many inside jokes! From, “a little bit of laryngitis baby” to “I got the gobloots from the booshoo bird?” I never fail to bust your lungs!
Come up and see me sometime! Oh wait, you’re a girl, not a sexy muscleman.
You’ll be “singin’ in the rain” at your prom tomorrow!
Every time you sing “42nd Street” I have a brain aneurysm
Love, Ruby K.
Stop offering me your retainer!
Women should be obscene and not heard.
May I have my name back?
The Real Carole
Here’s NOT looking at you, kid
Great balls of fire! Stop fancying yourself as Scarlett O’Hara! And there are SOME non GWTW movies in which I don’t die!
Please tell them to stop comparing Kate Middleton to me.
You are a very nice girl. Now stop stalking me and get a life.
Today I’m beginning the play-by-play of my Hollywood vacation! By the end of this series, you’ll hopefully feel as though you’ve been there with me vicariously through tons of photos and explanations. It’s your guide of modern-day Hollywood for the Classic Film Fan!
On my first day in Hollywood, I took no time to rest, and went straight to Hollywood Boulevard (which is where most of the action is!) We then did some of the Walk of Fame (my parents were so not going to do the whole thing. Me, being a big walking person, would not have at all minded seeing all 2500 stars that go on for miles on Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street. Oh well.) It’s amazing to see them in person! Unfortunately, some people graffittied the empty ones, which is just low, cheap, and disgusting. Some are also ruined, and need to be fixed. Nonetheless, here are some of the luminaries we saw:
Now let me take the opportunity to post a picture of an extremely pale-faced statue of James Dean outside a gift shop:
Heheheh. Anyway, let’s continue. Baby and I quickly lost interest in the Walk of Fame, however, when we saw one of the spires of the legendary Chinese Theatre, the location in which thousands of stars attended glamorous premieres of their films and entered their hand and footprints in a specially made cement. It gave me the CHILLS just to be in its presence! But since we were across the street from the Theatre, we decided to take our chances and sneak into the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, founded by Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and Charlie Chaplin and once home to Marilyn Monroe, Montgomery Clift, and Gable and Lombard. It was also the home of the first Academy Awards celebration (which lasted fifteen minutes) and it is nothing short of a LEGEND in every sense of the word. It is beautiful inside, with a medieval castle theme mixed with wonderful 20s and 30s Deco:
After acting like criminals at the Roosevelt, Baby and literally pounded down the pavement into Grauman’s. It was just so overwhelming and beautiful, I broke down and cried like a little baby. It was the biggest thrill of my life, and I didn’t wash my hands for a full 24 hours afterwards.
Hope you enjoyed day one of my Hollywood vacation! Plenty more to come!
For my birthday, I celebrated by watching a classic movie, of course! (I was so not going to let the rape video I watched in religion class be the only film I watched on my birthday!) So I watched one of my favorites, one that I haven’t seen in a while…Strange Cargo, an often-overlooked and extremely underrated Gable/Crawford pairing. When many film fans think of a Gable/Crawford film, they automatically think of a steamy romance such as Possessed, Forsaking All Others, or Chained. Although they are all great films, I like Strange Cargo a bit more because it is so…different, for any film made at the time. Strange Cargo, a religious allegory about Godless prisoners who encounter and are influenced by a Christ-like figure, is serious, interesting, and controversial.
The film revolves around a cold-hearted convict, Andre Verne (Gable) serving his sentence on a French penal colony (an island jungle reminiscent of “Lord of the Flies”). He meets a prostitute named Julie (Crawford), who turns him in after his latest escape attempt. Verne soon gets wind of another escape plan, led by the cruel murderer Moll (Albert Dekker), and forces himself into the party. However, Moll knocks Verne out in his sleep, leaving him behind. However, a strange, new prisoner named Cambreau (Ian Hunter) leaves a map of the escape route to Verne, who escapes the hospital, takes Julie with him, and journeys through the jungle to meet Moll and the rest of the party (Cambreau, the benevolent prisoner, Telez, a fanatical religious hypocrite, Flaubert, a paranoiac, Dufond, who was in a homosexual relationship with Moll, and Hessler, a German prisoner who symbolizes Adolf Hitler) by the beach. Verne soon takes charge of the escape, and while on the ship sailing to the mainland, the prisoners die one by one, each of their deaths foretold by the God-like Cambreau, who leads each of the prisoners to spiritual redemption before their deaths. Only Cambreau, Verne, Julie, and Hessler make it to the mainland, and Hessler, still Godless, runs away from the crew to return to his life of crime. Julie, who has fallen in love with Verne (and finally influenced by Cambreau), agrees to leave with M’sieu Pig (Peter Lorre), a man who covets her, to keep him from talking and giving Verne away. Verne, planning to leave the mainland to protect himself, sets sail on another boat with Cambreau. He attempts to drown Cambreau to prevent him from talking, but after realizing that Cambreau is God, he saves him, and is led to spiritual redemption. He returns to the penal colony and turns himself in, with Julie waiting for him.
In both photos: Julie, Verne, and Cambreau
Behind the scenes, the film was filled with complications from the beginning. Joan and Clark’s relationship had become quite strained, and she was jealous because of Gable’s recent marriage to Carole Lombard. In between takes, Joan would whisper things in Clark’s ear, causing him to storm off the set in anger. And Joan’s hairdresser said that they would say terrible things about each other. However, after Lombard’s death, any tension between Gable and Crawford disappeared, as she supported him through that tough time.
It’s apparent through Joan and Clark’s stances that they were ill at ease together…and by the way, Clark makes for some GREAT eye candy in this film!
This was also Joan’s most unglamorous film. Her entire wardrobe consisted of three ready-to-wear dresses, all for under $40, and for most of the film, she wore barely any makeup (except for some foundation to cover up her freckles). Her hair also seems to be unstyled, and in its full frizzy splendor (Huzzah for a fellow frizzy dame!)
As naked as Joan’s face ever got on film. And as out-of-place her hair ever got as well.
However, the controversy behind the film was quite extreme, as this was a film much ahead of its time. The film was based on the book “Not Too Narrow, Not Too Deep” by Richard Sale (easily one of the strangest books I’ve ever read), and needless to say the material in the book is watered down greatly for the film. Nevertheless, it got a “Condemned” rating from the Legion of Decency for “irreverent use of Scripture” (there are several scenes in the film in which Gable and Crawford blatantly mock the Scriptures, and one scene, perhaps the most controversial, in which Gable declares himself as God) and for “lustful complications (there’s a part in which Joan’s character is held as a sex slave by another character, and there is hint of a homosexual relationship). However, even after MGM made cuts to the film (hard to believe it had more controversial material than what we see today!), many cities still refused to play the film.
Here’s the link to the controversial “I’m God” scene in the film: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-AajhoZJg4
It’s pretty weird to associate Gable and Crawford with an allegorical film, but my, is it a wonderful treat! “Strange Cargo” is “strange” for sure, but in a good way, because it is a haunting, unusual film that makes a great impression. It just further shows the acting abilities of the two leads, and it makes for a wonderfully volatile and intense film that speaks about the power of God, the extent of free will, and the decay of the human condition. A must-see!
Today is my birthday! To celebrate, I’ve listed all the Hollywood stars with whom I share my birthday with on the sidebar (Debbie Reynolds, Wallace Beery, Jane Powell, and Lon Chaney), and now I’ll give you the stars with whom I share the same hometown: Brooklyn, New York! Brooklyn’s got it all: diversity, history, sass, attitude, grittiness, creativity, and most of all, it’s a fascinating place, to say the least! And the people? Well, they’re one of a kind! Check put this panorama of stars from Brooklyn. They define what it means to be from this unique city:
That’s right, this screen legend is a Brooklyn girl! The daughter of Jewish immigrants, Bacall is famous for her sultry stare (known as “The Look”), velvety voice, and cool attitude. She is synonymous with the Film Noir genre, and helped to define what it means to be a femme fatale. Bacall’s romance with Humphrey Bogart is one of Hollywood’s greatest legends and love stories, and she is one of the few Golden Age stars still with us today. A beautiful, talented actress, Bacall has done Brooklyn proud!
Clara Bow had an unpriveleged (to put it mildly) childhood in the slums of Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. She faced much at a young age, including poverty, physical abuse and the insanity of her mother. However, that did not stop her from becoming one of Hollywood’s greatest silent film stars, and one of the first female sex symbols. Her vivacious, energetic personality led her to become the ideal flapper, and her nickname was the “It” Girl. Eventually, Bow would define the Roaring Twenties itself.
I know he isn’t a movie stars by any means, but in many people’s minds, vintage Brooklyn is synonymous with gangsters, and Capone’s the reason why! Capone, originally from downtown Brooklyn, moved to Park Slope at the age of eleven. He would be expelled from school at age fourteen, move to Chicago in his twenties, and would go on to become the ultimate twenties gangster: smuggling and brewing bootleg liquor, bribing government officials, investing in prostitution, and wielding a nasty gun!
George Gershwin is considered one of America’s greatest performers. A New York boy through and through, he wrote more than a dozen Broadway musicals such as Strike Up the Band, Funny Face, and Girl Crazy. He wrote two operas,one of which is Porgy and Bess, and many orchestral pieces, such as An American In Paris, I Got Rhythm, Shall We Dance, and his most famous…Rhapsody In Blue, which would become the theme song for the Paul Whiteman Orchestra. His numerous songs have been recorded by many artists, and remain famous jazz standards. Gershwin often collaborated with his brother, lyricist Ira Gershwin.
Susan Hayward was a fashion model before she became an actress, which is not surprising considering her beauty. Hayward’s Hollywood career took off when she auditioned for the role of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind. Although she didn’t get the role, she nevertheless became one of Hollywood’s most respected actresses. Hayward was nominated over five times for an Academy Award, and constantly reaped critical acclaim.
A forties favorite, Rita Hayworth was one of the era’s top dancers and actresses. Known for her sex appeal and pin-up girl looks, Hayworth was the beauty ideal of her time. Hayworth had an exotic aura about her (partly due to her Hispanic heritage), leading to her status as a sex symbol and a pin-up girl (she and Betty Grable were the top two). She was also provocative through her dancing, and her most famous films are Gilda and The Lady From Shanghai.
This musical legend was born in Bedford-Stuyvesant (Bed-Stuy to the locals), Brooklyn. Before moving to Hollywood, she was a New York nightclub performer, including the Cotton Club. Horne faced much adversity in Hollywood due to her African-American roots, but she was relentless in never giving up her dreams, becoming one of the era’s most famous artists (her music is still enormously popular today). Today, Horne is remembered and admired for crossing racial barriers, and she continues to inspire millions today.
Edward Everett Horton
Ever see this guy in an Astaire/Rogers film? Edward Everett Horton was one of Hollywood’s greatest character actors, beginning his long colorful career in the vaudeville theaters of Brooklyn and Broadway. His career contained not just film work, but theater, radio, television, and animated cartoons. Horton is also remembered for his cameo appearance in I Love Lucy as a very amorous grocery store owner
The Three Stooges
No surprises here! The Three Stooges are Brooklyn boys alright! And everyone knows who they are! One of the most famous comedy and vaudeville teams of the twentieth century, the Stooges were pioneers of physical, slapstick humor. They made many short films, and cameo appearances in feature-length films. It’s quite interesting to see them in Dancing Lady with Joan Crawford and Clark Gable!
Arthur Miller also wasn’t a movie star, but he was a major influence on Hollywood during the 50s. One of the most prominent American playwrights, Miller penned classics such as Death of A Salesman, The Crucible, All My Sons, A View From The Bridge, and The Misfits (which became a film starring Clark Gable, his then-wife Marilyn Monroe, and Montgomery Clift). In his plays, Miller was not afraid to question modern society and the events of his time period.
The Ritz Brothers
They have the weirdest faces. This brother vaudeville team was unique because their act not only contained comedy, but dancing. They had a long career, starting from the twenties all the way to the seventies. They are often compared to the Marx Brothers (even though they are quite different), and are famous for their celebrity impersonations.
This little dynamite has been at it since the 30s and is showing no signs of stopping! Rooney easily has the longest acting career in history. One of America’s first teen idols, Rooney is famous for his Andy Hardy series, which depicted the everyday life and troubles of the all-American family of Judge Hardy. Always charming, these films are quintessential vintage Americana. He is also quite famous for his pairings with Judy Garland, such as Strike Up The Band and Babes In Arms.
Without a doubt, Barbara Stanwyck is the ultimate tough dame. As a child in Brooklyn, she had to deal with the murder of her mother and the disappearance of her father. Her oldest sister abandoned her siblings to become a showgirl, leaving them in foster homes, from which Barbara often ran away. Her experiences gave her the strong persona and screen presence she was famous for, and despite having a rough and tumble childhood, Stanwyck became one of Hollywood’s most acclaimed actresses and was a professional on set.
He wasn’t called “The Boy Wonder” for nothing. At a very young age, Irving G. Thalberg wielded enormous amounts of power as an MGM producer. He had a knack for choosing the right script, casting the right actors, getting the best production staff, and making tons of money at the box office. Thalberg’s marriage to Norma Shearer is often held up an as an example of true love in the racy atmosphere of Hollywood. His untimely death at age 37 shocked and devastated Hollywood.
Gene Tierney was considered a breathtaking beauty back in the day, and with her green eyes, porcelain skin, and dark hair, it’s no wonder why! But Tierney was more than just a face. A truly talented actress, Tierney is best known for her roles in Laura and Leave Her To Heaven. Unfortunately, Tierney’s mental problems and turbulent personal life affected her career.
Another acting powerhorse, Wallach shot to fame in the fifties. Rarely the leading man, Wallach was almost always a supporting role. Like many of his contemporaries, Wallach is a Method actor. His most famous roles are Baby Doll, The Good the Bad and the Ugly, and The Magnificent Seven.
My favorite Brooklynite, Mae West is greatest sex symbol of her era. Period. She was beautiful, smart, and witty as hell. Well known for her naughty double entendres, West wrote all of them herself and would often write or ad lib her own lines in her films. West was incredibly successful in vaudeville and Broadway, and was already a big name when she arrived in Hollywood in the 1930s. She was a gifted comedienne, and attracted droves to the theatres. Despite this, she encountered numerous problems with her controversial material and censorship. Ever the Brooklyn girl, this Bushwick native led a colorful, satisfying life, and she enjoyed herself, with lots of sass along the way.
Happy Friday everyone! Ever wonder what it looked like during the filming of a Gable film? These pictures will take you behind the scenes of movie-making at its finest (some photos from dearmrgable.com):
Hanging around on the set of Adventure, with Greer Garson and Victor Fleming
Relaxing on the set of Adventure with Joan Blondell
Playing with probably the cutest baby in the entire world on the set of Boom Town. Spencer Tracy looks a tad concerned.
Giving Joan Crawford a hand on the set of Love on the Run
With costar (and gal pal) Elizabeth Allan on the set of Men In White
With the locals on the set of Mogambo in Africa
Only Clark can make sneakers look cool! On the set of Never Let Me Go with Gene Tierney and a HUGE dog
Standing behind the (wrong) chairs on the set of The Misfits
On the set of To Please A Lady
On the set of The White Sister
Whoa guys sorry about the length of this thing…I can never get enough of behind the scenes pictures!
Quite often, classic Hollywood stars seem almost like demigods. They have immeasurable talent, unearthly beauty, and juicy, interesting lives. It’s sometimes hard to belive that they’re actually normal, everyday people like you and me. But hey, that’s what makes them so much more special and cooler than whatever the hell we’ve got today. To bring them back to earth, here are some photos of our favorite stars when they were babies! Be prepared for cutie overload! (Photos from Corbis)
Loretta Young, who’s kind of a scary-looking baby if you ask me.
Look at that little man! He grew up to be Cary Grant.
Did Tallulah Bankhead ALWAYS look the same?!
Cutie Jean Harlow! Before she had her famous platinum mane, she was a bit of an Elmer Fudd baby!
Not exactly a baby…Joan Crawford at age six
AWWW!!! Baby Bette Davis!
Wasn’t Tyrone Power adorable? And he always did have those expressive brows!
Obviously, Gary Cooper was meant to be a cowboy
A precious Katharine Hepburn
Baby Jimmy Stewart on a cool vintage tricycle
Perhaps the cutest picture EVER. Baby Judy Garland!
ADORABLE Lucille Ball!
Norma Shearer lookin’ pretty serious
Claudette Colbert as a little tyke
Adorable baby Carole Lombard! I think she’s so cute, but party-pooper Jean thinks she looks like Draco Malfoy from Harry Potter!
Marlene Dietrich, always the glamour girl
GORGEOUS Vivien Leigh! Look at those eyes!
Grace Kelly, already a beauty
And now the most adorable, cutest little baby of all…Humphrey Bogart! He’s so lucky I wasn’t around when he was a baby. He would’ve been kidnapped in 3,2,1!
Happy New Year everyone!
To celebrate, I’m going to look back on my 2010 classic movie escapades. Get ready for An Elegant Obsession’s Annual Classic Movie Yearbook!
Best Movie: Gone with the Wind (1939). This film won ten Academy Awards in 1939, and it deserved every single one!
Worst Movie: Apologies to The Painted Desert (1931), but it was the stinkiest Western ever created. It even has the stinkiest film poster ever created:
Best Female Performance: TIE! Rosalind Russell in The Women (1939) was witty, charismatic, funny, and engaging. Vivien Leigh in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) was complex, emotional, and heartbreaking.
Best Male Performance: TIE AGAIN! Spencer Tracy in Captains Courageous (1937) was simply amazing. William Powell in The Thin Man (1934) was smooth, suave, and urbane.
Best Villain: Ray Milland in Dial M for Murder (1954). That guy was an evil CREEP.
Best Female Comedic Performance: Carole Lombard in To Be Or Not To Be (1942). She made me laugh to tears.
Best Male Comedic Performance: the Marx Brothers in Duck Soup (1933), Horse Feathers (1932), and Monkey Business (1931). Laugh out loud HILARIOUS!
Best Romantic Screen Team: Clark Gable and Jean Harlow. Platinum blonde stunner with an acid tongue and jug-eared, burly ex-lumberjack? Their chemistry and spark is inimitable.
Best Hero/Sidekick Team: Clark Gable and Franchot Tone. They complimented and played off each other so well, it’s a darn shame they only made three movies together
Best Dressed: Joan Crawford. She always looks her best
Best Kiss: Clark Gable and Mary Astor in Red Dust (1932). Considered to be one of the best classic movie kisses
Best Line: “As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again!” fills me up with tears every time
Best Newcomer: I recently discovered Rudolph Valentino, and he has quickly become one of my favorites
Most LOL-worthy Moment: TIE! William Powell cooing in Myrna Loy’s face in I Love You Again (1940) and Norma Shearer’s Jungle Red Nails in The Women (1939)
Hope you enjoyed our first annual Classic Movie Yearbook! Look forward to a new year full films, fun, and a whole lot of insight and sarcasm! As Frank Sinatra said in his song, The Best Is Yet To Come: “You ain’t seen nothing yet!”